While addressing a training workshop for judicial officers, Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan criticized the rampant nature of corruption in Pakistan by stating that billionaires were involved in the plundering of national assets while “each child of the nation has been indebted”. Dost Muhammad Khan emphasized upon the need to improve the performance of the judiciary in Pakistan as the majority viewed the courts as the only remaining beacons of hope in the country. He went on to say that the involvement of judges in any kind of corruption was “1,000 times haram” due to betraying their own moral and professional obligation of relaying justice in society.

The sentiment behind Dost Muhammad Khan’s statement – highlighting a religious requisite to be good and just judges – is certainly appreciated, but there is little need to needle in religion when the Supreme Court itself, the final arbiter of legal and constitutional rights and disputes, already maintains a strong stance on corrupt judges. Corruption in the judicial system of Pakistan is not a nascent phenomenon; in a survey assessing the public perception of the nature and extent of corruption in Pakistan in 2010, 69% of the respondents were subjected to an act of corruption while interacting with the judicial system. One can only imagine the increment in that complaint demographic since then.

Most of the corruption cases stem in the lower courts where bribery and blackmail are normal routine matters for lawyers as well as clients, and very little is done to counter such decay. The need of the hour is to implement this stance strictly and fully without further ado. Time and again, it becomes obvious that Pakistan’s corruption problem is not an issue involving the lack of religion – we have plenty of that – but more considerably about ensuring the implementation of legal commandments by higher authorities.