Despite a rich history of judicial review, the activism witnessed during the tenure of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry (2005-20131) was generally seen as unprecedented in Pakistan and eventually led to the court being accused of politicization, judicial overreach and even ‘judicial terrorism’.2 This paper examines the calls for ‘strategic judicial restraint’ in the sphere of economic decision-making within Pakistan’s broader socio-political context.
The Chaudhry court’s activism is mapped against the historic trajectory of judicial review in Pakistan, particularly the cases pertaining to military takeovers and administrative law. It is contended that the seeming expansion of the frontiers of judicial review merely mark the renegotiation of political power between the judiciary, the military as well as political and economic elite. Further, it is argued that the economy was the most convenient amphitheatre for this battle for greater political relevance by and among the political actors in contemporary Pakistan and not, as alleged, what was actually being fought over.
© 2017 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston