Justice delayed is justice denied is a term we hear too often in Pakistan. The last decade was nothing less than a disappointment regarding the judiciary system. The fact that we witnessed so many cases proof of a failing system had us thinking of where it went wrong.
The judiciary of Pakistan is a hierarchical system with two classes of courts. The higher courts comprising the apex court, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Federal Shariat Court and four provincial high courts along with one Islamabad High Court. The Constitution of Pakistan entrusts the superior judiciary with the obligation to preserve, protect and defend the constitution.
The subordinate judiciary consists of civil and criminal district courts, and numerous specialized courts covering banking, insurance, customs and excise, smuggling, drugs, terrorism, taxation, the environment, consumer protection, and corruption.
As of 2017, Pakistan’s judiciary is suffering from a backlog of two million cases. Furthermore, It takes an average of nearly ten years to resolve a la suit. Some even extend this time range to 20-30 years.
COMMITTED SUICIDE, UNTRUSTWORTHY JUDICIARY
In 2011, a woman committed suicide as she believed that the judiciary system will not provide her justice. The woman was a widow of an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officer. The officer was one of the victims killed by the US citizen Raymon Davis.
Shumaila, the wife of Faheem, took poisonous pills and died in a hospital despite attempts to save her.
Shumaila before dying stated that she had swallowed the pills because she suspected that the government would release Davis. She was skeptical that the government would not take action against him. She also accused the government to treat Davis as a VIP under police custody.
“The man murdered my husband and I demand justice. I don’t care if he is American he must not be allowed to get away with this,” Shumaila said in her last statement.
The government of Pakistan was under extreme pressure from the United States to release Davis. He was released after payment to the families of the two people he had shot. Judiciary also dropped all the charges against him.
Later on, Munsif Awan submitted a petition in which he had apprehended that the families of the two men were kidnapped and kept in illegal detention. The petitioner had also stated that there were also apprehensions that they were forced to accept the blood money for the release of Davis. Later on one of the families returned back in Pakistan from the unidentified place.
MOTHER TOOK LAW IN HER OWN HANDS
Noman allegedly killed a 21-years-old man Taslim in 2012. The Session Court Sialkot sentenced the alleged murderer to death but Lahore High Court acquitted the accused against the appeal after Noman submitted the appeal of not guilty. Nauman then left the country for some months
After 7 years of the verdict, in 2019, the mother of Taslim killed the murderer of her son. Disappointed with the judiciary of Pakistan, Parveen Bebi, opened fire on the alleged murderer with her sons. Parveen Bebi had been walking barefoot as she swore to get justice of her son’s murder. The judiciary had failed her so she took the justice in her own hands. She then surrendered to the local police station.
SC AQUITTS A DEADMAN
The Supreme Court acquitted a man whom the session court has convicted of murder. The session court handed the convicted the death sentence in April 2004. But the justice was delayed hence denied. Mazhar Hussaindied of coronary failure about two years ago while still in incarceration.
Hussain’s acquittal came about 19 years after he was accused of murdering Muhammad Ismail in May 1997 in Dhoke Ali Haider. He appealed to Lahore High Court where the court turned it down. Later, he appealed to the Supreme Court.
The apex court took up the case and granted leave to appeal in September 2010. On October 6, after the passage of six years, the three-member bench headed by the reigning Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa resumed hearing of the case. The court acquitted Hussain of murder charges because of a lack of evidence. Later, family members told the media that Hussain had died while serving out his sentence.
Executed, then acquitted
Two brothers of Ranjhay Khan in central Pakistan were acquitted after a year they were hanged to death by the judiciary of Pakistan. Police arrested the two brothers Ghulam Qadir and his brother Ghulam Sarwar for the killings in the village. Qadir went to negotiate with two of the men killed when the victims invited him over. He was trying to register the case against one of the two for kidnapping and raping his daughter, Salma.
Qadir fell for the trap as Akmal and Abdul Qadir demanded that he stop approaching the authorities. They tied him up and beat him and tried to threaten him for trying to have them arrested. the matters escalated when the family of Qadir arrived on the scene. Both parties opened fires that killed both Akmal and Abdul Qadir along with the rape victim Salma.
The session court sentenced the two brothers to death in May 2005. Ghulam brothers appealed for their innocence and waited for 10 years on a death row. Finally, their appeals made their way through Pakistan’s labyrinthine justice system to the Supreme Court. the apex court quitted both accused ob the basis of insufficient evidence on October 6, 2016.
But this was once again the case where justice was delayed and was too late. the Ghulam brothers had already been hanged to death on October 13, 2015. The acquittal came almost exactly a year later.
CHARGES AGAINST THE FATHER OF A LYNCHING VICTIM
A mob lynched Mashal Khan on the campus of a university in Mardan, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The mob accused him of blasphemy which was later on proved as false. In February 2018, the court convicted 31 people, sentencing one person to death, while acquitting 26 others. In March 2019 the court sentenced two more men to life imprisonment while acquitting two others.
