With all due respect and regard for our judicial apparatus, why is it so that we in Pakistan are all confronted with a situation where all those who have anything to do with our judicial system, claim it to be very tedious, corrupt, inefficient and tailored to serve the interests of the elite mostly. No matter what, our higher judiciary seems to be moving in extra slow motion or not in sync with our needs, when it comes to life and death issues confronting the individuals and as a county as a whole.

Our debating clubs at people’s expense, only a month ago saw a member of the senate, an ex-journalist resign not from his senate seat, but the committee in which he had tabled a bill to have the judiciary and armed forces be included in the accountability matrix. The demand was dropped quickly and the committee is still debating or not as to what should be our accountability process. For its obvious that what an epic failure our existing system is.

It’s not even funny that Supreme Court Justices who gave a landmark verdict, which to my nonlegal mind fell short of doing justice, as it just disqualified Nawaz Sharif, whom one of the respectable justices equated to the fictional character of God Father. Though I am sure the Justice must have read the Mario Puzo masterpiece and have read much about the Sicilian mafia’s ways in America and Italy for that matter. I am sure he as was and is close to the Sharif family, would know that the Sicilians never had as take and as long a run as the Sharif’s or so much to account for.

The history of NAB is not too long and their remarks about in their judgement is present for all to re-read again, but yet they in their wisdom referred the matter of making Sharif’s accountable to NAB again. They gave a time line to file three references and directions to decide the cases in six months. Which is a blatant violation of the NAB ordinance, as its supposed to proceed with on a day to day basis and disposed of within 30 days. So, in essence, the honorable judges violated the ordinance preamble and rational. Now hardly any case by NAB has been conducted as per its own law, so if it never happens, why keep it there, who is supposed to rectify this anomaly.

Section 9-6 of NAB ordinance states that all offences under this order shall be non bailable and not withstanding anything contained in 426, 491, 497, 498 and 561-A or any other provision of the code, or any other law for the time being in forces. No court shall have jurisdiction to grant bail to any person accused of any offence under this order.

The only recourse is to seek interim bail pre or post arrest bail form High Court and if not from there then from Supreme Court. In the due process after a complaint is processed, an enquiry is ordered and if established to be falling under section 9-(a) an investigation is ordered and after its completion a reference is filed in NAB trial court or what is called Accountability Courts, which came under the category of special courts and like all other ‘special’ courts are popularly labeled as ‘conviction courts’, as its judges are taken at twice the salary and perks from session court judges and mostly go along with what NAB prosecutors ways and wants.

Nawaz Sharif and his family unlike all others accused and or tried by NAB are being given a very different treatment, as he or his sons, daughter, brother, son in law and daughter father in law have not been taken into custody, like all else all over Pakistan accused of corruption charges under section 9-(a) and (b) various sub sectors. They have not even bothered to take interim bails and were not taken in custody, they were not even investigated by NAB, like all else and names were not put on ECL. Their man who was Chairman of NAB at the time of the verdict whiled away for 59 days out of the 60 days given by SCP judges and then filed references as per the JIT investigation conducted by SCP nominated 6 members and not by its mostly incompetent and mostly well-known corrupt investigative officers, some of whom in Sindh are now billionaires.

The judgement took over a year to become a verdict by virtue of which Nawaz Sharif, three times PM and one-time CM was disqualified on just charges of being dishonest. What was this! A joke or were they left with no option but to act and give a judgement, which fell short of all our people’s expectations, as yes Nawaz Sharif had no option but to vacate the Prime Ministerial slot, but then his proxy is still calling the shots and so is not so talented virtually sick brother in charge of the biggest of our provinces.

The current Prime Minister is also under enquiry of NAB in his role in tiering up Pakistan in the imported fuel trap, for whatever dumb and criminal spin this regime can come up with. Most members of the cabinet are guilty of having foreign residences, which is the stated cause of Nawaz Sharif ouster. Even the Mafia was with same honor, that is why Godfather character became so famous, for they could never imagine the kinds of means adopted by the Sharif’s to milk our economy while making unholy deals with our sworn competitors and enemies, who never leave an opportunity pass where they do not try to weaken us as destroying us physically is not palatable/possible.

