Analysis: State and judiciary must uphold rule of law

Published: October 3, 2011
For such a befitting sentence it would be out-of-place to praise a judge as being bold. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

For such a befitting sentence it would be out-of-place to praise a judge as being bold. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: On October 1, almost nine months after the assassination of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, a brave judge, Parvez Ali Shah, of the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), awarded a double death sentence to the self-confessed assassin.

For a befitting sentence such as this one, it would be completely out-of-place to praise a judge as being bold under normal circumstances, in a normal country — a country where the rule of law persists and where the influential and anarchists do not undermine the law by intimidating law enforcement agencies and the judiciary.

But not in Pakistan.

The tragedy of Pakistan lies in the decades of policy blunders, where religion was used and abused. Security institutions created an environment of fear, passion and bloody violence in the name of religion, thereby undermining the normal functioning of the judiciary and the administrative system. And now there exist great distortions in powerful sections of the popular narratives regarding the role of religion in state, politics and society.

Irrespective of what prevails within the private sphere, intolerance and impatience are the hallmarks that dictate the expression of religion in the public sphere. Hence, it is within this context that judge Shah deserves to be called bold and brave.

The assassin’s supporters had managed to intimidate the state to the extent that the state prosecutor often found it difficult to enter the court, which was within the jail, through the front entrance. The judge, too, must have received threats, but his verdict dispenses justice, not a fear-ridden compromise of the rule of law.

As the defence prepares to file, within a week, an appeal against the death sentence in the high court, a new round of aggression has emerged on the streets. Not unexpected, opposition to this verdict has begun to emerge. Groups, sporadically and in small numbers, have gathered in different towns to condemn the sentence.

While it is entirely within the court’s purview to deal with the assassin’s appeal, the state, politicians and civil society must take necessary steps to ensure that the rule of law is upheld at all the stages of the assassin’s appeal. The following steps are particularly important.

One, the state must provide fool-proof security to the ATC judge who gave the verdict. Not only is this his right, but any harm to him will deter other judges from giving out sentences on merit.

Two, the government must come out, as should other political parties, to contest the arguments being put forth by the assassin’s defence.

Three, the government and other political parties must publicly engage those who have a working relationship with the supporters of the assassin and ones that are now taking to the streets to contest the ATC ruling.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • XX
    Oct 3, 2011 - 10:13AM

    “State and judiciary must uphold rule of law”

    Then how about starting with nullifying the NRO.


  • Oct 3, 2011 - 10:45AM

    Agreed…all three points should be addressed asap…rather evrey single word said above is a truth…now, its time to defy those who are using our beloved Islam and Prophet (PBUH) name to KILL innocents, to feed their ill-fated children, train them how to get FOOD by doing nothing just tempting educated ignorants to kill..!!


  • faraz
    Oct 3, 2011 - 10:55AM

    The kidnappers of his son haven’t demand any ransom, surely his kidnapped son would be used to negotiate Qadri’s realease


  • Ali Hasan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 11:25AM

    Doesn’t Section 144 prohibit these pro-Qadri rallies? Or has it been invoked in Sindh only? Break up the mob and give justice to the murderer.


  • adnan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 11:40AM

    good decision.well done our judiciary


  • Pakistani
    Oct 3, 2011 - 11:41AM

    This act by the judge isnt brave an bold !!!!!!

    The person who gave himself into custody and then sentencing him death istn bold and brave.

    Punishing a person who has committed a crime in daylight. Murduered Pakistanis and even after that our court allows him to leave the country ………. sentences deaths to these kind of people is BRAVE and BOLD justice !!!!!!!!!


  • Furqan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 12:34PM

    how about bringing back Raymond Davies and giving him death sentence??????such a biased article written by this author and further more tribune to publish it,


  • Breetsy
    Oct 3, 2011 - 12:35PM

    Arrest/imprison all those who turned out to support him! Abolish that barbaric abomination that is the blasphemy law!Recommend

  • Munir Khan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 12:47PM

    Qadri represents the worst of Pakistan.He cowardly murdered a man in cold blood by shooting him in the back, having first made certain that his “colleagues” would not shoot him following his cowardly act.For this man to then claim that he carried out this heinous act to defend the honour of the Holy Prophet is beyond belief.By taking the law into his own hands and acting in this unilateral away he broke all the cardinal rules of Islamic fiqah.If anything he should also have been charged with Blasphemy himself for claiming that he carried out his evil deed out of love of the Holy Prophet!!
    What is worse is that bounties are being offered for the head of the judge who justly sentenced Qadri.The judge must be protected and I would appeal to the govt to speak out and arrest those who threaten members of the judiciary.


