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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Justice in Pakistan: A quagmire

Societies that tolerate such systems of justice and accountability that are incapable of delivering impartial and fair justice to all are neither stable nor sustainable. These societies either change for good or perish. In such circumstances, delaying justice reforms is another gross injustice – a rampant violation of fundamental rights.

Throughout the known history of state and politics, political philosophers have emphasized the very necessity of justice in a politically organized society. Greeks had a conception of justice at all ages but their approaches were different towards it. Though, all of them agreed on the conception of the foundation of justice and its very existence in a state. It is quite clear that the state is meant to have a justice system that could lay the founding stone of socio-economic and political stability within its peripheries and jurisdiction. The division of the world into numerous states is actually due to the question of justice. Injustices and inequalities always lead to a sense of deprivation and self-alienation which in turn leads to division.

Historically, it is evident from the observation and analysis that Pakistan is said to be created due to injustices and inequalities. The pages of history glimpse this very evidence and teach youngsters that both Hindus and British were harsh towards Muslims. They used to discriminate against Muslims from all walks of life. Muslims were kept deprived of their socio-economic and political rights deliberately. These very attitudes and behaviors of Hindus and British molded the minds of Muslims. Muslims deliberated over the issue and the majority of heads of the time stressed the creation of a separate homeland. The demand for a separate homeland was actually the outcome of the discrimination, differences and injustice they were facing at that time.

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Why justice is a difficult concept in Pakistan?

To date, Pakistan has been suffering from a quagmire of justice. Getting justice is like daydreaming in a beloved country. Justice has become an elitist commodity. Elites can have justice and they have to determine the way of justice. Both individuals and communities of the state are suffering injustice and inequalities at all concerned levels. A poor man cannot think of justice to have from the contemporary judicial system. Justice has become one of the most expensive commodities in Pakistan. Many have lost their lives in the hope of getting justice. But alas! They could have only disparity at the last.

Beyond, the socio-economic and political injustices and inequalities, common people cannot get even common justice in Pakistan. Common people have been suffering a lot from the contemporary justice system in Pakistan. Elites have an access to weighing justice according to their wishes. Manipulation of justice in own favor is one of the easiest actions for elites in Pakistan. The existing judicial system of Pakistan is expensive. Common men cannot bear the burdensome. The complexities of law have made the justice system unjust. Although, justice is desirable by all it is achieved in an unjust manner that is injustice. Everyone attempts to have justice through a back door, shortcut and wrong way; that also comes in the orbit of injustice.

Similarly, the categorization of the judicial system, hierarchical chains of command, complex communication means as well as ambiguous laws has made justice unachievable in Pakistan. The majority of common men prefer traditional ways of conflict resolution. At a time, numerous judicial systems are workable that have made justice unworkable. All the concerned authorities, get a lame excuse in the dispensation of justice. Either they lack expertise in the relevant profession or they lack the independence to dispense justice freely. But neither of the two is accepted by them openly. Elites can have justice by manipulating the judicial system in their favor at any cost but common men cannot have justice even to bear the financial burden of documentation.

Furthermore, after independence, the judicial system of Pakistan could not be harmonized with its Islamic Ideology. A mixture of pre-partition laws and precedence is still workable in the contemporary judicial system of Pakistan. Technicalities of laws, terminological complexities, linguistic jargon and sensual quagmire have created a huge space between justice and common men. Common men have to throw a thumb impression or signature on the paper which they cannot read well nor understand well. Common men surrender their will and fate to the will of the council and the honorable court concerned. Common men have to bear the burden of blunders of scrivener, counsel, notary public and all other relevant professional designators.

Moreover, the British legacy in procedures and mechanisms in the process of dispensation of justice in Pakistan is still workable and obvious. British was mainly concerned to provide mental torture to aboriginals of the Indian sub-continent through the complex administrative and judicial system. As the majority of the population of Pakistan is poor, that raises numerous questions about bearing the financial burden of seeking justice through the prevailing judicial system.

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The current judicial system of Pakistan is merely a judicial system of elites 

In addition, there are two famous maxims regarding justice; (i) Justice delayed is justice denied and (ii) Justice hurried is justice buried. Here, in Pakistan, delaying tactics are most commonly used by the opposite party in all suits/cases generally but more particularly in criminal cases. The lawyers’ community knows this jargon of complexity and how to delay a case in a legal manner. Likewise, at a lower level, there are special courts to deal with various cases as per their nature but at a higher level, all the diverse cases are listened to by a single hierarchical chain.

In short, justice must be done preciously with the least expenses that the aggrieved one can feel comfortable and satisfied with. In Pakistan, the judicial procedures and mechanisms need to be refined and harmonized with the contemporary rational choice theory and modern technology. The British legacy in every form must be eliminated. Justice must mean justice not otherwise. A research-based alternative mechanism must be sought out to provide relief through the judicial system in its real essence not merely mental torture. Without a refined judicial system and justice mechanism, society might exist but with lingering motives and dwindling progress for short time.

At present, Pakistan is in dire need to have independence of predicament in the dispensation of justice. It is the need of the hour to refine the prevailing entire judicial setup of Pakistan to enhance equality and justice for all on equal footing.



Written by Hamidul Haq Savizai

The author writes on the socio-economic and political issues of Pakistan and the region. The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent Global Village Space’s editorial policy.