The latest book entitled ‘Lee Kuan Yew’, based on the interviews with the legendary Singapore leader, Lee Kuan Yew, is being widely acclaimed the world over.
‘We should learn to live with the Pakistan terror nexus for a long time. My fear is Pakistan may get worse.’
If his words are any measure of reality, it will be quite difficult to disagree with him given the present state of affairs in Pakistan.
Delineating the law and order challenges confronting the present-day Pakistan is not an easy task as it has its share of definitional, administrative, functional, geographical and sector-specific dimensions. On the definitional side, there is no clear-cut definition of law and order. The term is loosely applied to anything that is related to criminal justice and to security of any part of the country. On administrative side, the budgetary allocations are made under the omnibus term of ‘law and order’; likewise, the administrative division of work is that law and order is treated as a provincial subject. The geographic topology of the law and order of Pakistan is very interesting as it offers provinces, FATA, PATA, police and non-police areas, and sui generis areas as its subjects with federal, provincial and concurrent jurisdiction. The sector-specific dimension of law and order invites in the plethora of issues associated with civil-military relationship as some aspects are dealt with by military exclusively, while other aspects are left to police and non-police agencies with superimposed superintendence by the bureaucracy. The extant concept of law and order in Pakistan also begs differentiation from the phenomenon of terrorism which calls for not-normal response, while law and order is all about normalcy.
An inward analysis of the governance structures in Pakistan being mindful of the aforesaid nuances reveals that following three chief conceptual challenges befall the governments (federal and provincial) of Pakistan:
First and foremost is the civil-military relationship. It affects the very anatomy of the challenges of law and order. Defining a challenge of law and order is the exclusive domain of military establishment. For example, the policy on Afghan refugees in Pakistan may appear a simple issue of foreign and security policy, but a deeper analysis reveals that far too many Afghans are involved in many of the crimes from gun running to kidnapping for ransom, therefore, a policy on Afghan refugees changes the chemistry of a law and order challenge. The civil-military relationship has deeper impact as it also affects the federal and provincial working, which is more or less asymmetrical. The provinces have been entrusted with law and order domain; however, the federal government and military have all the wherewithal of technical and real-time intelligence.
Secondly, the empowerment of primary law enforcement agency (i.e. Police) is no small challenge given the level of mistrust on the agency and its poor image in the public. Within the dominion of empowerment, the following issues are worth mentioning:
Thirdly, the synergy amongst components of criminal justice system has to be achieved. The point of departure in this regard is that all the organs of criminal justice system must move in one direction with judiciary to lead the move. Though executive and judiciary must remain separate in terms of Article 175 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, it does not mean that they should exclude each other. Mutual exclusion has always led to blame game; coordinated and targeted synchronization can lead to synergy.