We need to bring a slow revolution in the judicial system that will ultimately transform the political and social values of the society. For that to happen, the forces that precipitated and sustained the movement will have to remain associated in a relentless pursuit of these objectives.-Khomeini 1979 Everything in Pakistan has presently been eclipsed by the fighting in the tribal agencies that extended to the Malakand Division with the occupation of the Swat valley, Dir and Buner by a group of militants calling themselves Taliban. The Pakistan army launched a counter offensive mobilising three army divisions with air power to regain control of the areas after a 'peace accord' between the NWFP government and militants brokered by Sufi Muhammed failed. The military operation was timed to coincide with the US visit of President Zardari earlier this month, where he was to hold a tripartite summit together with the Afghan and US presidents. The inordinate haste and secrecy has already raised questions about the coordination between the army and civilian government in the planning of the operation and their comprehension of human suffering and the possible fallouts. The ordinary resourceless residents of the besieged areas suddenly found themselves caught amid shelling from both sides and had to leave their homes to save their lives with no means of transport or definite destination, leading to a mass exodus estimated at 1.5 million and said to be the largest in such a short period, except in Rwanda. The hurriedly established tents tell tales of chaos, inadequate poorly managed facilities and supplies and distinct possibilities of epidemics and social problems in the hot summer months and the coming monsoon season. The fiercely independent rugged frontier tribesmen, inhabiting a difficult mountainous terrain with an undefined and unmarked border with Afghanistan, have always been unruly and lightly armed. These areas were guaranteed autonomy in 1947 but were kept backward and not brought in the mainstream with the rest of the country. The military regimes used them by renting their fighting expertise to the Americans in the name of waging jihad to drive out the Russian infidels from Afghanistan. As the same people resisted the 2002 American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the freedom fighters of the 1980s have now been redesignated as terrorists by the Americans. Our government has readily accepted to fight its own people, who are resisting because they are being chased and bombed by the US predator drones in their own territory and simultaneously being attacked by the Pakistan army while we keep provoking them by violating their autonomy. A few groups of miscreants among them that include foreign nationals, whose influence does not extend beyond the frontier, are defying the authority of the state of Pakistan and find the local population responsive to their capacity of providing quick justice on their door steps that our system has been unable to provide. Our government has failed to cut off their supply lines, to apprehend them or to communicate with them and has now launched military operations that are likely to become unpopular if the army is not successful in eliminating the militant leaders, secure the areas and honourably repatriate the displaced families to their homes at the earliest. The American war in Afghanistan has thus been allowed to spread into Pakistan that is now fallaciously being owned by our government. A war is waged in foreign lands or to defend one's borders from an external aggressor, neither of which applies in this case. We are fighting militants in our own country that are home-grown as a consequence of injustice, deprivation and alienation of our own people Pakistan witnessed a lawyer's movement in March 2007 spanning over two years to free the judiciary from its forty years of domination and submission to the Executive branch. The media provided sympathetic coverage of their unending spate of spirited rallies and helped form a public opinion. The peaceful movement stayed steadfastly on course without losing its momentum despite personal hardships, coercion and efforts to divide and weaken its ranks first by the military regime and later by the democratically elected government that was ultimately forced to reinstate on February 16, 2009 all the non-pliant judges sacked by a military dictator. The lawyers and their supporters quietly retreated but they have set a slow revolution in motion and ominous signs of the sustainability of this movement have resurfaced. On May 4, the Supreme Court Registrar announced a new National Judicial Policy approved by the National Judicial Policy Making Committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The policy sets deadlines of three months for the disposal of criminal cases, six months for death cases and likewise for quick disposal of other civil and criminal cases of miscellaneous nature. It has sought total separation of judiciary from the executive by disallowing judges to accept executive appointments on deputation, putting an end to the practice of Chief Justices of High Courts officiating as provincial governors and by instituting a code of conduct for superior court judges. The chief justices of the High courts and the District and Session judges have been made responsible for monitoring inefficiency and cases of staff corruption and to conduct periodic inspection of jails to ensure prison rules are not violated. The Chief Justice of Pakistan has embarked on a series of interactive meetings with the district Bars to take the lawyers on board for playing their part in achieving these objectives and to create a better understanding and cooperation between the Bar and the Bench. He has made personal inspections of jails issuing on the spot decisions to free prisoners held on minor crimes and taking cognisance of convicts held on death row for unduly long periods. The lawyers and judges appear filled with a new vibrant spirit and enhanced feeling of pride and responsibility for the dispensation of quick and fair justice. On May 5, Mian Nawaz Sharif held a press conference to announce the support of his party to fight for the rights of the people of Balochistan just as it fought for the restoration of judiciary, as the federation could not survive without unity among the federating units and provinces. He demanded of the prime minister to take the leadership of all political parties into confidence on the situation in Balochistan, FATA and Swat and workout a national policy to bring back the dissidents into the mainstream and attend to the grievances of the neglected smaller provinces as steps to strengthen the federation. On May 6, an in-house enquiry committee comprising two party MNAs and one senator concluded that a PML-N member of National Assembly elected from Rawalpindi was implicated in his impersonation by a relative to sit in the examination hall to solve a Pakistan Studies examination paper on his behalf. Though there may not have been enough documentary evidence to convict the MNA in a court of law, the party felt the leaders holding public office are accountable on the grounds of morality, ethics, corruption and misuse of authority. The voluntary resignation of the MNA sets a practical model for others to follow in our society infested with such incidents that are dismissed as trivial or rightful for people of influence. A video recording of a young girl being subjected to a punishment of lashes, allegedly awarded on moral grounds, showed her lying face down on bare ground, held firmly by males and surrounded in a circle by gaping male spectators. This gruesome image screened internationally on private television networks brought such an uproar and revulsion throughout the country that even the militants that are proponents of medieval sentences and traditions disowned the execution of such punishment and turned the public opinion overwhelmingly against such violation of human rights in the name of Islam. The success of the lawyer's movement is the common denominator that has realigned the focus of the political parties and the entire nation away from being individual specific to matters of public welfare, institutional building, fearlessly monitoring the shortcomings of the government and the necessity for leaders in each field to lead from the front to seek solutions. The media has emerged as a powerful medium with its own conscience and a vehicle of tremendous influence for change. The fighting in FATA and Swat and the plight of the displaced persons, the insurgency brewing in Balochistan, the grievances of the smaller provinces, social disparity and poor governance are all interconnected with the same fundamental issues of justice and rights and are a part of the slow revolution towards the evolution of an equitable society based on our own political and social values. Our leaders will have to open their minds to this phenomenon and find solutions that conform to the wishes of the people. The writer is an engineer and an entrepreneur E-mail: k.a.k@hotmail.com