The woes of selective justice

I fail to understand why more flexibility is being shown to individuals who played a role in using bullets to silence

Anam Khan June 09, 2015
The writer is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Communication Practice at Columbia University. She tweets @anamk10

On June 8, 2015, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested 17 executives at the Axact branch office in Islamabad. A case was registered against CEO Shoaib Shaikh, his wife Ayesha Shaikh, regional directors, operators and managers, due to their involvement in issuing fraudulent degrees in exchange for obscenely large sums of money. Going into more detail about the flaming controversy surrounding Axact will only sound redundant at this point. Several reporters and writers have thoroughly scrutinised the company’s insatiable appetite for deception. They have also voiced their utter bewilderment after witnessing the CEO’s staunch resistance to accusations against his corrupt venture. I once sat back and wondered whether he was a fiercely tenacious liar or just a man who lived in a sorry state of denial. Either way, it appears as if Shoaib Shaikh and his goons have been cornered — for now at least.

I also want to recall a specific incident that was reported on June 5, 2015. It’s the day eight men who helped orchestrate a gun assault on Malala Yousufzai were acquitted from a 25-year jail sentence. Why is it that the eight men who were involved in the attempted assassination of a 14-year-old child have been spared the wrath of justice? Even though legal entities acted swiftly against the perpetrators of the Axact scandal, they have consistently limped, withered and eroded when given an opportunity to constrain militant violence in Pakistan.

Executives heading a fake diploma mill indefinitely need to face the consequences of swindling people on a global scale. I, however, fail to understand why more flexibility is being shown to individuals who played a role in using bullets to silence a young girl’s courageous defiance. According to previous reports, police officials said there was not enough evidence connecting these eight men to the 2012 attack on Malala. This supposed lack of proof is rather baffling since they actually admitted to helping plan the attack. Even though security officials claim that none of the accused individuals physically fired a gun that day, they are still accomplices to a brutal act that was meant to end a child’s life. Yet, they have been granted their freedom.

Even if an accomplice doesn’t actually commit a crime, his or her involvement still helped someone commit it. This reasoning centres on the concept of accomplice liability, which entails that accomplices endure the same level of guilt and punishment as the individual who committed the crime. The only factor to consider is whether or not the individual intentionally helped coordinate the crime at hand. The eight men stated that they aided and encouraged the attack on Malala, which means that they were very much aware of their involvement in the crime. These men were released after they made a blatant confession.

What precedent does this set for them, or other people who are inclined to wreak havoc? They live in a free for all system where merciless killers and accomplices can vocalise their participation in murderous rampages and walk away without an ounce of retribution. Imagine what they think of our courts, our justice system, our government and our security officials. I can practically hear them snickering. Legal action against these eight men should be — or should have been — prompt and relentless. They have instead, been given a chance to possibly organise more ruthless undertakings.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2015.

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Bitter Truth; | 6 years ago | Reply Pakistan is the country where the only survive those who have power. There is not concept of justice but power. That's why even after decades of independence still this country have many social, economic and other internal crisis. The reason is not foreign hands but its own internal hands; the worst corruption, race for power, power in the hands of incompetent people, injustice, law and rules only for powerless people, lack of true faith, dishonesty, non-serious attitude, intera and inter institutional power game, propaganda, lack of merit and so many internal cancers. The big threat to Pakistan is not from abroad but from its internal own people and system. I have never seen any other country of the world with such a worst situation, while generally seems fine but internally near to death.
Sad | 6 years ago | Reply Not to mention the countless mega-scams by politicians that go unpunished...
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