A general aversion is found among the civilians about military’s stronghold on the country. Generals are considered incapable of understanding democracy, considered trained to see things only in black and white, eluding the interpretation of the grey area where the actual meat is located.  When both Nawaz and Benazir were in exile, it was decided between the two that instead of conniving against each other, it would be better to strive against the military rule.  It became one of the core clauses of the Charter of Democracy (CoD).  Both the parties have so far stood by this commitment while also getting the support from other political parties. When Imran took to the streets of Islamabad for 120 days, the parliament had back-to-back sessions---a show of solidarity with the CoD. 

The opposition calls this solidarity Muk Mukka (taking turn to power). To the PML-N and the PPP, it is democracy.  Here hangs the conundrum.  Which democracy? Holding on to power. Having elections every five years. Making the institutions subservient to the will of the power elite. Keeping the constitution sacred in words only. Allowing the rule of law to be misused. Apparently, this model of democracy is in place. It certainly suits the ruling elite but does little to lift the lives of the people, who by definition should be the main beneficiary of democracy. The commoner is found committing suicide or damaging their lives because of lack of opportunities, and many times for lack of maturity of character that leads to desperate actions.  Many schools in interior Sindh and Punjab are in a deplorable condition. About 84 per cent people do not have access to clean drinking water, as disclosed the other day by the Minister for Science Technology Rana Tanvir in the Senate. According to the Pakistan Education Statistic 2015-16 Report, launched by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, 44 per cent children in Pakistan between the age group of five and 16 are out of school. The Supreme Court has as well given up on the National Accountability Bureau. 

This is just a glimpse of the mess we live around.  Each institution has become a den of corruption. Even judiciary is not spared. Resourceful persons, both in term of money and connections, are the lucky few to get the speedy resolution of their cases.  Since the government has not been interested in improving the quality of legal education, in increasing the strength of judges, in creating benches in far-flung districts courts, in providing adequate resources to the judiciary for a professional ambiance, and in doing away with the colonial legacy of Code of Criminal Procedure – the system grinds justice at its slowest. Even before landing in court the rusty claws of police leave the ordinary petitioners bereft of hope, eventually relying on some miracle to happen. 

Then why shed tears on the formation of military courts when the political system favours the culprit and bridle the poor. Police, the first link in the judicial process, in routine, fails to make a thorough investigation, leaving the second link, the prosecution unproductive. The Lahore High Court had released Hijratullah, convicted by an anti-terrorism court for attacking Manawan Police Academy in 2009, on the ground that the anti-terrorism court did not have the power to take up the case of Explosion Act (under which Hijratullah was convicted) since the law was introduced in 2012. What picture does this scenario paint of the lawmakers, the law enforcers and the interpreters of the law?

The new irritants are the military courts, regarded incompatible to democracy. Not in the above scenario, indeed. Not even when seen through the prism of the law enforcement officers being killed conveniently by the terrorists. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is entrenched in the Mohmand Agency and to get them out has claimed lives of many military officers. How long does the civilian government see this continuing?  In the absence of an active, responsive and speedy legal system this may continue forever.  Rehabilitate the lopsided democracy by strengthening the rule of law and constitution. In the meantime, let the military court do the job left out by the politicians. Enough of the non-seriousness!