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CJP Gulzar rubbishes allegations of institutional pressure on judiciary

Gulzar slams critics, insists judges operating freely. (Source: Dawn)

LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed on Saturday rubbished allegations of institutional pressure or influence on judiciary as he maintained that the courts in the country were free to conduct their business.

“I have never taken dictation from any institution and have never been under pressure from anyone,” the Chief Justice said while addressing an event in Lahore held in memory of the late human rights activist and trailblazing lawyer Asma Jahangir.

He was responding to the comments made by former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Ali Ahmad Kurd, earlier during the Conference. Kurd had directed a barrage of criticism towards the judiciary and accused courts of not working independently.

“One general is dominating a country of 220 million people. Either he will have to come down or people will have to go up. This same general has sent the judiciary down to number 126 in rankings,” he said, possibly referring to World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2021.

In his response to Kurd later in the conference, CJP Gulzar said he “absolutely did not agree” with the assessment made by the senior lawyer. “No one has ever told me what judgement I need to hand down and no one has dared to dictate me on my orders,” the top judge added.

“My court gives justice to the people. Come to the court Ali Ahmad Kurd and see what is happening. Read the court’s decision and see what is happening. My judges write judgements every day. See how our court is working with freedom and following the law and implementing the Constitution,” he added.

However, differences of opinion do not allow any party to accuse the courts of being under pressure, the country’s top judge underlined.  “Our court is free to take decisions and it does what it wants freely. Our court hears each party to a case and holds them accountable,” he added.

“Do not misguide the people, do not spread chaos, do not shake people’s trust in the state’s institutions,” he continued in his sharp rebuke. “We will support and promote the Constitution, law and democracy in the country and we will not accept any undemocratic setup. We will quit if forced to do so and we have done this before,” he concluded.  

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