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JuDas judiciary

JuDas judiciary

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: June 3, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/180491/JuDas-judiciary.html

What next? Saeed for Nishaan-e-Pakistan?

In freeing Jamaat-ud-Dawa'h chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and more or less whitewashing his role in the conspiracy behind the November 26, 2008, terrorist attack in Mumbai, the Lahore High Court has acted completely in character. It has also confirmed the widespread apprehension that the Pakistani state has atrophied beyond repair. Its systems are completely compromised and incapable and unwilling to take on the challenge of Islamist terrorism. To call the proceedings in Lahore a kangaroo court would be to violate the dignity of marsupials. The three-judge bench listened patiently to the extraordinary arguments of Saeed's lawyer, who claimed his client was innocent, that the United Nations Security Council had only sought a ban on the JuD and travel restrictions on its leaders, not their arrest, and that in any case Pakistan was not bound to implement Security Council resolutions because India had not acted on UN resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir! Amazingly, the three judges concurred with this mix of non-sequiturs and nonsense. They then pronounced Saeed a free man, even as his lawyer ran out of the courtroom screaming, "Allah hu Akbar." The JuD, as is well known, is the mother agency of the Laskhar-e-Tayyeba. It is one of the world's most dangerous religio-terrorist organisations, the patron of mass murderers. As per the admission of the Pakistani Government and its lawyers, JuD is linked to Al Qaeda. None of this meant anything to the Pakistani judiciary, which has in the past few years systematically sabotaged its country's anyway half-hearted war against terror by releasing a series of suspects and terrorist accomplices, including history's greatest WMD proliferator. True, the higher judiciary has had a degree of support from street mobs on this score - the battle against Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the LeT is not quite popular in Pakistan - but in its greed for cheap applause it has certainly made this a riskier planet. Even so, the sheer brazenness of the Lahore High Court's verdict is unique. It is difficult to match, even for a judicial system that once murdered a deposed Prime Minister following a trumped-up charge and a show trial.

In Saeed's case, it is not possible to pretend that the judiciary acted independently. Obviously there was an element of concert with the rest of the Pakistani establishment. Following the action in Swat - the Pakistani Army has been taken kicking and screaming into the battleground against its domestic Taliban - Islamabad's Generals may have concluded that the Americans will not pressure them on Saeed and the LeT. That is why Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani chose Tuesday to deliver a speech attacking India for disrupting the so-called peace process and demanded negotiations on Jammu & Kashmir. His silence on the outrageous Saeed verdict, on the freeing of a truly evil man, was eloquent.

The real message from Lahore and Islamabad is for the White House, for President Barack Obama and his team of wide-eyed Pakistan enthusiasts. There are severe limits to treating Pakistan as a normal country, with functional state institutions and systems. Its Army is a mix of mercenary and jihadi tendencies - oscillating between exaggerating operations to claim American dollars and seeing the Taliban as an auxiliary. Its political class and judiciary regard the Islamists as essentially good people who can be used to further the strategic and social goals of Pakistan. Perhaps all that remains is for Hafiz Mohammad Saeed to be awarded the Nishaan-e-Pakistan.

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