LAHORE - Considering terrorism the biggest threat to the country’s stability, the lawyers view judicial reforms as the best way to root it out with strict implementation of laws, quality of investigation and fair trials.

The lawyers say that the state must show its writ by enforcing laws without compromising the national cause of fight against terrorism.

They term extremism, sectarianism, violation of merit, usurpation of the basic rights, poor legislation and weak laws behind the failure of the state to evolve any effective strategy to fight against this menace.

Terrorism, they say, is not just five or seven years old challenge; it has history of decades and deep roots in the society. Corruption has permeated in our lives – the top most cause of our failure to counter the terrorism, they add.

They contend that how the fight against terrorism could become a real fact when registration of an FIR with a police station is not an easy task as police do not hear the people. Such lethargic attitude of police leads the people to take laws into their own hands, they say.

They further say when a citizen approaches police station for registration of a FIR, the officials of the station demand money and after the payment, the FIR is registered. It is the stage when justice is denied and violence erupts, they maintain.

Police, after registration of FIR, exploit the suspect and rather than holding investigation demand him/her bribery and thus, the merit vanishes from the system – which subsequently leads towards terrorism approaches.

“Laws are made to govern the state but here are century old laws while the successive governments never took any serious step to introduce legal reforms instead of introducing fragile laws and steps for just political point scoring,” the lawyers argue.

They say that solution of this challenge lies with implementation of National Action Plan, army operation against the militant, unity of the whole nation against terrorism and long term strategies involving reforms in educational curriculum as well as laws and criminal justice system of the country.

Talking to The Nation, Supreme Court Bar Association President Barrister Ali Zafar said that National Action Plan must be kept continued in letter and spirit and it should not be compromised at any cost for the national cause. He said criminal justice system must be reviewed and reformed.

The investigation system and prosecution must be improved. The country lacked witnesses protection programme for which he said they were trying their best. He said without security of the witnesses, the criminals cannot be taken to justice.

Zafar said that military operation should be supported anywhere in the country and for this purpose, the whole nation should be sensitised and should be on the same page. He suggested the rulers to take the public into confidence and make them realise that how they could support the forces fighting against this challenge.

When asked that why terrorism penetrated in the country, Zafar said that it had long history and deep rooted causes. It started from Zia’s era when Pakistan interfered into internal affairs of the other countries. He said it was result of our foreign policy and interference into Afghanistan’s matter. He further said that our rulers never ever preferred country’s interest over their vested interests.

Senior lawyer SM Zafar said that terrorism could be eliminated by declaring that the country was in war situation and the steps should be taken which necessarily were used to be taken in war like situation. He said military and civil leadership should be united and should consult each others to form an agreed strategy to curb the militancy and terrorism.

SCBA former president Fazl-i-Haq Abbasi said that Afghan refugees should be sent back and border with Afghanistan should be managed. He said the government should establish good relation with neighbours. There should be a clear stance about militant because militants were militants; they were not good or bad, he said.

Lahore High Court Bar Association former president Abid Saqi said that an effective national plan was required. Century old laws were being implemented in it and no serious effort was made on the part of the government instead of making cosmetic measure to counter the terrorism.

“Provision of funds to those who are supporting terrorism in Pakistan must be stopped,” he said adding that how it was shameful that a political party allocated funds to a religious seminary through the budget in Peshawar. 

LHCBA former vice president Irfan Sheikh said that terrorism was taking place in the country due to the failure of law enforcement agencies. He said the courts decided all cases of terrorism sent to them but these cases were short in numbers as the prosecuting agencies did not refer them many cases.

He said the agencies always failed to investigate it that how the terrorism was taking place, who was sponsoring it and how to get it stopped. Intelligence failure and then the poor prosecution led to the overall failure, Sheikh maintain.