The Safoora Goth bus massacre was a terrible national tragedy that shocked the nation, the Sindh government equated the attack to the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, and vowed to treat the perpetrators of the attack with an iron fist. The attack was one of the most vile and shocking of terrorist attacks in the history of Pakistan. Forty-six innocent civilians lost their lives in the attack. However, events of the past weeks show that those lofty claims by the Government may have been little more than empty words. The two lawyers appointed by the state to be the Government’s persecutors in the case have stepped down, citing that they have not been provided adequate security despite repeated requests, if that was not all the prosecutors have claimed that they have not been remunerated properly for their work on the case.
It is unfathomable as to why the government would refuse to provide security to its prosecutors in a case of such magnitude, the only one that comes to mind is absolute apathy. Threats of violence against the judiciary and prosecution are two of the most common tactics used in Pakistan; this particular case has already seen its fair share of violence and evidence tampering. A police officer who identified the prime suspect in the attack was gunned down only last month – the threat faced by those investigating the case is real. The government’s failure to provide protection to the prosecutors and to the witnesses of the case shows the lack of commitment on part of the government in dealing with the culprits.
The provincial government of Sindh is not alone in its irresponsibility, in fact, none of the other provincial administrations, and even the federal government, has shown any interest in carrying out criminal justice reforms.
The failure to provide security to the prosecutors shows the Government’s apathy towards the case.