THIS refers to the report ‘Swat ATC judge among four killed in ‘targeted attack’ near Ambar Interchange in KP’ (April 4). The murder of a judge and three members of his family on the M-1 motorway has sent shockwaves throughout the country. Apart from the judge, his wife, daughter-in-law and grandson were also murdered in cold blood.
The brutal attack, which appears to have been a targeted one, took place despite the judge having a security detail. This raises questions over both the standard and quantity of security, especially since the judge was on the bench of Swat’s anti-terrorism court (ATC).
Reports suggest that the attack was motivated by some ‘personal enmity’, which is a catch-all term often used by law-enforcers once they are unable to have any leads. Although a first information report (FIR) has been lodged against five named suspects, the fact is that any ATC judge has hundreds, if not thousands, of very dangerous ‘enemies’.
It would not be surprising if the attackers were part of some larger conspiracy. The victims of the attack are not just those that were killed or injured. The victims also are many Pakistanis who will worry that other ATC judges might think twice before issuing a verdict while dealing with dangerous terrorists or gangsters.
Any ‘tough talk’ about not being influenced by threats or such incidents often means nothing. Judges are also humans. Even the bravest judge — one willing to place his/her life on the road for justice — might consider if his/her entire family was in danger. A functioning justice system requires security for all parts of the system.
While no amount of security can completely eliminate crime, catching those carrying out murders on motorways should be easy business.
It is good to know that five suspects have now been arrested in the said case. We can only hope that due justice will be handed out to the murderers so that judges may be able to dispense justice without any fear.
Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2021