The DHA Lahore hit and run case which was caught on camea on New Year’s Eve is getting complicated by the day. There were rumours that the accused was politically well-connected, which led to fears that case would be laid by the wayside. However, following the video’s viral spread on social media there was a strong backlash against the VIP treatment of the accused and a push to register an FIR against him.

That has been promptly done, however there seems to more than a little overcorrection on part of the police authorities. The Defence police registered a case under sections 302, 324, 353, 109 and 114 of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7-Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). The FIR that was registered terms the incident as harm without intention and caused by negligent driving. The problem, however, lies with the inclusion of 7 ATA clauses into the FIR. While it is understandable for them to include the ATA clauses for speedy justice – as trial under the ATA go through a special tribunal which makes convictions quicker – the simple fact is that the incident is not a case of terrorism at all. Cases in the Anti-Terrorism Courts (ATC) are treated differently and harsher punishments proscribed specifically to deal with the menace of terrorism, they should not be used as an alternative fast track to use when the prosecution feels like it.

A complaint has also been filed by Munir Ahmed, the accused, in an ATC on Friday against the inclusion of these clauses and he stands right in his demand, which seems warranted at this moment. While the justice system must ensure quick jusstive and impartiality from influence – correct procedures must be used. The case must be treated under normal circumstances, but must still be tried with the same intent by the prosecution.