Selective Outrage and Selective Justice

Pakistan Rangers raid nine zero

In the past two posts, I have already looked at how the justice system allows cases to hang over the heads of politicians for decades without ever coming to any resolution while speedily dispatching cases against extremist elements (usually in the form of acquittal). I have also discussed the way that evidence is handled, namely that there can never be too little against politicians and never enough against militants. Today, I want to take a look at another piece of the puzzle which is the selective way that justice is meted in the first place.

Pakistan Rangers raided 90 again today, this time arresting MQM’s Rabita Committee member Qamar Mansoor and Rabita Committee member Kaiful Warah on charges of “arranging and facilitating hate speeches”. This is actually unsurprising since Army has been very vocal about its disgust with MQM and its intentions to retaliate in some way.

What is interesting, though, is that the same day that Rangers were raiding the offices of a secular political party for charges of “hate speech”, a terrorist group was openly holding pro-Army rallies in the same city.

The ASWJ said the party was with the army and the Rangers against terrorism and lauded the role of the army and the security establishment ‘who are busy in eradicating terrorism from the country.’

Addressing a meeting here on Thursday, the acting president of the group, Sain Ghazi Parial Shah, said the country was facing serious terror threats.

“But it is unfortunate that leaders of political groups are criticising the army and security agencies of our own country.” He said ASWJ was also a victim of terrorism because its leaders and workers lost their lives in targeted killings.

“We have never used derogatory or irresponsible language against the security agencies,” Shah said, adding: “We have even offered to sacrifice millions of youths for the sake of the country and eradicating sectarianism in the country.”

Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) is supposedly banned in Pakistan for terrorist activities and spreading hate speech, though the group continues to operate openly with impunity.

There is also the case of Lal Masjid whose anti-Pakistan hate speech against the murders of school children brought activists to the streets begging authorities to stop Abdul Aziz from spreading his extremist message. A FIR was finally registered, but the jihadi leader was never arrested and was even forgiven for his mistake after tendering an apology.

If it is not possible to gather enough evidence to convict certain elements, it seems that for others it is not even possible to arrest them. For others, however, the slightest criticism is enough to bring the full force of Pakistan Rangers charging in with guns drawn. This kind of selective outrage sends a clear message about what is valued in this country and what is not. More importantly, though, it sends a clear message about who is valued in this country, and who is not.

Author: Mahmood Adeel

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Author: Mahmood Adeel