There are two cases in media spotlight during the last year which have shaken Pakistan’s political structure to the core- the Panama Papers case against Nawaz Sharif, and the case against former Malir SSP Rao Anwar of the killing of Naqeebullah Masood. These are two different cases of such symbolic importance with the potential to trigger social and political movements-yet the contrast with which the two cases are being handled so differently is striking.

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While we have all seen the strict diligence with which the judiciary has followed up on the cases against Nawaz Sharif, with the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) ordering for the cases to be concluded quickly, justice for Naqeebullah has been anything but swift. While there had been initial uproar when the murder of Naqeebullah was publicised, in a few months, the issue had mostly died down, with a fugitive Rao Anwar trying to flee the country and Sindh politicians turning a blind eye to the seriousness of the extra-judicial murder. Now, even after Rao Anwar was brought to face the law and the case has processed in the court, things appear to be moving just as slowly, with justice for the murder victim’s family, not near in sight.

The case took a further setback on Tuesday when the anti-terrorism court in Karachi accepted Rao Anwar’s bail application, essentially setting Anwar free for the meanwhile. Naqeebullah’s father has released a statement condemning the court’s action of granting bail to the accused, calling him a danger to society.

Even if this case had not been one of such public importance and symbolic value, this decision of the court would have been controversial. The point of contesting this case under the anti-terrorism courts (ATC) was that the ATC have extraordinary powers that restrict bail and leniency towards the accused, due to the gravity of the crime. Even in a regular criminal court, bail for Rao Anwar would have been contested, due to the SSP’s attempt at absconding before, and his previous reputation and record for police brutality and extra-judicial killing.

This essential case for human rights and ethnic profiling is taking place at a time when the judiciary is undergoing a phase of activism. This makes it more frustrating that the accused in this case is being treated so leniently - with several delays and allowances for Anwar - compared to the unusual rigidity that the accused in the Panama case are treated-makes it apparent that the conversation around the judicial activism is not so truly about justice or accountability.