Home Global Village 2019: The year of Change?

2019: The year of Change?


Farah Adeed |

Today is the last day of the first month of 2019. Three powerful persons have made the 2019 quirky and a year of a promised change. Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar; much have been written about three of them. Common people, journalists, civil society and the international community expect from these three exceptional men that they will change the fate of Pakistan.

Three developments took place in January which have legal, political and social implications. First, Sahiwal Tragedy. The officials of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) brutally killed three alleged kidnapers-cum-terrorists and one kid on the road. CTD tried to cover up the heartbreaking tragedy but media took up the matter and compelled the government to take stern action against the culprits.

Nationwide protests were seen and religious fanatics hostage the entire government machinery. The government dealt with the extremist element with great care and ultimately put them behind the bars.

Ironically, Punjab government and the Prime Minister talked too much but did nothing satisfactory. A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising of the police officers has been formed to look into the matter. The JIT needs one month to prove Zeeshan, a man killed by the CTD, a terrorist.

Second, Khadija Siddiqi stabbing case was a test case for the criminal justice system of Pakistan. A young law student was stabbed by her classmate in day-broad light but the poor investigation proved a way for the acquittal of her attacker. Chief Justice Khosa not only set the record of the straight but also advised the Lahore High Court to never misread the evidence like that one in the future.

Justice Khosa ensured that a girl attacked for 23 times was served with justice. It was not the win of a girl rather it was the victory of a system. Most importantly, it conveyed a message to many sick-minded men in Pakistani society who always misuse the poor criminal system of Pakistan to commit crimes and get away with that.

Read more: Sahiwal Killings: A legal perspective

Moreover, the LHC judge recklessly used some ‘objectionable’ language while describing the close friendship of Ms. Khadija with her attacker. Justice Khosa used decent language and graceful expression to describe the same. It must have given some relief to the victim. It also ensured that the law can be blind but not the judge.

Third, it was the most important decision in the history of Pakistan. The Supreme Court of Pakistan dismissed the review petition against the acquittal of Ms. Asia Bibi. As a matter of fact, Ms. Asia was falsely accused of insulting Prophet Muhammad (P.B.H) and she was convicted and sentenced to death by a district court as well as LHC. But the SC overturned the decision and ordered to release her on the basis of insufficient evidence.

Politically speaking, Sahiwal incident was the first test case for the Tabdeeli in Pakistan. But we are still seeing an old Pakistan where a man has publically been killed and the JIT needs more 30 days to prove him a hardcore terrorist.

Nationwide protests were seen and religious fanatics hostage the entire government machinery. The government dealt with the extremist element with great care and ultimately put them behind the bars. On Jan 29th, the SC bench led by Justice Khosa dismissed the review petition and made Ms. Asia a free citizen after one decade of imprisonment.

The decision has conveyed a clear message to everyone across the country that the courts are no longer fearful of religious fanatics under any circumstances. A society where religion has widely misused the decision of the apex court is a clear indication of a change.

The people of Pakistan voted for PTI and expected a change. Imran Khan stood up and promised to materialize his promised agenda. Everyone was happy and appreciated his honest intentions. But then Buzdar happened. Usman Buzdar was made the chief minister of a province that is very large, very complex and very important. Imran Khan believes Buzdar is honest, simple, soft-hearted and kind; agreed.

Read more: SC rejects petition against Asia Bibi’s acquittal

But the question is whether he possesses the ability to rule in Punjab? Does he know how to deal with a charge opposition, unhappy allies, and insecure friends? His performance demonstrates that he does not. Buzdar either relies on his advisers or on Khan himself. This is the truth whether you believe it or not.

The Imran government has failed to perform best and swift on the sad incident of Sahiwal. It was promised that the government will stand by the victims but as we have seen that it is the media which has compelled the government to listen to the poor families of Khalil and Zeeshan.

Politically speaking, Sahiwal incident was the first test case for the Tabdeeli in Pakistan. But we are still seeing an old Pakistan where a man has publically been killed and the JIT needs more 30 days to prove him a hardcore terrorist. This is the greatest failure of the present government.

PTI is not in a position to remain in a state of political uncertainty in Punjab anymore. It should also be clarified at the moment that advisers in Punjab will wish for a CM like Buzdar so that their position remains more influential.

There is still a chance for the government to come out of the case with clean hands if it decides to form a judicial commission. It will give the incumbent government moral legitimacy and political victory to stay focused on its idea of Naya Pakistan. But it is learned that the government wants to have a judicial commission but it is yet to get a green signal. We don’t exactly know the competent authority in this matter. But we hope Imran Khan will not compromise on his basic political principles which may lead to his political demise at the end of the day.

Moreover, Khan needs to be clear on Punjab’s issue. With Buzdar or without Buzdar? The time has come to take the final decision. PTI is not in a position to remain in a state of political uncertainty in Punjab anymore. It should also be clarified at the moment that advisers in Punjab will wish for a CM like Buzdar so that their position remains more influential. So it is up to Khan to hit the final shot.

Read more: Exemplary punishments for the Sahiwal culprits: PM Khan assures

It is great to see that CJP Khosa has a clear and concise strategy to stay focused and committed to providing speedy justice to everyone across Pakistan. He has conveyed to the powerful and religious fanatics that the time has come to change our minds so that we change the country and make it a better place for all of us.

Justice Khosa is on the right track and Khan is yet to ensure that yes 2019 is the year of Tabdeeli!

Farah Adeed is a Senior Research Analyst in GVS. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s Editorial Policy.