AN important step towards ensuring independence of the judiciary was taken at the first meeting of the Judicial Commission, with Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in the chair, constituted on the lines laid down in the 18th Amendment. The meeting was held under the apex court's provisional order to fill a fairly large number of vacancies of superior court judges. The significance of the unanimous passage of the Commission's rules and regulations that authorised the Chief Justice of Pakistan to nominate judges of the Supreme Court lay in the fact of the presence of government and bar representatives at the meeting. Judges of the other superior courts like the Federal Shariah Court and the High Courts of the provinces would be, similarly, chosen by the respective Chief Justices. This was an indirect assurance that the review of the 18th Amendment relating to the clauses on the induction of superior courts' judges that the Raza Rabbani parliamentary committee is doing under a directive of the apex court would accommodate this role of the CJs. Another of its vital spillover effects would be a de-escalation of the judiciary-executive tension that has been building up following each instance of government defiance of the SC verdict. This attitude of the official participants in the meeting is suggestive of a change of heart that might, perhaps, turn out to be a precursor to a smooth carrying out of its decisions. One wishes that the CJ's hope that Parliament would remove the judiciary's reservations about the Judicial Commission comes true. To preserve the independence of the judiciary is of paramount importance to the development and growth of democratic traditions in the country. In a milieu where almost every other institution of the state appears tainted with corrupt practices, inefficiency and financial and administrative irregularities, compliance of judicial verdicts assumes greater significance because this alone could reverse the process of deterioration. In the meantime, Law Minister Babar Awan who was present at the meeting and about whose membership of the Judicial Commission the court had expressed reservations, hinted at a 19th Amendment in the offing in the light of the SC's objections to the 18th. Speaking after the meeting, he boasted that in future the world would cite the method of the appointment of judges under Article 175, devised by Pakistan's elected government as an example to follow. What the people want is the rule of law and genuine respect for judiciary's decisions. Unfortunately, the government's mindset as revealed by its performance does not inspire confidence in its method of the appointment of judges.