Category : Research

‘Pakistan’s Experience with Formal Law’ receives AIPS Annual Book Prize

An Alien JusticePa

Dr. Osama Siddique’s book ‘Pakistan’s Experience with Formal Law: An Alien Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)’ is the recipient of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS) Annual Book Prize, 2014-2015. The award was open to books published over the last three years as well as those about to go into print.

According to the Award Committee:

“Siddique’s book was chosen by the Committee because it focuses on an area not as much discussed as others like the military and geopolitical issues. Law and the multiple legal systems in play in Pakistan are major issues in contemporary Pakistan. Refreshingly, the book gives a *local* point of view, and displays the results of important bottom-up data gathering. Because of the relative novelty of its subject matter and clear, engaging prose, it is likely to attract numerous readers and draw potential scholars into the field of Pakistan studies.”

AIPS will publicly announce the award on October 24, 2015 at the AIPS Reception during the 44th Annual Conference on South Asia at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin.

‘Pakistan’s Experience with Formal Law’ was also declared Winner of the Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award at Karachi Literature Festival, 2014.

Blog. JUDGES & POLITICS: Rise and Fall of Judicial Activism

The Judges and Politics Blog analyzes the interaction and relationship of the judiciary and judges with political institutions and actors.

Maryam S. Khan
In a recent study of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and its nexus with judicialization of politics, I present an extensive empirical analysis of PIL jurisprudence in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The analysis is based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data collated from a study of all 218 reported PIL judgments of the Supreme Court over a 25-year period – from 1988 (in many ways, the year of PIL’s systematic emergence in Pakistan) to 2013 (the end of the erstwhile Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s term in office). I divide PIL into chronological periods or “phases of judicialization” according to changes in political conditions. The objective of this periodization is to foreground the political choices of the Supreme Court in relation to both larger power struggles and the shifting positions of other political institutions, actors, and interest group mobilizations. The periodized study clearly shows that there are alternating periods of judicial activism on the one hand, and judicial retreat from political questions on the other. I refer to the former as “waves” and to the latter as “troughs.” On the basis of a combined evaluation of the qualitative and quantitative data, the study identifies three waves of judicial activism punctuated by two troughs signifying judicial retreat. These waves and troughs are further sub-divided into distinct phases that represent important milestones within each wave or trough. Here is a snapshot of this scheme:

First Wave of PIL Activism

Phase 1, 1988-1993
Except for the distinction attached to the two seminal cases of Benazir Bhutto v. Federation of Pakistan—regarding the freedom of association of a leading political figure—and Darshan Masih v. State—regarding the life and liberty of bonded laborers—PIL had gradual and modest beginnings.

Phase 2, 1993-1997
This was a turning point for PIL. In many ways, this phase represents the apotheosis of PIL‘s jurisprudential development and innovation. It was also the phase during which PIL acquired a determinedly political character.

Judicial Retreat

Phase 3, 1998-2000
With the expulsion of Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah in late 1997, the Supreme Court showed visible signs of retreat in its PIL activism.

Phase 4, 2000-2005
With the military takeover of government in a coup in late 1999, the purged Supreme Court used PIL to legitimize General Musharraf’s regime. This is not to say that the court withdrew from intervention in political questions. To the contrary, the court adjudicated some of the most politically charged questions through PIL during this phase, but the proportion of unconstitutional rulings was at its lowest ever.

Second Phase of PIL Activism

Phase 5, 2005-2007
Having survived through a critical phase of constitutional deviation, the court tried to restore its legitimacy and regenerate public confidence in its professed capacity to deliver justice to the common man. The court began with governance and policy questions of relatively low political salience, slowly building up its tempo and raising the stakes as it gained more visible publicity and support.

Phase 6, 2007
The identification of PIL with the chief justice‘s reinstatement—in other words, the move from PIL as a mere instrument to an embodiment of judicial independence and power—marks a distinct phase in its evolution.

Judicial Retreat

Phase 7, 2007-2009
With Musharraf’s second emergency and the consequent removal of a large majority of the incumbent judges, the court went into active retreat.

Third Wave of PIL Activism

Phase 8, 2009-2013
In March 2009, Iftikhar Chaudhry was reinstated, for the second time, to the chief justiceship of the Supreme Court. With the unqualified ascendance of the Supreme Court over the government in combination with the popular political and social legitimacy on which it firmly rested, the court hoped to exercise its powers in an unrestrained and expansive manner. The most striking statistic of PIL activism in Phase 8 is the sheer quantity of reported Supreme Court judgments under its original jurisdiction. The court adjudicated nearly as many reported cases in Phase Eight as it did prior to it.

Here are some schematic representations of the waves and troughs of PIL-based judicialization that map trends in the frequency and proportion of “unconstitutional rulings” (broadly defined as rulings that declare executive action or legislation unconstitutional) over time.

