"Whither the Criminal Justice System of Pakistan"
By Iftikhar Ur Rahman.
Do you remember Naqibullah Mashud in extra judicial killing by Rao Anwar?
Do you remember the relevations of Abid Boxer?
Do you remember the arrest of Fawad Hassan Fawad and Ahad Cheema and investigations into scams of billions?
Do you remember the investigation into Ashiana Scandal?
Do you remember the Nandipur Corruption case?
Do you remember the Metro and Orange Train Corruption case?
Do you remember the safe drinking water scandal of billions where not a single drop of water was supplied?
Do you remember the Hudabiya case which was made dead and burried?
Do you remember the Cotecna case against Zardari in which he was convicted but nothing has happened?
Do you remember the Surrey Palace case?
Do you remember the 2 months ago revelations of money laundering by Zardari and Faryal of billions of dollars?
Do you remember the Model Town Massacre case?
Do you remember the Hundreds of Terrorists convicted but we're released by courts on technical grounds.
And the list goes on....But I do not remember now as I am writing this piece.
Now perhaps we do not remember the scores of petty thieves rotting in jails without any hope of suspension of sentence. They have been through a beating by the SHO to scream and indicate the bicycle that they had stolen or food stolen to feed their children.
We do remember privileged murderers who were released on technical grounds. A murder was committed and the weapon and other evidence proved the murderer. But he got away because the post mortem report said that the bullet hit and entered the poor slain man through different angles than what the prosecution stated?
Our Criminal Justice system is based on Acquisitorial Trials meaning both sides present evidence and the judge gives a verdict applying the law based on the evidence presented. We need an Inquisitorial System where the judge also inquires into missing pieces of evidence to get to the truth. This is nearer the Islamic adal system which does not let the criminal free because of technicalities.
So our system favors the rich white collared criminals who have the means to hire expensive lawyers that can get them out on technicalities. The poor criminals: some are not criminals but locked up by the powerful are not so lucky to have tea and biscuits with the jail superintendent. We call ourselves the Islamic Republic of Pakistan but we are practically insulting the word Islam.
So, today when a judge agrees to arguments presented by a lawyer of a powerful mafia king it is no surprise as the judge has the wiggle room to release a known criminal on small technicalities.
We are on the verge of now or never. It is up to those who lead this country to make a radical change in law where judges too have to pay for their poor decisions. If the justice system withers the country also whithers.