Suo-Moto Notice and Pakistan Supreme Court! By Bishop T. Nasir
07 Apr 2009
“Do you demand to Pakistan Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudry to take Suo-Moto notice to repeal blasphemy law?”
The Pakistan Christian Post has asked this question. I have seen the results on Pakistan Christian Post, 155 said yes, 46 say no and 2 said, “don’t know”. I appreciate the optimism and hopes of Pakistani Christians from the “Reinstated Chief Justice” of Pakistan. Unfortunately in the almost sixty two years history of Pakistan’s judiciary, no Judge of any court including the Supreme Court of Pakistan has taken any “Suo-Moto” Notice to give any relief to the minorities of Pakistan. As a Christian I do not remember any “Chief Justice” of Pakistan who even bothered to look into the serious problems of Pakistani Christians. In March 1970, no Judge took Suo-Moto Notice, when in Murray College Sialkot; the Holy Bible was desecrated in the most hateful manner. No Suo-Moto Notice was taken by any Judge in August 1972 when the “People’s” Government” nationalized the Christian educational institutions. No Judge took Sou-Moto Notice when “Blasphemy Laws” were framed and made part of Pakistan Penal Code. Shanti Nagar in February 1997, Bishop John Joseph’s murder in May 1998, Killings of innocent Christians Bahawalpur on 28th October 2001, attacks on Murree Christian School, Texella Christian Hospital and murder of eight Christian youth went un-noticed by our Judiciary. Burning of churches in Sukker and Sanglla Hill took place when Justice Iftkhar Muhammad Choudhry was the Chief Justice of Pakistan. There are hundreds of cases of rape, murder, religious discrimination, burning of churches and Christian institutions that took place during his tenure till 9th March 2007 and from 20th July to 3rd November 2007, Justice Iftkhar Muhammad Choudhry did not take any Sou-Moto Notice or any action reported to him. I my self took up the case of a Christian woman, “Mukhtaran Bibi” who was brutally beaten by Muslims in Shekhupura and another case in May 2006 but Justice Iftkhar Muhammad Choudry did not even care. Very recently a church was desecrated, looted and the Christian community was attacked and forced to leave Kot Lakha Sing, District Narowal, I am waiting for a Suo-Moto Notice and action from Justice Iftkhar Muhammad Choudhry.
Unfortunately Mr. Justice Iftkhar Muhammad Choudhry took the biggest Sou-Moto action on 13th March 2007. He refused to appear before “Supreme Judicial Council” to defend himself in case of the Presidential References against him. He instead took this matter on the streets and sought help from handful Lawyers of Pakistan and political parties. He went to all major cities of Pakistan to muster support of the Lawyers, the “so-called” Civil Society, the political parties and the defeated generals of “Ex-Servicemen Society”. The present government under great political pressure restored him. It should not be forgotten that Mr. Justice Iftkhar Muhammad Choudhry took Oath under “Provisional Constitutional Order” (PCO). He is still a PCO Judge because after he was reinstated on 22nd March he did not take a fresh “Oath” under the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Justice Iftkhar Muhammad Choudhry has yet to prove himself innocent of the allegations that were leveled against him in the Presidential Reference of 9th March 2007. Yet now he is the Chief Justice of Pakistan for the third term under Provisional Constitutional Order and he is taking Suo-Moto actions on many issues, therefore he might be merciful to look at the plight of the minority community and especially the Christian community of Pakistan. Yet this will not happen. We have One Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, and One Provincial Minster of Minority Affaires in Punjab. They are well aware of the demand of Pakistani Christians to repeal Blasphemy Laws. Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti is also a Human Rights Activist and he is well aware of the plight of Pakistani Christians and their reservation and fears of the Blasphemy Law that is a tool in the hands of majority community to settle their scores with Pakistani Christians. I would rather request the Federal Minister Mr. Shabaz Bhatti to take “Sou-Moto” notice of Blasphemy Laws and move a “Bill” in the Parliament of Pakistan. He must take the President and the Prime Minster of Pakistan and the allies of Pakistan Peoples Party in National Assembly and the Cabinet of the Prime Minister. Yet this will also not happen.
Respected ladies and gentlemen, we are ignoring the Religious Political parties, the Mullahs and the common Muslim will allow even the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take Sou-Moto Notice on this issue. Mr. Justice Iftkhar Muhammad Choudhry became Chief Justice of Pakistan for the third time after a very hectic and long and expensive struggle. I don’t think he would risk his hard-earned post for this “Small Issue”!