First, it was Hafiz Saeed; now it is Sufi Muhammad. The information is that Peshawar High Court has granted Sufi Muhammad bail in two cases pending against him. The security bond means that he’ll be set free. While Sufi Muhammad secured his bail given his ill health, it is not shocking at all to see how the lawyers manipulate and misuse the humanitarian clauses in the criminal justice system of the country. In legal circuit such practices are no more considered unethical. The unjust use of these provisions highlights the loopholes that are part of our justice system.
Combined with the government’s lacklustre response and interest in the cases against the leader of TNSM, the loopholes in our criminal law made it easy for the defence counsel to get bail for his client from the court. However, the burden of responsibility lies on the shoulder of the government for its inability to actively pursue the legal proceedings against Sufi Muhammad who was charged with sedition in 2009 as declared the law of the land and the government un-Islamic. The government’s failure has smoothened the path for his release. All other arguments that the court has considered are secondary in this regard.
State’s reluctance to persecute him is beyond comprehension. Given that he was involved in many high profile crimes against the state, the government, its institutions primarily military, the establishment chose to remain idle when one after another charge against him was dropped systematically. Furthermore, shifting of the trial from an anti-terrorism court to a normal one despite this being a clear-cut case of terrorism is nothing but state’s incompetence and lack of seriousness to deal with people involved in terrorism.
One can say that the whole scheme of proceedings against the leader of TNSM was a deliberate attempt to drag the case. The delaying of the trial is nothing but an insincere prosecution process. All this combined made it easy for the defence counsel to convince the court to grant his client bail.
Nothing has changed much today from the past practices of the state when the government entered into agreements with him to establish peace in the region of Swat back in 2008. In fact, such contracts in the past encouraged TTP to build a parallel justice system in opposition to that of the state.
The release of Sufi Muhammad will be remembered as a grotesque contortion of the legal system. His release may provide a new impetus to the defunct TNSM. Given this state of affairs, the government and establishment wonder why the international community ignores “our sacrifices narrative.”