LAHORE- What a pity! Just see the kind of leaders we are sentenced to be governed by. The president of Pakistan is facing corruption charges and the prime minister is trying to defend him, putting his own job on the line. The Supreme Court is seized of the matter and the nation is waiting for the outcome of this high-profile case which may change the political scene.

Since the very fate of the prime minister is uncertain, bureaucracy’s working has gone sluggish as a result of which official matters are not being disposed of as efficiently as they should be. The more deplorable is the fact that it’s not clear how long the case will take to decide.

The prime minister’s worthy counsel is using all his professional skills and abilities to delay the matter as much as possible. On Wednesday, he argued before the court that the judges sitting on the benches are not eligible to hear the case as no justice can be expected of them. On Thursday, he raised a new point whereby he challenged the Contempt Law as violative of the Constitution.

When the counsel contended that the bench members cannot hear the case as they are ‘prejudiced’, a judge remarked that what the seven judges had said had also been stated by another eight judges of the apex court. In other words, what he said meant that 15 of the total 17 judges of the Supreme Court stand ineligible to deal with this matter.

The Supreme Court knows better how to thwart the bid to delay a decision. But it must bear in mind that in 2009 a Judicial Policy had been given which set timelines to decide cases of various categories. This policy has already failed to bring the desired results. No deadline is being followed by courts and cases are being decided as they were being decided before the landmark policy.

But if other courts have failed, at least the Supreme Court should try to decide all cases in general and the NRO judgment implementation and the memorandum controversy in particular in the shortest possible time.

It will be relevant here to remind Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry of the words he had used in the preamble of the Judicial Policy.

Referring to the movement launched for the restoration of the sacked judges, Justice Chaudhry had said: “The restoration of the 3 November (2007) judiciary has ushered in a new era: an era of hope that political dispensation in the country and governance shall be in accordance with the constitutional principles. The people of Pakistan have reposed great confidence in the ability of the judiciary to redress their grievances and grant them relief. They have very high expectations of the courts to settle their disputes, restore their rights/entitlements and maintain peace in society by sending the guilty behind bars. I thank the people for believing on us! We must strive to meet their expectations. This is time to repay our debt to the nation. We could do so by addressing the perennial twin-problems of ‘backlog’ and ‘delays’ in the system of administration of justice”.

The contempt case and the one about the memorandum controversy pose a serious challenge to the Chief Justice of Pakistan. People want him to honour his commitment and ensure that both the cases are decided in accordance with the law and the Constitution as soon as possible. Because of such cases courts can’t find time for a large number of others to which ordinary mortals are parties.

People believe that a man who had the courage to say no to an all-powerful Musharraf would not disappoint them now when he is having to deal with a different set of rulers.

Courts are the last ray of hope for the people. They alone can deal with those who are determined to obstruct justice.

The president and the prime minister of a country are supposed to be role models for their people. They are supposed to set high standards of morality, which others feel proud to emulate. But in the case of Swiss accounts of the president, both the head of state and government have shown ‘ideal unity’ against the people. The prime minister is ready to pay any price to save the president. Many allege that the prime minister is doing so because he has already secured the economic future of his posterity and now he has nothing to lose even if the court sentences him.