Islamabad, March 21, 2013 (PPI-OT): I feel privileged to address this august gathering, comprising the members of the Bench and the Bar. It is always instructive to interact with members of the Bench and Bar to discuss the issues faced by the legal fraternity and the litigant public but this event is a truly unique and gratifying moment.
First of all, on behalf of myself and my brother Judges, I would like to warmly welcome all those who are about to join the Supreme Court legal fraternity. This marks a new leaf in your life, a new chapter in your profession and unravels new horizons full of challenges and opportunities.
It is indeed an important milestone in your career to be enrolled as an Advocate of the Apex Court of this country. From today onwards, you would attain greater responsibility as you are going to assist the Court of last resort.
Law undoubtedly is a noble profession because its members are equally responsible for the administration of justice. As a practitioner of law, you have to act as an epitome of the rule of law and incarnation of the supremacy of the Constitution.
Lawyers are among the most active and knowledgeable segment of a society. They play a leading role in moulding the public opinion on important issues of public policy and service delivery.
Being the custodian of the rights of the people, it is incumbent upon you to ensure that at least in your area of concern i.e. administration of justice, that no effort is spared to provide easy access to justice to the litigants at all levels.
By doing so you will not only discourage the evil practices which are contrary to law and faith but will also earn the respect and confidence of the people through out the country.
The ethical conduct and examples set by you will now become strong traditions for future generations of lawyers to follow.
Therefore, it is your added responsibility to be honest and efficient and to provide able assistance and accord respect to the Presiding Officers of various courts. You have a proud legacy of a strong commitment to the rule of law, of launching the historical movement for the restoration of judiciary and constitutional rule. In this epoch making struggle, you were not alone.
The political activists, print and electronic media and civil society extended you full support. It was one of the most inspirational period in nation’s history. It was indeed a moment of moral renaissance.
The restoration of independent judiciary and constitutional rule were the immediate goals which have been achieved.
However, your duty now is to sustain those values for which you, other segments of society and people at large made sacrifices i.e. the rule of law, supremacy of the Constitution, zero tolerance for corruption and creation of a more enlightened, tolerant and just society.
The responsibility of judges and members of the Bar is to interpret the law and the Constitution. To decide a case is an onerous duty and you have to fully assist the Bench to accomplish this task.
If you prepare your case in a comprehensive manner and avoid accepting false and frivolous cases or seeking undue adjournments, you will not only serve your clients, but also assist the Bench in reaching a just decision and thereby earn the respect in society. It will add to your credibility and people will approach the Courts with greater trust.
The role of the Bar in the administration of justice is of critical importance. It is the other wheel of the chariot of justice along with the Bench in all matters, be it the case of an ordinary litigant or the resolution of constitutional and legal issues of general public importance.
A strong Bar provides strength to the judiciary and enables it to make independent decisions. The members of the Bar should wholeheartedly come forward in the discharge of their professional duties towards the Court and their clients.
The disposal of large number of cases at every tier of the judicial hierarchy would not be possible without their coordination and cooperation.
It also gives me much satisfaction to note here that, the Judiciary today is striving at its best to bring peace and tranquility in the society by redressing the grievances of the public timely and within the constitutional domain.
As you are aware, that the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 accords an exalted position to the Judiciary to ensure its independence with a view to provide justice to the people. Being a pivotal organ of the State, it has to be strong enough to protect the Constitution and its core values.
It has to ensure that each organ and institution remains within the parameters of its defined authority under the Constitution and Law. This would depend on the institutional and inner strength of judiciary.
The inner strength, in turn, lies in the strength of character and professionalism of the persons manning the judiciary. In saying so, I do not differentiate between the members of the Bench and the Bar. It is to this end that all our efforts and all our resources must be directed to.
No country can realize the dream of progress and prosperity for its people without following the route of the rule of law and supremacy of Constitution. We need to imbibe this message in our blood, in our thought, in our action and be mindful that without this, our dreams would remain dreams and hopes mere hopes.
As conscientious and sensitive members of society committed to the rule of law, you must be equally concerned about the rising incidence of violence in the name of faith. Killing of a non-Muslim by a Muslim in the name of religion or any violence in the name of faith is against the teachings of Holy Quran and Sunnah. Allah says in Quran:
“Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish.
Thou art not one to manage (men’s) affairs.
But if any turn away and reject Allah,-
Allah will punish him with a mighty Punishment,
Surah Al-Ghashiya (88:21-24)
And If it had been thy Lord’s will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth will thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe!
Surah Yunus (10:99)”
Recall the day when Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) invited a Christian tribe Najran to offer their prayers in Masjid-i-Nabwi because it was evening and their prayer time. This was the level of tolerance and this was the level of inter-faith harmony in those days.
Our conduct should be guided by these inspirational events in Islamic history. We need to send a message of tolerance and peace to the world. We should show concern to other nations’ and other faiths’ safety and prosperity so that they can be assured that they will not be harmed.
They and we live in the same planet. We have mutual benefits and interests. It behooves us to show them Islam’s beautiful face that is devoid of violence, harshness, contempt and repression. Our faith enjoins us to a gentle discourse and a kind treatment.
While congratulating you on the attainment of a new status in your professional life, I may remind you a more onerous role that you have in a democracy under the Constitution. You are witnessing election fervor throughout the country. But this is only one feature of the democratic governance.
Democracy is not mere periodic elections or right to vote or freedom of speech and belief. It is a way of life. The most basic office that we in a democracy hold is that of being a citizen. Whether we are teachers, doctors, lawyers, professionals, judges, sons or daughters or parents, as citizens we are all equal.
This office has nothing to do with our race, creed or ethnicity. We all owe allegiance to the Constitution. This onerous allegiance warrants that whenever we witness an assault on the core values enshrined in this sacred document, we should speak out and do not remain silent and passive spectators.
There is an ongoing conflict between those who want to uphold those values and those who violate it in the name of their narrow and bigoted world view.
We should stand with those who defend these values. We either make history or we are victimized by it. The Greeks felt so strongly about this duty of a citizen that they called anyone an “idiotis”—-an idiot who chose to be indifferent to public affairs.
You have twin roles to play. First as members of the legal fraternity, you have a leadership role in the socio-political transformation of society.
Second as citizens in a democracy you have to promote, protect and sustain those values which are essential for the creation of a just, tolerant and enlightened society. The founder of our country Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was giving a similar message when he said:
“….You are free, you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State”.
Before parting, I would like to share a quote (Albert Pike) who says as follows:-
“What we have done for ourselves dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal”
I wish you all the best in your professional life and pray that this Bar should achieve highest standard of excellence and professionalism.
For more information, contact:
Shahid Hussain Kamboyo
Public Relations Officer
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 920 4184
Fax: +9251 920 1001