Pakistan’s Judicial System and Selective Injustice

Posted in : Politics

(added few years ago!)
In more than one high profile or widely reported murder cases during last few years, the culprits have walked away without having been awarded any punishment or, even if proven guilty, by securing pardon from the heirs of the victim. What one finds in such cases is that either witnesses do not come forward out of fear or they turn hostile and retract their statements, or the victim’s heirs are apparently forced to accept “diyat” (blood money) and pardon the culprit. According to one definition, “a hostile witness is a witness at trial whose testimony on direct examination is either openly antagonistic or appears to be contrary to the legal position of the party who called the witness.” In Islam diyat is an alternative punishment to Qisas (equal retaliation). Section 299 (e) of Pakistan Penal Code defines diyat as “the compensation payable to the heirs of the victim”
Pakistan’s Judicial System and Selective Injustice
The acceptance of diyat for murder by the victim’s heirs should be voluntary. Perhaps, initially its main purpose was to bring an end to enmity between Arab tribes, clans and families that used to continue for generations. However, in many cases in Pakistan one finds that apparently the influential people apply pressure on the witnesses of murder to change their statements or the heirs to accept diyat. There have been cases in which the Chief Justice of Pakistan has taken suo motu notice or the High Court has called to verify the authenticity and genuineness of diyat compromises, where it was felt that matters were not transparent. The question is that it is because of media and popular interests that high profile cases come to light and face scrutiny; what about scores of other cases that routinely take place in rural areas where the influential people go scot free? In the interest of justice, the issue should be thoroughly examined by our law-makers and law-enforcers.
Blog post Written by Mahboob Popatia and you can visit the original article at
Tags : Pakistan, Judicial, System, Selective, Injustice, Politics, Government, Punishment, Guilty, Law, Witness, Power, Chief, Justice, Media, People, Interest, Murder, Case

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