Pakistani judiciary faces allegations of corruption and abuse of power


In 2022, a tragic incident unfolded that brought to light the extent of corruption and misuse of power within Pakistan’s judicial system. The incident involved the then-judge of Lahore High Court and his criminal daughter, who under the influence of alcohol, ran over two young men, while driving an official Toyota Prado car, belonging to the Lahore High Court. The young men died on the spot, and Judge’s daughter fled the scene, abandoning the car. Despite the clear evidence against her, captured by CCTV footage, what followed exposed a deep-rooted malaise within the system.

On that fateful day, the reckless driving by the Judge’s daughter resulted in the deaths of two innocent youths. Instead of facing the consequences of her actions, she chose to run away, leaving the victims behind. The CCTV footage captured the entire incident, providing incontrovertible evidence of her guilt. However, instead of allowing the law to take its course, a series of events unfolded that showcased the extent of judicial corruption and the abuse of power by those in high positions in the judiciary.

The esteem Judge in this sad story, who was then serving as a judge of the Lahore High Court and later became the Chief Justice before being elevated to the Supreme Court, used his influential position to obstruct the process of justice. He exerted immense pressure on the police to close the case against his daughter. This abuse of power was not limited to his direct influence; his son also played a role in the coercion. He went to the victims’ families with several goons to intimidate them into withdrawing their application. They falsely claimed that another woman was driving the car and that the Judge’s daughter was merely a passenger, a blatant lie designed to absolve her of any responsibility.

The manipulation did not stop there. Using his judicial connections, the said Judge ensured that the car involved in the incident disappeared from the Police station, and another car was placed in its place. All pieces of evidence were meticulously erased to protect his daughter. The judge did not allow the investigation to proceed further. When the Investigating Officer attempted to pursue the case, he was told by the Registrar of the Lahore High Court that reaching the judge was impossible. In a shocking turn of events, the officer’s case file was seized, and he was imprisoned in the basement of the court, held in illegal detention for several days. This blatant abuse of power demonstrated the lengths to which the so-called custodians of justice could go to protect their own, showcasing a deeply flawed and corrupt system.

The families of the deceased young men were left in despair. Despite the overwhelming evidence and the clear culpability of the judge’s daughter, justice seemed like a distant dream. The father of one of the victims held a press conference, pleading for justice, but his cries fell on deaf ears. The media, fearing repercussions from the judiciary, chose not to give the matter the coverage it deserved. The fear of contempt charges loomed large, stifling any attempt to bring the truth to light. This dire situation led the bereaved father to contemplate extreme measures, including self-immolation, as a form of protest against the crippled criminal justice system. The thought that a man might set himself on fire due to the systemic failure to deliver justice is a damning indictment of the state of the judiciary in Pakistan.

The media’s reluctance to cover this scandal is indicative of a broader issue: the judiciary’s unchecked power and the fear it instills. When the very institutions meant to uphold justice become sources of intimidation, the media’s role as a watchdog is compromised. This incident raises critical questions about the independence of the press and its ability to hold powerful figures accountable.

For true justice to prevail, a thorough investigation must be conducted into the actions of the judge and those who aided him in obstructing justice. The judiciary must be held to the same standards as ordinary citizens, if not higher, given their significant role in society. This incident should serve as a wake-up call for comprehensive judicial reforms to prevent the abuse of power and ensure the rule of law is upheld.

Today, as the father of one of the murdered boys holds a press conference, pleading for justice, the media has largely ignored him. It seems that the media fears the judiciary might charge them with contempt of court if they report the truth. What if this grieving father sets himself on fire tomorrow, as he has threatened, out of desperation with Pakistan’s crippled criminal justice system? Will his suffering also be suppressed due to judicial pressure? Who will then be held accountable for his death and the gross injustice inflicted upon him? These critical events and questions must be addressed by a politicized judiciary that has so far failed to deliver true justice. This case is not just an isolated incident; it is a reflection of a systemic problem. When those tasked with upholding the law are the ones breaking it with impunity, it erodes public trust in the judiciary.

The victims’ families deserve justice, and the public deserves a judicial system that is transparent, accountable, and impartial. For true justice to prevail, there must be a thorough investigation into the actions of this Judge from the Supreme Court and those who aided him in obstructing justice. The judiciary must be held to the same standards as ordinary citizens, if not higher, given their role in society. This incident should serve as a wake-up call for comprehensive judicial reforms to prevent the abuse of power and to ensure that the rule of law is upheld.

The delayed justice to victims involving a Judge and his children is a stark reminder of the urgent need for accountability within Pakistan’s judicial system. It highlights how the misuse of power can devastate lives and undermine public trust in the institutions meant to protect and serve justice. The victims’ families continue to seek justice, and their plight should not be ignored. It is imperative that the judiciary be reformed to prevent such abuses of power in the future, ensuring that justice is truly blind and serves all members of society equally.

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