Ego: Who will setaside it (ego) – CJP Chaudhry or Imran Khan?

By Raza Ruman

Islamabad, Aug 6 ( As both PTI chairman Imran Khan and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry are not exactly known for backing down on questions of ego and personal reputation, people are eagerly waiting for Aug 28 duel.

Some in the PTI and media especially Ansar Abbasi literally begging Mr Khan to apologise from the Supreme Court and on the other Khan insists he has not committed any ‘contempt’ therefore no question of apology arises.

It is being discussed in the political and other circles that one of them – Khan and CJ Chaudhry – will have to setaside ego. Lets see who does so.

Dawn in its editorial also writes — IT is a wholly unnecessary episode, but not necessarily just for the reasons discussed in Courtroom No 1 yesterday in the Supreme Court. Twice Imran Khan’s counsel claimed that his client had never had the intention to commit contempt of court nor had he in any way committed contempt by criticising the Election Commission of Pakistan or election returning officers for their conduct during the general election. The position Mr Khan staked out was an expected one — and arguably even a reasonable one. But the Supreme Court bench appeared to want Mr Khan to seemingly issue an unreserved apology for the words he uttered that have been construed as an insult by the superior judiciary.

Mr Khan now has nearly a month to finesse a written statement that can bridge the gap between what the PTI chief is willing to admit and what the court expects him to say. It can only be hoped that the next few weeks produce a familiar Pakistan-style distraction that allows the country to leave behind this quite vexing and bizarre of episodes. But that may be a forlorn hope given that both Mr Khan and Chief Justice Chaudhry are not exactly known for backing down on questions of ego and personal reputation. Even if a solution is to be found — and surely, it is hard to conceive of Mr Khan being put on trial or being sent to prison for his comments relating to the conduct of the general election — that still leaves a broader issue of a court that has waded deep into controversy on many fronts and which does not appear to be reflecting about the cost that is inflicting on the judicial institution.

By now, with just a few months left until the completion of Chief Justice Chaudhry’s tenure, it is extremely unlikely that the style and substance of the court’s workings will see a significant reversal. If anything, with the clock rapidly winding down on the chief justice’s tenure, there may be a temptation to cap off a historic chief justiceship with judicial fireworks of even greater intensity. But strong as that temptation may be, if institutional strengthening and deepening the democratic project are indeed the ultimate goals, the temptation must be avoided. After December, there will still be a Supreme Court and it will need to be as strong, fair and independent as it has ever been. Judicial overreach or a hair-trigger in the months ahead will surely undermine that ultimate goal. -Pak Destiny


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