Justice Khosa should not have used poetry in judgment: Aitzaz Ahsan

Published: May 11, 2012

Gilani's counsel says poetry by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa is being misinterpreted. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: Aitzaz Ahsan, the counsel of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the contempt of court case, said that Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa should not have added poetry in the written judgment of the Supreme Court. “Khosa should not have added poetry in the judgment, especially of his own.”

“It [the poetry] is being misinterpreted in several ways, that pity the nation which has judges like this, pity the nation where judges do this, do that… But Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is the only outcome of the lawyers movement. Other judges have vulnerabilities,” he stated while speaking to the media on Friday.

Quoting the poem which Justice Khosa had added in the note released along the detailed verdict, Aitzaz said, “It says, ‘Pity the nation which treats a convict as a hero’, but our nation considers a lot of convicts, if not all, as heroes.”

Justice Khosa, who was part of the seven-member bench that had convicted the prime minister of contempt, had made a six-page addition to the 77-page detailed verdict of the Supreme Court.

He quoted an extract from For Whom the Bell Tolls by John Donne and Pity the Nation by Khalil Gibran in his 321 word addition to the detailed order.

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Reader Comments (59)

  • SM
    May 11, 2012 - 5:42PM

    What about the poems you sang outside Aiwan e Sadr against Musharraf, Mr. Barrister?

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  • Imran Mohammad
    May 11, 2012 - 5:49PM

    There is nothing wrong with that Mr. “intellectual” Aitzaz Ahsan. The only reason I think you are complaining is because it probably hit some raw nerve of yours !!! Recommend

  • Muddassir
    May 11, 2012 - 5:50PM

    Barrister Aitzaz, Sorry! You have lost all respect going to these extremes in protecting the criminals.

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  • Well
    May 11, 2012 - 5:52PM

    Yes, he should have used a written statement provided by you.. Whatever and however the verdict was, it is The Verdict of The Supreme Court, for God sake..

    Stop bad mouthing about it in public.Recommend

  • Imran
    May 11, 2012 - 5:55PM

    Pity the people (not the nation) who treat PCO judges as saviors. Pity the people who took oath of allegiance to a dictator for material benefits undo PCO, and have the nerves and audacity to criticize the Pakistani nation.

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  • apj
    May 11, 2012 - 5:57PM

    Aitzaz sahab do you remember kal aaj aur kal you wrote?

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  • Imran
    May 11, 2012 - 6:02PM

    @SM:
    Oh for God sake, Genius! How could you equate the two acts.
    1. Aitizaz was/is not a judge. 2. Aitizaz read his poem in an open forum. 3. He didn’t condemn the Pakistani nation for differing with his point of view. 4. The said poem by a supreme court judge is a cheap popularity stunt, which ridicules the Pakistani nation. 2 years ago I saw a similar poem appearing on an Indian blog site. Good job judge sahib of using similar text in your judgement.Recommend

  • May 11, 2012 - 6:05PM

    Even our courts are getting emotional. The3 need of the hour is to focus on economic issues.

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  • Rehman
    May 11, 2012 - 6:09PM

    @Imran:

    Pity the nation whose first ELECTED PRIME MINISTER was previously in cabinet of a Dictator.

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  • Uza Syed
    May 11, 2012 - 6:17PM

    Agree with Aitazaz Ahsan, it’s a crazy idea to add poetry in a court verdict and it’s even worse to add an adulterated copy of someone else’s work—I wonder what Jibran would say to this attempt at playing intellectual, would it be “Bravo” or a “Hell with you”!

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  • Imran Haider
    May 11, 2012 - 6:25PM

    Pity the nation whose generals conspire with its judges to hang its democratically elected prime minister (Not from Khalil Gibran)

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  • Farooq Bashir Butt M.Phil(Pharmacy)
    May 11, 2012 - 6:30PM

    There is nothing wrong in poetry as some time one line conveys more than thousands pages.

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  • SM
    May 11, 2012 - 6:34PM

    @Imran:
    A nation that elects people like the current lot and allows people like Musharraf to run Pakistan deserves to be ridiculed so they can come to their senses.

