There is never any justification for extrajudicial killings

Killings without an institutional mechanism to ensure accountability are inarguably cruelty. For,even the fairest of courtrooms are likely to commit error of judgment in awarding a death sentences and thus extrajudicial killing is absolutely unacceptable in a civilized society. It is an extremely flawed way to dispense justice and reflects the mindset of a barbaric society. Often these killings are justified in the light of Islamic teachings, but even the Quran clearly states that “Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind” (Qur’an, 5:32). No civilized society can hope to flourish under tyranny, injustice and abuse of power. Extrajudicial killings represent all three.

SSP Rao Anwar abused his power when he had Naqeebullah murdered. The police officer had been untouchable during the MQM cleanup years and as expected was thoroughly corrupted. As they say, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”.Let me give you seven reasons why extrajudicial killing is disastrous for our country.

Firstly, it advocates the root cause of violence in society. As it is a quick fix, the society maintains its old trajectory and remains oblivious to the reasons for violence. No one feels the need to look deeper into the root cause of disturbance that leads to extrajudicial killing. The same conditions appear again and again.Violence begets violence. Harsh measures always come back around. If government functionaries are used to bump off nuisances, it inevitably leads to reprisal attacks. A slow but firm judicial process also acts as a cooler for frayed tempers.

Secondly, the government loses legitimacy in the eyes of the people. Every country has a constitution that guarantees justice and a society free of fear. Such killings defeat the purpose of having an independent constitution, a judiciary, a legislature and the essential pillars of state. Any constitutional clause violated renders the whole country’s existence and sense of security meaningless.

It maintains the status quo as far as the disparities in the society is concerned. The ones getting killed are largely from the less powerful segment while the dominant class maintains its grip on the subjects.

It’s is also dictatorial and gives impunity. The person ordering the killing is basically acting as the judge, jury and executioner, all rolled into one. This is problematic for many reasons and most obviously that of biases. It makes the person in charge dictatorial and despotic. No civilized society can evolve under despotic rule.

It is incompetent as instead of funding forensics, supporting judicial process and letting law take its course, immature leaders use killings to get instant results. It shows poor and lazy leadership.

Even one innocent killed is disastrous. The guilt and shame that society suffers as a consequence of killing an innocent victim is very detrimental on moral grounds. Inevitably, an innocent person does get killed because there are always hyenas on the fringe of the society waiting for lawlessness like this to further their cause. The society becomes vulnerable to these vultures. Executed sanctioned killings only scar the society further.

Treacherous examples of extrajudicial killings sanctioned by the state are the drone attacks to eliminate radical Islamic threat, as seen by the US government. Even a layman can see that drones directed from several thousands of miles away are prone to error. Who would account for one innocent person who would eventually be murdered?

The second example is the anti-drug encounters allegedly sanctioned by President Duterte of Philippines. Dead bodies lying on the streets shot on suspicion of drug peddling seems more likely to terrorize the public than deter drug cartels. Instead of investing in better societal morals, President Duterte preferred the quick fix. This is unlikely to succeed, as short cuts usually fail to address the underlying issues.

Whether Rao Anwar did a good job cleaning up Malir through his “encounter specialist” technique is beside the point. The damage to Pakistani society suffered, as a consequence of innocent NaqeebullahMehsud’s treacherous death, will haunt our already traumatized society for a long time.

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