Sunday, February 14, 2010
The tensions between the judiciary and the presidency in Pakistan continue with the rejection by the Pakistani Supreme Court of two judicial nominees by President Asif Ali Zardari. The Supreme Court deferred the appointments because the President had not consulted with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as required by the Pakistani Constitution. Some news reports suggest that the President did in fact consult with the Chief Justice, but went ahead with the appointments despite the Chief Justice's objections, prompting an emergency order from the Court postponing the nominations.
Many readers of this blog will recall that in 2007, former Pakistani President Musharraf dismissed all the judges on the Supreme Court and High Court. Public protest led to the reinstatement of many of the judges. This latest episode demonstrates that tense relations between the judiciary and the executive branch continue. Last month, the Pakistani Supreme Court issued a decision declaring unconstitutional an ordinance that provided immunity from suit for the president and thousands of other government officials on corruption, money laundering, embezzlement and other charges. President Zardari can now be charged, but cannot be prosecuted while in office.