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  • Farooq Bashir Butt
    May 11, 2012 - 6:35PM

    Pity the nation who depends on judges to play their role and pity the judges who sided dictators and granted them legality,pity the generals who exploited the psyche of the nation and hanged leaders through wrongful conviction……

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  • humza
    May 11, 2012 - 6:48PM

    The poem just stated the mentality of majority who are still supporting thief’s and robbers . A country suffering with electric power crisis so bad causing anarchy and our beloved convicted prime minister is on tour to England with delegation of 90 people . Convicted prime minister beloved son in spot light of drugs case .Beloved President son teaching supreme court what decisions they should give. Now why should not SUPREME COURT JUDGE write a poem on the characterless fake leaders and why should it not tell the nation this is what we do . Pity on those who cannot understand the poem and what it really meant.doings of this govt are like regime of irony and repression of a dictator. May ALLAH save Pakistan from the curse of corruption and from these evil people.

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  • Very 1
    May 11, 2012 - 6:50PM

    Supreme Court judgements have a historic significance. They go down in the history of not only Pakistan but of the entire humanity. It is indeed a pity for a judge to use that as a vehicle to promote his poetry. It’s inappropriate for a judge to pity his own nation. (I can speak for myself as part of that nation at least and I think Justice Khosa has absolutely right to pity me. Who is he to pity me?) It seems to me there are no red lines for the judges.

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  • The Truth
    May 11, 2012 - 6:58PM

    What ever Atizaz did was did was in his capacity as a private citizen. Justice Khosa is writing a legal judgement that will be used as a precedent for other cases and for years to come as part of the official court record. At best this represents a lapse in judgement on Justice Khosa’s part, at worst it clearly shows the inability of Pakistani courts to apply understand and and exercise what their roll is.

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  • Usman Lakhani
    May 11, 2012 - 7:06PM

    Pity the nation that allows political parties other than PMLN…

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  • fawad
    May 11, 2012 - 7:07PM

    Very rightly said by Aitzaz…Two artiles in today papers as well regarding this

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/opinion/how-pakistan-lets-terrorism-fester.html?smid=tw-share
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-107673-Literature-we-could-do-without

    Judges always speak of law in judgments not in terms of poetry

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  • Mirza
    May 11, 2012 - 7:23PM

    Mirza
    The SC decisions are legal documents and not personal opinions and biased taunts. All this rhetoric is fine if the Khosa was contesting an election or a movement but not at the highest legal court. As to the question of ZAB being in the cabinet of Gen Ayub, it is simple. Many of our forefathers and all Muslims were non believers but they gradually evolved and finally accepted the truth. However, the rightwing hateful do not believe in evolution or improvement.
    Whenver Pakistan’s history is written the Justice Munir, Mullah Mushtaq, Nasim Shah, and likes who have written majority or unanimous decisions are black chapters. However, their minority decision makers or dissenting judges have written historic decisions and become folk hero. Dictator Zia and his crony generals and judges were laughing after hanging ZAB, however they are all forgotten and ZAB had a last laugh even after his death. How many Pakistanis have refused to surrender to power?
    “Convicting the dozens of terrorists released by Pakistani courts should be a greater priority for the country’s judiciary than scoring points against the elected executive branch. And the Pakistani media should be more focused on asking why those deemed terrorists internationally are celebrated as heroes at home.”Recommend

  • Jadugar
    May 11, 2012 - 7:25PM

    such kinds of talks really does not suite his position, His personal opinion is really not warranted Recommend

  • Imran Mohammad
    May 11, 2012 - 7:38PM

    @Fawad I read NYT article by Haqani. This guy is full of vengeance against judiciary. It is not a very objective article. His premise that Judiciary should try to find out why & how OBL was living in Pakistan is inherently flawed and makes no sense.

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  • butt jee
    May 11, 2012 - 7:41PM

    @Imran:
    Justice Khosa has not ridiculed our nation. In fact he has felt the pain of our nation’s betrayal by the corrupt leaders. His wake up call to the people of Pakistan is the need of the hour.

