The Supreme Court ordered the Federal Government to prepare a report on the procedure of trials under Article 10-A and military courts, and attempted to assess how to ensure that the most transparent and fair means are used to prosecute would-be terrorists. While this in itself is a positive statement the Chief Justice also questioned whether terrorists should be treated as ordinary citizens, even though they refuse to accept the law of the land. He hinted at a more proactive judiciary in terms of convictions, and stated that that the judiciary could not close its eyes to the countless lives lost as a result of terrorism. While any other citizen making this statement would be acceptable, for the CJ to state this implies that he already has a bias against any suspected terrorists, which is not expected from the sitting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Of course, CJ Jamali stressing the need for a more equitable justice system makes sense, but increasing the conviction rate, merely for the sake of it is not the answer. In Pakistan, where investigative techniques are obsolete and individuals lodge FIRs to settle personal scores, simply increasing the number of convictions is not going to improve the dispensation of justice. Judges have to stick to what they are supposed to uphold, and not get trigger-happy just because the country is at war. That is the army’s job. And at the same time, the judiciary is really the only institution that gets to have a say in who is or isn’t a terrorist apart from the army. If it is blindly looking to accept all claims by the establishment, then there is no way to ensure that the operations are being carried out in the best way.

Chief Justice Jamili must understand the constitution more than most, which is why his remarks of the laws of the country only catering to those that adhere to them seems strange. Maybe, if the context were to be changed, the meaning behind this statement could be surmised as looking at the laws that look to protect citizens, instead of punishing them in case of any wrongdoing. However, while terrorist have indeed forsaken the law and spurned the constitution, the only really way for the state to establish its writ and uphold the constitution is by using laws within for punishments. The terrorists are lawless, but it is the state’s job to remind them and the public in general that this will not be tolerated within the borders of Pakistan. If the state starts functioning outside the law, then it begins to undermine the most fundamental thing we are fighting for.