I would be very averse to criticism of judicial decisions for two reasons. One that I have complete faith that they are based on wisdom and knowledge of law, derived from decades of faithful service as officers of the courts and second the concern that I may in my ignorance, say something that may fall in the category of contempt. I however find this in conflict with my ability to think rationally and exercise, what is known as ‘conventional wisdom’. My notions on justice are based on family associations with the bar and bench since my grandfather was a judge and his son (my late uncle) an honorable justice of the Supreme Court.
I have on some occasions found verdicts that defy common sense, but later discovered that there was a ‘method in the madness’ and it was my inadequacy of understanding the law with all its intricacies and applications that was the reason for my point of view. Yet to err is human and there are instances, where one does not comprehend the logic behind certain decisions. One such case is the recent order that hate speeches being made by the disqualified Prime Minister, his daughter and son in law will not be aired. What I fail to understand is that why didn’t the decision strike at the source of such utterances, instead of restraining their proliferation? Why did the judgment resort to firefighting instead of removing the cause of conflagration? It is more than likely that the ex PM and his daughter will not be deterred by the judgment since it does not stop them from spewing hate against state institutions. More ominously, they have now openly begun inciting a rebellion and undoing what a few men of courage have undertaken to accomplish i.e. clean up the mess created by politicians. It is for the legal community to interpret that ‘incitement to rebellion’ against state organs falls under which particular category of Pakistan Law.
I have always held the opinion that treason is a word not to be banded around callously and if it has to be applied it must be done judiciously and with extreme caution. Events have however indicated that we – the people of Pakistan have been ruled by a family that not only fraternises with the enemy, but follows their agenda of creating mayhem and weaken the state structure from within. The result is that we do not see any government worth its mention. We are however fortunate that State machinery is running on ‘auto’ and because of a well-established bureaucracy system, but many question marks have lately appeared against our civil servants and their loyalties to individuals rather than the State. Our two pillars of strength however are the defense forces and higher judiciary. These institutions have proved their unflinching patriotism and commitment to Pakistan. While the Armed Forces are protecting our internal and external frontiers, judicial activism at its best, is endeavoring to rectify the mess precipitated by corrupt political players. This task is not an easy one, as it is herculean in nature. There is corruption everywhere (even in the most insignificant public department), the education system is in shambles, clean drinking water is unavailable giving rise to serious viral disorders, there is a total absence of effective healthcare and law enforcement is a farce supposedly enforced by a police force that is rotten from within.
I shall however return to the term ‘treason’ and its application on incitement of rebellion. Our reasoning is corrupted to the extent that we now refer to rebels and secessionists as heroes. And when the hour of reckoning draws near, when the window for change offers itself to the nation, we shall once again vote these individuals into the Parliament or even the highest executive office in the land. What more can I say about the nation except mourn their lack of vision and wisdom and follow this up with a prayer – God Almighty give the people eyes that see and help them choose wisely for they know not, what they do.
The writer is a freelance columnist.