According to a report, the Chief Minister of Punjab has ordered his officials to expedite the revival of the executive magistracy in the province. If I remember correctly, executive magistracy was abolished a few years back, after the specifically created judicial reforms committee had recommended that it should be abolished because it violated the democratic spirit of separation of judiciary from executive. This is because under such a system the same official catches and sentences the accused mostly without proper process of law and hence falls under the category of the ‘law of jungle’ in which the powerful can freely use this ‘raw power’ to enrich themselves.

I had the opportunity to watch closely the functioning of executive magistracy when it was in force in the past. Almost all such magistrates were thoroughly corrupted by such concentration of power. One magistrate ,who I knew, in Multan, accumulated large wealth in a span of his three year tenure. Most of them fell victim to personal vices of promiscuousness and boozing. Executive magistracy was the greatest weapon in the hands of our colonial masters, to keep their subjects constantly intimidated and under perfect political control. Our dictators also used this system to crush their political opponents.

The Chief Minister has been advocating revival of executive magistracy, perhaps with some underlying political motives, since the beginning in the name of maintenance of law and order and price control but actually it is a great fallacy, because the current wave of terrorism is not home-grown and has the support of the mighty foreign powers. And price control falls under the dynamics of free-market economics of supply and demand mechanism.

MEHMOOD ALI,

Muzaffargarh, February 20.