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  • Farhan Khan
    May 11, 2012 - 7:53PM

    Mr. Aitzaz earlier you fought against military dictator, now u are fighting against Judicial Martial Law. Good Luck Bro

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  • May 11, 2012 - 7:58PM

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH POETRY. Mr.Aitzaz Ahsan has directly and indirectly criticised the note of Mr.Asif saeed Khosa Honourable Judge. I think there is no harm to any person for using such poetry and if we put a glance over the note of Mr.Khosa, definitely it reflects true picture of our nation. At the same time, why Mr.Aitzaz has not endorsed the decision of the Apex court. Moreover, his party is floating the law of land and even the decisions made by the Apex Court. Instead of commenting upon the note/poetry of Mr.Khosa, Mr.Aitzaz Ahsan should have asked his party prime minister to implement the orders of the court because non-compliance of orders, may prove fatal to the whole nation. It appears that the PPP rulers intended to flee away from Pakistan and are not caring for the nation rather are bent upon to ruin every important organ of the state. How long the people will wait. Enough is enough.

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  • elcay
    May 11, 2012 - 8:02PM

    @ Imran, Pity the nation whose current govt. is a product of NRO culminated by a dictator!!

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  • Faiz Ullah
    May 11, 2012 - 8:06PM

    The additional note of Justice is blatantly biased and politically motivated endeavor to instigate the masses against the elected government and pave the path for army by proving the elected government a failure. “For his duty, not to make a present of justice but give judgement”. (from Apology of Socrates). His additional note reveals his non-professionalism and discloses his prejudice towards the elected PM and his brilliant lawyer. How can a sane man believe in the credibility of such a judgement whose bench member openly tries to degrade the party to the case. We should not eye the judge with Judiciary’s lens; rather we need to analyse it in the political framework that is quite disturbing in the wake of the judgement. We should not believe in the judiciary blindly. The judiciary is comprised of individuals who could have motives of any kind. It is was obvious to be biased because it was restored at eleventh’s hour by the government; The government has challenged its hegemony for constitutional reasons; In my opinion, Pakistani nation will study this judgement in its history subject as another black spot on judiciary as the judicial murder of Z.A Bhatto.

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  • Mirza
    May 11, 2012 - 8:16PM

    @Imran: Thanks for you posts and telling like it is. Why are some so impatient for their pound of flesh? They cannot wait for the legal process to end.

    Here is what a sitting MNA of PML-N wrote. Still there are some who respect constitution despite being in opposition and not blind supporters of over-reach of PCO judges.
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-107673-Literature-we-could-do-withoutRecommend

  • Its (still) Econonmy Stupid
    May 11, 2012 - 8:25PM

    Here is a precedence of judges writing poetry in their judgement. Hence Justice was right in following a precedence.

    Chief Justice of India Markandey Katju reminded Zardari the Supreme Court of India had quoted the famous couplet of Pakistani Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz: “Qafas udaas hai yaaron saba se kuch to kaho, Kaheen to behar-e-khuda aaj zikr-e-yaar chale” in that judgement.

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  • sunder khan
    May 11, 2012 - 8:30PM

    @Imran:
    All the thieves who had supported Gen Musharaf in his dictatorial acts for 5 long years are now part of the PPP Government. Our convicted PM and all his family members have serious corruption and Drug dealing allegations against them. Pakistan is the only country where a convicted PM whose morality and integrity has a big question mark, is being eulogized by his party colleagues shamelessly and the people of Pakistan are the silent spectators. Like most of the educated Pakistanis Justice Khosa has taken note of this sorry state of our nation and has put that in writing. In stead of criticizing him we should appreciate his patriotism.

