In the event of a high-profile case or other political scandal, there is a general tendency of referring the matter to an ‘Inquiry Commission’ in Pakistan instead of resolving the matter there and then. These Inquiry Commissions have been instrumental in generating more confusions and controversies than ever resolving a situation. Inquiry generally is a ‘legal tool’ to determine the truth or falsehood of specific accusations or charges made against a person and it can also be conducted to ascertain some specific facts in a dispute. Technically, an inquiry body has narrow scope and limited mandate depending on its term of reference. It is only an investigative body that can identify and apprehend the real culprits involved in a crime by employing various investigative, spying and modern forensic techniques. Therefore, on account of its inherent weakness, an inquiry body can never be a substitute for an investigative body to solve a crime.

So far we have failed to evolve any independent and credible investigative institution in our country. In the absence of any such body, we often have to rely on an inquiry commission to inquire into any high-profile case. The formation of judicial inquiry commission, comprising three serving judges of the Supreme Court, to probe the deadly attack on Hamid Mir is another manifestation of this tendency. The Supreme Court of Pakistan is highest court of appeal with a huge backlog of pending cases. Therefore, engaging three senior judges, of the apex court, for a limited purpose should not be advisable. To get rid of this tendency, we have to establish some credible and competent investigative agencies on the modern lines that would ensure an impartial and efficient investigation regime in the country.

Historically these Inquiry Commissions have never provided any information to the masses or resolved any cases, the murder of Benazir Bhutto, the death of Osama bin Laden, the Aero Asia Airline disaster, attacks on Mehran Base and so many other unresolved and pending inquiries which have proved to be a waste of time and our tax money.


Lahore, May 5.