Ducking and diving

Sindh Assembly passed a law on January 15, which allows prosecutors to withdraw cases against any suspect

Editorial January 17, 2016
All opposition parties, except the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, joined the protest against the bill. PHOTO: NNI

It would of course be entirely unfair to suggest that the government of Sindh was run by those hell bent on lining their own pockets, corrupt to the core and disinclined to allow the forces of law and order to impinge upon their domain. Entirely unfair, thus that route is eschewed. However, it must be noted that the Sindh Assembly passed a law on January 15, which allows prosecutors to withdraw cases against any suspect at any stage of the proceedings so long as it is with the court’s consent.

These are amendments to the criminal prosecution law, which authorises the provincial government to withdraw any case pending, before the court announces its judgment. It is difficult to see how this in any way enhances the quality of justice delivered in Sindh and looks suspiciously like an attempt to thwart attempts to clean up Karachi in particular and Sindh in general. The opposition in the Sindh Assembly has raised a hue and cry against this law, but to little avail.

Beneath this blatant corruption of the process of justice — a manipulation that opens wide the door for a swift exit for the accused, out the back door rather than into a jail cell from the front — is the struggle between the federal and provincial governments over who controls law and order in the province. The powers of the Rangers, currently conducting an operation in Karachi, have been resented by some politicians in Sindh, particularly when the Rangers were close to political targets. The Sindh government’s attempt to limit the power of the Rangers had already been overturned by the federal government and the bottom line is approaching.

The Rangers might be something of a blunt instrument when it comes to law enforcement, but the police in Sindh and Karachi, who ought to be the lead agency in this instance, are themselves suborned and massively corrupt. Unable to clean up anything beyond their own desks. “This law is being passed to save criminals and defend corruption,” said the Leader of the Opposition. We find it difficult to disagree with him.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2016.

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Azmat Ali | 5 years ago | Reply Is there no recourse available to the nation to stop a lawfully elected assembly or parliament from drawing up draconian laws, in contravention of basic ethics, morality, and tenets of justice?
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