I’m a law student and my study aims to better understand the complexities of dispensing justice to petitioners.

A news item in The Nation (Aug 22) carrying remarks by Honorable Justice Dost Muhammad of the Supreme Court drew my attention to the fact that provision of justice is more difficult in countries like Pakistan. We are suffering from electricity shortage and citizens of this country can’t get 24 hour power, then there are millions of refugees.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Dost Muhammad, while hearing a case regarding the supply of electricity to Afghan refugee camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, ruled that every house in the refugee camps should be allotted its own electricity meter. During the proceedings Justice Dost Muhammad remarked that “when [affordable] electricity will be out of people’s reach, what else will people do but steal it through illegal power connections. Circular debt worth Rs400 billion haunts every citizen here”.

Unfortunately Pakistan also faces high unemployment rate. The life as an unemployed family head is not simple and free from tension.

Most of the people are engaged in low waged jobs. When they can’t afford their basic necessities of food and medicines, they start using unfair means, which according to Pakistan’s law are unlawful. Their moves may fall within the ambit of crime, but according to Italy’s highest court stealing food by a hungry person is not a crime: “Stealing small amounts of food to stave off hunger is not a crime” which Italy’s highest court of appeal had ruled. BBC (May 3, 2016) had reported that judges overturned a theft conviction against a poor and hungry man, Roman Ostriakov, after he stole cheese and sausages worth ($4.50) from a supermarket.


Karachi, September 3.