The father of late Mashal Khan, who was also very vocal of student rights, announced to appeal against the acquittal of two. In November 2019, the father of Mashal attended the Student Solidarity March. The march itself gain a lot of controversial accusations and was misinterpreted. the march was supported by many government officials and politicians. However, the Punjab police registered a complaint against the father of late Mashal for attending the march.
We have been nominated in an FIR. We met Governor who assured us of support. Ministers tweeted in our support. Protestors gathered & dispersed peacefully.
Do we even have a govt in our country? Can we trust anybody's words?
We are peaceful citizens & will remain undeterred. pic.twitter.com/KiixJt1uRj
— Ammar Ali Jan (@ammaralijan) December 1, 2019
The people nominated in FIR also included Iqbal Lala, Dr. Ammar Ali Jan, and Alamgir Wazir— cousin of member national assembly Ali Wazir.
DIED IN HOPES OF JUSTICE
Naqeebullah Mahsud, a Waziristan native, was killed in a staged encounter in Karachi in January 2018. He was killed during a fake encounter staged by the senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rao Anwar.
Rao Anwar claimed that Naqeebullah had links with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Daesh. However, an inquiry committee consisting of senior police officers found Naqeebullah to be innocent. The committee declared that the alleged police encounter staged to kill him and three others were fake.
Mohammad Khan, the father of Naqeebullah Mehsud passed away on Monday waiting for justice. Khan had been battling with the Cancer and was pursuing the Naqeebullah’s murder case since his demise.
Chief of Army Staff expressed his grief but the judiciary has fai9led Khan miserably.
COAS expresses heartfelt grief on demise of Muhammad Khan father of Naqeebullah Mehsud.
“May Allah bless the departed soul eternal peace at Heaven, Amen. Efforts to ensure provision of justice as promised to him shall be pursued”, COAS.
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) December 2, 2019
WOMAN ACQUITTED AFTER JAILED FOR 20 YEARS
Asma Nawab spent two decades in jail, wrongfully accused of murdering her family. Nawab was just 16 years old when someone slit the throats of her parents and only brother during an attempted robbery at their home in Pakistan’s chaotic port city of Karachi in 1998.
Within 12 days, the court handed her death sentence in a speedy trial. She appealed for her innocence in higher courts. Though her trial was speedy, her appeal moved at a glacial speed through Pakistan’s creaky justice system. In 2015 her lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court. After three long years of hearing the apex court released Nawab due to lack of evidence.
ATC acquits all accused in Sahiwal killings case
on January 26, 2019, a Counter-Terrorism Department CTD killed a family and their neighbor in an alleged police counter.
The victims were identified as grocery store owner Mohammad Khalil, his wife Nabila, their 13-year-old daughter Areeba and their friend who was driving the car, Zeeshan Javed. Their son Umair Khalil sustained bullet wounds while his sister Muniba’s hand also sustained gunshot-related injuries and Hadiba, their younger sister remained unhurt.
The police first claimed that they were kidnappers who were kidnapping the children. They told the story to people at a petrol pump where they left the children of the victims. After a video of the Khalil’s son surfaced where he claimed that the deceased in the encounter were his parents. The story took a turn and the CTD changed its stance, declaring only the driver named Zeeshan as a terrorist affiliated with ISIS.
The CTD officials kept on changing their stance and even allegedly threatened the family’s lawyer. The recorded statements of surviving kids, eyewitnesses, and other evidence were all pointing that the CTD official opened fires without warning. the officials kept on firing even though Khalil repeatedly asked them to check the car.
On October 24, 2019, a special bench of an anti-terrorism court (ATC) acquitted all accused in the brutal multiple murders. The court gave them benefit of the doubt while acquitting the accusers.
NOBODY KILLED NIMRITA
As cliche it sounds, that’s the truth judicial commission in Nimrita Chandani case is seeking. The judicial commission of the Nimrita Kumari Chandani case has declared it a suicide case.
Dr. Chandani was found dead on September 16, 2019, in mysterious circumstances in her hostel room. She was a BDS final year student of Assefa Medical and Dental College, Larkana.
“I have seen my sister’s body and all pieces of evidence on it point towards murder,” her brother revealed.
Chandan’s brother Dr. Chandarni also denied the claims of the suicide of the first autopsy report as he claimed that the marks on her neck were caused by a cable. He also pointed out the wounds on her arms show that somebody has held her down forcefully.
The autopsy report confirmed the doubts of the family when it revealed that Nimrita was sexually assaulted and murdered.
The police mishandled the pieces of evidence and also delayed unnecessarily. Forensic Laboratory Lahore also suspected foul play.
For how many time the judiciary will support the culp[rits and convict the victims. We only analyzed some of the major cases that happened in this decade. Many cases are still pending and waiting for justice.