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Unjust justice

Angered at the release of Jamaat ud Dawa founder Hafiz Saeed,commentators in Pakistan...

Written by Ruchika Talwar |
June 6, 2009 1:40:07 am

Angered at the release of Jamaat ud Dawa founder Hafiz Saeed,commentators in Pakistan,instead of holding the Lahore High Court responsible,questioned the efficacy of the investigating agencies,who failed to provide tenable evidence against the Lashkar supremo. The News’ editorial on June 4 observed: “The court had no option given that no charges had been pressed against Saeed. One can only wonder why it has proved so difficult to nab a man who is accused of heading organisations involved in multiple terrorist attacks….. We must tackle terror wherever it exists….. The failure to prove charges against men accused of involvement in violence in the past has been a key factor in their growth. The courts cannot of course be blamed for doing what is just. They can only act on the basis of what is placed before them. It is up to the law-enforcement agencies to now explain why they have been able to produce no charges at all against a man for whom full-fledged raids were conducted under the full glare of TV cameras late last year.”

Dawn’s editorial on June 4 offered Pakistan’s Parliament some food for thought: “Do we have the laws that can put such people out of business while acknowledging the difficulty of tracing any particular crime to a group’s top leadership? It appears not. Clearly,this is a matter for Parliament to debate and to draw up a set of a laws as Pakistan presses ahead in its counter-insurgency activities in the northwest and Fata. The issue is bigger than just Hafiz Saeed and the Mumbai attacks — it extends to militant leaders like Maulana Fazlullah and Baitullah Mehsud,too. Imagine a scenario in which Fazlullah or Mehsud are captured by the state and are held for trial: Is it beyond the realm of possibility that they too may be set free on technicalities because the laws of the land are inadequate to deal with such leaders?”

Thus spake Obama…

When US President Barack Obama finally spoke at Cairo,he soothed as many nerves as he frayed. Dawn,in its editorial hailed the initiative. “ It wasn’t a speech one could imagine his predecessor delivering; indeed,the very idea of the speech was to change the perception of the US that had built up in Muslim lands during the Bush presidency. What matters most to improving the US’s standing in the Muslim world is what it does going forward — a fact Obama acknowledged frankly… it was a sweeping message that tried to show a softer,gentler side of the US,one that emphasised similarities and opportunities and not divisions with the Muslim world. But as President Obama noted,‘No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust.’ At the very least though,the speech was yet more evidence that the US has put behind it the roughest edges of the Bush years.”

The News editorial added: “None can deny that President Obama is a rhetorician the like of which America has not seen for decades. Both Clinton nd Kennedy would find him hard to match for sheer eloquence and elegant phraseology that on the surface is free of ambiguity. His address was a model of its kind,and was received by an audience who at some points cheered and clapped not unlike those who attended the election rallies that eventually put President Obama where he is today. He knows how to work an audience and from the outset his speech was littered with ‘applause points’ and phrases that were crafted with tomorrow’s headlines in mind. The biggest ovation by far was for what he said to Israel,and here he really did speak very differently to any of his predecessors. No American president has ever gone out of his way to reach out to the Muslim world in the way that President Obama has. We applaud that. But our applause is discreet rather than rapturous for these are as yet mere words.”

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