RECENT ugly events in Pakistan have shaken the foundations of justice, integrity and the rule of law. The charged mob attacked defence institutions and military installations, and they did not even spare monuments related to the martyrs. This highlights a disturbing trend of lawlessness and disrespect for national institutions.

In the face of such actions, it is imperative to take a strong stance and ensure that those responsible for such violence are held accountable, irrespective of their affiliations with influential entities. There should be a firm response to these events, with the aim of setting a precedent that nobody is above the law, and to pave the way for a better Pakistan.

The perpetrators of the attacks must be dealt with firmly to discourage future acts of violence and lawlessness. Imposing stringent penalties is crucial to demonstrate that such actions will not be tolerated. Alongside a prison sentence of no less than 20 years, those found guilty should be required to sell their own and their family’s properties to cover the losses incurred during the attack.

Additionally, a penalty amounting to half of the total damages should be imposed, serving as a deterrent and a means of compensating the affected parties. This uncompromising approach will ensure that the guilty face the consequences of their actions, and will send a resounding message that no one is above accountability.

The response to this attack must be unwavering, without any compromise or leniency towards influential or well-connected individuals. Previous instances of caving in to pressure or making concessions have only perpetuated a culture of impunity and weakened the integrity of our institutions.

It is essential to demonstrate that justice is blind and will be upheld regardless of an individual’s background, political affiliation, or social standing. Only by taking a resolute stand against those who violate the law can we restore faith in our institutions and ensure a just society for all.

Building a better Pakistan requires comprehensive policy changes to address the underlying issues that contribute to such incidents. First, the appointment of judges should undergo a rigorous process based solely on merit, excluding any quotas or political considerations.

By emulating the models followed in many civilised countries, we can ensure that judges possess the highest moral character, intellectual acumen and impartiality, allowing them to deliver fair judgments free from personal biases.

To cultivate a society where justice and fairness prevail, we must establish a merit-based system at all levels of education and government employment. Admission to medical colleges, engineering institutions, and universities should be granted solely on the basis of merit, disregarding regional or political influences.

Graduates who have earned their positions through merit-based selection processes are more likely to resist external pressures and make sound judgments, thereby contributing to the formulation of progressive policies that benefit the public.

Simultaneously, comprehensive institutional reforms, including the appointment of judges based on merit and the establishment of meritocracy in education and employment, will contribute to the development of a just and progressive Pakistan. Failure to act decisively in this crucial moment will undermine our institutions and foretell a bleak future for our nation.

Muhammad Asif
Ontario, Canada

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2023

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