Everything is everyone’s business, and apparently nothing is private. While this is an unhealthy and invasive truth of the place we occupy, it is also at times necessary to conform to the criticism and scrutiny levelled at us. In one such case, Justice Jawad S Khwaja has demurred from doing so. In the highly public trial of the Geo TV license suspension, and the accompanying media cacophony that has inspired, followed and spurred it on, the honourable judge of the Supreme Court demurred from doing so. Refusing to recuse himself from the case, after it was pointed out that a close relative was married into the family that owns the Geo enterprise, Justice Khawaja continues to sit on the three member bench, adding to the fertile ground for conspiracy theorists.

In such a situation, where good practice clearly recommends distancing oneself from cases where personal connection may raise any question whatsoever of the judges’ aloofness from the case of either the plaintiff or the respondent, Geo may be relieved, but ARY will cry loud and foul over this apparent ‘misstep’. While Justice Khawaja as an honourable and esteemed member of the bench will, no doubt, be able to exercise all necessary good judgement, this will give the pro-ARY and anti-Geo lobby a chance to raise questions about the merits of any judgement, once it is issued in the case. The matter is already a complicated one, and with tempers running high and powerful backers and detractors on both sides, the objection over Justice Jawad Khawaja’s presence on the bench provides unnecessary fodder for the rumour mill. While wagging tongues can never be silenced, and critics such as Mr Mubashar Luqman are cruel and not worth answering, perhaps in this case it is not bowing to pressure, but just a matter of practice. Why insist, unless it is necessary?