Pakistani Politicians Ride the Merry-Go-Round

by Abdul Moiz Jaferii in the Dawn: When the British created the penal code and the criminal laws and procedures through which they controlled the Indian subcontinent, they did so with the preservation of the colonial order in mind. After all, there were a few thousand of them lording over hundreds of millions of us. A rigid framework of dominion was hence necessary to the propagation of their rule. When they left, the class of Pakistanis who took over the role of colonial extraction of national resources kept the British laws and legal system as carefully in place as possible. On the premise that our people were not ready, or that there may be chaos if the standards of liberty were updated, reform was left to another time. Because it was the easier method of elite capture, these laws were made even more rigorous. As the waves of time struck against social strictures and ground them to dust the world over, we opted instead to cover them with concrete and strengthen them further.

Law of the laathi charge

Pakistanis who have watched cricket games from the general enclosures through the 1990s have perhaps experienced the perfect example of our rule of law — the laathi charge. An officer in charge of maintaining discipline in an area sees a bunch of youth getting too feisty. He sends in a couple of uniforms to slap rowdy boys about and reduce them to conformity. The few being rowdy now sit down with arms crossed, but many more around them take heart, thinking perhaps that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place; and become louder and more boisterous. The officer fears it might reflect badly on him if his senior superintendent catches a glimpse of this from the air conditioned boxes. Queue the hand of justice — he sends in all his subordinates to charge at the crowd with sticks and empty the stand. Better safe than sorry. Best yet, empty. In this collective punishment of the public, decided by a bunch of men in uniform for selfish reasons, lies the perfect example of our systems of governance and justice. The common folk are getting too noisy, hurting the sahab’s ears. The crowd needs to be disciplined, they are looking too rowdy. Smack them about a bit, remind them of their place. Fun is freedom, and too much freedom is dangerous. More here >


Honorary contributors to DesPardes: Ajaz Ahmed, Ammar Jafri, Anwar Abbas, Arif Mirza, Aziz Ahmed, Bawar Tawfik, Dr. Razzak Ladha, G. R. Baloch, Jamil Usman, Jawed Ahmed, Ishaq Saqi, Khalid Sharif, Masroor Ali, Md. Ahmed, Md. Najibullah, Shahbaz Ali, Shahid Nayeem, Syed Hamza Gilani