Legal ways and illegal deeds

Albert Arooj Bhatti

A famous saying goes that only those nations understand the true value of freedom who have never had freedom. It would be not incorrect to say that the Pakistani nation has taken full advantage of their freedom and independence. People think they are completely free – even free from the law, ethics, and responsibilities and no one can take that away from them. In fact, we have developed laws that allow us to safeguard these freedoms.

If you want to illegally occupy someone’s land, there is a law for that guaranteeing complete protection because it is your integral right as a citizen. If you want to set up a roadside stall or pushcart, there is a law for that as well to facilitate you. In fact, even if you want to smuggle drugs, possess illegal weapons, run a brothel, or even get away with murder, there is surely a law for it as well.

Pakistan has been an independent nation for 73 years but we still have not become responsible citizens. The institutions entrusted with enforcing laws should also be blamed.

At every traffic signal, you will see violations of traffic rules as we consider it disrespectful to wait a few minutes. If a traffic officer fulfills his responsibility, then you are set free over just a few rupees. There is nothing that is beyond the reach of the law. Every crime in this nation from traffic violations, drugs peddling, narcotics, prostitution, murder, robbery, etc. are being committed under the law.

And why shouldn’t it be? The law has been exploited by the elite to suit themselves. Just throw the money and you will be free. You can run over a traffic warden in broad daylight and flee from the scene or simply just occupy some one’s lands, no one has the audacity to lay a finger on you. There is no institution in the entire country that is doing the job it’s supposed to do.

The Police was created to protect us an impression has been created that you are more at risk from being looted by the police than getting a sense of protection. If you are involved in illegal activities, the police will protect you and your business will flourish. But if you want a birth certificate or want to build your house, authorities will create such hassles that you will be compelled to use illegal means. If you refuse, then how will the elites send their children to schools, their wives’ shopping, and splurging on expensive items and parties? Shouldn’t an officer of an independent nation have such freedom?

From the Sahiwal incident to Naqeeb murder case, we have witnessed incidents that have left a botch on the police. Who do we turn to if we suffer any injustice? We can just wipe our tears as anything is possible in this God-forsaken country. The police force has been completely politicized, every government hires its cronies and uses them for their vested interests. Every policeman at every police station has a price, and everyone is busy collecting bribes as if it is their birthright.

There are all sorts of laws in Pakistan but they are only misused. The lawmakers are the biggest lawbreakers. They chose to blatantly violate the law knowing well they won’t be ever held accountable. If only the police force is reformed and is free of politics and crime, our society will drastically improve but this remains wishful thinking.

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