CJP Umar Ata Bandial among Time’s 100 most influential people

“The polite and understated chief justice of Pakistan and antidote to the rising temperatures”

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NEW YORK: The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, was named to the 2022 TIME100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The list, compiled by mass circulation Time magazine, recognizes the impact, innovation, and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.

Among those listed are also the name of figures such as: Xi Jinping, Vlamdir Putin, Volodymyr Zelensky, Joe Biden, Samia Suluhu Hassan, Christine Lagarde, David Zaslav, Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey, Rafael Nadal, Hoda Khamosh, and Khurram Parvez, a prominent Kashmiri activist, who is languishing in an Indian jail.

In a profile of Pakistan’s chief justice, who figures in Time’s “leaders” category, eminent lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan wrote that he “is widely respected for his personal integrity, as he, the Columbia- and Cambridge-­educated jurist, bears the heavy mantle of not just delivering justice but also being seen to do so.”

Ahsan described the persona of Justice Bandial in the context of the recent political turmoil that led to the ouster of Prime Minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence vote as well as subsequent developments involving the crucial role of the Supreme Court in addressing the constitutional and political crisis.

“Pakistan, a nation of more than 220 million, is too big to fail yet too unpredictable to ignore. With a fragile economy in a hostile neighbourhood, the country was already walking a tightrope before the ouster of prime minister Imran Khan’s government by a unified opposition,” Ahsan explained.

“The polite and understated chief justice of Pakistan and antidote to the rising temperatures”, took on the task when the country’s economy and the civil-military ties were at a critical point.

Referring to the SC ruling overturning then prime minister Imran Khan’s move to dissolve the Parliament, declaring it unconstitutional, Ahsan noted, “As other institutions lock horns in a battle for advantage ahead of impending elections, the court turned up as the final arbiter.”

For Khurram Parvez, chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, who was arrested in November of last year, well known Indian Journalist Rana Ayyub, wrote his profile for Time.

“He had to be silenced, for his was a voice that resounded around the globe for his fierce fight against human rights violations and injustices in the Kashmir region… The soft-spoken Khurram is almost a modern-day David who gave a voice to families that lost their children to enforced disappearances, allegedly by the Indian state,” Ms. Ayyub wrote

The profile further said, “The arrest came almost a year after India revoked the special status given to Kashmir and detained hundreds who protested in the streets. It was not the first time that Parvez was forcibly silenced.”

The attacks, it added, against him speak volumes of the truth he represents at a time when the so-called world’s largest democracy is being called out for its persecution of the more than 200 million Indian Muslims.”

Pakistan had strongly condemned Parvez’s arrest and the United Nations called for his release, noting that he is a human rights defender.

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