Justice (Retd) Wajeehuddin Ahmed was speaking today at an event which I happened to cover.
He is the person who had refused to take the oath of allegiance to a provisional constitution order (PCO) in 2001 under Pakistan’s military ruler President General (Retd) Musharraf who resigned a few months back and is now living a retired life and writing his second book.
Justice (Retd) Wajeehuddin Ahmed was also the presidential nomination by the lawyer’s community on October 6th, 2007 against Musharraf.
While addressing the audience, he said that there is no future for Pakistan if we do not have the Rule of Law.
So what is the Rule of Law?
I have studied a few law courses at school.
Law I believe is twisted, and that is because with a different presentation of facts and arguments you have the power to send an innocent man to jail.
But that debate is a different debate. Here we are talking about the comparison between what is in the law books and what is applied.
In Pakistan, on the streets the reality of the Rule of Law is much different. There is no understanding or sense of law. No body respects the law-enforcers neither does anyone abide by any law. And even in the corridors of power, within their closer doors, there is no weight given to law. And this government or the previous are in no way any different – even today the man who committed heinous crimes and violation human rights is sitting in the country and thinking about joining politics after he gets done with his house building project. Musharraf should be tried but no one except a few seem to be pursuing that story.
The Rule of Law has miserably failed in Pakistan over a number of occasions.
The Rule of Law in Pakistan has failed because our judiciary gave death sentences to leaders like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and while a man who has set a precedent for generations to come to have no respect for law is comfortably living in freedom. The judiciary sided with the military and beauracrats every time there was a moment of leadership crisis.
So then when the hierarchy reflects a total disrepect for law, with a few exceptions of course, why then should we feel that rule of law will bring change?
And what is that change we are talking about?
An end to violation of our borders? An end to inflation? An end to the energy crisis? An end to the economic meltdown of the country? An end to poverty? An end to ignorance?
So are we justified in asking for establishing the rule of law to get rid of the above mentioned problems? Will law bring such a promised change?
I do not believe so.
Being just is not an inspiration one needs to derive from institutions. Its a mental check one needs to perform.
And that is missing from the people of Pakistan today.
We live in a country where every man is enjoying the lawlessness but complains about it when he is asked about it.
Our problem is not lawlessness.