Pakistan 2023: ‘Partial Law’ and its Harrowing Consequences

As per the analysis of former Senator and Federal Information Minister, Javed Jabbar, Pakistan is presently navigating through an unsettling merger of civil and martial law, leading to what Jabbar dubs as ‘Partial Law’. This hybridization, characterized by the authoritarian essence of the military, as seen in the aftermath of the 9th May violence, has spawned a disconcerting era of biased enforcement of civil law.

The article highlights this prejudiced enforcement by referring to police invasions of homes, alleged mistreatment of detainees, and arbitrary acquittals by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) figures. While civil courts have begun acquitting some of those arrested post-9th May, an uneasy fusion of martial authority and civil law continues to dominate without official acknowledgement.

Furthermore, Jabbar laments over the amplified display of violence from the 9th May on virtually every television news channel and the public showcasing of portraits of high-ranking military officials. These acts are seen as an overreaction and a manifestation of the worrying blend of martial and civil authority.

The article also mentions the disconcerting disappearances of notable journalist Imran Riaz Khan, Sami Ebrahim, and activist Jibran Nasir. Jabbar condemns these acts, stressing the violation of their rights to expression and protection from unlawful force.

Interestingly, in a video on social media, the Federal Information Minister downplays Khan’s disappearance by denying his legitimacy as a journalist, instead categorizing him as a politically partisan figure. Jabbar finds this response, with its shocking immediacy of unconcern, profoundly disturbing.

The article concludes with a call for holistic, rather than selective and partial application of law, to respect human dignity, prevent disappearances, killings, and despair. Jabbar warns that the prevailing ‘Partial Law’ demeans Pakistan far more than it punishes or damages any political party or its leaders.

Read the complete analysis by Javed Jabbar here.





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