The Supreme Court of Pakistan has observed that the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) had failed to dispense justice in Zain Rauf’s murder case.

Rauf, a ninth grade student, was killed in April this year in a shooting allegedly by Mustafa Kanju following a collision between his car and another car. Kanju is the son of former state minister Siddique Kanju, and the ATC judge had acquitted him and his four guards, citing lack of adequate evidence against them.

Hearing a suo motu notice, the bench headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim assured Ghazala Rauf, mother of the deceased, that the State would contest the case and ensure that her son’s killers were brought to justice. He also assured her of security and said that she need not worry about harassment by police. Justice Muslim said no one was above the law, and said that the case would be decided in accordance with it.

The tragic incident of the killing of an innocent boy, at the behest of an influential personality makes it clear that ‘might is right’ in Pakistan. It highlights the appalling state of Pakistan’s criminal justice system and reaffirms that those without the capital, get the punishment. The mother of the deceased told the court that she had two daughters and no resources to fight the case with.

Our law enforcement agencies and the courts should decide as per the law in all such cases. It should not become another example where the influential can buy off justice. Besides punishing the culprit, it is also the responsibility of the state to provide security to the victim’s family and siblings who are being threatened by the perpetrators. There must be an end to this VIP culture in Pakistan. It is not enough to simply say that justice will be given to Rauf and his family, because it seems it wont.