KARACHI – Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry Saturday while setting aside the negative criticism on judiciary said that the judiciary never tried to play the role of administration or parliament.

Addressing the Supreme Court Bar and delegations of all bar associations of Sindh on Saturday, the Chief Justice said that the court only took law into account while issuing verdict on Karachi law and order case. He said had the verdict been implemented in true letter and spirit the law and order situation of the city would have improved.

Justice Iftikhar said the judiciary respects all the state institutions, adding that its role is not to oppose the parliament and the administration but to protect democracy.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan said that the government has not been as supportive as it should have to strengthen the capacities of the court system. “The state is obliged to ensure inexpensive and expeditious justice to the people not as a favour but as a fundamental right. However, the government has not been keen to render this constitutional responsibility, the CJ said.

The chief justice said ‘we are committed to provide justice to the people but shortage of judges is the main hurdle in the provision of instant justice’.

He said that lawyers should avoid strikes to provide speedy justice to the people.

The CJ: “We have achieved unprecedented success for not only restoring the dejure judiciary to its rightful place but we have also established the principle of rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution. These successes of lawyers have ignited the passion for further reforms. The people of Pakistan now expect better governance and equal opportunity for their prosperity.”

He went on to say that the National Judicial Policy had put the judicial system under stress. The National Judicial Policy Committee has been responding to the complaints and suggestions received by lawyers’ bodies for improving it, he added. The CJ asserted that the doctrine of necessity had been buried long ago and the only benchmark left was the Constitution.

He said: “Who can deny the fact that free and fair elections on completely updated and error-free electoral rolls is the only way forwarded for the nation.”