Sir: I feel sorry for Pakistan’s legal system, which remains plagued by inequality, inefficiency, vulnerability to exploitation by money and power, corruption, lack of resources and a dogged resistance to reform. It remains aloof from the concerns and struggles of the ordinary Pakistani citizen. The poor rape victim is in a quandary. If the matter ever gets to court, she will be asked why she did not take anyone else along with her. Did she not know that it is not safe for women to venture out alone? She has no choice but to remain silent and pray she does not get pregnant. The state has nothing to do with this because they blame the rape victim and not the rapist.
As a concerned citizen, I was shocked to see the results of the Shahzeb murder case; the murderers were released just because of the power of money. Where the law is less about rights and more about power, one begins to understand how aloof from the concerns of the common citizen the official judicial and legal system really is. Specifically, it speaks about what really happens in the lives of the weak, the poor and the marginalised, and how real world forces — social, economic and political — create their dispossession, repression and marginalisation.
There is great mistrust amongst Pakistani citizens of the formal judicial and legal system. This is a question, not a polemic. It questions the status quo and the conviction that the formal state judicial and legal system simply needs to be made more efficient. The government should also take actions to do justice on both levels and introduce equality among the citizens. This is informed and inspired by a wish to place at centre-stage the injustices that must be addressed and the social, economic and political imbalances that must be rectified.