The ruling party had been trying to exploit the judiciary for the last two years. This time it worked. One remembers that before this, the judiciary had got a bad name during the Zia regime when the case of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was mishandled and an elected Prime Minister was executed unjustly. Things were not the same for Musharraf regime because when he tried to run rough shod over judiciary, the judges and lawyers got united and thanks to their protest movement, the nation came to know how the judiciary could be independent. We, the people in the civil society, had thought that we might see better days in courts now. In the subsequent few cases, the judiciary did show that it was now strong enough to even challenge the President of Pakistan and that is a plus point for them. But unfortunately, it was doomed for failure, especially when the cases concerned the poor and destitute ordinary people. The latest example of this has been the case of Shazia the housemaid, a minor girl who died under mysterious circumstances in a lawyers house. We all heard the harrowing stories about the circumstances the child died in while the police and the lawyer tried to hush up the matter with concoctions about her being sick and having died a natural death. The family of the girl also told us that the lawyers party tried to convince the family to quietly bury the child as they could in no way challenge the case in courts. They also offered fifteen thousand rupees for the burial. We are grateful to the media which highlighted the case and made the public aware of this grave injustice. The earlier media reports showed that post mortem reports had established that violence was done to the child, her bones broken and, therefore, it was a case of murder. In the court room, two medical reports are presented to show that the child was not murdered. I wish to raise the question about the earlier medical report here which came in the hands of the mass media highlighting foul play. The day when the accused lawyer Chaudhry Naeem and others were granted bail, a newspaper reported how a lot of lawyers present in the court room pressurized and harassed the complainants lawyers to withdraw their power of attorney. I wonder if the judges would ever consider this case while talking at length about conscience and all that. If the judiciary is to prove that it is free and fair, it should do so in cases of the poor also. If justice is not done to the poor, no justice is being done at all. -FR. ABID HABIB, Lahore, February 20