“Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through,” Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift had once said.
‘Little thieves are hanged but great ones escape’ is the true reflection of the justice system our country offers which can be easily manipulated and maneuvered by influential people to their favor.
A large number of criminal cases establish that rarely do poor get justice in Pakistan. But, wait. Let me tell you the influence of international bodies as well on our courts, apart from the local powerful people. The human rights organisations across the globe specially in the western world maintain that capital punishment should not be handed to any, no matter what. This may be another reason that death sentence is being avoided in the country.
Here are some quintessential lawsuits of evasion of justice in the country, starting with the latest one:
Sialkot lynching case
The Supreme Court has commuted the death penalty awarded to seven people in the Sialkot lynching case of two brothers to 10-year imprisonment.
A mob in August 2010 had lynched Mughees and Muneeb over suspicion of robbery. The incident was witnessed by a crowd of people including some police officials.
The videos of the lynching erupted a storm on social media following which the top court had taken a suo moto notice. The seven suspects were awarded death sentence, while another six were awarded life imprisonment by a trial court.
After hearing arguments of the parties, a three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, lately converted death sentence of the accused and life imprisonment of other convicts to ten-year sentence.
Administering of wrong injection to Nishwa
In April this year, a minor girl Nishwa had died days after she was administered a wrong injection at Karachi’s Darul Sehat Hospital.
Some arrests were made, fines were charged and even the hospital was sealed for a few days, but no formal conviction has been made in this case.
Murderer of five family members
Last month, the apex court commuted the death penalty of Muhammad Yar to life imprisonment. He was convicted of killing five persons including his brother, brother’s wife and their three children in 2001 over a domestic dispute.
Earlier, he was awarded capital punishment on five counts by a trial court and the verdict was upheld by the high court.
Shahzeb Khan case
Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur were awarded death penalty in June 2013 in murder case of 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan. Jatoi had shot dead the victim in Karachi in December 2012 after they brawled over teasing of Shahzeb’s death.
In December 2017, the Sindh High Court had released the convict on bail. Here the SC intervened and ordered to arrest the culprits. Later, in May 2019, the SHC commuted their punishment to life imprisonment.
Shah Hussain had stabbed Khadija Siddiqui, a law student, 23 times in Lahore in a bid to murder her in 2016, but fortunately she survived and filed a case against him. Shah Hussain was awarded seven-year imprisonment by a judicial magistrate in July 2017, a verdict which was overruled by the Lahore High Court in 2018 and the suspect was acquitted.
Rehan lynching case
Counsel of the five suspects, who had allegedly lynched a 17-year-old Rehan over trying to rob a house within the limit of the Bahadurabad police station, had last month asked the judge to release them arguing that they were not involved in murder of the deceased.
A local court had remanded them in police custody in the case.
Nazo Shinwari case
The suspects, who have forced two siblings to live in hiding after giving death threats, have been given bail extension again in Rawalpindi.
The sister Nazo Shinwari has sought help from the government and other influential people. She has alleged that her step-brothers and an uncle had murdered her parents.