  • faraz
    Oct 3, 2011 - 1:06PM


    Why do you forget about the 20 crore paid to his family. I am against the Diyat law as it favours the rich


  • Farhan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 1:12PM

    Qadri and his supporters are unfortunately completely wrong. Government should now take bold step and tell the protestors that they have misunderstood the whole story. Hats off to judge and Nasim Zahra to come up and support this decision.


  • Oct 3, 2011 - 1:41PM

    God bless the judge and the withholding of law. I wish Qadri was hung in public for his atrocitious act. I agree – if anyone has done blasphemy, its that no-good for nothing Qadri – a betrayer of trust! And abholish the blasphemy law!


  • rehan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 1:50PM

    why not you stick to the topic, dear.


  • rehan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 1:52PM

    You better go and talk to the families of the two young boys who were killed by Raymond. Ask them why did they accept money under an islamic law?


  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Oct 3, 2011 - 1:55PM


    Now I know why Pakistan is in such predicament. We are talking about justice served & then someone comes & talks of something totally irrelevant to the issue here.

    Please talk some sense if you can here. This is not the forum (article) to bring in Raymond case or any other for that matter. I feel, Sir, you are trying to justify this act of this mad man! Is that the case?


  • rehan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 1:56PM

    Justice should be served. This man, Qadri, is a coward. If he and his supporters are so sure that he did the right thing by killing Salman Taseer, then why are they appealing against the verdict. After all, if Qadri is at right, then he should accept death sentence happily and go to Jannah after he is hanged, where better things are waiting for him. Why stay here to face hard days in this life….


  • Gul bahadur
    Oct 3, 2011 - 2:28PM

    If Qadri and his supporters are men enough and if they have unflinching support for their beliefs why not go to Israel and fight for the freedom of BAITUL MUQADUS.Killing his own employer is outright deceit of his duty.His supporters and particularly the Lawyers community are hypocrites. Defending a person who has confessed to his crimes would be subscribing to anarchy.If these lawyers believe that Qadri is right then why they are standing in this court.They should throw away their law degrees and go to the Mullahs court and tell their chief justice to go home.I am astonished why the honourable court did not raise this point.Blasphemy or no blasphemy is not the issue in this case.The real issue is whether this is the court of a particular clan of Mullah or the court of Pakistan.


  • wahab
    Oct 3, 2011 - 2:32PM

    Excellent article.. Pakistan is to be governed by constitution and not by the will of some MULLAs


  • Furqan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 3:12PM

    The topic of this article is “State and judiciary must uphold rule of law” so y can’t we talk about laws which have not been uphelped?and once we do people start commenting ur going off the topic n all. And regarding diyah being paid to families in Raymond Davies case then why don’t we use the islamic law in this case also, which is he can be set free.


  • Shigri
    Oct 3, 2011 - 3:39PM

    this attitude shows that the majority of this country are mad and need to be cure from this ill. Qadri behaviour cant be tolerate and the educated and moderates needs to be raised there voice against such a talibanism behaviour.

    Qadri must be hang and he should got the punishment otherwise many will follow Qadri.


  • zulfiqar tareen
    Oct 5, 2011 - 10:48AM

    i admire the courage of the atc judge parvez ali shah. i slute his judgement and his bravery.
    he should be given protection. the religiuos fanatics will go after him.
    it is the perfect time to abolish blasphemy laws and separate the church and the state.
    pakistan has to adopt a secular democratic constitution if it wants to gain respect in the world community.
    reilgious fanaticism will one day destroy the country.


  • zulfiqar tareen
    Oct 5, 2011 - 11:07AM

    religion should have no part in govt.
    religion should be part of people’s private lives.
    the country should be governed by secular laws.

    mixing govt. with religion is extremely dangerous. all nations have learned this lesson. pakistan still lives in 7th century. pakistan has now become the laughing stock of the world.


  • Oct 6, 2011 - 4:23AM

    We asians are expert in selling vacuum cleaners to the world.
    we sold the vacuum cleaners of judaism and chrisianity to the world.
    we sold the vacuum cleaner of Islam to the world.
    we sold the vacuum cleaners of Hinduism, Sikhism and Budhism to the world.
    Ever wondered why no Prophet, Imam, Son of God, Bhagwan or Guru was ever born in Englnad, Holland, Poland, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, or Brazil.
    we specialize in creating and selling the vacuum cleaners in the name of religion.
    think critically,
    zulfiqar taeen, a friend of all, enemy of none.


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