Monday, September 5, 2016

"Our moral blind spot" -- Khan v. Federation of Pakistan

The News International has this worthwhile op-ed by Babar Sattar about last week's decision of the Supreme Court in Khan v. Federation of Pakistan. Excerpt:
How can this decision be wrong[] after the 21st Amendment decision [in 2015]? The threshold to be met by the state to establish that a trial is fair has been set so low that the possibility of failing it is miniscule. Our traditional understanding of natural justice has been that trials are to be conducted by neutral arbiters in accordance with due process. The need for due process is highlighted by other principles of justice such as the ‘presumption of innocence till someone is proven guilty’ and the need that ‘justice is not only done but also seen to be done.’ 
That understanding is now history. The right not be held in secret confinement, to be confronted with charges upon arrest, to be presented before a magistrate without delay, to be defended by an attorney of choice and to be given a public trial are no longer rights in Pakistan. Due process is bereft of all its purpose. Presumption of innocence stands reversed. And the concept of neutral arbiter stands reduced to someone who holds no personal grudge against you, even if it is someone in uniform under the command of those who arrest, investigate and prosecute you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).