“Who Am I To Exercise Judicial Powers?” The Curious Case Of Mumtaz Qadri
They call themselves ambassadors of Islam while standing far from its injunctions.
They tag themselves as the learned section of the society while the society is bleeding on the red roads of Pakistan owing to their collective ignorance and intolerance.
We are a nation but our vision of social justice is fading away.
Recently, on 07.10.2015, the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld the death sentence and dismissed the appeal of Mumtaz Qadri. More recently, on 14.12.2015, the review petition of the murderer was also dismissed by the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan. He was part of the security squad for the former Governor of Punjab, Mr. Salman Taseer (late), when he murdered the latter at Koshar Market, Islamabad and defended his action by asserting that it was a justified action given the blasphemy committed by the former Governor. The question is who are we to decide what is right and wrong?
Under Article 10A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, every citizen of Pakistan has a right to due process of law. Similarly, our Constitution provides the right to life and the right to be dealt with in accordance with law to all the citizens of Pakistan. The Governor, who was entitled to certain fundamental rights that could not be taken away unconstitutionally, became a victim of Mumtaz Qadri’s ignorance of Islamic injunctions. The proper manner of dealing with this serious issue was to try the former Governor in courts, as only a court would be competent to pass a verdict in favour of or against the accused. It is a settled principle of the independence of the judiciary that “no one can be a judge in his own cause”. The power to pass and enforce a judgment must remain with the impartial judiciary – the power to interpret the Constitution and law is the exclusive duty of the judiciary.
It is not justified to kill anyone just because he allegedly committed a sin. Our laws may suffer from certain ambiguities, our legal system may suffer from delays and injustice, there may be room for improvement, however, such deficiencies cannot create a justifiable excuse for someone to take the law into his own hands. Such intolerance leads to ignorance. There is a lawful and proper way to protest against someone and to prosecute someone.
A few weeks ago, I was stepping out of the Honourable Lahore High Court when I observed a massive rally protesting on Mall Road in support of Mumtaz Qadri; they were chanting slogans against the judiciary for awarding such a sentence. The language, tone and words that I heard from the leader of the rally, being addressed through a loudspeaker, were quite offensive and contemptuous. Islam does not promote a rebellious approach towards state organs; it offers a systematic solution to our existing problems. Surely, there are weaknesses in our system and a lot of criminals are born out of these defects, however, there is a proper and legitimate way of advocating reform.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan was founded by our fathers on the ideological basis of the two nation theory. The principles of peace and tolerance were enshrined in the Preamble to our Constitution. The relevant extract is reproduced below:-
“Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed”
Today, we live in a society where tolerance of the general public and their confidence in the state has deteriorated to a dangerous level. There is a great divide within our country. Many people consider themselves to be better and superior than others. It is for this reason that cases like that of Mumtaz Qadri arise.
For the development of a nation, it is of fundamental importance that state institutions be strengthened so that the citizens of the nation could vest their confidence in their system and prove their allegiance to the state. No citizen of Pakistan has the legal and moral authority to kill another as such brutality would only lead to anarchic ends.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any organization with which he might be associated.