Where everyone is hostile

Sir: I guess this was only to be expected. Friends and neighbours of a murdered young man, Shahzeb Khan, had at first named the killer and other accused but have now changed their statements. They refused to identify the accused persons in an identification parade. It is highly likely that they have turned hostile after being threatened — the prosecutor, for obvious reasons, did not ask the judge to declare them ‘hostile’.

I have heard that this kind of thing frequently happens in Pakistan. If only it were possible to subject the two witnesses to a lie-detector test, this would make it much simpler for the judge to decide the case. Unfortunately, this is never done here. The killers will probably be set free, putting more lives at risk. People like them are frequently seen speeding in their SUVs on the roads of this unfortunate city where everyone fully expects to be either mowed down by bullets or crushed by recklessly driven vehicles.

Published in Daily Times, March 28, 2013