"Be just That is closest to God consciousness." After so many days of uncertainty, finally the current spring in Pakistan has infused a fresh breath of air by the restoration of the unjustifiably deposed judiciary. Very good so far Now what? All the parties, protesting civil society and the lawyers have been contesting the cause to be the independence of judiciary for the overall strength and freedom of the national legal system, ensuring justice to all, thereby establishing a just and welfare society. It is easier said than done when these slogans are analysed for future application. In Pakistan according to the present judicial system, justice is not only delayed but also denied through various means such as expensive stamp duty, unwarranted delays, high cost of legal counsel and strict control of the executive over the judiciary. How important and significant justice is in the life of human beings, that there were cases in the early history of the religion when men whom the ruler intended to appoint as judges fled from court rather than assume this terrifying responsibility and we read of one who did accept the burden that his whole body trembled when he was called upon to give judgement believing that a single mistake might carry with it the threat of damnation as the divine judge stands over the human judge, observing all that he does, and human justice, even at its best, can never be more than a poor imitation of divine justice. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself when he was called upon to adjudicate in civil actions warned the litigants that one of them might be more eloquent in putting his case than the other and thereby achieve an unjust settlement. "In such a case," said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): "I will have given him a portion of hellfire." This is clearly a grave matter indicating that those who seek justice must themselves practice it without deviation even to their own hurt. Under all and any circumstances a victory which is contrary to justice is a poisoned chalice. In the modern day, it is commonly said and believed that justice is or should be "blind", in other words rigidly objective, but a judge is required to possess the quality of insight in the most profound sense. As is embodied in the Holy Quran: "O' you who believe Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor..." (Quran 4:135). Unlike many critics, I believe in constructive appraisal and therefore as a conscientious citizen of Pakistan am fulfilling my duty of participating in the efforts of worthy judges, lawyers, civil society and the legislators to think and act now for the achievement of the main objective of legal reforms for the progress and the cause of justice in Pakistan. There will certainly be many more positive suggestions besides the ones given below, yet I feel these will and can be a good starting point for a debate towards the achievement of the objective for a balanced and equitable judicial reforms. ? Independence of judiciary: As against the prevalent system unless the judiciary is made truly independent by separating it from the executive control, the dream of an independent judiciary will be far fetched. Therefore, the appointment of the judges of Supreme and High courts should be done by the respective Parliament as against the prevalent practice of appointments at the discretion of the president .It also was envisaged in the 1973 constitution that such discretionary powers of the president will end after 14 years thereof, i.e. this power for all practical purposes ended in 1987 sans amendments. ? Time limit on decision of cases: At this moment, according to a recent report more than 200,000 cases in the civil, criminal and other courts are lying pending on one pretext or the other, which is clearly explained in the words of Gladstone: "Justice delayed is justice denied." In fact even my petition in a court is postponed on every date on the pretext of justice for the smart lawyer of the defendant makes one excuse or the other to get the proceedings postponed for the last two years. The best course will be to discuss and set a time limit for the decision/disposal of all cases in 'one court', for instance 3 months for 'civil', 6 months for 'criminal', 6 months for 'constitutional', 3 months for 'corporate' and 3 months for 'electoral' cases. ? Free legal counsel for deserving petitioner: Although perhaps this facility is already provided but in practice it is not available. It should be ensured that such facility is provided to the deserving. ? Stamp fee rationalisation: The present stamp fee regime should be reconsidered and rationalised to make justice affordable. ? Introduction of "jury" in lower courts: As practiced and prevalent in the American and British legal system "the concept of jury" should be introduced in the lower courts to eliminate undesirable practices for ensuring justice. The procedure to select or elect members of the jury can be worked out keeping in mind following considerations: 1. The members of jury should be people of repute. 2. The members should have at least a law degree and/or practiced law with reasonable practical experience. (At least 10 years reputable practice) 3.The members of the jury could be retired judges as well. 4.The members of the jury could be elected or selected as per a set procedure. ? Appointments and postings of judges of lower court: The judges of the lower courts should be appointed by an independent legal commission comprising of retired judges of the High Court, while the postings may be done by a Superior Legal Commission comprising of the incumbent chief justice of the high court as the chairman and four senior judges. ? Rethinking about law of evidence: The law of evidence as used in our judicial system has been exploited in many ways and cases, so it needs careful study and analysis about its real application and implementation so as to meet the demands of equitable justice. Although I have scribed a few ideas above for the independence of the judiciary yet I feel these are few ideas only and just a food for thought. We have very capable jurists and legislators who can sit together, analyse these and after deliberations can hopefully reach a consensus towards the achievement of the coveted goal of an Azad Adalia for which such a long struggle eventually forced restoration, having been denied for so long. Generally, these days many people even Muslims wonder the effectiveness of the practice in vogue fourteen hundred years ago with reference to the commands of justice in Islam. These created a society where rich and poor, friend and foe, Muslim and non-Muslim, the ruler and the ruled, were all treated equally and all of them could count on receiving justice...The qazis (judges) were independent and no one, including the khalifah was above the law...If a dispute arose between the khalifah and an ordinary person, both had to appear in court and provide their evidence...Islamic history is full of stories of this justice that filled the earth wherever Muslims ruled in their golden era...We should think: Is our society modern or was the one so many hundred years ago. Just to quote a Hadith: Mother of faithful believers Sayyidana 'Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that the (people of the tribe of) Quraysh were anxious about the Makhzumi woman who had committed theft and asked "Who will speak to Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon Him) about her?" Then they said: "Who will be bold enough for it but Hazrat Usama bin Zayed, the friend of Allah's Messenger?" So, Hazrat Usama (may Allah be pleased with Him) spoke to him and Allah's messenger said: "Are you interceding regarding one of the punishments prescribed by Allah?" He then got up and gave an address, saying: "What destroyed your predecessors was just that when a person of rank among them committed a theft, they left him alone, but when a weak one of their number committed a theft, they inflicted the prescribed punishment on him. I swear by Allah that if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad (PBUH), should steal I would have her hand cut off" (Bukhari and Muslim). Finally, as was said by John Galsworthy: "Justice is a machine that, when someone has once given it the starting push, rolls on of itself." So we now need to give it another push for it to roll on. The writer is a freelance analyst CORRIGENDUM TheNation regrets the sacrilegious remarks about Hazrat Abu Sufyan published in Hamayun Gauhar's article "It's a bigger mess" published in this space on Sunday, March 22, 2009. The paper does not subscribe to his view. The error was inadvertent.