ISLAMABAD: The retiring judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Javed Iqbal, said on Saturday that the judges of the apex court were fully united and there was no chance of their split.
When asked against the background of the government’s repeated efforts to create a split in the Supreme Court to mainly target the revered Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and weaken the apex court, he said: “The Supreme Court is fully united and there is no chance of its bifurcation”.
Justice Javed Iqbal, who is retiring on July 31, however, was reluctant to say anything on whether the government has been making serious attempts to divide the judges.
Talking to this correspondent, he said he would not discuss anything else, but assured that the judges were united as they were in the past.
Informed sources, however, said repeated efforts have been made since the restoration of the judiciary in March 2009 and especially after the NRO decision of the apex court to divide the judges or start a revolt against the chief justice. “These efforts do not see any end even now but without any success,” a source said. It is also said that some of the judges were approached by certain government players, but none of the judges gave any favourable response to the schemers in the present regime.
A top legal aide of the president, on condition of not being named, however, denied the government was conspiring against the judiciary in any manner.
But independent sources do not trust what the presidency says and insist that the powerful anti-independent judiciary elements in the government are capable of going to any extent against the courts. “They are waiting for the right moment to strike,” the sources said, adding the chief justice is mainly the target of the NRO clan.
Meanwhile some of government figures are trying to feed the media with the information that some background work of some of presidential aides had actually worked to ease the tension between the government and the judiciary, and to convince the judiciary not to pass a stern order against the regime owing to the same efforts.
One of the newspapers while talking of ‘backchannel diplomacy’ quoted former law minister Babar Awan as saying: “The Supreme Court instead of passing the stern order had shown leniency and now the government has to reciprocate in implementing the court’s orders”. These reports, however, do not get any credence when, in answer to a question, Justice Javed Iqbal told The News that the Supreme Court decides its cases as per law and constitution.
He said the SC avoids taking stern action against the regime in the best national interest and not for any other reason. He said the apex court is showing patience and takes lenient view of the government’s delaying tactics to implement the court’s order. Justice Javed Iqbal said though implementation of the apex court orders is being delayed, they have not yet been violated by the regime.