Life Back Home

Life Back Home
I have recently moved to Germany and a question from my friend reminded me of the life back home. As the pedestrian signal turned green, I looked both ways and started to cross the road. My friend walking next to me asked me why I looked both ways as the traffic was coming from one side only. This took me back to a time when I was in interior Sindh for an assignment back in 2018. My vendor called me at night and said, “A drunk driver was going the wrong way on the highway and hit our guy. We have caught the driver, and we also have the CCTV footage from the nearby hotel.” I naturally rushed to the scene, and we spent the next 5 hours in the police station with the driver’s influential lawyer father. By the end, a settlement was reached. A total of PKR 20,000 and no FIR.

In very simple terms, here’s how law and order works. The country has a constitution (law) which is made (and amended) in the parliament. The country has a mechanism for the interpretation of the law ensuring, that mechanism is a court. The country has a mechanism for implementing law and order and that mechanism is called the police. Other than these pillars, we also have the press whose job is to ensure impartial reporting of the happenings of the country.

Our current problems stem from the immense level of polarisation in all 3 of our pillars and the press.

Talking about the police first, it is evident that the police force in the country is often regarded as highly corrupt and politicised. Instead of focusing on reducing crime and maintaining law and order, the police seem to focus on advancing the narrative of the government in power. This skewed approach manifests in the form of bullying tactics employed against individuals who express opposition to the government's policies or ideologies.

Regrettably, this seems to be the primary role the police play in such scenarios. Compounding the issue is the practice of promptly replacing Inspector Generals (IGs) and senior police officers as soon as a new government assumes power. This convenient reshuffling ensures that the government can exert control over the police force, thereby ensuring the unwavering compliance of its orders, even when they may be unreasonable or against the best interests of the public they are meant to serve.

These circumstances contribute to a climate where public trust in the police force dwindles and skepticism regarding their commitment to impartiality and justice prevails.

In the realm of the judiciary, a prevailing sentiment suggests that judges in Pakistan are subject to influence through covert means such as hidden cameras and conversation recorders. Moreover, it is widely believed that judges maintain political affiliations, albeit discreetly, which inevitably shapes their prioritisation of cases and ultimately impacts their judgments. This political undercurrent has far-reaching consequences, as the decisions rendered by judges, including those of the Supreme Court, are often met with skepticism and viewed as concessions favoring one political party over another.

Consequently, the lack of widespread acceptance of judicial rulings further erodes public trust in the judiciary and raises questions about its independence and impartiality.

Shifting our focus to the members of parliament, it becomes apparent that there exists a significant limitation on their ability to freely express dissenting opinions or cast votes against the party to which they belong. Parliamentarians often find themselves constrained by party lines, unable to engage in substantive arguments or voting against their affiliated party's stance. This restriction compromises the principles of healthy debate and democratic representation within the parliamentary system.

Moreover, the amendment of laws in Pakistan tends to prioritise the interests of the government or the individuals in power (yes, in Pakistan, they’re both different), rather than solely serving the greater interests of the people. This divergence between the government's agenda and the need of the populace underscores the disconnect that exists within the political landscape.

As a result, public faith in the legislative process and the genuine pursuit of the people's welfare may waver, contributing to a sense of disillusionment and frustration among the citizenry.

Coming to the press, in one of my previous articles, I have already talked about how press is only seen as a "lifafa" and there might not be a single journalist in the country who is seen as an impartial analyst or journalist.

The bottom line is, in our country, there isn’t a single pillar, institution or department that has the interest of the public at heart and that isn’t completely polarised. As a result, our country has been plundered into chaos.

Instead of asking for clean air to breathe, pure water to drink, we’re busy discussing the urine samples of our ex-PM. Our energy sector is in shambles, dollar is ever increasing, we have close to nothing in terms of foreign reserves and our economy is on the verge of collapse but all we think about is how innocent or guilty Imran Khan is. No consent exists.

Instead of demanding better lives, we’re just busy defending our narratives. Will we ever change? Can I ever dream of a Pakistan where, instead of a PKR 20,000 settlement, can my vendor dream of a fair trial?



Adnan Moiz tweets at @Nnormanbates