— As long as the law remains susceptible to easy manipulation, smart investors will steer clear
— No one wants to put their money in a place where the laws change based on the whims of a few
By Irum Saleem
“The extent of institutional capture is stunning,” Dawn castigated in it’s Thursday’s editorial on the brutal episode of PTI President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi’s re-arrest on 11 consecutive times despite the court’s barring the authorities from flouting the law of the land.
It appears that no authority in Pakistan, bar one, has it within its power to set an ailing septuagenarian free.
Repeated contempt of court warnings and show-cause notices have failed to deter senior administrative officials, who have been openly defying court orders to keep Chaudhry Parvez Elahi behind bars, Dawn lambasted.
He barely walks out of a courtroom on bail that he is dragged back into custody in connection with some freshly discovered case.
This cat-and-mouse game has greatly frustrated several honourable justices, but the high-ranking bureaucrats who keep crossing them seem unfussed. They are, after all, perceived as merely following the orders of a ‘higher’ authority.
It is no secret that those running the country these days wish to see anyone who refuses to renounce their allegiance to Imran Khan’s party suffer. The executive appears in no mood — or position — to deny them that pleasure. The PTI president is certainly not the only one to have been arrested and rearrested following the events of May 9. However, he does seem to have the distinction of having been made to suffer the experience the most. He has been arrested 11 times since June.
Chaudhry Elahi should be punished according to the law if he has been involved in any misdoing. However, any punishment should follow due process. This has clearly not been the case with Mr Elahi, or any of the prisoners taken by the state in the aftermath of its decision to crack down on the PTI.
Scores, including dozens of women, continue to be held without charge or trial, deprived of their liberty simply because it has been decided that they should be ‘taught a lesson’. Such arbitrariness hurts the state’s interests.
There has lately been much talk about Pakistan’s impending turnaround following large foreign investments.
However, given the sorry state of law and order, we should not expect much change in our overall trajectory. No amount of dollars pumped into the economy will be enough to ‘save’ Pakistan if its justice system is kept in its current weakened and compromised state.
As long as the law remains susceptible to easy manipulation, smart investors will steer clear. No one wants to put their money in a place where the laws change based on the whims of a few. The authorities would do well to heed that.
Hope sanity prevails at the end of the day. PAK DESTINY