Most of our important cases in the Supreme Court do not get heard or are stringed out, with no decision, by virtue of which so much has been lost and they just sit on them. The number of pending cases go in the thousands. Which have a thousand excuses, like we have too many cases, we cannot solve all your problems, we are under staffed, we have not enough resources, we have a life and retirement plans. While all of Pakistan just has no choice but to wait for the Justices to do what they are paid to do. The dangerous and criminal nature of Bar nexus with Bench is spoken in lowered voices.

Most senior advocates, who are well known for charging an arm and leg in fees are known to be able to get those who can pay their fees, the kind of relief required by them. For those who can and or afford to pay them, who have linkages with Judges and can manipulate the system of getting dates or stalling dates can simply get away with murder, what to talk of disposable billions.

It would be very interesting to ascertain what the entire legal community pays in direct income tax. Someone should file a case as right to get information, to see who pays how much in tax. Now these are the professionals from when Judges are made from. The corruption money obviously tax free and hence if the life styles of our judges, where their children are and what are their assets moveable and immovable are all not to be under any scrutiny, as they cannot be held accountable by any institution, the only recourse being to file a case with the Judicial Council.

Now a cursory look at its performance, as to how many judges have been tried, implicated, convicted is a true measure of its efficacy and to date performance. Has anyone ever read that so and so judge of High Court, Supreme Court has been taken to task? At least it’s not stated in our hyper media or recorded. One Judge of Islamabad High Court, who is pretty anti armed forces has a pending case of furnishing his house beyond his ceiling. This is not a joke or exaggeration, as with the hated online nature of the going’s on, nothing is ever heard of this or that judge being taken to task by themselves. Meaning that all of them are squeaky clean and have not done anything wrong ever.

Yet simplistic people like this one, consider that lack of justice is our biggest problem. The above is the state of what is called superior judiciary, what can one say about the state of session and trial courts, which must be also doing as much justice as its superiors. A visit to any lower court is enough to make never to have anything to do with them, where a price tag is there for virtually all that goes on or in the name of justice. Those who cannot pay the price have nothing else to do but suffer. The courts are run in a way, where the court staff has to pay for magistrate/judge expenses in court, at home, whereas deals are fixed by the judges front man or nominated advocates. The lower courts are a must visit for anyone to see how justice is the only item missing and our peoples have just no other option but to accept whatever goes in the name of justice.

There is obviously a system, by virtue of which this most important pillar of our state functions. No wonder nothing right seems to get done. To be fair, not all magistrates, judges or lordships, as that is what they are referred to are all corrupt or cruel, some of them are true gems and standout, for being attentive and follow due process and their judgements speak for themselves. We as a country are blessed with some truly gifted professionals and great legal minds. They are brilliant and but sadly do not gel with the system, but the good judges do exist, who never compromise on principles. Most cases in trial courts follow a system of listening to the prosecution and defense witnesses, arguments and judgments are written, a format and manner, keeping in mind that they can be challenged at higher forums, hence take a long time to get to verdict stage.

The number of under trial prisoners (UTPs) compared to convicts in our prisons is a ratio of 8:2 respectively. Like Karachi Central Prison, which is probably the largest in number in the world has 6500 prisoners with 5000 UTP and 1500 convicted. Ironically, most inmates are in under Anti-Terrorist Act, which is another special law, just as NAB and as is learnt that most ATA UTPs and convicts are in for showing how the executive is doing a lot to curb terrorism, however most of the UTP and or convicts are accused of being caught with a hand gun or grenades. Strangely, there is no grenade attack reported, but the prison in Karachi has so many reportedly caught under explosive act.

There are the ‘half fries’. Youngman who have been shot in one leg and ‘full fries’ are those shot in both legs. Most of them may be petty or habitual petty criminals and shot in their legs by the law enforcement agencies. To watch young boys brought cramped in Prison trucks in trial courts is a sight which is most unsettling, as they are all huddled together, brought hand cuffed, with poverty written all over their persona. As Karachi is home to a lot of people from all over the country, who came in search of work and livelihood, many of the prisoners have no family or anyone on the outside and are simply destitute and have a zombie like appearances, for its hell in court and in prison, if one cannot pay for even being treated as human.