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  • anonymus
    May 11, 2012 - 8:37PM

    @The Truth:
    Unfortunately SC wants to punish AZ as they don’t consdier him President like Mr Shahabz Sharif but they don’t have moral courage to say that.
    Judges should have moral courage with legal backing to state their preconceived notion that there is immunity to president but not to Zardari before convicting YRG. That is the crux of problem. this is a political case as admited by Sharif that he conspired under pressure of ISI to initaite cases! but I am sure judges don’t read that.
    Courts have to earn resepct and not to thrust it.
    ZA bhutto was hanged as allegedly he gave verbal orders to kill some one who hanged Bhagat singh martyr of freedom.
    But Sharif brothers are not hauled up for attacking court for ordering it. Is it possible that any one lesser than them could order that! since then cameras have been removed from SC
    Pity the nation who has judges who sit on their own cases.
    Pity the nation who who has judges who run cases against only one political party and punish them.Recommend

  • Karachiite
    May 11, 2012 - 8:44PM

    @The Truth: apparently your understand of the issue is pathetic at best. The actual judgement ie the operative part has no poetry whatsoever. This was added as an additional note. Please read carefully before making long ingenius commentsRecommend

  • Uza Syed
    May 11, 2012 - 8:46PM

    @Imran: So after all, or this pseudo intellectual is just a fake —- didn’t bother even to use brains and try altering Jibran to suit his purpose but went to some ‘blogg’ and took a short cut and just plagiarised from there–at least we know the source of this sudden fits of this intellectualism here. Pity the poor nation!

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  • Karachiite
    May 11, 2012 - 8:48PM

    For all the geniuses who in their infinite wisdom criticizing should know that the operative part of the judgement as well as the judgement itself has nothing to do with the poetry. Thos was an additional note. Please take the time out to examine it carefully before commenting.Recommend

  • The Truth
    May 11, 2012 - 9:08PM

    @Karachiite, Might I suggest you study the concept of law so that you understand that regardless of whether it was added as an additional note or not, his job as a Justice of the supreme court is to rule based on the merits of the case and within the law not on his personal opinions or his affinity for paraphrasing poetry. My comment was not long, but your correct that I am a genius.

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  • Khalq e Khuda
    May 11, 2012 - 9:21PM

    Justice Khosa knows Pakistanis better then you do Mr Aitzaz.

    We as a nation do not like people who respect us rather than the other way around. We love China and Saudis despite their treatment of Pakistan as crap. While countries like US which give aid and trade to Pakistan are treated as crap and declared enemy of the state.

    Similarly while politicians, generals and judiciary all screwed up the country, the judges and generals are much respected because they treat the ordinary citizens like low lifes while at least on the face of it, the politicians beg for votes in front of the masses.

    By the way, about time you apologise for your role in the judges movement.

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  • Mirza
    May 11, 2012 - 9:21PM

    @anonymus:
    I admire your courage and the independence of ET. You have stated the whole scenario well. There is no SC in the world which has benches of 17 judges to start cases against the elected govt of the same one party who has been their victim repeatedly. All their cases start on a fast track and the SC is made a low trial court. There are no session courts and high courts to try PPP leaders. This effectively denies them a basic right to appeal to a higher court. Even the appeals go to the same PCO CJ. Only dummies can have the same exact thinking and all decisions come out unanimously. There is deep rooted belief that PPP does not deserve to rule the country no matter what. The example of hanging ZAB, stealing elections by ISI against BB in 1990 are other examples. Yet the large majority of Pakistani rural heartland would vote for PPP again and again.
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza Recommend

  • Mirza
    May 11, 2012 - 9:27PM

    @The Truth: There is a history of animosity against the elected govt of PPP. In any other country such biased people would not be on the bench but it is PCO SC we are talking about.
    The irony is all these judges have taken oath of office to uphold the constitution yet they forgot and took oath under PCO and Gen Mush. However, these same elements oppose politicians who negotiated (not surrendered like PCO judges) NRO. Go figure of height of hypocrisy.
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza Recommend

  • Zaheer
    May 11, 2012 - 10:24PM

    That is what low levels of literacy do to a population. Lawyers are embarassed not by the poerty itself but by the strong bias of a judge shown through it. In doing so he has weakened his own judgement. Those who have not read a word of law are thrilled about the Bollywood part!

