The lawyer’s attack on Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) and the subsequent support from many big wigs of the legal fraternity should not shock those who are not lawyers and condemning the raid in worst tones.
A layman on the street is profoundly perplexed as to why the legal community is still unapologetic and calls for the release of its comrades held for being involved in the attack, notwithstanding the fact of causing ample disorder outside and inside the hospital.
This, no doubt, is unprecedented. The analysts are rightly saying that even the opposing foes do not attack the infirmaries in days of wars. The ranting anchors before TV cameras cannot comprehend the logic of defending the wrathful demeanours of the attacking lawyers.
What can be the root cause of this problem? Why has the legal community gone exceedingly berserk in a society where the precepts of constitution enjoin upon the citizens to stick to them?
To my perception, the problem is not political or cultural or constitutional; rather it’s psychological. Human history has witnessed many a time that when individuals in society rise above the social and legal bindings of norms and laws, they are uncontrollably violent. When a certain group in a social fabric abuses the edicts of the law, it may play havoc if remains unhampered for a long span of time.
To analyse the psychological aspect, do examine the character of America through the prism of its war ambitions. It attacked Iraq on the plea that it carried Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The world community was told that Iraq’s WMD’s are perilous for the security of the Middle East.
The United Nations took up the issue through resolution 1441 and appointed Hense Belix to ascertain the truth, who later submitted his report that he could not find signs of the presence of WMD’s. But by the time the report appeared, the allied forces led by the United States had attacked Iraq.
Then take the examples of the kings of dark and medieval ages across the world. The most powerful in a tribe would get hold of the coveted throne and sway the people through the way he conceived right. His decree itself was the law. Even the judges or arbitrators couldn’t dare to give a verdict against the sweet will of the king.
Now fast forward to the age of independent media where we find anchors and media men taking up the seats of social influence. You must have seen how some portion of media has been blatantly disgracing the honours of non-conformists.
The point is whenever an organisation, a group or an individual transcends the tenets fixed by laws; it/he becomes venomous for the rest of the community.
This factor is best illustrated in the novel, “The Lord of Flies” by William Golding. In the novel, a set of well-behaved boys is picked up, and left in a marooned island. The boys, who used to be polite and refined under the chains of laws, disrupt the whole island when confronted with no legal or social bindings.
Another novel, “Heart of Darkness” relates the story of a colonial master who was a mannered person when within the legal jurisdiction of his country. But when he moved to Congo as an imperialist lord, he became an utter brute who unflinchingly committed mass murders, because there the law of the land deliberately ignored his wrongdoings.
Question is what metamorphosed him into a callous ruler from a civilized young man – it was the psychological belief that he was above the law on the land of Congo, or no law on the land could deter him from his misdeeds.
As far as our lawyers are concerned, they have always been struggling for the supremacy of constitutional codes of the country. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan, A. K. Brohi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto were all from the fields of law – the first gave this nation the state of Pakistan, and the last endowed upon us the constitution of Pakistan.
The lawyers’ movement of 2007 engraved indelible marks of fearless struggle on the annals of history – which in a way made the lawyers psychologically strong and boosted their confidence.
By and by they gained dominance in our judicial and social circles. This newly acquired dominance is like that of a schoolboy who thrashes his class-mates for no ostensible faults of theirs, because his father is the class-teacher that either connive at the high-handedness of his son or is complicit to his vandalism.
So as to save the skin of the poor class fellows, such laws are to be legislated which strictly binds a school teacher to dispense with justice by coming down hard upon the delinquent without any biasedness. Such punitive measures will settle the imbalanced psychological patterns and move things towards peaceful co-existence.
The writer is an educationist and historian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org