For the last several years, the three pillars that establish good governance in a country, namely the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, had been at loggerhead with each other. We had been witnessing a nura-kushti between the three organs, with the government insisting that parliament is supreme, while the judiciary’s stand has been that the constitution and the laws of the country are paramount. Past Presidents and PMs have openly taunted and challenged the Supreme Court, refusing to obey or implement the orders of the Hon. Judges. This lack defiance of the SC orders, has made a mockery of our laws, ineffective and toothless and tarnished the image of the judiciary. And in this tug of war, the system of governance has been paralyzed and the credibility and authority of the judiciary have been undermined, giving militants an opportunity to unleash their campaign of terror, killing men, women and children without fear of punishment. The government constantly keeps claiming that it has caught hundreds of terrorists, target killers and criminals, but in the last ten years, not a single killer of innocent citizens has been tried and punished, as such, the reign of terror continues. A classic example of this travesty of law has prompted Mr. A. Rahim to make a revealing record of the Nishtar Park bombing in 2007, which is as follows:‘April 2006: Bomb blast at Nishtar Park; June 2007: Accused arrested; July 2007: Case started; 2008: Court moved to Badin; May 2009: Indictment of suspects; until Nov 20, 2009: no evidence recorded. Judge’s contract expires; for 15 months: case pending and then transferred to another court; till March 2013’.‘A few more years for the trial to conclude due to the following reasons’: Almost 200 prosecution witnesses still to be examined; only formal witnesses have so far been examined; three key witnesses and a magistrate have yet to be examined; delays in notification, dysfunction of trial court; shifting of suspects from one prison to another; lack of interest of prosecutors and complainant; death of the public prosecutor’. As Mr. Rahim has concluded, Justice delayed, is Justice denied. (http://m.dawn.com/news/1082920/justice-delayed).Sadly, the above scenario is not an isolated case in this unfortunate land of the Pak and the Pure. The tragic tale of Justice Denied began with the assassination of Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, our first Prime Minister.His assassination was followed by many high profile assassinations, which include the late Benazir Bhutto, Hakim Muhammad Saeed, Murtaza and Shahnawaz Bhutto, Salman Taseer, Malik Shahid Hamid, CEO KESC, Shaukat Raza Mirza, MD, PSO, Ms. Parveen Rehman, Director, Orangi Pilot Project and Zahra Shahid Hussain, an ordinary citizen and a PTI member, just to name a few.Our LEAs keep claiming that they have identified the Puppet Masters behind the bombings and killings and yet, have failed to present the culprits in court for trial. And the few that have been produced before a judge, have been released because of the lack of evidence. This combined failure of the courts and the LEAs to catch these assassins of high profile leaders and the inability of the judiciary to punish those few who have been caught, has encouraged the would be assassins and murderers to carry out their heinous crimes without fear of punishment, as they have realized that in this country, you can literally get away with murder. Such is the travesty of justice in Pakistan. At the same time, the criticism, that the Supreme Court has failed to improve the judicial system and eliminate corruption, especially in the lower courts is justified, as the delays in hearings and in passing judgments by the courts, frustrates the system of justice and is responsible for tarnishing the credibility and the prestige of the courts.The ongoing trial of Gen. Musharraf, is also a sad testimony of the travesty of justice. The General had always boasted that he was a commando and not afraid of anything or anyone, accept Allah. Yet, ever since the General’s trial for treason began, the brave commando has been able to dodge his date in court, on some pretext or another, the latest being the time old gimmick of ill health and heart problem, that many of our past Presidents and PMs have also used to avoid being in court. But now, the Day of Judgment for the General has finally arrived, as his various appeals to leave the country, have been rejected by the Hon. Judges and the Commando will have to present himself in court on 7th February, where he will be indicted for his crimes against the State or face arrest. What follows once the Pandora’s secretive box is opened is anybody’s guess, as it could trigger a chain reaction, which could be fatal for Nawaz Sharif and his government. Today, Pakistan is considered to be the epicenter and a breeding ground for militants and terrorists and Uncle Sam and his Allies fear that the failure of the government to end the carnage, could result in the Taliban taking over the country and our nuclear assets, putting the world in danger. Therefore, it is time that the government stops dillydallying and ends this game of pass the pillow. It must take a decisive decision about the militants, either to talk or take military action and prove that it means business. No doubt, an all out assault against the militants is not going to be easy, as it will be long, dangerous and bloody and if not successful, spill over to the streets of our cities, trigger a civil war and be disastrous for the future of Pakistan. Perhaps that is why the government is cautious and reluctant to listen to the Hawks. It realizes that the future of Pakistan and its 180 million citizens is at stake, as once the operation is launched, there is no pulling back, with ‘winner takes all’. Therefore, are we, as a nation prepared for this defining, do or die moment? Are we prepared to allow our PM to Walk the Talk and float down the River of No-Return, which could take us over the Niagara Falls and the rocks below? Not an easy decision to take, but sooner or later, it must be taken, as we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Or as always, should we leave it in the hands of Allah?n The writer can b reached at email@example.comThis news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 02-Feb-2014 here.