The new Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmad will head the Supreme Court (CJ) of Pakistan till February 2022. Like every former head of the institution, he, too, has already informed the nation about the issues dearest to him. Honourable CJP wants every institution free of corruption. One cannot but agree with the words of the incumbent CJP when he said, “Corruption and illegalities, in all the departments of the State, need to be seriously addressed and eliminated ... [corruption] is the most basic ... scrooge that does not allow the country to grow and prosper.”

People have high hopes and expectations from the honourable CJP. The reason for such high hopes is that masses knew him as Justice of the apex court who would not shy from giving strong verdicts and comments against governments and bureaucrats. Thus people will have high expectations from him and will think of him as a CJP who will protect their rights.

The honourable CJP has, however, taken control of the judiciary at a time of great tension. The unfortunate event in Lahore where the lawyers attacked Punjab Institute of Cardiology made people wonder if the legal fraternity is the protector of the law of the land. After the controversial verdict of the special bench against former dictator Musharraf, many people see tension and conflict among state institutions inevitable. These are two of the many challenges where the state and nation will need the wisdom of the honourable CJP.

But these are not the only issues that the CJP will deal with as the head of the judiciary. The most tiresome problem will be reforming the legal system of the country. Probably improving the criminal justice system should be as worthy of the CJP’s attention as elimination of corruption would be all these years. It is to say with pain that the justice system of the country is slow, flawed and continuously decaying. In Pakistan, it takes years for a civil and criminal case to reach its logical end. Indeed, many of the country’s problems can be traced to the lack of new mechanisms of justice that are responsive to people’s requirements.

However, if the CJP ensures the provision of expeditious justice to the general public, which is also a constitutional requirement, people’s faith in the legal system of the country will restore. Given that the honourable CJP holds the constitution in the highest esteem, people are looking forward to him as the CJP who will ensure that every department works for people’s welfare.