The plight in family courts of women, who are forced into divorce proceedings or child custody issues. Its most sad a situation to see how miserable the conditions are for the common person, who has to get whatever it is that brings them to courts. The lawyers became so used to watching this whole lot of new and potential customers going through hell day in and day out, that they just give up on the rules and fair play principles and just go on trying to get relief or have staged what is pre-agreed upon with many judges. The price tags are different at different levels. Starting from hundreds of Rupees and going to billions all depending on the client’s ability to pay and or be made to pay, irregardless of where ever they cough it out from.

Magistrates in urban settings have up to 100 hearings a day and the way they handle it is a science, which is a must see and feel. Only then one can fathom the scale of great mess that we are all in. we all hear superior courts judges make lofty claims, give news comments, judicial reforms and due process, but at the end of the day everything falls short of justice, as its either denied and or delayed. Civil cases can take generations to get a verdict, which then is challenged at higher level in appeals and then go another level, where it costs a fortune to get ones right. It is an absolute nightmare of an unjust system, where very few get justice.

All that is wrong and very unjust is not without solution, but then who does benefit from it, as the majority of our law makers are way too busy in towing party lives and or defending their string pullers. No one is content with the state of affairs in courts of law, not even the judges. Have had the opportunity to speak to quite a few Supreme Court Justices, none of whom was satisfied or had any hope in things to ever change. Give examples of what they did try or attempt to do, but then gave up and just went along, as the system was too much is conformity to the collectivist nature of look busy and do nothing. As if and when you try, all you can expect is to be side tracked and miss the bus, that is if you are in it in the first place. They just blame the system and try to pass their time and not rock the boat.

If one hears any Chief Justice talk, they all talk of higher ideals and are either poetic or are specialists in prose, but their judgements, which should as many in the legal profession say should be ‘speaking orders’ are mostly ‘stringing out orders’, wherein this or that lacuna is left, so another advocate can make another fee in an appeal and by then they retire and then can give us hapless Pakistani peoples lectures in morality and need for the rule of law.

Now everyone with any concern about our future is talking of the need for the rule of law and as is my dream of prioritizing ‘establishing legitimacy’, as nothing is expected to change till the rule of law reins supreme. Much of what is stated here is commentary or a critical look into the goings on the courts of law. What is the way out or how can the rule of law be established?

It really is no rocket science, requires not politics and or force, but the solution lies in ‘SCIENCE’. We need to digitalize the entire process, with all courts of law to have video monitoring and records maintained for each and every step digitally. If the state cannot allocate resources, let us privatize the entire process, artificial intelligence can be deployed to do scheduling and monitoring of due process being followed enshrined in the Anglo-Saxon laws that we do follow. All this shaping up can happen in less than 100 days, as believe me, we have the skill sets in our IT sector.

Wherein the long undue processes can be curtailed and fine turned, where every action/step is remotely monitored and action is swift and prompt. All Anglo-Saxon law we follow is in English, through many judges or magistrates who are supposedly advocates to begin with, will have to be proficient in English or else be exposed, as with everything being streamed live on a portal, which is free for all to use and see the proceedings live. Hence, all not competent magistrates will be weeded out and only those truly qualified will remain to decide on who is right or wrong.

Templates can be made for each and every kind of case and through digital means all record maintained in servers, which are all linked up, with all audiences acting as live jury, with all citations and cross references available online for all to see and learn of their legal rights and duties, do’s and do not’s. In this time and age, where in just a few days ago terrorists in Peshawar were streaming their unholy activity live to their handlers, this simple addition of PC and cameras documenting all proceedings can release the tremendous pressure of number of cases under trial or considered fit for being undertrial.

Laws for giving false witness and or instituting fake malafides based cases is an absolute necessity and is an issue our Superior Judiciary needs to address as soon as possible. There can be no better form of accountability, where in all proceedings are under the digital ambit, where in what goes on inside and outside the courts is all digitally documented and stored. Pakistan has very capable information technology specialists and quite a few Sigma Six certified trainers, who can in days provide absolute fool proof systems to be replicated in all legal points of contact for our entire population. All this can be achieved in a few months.

All that is required is the will to look for practical solutions, which are not exactly rocket science and let not resource restraints be an obstacle as I for one volunteer my company to in 30 days provide an effective solution, which can and will be implemented in 60 days. Because In the end all I pray for is for God sake BPakistani.

Categories:   Culture & Tradition