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The government itself allowed Nawaz to go abroad, says Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa

Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa

Pakistan’s Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa replied to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent remarks about the judiciary on Wednesday, saying it was the government which enabled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to travel for medical treatment abroad.

“Don’t fool us as to the rich,” said the chief justice, adding that before the law everyone is equal. He spoke at the opening ceremony of a mobile app, call center, complete video connection facility at the Supreme Court’s five courtrooms, research center, and an updated website to assist litigants and lawyers.

He said the prime minister granted permission to go abroad to Nawaz, and only the modalities had been set by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

When speaking at a Havelian ceremony on Monday, Prime Minister Imran asked Chief Justice Khosa and Judge Gulzar Ahmed of the Supreme Court to come forward and restore public confidence in the judiciary.

The Premier also said in his address that speedy and swift justice for all would lay the foundation for the new system of the country based on’ Riasat-i-Madina ‘ principles. He said there was a perceived difference in how in the country’s judicial system the wealthy and ordinary people were treated. He said he was willing to support the judiciary to shift understanding and restore the institutions ‘ public trust.

“Our judges should be a little careful about whatever social groups criticize because they (judges) work hard day and night,” said Chief Justice Khosa. “Encourage them instead of attacking them.”

He said the rule, not any entity, is the only powerful factor in the eyes of the judiciary. “I don’t want to comment on the particular case referred to by the esteemed prime minister, but he would know that he himself gave permission for someone to go abroad. Modalities are addressed in the high court,” said the top judge, referring to Nawaz’s one-time permission to travel abroad.

“In our judiciary, there has been a quiet change,” said Justice Khosa, while recognizing that no institution is “complete.”

He added: “Do not equate us with the judiciary that existed before 2009; the judiciary is special, autonomous after that year. No one is tall, tiny or strong for us.” Do you not recall that we convicted a prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) and disqualified another prime minister (Yousuf Raza Gilani)?

“Chief Justice Khosa said, and while raising both of his fists in a manner similar to that of former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf on May 12, 2007, he added:’ The case relating to a chief of military personnel will be determined early.’

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