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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Justice is restoring order not furthering chaos

A judge's work is not to just pass the verdict but a verdict that ensues order and peace in society. The latest verdict by a fiery judge left many wondering, what vindictive judicial setup runs in Pakistan?

Justice in the platonic state is like that harmony of relationship where an order is to be beckoned. Justice is not mere strength, but it is a harmonious strength. Justice is not the right of the stronger but the effective harmony of the whole. Plato was convinced that a society which is so organized is fit for survival. Where justice is not done in a harmonious way, the coordination of parts is destroyed, the society disintegrates and dissolves. Socially, justice is a social consciousness that makes a society internally harmonious and good. In a nutshell, justice is restoring order not furthering chaos.

In societies, like ours, where different segments of societies, for instance, doctors and lawyers, are at daggers drawn; where legal and political shenanigans are mere means to attain the end of one institution’s supremacy over others; and where the entire rotten system engenders tumult and turmoil at the time when border situation is too tense, faint beacon of hope is on horizon. What happened to us? In which direction we are heading? Is justice in true sense the hallmark of our society? If it’s, why then with each passing day we are being besieged by disorder and degradation?

The dawn in the wake of democracy had been, in fact, descending with the dusk of corruption and bad governance encircled with clouds of pessimism hovering over national arena

The above prelude is in the backdrop of Musharraf’s high treason case where the special court comprising a bench of three Honorable judges found him guilty and awarded him a death sentence. The verdict was flash of lightning quickly followed by a clap of thunder in terms of DG ISPR’s press conference. The verdict didn’t merely draw Army’s ire but also the fury of social media users with netizens abhorring the special court’s order to drag the ex-army chief’s corpse to D-Chowk Islamabad. With paragraph 66 egregiously authored by Justice Waqar Seth, the credibility of judgment has been severely shaken.

The judgment ladder with the venomous vendetta, everyone is wondered whether this is the language of a senior judge. Isn’t it un-Islamic, barbaric and unconstitutional? Aghast! The hanging of Musharraf went to the back-burner. The dragging of Musharraf’s corpse came to the scene while distracted us all from the main issue by forcing us to think that how our institutions are encircled by such violent mindsets. Barrister Asad Rahim Khan rightly points out that no sentence in law provides for a 3-day lynching and no crime in this country attracts it. Justice is never the mob. Indubitably, it will go down in history as the worst para in a judgment.

But the question is why the PTI government’s narrative of “all institutions on one page” is in shambles? Why the support of the system to the government is getting thinner and thinner with each passing moment? Why it seems so that right after PM Imran Khan’s speech at UN forum, a persistent turf war exists among institutions? It has a certain background which can be traced from the events of more than a decade. Pakistan’s Arab Spring marked with the 2007 vocal lawyers’ movement and gung-ho media coverage brought about two upshots: dethronement of Musharraf and installment of PPP-PML-N’s ‘democratic’ regime.

Read more: Final Round: Musharraf Vs Nawaz & Iftikhar Ch – Maleeha Hashmey!

The 18th amendment in the name of provincial autonomy, unfortunately, proved to be a contributing factor to further fragmentation of center enwrapped with the divergent educational system and reckless governance in quivering the symmetric national building. The dawn in the wake of democracy had been, in fact, descending with the dusk of corruption and bad governance encircled with clouds of pessimism hovering over the national arena. What we witnessed in the decade was all but Pakistan’s entire political order suffered from a ‘reign of mediocrity’ tinged with mounted corruption, gross inefficiency and withering of a national narrative.

Yes, judiciary was independent following post-2009 restoration as outgoing Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa bragged upon, but let me say this with heavy heart that our entire judicial system was mirthfully mired in the business of law not in the business of justice. By employing legal tricks, the big fish got off scot-free with the dire economic dynamics unleashed the lousy hubbub in chaotic politics by leaving country at the mercy of IMF-bail out packages. It was not the way to run a nuclear country with such financial chaos for long as it was hallowing her foundations.

