We can only hope the Prime Minister’s remarks about judges wearing masks to give out rulings to terrorists was an impromptu statement, not one thought about at length, and arrived at as the best solution. If this response was something that was considered by our best and brightest in government, then we may have a problem. Hours of thinking about the problems of the country and possible solutions, and they still somehow miss the fact that extremism goes much deeper than just suicide bombers and militants. It is a way of thinking, that has sympathizers all over the country, and there are many other ways to find out the identity of a potential target; especially in a country that has weak structural issues and sympathizers within the system itself.
But one also needs to look at the bigger problem that this declaration sheds light on. The government of a country and its justice system are supposed to be strong and impenetrable institutions that need to be powerful enough to counter any threat posed to the people. The authority of judges is supposed to be supreme, in light of the law. The arm of the law is thought of as the longest. The implication of even suggesting that the judges, who are the guardians of truth and justice, wear masks, is that the writ of the state is all but a myth. The entire system of the judiciary, starting from referring to the judge as ‘Your Honour’ is seemingly meaningless. Terror it seems has even spread to the government and all the ideals of a nation state are threatened by the logical extension of what Nawaz Sharif said. What message do the citizens receive when their judges will give decisions with masks on their faces? What does that spell for the rest of the population? One can only hope that this statement will not be practically implemented, for that will mean, that terror has won, and we have lost.