Pakistan is a state captured by the elites: military, judicial, bureaucratic and civilian. Because of the colonial history, Cold-War era global politics and War-on-Terror recent past, the balance of power remained in favour of the military.
The military elites consistently dominated and used judicial, bureaucratic and political structures to consolidate more power and attain more spoils. Thus, the military itself is the most powerful contender in the political arena of Pakistan.
In this context, historically, accountability has never been used to bring justice, it has always been used to undermine political opponents. The Panama trial and disqualification was another example of military elite’s tussle of power. It was also another example of Supreme Court Judges conspiring to politically murder the most popular political leader.
In the political murder of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a small group of Supreme Court Judges became the prime sinners. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar disposed of justice on steroids inside and outside of the court. From district courts to hospitals, to constituencies, to dams, anything and everything became a stage for the honourable judge and unprecedented dishonour was brought to the concept of justice.
Justice Azmat Saeed led a WhatsApp mafia that coerced bureaucrats to give selected names in the Joint Investigation Team – the ‘JIT’ – that was to be formed to investigate Nawaz Sharif and Co. in the Panama Trial.
Careers of bureaucrats that tried to bring this injustice to light were murdered, their reputations tarnished, their families attacked. Many know how then SECP chairman, Zafar Hijazi, was accused of record tempering almost a month after he had written an official letter informing the Supreme Court of receiving calls and messages on WhatsApp asking him to propose certain names for the JIT.
He was removed from office immediately afterwards these accusations, sent to jail and put on trial, he is still fighting his case in court as he should, but the WhatsApp-gate quietly brushed under the carpet while a circus unfolded on media and verdicts announced by actors-turned-journalists like Hamza Ali Abbasi on channels like Bol.
WhatsApp-gate today is an accepted truth, but powerful men behind it have never been questioned. Should Judges not face justice for murdering justice? It is, after all, not unprecedented for Judges to be taken to courts, both a sitting Chief Justice and future Chief Justice have been forced to go to the court, why then, Judges involved in WhatsApp-gate are roaming trial free?
Indeed, time dispenses the greatest of justice, but is a mere ‘judges were wrong’ in history books enough for making ours a just society? Should the officers of accountability not be held accountable for their crimes? In their judgements Judges have bestowed elected leaders with titles of Sicilian Mafias, while the society has remained tight-lipped on the thuggery of men in robes.
For the establishment of accountability in our society, the powerful must be held accountable first. Those who take the highest office of accountability must come to the office with clean hands and a clean conscience. The system must be made to be more important than personalities, and when demons of certain personalities are exposed, black robes and white wigs they may be wearing, those demons must be killed first if justice is what the system is there to provide.