Mil­i­tary Courts -- Fear and Prej­u­dice

Mil­i­tary courts can wrest back the psy­cho­log­i­cal edge from the ter­ror­ists who were tak­ing ad­van­tage of the loop­holes in Pak­istan’s legal sys­tem.

Southasia - - REGION PAKISTAN -

The cor­ner­stone of any func­tional democ­racy is an ef­fec­tive, re­li­able and fair legal sys­tem which pro­motes the rule of law. The re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide this kind of legal ser­vice to its cit­i­zens rests squarely with the state. Such a sys­tem should fol­low ‘due process of law’ to en­sure that no in­no­cent is pun­ished and all pos­si­ble ev­i­dence and cir­cum­stances have been fac­tored in be­fore pro­nounc­ing a ver­dict against an ac­cused.

For the ag­grieved party, it should also de­liver jus­tice in a timely man­ner in ac­cor­dance with the well-known legal maxim ‘jus­tice de­layed is jus­tice

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By Taj M. Khat­tak de­nied’. This is not just an­other English phrase but con­tains the moral phi­los­o­phy of hu­man civ­i­liza­tion go­ing as far back as 1st cen­tury BCE and 2nd cen­tury CE when rab­bis taught that the sword came into use be­cause of ‘jus­tice de­layed and jus­tice de­nied.’

Across the globe, most na­tions have finely bal­anced ev­ery cit­i­zen’s right to jus­tice in a ‘rea­son­able time­frame’ with the ac­cused also hav­ing the right to jus­tice in ac­cor­dance with ‘due process of law’. In Pak­istan, this fun­da­men­tal obli­ga­tion of the state to pro­vide equi­lib­rium in its legal ser­vice has fallen well short of popular ex­pec­ta­tions due to com­plex but well­known rea­sons. For quite some time now, we have been fac­ing a sit­u­a­tion where, in­stead of dispensing jus­tice to all, the due process of law is it­self per­ceived as pro­mot­ing injustice due to un­ac­cept­able de­lays in tri­als and few con­vic­tions in courts.

Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif ad­mit­ted dur­ing a de­bate in the Na­tional As­sem­bly that in some in­stances, cases per­tain­ing to heinous crimes have been pending in the courts for as long as 20 to thirty years. This fail­ure of the state has sadly re­sulted in a popular per­cep­tion where our nor­mal legal sys­tem equates

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