Amir Hamza Qureshi
We would generally agree that there is a lack of unity and coherence among people – friends and families- in our society. Friends betraying friends, brothers killing brothers and families fighting over a piece of land for several generations are some of the many stories published in newspapers on daily basis. However, this rhetoric of disunity proves to be false in certain situations when we witness a grand unity among people in their fight against the criminal justice system. We witness a deep consensus among friends, kins and tribes when it comes to resisting writ of the state, due process of law or operation of the justice system. We never stand by each other, but we stand by our criminals to protect them from the cuffs of police or gavel of courts.
We are not ready to sit and dine with a broken poor person but happily invite a murderer to a dinner party and give him much respect. We are not ready to give shelter to a homeless but proudly provide harbour to a wanted criminal. We would kill our sister in the name of family’s honour and would defend such cold-blooded brothers as a sign of family’s honour. We are most vocal against corruption but encourage and cover our family members in corrupt practices. We want justice, only when it favors us. We hate criminals, only when they are not our fellows or relatives.
We have a sense of attachment to the criminals and law-breakers that are our fellows or are part of our reputed families, and thus will reach every level in guarding them from lawful consequences of their acts or in covering their unlawful deeds. We shelter such criminals because either we feel obliged to our family members, or protect them because we want to preserve our family’s honor. Similarly, we consider it our responsibility to help -in ill activities- those who had favored us before in time, even if decades ago, and that also is one of the reasons many people give favors to others, thinking that they will pay back with a similar favor when they need them.
How can a justice system work when families, fellows, associates, tribes and clans act as one strong mafia, united to defeat any operation of law and justice. Whenever the system attempts to capture and punish any criminal in society, it faces a gang of people trying their best to crush any such attempt. Parents, relatives, friends, fellows, civil servants and political leaders, who are either a part of justice system or have some links in government departments, would all start to work together to protect a criminal from the hands of police and judiciary, succeeding in many cases. It is a sign that these social relations are much more stronger than the state system.
Murder of justice begins at our homes, and the justice system cannot function until we demolish these anti-justice fortresses inside which we live. We are confused, because if we break this fortress and allow justice system to serve freely, free from nepotism and favoritism, we won’t be able to protect those outlaws who are near and dear to us. We must now decide whether we want justice for all or no justice at all.