THE conferment of the International Justice Excellence Award on former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani at The Hague is an honour for Pakistan; Mr Jillani deserves to be felicitated by the nation.
The award was given by the International Institute for Justice of the Netherlands to Mr Jillani for promoting justice at home and around the world. The institute had taken special notice of his judgement of June 2014 on minority communities’ right to protection.
Before we look back on that judgement, it may not be out of place to acknowledge the high place former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani occupies in the history of the Pakistan judiciary. He became a judge of the Lahore High Court in 1994 and served on its bench for a decade, during which period he established his reputation as a fair-minded judge who interpreted the law without any biases.
Elevated to the Supreme Court in July 2004, he was a member of the bench that upheld Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s challenge to his ouster by Gen Musharraf and restored him to the office of the country’s top judge. Justice Jillani became chief justice of Pakistan in 2013, on the retirement of Iftikhar Chaudhry. At that time, the Supreme Court was inviting much criticism for giving preference to the exercise of its suo motu jurisdiction at the cost of its normal functions. Mr Chaudhry received handsome tributes from his supporters, but quite a few critical voices were also raised.