“Pakistani Justice System’s Struggle Raises Concerns Over Fairness and Political Influence

Web DeskDecember 1, 2023
"Pakistani Justice System's Struggle Raises Concerns Over Fairness and Political Influence

The fundamental principle of an impartial judiciary hinges on having unbiased arbiters capable of objectively assessing facts and applying the law dispassionately to ascertain any breach of the social contract within society.

Regrettably, Pakistan’s justice system has consistently faltered in fulfilling this crucial mandate. Its shortcomings are most glaringly evident on the political stage, where court cases appear to be determined not by factual evidence and legalities but rather by the whims of influential forces. The latest illustration of this trend is the recent exoneration of Nawaz Sharif, the supreme leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), in the Avenfield case.

Charges that were deemed sufficient five years ago to convict Sharif and potentially terminate his political career have now mysteriously dissipated. This abrupt change raises questions: Were the judges mistaken in their previous ruling, or are they mistaken now? Sadly, the answer seems contingent on whom one asks.

In a just society, innocence, particularly in cases involving allegations of moral wrongdoing, cannot be subject to mere perspective. Sharif’s situation is further complicated by the dismissal of the case against him, seemingly due to the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) sudden disinterest in prosecuting him, despite previously relentless pursuit of him and his family.

This unforeseen shift has left many questioning the motives behind this change of heart, speculating whether it aligns with Sharif’s perceived status as the ‘newly favored’ figure. Few delve into the weaknesses of the original case against him.

Consequently, despite being technically declared innocent, the lingering shadow of conviction may continue to haunt Sharif, potentially resurfacing if he deviates from established norms again.

In hindsight, a wiser approach for Sharif might have been to return to the country earlier to confront his legal battles, potentially securing a more decisive victory. This action could have distanced his acquittals from the accusations of state bias towards the PML-N. However, perhaps Sharif’s lack of faith in a system that had repeatedly failed him guided his decisions.

Comparatively, Imran Khan, Sharif’s primary rival from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), faces a scenario reminiscent of Sharif’s past struggles. Here, too, the alignment between facts, laws, and judicial outcomes appears tenuous, reflecting the systemic deficiencies plaguing Pakistan’s judicial realm.

Ultimately, the prevailing narrative paints a grim picture: justice within the Pakistani judicial system is seldom perceived to be truly served, perpetuating a cycle of skepticism and doubt.

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