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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Where does our recent history stand on delivering justice to Pakistani people ?

Jaweria Waheed|

Laws catch flies but let hornets go free – A Scottish proverb

There are piles of records in world history that manifests this proverb. Pakistan is no better. We have a highly dis-coordinated working system in which mechanized corruption systematically progresses; and those who dissent, are snubbed or sidelined by the state.

Our respectable judicial system has always been under political pressure which halts the functioning and procedures to fair trail and often makes the judgments politically objectionable. This political pressure and monopoly of elites ensures that the system acquits the big-wigs under the cover of law.

We don’t have to go very far to see the lacunae; Ayan Ali, Dr. Asim Hussain, Model Town case and still in process the Panama papers case. Two of these cases have been concluded, one awaits justice and the fourth has been delayed to nowhere.

It was a dramatic coincidence that the investigation officer who was probing into Ayan Ali’s case got killed during the early stages of the trial, but no outrage and no investigation has yet been made in that regard. After enjoying month’s long protocol, Ayyan Ali was finally set free on bail from prison after four months and finally, she was let scot free earlier this year. She was allegedly involved in money laundering, caught by Airport security officers at Benazir International Airport on March 14, 2015 carrying $506,800.

Read more: Ayyan Ali case: Another nail in the coffin of Pakistan’s Criminal Justice system…

Dr. Asim, a former federal minister and a close aide for former President Asif Ali Zardari, was indicted in Rs 462 billion corruption case. On the excuse of his ailment, he has been released to Ziauddin hospital for treatment, he has spent most of his prison time in hospital on this pretext and it should also be noted that he owns Ziauddin hospital. The two big fishes have successfully escaped the net and are free to roam around in the ocean one more time.

Read more: Dr. Asim gets released amidst allegations of a “deal” between Zardari.& Nawaz..

The awaited judgment on Panama Paper case finally announced on 20th April by a bench of five respectable judges of Supreme Court. It concluded in a long 540 pages that the court was split over the decision 3:2 and that a JIT has to be set up for further inspection and inquiry. While the JIT has been expected to produce results in next 60 days, it is not clear how they will accomplish that given last year all the state agencies involved had absolved themselves from being involved in the case and the court itself has criticized the chairman of NAB for not performing his task.

The proceedings on Model Town case are yet to meet a decisive end. Under the judicial commission formed by the government, Justice Bakir Najfi produced a comprehensive report that clearly marked the killers behind the heinous episode of Model Town killings. But, the report was not made public. The demands put forth by Tahir ul Qadri’s party – PAT – were rejected at every point. Neither, their request to form JIT which included MI and ISI, nor their request to make Najfi’s report public were accepted. The major actor of the 17th June, 2014 fiasco, Gullo Butt, was set free recently as were all the accused policemen.

Read more: After Panama: The ‘Untouchable Elites’ survive to live another day

To date, there is not a single case in recent memory where the courts have been able to punish the power holding elites or to serve justice. It only raises serious concerns over the practical ability of judicial system to deliver in Pakistan. The precedence set by these cases and many others gives no hope to the Pakistani people; who are not getting justice and this might ultimately lead to the masses to take the law into their own hands and revoke the system.

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”  ― Elie Wiesel

Jaweria Waheed is Member of the Editorial Board for a magazine ‘Voice of Students’ and has been a blogger with both media organizations ARY News & Dunya News, Pakistan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.