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Saturday, April 13, 2024

The unrest in Pakistani society

The country’s ousted prime minister and former cricket star have embarked on a week-long march through Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab, to the capital Islamabad, hoping to whip up a large enough show of support to topple the government of rival Shehbaz Sharif and force early elections.

Pakistani society is unique in the world every time a dictator takes over and every time it returns to democracy. Dictatorships are hardly converted into democracy as observed from North Korea to Russia to the Middle East to South America. Fortunately, in Pakistan, the masses need a genuine spark and movement sets off.

A player who introduced superstardom to cricket is around in politics now. Masses perceive him as honest, either in cricket match-fixing or politics for personal business, unlike his opponents. Imran Khan’s ceaseless rhetoric about the corruption of Shareefs and Zardaris, with both getting away with no punishment, has been his hallmark. No narrative can sustain hundreds of public speeches almost daily, if devoid of truth.

Three ground factors endorse him, firstly winning ¾ of by-elections, secondly huge turnout in his rallies and thirdly unstoppable public sentiments in his favor on social media. It’s getting enormous every day and anyone opposing him directly or abetting with his enemies lose credibility.

Read more: How Pakistani society has failed to protect its women

Revenge By A Mother

Mai Jindo was a brave Sindhi mother who approached the then Chief General Asif Nawaz, an upright soldier, seeking justice for the murder of her two sons and son-in-law in a clash.

As reported, on 5th June 1992, a contingent, led by Major Arshad Jameel, came across several terrorists in the village of Tando Bahawal, near Hyderabad and shot them dead including Mai Jindo’s two sons, Bahadur and Manohar, and their son-in-law, Haji Akram. They were alleged to be terrorists and agents of India’s intelligence agency “RAW”.

However, later, the same proved wrong as it was a land dispute and the killings were individually perpetrated. Chief General Asif Nawaz ordered legal proceedings hence Military Court sentenced Maj Arshad Jameel to death. The next Chief Gen Jahangir Karamat confirmed the conviction and sentence and the President of Pakistan Farooq Leghari rejected the mercy petition.

Consequences of Delayed Justice

In the meantime, the moratorium was imposed on capital punishment by the Peoples Party government. Availing opportunity, the brother of Maj Arshad approached the court and got a stay order on execution from the court. Seeing the delay in justice, two daughters of Mai Jindo, Hakimzadi and Zaibunnisa self-immolated themselves and succumbed to burns as the complicated judicial system was not capable to punish a criminal.

Some may fit in the case of Senator Azam Swati whose clothes were stripped off while in government custody as he said that had he not been a Muslim he would have committed suicide. Major Arshad Jamil was finally hanged on 28th October 1996.

Read more: Self-worth and ageing gracefully in a Pakistani society

Bad International Exposure

A recent stir among media men due to murder of Arshad Shareef has drawn the wide attention of international media. Recently an academician and a soft-spoken journalist Dr. Moeed Pirzada, who hardly talks without reasoning, left Pakistan. This reflects the prevailing life uncertainty among journalists and leads to more bashing by international media.

The masses feel that a group of politicians unified to get their corruption cases closed through law amendments and eliminating witnesses and interrogators. The slain investigative journalist Arshad Shareef dug out a major case of money laundering wherein Habib Bank New York branch was fined by the Department of Financial Services (DFS) of New York State.

Arshad Shareef unearthed transactions in millions of US dollars by ex-PM Nawaz Shareef from a Rajhi Bank in Saudia to Habib Bank New York and then to Standard Chartered bank in Pakistan which might have played a major role in a fine of US$ 225 Millions by USA authorities. Since this penalty was agreed upon in a consent deal by Habib Bank with the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) under a non-disclosure clause hence more details are hard to appear.

Balancing Act of State Pillars

A malicious prosecution is an abuse of the process of the court by wrongfully setting the law in motion on a criminal charge which is rampant now against opponents. To counter such malicious use of state organs, a balance has to be maintained by the judicial system. A strong judicial system calls for everybody required to appear before a court of law. When institutions challenge each other, the judiciary is supposed to maintain the order in the country to avoid chaos.

Read more: NGOs: Difficult relationship with Pakistani state and society?

Chief Justice may like to call to court those doing actions above the law. if he does not do it now, the masses have already made up their mind that state powers fail their expectations. All state pillars need unison through balance. Countering for fairness, as per my knowledge, the Quranic verse 2:251 refers to:

“So they routed them by Allah’s leave and David killed Goliath, and Allah gave him the kingdom and wisdom, and taught him of that which He willeth. And if Allah had not repelled some men by others the earth would have been corrupted. But Allah is a Lord of Kindness to (His) creatures”.

Individuals in power can damage constitutional institutions if they get away with lawlessness. This encourages rogue elements down in the streets to wreak havoc with the common man.


The writer is an Ex-Airliner and Management Consultant. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.