It was rather funny seeing both parties of the trial celebrating. Sweets were distributed around, pictures shared, chanting and singing... Both believed that they’d won. Aggressive media campaigns from the loyalist channels played an important part in forming the narrative and the dedicated workers of each party slept peacefully last night.

Neither is right though. The PTI brigade and Mr. 10% himself insist that corruption has been proven due to the two judges who decided against the PM. This, they say is proof that Nawaz Sharif is now illegible to hold office. They aren’t right. It doesn’t matter what the two judges said. The three judges who asked for more investigation still seem to be undecided. In any court, this is important. For now, Nawaz Sharif is innocent until he is officially proven guilty by the Supreme Court bench. That said, the celebration in the lion’s camp is outright pathetic. True you were not proven guilty but the JIT now being established will probe deeper. The three judges are curious and this curiosity could very well be the demise of Nawaz Sharif.

One thing the country failed to see during the saga was that this was not a fight for the party. It was a fight to bring a specific family to justice, to take back from them what they’ve apparently bled away from the poor of the country. The government was wrong to make the case personal. It was wrong to make it a ‘PML-N versus the rest of Pakistan’ fight. It was outright ridiculous to see sitting ministers defending the person who didn’t care to show up to court himself. It was, yet gain, ridiculous to see that either side chose to hold press conferences instead of having formal statements from their lawyers. It was ridiculous that all of us dedicated our time and energy on a useless drama that was designed to make a fool of us in the first place.

The decision was far from satisfactory. True it is both the right and the responsibility to ensure that a fair decision is passed. To do so, they have all the legal right to pursue any measures, form investigation teams, form judicial commissions, demand officers to appear in front of them etc. What makes little sense though, is why this declaration to further investigate had to come after a reserving the decision. If, as the ruling insists, the NAB chairman was not being cooperative, the Chief Justice had all right to pursue a case against him for impeding a trial that is nationally important. With the announcement of a JIT, the court seems to be fine with the action of the NAB chairman. With the reaction and subsequent media coverage and discussion, it seems all of us are willing to give the NAB chairman a clean chit for his actions. If there is no accountability of the chairman of the main accountability bureau of the country, there is little that can be expected in terms of fairness from the country at large.

The judiciary needs reforms. Trials should not, must not take this long. It is true that people have lost faith in the efficiency of the courts. Somehow, the courts seem to not care of the time lost as trials get extended. I would commend Shan Taseer for reminding the world that it is this inefficiency that resulted in the situation Asia Bibi is in right now. The judges seem to be avoiding cases that deserve their efficient rulings. In case of Asia Bibi, the Supreme Court needs to take the decision on blasphemy seriously. In either case, whether the decision is passed for her or against her, the court needs to establish precedent which can then be debated on. Reforms, even within the legislature, would require the courts to make their decisions first. A living like that of Asia Bibi in the jail is hardly a living. If they think they’re saving her life, they should understand that their undecidedness translates into incidents like the brutal killing in Mardan last week.

Mardan, it seems, is now cleansed from the intellectual discourse that was working up against infrastructural problems, societal problems and religious problems. There is a painful silence now, yes, but the fact is that it is for the better. We’re all animals of habits. We like to linger in our traditional ways and find peace in our addiction to norm. Even today, as we try to condemn the incident, we insist that the departed was in fact a part of our norms. That’s why what happened to him was wrong. The courts, not the ulemas, as people urge elsewhere, need to set in the standards of our norms. That’s why the role of the judiciary in forming the social narrative cannot be emphasised enough.