Chief Justice Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial was named one of Time magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People of 2022 on Monday.
The profile of CJP Bandial for the list, written by senior counsel Aitzaz Ahsan and placed under the category of leaders, noted 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”.
The senior lawyer described the personality of Pakistan’s CJ in the context of the recent political turmoil that saw Prime Minister Imran Khan removed from office through a vote of non-confidence and subsequent developments concerning the vital role of the Supreme Court, under Judge Bandial’s leadership, to contain 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 backed by the army,” describes Ahsan about the CJ.
He explained that CJP Bandial, “Pakistan’s polite and discreet chief justice and antidote to rising temperatures”, came to the fore when another crisis was imminent, with global markets already wreaking havoc on the national economy and civil-military relations once again under stress.
Last month, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, under the leadership of Bandial, set aside Prime Minister Khan’s move to dissolve Parliament, declaring it against the constitution.