The Mashal Khan murder case is in immediate and the government – both provincial and federal – need to pay immediate attention. The leading member of the prosecution, Zafar Abbas, has left the hearing procedure in the middle of nowhere citing “personal reasons” – the most common euphemism used by officials who have been pressured into backing off.

Keeping in mind the slow process of criminal justice system and the loopholes it contains, alarm bells should be ringing for the government and the civil society right now.

Though the government of KP has already announced to bear all the expenses of Mashal’s case trial, the government needs to be mindful that it’s not only finances that are necessary to fight a case; one of the requirements is a qualified team is for investigation and fact-finding.

From the first hearing of the case to the recent refusal of Zafar Abbas, external forces are trying to make the case weak. Earlier, the primary witness to the case changed his statement stating that he was coerced to record a statement against one of the two principal accused. Such tactics are commonly used in Pakistan to achieve the desired results in a case. While these things are happening openly, it seems the government is not interested in the fate of the case and the victim’s family.

In the present scenario, KP government needs to forcefully fix the situation and correct the harm that has already been done to the case. It is the responsibility of the KP government to provide the victim’s family with all the means necessary to serve them justice. The provincial government should not only provide them the best legal aid but also maximum protection.

Realising the importance of the Mashal Khan case for the nation the provincial government should make sure to take care of all these things, as the nature of the case demands these from the government. If the government fails this time in punishing the guilty ones, it will encourage others to unleash their anger against those who dare dissent.