As the Judges Speak Out

Recently, Prof. John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago likened the Oct 7, 2023 Hamas operation against Israel, to a mass prison breakout. This has been described in similar terms by many Western Intellectuals and commentators, who preferred to remain honest to themselves and to us in the face of the shameful policies of their governments.
This almighty push for freedom by the people of Gaza has resulted in one of the most unequal struggles between two peoples in recent history. On one side you have a 600,000-man Israeli military equipped with F-35s [randomly dropping 2000-pound ‘dumb’ bombs], inspired by an exclusionary Zionist interpretation of the Old Testament which cannot tolerate the existence of another people in their midst, and finds the need to expel them all. On the other, you have a 40,000-man faith-infused militia, committed to staying and fighting for their independence, whose most lethal weapon is the 120mm mortar.

This has resulted in the wholesale slaughter of Palestinians by the Israelis such that has not been seen and RECORDED in our day. No less than 15000 children have been massacred by the Israelis, not counting those buried under the rubble. And yet Israel has not suffered so many dead and wounded in all their wars so far, as they have suffered at the hands of Hamas. An operation which was to have been completed in four weeks, is nowhere near conclusion even after eight months of bloody fighting, and Israel has yet to achieve even one of its stated military objectives.

From day one, the security strategy of Israel has been structured on deterrence, and this, in turn, has been built around the concept of “Escalation Dominance” of deterrence. In simple words, this means that anyone punching Israel has been conditioned to expect two or more punches in return. And only Israel gets to decide the number of these return punches.

God alone knows what will be the state of Gaza and its people when the battles for Gaza conclude, but some things are certain. The Israeli strategy of deterrence has already become a part of the rubble of Gaza, and when this struggle concludes, a wider war in the region will continue; Israel will never be the same again; and an epic story of sacrifice, heroism, courage, and commitment is being written in Gaza, and shall be so acknowledged in eons to come.

Another people in a state of occupation are the people of Pakistan, but these have been occupied by their own army. And the primary weapon of this army has also been that of deterrence.

A few months back Mr Justice Babar Sattar spoke up and challenged this deterrence, becoming in the process the primary symbol of resistance against the establishment. The crack he caused was widened into a crevasse on May 20, 2024, by Justice Jehgangiri, and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani expanded this into a terrifying chasm.

Ordinarily, this should have been a clash between a disreputable judiciary and a much-revered army. But it took two really third-rate Army Chiefs, coming one after the other, to kick into the dung heap, a once proud institution that it took the British 200 years to build. Then It wrought a miracle. All it took was one night [that of April 10, 2022] for it to lose completely, the support of the people. Since that night, it has been erecting and climbing a ladder of lies to stay on top of events. With each step it has taken on this ladder, it has only come to be despised all the more.

A measure of hopes vested in a risen judiciary may be gauged by the extent of the loathing which is attached to the names of Justices Qazi Faez Isa, Amir Farooq, and others of their ilk.

That the judges would one day come to the rescue of Pakistan was entirely unexpected even a few months back. Seldom have dashed expectations tasted so sweet. If these few judges remain constant and united, they could restore Pakistan. That will be for its people a miracle no less full of wonderment than Moses’ crossing of the Red Sea. And as they buckle up to the task, let them be mindful of the chinks in the armour of those whom they are confronting. Great reliance may be put on the incompetence of the High Command which has already widened these chinks into gaping holes. What must also be relied upon is the complete inability of a General to cope with a “NO” for an answer. For someone who has climbed the ladder of success “yessirring” his way to the top, a flat out “NO” coming from a “subordinate” is not something he is equipped to handle, and this can only cause him befuddlement. Of this, Asim Munir seems more a picture with each passing day. Indeed, many must now be inclined to commiserate with him on his loss of self-assurance.

This happens when a judge stands up. When Babar Sattar first broke the mould and did this, did it not seem as if he had let loose a cat among the pigeons? And this, despite the fact that these pigeons were resplendently attired in uniforms of generals!

As more judges stand up, and keep standing, so, one by one will others in different professions and institutions. A culture of resistance will take hold. Increasingly the orders of the generals will be disobeyed. Eventually, it is hoped, a few generals shall also find their long lost spines, and decide to stand for their country. This will be a signal for Asim Munir to run for the exits. If this happens before Asim Munir orders the first bullet fired in defence of his own personal power, Pakistan would have been spared a lot of bloodshed.
The irony is that this depends on how steadfastly the judges make their stand. It is this which may incline a few oath-bound generals, to look for and locate their backbones to stand on the right side of history.

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