The murder of Tahir Ahmad Nasim, under trial for blasphemy, is yet another incident where members of society have assumed the role of a judge, jury and executioner—disregarding and violating the sanctity of due process as a whole.

The fundamental principle of a judicial system is strongly rooted in the promise of a fair trial and an informed verdict of guilt or innocence by a judge. However, societal understanding of the law has evolved into accusations being synonymous with a self-determined guilty verdict. Assuming the responsibility that comes along with such beliefs, premeditated murders of over 77 blasphemy suspects have taken place in Pakistan. Robbing the justice system of the opportunity to do its job and rendering the courts useless as a result of such acts alludes to a general disregard for the rule of law, which looks to be endemic in our society.

On another level, the courtroom where the murder took place, was situated in a high security area due to its proximity to the provincial assembly building, high court and governor house. For 19-year-old Faisal to be able to shoot the accused at point-blank range, signals a serious breach of security. Even though the public is allowed to attend certain court proceedings, the fact that he was able to smuggle a weapon inside a courtroom, in broad daylight, despite the stringent security checks and presence of police officials is alarming. Was this a mixture of indifference and failure to properly scrutinise or was there someone on the inside—all are possibilities being explored in this murder’s investigation.

Time and time again, murderers have been able to determine punishment and take action. If every individual was to follow suit, chaos would ensue. It is imperative for the system to ensure protection, inspire trust and enable judges to conclude trials by passing judgements in accordance with the law instead of one individual. This is the only way faith in the justice system can be preserved.