The lawyers have to be congratulated: their movement has achieved much. They have unseated a dictator; they have vindicated and developed the civil society; they have invested all of us in laying the foundations of the rule of law. Aitzaz Ahsan, Munir A. Malik, Anwar Kamal and their associates should all be placed on some honour list in Pakistan's history. Yet there is considerable despondence over the lack of a complete restoration of the pre November 3 judiciary. There appears to be a deep distrust between the judiciary and the politicians. The politicians fear the return to the earlier judiciary for dear of a much moir powerful and emboldened judiciary. Entrenched positions have led us nowhere over the last 4 months except to deepen polarisation, mistrust and pessimism. It is time to think out of the box While all of us abhor the sheer arrogance and stupidity of a military dictator, it has perhaps been forgotten that our judiciary has never been a friend of the people or for that matter a friend of justice. All of us have personal stories of a justice delayed, justice denied and justice sold. Many of us hesitate to approach the judiciary settling out of court for a song. Maybe there can be a victory for all if we use this occasion for a grand compromise where everyone agrees that the need of the hour is a strong independent judiciary that delivers speedy justice, that cannot be bought, that never has to take more than on oath, which no dictator can easily manipulate. We can all come up with many proposals. For example, "    The selection process of judges could be reformed to make it much more open and distanced from the current executive. "    The compensation (including pensions) of judges at all levels could be reviewed to give them financial security at a very good middle class level for life. "    Such a review could also include that the retirement age of all the judges could be say 70 with no possibility of a government appointment afterwards (remove the carrot). But with a good retirement package, they should be happy with this. "    Supreme court judges need not be drawn only from the high court. "    Supreme court could specialise in constitutional and fundamental right issues with the high court being the court of last appeal. "    Continuances can be curtailed so that cases are heard in continuously and dispensed with. "    Bonuses could be offered to judges for speedy and quality justice. "    Regular training of judges at all levels in view of changing technology and knowledge can be instituted. "    Should there be a law ministry and what should its role be? These are only a sampling of proposals that many of us can come up with. All of these are worthy of consideration and adoption. The only issue is that any reform proposals need to be widely discussed and whetted to congeal them into reform proposals that all of us will own. How can this be done? I would propose the following. Let the new president appoint a high level committee with a secretariat and funding to work for a year to draft a total judicial reform package that they can then publicly present both to the Parliament and people for enactment through a referendum. A referendum would be necessary because this is a deep political change and should be above party lines. Let this committee be headed by Justice Iftikhar with members from the Lawyers' Movement (Aitzaz and his colleagues) and civil society. The law ministry should not be involved This should be a truly independent commission. This committee should hold public hearings and open chamber discussions from time to time. They could hold arrange conferences and seminars to build up a knowledge base on the issue and really bring all the issues out into the open. By this process, I think we can develop a judicial system for the 21st century. I would urge all members of such a committee to think well beyond our time and give us a system not from the past but one that is dynamic capable of adaptation and change to a rapidly changing world. Such a new system must put people and justice first This could be a worthy compromise where we can leave a lasting legacy The writer is a distinguished economist