By Mahmood Adeel
It used to be said that Pakistan was ruled by three A’s: Allah, Army and America. But that may be the past as there appears to be a new trio that is moving to take power, the Three J’s: Judges, Journalists, and Jihadis.
Just this weekend, Dawn reported that Hijratullah – the main suspect captured in the attack on the Manawan police training academy in Lahore – was released by a court. This is just the latest in what is fast becoming a trend in Pakistan: judges releasing key terror suspects.
Just last month, the Supreme Court upheld a Lahore High Court order releasing Jamaatud Dawa leader Hafiz Mohammad Saeed who has been accused of masterminding the Mumbai attacks despite protests from government officials and law enforcement.
Releasing Hafiz Saeed is something of a hobby for the Lahore High Court, which orders the government and law enforcement to free the suspected terrorist at least once a year.
That’s not to say that the Lahore High Court is not concerned about terrorism – it simply doesn’t seem to believe in Islamic militancy, despite the near daily attacks on the country. In March, Members of the National Assembly staged a walkout in protest of remarks by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Mohammad Sharif that Hindus were responsible for terrorism in the country. In fact, Khawaja Sharif’s remarks came on the heels of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s plea for the Taliban to ‘spare Punjab’, implicitly offering to establish a separate peace in exchange for a sacrifice of the rest of the country.
But that’s not to say that our judges are doing nothing – they seem to be very busy spending all of their time on 15-year-old politically motivated charges and Swiss cases that have already been closed for many years. Is this really the most pressing issue in the nation? The independent judiciary and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry after being reinstated by Asif Zardari seem to have nothing more important than to look back at old NRO cases. Meanwhile, terrorists and their supporters go free every day.
In fact, think about this one minute – Chief Justice Iftikhar seems to be willing to take suo moto notice of everything related to the president or some government minister, but when Punjab government gives Rs 80 Millions to banned organization Jamaatud Dawa, he is silent.
Journalists are the second big J in this group. Also for Jang Group just like the judges there seems to be no need for evidence to accuse government ministers of every crime under the sun. But they cannot seem to find anything wrong with Hafiz Saeed. And The Nation is the worst – I think some jihadis could blow up Shireen Mazari’s house and she would yell that it is the fault of Zardari for making alliances with the Americans.
Suicide bombers are killing us almost at will. Yesterday, a car bomb in Quetta killed one of our brave soldiers. But do not expect Ansar Abbasi or Shahid Masood to take any notice. Rather they are more interested in playing judge and trying to prosecute government officials in the ‘Media Courtroom’.
Can there be any question that the greatest threat to Pakistan is the growing network of jihadi militants that are operating in the country? Their vicious attacks become bolder and deadlier each day. How can a group attack military and police offices if they do not believe that they can operate without fear of being held to account by the judges or even criticised by the journalists. Rather, the jihadis are attacking the state, judges are attacking the state, and journalists are attacking the state. The three J’s seem to be united in purpose.
At the end of the day, though, the loser is the only letter that matters – A for Awami. When will it be our turn to rule Pakistan?
Adeel is the Group Editor of New-Pakistan.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org