LAHORE - There can’t be a better, fairer and stronger comment on the priorities of the legislators on the country’s justice system than the one made by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa while addressing a conference at the federal judicial academy a day before.

Regretting that the parliament did not give priority to the justice system, he is reported to have added that they (legislators) have bigger things to attend to.

“Things bigger than the justice system” is an encapsulated remark which says a lot in very few words about the considerations of our elected representatives.

The Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, the CJP said, had submitted about 70 reports to the parliament and the law ministry for attending to different parts of laws, which needed amendments or substitution of different provisions, but unfortunately none of the reports had so far been taken up by the parliament.

“I would request as we [the judiciary] have taken responsibility on our side, the parliament and the executive must also show interest in the justice system so that the entire system can be reformed and starts delivering.” the chief justice said.

Although the CJP is taking measures to expedite the system of justice, everybody knows that it’s slow and expensive.

The reason is lack of interest on the part of legislators. In their election campaigns almost all parties pledge to give the country a system that would give them justice at their doorsteps. But after winning the elections, the party in power forgets most of its undertakings not only on this front but also other fields. Their personal interests are their prime considerations, although they are supposed to give priority to their voters’ interests.

It is unfortunate that while selecting candidates for various constituencies, political parties give preference to “popularity and richness” of the ticket aspirants over their education, vision.

And when a candidate is elected from a constituency, he takes such steps as could strengthen his position in the area.  He will try to help his supporters get favourable response from police stations, lower courts and government departments. Matters of national or international importance are not a priority for them. That’s why people with little contribution in parliamentary proceedings are more popular in their respective constituencies.

These days as the National Accountability Bureau is proceeding against the leaders of the two major parties, they want to clip the wings of this institution. Although they were poles apart until recently, their differences on a variety of issues appear to have disappeared in the changed situation and they are willing to join hands for personal interests.

In fact, the two parties would have ‘bridled’ the NAB much before if they had the required numerical strength in parliament.

They have simply forgotten that the NAB chairman is a former judge of the Supreme Court, picked both by then government and the opposition.  He is not expected to play a partisan role to favour or harm any side. But because of his action on corruption allegations, he is not being tolerated.

It may be fresh in many people’s memories when a sitting prime minister had spoken against the then NAB chairman because his institution was thinking of taking action against some people. His threatening speech had brought the desired results and the chairman ‘behaved’ till his retirement.

A former president had used a very strong language against an important institution before leaving the country for a long time. He is facing NAB now and the commonality of interest has brought the PPP and the PML-N closer.

While it is for these parties to devise policies to serve their own interests, the CJP would be doing a great favour to the nation by doing whatever is in his power to give people quick and inexpensive justice.

One thing that he can get done without delay is the appointment of judges against vacant seats at all levels. There are about a dozen seats of judges vacant in the Lahore High Court alone. If these slots are filled the backlog of the pending cases would come down pretty soon.