A career with full of hurdles and storms, suspended job and house arrest, finally Iftikhar Chaudhry has retired. I feel lucky to see his tenure, not just he performed his job sincerely but he also showed us some light ‘at the end of the tunnel’. Like many others I am also following his career from lawyer’s movement through his statements, remarks and judgments.
Looking from one angle; by hearing cases, taking suo motos and by providing justice, Mr. Chaudhry didn’t perform any astonishing work; it was his job against which he was handsomely paid. But in a country in which “politicians declare corruption as their right, a government which can raise price of anything at any time, a police which can kill innocents without any fear, an army whose top personals are involve in mega scams and a country where killers and gangsters are honored”, providing justice in that kind of country is really an extraordinary job. I think Mr. Chaudhry’s actual achievement isn’t in the hearings and proceedings of mega scandals, but his stance to stand firm in front of those who think of themselves as above the law.
Just for a moment think of last five years of Supreme Court without Iftikhar Chaudhry, or with Mr. Dogar as chief justice; the prices of fuel and electricity are tremendously high, ‘matric’ pass and corrupt people are heads of public organizations, twenty-thirty target killings in Karachi every day, corruption of billions every week, dozens of new missing persons every month and secret memos by Hussein Haqani every year and army still looting institutions without being exposed.
Many critics argue that Mr. Chaudhry interfered in other (institutions) businesses; somehow that argument is right, but when institutions fail to fulfill their responsibilities then someone has to come forward and ‘rescue’ the people. Another great achievement of Iftikhar Chaudhry was to give a new identity to Supreme Court, it’s his hard work that now even the critics describe the Supreme Court as a powerful institution. Credit for the ‘rebirth’ of Supreme Court doesn’t only go to Mr. Chaudhry, but also to his team of judges. The judges, who also refused to take oath under PCO and joined hands with chief justice to solve the unsolvable.
After-all Iftikhar Chaudhry isn’t an angel, he also performed some acts which in my opinion he shouldn’t. It is a fact that he had security threats; he was also a target of bomb blast in July, 2007. But he enjoyed a lot more protocol and security than needed. There are also reports that he gave illegal extension to his staff especially the registrar of Supreme Court. Arslan Iftikhar case also brought shame for chief justice but Mr. Chaudhry didn’t have anything to do with it. Nevertheless, even his worst enemies can’t label him as corrupt or dishonest. In the end, nobody is perfect in this world.
Finally new chief justice has sworn in; his tenure will be limited to just seven months. On his first day of work he took suo moto notice and ordered his security staff not to stop the traffic on his route. This definitely is a good sign of new beginning. A beginning whose foundation was laid by Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, a beginning in which prime ministers can be dismissed, where army and secret agencies are answerable to courts, a beginning in which there is hope for poor and fear for thief, a foundation has been laid.