In a society maligned with corruption, every sector is infected with its curse no matter how much they claim of piety. It is infectious, indeed highly contagious, and currently there is no known cure. The Axact case that unveiled last year did not only shock the Pakistan but also made headlines internationally. The matter is still being pursued in US courts as it involved the fake degree scam being run on global level so it definitely dealt another blow to Pakistan’s image at abroad. The case came to court in Pakistan as well, and the outcome was an acquittal for the principal accused, Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, who was the CEO of Bol TV, a subsidiary of Axact. It has now come to light that the Islamabad High Court that he was in receipt of half a million rupees as a bribe to acquit the accused.
According to media reports, the matter came to light when the judge questioned why he had not been promoted and that those junior to him had. It was then that all the matters were revealed to him and news broke on media. An office order issued by the Islamabad High Court on 9th June 2017 states that the judge admitted receiving the bribe before a Departmental Promotion Committee on the same date, and recommends that he be removed from service and require him to provide within 14 days why a major penalty should not be imposed upon him. What still remains in the dark that why the aforementioned judge wasn’t recused from his duties and merely restrained to not being promoted. It seems like a pact of “wait and see” was established which could not be fulfilled due to the issue coming open to media for discussion.
Stains on the reputation of the judiciary do not come bigger, or more difficult to erase, than this and this is not the first case of its kind. There are missing details such as how the bribe came to be arranged; what is reasonable to assume is that there was more than two people, the judge and the defendant, involved. This is corruption at a high level within the justice system, and it taints the entire process, eroding trust and confidence and prompting something of a feeding frenzy across all media platforms within hours of the revelations. The message inevitably is that if a defendant has the resources then judges can be bought, and relatively cheaply at that. Justice it seems like, is also up for the grab by anyone having the resources. The much honorable judiciary should resolve this matter amicably in order to restore the trust and confidence of masses in the system. A Suo Moto maybe?