Ignoring 'Cheer haran' of Draupadi by the Pakistan judiciary

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Deaf and dumb

By Justice Markandey Katju

Several women in Pakistan who supported Imran Khan are in jail for almost 4 months in terrible conditions. They have written an open letter to CJP Bandial and other judges complaining of the food in jail, the bad condition of the washrooms, etc, and all they have requested is that their trials be held expeditiously.

But will any heed be paid to this reasonable request? From past experience, it seems unlikely.

The judiciary is supposed to be the guardian of the Constitution, and protector of the fundamental rights of the people guaranteed by the Constitution. Before entering office, Judges take a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution.

However, the recent performance of the Pakistan Judges reminds me of Bheeshma Pitamah, grand uncle of the Kauravas and the Pandavas in the epic Mahabharata.
''Cheer haran' of Draupadi by the Pakistan judiciary

When the 'cheer haran' ( public stripping ) of Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, was being done by Dushashan ( one of the Kaurav brothers ), Bheeshma Pitamah, instead of stopping this outrage, closed his eyes, and said that his allegiance to Hastinapur ( the Kaurav capital ) prevented him from intervening.

In today's context, the ''cheer haran' of Draupadi metaphorically represents the reign of terror unleashed by the Pakistan Establishment, with over ten thousand people in Pakistan arrested and jailed on false and frivolous charges, many beaten, tortured, killed, or just 'disappeared'.

Bheeshma Pitamah represents the Pakistan judiciary which has turned a Nelson's eye to these horrors.

Just as Bheeshma Pitamah said that his allegiance was to Hastinapur, the Pakistan judges have shown that their allegiance is to their salaries, perks, pensions, and comforts of themselves and their families, rather than protecting the rights of the people.

Accordingly, they have become like the 3 monkeys who believed in 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil', the only difference being that they have substituted that expression by 'see no violation of human rights or the law, hear nothing about it, and speak nothing about it'.

(Justice Markandey Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)
''Cheer haran' of Draupadi by the Pakistan Establishment

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