There is no confrontation between the judiciary and the executive, and what differences they have will be settled with consensus rather than conflict, said Justice Javed Iqbal on Saturday.
Speaking at a ceremony organised by the Punjab Bar Council in honour of his upcoming retirement from the Supreme Court, Justice Iqbal said the government was cooperating with the judiciary, though there had been a delay in the implementation of some decisions.
Later responding to questions from reporters, Justice Iqbal said that the Supreme Court was working within the bounds of the Constitution and was doing its job of interpreting the laws made by legislators.
He said any confrontation between institutions would hurt the country. “As such everyone must keep patient and act according to the Constitution and the law in the interest of the country,” he said.
He rejected suggestions that the judiciary was squaring up to the executive because it was secretly plotting to overthrow the government in collusion with the army and then take over the running of the country. “The judiciary has no desire to rule,” he said.
Justice Iqbal also defended the army against the accusation. “The army has had ample opportunities to intervene but has kept its hands off,” he said. “The situation has now completely changed. The armed forces’ desire to interfere in the government … has been restrained by the Supreme Court’s decisions.”
He said the judiciary had no need to seek army help to get its decisions implemented as the government was implementing them already.
The government had sought more time in the Zafar Qureshi case and the National Reconciliation Ordinance case was pending review, so it was wrong to say the court’s decisions were being flouted. “We have a nascent democracy and the judiciary wants it to thrive,” he said.
The narrative of conflict was merely the brainchild of TV channels, he said.
He said the best way to curb corruption was for each person to hold themselves accountable.
He added that the level of corruption had fallen after the SC had taken notice of serious graft cases.
Justice Iqbal said that he would continue as head of the commission investigating the events surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden by US special forces in Abbottabad after his retirement next month. He said the commission’s findings would be made public.
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed gave a speech lauding his colleague, saying Justice Iqbal had contributed to the development of constitutional and commercial law in Pakistan as both a lawyer and a judge.
Punjab Bar Council vice chairman Lahrasab Khan Gondal and Executive Committee chairman Zafar Mahmood Mughal were also present at the event.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2011.