Stay in the news business long enough, and you become hardened to brutality. But the reports from Pakistan overnight hit me hard on Tuesday morning. How to comprehend such evil? One hundred forty-five dead at the Taliban’s hands, more […]
It has been a month since I survived a lethal attack aimed to silence me forever. The support of my family, friends and colleagues has been monumental in dealing with the trauma, especially that of seeing young Mustafa die — an unfortunate victim of the bullets that the assailants fielded for me. The Punjab Police have reportedly apprehended a gang that has been carrying out such activities. It remains to be seen if the creaky, dysfunctional criminal justice system will deliver justice. Nevertheless, the efforts of the police have been commendable in tracing and arresting the alleged attackers.
Much has happened in the last month. Halfway, I had to leave the country given the sense of insecurity that surrounded my daily life and the potential power of those who attempted to kill me. The issue of journalists’ security remains a huge question mark for the government in power as another colleague from Geo TV was brutally attacked on April 19. The core issues since then have been sidelined and the politics of blaming Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency has overshadowed everything else. Is there freedom of speech in Pakistan? How much of it is granted and what are the lines that cannot be crossed by journalists? […]
A police commandos stop a photo journalist near a local court building after a gun and suicide attack in Islamabad on March 3, 2014. PHOTO: AFP
But at the end of the day it is about collective responsibility in a parliamentary system. The government’s vacillating policy on negotiating or fighting the militants has much to contribute to the worsening security scenario across the country. […]
The seasoned Congress leader and India’s well-known dove Mani Shankar Aiyarhas made some bold remarks at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank. He has reminded his countrymen that it is time to change how they view Pakistan. Citing the recent developments in Pakistan, he has rightly […]
My piece published in the Express-Tribune
State effectiveness, by most definitions, has been waning in Pakistan. The ability of the law enforcement agencies and institutions to deliver services and entitlements is dwindling.
Ultra-nationalists resent the ‘failed state’ branding but what else can describe a dysfunctional apparatus that is unable to provide a basic entitlement, i.e. security? After 1973, the state has undertaken no serious civil service reform and the top-down reform under former president Pervez Musharraf has failed.
Therefore Pakistan has, among other things, witnessed a near-collapse of its institutions especially the criminal justice system where the police and prosecution have lost their efficacy and millions of cases are pending in courts.
Terrorism is often viewed in the country as the handiwork of ‘anti- Pakistan’ elements. However, rarely has it been noted that our criminal justice system is unable to cope with the spiralling phenomenon called terrorism. Cases are registered but proper investigations never take place. The overstretched prosecutors, lacking incentives to deliver, seldom pursue the cases in the courts. Consequently, the courts acquit most of the accused due to lack of credible evidence. […]