By Senator A Rehman Malik
Former Federal Interior Minister
Originally Published By The Nation
The symmetrical nature created by all mighty Allah follows the law of nature, and there is no room for violation within Allah Tala’s system. There is no doubt in saying that it is regulated by nature without any past and thus we see no discrepancy in any form.
Man-made laws were developed and nurtured when the first of creation settled in the form of colonies and societies and were made to regulate these societies to eliminate injustice. When there were no written laws, individuals and clans used to take revenge from those who used to offend them or their way of living by any means. But later when mankind progressed, the laws on criminality and injustice prevailed, paving new ways for civil societies.
With the passage of time, people realized the grave importance of law and justice.
Similarly, many developed countries today are successful and prosperous not just because of their well written laws but also because of the impartial implementation of those laws. The rich of these countries are subjected to the same laws as the poor. And there is no special treatment for those in power. In these societies it’s not just the severity of law that matters but also the certainty of the law which is implemented and that too without any discrimination and prejudice.
Our beloved country Pakistan came into being in 1947 and we adopted 1956’s constitution. The constitution of 1956 provided a federal system with powers resting with the parliament. Unfortunately even before the first parliamentary elections, Iskandar Mirza abrogated the devised constitution and imposed martial law as he did not approve of the law. This was the first time that a powerful leader had betrayed his country to impose controlled democracy. The lust of power overpowered his consciousness.
After an unfortunate series of events that Pakistan had to go through, ultimately a time came where the previous laws could not implement the rule of law in a country shaken by war; hence the then PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto decided to bring in 1973 constitution. The constitution which is still followed in most of its entirety was not only a comprehensive document, but also provided protection to, each province, sect, and religion and to everybody living in Pakistan. It was the constitution which was agreed upon by all political parties. However the fate of 1973 constitution was similar to that of the previous one; it started getting defaced with every new dictator and hence “the rule of law” became “the law to rule the people of Pakistan by tailoring the constitution to create fear.
The nation witnessed open lashes to political workers, who were lashed to create fear to suppress freedom of speech. The embedded fear in the hearts of people created an atmosphere of terror against the state; and any voice that dared to challenge the terrorizing laws and their horrifying implementation, was shut down immediately. The dictators became the law, and the law became the wishes of the dictators; hence the rule of law quickly became the rule of the dictator.
The law was torn into shreds when the custodian of justice in the country, the Supreme Court itself, became party to the malicious intentions of dictators time and again. Ultimately this course of action led to the judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, which the entire world witnessed. It was heartbreaking to see General Zia Ul Haq being congratulated by no less than Justice Inwar Ul Haq in the Army House on the day Bhutto was sentenced to death.
I was a junior officer present in that function and when I witnessed the withering away of the rule of law at the hands of the dictator celebrating the death of the leader of the public; it was than when I had fully understood the reason behind Bhutto’s conviction.
The decision allowing Bhutto’s death sentence to be carried out made the people of Pakistan lose their faith in the rule of law. The time continued, laws and rules kept being made and broken over and over again. The nation instead of stepping forward in the world of modern legal and court reforms, kept on getting sunk into the dark hole of victimization and injustice.
The irony of Pakistan as a nation is that we want “law” to hold others accountable but want ourselves to be exempted for similar offenses; then we have all sorts of explanations to justify our actions. What we need to understand is that lawlessness creates unruly nations, as laws are made to discipline people and protect their rights and ensures high quality of life.
The so called “elite class” is also responsible, as they deem themselves above and beyond any law. The role of the politicians in protecting such elements should also be condemned. They are saved by the politicians to protect their own voter hubs; who get their votes but for a very high price – the abrogation of justice. As a consequence these individuals become bigger and stronger than the law itself. Unfortunately the law enforcing institutions like police knows them but the claws of these elements have become so big that even the Police is unable to touch them because everyone has a protector.
Furthermore, in recent years there have been many events where Fake FIRs have been registered against innocents whereas the actual criminals have the audacity to roam around in the streets freely. Recently almost 60,000 cases of “crimes against person” had been reported and out of which more than 1100 FIRs were revoked after detailed investigations. Fortunately the new criminal amendment bill 2017 suggests up to a life time imprisonment upon severity of the fabricated information being given to law enforcement agencies which used to be either 6 months or fine of Rs.3000 only.
If we see the number of complaints and disposal of cases in every province; the figures display a rather pathetic situation. Among the 1,954,868 court cases countrywide, 1,274,310 are pending with Punjab’s district judiciary, 121,180 with Sindh, 188,561 with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 13,882 with Baluchistan’s district courts and 31,018 cases remain unresolved with the district judiciary of Islamabad to date.
I strongly feel that rule of law cannot be implemented unless free and fair accountability is carried out and good governance cannot be brought back until accountability is used as yard stick equally applicable on judiciary, politicians and on every other institution and individual residing in Pakistan. I hope sense prevails and the parliament rises above its political gains. I would like to think that parliament of Pakistan will one day solely and wholly think about interest of our beloved country and about the future generations; where they are taught to be honest and hardworking, and where there is no injustice based on class and discrimination. We need rule of law in the country for better governance and not law as a tool for the elite class to rule public for their own ends.