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  • @plarkin
    May 11, 2012 - 10:27PM

    What else are the poor justices to do? You don’t obey orders written in black and white. Perhaps this oblique indirection will work where blunt straight talk hasn’t.

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  • S. A. Bukhara
    May 11, 2012 - 11:49PM

    ‘Pity the nation which treats a convict (Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto) as a hero’ Sorry, I won’t pity such a nation, but rather its Supreme court which convicted an elected PM on a farce trial.

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  • Nancy
    May 12, 2012 - 12:55AM

    I cannot agree more. Pity yes but even pity will not help. Someone has to go back to class rooms and start tellings the youth right from wrong. The distinction as it is blurred in this nation can only lead to extinction of this young nation altogether

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  • anonymus
    May 12, 2012 - 1:07AM

    Pity the judges when judge hang an innocent under the order of general and then admit that crime.Should that judge be hanged and punished under the contempt of court or for murder cahrge?
    What is the highest contempt of court? when a morally corrupt judge punishes an innocent by hanging him? Is there any higher contempt?
    dear judges take suo moto against nasim hassan shah. but that will not happen as he does not belong to PPP.
    I pity the jugdes.

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  • s shah
    May 12, 2012 - 2:49AM

    Poetry, and that too poetry that shows an obvious bias and prejudice against an elected government and against the person being tried, should not be part of a Supreme Court Judgment.

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  • jock
    May 12, 2012 - 3:06AM

    Indeed Aitzaz Sahib! Oratory is your prerogative only! No truth! Only cold facts! I believe every wronged rape / blasphemy victim in the Islamic Republic agrees!

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  • ZM
    May 12, 2012 - 3:37AM

    Aitzaz jee
    You were told in 1985 when were on tour of US that ” the constitution will play havoc with our beloved country” hope you remember it. Also ” this constitution and the state of pakistan cannot go together”
    ——– now you are the main character to do all the damage to the constitution and the state of Pakistan.???

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  • nationalist baloch
    May 12, 2012 - 5:15AM

    A historical judgement … and if wr ad a nation continue to minve our words against such politicians, govetnment servanys and public figures … and see nothing wrong with selectivee justice … Justice Asif Khosa’s words … poetry or not … will haunt is for s long time to come … In particilar these will haunt lowly chatacters and lawyers of Mr Ahsan’s ilk …

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  • May 12, 2012 - 7:02AM

    @Web Editor
    “He quoted an extract from For Whom the Bell Tolls by John Donne”

    Gary Cooper and the gorgeous Ingrid Bergman made a movie about the Spanish Civil War, in 40′s called For Whom the Bell Tolls. It was based on a book by Ernest Hemingway.

    Metallica have a song called For Whom the Bell Tolls.

    Can you tell us how John Donne gets credited for that? If it says so in the judgement, the person responsible should be charged for “fakery”.

    If you insist on quoting poetry, you should not misquote it, at least. That may reflect on the degree of your cultural sophistication.

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  • ijazmir
    May 12, 2012 - 10:17AM

    I use to have great respect of one person in Pakistan. That is Ch. Aitazaz. My opinion has been changed, Now he is the third rate lawyer of Pakistan. I hope he reads this and shoot himself.

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  • ishrat salim
    May 12, 2012 - 3:29PM

    What Justice Khosa wrote including the poem from Khalil Gibran..was to awaken our ” dead souls & conscience “…& people who hv reacted negatively seem to be most hurt bcz it has toched their very sensitive nerves ( bcz they are not prepared to face the truth )…such people hv exposed themselves to be an accomplice in all such issues & will be equally answerable to Allah swt for their being part of the wrong….

    let us face the truth & swallow this bitter pill..bcz it is the truth…it seem Khalil Gibran was born to write such poem for us…when our nation reaches that point..

