I’ve been reading Judging the State by Paula Newburg — I can’t praise it enough. The only thing I wish is that the author had gone more in depth with the various opinions written by Justice Munir and Justice Cornelius on the major supreme court cases of the 1950s such as the Maulvi Tamizuddin case.
To be honest, I started out with a very negative view of Justice Munir. My overall opinion of him is still largely negative. Newburg makes a really interesting comment at one point that Justice Munir’s pro-stability realism actually demonstrates the limitations of realist thought. (I believe it was in the context of Justice Munir’s post fact justifications of his support of Ayub Khan’s rule by saying he did what he did to preserve the judiciary as an institution — but of course if this is true, he actually destroyed the independence of the judiciary and thereby, its power). But he was a complicated man in complicated times and one must consider the impact on his thinking of his study of the anti-Ahmadi riots after the first martial law.
In short, what I’m wondering is, how would most people act in a situation where they believed they were faced with an intractable right wing that had unlimited power to appeal to the most basic and widely held principles of the entire population? Wouldn’t one be tempted to choose an equally strong counterweight (the military) to the right wing?
The thought fills me with disgust, since I am a strong believer in representative government and democracy. But it does somewhat lessen my disgust for Justice Munir.