Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 December 2021
As Pakistan emerged from military rule upon the death of General Zia in a plane crash in 1988, it underwent a new governmental experience marked by tussles between unsettled elected governments, a constitutionally empowered civilian presidency and a military establishment that covertly exercised considerable power. Chapter 6 unveils how the superior courts utilised the available political space to engineer a dramatic expansion of public law and carved a role for themselves as an important institution of the state. As the civil state’s machinery became the turf of power struggles, safeguarding its independence and ensuring its rule-boundedness emerged as a key pillar of the superior courts’ Writ jurisdiction. The superior courts also began to develop a more robust jurisprudence of rule of law and fundamental rights, while the Supreme Court utilised its Original jurisdiction for the first time to institute Public Interest Litigation. Nonetheless, recurrent involvement in matters of pure politics and governmental change resulted in direct confrontations between the judiciary and elected governments, and ultimately the politicisation of judicial review.