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Law and Public Policy

D19(a) - The Judicial Politics of Pakistan

Date: Jun 6 | Time: 01:30pm to 03:00pm | Location: SWING 306

Chair/Président/Présidente : Yaqub Ibrahimi (Carleton University)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Yaqub Ibrahimi (Carleton University)

Re-Conceptualizing the Strategic Interplay in Judicial Politics: An Outlier Case of Pakistan From 2009 to 2013: Nauman Reayat (University of York)
Abstract: The interest based hegemonic preservation theory of Ran Hirschl is increasingly becoming ubiquitous. It explains that judicial empowerment is a byproduct of strategic interplay among the interests of judicial elites, political elites and economic elites. However, Hirschl didn’t explain a) the role of middle-class groups in the strategic interplay b) the nature of the strategic interplay c) the factors determining the relative importance of one actor vis-à-vis other actors in this interplay d) the interdependence among elites and middle-class groups during the development of this interplay. It is important to fill these gaps for an adequate understanding of outlier cases of judicial politics such as Pakistan. This article is aimed at sharpening the concept of strategic interplay. This will also develop existing realist strategic theories of judicial politics. The Pakistani case of judicial politics from 2007 to 2013 tells that different elites’ groups and middle-class groups, with different interests, supported the Supreme Court of Pakistan at different junctures. Using Pakistan as a case study and process-tracing as a method, this paper finds that a) middle-class groups were also involved in the interplay in addition to the abovementioned elites b) some of them(political elites and lawyers) were directly strategic in their behavior and some of them(military elites and media elites) were not c) the process of strategic interplay in Pakistan to cause judicial empowerment developed gradually over a period of time d) some parts of the process were organized and planned while others were unorganized and unplanned.


Compparative Analysis of the Politics of Judicial Appointments in Pakistan, Canada, and India: Nauman Reayat (University of York)
Abstract: Pakistan, Canada, and India are three federal common law countries but democracy in Canada is relatively more stable than that in India and Pakistan. The procedure of judicial appointments in higher judiciary in the three countries involves members of both government and judiciary. However, in a relatively weak democratic setting of Pakistan, the procedure of judicial appointments is independent of the executive’s influence and the ultimate veto power to approve or reject the name under consideration for appointment is with the Judicial Commission. This degree of autonomy with the judiciary in the process of judicial appointments is not visible in India and Canada-the other two federal but more democratic countries. This process in India and Canada involves input from different quarters of the government and the superior judiciary but historically, it remained inconsistent as who has got ultimate veto power in confirming or rejecting a nominee for appointment in the superior judiciary. By comparing Pakistan, Canada, and India as three similar federal countries with a shared commonwealth legal tradition but different democratic settings, this paper argues that the process of judicial appointment process Is strategic in nature. The process is one part of overall judicial politics. Using strategic framework of analysis, this article finds that the process in Pakistan is relatively more independent because different elites’ groups and middle-class groups share the bigger strategy of judicial empowerment whereas in Canada and India these elites’ groups and civil society organizations do not share the same.