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Activist judiciary kindles hope in Pakistan

Pakistan’s judicial system is making up for lost time. It is hearing a number of key cases, which both embarrass the Govt on the one hand and give hope to many on the other, reports Kamal Siddiqi.

world Updated: Aug 23, 2007 06:05 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

It seems that Pakistan’s judicial system is making up for lost time. It is hearing a number of key cases, which both embarrass the government on the one hand and give hope to many on the other. There are some cases that provide relief to hundreds, but others involve public interest.

In many of the cases, the mishandling of affairs by the Musharraf government comes out clearly. But those are the icing on the cake. Many of those that the people are talking about are suo motu actions by the Supreme Court as well the High Courts of the country.

One such deals with the traffic situation in this city. Following the start of hearings and the summoning of the traffic police chief of Karachi, the provincial government has swung into action.

Action has been prompt. As a first step, the entry of heavy vehicles in Karachi has been banned during the day. But the local media says that these measures are temporary. The courts need to order long-term solutions.

The variety of the cases and their importance dazzle many. The SC is hearing the sensitive case of missing persons. Hundreds of relatives crowd expectantly on the premises of the SC or adjoining areas. There are hopes that this issue will be taken up.

Thousands of under-trial prisoners have approached the courts to have their cases heard. Many have served more time in jails than what their sentence would be. Another important case, which is bound to embarrass the government is the hearing by the Sindh High Court into the incidents on May 12, 2007 when violence erupted in Karachi.