Islamabad: Referring to the recent conviction of Mayaben Kodnani, the former Indian minister for Women and Child Development of Gujarat, who was sentenced to extended life imprisonment by a court for the February 2002 massacre in Naroda Patiya which left more than 1,000 Muslims dead, an editorial in a Pakistani daily has said Pakistan requires such a system of justice to keep the country from falling completely into the pit of lawlessness.
The international community was shocked at the level of communal violence across Naroda Patiya, said to be the worst ever communal pogrom in India’s post-independence history. Some NGOs in their private investigations even found the death toll to be around 5,000, the editorial in the Daily Times said.
The then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, who happens to occupy that post even today, instead of stopping or controlling the violence, in fact directed the killing fields staged in reaction to the death of 59 Hindus in a train set on fire at Godhra on its way to Gujarat, the editorial stated.
Though Narendra Modi, believed to be the main architect of the Gujarat pogrom, has remained beyond the reach of the law, the conviction of 32 people, including a former minister, is a sign of justice being served at least partially, the editorial said.
Can Pakistan imagine anything even similar to this? The country has a number of terrorists, fanatics and murderers running amok but they remain beyond the (shortened) arm of the law, it said.
All democracies evolve. Pakistan’s has not had that luxury so far. But even Pakistan’s democracy is still flawed and weak, steps leading to a mature democratic dispensation have to begin somewhere. What could be a better starting point than taking to the path of an effective and impartial legal system? A non-discriminatory justice system is the only way to ensure a terrorism-free society of a peaceful, tolerant and law-abiding nature, it stated.
Pakistan still lacks effective anti-terrorism laws, the absence of which has turned out to be a bonanza for the terrorists, set free from jails owing to lack of evidence, weak investigation and prosecution and lack of protection to witnesses. All this seems hard to believe for a country literally ripped apart by a singular scourge, it concluded.