Extrajudicial killing is a blot on our credentials
The news of extrajudicial killings, or reports that expose the percentage of "kills" by the various elements of law enforcement agencies is always unsettling. Much as we would like to shun the issue, it keeps coming back to haunt us. A report in this newspaper gives us the chilling statistics of a study by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) on extrajudicial killings. Between 2019 and 2021, 562 people became victims of extrajudicial killings, the study has found. That amounts to nearly 85 persons every year. The police were involved in 51.24 and Rab in 28.64 percent of the cases.
The issue has stained our credentials as a country that claims to be run by the rule of law—not of men. It is disturbing to read which among the law enforcement wings has outdone the other in circumventing the law and taking lives of people in the most arbitrary manner. That the percentage of such crimes is higher among the police is even more disconcerting as this is a force that is responsible for the overall security of all citizens.
However, it must be mentioned that the number of such killings has gone down remarkably since December last year; in fact, there have only been two since (though still too many). Coincidently, it was in December 2021 that the US imposed a sanction on Rab. That begs the question: Is there a link between the December sanction and drop in extrajudicial killings, or is this merely a coincidence? Have all the "crooks" decided to be good boys and the law enforcement agencies have found no scope for using their weapons in the manner they used to before then? Without venturing a value judgement, let's say that law and order can be maintained just as well and with equal efficiency, if not more, without resorting to such deviant practice, which the administration chooses to euphemistically call "crossfire." Let's restate and re-emphasise that extrajudicial killing is immoral, illegal and unethical. It not only subverts the judicial system of the country; it also reveals a lack of confidence of the administration on the judiciary. Every alleged offender, even though he may be a noted criminal, deserves his day in court. The law enforcement agencies can just as well perform their duties effectively without being the judge, jury and executioner at the same time. We should run the system as per law and of our own volition, not because of strictures from abroad.