The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) during its rule from 2008 to 2013 repeatedly claimed credit for reinstating the judges, sacked by the then president, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf after imposing state of emergency on November 03, 2007.
But it is a well known fact that the PPP instead of implementing the court verdicts in their true spirit, started confrontation with the higher judiciary.
The Supreme Court had issued its verdict on a suo moto case in connection with Karachi Law and Order in the tenure of the same PPP but the result was the same: no Implementation.
The law and order situation in Karachi continued to remain volatile, as violent activities could not be curbed and 8 to 12 people regularly fell prey to the targeted and other kinds of killing. Even the elected representatives were targeted but the government did not pay its due attention towards the aggravating situation.
Karachi contributes nearly 70 percent of the total revenue towards the national exchequer, but due to law and order situation business activities almost came to standstill, adversely affecting the overall economy. Investors started shifting their businesses from the port city to other parts of the country while the capital flight out of Karachi to other parts of the world was also witnessed.
Not only common men, but elected representatives and now even judges are being targeted in Karachi. In the past week two major incidents occurred in Karachi which shows inability of the government to control the situation.
In the first incident, MQM MPA Sajid Qureshi and his son were shot dead and in the second major incident senior judge of Sindh High Court (SHC) Justice Maqbool Baqar suffered critical wounds and nine others including policemen and para-military force personnel were killed in a deadly attack on his convoy.
Following this incident, SHC Chief Justice Mushir Alam convened a high-profile meeting and ordered the Sindh government to improve the city’s order and provide foolproof security to judges.
Soon after this, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon questioned in the provincial assembly, why the government be held solely responsible for peace in the financial hub, when the judiciary itself fails to perform its job.
Memon said, “If the government catches terrorists and throws them in jail for the court to carry the cases forward and the courts don’t have the power to rule against them, what do we do?” He said judiciary is too afraid to rule against culprits.
It is a common saying that ‘law is blind’ and it only moves forward on the basis of evidence. If the courts acquit the accused for insufficient evidence, then it is not the court but the administration that is responsible for criminals going scot-free, because the responsibility squarely lies on the administration to provide solid evidence to prosecute the criminals.
In my opinion, if the government wants courts to rule against the criminals, then the government should formulate and enact laws to ensure proper prosecution. Even today, there is no law for protection of the witnesses.
We have a number of examples of cases where witnesses retracted from their earlier stance or failed to turn up at the courts due to threats to their life or their families. In some cases, the accused are so powerful that they can forcibly get statements of witnesses changed in their favor.
Even law abiding citizens dread going to a police station to report street crimes due to a number of complications and the kind of treatment meted out to them by the policemen. So, one can understand the situation of a witness who intends to testify in a court against an accused, specially, when he/she happens to be an influential one.
The above are the main factors responsible for the release of criminals. Therefore, instead of blaming the courts, the government should wake up to its responsibility to provide protection to the witnesses and enact laws to ensure proper prosecution.
Only through these actions the government can enable the courts to take the proceedings to their logical conclusion and bring the criminals to justice, which is imperative to restore order in any part of the country.