By Javed Iqbal
What has happened to our society which is neither law-abiding nor following morals taught by religion ?
In principle, we should be a civilized society as founding fathers had made it clear on August 11, 1947, that law will be superior.
Ironically, we have not decided about the destination; should it be capitalism, Islam or socialism? The debate is still going on.
It has been observed that people belonging to different spheres of life have the least trust in state institutions. There is no such thing as the rule of law; rather, the rule of bullying and arrogance is the norm of the day. There is no organised forum in Pakistan that could guarantee quick and timely justice to the hoi polloi.
Someone had rightly said that the law is a spider’s web for the powerful; while the weak get stuck in it. This saying may not come true in every democratic country of the world, but it is shamefully correct in Pakistan. Hazrat Ali (AS) had reasoned that society could survive cruelty but not injustice. Similarly, the British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill was once asked that if the UK was going to lose World War II? Are courts delivering justice? was the answer, he gave in response. If yes, no one can defeat us, he maintained.
Subsequent history showed that a devastated Britain reemerged from the ashes of war to the height of glory.
In the country of patriarchy, gubernatorial behaviour by a section of the society is a routine now. There have been frequent incidents where someone broke the law of the land and escaped. He was, usually, considered as the lord of the area.
In the past, such incidents were occasionally highlighted in the newspapers that a tribal chieftain had stripped his opponent’s women and made them paraded in the village naked.
When people came to know the law, the voices began to rise against such abhorrent incidents, not only from within the society but also from abroad. Mukhtar Mai case is a particular example in this regard which caught international attention and the state of Pakistan was demonized globally.
Non-governmental organizations and human rights groups also mobilized public opinion against such incidents. The country’s higher courts played their part but the common man is the real victim of a vicious circle of helplessness.
Examining the history, it seems that such events usually occurred in less educated and remote areas where impassive and ignorant strata were ready to do anything to satiate their evil ego.
But this was probably for the first time that the well-educated strata have begun to take the law into their own hands. A black-coat class that claims to be the custodians of the constitution and law snubbed it under their feet. Sometimes by invoking a deputy commissioner, tossing the turban of the judge sitting in the court and beating the police officers in the judicial premises. Neither law enforcement agencies came forward nor any court took notice of such mala-fide acts to protect the hapless victims.
It was, probably, for the first time that law enforcement officials presented hapless government hospital employees handcuffed before the lawyers in TT Singh. Adeel, who was a human resource officer at the district hospital, was arrested and presented before the kangaroo court of black-coats.
Pakistan Farmers Liaison Committee and other human rights groups have criticised it and questioned which Pakistani law empowers local district officers to force handcuffed health department employee to apologize in public. This happened under the patronage of the law enforcement agency. They have strongly condemned the incident and asked the Pakistan Bar Council, CJP and Punjab government to take notice of it and punish those found guilty.
Videos of this shameful act were uploaded on social media sites to give a message to others that they were still above the law. Civilized societies and government agencies probe such incidents as a test case as who ordered the police to present the accused before the opposite party rather a court of law and why videos were gone viral on social media. These are some of the questions needed to be answered. If the court or the government failed to take notice, it will give the message that might is still right in Pakistan and this will encourage the resurgence of Talibanisation in the society.
The PTI, which claims to be the harbinger of a new Pakistan, should wake up from the slumber of maladministration to ensure that rule of law is strictly prevailed; otherwise, people are already sick of this sham democracy which has given nothing to the masses.