Why Justice Katju thinks Pakistan is headed towards becoming another Gaza

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Pakistan is heading to become another Gaza

Why Justice Katju thinks Pakistan is headed towards becoming another Gaza
Why Justice Katju thinks Pakistan is headed towards becoming another Gaza

By Justice Markandey Katju

I fear that the way developments are taking place in Pakistan, the country is inevitably going to implode and is heading to becoming another Gaza. Consider the facts.

1. A reign of terror has been unleashed by the Pakistan Establishment ( meaning mainly its army and the police ). About 10,000 people, including women and children, were arrested on concocted charges after the events of 9th May ( which many people believe were stage-managed) after breaking into their houses, many beaten, tortured, and some even 'disappeared'. Most of them are still lying in jail in horrible conditions. People live in fear everywhere.

2. The immensely popular former Prime Minister Imran Khan lies incarcerated in a tiny, dingy cell in jail in inhuman conditions since early August when he was convicted by a corrupt judge who denied him the right to produce his witnesses. Over 90% Pakistanis support him, as all opinion polls indicate,and the number is still rising.

Now Imran Khan is being tried again, this time inside jail with no spectators except a few lawyers, on another concocted charge ( the Cypher case ). There are about 180 criminal cases which have been foisted upon him, the intention clearly being that he should never get out of jail alive.

3. Parliamentary elections in Pakistan are due, and if they are free and fair Imran Khan's PTI party will clearly sweep the polls. So no date has as yet been announced, and even if they are held, the Establishment will ensure that the PTI will be debarred or will lose ( by massive rigging ).

4. The judiciary in Pakistan has prostrated itself before the Establishment, and become totally servile. The judges had taken an oath to defend the Constitution, which contains a chapter on the fundamental rights of the people, including the right to life and liberty, which judges were duty bound to protect, but it has become a joke and a mockery.

5. The Establishment is going overboard to install in power once again the corrupt Nawaz Sharif, whose name figures prominently in the Panama Papers, who has huge assets in UK and elsewhere ( including 4 luxurious flats in London ), and had been convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on corruption charges by a Pakistan court.

After his conviction Nawaz Sharif was allowed to go to London, ostensibly for medical treatment ( which is unprecedented ), though he has been active politically.

While bail pleas of thousands of persons incarcerated in jail for 5 months are not being heard, and the verdict on Imran Khan's bail plea is not being pronounced for weeks, Nawaz Sharif, who is due to return to Pakistan on 19th October, was granted bail and a stay of his arrest warrant by the Islamabad High Court, in a hearing lasting just a few minutes

Nawaz Sharif is hated by an overwhelming number of Pakistanis, as evident from this video

6. Economic conditions in Pakistan are terrible for the common man, with spiralling inflation, and prices of even essential commodities like food skyrocketing, record and rising unemployment, and the country bankrupt, with its leaders going around the world with a begging bowl.

Presently most Pakistanis, though sullen and full of anger, are silent out of fear. But it is the lull before the storm, and reminds one of the ongoing events in Gaza, where all was calm before 7th October, when everything exploded, a result of pent up grievances over Israeli atrocities and oppression on Palestinians for decades.

Things in Pakistan seem to be inevitably heading in the same direction.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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