It is no hidden secret that legal system of Pakistan is undeniably not commensurate to existing socio cultural system of Pakistan. It is self contradictory to norms and principles of Islam and justice is expensive to acquire ,to say the least!
There are obsolete laws prevailing since the days of Raj . If there has to be cheap justice available to the common man,there has to be a revolution in complete judicial system and the civil and criminal laws in the country!
In support of the above,typical recent example is that of Aasia Bibi’s case . Although It is not the first one of its kind but surely still unique in many ways .It is first case of blasphemy where a female was convicted and continuously faced defeats in lower courts and even in High Court.
Aasia Bibi gained further attention of public when Salman Taseer ,the Governor of Punjab met her and expressed his personal views in typical manner. He was later shot dead by his own guard Mumtaz Qadri . The same fate was seen by first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti during 2011 .
The unanimous judgement of three supreme court judges gave a historical decision by over turning verdict of all subordinate courts on the ground that prosecution failed to establish story in Aasia Bibi case .The judgement as written by Chief justice quoted verses from Quran and Sunnah and convincingly highlighted the serious weaknesses of the judgements of lower judiciary. The life threats hence received by the three judges raises serious question mark over the challenges faced by judiciary in taking independent decisions.
Judicial,social,cultural,religious and moral aspects prevailing and threatening the independence of the judgements given by courts at many a levels is only a small evidence of vulnerabilities of our judicial system!
The Supreme Court verdict gained international recognition particularly that of UK parliament. The judgement was discussed in the UK parliament and one MP asked the Prime Minister Theresa May : “Will the Prime Minister welcome the acquittal by Pakistan Supreme Court of Aasia Bibi, the young Christian wife and mother of five, who has spent 8 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement facing the death penalty on blasphemy charges merely for drinking water from a communal supply, and will the Prime Minister commend the courage and integrity of Chief Justice Saqib Nisar. The message he has sent out regarding religious freedom for those of all faiths and in delivering the judgment setting Aasia free and rectifying a grave injustice.”
In reply Prime Minister May said:“The news out of Pakistan of the release of Aasia Bibi will be welcomed by her family and all those who have campaigned in Pakistan and around the world for her release. Our long term position on death penalty is well known and we call for its abolition globally.”
Tragically ,from Pakistan point of view , BBC discusses the public unrest and reactions in a negative way and rightly so . Claiming that UK government provides massive financial support to Pakistan and this is primitive to deny justice to Aasia Bibi .
It is time for Pak government to send a strong public message on this issue in particular and state the government stance convincingly.
Its time to stand in International forums and highlight Pakistan’s belief in equality and justice. It is about time to reframe and rebut the controversial laws of 1986 . Failing which Pakistan will continue to be painted its alleged primitive nature when it comes to human rights .
International public voices its concerns that Pakistan is in the grip of extremism,and failure to fight such outrageous public outbursts of a section of population which continuously defies to challenge the government writ is seen as a massive weakness of the government!
It is a historical undisputed fact that Pakistan for once has golden days as three pillars of democracy, legislature (partly), executive completely and judiciary without any doubt are on the same page.
A lot easier for the government to take revolutionary steps to encounter extremism and give top priority to educate people who play in the hands of national and international enemies. Pakistan’s vulnerable economy can not take off until the black mailing by a small section of extremist is crushed challenged and demolished once for ever .
This very section of population is clearly under the strong impression that no government will ever take the risk of challenging them with the fear of foreseeable deaths that could take place. About time government sets its priorities right for such historical chances do not come that often and do not stay for longer either, when hard and difficult decisions are supported by all and sundry!
The writer is an employee of British Rail, London.
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The Law Today Pakistan, commonly known as TLTP, is the largest news wire service, headquartered in Islamabad. The service is providing fast, comprehensive and verified news on superior courts adjudications, regulatory framework of fiscal, monitory and external sectors, economic regulatory bodies amid apex institutions regulating the financial system. TLTP is empowering readers of more than 12 national English dailies in the country.