KARACHI - No real change in our society is possible until meaningful reforms are introduced in our court system so that justice is doled out not only to the elite but also to the downtrodden Pakistanis, said Pasban-e-Pakistan President Altaf Shakoor here on Tuesday. He added for this purpose the colonial era laws should be repealed at the earliest. He said if the courts pronounced decisions on merit, there was no need for them to look to someone else for image-building.

He said sadly there were two laws in the country: one for the rich and other for the poor. “Hence, until proper reforms are made in our judicial system and court procedures, we cannot hope to see a real change in our society,” Altaf argued.

He further said that ordinary Pakistanis were not optimistic that they could also get justice.

“There is a feeling that if you are not son or daughter of a Wadera, a feudal lord, Chaudhry, an industrialist, ruler, minister, General, opposition leader, you should forget about getting justice,” he said, and added, “There are practically separate laws for the rich and the poor.”

Quoting the example of Pakistani woman scientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui, Pasban president said that she was kidnapped along with her minor children. “And she has been languishing in a foreign prison for the last 14 years, while the kidnapped sons of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and chief justice of high court were successfully recovered,” he regretted.

He was of the view that such double standards were practiced in Aafia’s case because she was an ordinary citizen of Pakistan, and did not belong to the elite class. Altaf lamented that mega corruption scandals in Pakistan devoured the taxpayers’ money and virtually nothing was left for the real welfare of common man. He said this loot and plunder of the taxpayers’ money should stop so that the budgetary funds were spent on the welfare of citizens.

He said present corruption-tainted examination system should be revamped so that merit could be upheld at every level. “Our bureaucracy is still mentally living in the British colonial era,” he said, and added, “Bureaucrats should now be trained to serve the people and not to rule over them as now Pakistan is not a British colony, but an independent nation.”