The judiciary is a highly respectable, powerful and independent constitutional pillar all over the world. The judicial system of Pakistan is the continuation of the old colonial system of the British era. It was believed that if you have an enmity with someone in Pakistan, drag him into the courts and entangle them in long, tiring and financially exhausting legal proceedings.
The case hearings start routinely and the calls start being heard accordingly to the list of cases hanging outside. The lawyer of the criminal case appears before the honourable judge and with his permission gets his client released from jail on bail the next day even if the culprit is involved in a serious crime. This practice needs to be reviewed and a bail should not be granted till the case is finally decided. Later on, another lawyer enters, goes directly towards the reader sitting beside the judge, slips a hundred rupee note under his register, gets a long adjournment date and disappears. Next time, the other lawyer repeats the same. In this way an unending system of adjournment dates starts and continues throughout the case hearings for years.
Routine civil suits should be time-bound. During this long period of hearings, file after file continues piling up over the tables of honourable judges, who wait till the evidence is produced before them. Weak inadequate cases produced by the police and presented in courts and the practice of presenting paid fake witnesses in the court further prolongs and complicates the case. Consequently, due to a lack of evidence, sometimes even dangerous criminals miraculously escape punishment and are released honourably from the court. Interestingly if the convict is a part of the ruling government or its favourite, he is released on parole.
It is said that justice delayed is justice denied. This is true in most cases. It has been seen that during the national elections, every political party promises the people that if they win the election, they would provide them justice at their doorstep. After winning the election, their priorities change. With the passage of time, poor governance and corruption, deplorable conditions in lower courts where law is practiced and justice granted, have started showing signs of deterioration.
Just visit any lower court in the early hours, you will find court premises presenting the picture of a graveyard. Yawning and coughing sweepers, cleaning the court premises half-heartedly, with dust is all over. The area around court buildings has been occupied by practicing lawyers and their related staff, decorated with their broken chairs and tables covered with dust and tied up with rusty metallic chains for fear of thefts. Throughout the day you will come across beggars, vendors and shoe polish boys inside the court premises. The security system is inadequate. The honourable judges have not been provided respectable facilities. An elected body of lawyers exists but its role regarding welfare of the courts is not visible.
Today in Pakistan, many parallel courts, judicial, military, sharia and antiterrorist courts are working at the same time in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. As a result of incompetent rulers, poor governance of the state, collapsed government institutions due to corruption and political interference, there is lawlessness in the country. It looks like the law has lost its value and has become a joke because it is not being implemented properly, its implementation varies from class to class, strict for the poor, and sympathetic for influential people. Moreover, the decisions of the courts also differ. Hundreds of the terrorists caught red-handed with guns in their possession and weapons hidden at homes are convicted and presented by one court but released by the other due to a lack of evidence. Similarly, a model was caught at the airport by the custom officials on duty red-handed smuggling money abroad, a case was registered, but it isbeing shifted from one court to the other and has not been decided so far.
The judiciary in Pakistan undoubtedly comprises of very rich, eminent and highly professional lawyers and judges. In the prevailing circumstances of Pakistan, when the ruling government and the parliament both have become irrelevant, the orders of higher courts are being delayed and neglected. The country is at war against terrorism, facing conspiracies and espionage and separatist movements by India and Afghanistan in Balochistan. The ruling government in Sindh has lost its writ and failed in its governance. The disappointed people of Pakistan are looking towards its judiciary and expect it to intervene, use its constitutional powers and take rapid suo motu action against the major national irregularities and in the greater interest of the state and save it from sinking. God bless Pakistan and our judiciary, Inshallah.