Apparently, our former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chowdary, in-between shooting down Steel Mills privatization and irritating Musharraf, was busy opening up a museum inside the majestic Supreme Court building and museum, Pakistan on Constitutional Avenue.
I’d never want to look at a judicial complex, let alone visit one — but this building is different. There is something special in the way this pearly white Supreme Court building is designed and constructed.
We had planned to visit the Presidency, but found out that was just a media stunt by President Arif Alvi — so we proceeded towards the Supreme Court.
The museum is at the farthest corner of the first building of the Supreme Court. We were greeted by the friendly curator who obviously took pride in his work on display. Entry is free for everyone.
The topmost attraction there was the frieze of lawgivers, which is a replica of the real one placed in the Supreme Court of USA. Each person in the Frieze has had a major impact on the history of law. These were the greatest lawgivers the world has ever seen.
Starting right to left, 1st one was Justinian (c.527) the Byzantine emperor who compiled the Roman law into a book.
The 2nd image was supposed to be of Prophet Muhammad (c. 570) but that image has been omitted from this replica.
No 3 in line is Charlemagne who united Europe by c. 804 under a civilized rule of law. Further ahead are images of King John c 1199, holding his Magna Carta of constitutional liberty. King Louis (c.1297), set up the court of appeals and Hugo Grotius (c.1583-1645) who wrote an influential book on international law in 1625.
I didn’t know Napoleon (1769-1821) was the architect of modern French society. He apparently compiled the French law under a ‘civil law’ chapter and was very proud of it; ‘what nothing will destroy, what will live till eternity, is my civil law’
There is another frieze in US supreme court that talks of Menes (3200BC), Hammurabi (1700 BC), the king of Babylon, Moses (1300 BC), King Solomon, 900 BC (‘the judge’), Lycurgus (800BC)of Sparta and Solon (594 BC) of Athens. Draco (600 BC) introduced punishments for infringements, therefore the term ‘Draconian’.
As if these heavy weights weren’t enough, I read Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon in which he especially emphasizes to his followers to treat women with respect:
“I advise you to show respect to the rights of women and fear god about them… you have the certain right with regards to your women, but they also have rights over you”
The code of Hammurabi (1754 BC) is significant because this Babylonian king established the rules, wages, and punishments for a civil society. This tablet consists of 282 laws, graded based on social status, gender, and slave versus free, etc.
About 50 % is matters of contract like wages of an ox-driver or a surgeon etc. The most interesting part is which says that a judge who alters his decision after it is written down is to be fined and removed from the bench permanently
Various select verses on Justice in the Quran were framed on the wall and were an interesting read. I have already covered them here https://how2havefun.com/thought-of-the-day/justice-quran-islam-pakistan/
The speeches of Islamic Caliphs (Hazrat RA) Abu Bakr, Umar, & Ali on the integrity of leaders are inspiring.
The part I liked was biryani at their cafeteria hall with raita and tea.
Some pictures from the Supreme court museum Pakistan are here.