The purpose of laws is to guide and streamline the society within the limits guided by moral judgment and to guard against the miscreants and criminals.  This may work sometimes, but in most cases, laws have failed or have the loopholes for others to take advantage to frame others of crime for their own vested interests.  The laws can be faulty in dispensing justice which is either based on the principle of revenge in most cases, circling those involved who are handed over the verdict, sometimes wrongfully with no recourse for the accused to counter the judgment.  The laws are ever being evolved to make them better and well suited for the sufferers, but it can never be perfect, for the fault lines are much graver when it comes to punishment, and the punishment bestowed with a lack of evidence is hellish.

It is true that not all sentences carried out are wrong, but there is little to the defense of those accused. For example, the Diyat and Qasas laws, the Islamic jurisprudence that allows for the murderer to pay the blood money to the family of the victim and he can go scot free. This law is suitable for the well to do families but this facility is not for those who cannot afford the blood money to be paid to the family of the victim. This law is faulty in the sense that it allows for the murderer to go scot free without any repercussion. This has been observed in the cases of honorkilling of the girls and women  whose killers are pardoned within the family for an amount of money they receive from the killers who are usually their own close relatives. This is a case of faulty justice as it serves only the rich and influential while punishes those who cannot pay the blood money. The justice system should be such that it punishes the culprit, if proven, for whatever the crime he or she has committed. 

Another example that remains fresh in our memory is Raymond Davis who was set free after the Government of the USA paid the blood money to the family of the murdered.  Where was the cry of the Mullahs and clergy who kept silent after the blood money was paid? Was the justice, in true sense carried out? But there was no criticism after it. 

The law in Pakistan should be based on equality and equity, because human life is important and every life should be answerable to the law of the land, sans preference.  A case can be cited of Shahrukh Jatoi and Shahzeb, who was killed by the former in grudge for stopping him from teasing his sister.  The case went for a long time until the time blood money was accepted by the aggrieved party whereas Shahrikh Jatoi left without any persecution for murder he committed.

The controversial Qisas and Diyat laws were introduced in 1980s during Zia’s Islamization as a way to appease the clergy.  Under the law, the case of honor killing is considered as a civil offence, not as a criminal activity, thus patronizing and justifying the killing over alleged adultery.  It is because of these laws, it is estimated, that the crime of murder has risen manifold rather than controlling it.  It is estimated that the conviction rate has dropped dramatically and out of court settlements have increased, meaning justice is not served to the murderers who can go scot free after paying blood money.This law works unfavorably for women who remain helpless in seeking justice, even in death. 

The cases of compromise have been so high that it is not possible to keep a track of statistics of the cases of compromise where the family members pardoned the perpetrators, who are usually the member of the same household.  However, in cases where the families do not want to pardon the murderers of the family can register a complaint in the anti-terror court where the murderer can be indicted.  But such cases are very few in Pakistan.  There is a crying need for the review of the law to ensure justice for the victims who were murdered in cold blood to settle for the scores.

The other most heinous law that needs to be reviewed is the Blasphemy Law.  Introduced again during the time of Ziaul Haq, this law carries its weight merely on the hearsay of the people against those accused of blasphemy.  This law was first introduced in 1860 which was amended further in 1927 during the British period to avert the mob justice and carried sentences for the crime of blasphemy.  But this law was further hardened during Ziaul Haq’s time that carried death sentences for the crimes of blasphemy.  The major defect of the law is that anyone can be accused of the crime at a mere hearsay and no investigation ever takes place to get to the truth.  Worse still, the accuser, who can easily frame others of blasphemy to settle their scores or to cleanse the society of non-Muslims living within the vicinity, as has been the case with Rimsha Massih, against whom the evidence was fabricated.  Luckily the fabrication of the evidence was proved and Rimsha Massih was acquitted, but she had to flee the country with her family for security reasons as the behavior of the clerical mobs cannot be predicted.  What is noteworthy in this case is that the cleric who was found to be fabricating the evidence is scot free as no action has been taken against him.

The laws against witchcraft which was practiced in the USA centuries ago is a stark reminder of how the invisible crime carried sentences of death.  Just mere hearsay was enough to send the men and women to gallows.   This law has long gone, with tales and fables told how horrid and dark laws were such.  This is somewhat synonymous to what we witness today: the blasphemy laws, that strip the accused of any defenses to protect himself from the sentence. The laws have been defined to protect the powerful and punish the poor who do not have the resources to rescue those accused.

Same is the case of Blasphemy Laws here, which present a precedent for the mob aggression to punish those who are considered to have committed blasphemy without any concrete proof.  The most horrid example is that of the incident in Kot Radha Krishen where a brick kiln worker couple were tortured and thrown into the burning furnace without the interference of the police.  It was only later that the incident was condemned and those accused were arrested for committing this crime, but this action comes as no surprise, as we have witnessed the same in Joseph Colony and Gojra incident in Toba Tek Singh.

Those blasphemy accused acquitted by the judges have been threatened or killed by the clerics, thus instilling fear in the judges who are dealing with the cases of blasphemy.  Same is true with Asia Bibi, an illiterate Christian woman and mother of five who has been accused of blasphemy over a brawl when she drank water from a bowl of water. She was sentenced to death by the court and has been reaffirmed of the sentence in October. She has appealed to the President Mamnoon Hussein for mercy as she denies the charge of blasphemy as has been levied against her. 

This is the law where the wrongfully accused are sentenced for no crime of theirs while the accusers face no repercussions for the accusations they face on others.  Any talk of the review of the law has created more trouble as it has claimed the lives of Salmaan Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab and Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti. No one dares to talk about amending the law as it is akin to blasphemy for calling it for a review, yet the stark injustice is visible to all, but there is not a voice raised against this law.

The Qisas and Diyat Laws and Blasphemy Laws need great introspection and review as they are the major sources of injustice that create a disharmony and resentment in the society.  Unless the laws are repealed and replaced by the more secular laws, justice can be rightly served with equality and rightfulness.  Take the case of Hudood Ordinances, which did not give distinction between rape and adultery.  This law has been gradually softened by the Women Protection Bill, though it is not perfect, but it guaranteed protection to the women and is the step in the right direction. Same should be introduced for other unjust laws that have snatched the safeguard of the poor and vulnerable under the laws that we know as draconian laws.