With Imran’s ascendance to power, at least some initiative-oriented approach was envisaged. Voter apathy, endless graft of Panama fabric, the tyranny of NRO-manufactured demagogues and the malicious EHM—Economic Hitmen—cobweb in the garb of ‘return of democracy’ since 2008 then seemed to be worn, cracked and eventually on brink of collapse when in line with security institutions, Imran seriously strived for reducing Current Account Deficit (CAD). But it was serious realization that as a forum for making legislation, Parliament lost its vigor on account of banal sessions where not even a single piece of people-friendly legislation was passed.

Some people want to provoke us through internal and external attacks into fighting amongst ourselves in the current circumstances, and are dreaming of defeating Pakistan in this manner

Ergo in October 2018, inasmuch as the parliamentary failure, the Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan stunned all and sundry with his suggestion of Presidential system. What was then? Entities beneficiary of this rotten corrupt system revolted against the PTI-led government. PM himself said that bureaucracy was deliberately creating hurdles. On the foreign front too, where in the wake of 27th February 2019, Pakistan flexed her muscles against India, the PM-COAS duo didn’t go smooth upon the nerves of international actors. Strangely the interest of internal system comprising of legislature, executive and judiciary coincided with the external powers who were annoyed why for the first time in history “The made in Pakistan” government was taking new direction of upholding national narrative.

Then all of a sudden, the echoes of minus Imran Khan became ubiquitous. First PTM and then Azadi march were serious attempts to dethrone the present government. The narrative of economic terrorism got death-knell when white collar criminals got numerous bails and acquittals by utilizing legal technicalities. In general public, the view used to hold water that for powerful and weak, there are different standards of justice as justice has become the interest of stronger. At that peculiar juncture, the watershed moment came when Imran had to say to both outgoing and incoming Chief Justices to correct that perception.

The then CJ Khosa retaliated ferociously that it’s post-2009 independent judiciary by indirectly alluding the then yet-to-come Musharraf’s verdict. Then out of blue, the COAS Bajwa’s extension notification was called into question by august Supreme Court of Pakistan and first time in history by curbing the powers of PM, the Honorable Court dictated the Parliament to make a new legislation regarding COAS extension.

Read more: PBC condemns DG ISPR’s statement on Musharraf verdict, but had supported the rogue lawyers in Lahore?

Then Musharraf’s inhumane verdict came in which again our Judiciary as an integrated part of this tri-cameral system reminded Army that though you have countless sacrifices to your credit but in no way you can be exonerated from predecessors’ burden. But paradoxically at the same time, Judiciary wanted to disassociate itself from ilk of Justice Munir and Justice Qayyum behind the pretext of post-2009 independence.

To sum all it up, the matters of Bajwa’s extension and Court’s declaration of Musharraf as traitor are the latest manifestations of how this system bounced back to maintain the status quo. One thing is clear that the survival of this system is not in sync with survival of this country. There is an earnest need to write a new political order where all institutions can work in coherence and for furthering of harmonious order not chaos.

This system has been failed in terms of deliverance but is strong enough in connivance with external forces to defend itself with much more pizzazz. Any attempt to upside it down will meet with further chaos and resistance especially at the time when border situation has been much more aggravated. But chaos in the long run as the only remnant of this filthy system is not in line with country’s pursuit of ideal ambitions.

Read more: High Treason: Musharraf losing against time

The DG ISPR rightly said, “Some people want to provoke us through internal and external attacks into fighting amongst ourselves in the current circumstances, and are dreaming of defeating Pakistan in this manner. This will not happen. If we are aware of the threat, our response too is in place.” He further said, “The army and government have together been trying to take the country towards a direction where all threats are foiled.” His hinting at “direction” is much more meaningful and mind-boggling in the aforementioned context.

Ali Abbas is a lawyer based in Islamabad and currently working with a law firm namely Kharal & Co. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.