    It is not unprecedence to qoute & unqoute anything of relevance by the judiciary anywhere in the world….Recommend

  • Anonymous
    May 12, 2012 - 7:05PM

    the dicion is right but the poetry shouldnt have been used… aitzaz is right Poetry can have ell interpretations…. judges sould be crystal clear in the judgements…

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  • Majid
    May 12, 2012 - 7:47PM

    The judge wrote “Pity the nation whose leaders seek martyrdom through disobeying the law [rather] than giving sacrifices for the glory of law and who see no shame in crime. Pity the nation that is led by those who laugh at the law”
    I could have been the story of PCO SC judges who instead of following the constitution and their oath took the PCO oath of Gen Mush, keeping the history of SC intact. Ironically they did not even seek martyrdom but of most obedient servant of general. Can anybody expect anything else from the family member of another judge who has hanged the first elected PM of the country in collusion with Gen Zia? ZAB was a convict but he is alive in history and the four judges of SC and Gen Zia is not!Recommend

  • ali
    May 13, 2012 - 1:42AM

    I salute Mr atizaz and wish if he could educate our judges who are obviously biased against Elected ppp Gov. Most of the judges are being used by PMLN . Atizaz is a brain behind restoration of chief justice and he is a genius . we are proud of your atizaz sahib and you haters are blind as they cant hate you for being upheld .

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  • May 13, 2012 - 2:32AM

    Are the judges provided a handbook/manual/guidebook, on how to write their final judgement?
    Does it say somewhere that it should comprise of 70 pages or 7 page long will suffice?
    Can they use religious text?
    Can they quote poetry and from what languages?
    Can they use “foreign languages” like Urdu?
    Usage of which words is not permissible besides those on PTCL list?

    No, when I grow up, I don’t want to judge others. I look in the mirror everyday.

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  • ishrat salim
    May 13, 2012 - 4:58PM

    Dear negative bloggers…justice Khosa tried to shake the conscience of the nation apart that seem to be dead.There are numerous examples when judges hv used prose n poetry while writing judgements.The Michigan Court of Appeals in its famous Fisher vs Lowe case, the trial court judge wrote the entire judgement in favor of Lowe in poetry.Upon Fisher`s appeal the decision was also written in poetry.In the case known as The Koprino,, Justice Barry Davies of the SC of British Columbia had written his own poerty in the judgement, & his CJ Brenner had commented his review in writing that – The depth of talent of our judges knows no bounds.In Baily Vs Mathers, when a famous artist Eminen was accused of slandering his schoolmate in his song,Michigan judge Servitto explained the case in poetry as the case was related to a song.Poetry was also written in Porreco vs Porreco, Washington vs International Shoe & many other judgements by American judges.But those cricizing ” Pity the Nation ” note of Justice Khosa seems to be oblivious of the fact that it was not done for the first time in English jurisprudence….for those pls refer to the mentioned cases before giving sweeping statements just for the sake of commenting….Recommend

  • ali
    May 14, 2012 - 7:57AM

    Atizaz we salute you and request you to please educate our judiciary ! i would request pco judges to please look at themselves . i hope they will realise the truth .

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  • Aftab Ahmed
    May 14, 2012 - 5:43PM

    If the P.M. ridicules the judiciary ,it is contempt but if Judiciary ridicules the Nation then ?

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  • ishrat salim
    May 15, 2012 - 3:40PM

    Aftab Ahmed…that is law…by the way…justice Khosa in his personal capacity & not judiciary had added the note in the form of poem ridiculing the politicians & the elite class to awaken the dead soul & conscience & has not rediculed the whole nation but a particular class…it seem it has hurt yr sensitive nerve ?…well ! the truth is always bitter…we better accept the truth & the mirror shown by justice Khosa & accept it…bcz it is high time we come out from the state of denial which has brought us & this nation to this point….the rich is getting richer & the poor has crossed below poverty lines…look at the statement of accounts of the MNAs / MPAs / PM etc; their assets etc; has increased in 4 yrs…how ? when there is so much increase in poverty with no economic activity & most of the people are complaining of loosing their earnings on daily basis & there is increase in these politicians assets / earnings…how ? hv pity on this nation…yeh sab ko Allah swt ko jawab denahoga…think & prepare for answer….Recommend

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