Dr Ijaz Ahsan The honourable judges of the Supreme Court, indeed, made the correct decision to get together in the middle of the night, on October 15/16, to defuse the situation arising from the reports that were aired on several local television channels. It was reported that the government was about to withdraw the executive through which the honourable judiciary was reinstated. However, it is unfortunate that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after the issuing of the executive order backtracked and declared sometime ago that Parliament is supreme and it had not yet endorsed the order. This clearly shows that the government functionaries have no credibility and, perhaps, they dont care. Similarly - not so long ago - on November 2, 2007, the Attorney General had stated that there would be no extra-constitutional action and no emergency. Yet, the very next day 'emergency was imposed and the judges were incarcerated. Anyway, though Prime Minister Gilani had mentioned the possibility of withdrawing the executive order a few months back, but many of his colleagues had advised him to avoid taking such an action, since it would endanger the whole system. Luckily, then the Prime Minister realised that withdrawing the order would lead to a collision between the state institutions, and so he adopted the policy of reconciliation with the judiciary. However, PPP leaderships reluctance to implement the Supreme Courts annulment of the notorious National Reconciliation Order (NRO) ensured that this policy of rapprochement between the two state institutions - the executive and the judiciary - would never work and eventually fail. Reportedly, some close confidants of the President of Pakistan discussed the possibility of denotifying the executive order with the Prime Minister and a few legal experts, and this became a story. Therefore, in September 2010, when the press reported about the governments plan to withdraw the executive order that had restored the honourable judges, no denial of any sort came from the high ranking officials in the administration. In addition, some of the judges were contacted by people in the ruling elite to become part of the governments conspiracy; however, they did not oblige. This seems to be the reason why Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that he knew that the news about the executive order was correct; probably, he may have come to know through the judges who had been approached in the past. Thus, the trust deficit between the government and the judiciary continues. The judiciary can quote many incidents, which have occurred in the past three years that makes it wary of the PPP-led governments actions: ? Half-hearted participation by the PPP in the movement for the restoration of the judiciary. ? Non-fulfilment of the PPPs pledge to restore the judges within 24 hours of government formation. This, despite the fact, that their own departed leader, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, had said that she would hoist the national flag on the house of the deposed Chief Justice once her party was in power. ? Efforts were made by the government to bring in a constitutional amendment to reduce the term of the Chief Justice to three years, so that CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry would retire immediately after he was reinstatement. ? PPPs backtracking from the commitments made to PML-N and the nation, to restore the judges within 30 days, i.e. by April 30, 2008. ? Non-restoration of the judiciary even by the next date that was promised, i.e. May 12, 2008. ? Above all, the governments decision not to restore the judiciary for another 10 months till March 15, 2009, and then finally reinstated it in the early hours of March 16th only when a huge procession left Lahore for Islamabad to join the long march. All this could not have left any doubt in the minds of the honourable judges as to how the government viewed them and what were its intentions. However, it is truly disheartening to see that the government is constantly trying to shield its boss, and in this way it continues to obstruct the implementation of the courts directives. On its part the government complains that the judges are pursuing the cases against their leader too aggressively. But one should remember that the higher you are placed, the more responsible you are, and thus it is your duty to be upright and to set an example of honesty and integrity. Remember, rulers are not supposed to have criminal cases against them. So let us hope and pray for honest and upright rulers to come and rule our nation, so that there is never a tangle between the executive and the judiciary to the detriment of the community and the country. The writer is former principal, King Edward Medical College and former president, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan.