Pakistan: Farewell, Justice Nisar

Pakistan: Farewell, Justice Nisar,” Rising Kashmir, 22 Jan 2019

The Dawn group in Pakistan, one of the leading newspapers not only in Pakistan, but also in the entire region considered Justice Mian Saqib Nisar as Pakistan’s man of the year – 2018. 

The Chief Justice of Pakistan would be long remembered for his bold judgements including the one that disqualified a popularly elected Prime Minister – Nawaz Sharif and placed him behind the bars. Had it not been for the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N would have faced the elections in 2018 with better confidence; who knows, it would have even changed the results of 2018 elections both at the national level and in Punjab, thereby leading to a different political path. 

After serving as the 25th Chief Justice of Pakistan since December 2016, last week (17 January 2019) Justice Nisar retired. Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa has already been appointed as his successor. No other Chief Justice since Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry attracted the national limelight as much as Justice Nisar did. Remember, between Justices Chaudhry and Justice Nisar, there were Justice Jillani, Justice Naisrul Mulk, Justice Jamali and Justice Khawaja. But none of his immediate four Judges gained the national attention as Justice Nisar. 

While Justice Nisar was known for his brave and correct judgements, he was also sometimes made questionable decisions.  Now, he is retired, how will the Supreme Court and the rest of Pakistan remember Justice Nisar? In short, what would be his legacy? Will the new Chief Justice – Justice Khosa pursue the path that Justice Nisar charted out, or will he follow his own? If he does, what would happen to some of the projects that Justice Nisar has initiated ranging from judicial activism and beyond?

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D. Suba Chandran
D. Suba Chandran is a Professor at the International Strategic & Security Studies, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore.

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