Professor Anil Kalhan evaluated Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry's tenure on the Pakistani Supreme Court in a Dec. 24 op-ed appearing in The Express Tribune, an affiliate of the International New York Times.
On Dec. 11, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry retired from the Pakistani Supreme Court giving a farewell address which recounted the "unprecedented autonomy that the Court exhibited vis a vis General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s military regime," Kalhan wrote.
Although the court made tremendous strides in establishing its own identity under Chaudhry, it focused heavily on fundamental rights and constitutionalism questions while neglecting the needs of the lower courts, Kalhan said. Moreover, the court had repeatedly encroached into political processes, for example, ousting a former prime minister for failing to implement one of its decisions, he added.
As the country transitions away from authoritarian military rule, Kalhan cautioned future courts from mimicking Chaudhry's behavior. Instead, future courts should strive "to ensure greater transparency, consistency and accountability...and to ensure that other actors, including Pakistan’s people, representative institutions and lower courts, are also empowered to advance those shared goals.," Kalhan concluded.