Remarks on Judicial System of Pakistan

Martin Luther King Jr.: 

“ Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ” 

The effective criminal justice system is a prerequisite for uploading the rule of law that underpins political rights, civil liberties mechanisms of accountability which in turn guarantees the right to equality of all individuals before the law.

It is a common perception among people that there is no law in Pakistan. I strongly disagree with this prevalent view. I questioned that how can we say that there is no law in this country? There is nobody who follows the law? How is this country exist if it does not have a law? Yes, It is right that there are many unfair trials in our country. Many people fail to get the “justice” from the court, but one thing, we must keep in mind that the courts of this country are not the courts of justice but they are “courts of law”. If there was no law in this country, the criminals would not have to run away from the country overnight, people would not buy witnesses, they would not backdate their passports with an exit stamp. If there was no law in this country, then criminals would recognize their crime in courts without any fear, but……but nobody accepts guilty because he knows if he is accepted then the judgment will be according to the law. In the same country, many times, the courts gave unbiased and fair verdicts without being afraid of every threat. If there was no law in this country, no one could sleep at night but we all sleep because everyone knows that there is a law. Yes, it is weak, it is futile but it exists. The law is here so we have an objection to it.  How can we object to it if it doesn’t exist? There is a law in Pakistan whether anyone accepts it or not, and yes, it is above all of us. 

Now, the question raised about the implementation of the law. It is commonly said that good governance is the most important element in the progress of any country. In my opinion, an independent judiciary is the most important pillar for the wellbeing of society, and the judiciary can rule the country in a true sense. In legal systems, as we all know, decisions of judges become law which is called judicial precedent. In the past 72 years, there are so many cases decided by different honorable judges of Pakistan, but somehow, many decisions are affected by political pressure, military generals, etc. What I think is that there are so many honest judges but our country lacks brave judges. Yes, it’s true that judges don’t make laws, laws are made by politicians and members of assembly but judges can set precedents. The decisions of honorable judges become laws. If this country gets brave and courageous judges, and they start passing judgments independently and despite any political or military influence, then on the basis of these judgments, future cases would be decided fairly and justly even in the presence of weak evidence. Honest judges in our country are many “but brave judges are few”. Our country needs more landmark judgments like the Asiya Bibi case, Sughran Bibi case, a recent judgment which defines Terrorism, Sami Ullah Baloch v. Abdul Karim Nousherwani case, Ms. Anita Turab Case, etc.  Independent Judiciary is the first step towards an effective criminal justice system.

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Fatima Tariq Written by:

Fatima Tariq, a law student at Kinnaird College for Women and a political science student at the University of Punjab. Research fellow at Insaaf Camp. Follow me at