No justice in justice system
It is arduous for a layman to get justice in a system so complex. Despite other woes in the system which are common around the world, there is a lot special about the Pakistani Justice system which makes it unjust.
To hit the bull’s eyes, it is hard for the living to get justice, but it is harder for the deceased.
The concept of compensation and transfer of right to heir in cases of homicide is problematic , further the verdicts of lower courts are often subject to appeals in the higher court which causes incessant postponement in Justice.
It is heart-wrenching to state that an average criminal case takes 10 years to complete.
There are thousands of cases pending even in the apex court of Pakistan . The number of cases pending in Supreme court is above fifty thousand.
The burden has increased manifold with most cases being appealed . Delayed justice amounts to injustice and is the reason why people opt to other extra judicial and vicious means of quick so called justice such as Taliban and Tribal courts .
As held in the case of Mukhtara Mai , the culprit were awarded capital punishment . However, they appealed and caused the procedure to elongate until it is not taken as seriously as it was at the time of commission , or else the victim is ready to negotiate.
Her culprits still pose a threat to her. Similarly, the verdict and speedy trial in Noor Muqadam has been appreciated widely, but it will decide by time whether justice would be served or there would be appeals until the victims step back.
Another evil that ails the criminal justice system is the transfer of right to heir of the victim – murdered – to pardon the culprit or get compensation for the one slaughtered.
This may have enormous benefits for settling the matter , but it does not ensure justice. In the case of Qandil Baloch , her brother was acquitted because it was upon her father to decide.
In matters such as honour killing , the murder is often committed by mutual consensus among the males of the family and community.
Making them judge here is sheer injustice to one killed in the name of “ Honour “. In other cases , the heir of the family are threatened or lured with money.
Compensation is a great support for the victim only when it is state sanctioned ,voluntary and just.
It was flabbergasting how the wife of Nazim Jokhio pardoned the culprit and how his brother changed his mind at the time of hearing.
In all this the actual victim is devoid of Justice. As a poet says, “ Mera Qatil hi mera munsif ha, Kia mere haq main faisla hoga “ In nutshell, the system should be revamped to make it swift and credible.
The decisions of lower courts should also enjoy some level of credibility. The set time for trials should be strictly abided by. Moreover, the victim should be granted protection until justice is served.
It is upon the state to ensure justice and make sure that the victims are not intimidated or lured.
The power of bargain between victim and offender should be kept in mind while awarding compensation or pardon.
In matters concerning family – such as honour killing, history of relationship between victim and the wali should be kept under consideration.
To be precise , Justice should be served as the fundamental right not as a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder nor should it be mere settlement.
—The writer is contributing columnist based in Sindh.