PTI should take steps to ensure blind justice
It was on July 20, 2017 that in Quetta traffic policeman Haji Attaullah was crushed to death by a vehicle driven by former MPA Abdul Majeed Khan Achakzai.
A video of the incident went viral, after which the police registered a case against the influential leader and arrested him.
Achakzai belongs to the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, a regional party with influence in the country’s most backward province.
He has twice been a member of the Balochistan Assembly.
On Friday, a model court – comprising judge Muhammad Mandokhel - acquitted Mr Achakzai giving him the benefit of the doubt due to ‘lack of evidence’.
While acquittal or conviction of an accused is decided by courts keeping in sight the facts of a case, this decision will certainly be shocking for many, especially so because it was against their expectations.
When the unfortunate incident took place, people believed that the ‘accused’ will not go scot-free as the video provides a very strong proof against him.
But the announcement of the acquittal verdict will remind them once again that things are not like they appear to be. Lawyers can change the picture through their arguments. And in this case prominent lawyers Kamran Murtaza, Khalilur Rehman, Noor Jan and Jaffar Awan had appeared for the accused.
During investigations, it transpired that accused Achakzai had also been nominated in another case, FIR No. 156/2009, under Sections 365 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with Section 6-K of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, lodged with Police Station Satellite Town, Quetta.
However, the Chief Justice of Pakistan acquitted him on unexplained grounds.
Had the accused not been an influential figure or his defence counsel were not prominent in the legal fraternity the verdict could have been different even if the allegation was much weaker.
It’s unfortunate that the judge could not see through the video what public at large did.
Whether the verdict will be challenged in higher courts will be clear in the days and weeks ahead. Otherwise, the victim will get justice in the court of Allah Almighty.
This is not the first case in which the verdict is contrary to public expectations.
Our system is such that anything can happen any time.
A large number of people, especially those belonging to the PPP, have not reconciled with the Supreme Court judgment through which Mr ZA Bhutto had been awarded capital punishment. That verdict is not cited in courts, probably because it doesn’t meet the ends of justice.
Also, it is an open secret that the country’s judicial system is not as trustworthy as it should be.
False evidence, fake witnesses and corruptible investigators are easily available.
And these factors lead to judgments people don’t trust.
Unless those in power take effective measures against such elements, a credible system of justice cannot be dreamed of.
The Justice Movement Pakistan (the English word for the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-insaf) is committed to providing inexpensive justice to the countrymen. Now that it has spent two years in powers and has a fairly good idea of problems in various walks of life, it should take steps to ensure justice.