Taliban Are NOT the Core Issue. Effective Policing and Access to Justice Is.

Posted on May 6, 2009
Filed Under >Kathay Kalame, Law & Justice
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Kathay Kalame

I am trying to work out which one is the greater challenge.

That there are Taliban in Swat or that the police and judiciary fall short of minimum standards.

To say that a militia of a few thousand fighters at best, is likely to run over a 600,000 strong Pakistan Army stretches creduility. Even the mighty Rustum feared taking on such odds in his own legends. That Taliban can run over Pakistan is similar to chicken little’s hue and cry about the sky losing altitude. However, absence of consequences for criminals CAN plunge the country into lawlessness.

In fact it already has and that is the clear and present danger.

Defense from external threats has always been on top of national agenda without exceptions. However, it appears that defense from internal threats, or law and order has been relegated to use in slang.

The per capita expenditure on law enforcement in District Rawalpindi, one of most well policed district, is Rs350 per person per year, with one police person for every 800 people. I don’t believe a scholarly effort is required to prove that this department of the state is badly dysfunctional.

The Lahore high court has 36 judges that adjudicate the disputes of about 90 million people. That is less than one Judge per 2.5 million people. No wonder LHC and its lower courts have 1.3 million cases pending as of April 2009

Peshawar High court has 13 judges that mind the disputes of 21 million people. That is one judge for every 1.6 million people. PHC and lower courts had 200,000 pending cases as of 1 April 2009

We need to fight the battle in NWFP. However, fighting a battle without a strategy for winning the war is another fanciful enterprise. That containing the Taliban will somehow cause the people of Pakistan to be more satisfied with their grievious lot is silly. To expect that if someone’s daughter is raped and there is no justice in court, they will sit tight and not pick up a gun or an axe and go for walk, is rather optimistic.

One in ten registered FIRs make it to court. That coupled with 1.6 million pending cases in the court system of Pakistan, says we are sitting on dynamite, getting dryer by the day, and starting to crackle.

Taliban is not the core issue. The core issue is effective policing and dispensation of justice.

It is not a tall order to appoint another 1,000 judges countrywide. Such a measure may re-motivate people to respect the law. That is a priceless dividend for a cost which is slender in comparison. Yet, the police is far from effective and the judiciary remains crippled.

Such neglect may be deliberate on the part of the government, but it seems there is a lot more that certain organized segments of the society, particularly the media, and civil society can do to motivate the government to focus on this issue. If a thousand militants, in an ex-tourist resort, armed with guns, can literally grip the attention of the world, what can a million organized voices armed with pens do.

59 responses to “Taliban Are NOT the Core Issue. Effective Policing and Access to Justice Is.”

  1. Obaid says:

    I am amazed you have not done a post on Justice Munir report on 1953 riots which raised many points that are still relevant today.

    Report on riots of 1953 (Urdu)

    Report on riots of 1953 (English)

    Most people are not getting the importance of this document. They need someone like Taliban to teach them these lessons the hard way.

    Here is a study of this report by Javaid Aslam

    Relevance of Munir Report on 1953 Riots For Today

  2. Riaz Haq says:

    Why do so many parents have to choose madrassahs or other village schools for their children where they receive basic education, food and shelter but also get indoctrinated in extreme ideologies? Why do people not get justice when they have a complaint against the rich and powerful? Why do so many of our leaders enjoy the title of “Makhdoom” rather than Khadim?

    There are many reasons why Taliban have had some success in Swat and other places, but the key reason is that successive governments (and government policies) have failed to provide the basic services such as education, employment, security and healthcare.

    In my opinion, the real reason is that the country’s rulers and leadership come mostly from the landowning class or the military who care more about maintaining their own privileges than serving the people. Just hiring police and appointing more judges is not going to solve this problem. More police and judges will most likely end up doing the bidding of the same ruling elite rather than responding to the needs of the people they are supposed to serve.

    What is really needed is an end to the current feudal-tribal system controlled by a few families who have inherited rather than earned their status in society. Economic growth leading to a larger middle class as the backbone of a real democracy serving the people is what will do the trick for Pakistan. If a benevolent dictator can get us there, as shown by examples in East Asia, that would be fine with me.

  3. X0 says:

    Babar, the following may be of interest to you.

    Similar to ignoratio elenchi, a red herring is an argument, given in reply, that does not address the original issue. Critically, a red herring is a deliberate attempt to divert the argument. ( wikipedia )

    Red herring (narrative), a technique used in literature to mislead the audience.

  4. Obaid says:

    Taliban Khan is a mad man..he is now physically attacking people…politics Taliban style..

    Taliban Khan, Taliban Mir and Taliban Abasi are of the same ilk.

  5. Hunted Pathan says:

    Dar readers,

    No tliban and no terrorist exisist in pakistan.these are the creation of pakistan government.
    why they creat?
    These are the big source of pakistani politician income.if in case if there is no taliban in pakistan or in Swat , so from where our President get 1.90 million dollars.and our pervious president and politician also involve in these activities.
    bsically they dont want to finish taliban.if they want so they can do it in few days,
    if the readers know, they will be surpirised that how a trainer of 20 days or 4months can defate army of a country who is fully equifed of modren weapons?
    And even now in the fresh operation of Swat valley they not kill more then 4 0r 5 Terrorists.
    yet they are killing dozzens of innocnt peoples.
    we the people of swat are not satisfied from the current operation aganist taliban.And i request from this flatform to all the readers That this operation is not anti taliban but anti inocent peoples.
    so must struggle for stoping this operation.

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