FiguFigure 6re Six shows the relative frequency of reported rulings according to three general categories: (1) constitutional—those that uphold the constitutionality of executive action or challenged legislation; (2) unconstitutional—those that declare executive action or legislation unconstitutional, including interim orders, rolling reviews, and declaratory or directory cases that indicate a clear posture of the court toward a ruling of unconstitutionality; and (3) other—cases that have been admitted or registered for hearing, are at an initial inquiry stage, are interim judgments, or are limited to setting out guidelines, but in which the court reserves its opinion on the merits.

Figure Seven indicates the ratio of reported unconstitutioFigure 7nal to constitutional rulings in different periods. It is interesting that in the first wave of judicial activism (Phases 1 and 2), the ratio of unconstitutional rulings vis-à-vis constitutional rulings was roughly 1:1, whereas in the second (Phases 5 and 6) and third waves (Phase 8), the ratio increased to 5.5:1. Clearly, judicial activism in the first wave was much more balanced and restrained than in the subsequent waves.

Figure Eight is a line graph representation of the data in Figure Seven. It brings into sharp focus the alternating waves and troughs signifying the waxing and waning of judicial power based on the percentage of unconstitutional rulings in PIL cases.Figure 8





Source: Maryam S. Khan, Genesis and Evolution of Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court of Pakistan: Toward a Dynamic Theory of Judicialization, 28 Temp. Int’l & Comp. L. J. 284 (2015).

JUST PUBLISHED. “The Other Pakistan” in Norms, Interests, and Values (Glasser, ed.)

Norms, Interests, and Values
Dr. Osama Siddique’s research on the constitutional and legal genesis and on-going predicaments of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan and provincially administered tribal areas like Swat, has appeared in a new book on comparative constitutional law. The chapter is titled: “The Other Pakistan: Special Laws, Diminished Citizenship and the Gathering Storm.” The book, titled: “Norms, Interests, and Values: Conflict and Consent in the Constitutional Basic Order” (Henning Glasser (ed.), Nomos: 2015), is the outcome of an international conference held in Bangkok in 2012 on constitutionalism in Continental Europe, and South and South-East Asia. The conference titled ‘Constitutional Jurisprudence – Function, Impact and Challenges,’ was organized by the German-South East Asian Center of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance with cooperation from Thammasat University, Thailand and in collaboration with Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Passau University Germany, and Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster, Germany. The new book is part of the prominent CPG Series of Comparative Law, Politics and Governance.

JUST PUBLISHED. “Judicialization of Politics in Pakistan” in Unstable Constitutionalism (Tushnet & Khosla, eds.)

unstable constitutionalism                                                                                                                                                          Dr. Osama Siddique’s critical evaluation of the genesis, dynamics and aftermath of the Pakistani Lawyers’ Movement and particularly the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s controversial jurisprudence in its wake has appeared in a new book published by Cambridge University Press. Titled “The Judicialization of Politics in Pakistan: The Supreme Court after the Lawyers’ Movement”, the book chapter places the phenomenon of the increasing involvement of Pakistan’s apex court in political and policy frays within the framework of the larger and growing literature on global judicialization of politics; it argues that the Pakistani variant has certain distinct destabilizing features that merit special attention and also compel a revisiting of the current conceptual framework for understanding judicilaization of politics. The new book is titled  “Unstable Constitutionalism: Law and Politics in South Asia” (New York: Cambridge, 2015) and is edited by Mark Tushnet (William Nelson Cormwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School) and Madhav Khosla (Ph.D candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University). The book brings together the writings of prominent constitutional scholars and political scientists working on South Asian constitutionalism, is informed by their deliberations in Delhi during the summer of 2013, and is the output of an on-going intellectual engagement supported by Harvard South Asia Institute. The following is a link to an earlier version of Dr. Siddique’s chapter The Judicialization of Politics in Pakistan: The Supreme Court after the Lawyers’ Movement (UNSTABLE CONSTITUTIONALISM: LAW AND POLITICS IN SOUTH ASIA (New York: Cambridge University Press) (2015)The following is a link to the new book Unstable Constitutionalism Law and Politics in South Asia. A South Asian edition of the book is currently in the works.

JUST PUBLISHED: Baseline Study of Legal Advisory & Representational Aid in Punjab

Dr. Osama Siddique has authored an extensive new Baseline Study that evaluates the current provision of legal advisory and representational aid in selected districts in Punjab and conducts an assessment of needs, such as various areas of legal aid that continue to be acutely neglected. The Study is titled “Legal Advisory and Representational Services in South Punjab: Key Findings of Baseline Study of Availability and Priority Needs.” The Study was undertaken with additional collaborators and in his capacity as a Consultant to Galway Development Services International (GDSI). Dr. Siddique also acts as a Senior Advisor to GDSI. It was funded by the European Union. The Study was introduced to a diverse audience of judges, senior government officials, lawyers, prosecutors, bar council representatives, international donor organization representatives, NGOs, journalists, and other justice sector stakeholders during the European Union’s Punjab Access to Justice Project Launch in Lahore on March 26, 2015.