The judiciary has played a vital role in the constitutional development of Pakistan since the country’s independence in 1947. The judiciary’s role has been to interpret and enforce the constitution and other laws, as well as to act as a check on the power of the executive and legislative branches of government.
In the early years of Pakistan’s history, the judiciary was weak and underdeveloped. However, the Constitution of 1956 established an independent judiciary, with a Supreme Court and High Courts in each province. The judiciary was given the power to review the constitutionality of laws, and to interpret the constitution and other laws.
The judiciary’s role became even more critical in the years following Pakistan’s independence. In 1958, a military coup led by General Ayub Khan led to the suspension of the constitution and the establishment of a military dictatorship. The judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, became a crucial check on the power of the military government. The Supreme Court issued several landmark decisions, such as the Dosso case, which established the principle of “state necessity” and legitimized the military takeover.
In 1971, Pakistan experienced a constitutional crisis that led to the separation of East Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh. The crisis was caused by a lack of trust between the East and West Pakistan, as well as disputes over the distribution of power and resources. The judiciary was unable to resolve the crisis, and ultimately, the military government failed to prevent the separation of East Pakistan.
After the restoration of democracy in 1988, the judiciary once again became an important player in the constitutional development of Pakistan. The Supreme Court issued several important decisions, such as the Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan case, which established the principle of parliamentary sovereignty, and the Zafar Ali Shah case, which declared the dismissal of the government by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan unconstitutional.
In recent years, the judiciary has continued to play an active role in the constitutional development of Pakistan. In 2009, the Supreme Court declared the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) unconstitutional, which led to the disqualification of several prominent politicians. In 2013, the judiciary played a crucial role in ensuring free and fair elections, and in 2018, the Supreme Court removed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office on charges of corruption.
In conclusion, the judiciary has played a crucial role in the constitutional development of Pakistan. The judiciary’s role as a check on the power of the executive and legislative branches of government has helped to ensure the protection of fundamental rights and the rule of law. The judiciary’s decisions have often been contested and criticized, but they have helped to shape the country’s constitutional framework and democratic institutions.