Anarchy and Pakistan

Sheikh Danish

Over the weekend, several videos surfaced of Sheikh Danish being attacked by a group of lawyers in Faisalabad before the police mobile darted him away from sight. It was a sigh of relief for many, but a slap in the face of the judiciary.
Lawyers are essential for the justice department of any state. They are responsible for helping people get justice, clear their names of any accusations and give them a ray of hope under difficult situations.. The western justice system works differently. I am pretty sure everyone who followed the Depp V Heard case must have realised by now that unlike in Pakistan, in the US a team of lawyers is responsible for representing their client at the court of law.
Lawyers from both parties make their case, and after the closing statement it is up to the jury or the judge to give their verdict. The case is handled objectively. But in Pakistan, seeking justice is not that easy. The lawyers can be well read, and graduated from a reputable university. They can have an excellent setup in Pakistan, but if the client is financially weak, the chances of the latter getting any justice are bleak.
It is not the lawyers’ fault, but a terrible flaw in our justice system that is nothing more than an ugly zit that pops up the instant we feel comfortable in our skin. Seeking justice in our country has been particularly difficult for the poor, or less powerful. Unless you have some powerful background, or money to support your claim, you will not be able to make a strong case for yourself to influence the verdict of the judge. An article published in the New York Post in 2019 referred to our judges as “bitches of the riches.”. Sharkukh Jatoi’s case is a prime example of our defective justice system. If you think of it as an aberration, consider this. Every week our Twitter has to blow up with a trend similar to #justiceforkhadija before one can hope to have their voices heard.
What happens when our institutions fail us? Exactly what the videos show us. People begin to take matters into their own hands, and get justice themselves. A few years ago, a woman in central Punjab admitted to killing 2 men. When she was asked for the reason, she said that her son was killed 10 years ago, but because of the weakness of our LEAs the accused fled the country. She waited a decade for them to come back, and finally when they did, she blatantly killed them. She elaborated, the justice system failed her, and her son, and had no other way to find justice for her son, but do it herself. The case of Sheikh Danish is similar. He brazenly harassed a girl, with the help of his housekeepers, and thought no one would even lay a finger on him, because of his political liaisons and money.
We all thought the same as we watched the video. And things were true, he was released on PKR 50,000 bail the next day of his arrest. But the public pressure forced the LEAs to follow procedure and have him appear at the court of law.
This is where Karma struck back, and he was showered with shoes, punches and slaps. Condoning such practices is unhealthy for the state. It should serve as a wakeup call for the judiciary, politicians and other state institutions. When institutions fail, anarchy prevails, and Pakistan is the living example of it. People are growing tired of relying on hope. Hope that LEAs might change. Hope that justice might hail supreme. Hope that an honest person can live peacefully in this country. Resultantly, this frustration manifests itself in people battering an accused, and imparting justice as they deem suitable.

By Amna Sheikh

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