LAHORE - Thursday was the first post-retirement day of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry (IMC). It’s not clear how he will spend the rest of his life.

A senior journalist speculated on Wednesday that IMC was an emerging political super-star.

Analysts say IMC can become a political star or a super star by either forming his own political party or joining any of the existing ones.

If he sets up his own party, it will be very difficult for him to get supporters. He should not forget that already there are some 280 parties registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan, of which only around a dozen have representation in assemblies. The rest are just letter-head parties.

The fate of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s party (Tehrik Tahaffuz-i-Pakistan) should be instructive for IMC before he decides to launch his own.

Dr Khan is regarded as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme as he had played an important role in making the country a nuclear power. This contribution made Pakistan’s defence invincible and Dr Khan a national hero.

However, when the same hero launched his party, he could not get even office-bearers, let alone a massive support. He soon came to the conclusion that uranium enrichment – which was his area of expertise – was quite different from politics where people want their own enrichment, no matter through what means.

He repented his decision of fathoming his popular support, and dissolved the party. Now he writes columns for various newspapers.

Although Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry’s services are also important, he should know that people have their reasons to support or oppose any leader.

Critics have already started lambasting IMC – and the onslaught will intensify in times ahead. And since he is no longer the CJP, he will have no option but to patiently listen. He will also have to face criticism because of (mis)doings of his son Arsalan, who many allege has become a multi-millionaire by misusing the official position of his father.

In the light of the above it is just not possible for IMC to launch his own party and make it popular as well. And in case he still treads this path, he will lose whatever respect he got as CJP.

If he decides to join some other popular party, he will have to face a different kind of problems.

Since he was accused of having a soft-corner for the PML-N as the CJP, this party would be his choice number one. But the moment he took such a decision, his critics will get a justification to castigate him. They will say the beneficiaries accepted their benefactor into their fold.

Apparently, ICM cannot co-exist with the PML-N also because of their differences over the privatization policy. While the government is determined to privatise all major state-owned institutions, IMC, as CJP, has been opposing such plans.

Assuming that the PML-N lets him in turning a deaf ear to the likely whispers against such a decision, IMC’s adjustment will be very difficult. All important offices are occupied by the Sharifs, their friends and relatives and there is no office on which the former CJP could be accommodated. And then a judge who takes pride in disciplining the stiff-necked cannot be expected to work according to the instructions of anybody.

IMC stands no chance of joining the PPP, the MQM, ANP or religious parties because he has a different mindset.

This leaves the PTI as the only party which IMC may think of joining. This party needs capable leaders and active workers to be able to organise itself at the national level by next elections. Being a resident of Balochistan, IMC can be helpful for the PTI only in this province, where no party has absolute majority and many parties have to join hands after every elections to form coalition.

But a former CJP at this age can’t be expected to be of any help in activating a party.

In such a situation, IMC, like many other retired judges, can either go for chamber practice or set up a think tank that can identify problems facing judiciary and suggest measures to resolve them. This will be the best course for him as having headed this institution for more than eight years he knows better what needs to be done to uproot corruption from judiciary and give people inexpensive justice.