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December 9, 2017

Sanaullah for ‘law course’ instead of mere discourse


December 9, 2017

Punjab Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah, has come up again with his typical energetic style to reinforce clarity in the minds of media seniors on tricky issues and controversies by putting himself in the (media) dock in a non-traditional style.

This iconoclastic style is evident from Rana Sanaullah’s all-time preparedness with which he has been able to quench every curiosity by answering every possible question in the minds of the people represented through their unelected representatives i.e the media persons. Almost every question was asked and no one showed any uncalled for leniency towards Sana as against the perception spread by certain quarters that those attending such discussions have a pre-determined soft corner for the politicians in power, in Punjab, specifically..

The composure of one of the important ministers of the province indicated as if Sana was ready for this ‘mass inquisition as he was seen well prepared, finally succeeding in satisfying every questioner present at his interaction at 90, Shahrahe Quaide Azam, Lahore, the title held by Punjab Chief Minister Office since many years.

In all, the central idea of this interaction was most probably to satisfy the public that no government, democratic or non-democratic could afford to play with fire intentionally or contribute towards the killings of citizens since the resultant situation always means disaster for the government of the day at the first instance and for the rest of the country at the second instance. The message thus conveyed was that no one in the Punjab administration’s higher echelons meaning thereby the political echelons had any designs in their minds to kill innocent people affiliated with Minhajul Quran or Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek.

Now the question arises can anybody find out the reason as to why the government of Mian Shehbaz Sharif in Punjab or Law Minister Rana Sanaullah could have passed orders for the killing of PAT supporters when the administration’s operation in Model Town was aimed only at the removal of road barriers built by PAT people about which the courts had also been moved by the citizens of the locality for relief (from these barricades)?

If this question of Rana Sanaullah is posed to people having experience and study of different eras of governance and governments in the country, whether they belong to politics, other national institutions or even media, they won’t be able to answer this question so confidently the way it has been answered by the minister with a logical approach that seems to be built on facts (facts should henceforth be taken for those facts that can be proved on the basis of solid evidence in a court of law otherwise things won’t reach any logical conclusion).

The Law Minister has cleared the confusion about the government appeal and delay in the issuance of Baqar Najfi report. There has been no delay at all. This was quite a stunning disclosure in the ‘gossip perspective’. So far, for the last about three years, the gossip had it (almost everyone with little or more knowledge, believed it) that the Punjab government was deliberately delaying the report public. Accompanied with this gossip was another gossip that there was solid incriminating evidence present in the Najfi report that was dissuading the government from making it public. But, now after the lapse of about three years, the surprise bubble has burst like anything in one go.

This in itself suffices to give benefit of doubt to Shehbaz government, as is being claimed, by inference, by Rana Sana and by the vocal lobby within PML-N. Answering some other very relevant questions, the Law Minister has laid emphasis on another important point that some kind of panicky situation led to knee-jerk reactions or killings without anyone in the government or higher ranks having any such intentions at all but “the process of law is going ahead in the courts of law on the basis of JIT investigations that also included a representative of MI. The JIT was headed by a police officer from outside the Punjab province in line with the demand made by PAT leadership. PAT leadership also opted for private complaint as a top priority instead of the routine trials on the basis of FIRs”.

Answering another crucial question whether some compromise could materialize, Rana Sana said he himself went to the house of one of PAT leaders and double compensation money or’Deyat’ was also agreed upon for payment to the victims’ survivors but, unfortunately, the demand came that the compensation money should be given to the leadership instead of being given to the survivors.

The utterances of Rana Sanaullah certainly appear to have been made by him in his own defence or in the defence of PML-N government of Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in Punjab but this whole matter must not be seen in this perspective. Things should, instead, be seen and evaluated on the yardsticks which are in force for decades in the country’s legal system and they are more than sufficient yardsticks to adjudge the things fairly.

Take for example a vital issue that deals with Najfi report. It has been ruled by the learned judges that the contents of this report should not be used as evidence in a court of trial. How can this non-evidentiary value of Najfi report be ignored in the handling of this entire matter?

The sum total of all these discussions is that the courts of the country are still performing exactly in accordance with the set procedures as laid down in the legal/penal and procedure codes as well as law of evidence. Let the law take its course. As such, mere discourse should be replaced with the ‘law course’. Only in this manner, the victims of this human tragedy can get justice on a sure footing.

The interaction with the minister has revealed certain things which are eye-openers.

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