Rule of Law Versus Rule of Man

Rule of Law and Rule of Man are the two diametrically opposed systems of governance which are mutually exclusive and stand firmly fixed apart since ages and for all times to come. They are always at war and fiercely negate each other. Their singular and distinctive hallmarks are the institutionalized process of decision-making as per documented laws and the personalized mode thereon as per whims and undocumented procedures respectively. Rule of law is a symbol of justice, equality of all human beings, individual as well as collective dignity, civilized stance, economic/social progress and maturity of national institutions. Rule of man, on the other hand, smacks of injustice, absence of fundamental rights, social degradation, poor economic progress, unfair distribution of resources and whimsical handling of national affairs. Accordingly, the rule of law is an all-embracing blessing, while the rule of man is a perpetually stinking curse.

Rule of man is disgraceful because it negates human values, norms and traditions. It nullifies the basic Islamic teaching that all human beings, regardless of their colour, creed, caste and clan, are absolutely equal from the viewpoint of their basic rights and their unquestionable claim to sovereignty. All categories of liberties stand totally rubbished and denied. Slavery with all its manifestations, reigns supreme. Rule of man symbolizes dictatorial powers….. accountable to none, including both national laws and institutions. All powers are vested in one man and a bunch of his chosen camp-followers and he stands unchallenged, irremovable and unaccountable. There are no checks, controls and binding laws for him. He is above all rules and regulations. His each word is law and his each preference is his discretionary power. He symbolizes state authority, military might and muscular strength of the government machinery. The government represents no mandate, no credibility and no will of the people.

It has no legal legs to stand on and enjoys no constitutional legitimacy. Such rule is undemocratic, unlawful, unconstitutional and immoral. It is based on blind oppression, naked suppression and outright highhandedness. The concentration of power is absolute and the authority to rule is indivisible and non-transferable. The state institutions are fragile and survive artificially on borrowed blood and oxygen. There is no institutionalized system of governance, of exercise of legal state power and peaceful handing/taking over process for transfer of authority. It rests on adhocism, nepotism, self-glorification, limitless greed and unmitigated loot and plunder. Rule of man stands on shifting sand. It is a systemless structure of state mechanism which is neither self-propelled nor self-sustaining. It is a product of self-created vacuum and begets intensified political vacuum all around. All avenues to power are denied to the people and the center-stage is perpetually reserved for the rule of the so-called indispensable man. The source of all authority, within the state, is the man who is without any public approval and is basically a usurper with no legal qualification or authority.

Under the rule of law, the writ of law alone is supreme. The role of man, as a ruler, is insignificant and immaterial before the law. The law is the greatest protector, the ultimate custodian and the solid guarantor. The real source of all authority, within the state, is the law of the land. Its writ is powerful, its application is indiscriminate and its implementation is prompt as well as effective. All organs of the state and the entire government apparatus are based on law, draw their functional legitimacy from law and discharge their assigned obligations as per the dictates thereof. Constitution is the mother of all laws which is deemed as absolutely inviolable and sanctimonious. Modern state is a democratic entity where the people are sovereign and their fundamental rights are guaranteed as per constitution. No usurper or dictator can ever abrogate, suspend, violate, amend and disfigure the constitution; can ever topple the duly elected government and dissolve the assemblies; can ever illegally take over the reign of the state and illegitimately rule it through orchestrated nexus of insatiably corrupt and morally bankrupt ruling classes; can ever rig the elections, tarnish the sanctity of the ballot box and subvert the mandate of the people. Nobody can ever resort to unconstitutional measures, illegal stances and immoral postures; rule of law is a formidable force which stands as an impregnable bulwark against all above unlawful concoctions and selfishly-motivated distortions. The rule of law, indeed, is more pronounced in countries having democratic system of governance. Basically, democracy and the rule of law are closely inter-linked. Supremacy of law in a country indicates its level of overall political maturity, economic development/prosperity, educational awareness, personal dignity/pride, sanctity of merit/social justice, human values and patriotic national moorings. Rule of law is, of course, a matchless blessing and priceless gift of God for any society or a country.

What is the status of Pakistan? Under what system is Pakistan being governed…..rule of law or rule of man? Let me pose a few questions and the replies thereto would automatically provide the answer accordingly: –
• Are the citizens equal in all respects including writ of law, their rights, liberties, status, opportunities, education, healthcare and protection of their life, property and honour?
• What is the role of judiciary as the custodian of justice, guarantor of constitution and provider of protection to under-privileged classes against the exploitative and tyrannical forces?
• What is the status of the constitution and how many times has it been abrogated, suspended, distorted and even trashed?
• What is the sanctity of people’s fundamental rights, overall dispensation of justice and mutually harmonious functioning of national institutions…..judiciary, legislature and executive?
• How independent and vibrant is the election commission as well as the democratic culture and whether the elections held so far have been fair, free, transparent and uninterrupted?
• Are the people genuinely empowered to elect or reject and enthrone or dethrone the rulers?
• Is the government machinery efficient, corruption-free, responsive and accountable to the people?
• Are the armed forces and the intelligence agencies under the institutionalized control of the elected civilian leadership as per the dictates of the constitution?
The undeniable fact is that in spite of the elaborately documented clauses of the constitution as well as exhaustive provisions thereof, regarding fundamental rights, democratic parliamentary political system, transparency of election process, national institutions, writ of justice and accountability of all tiers of leadership/government machinery as a whole, the system in vogue in Pakistan is absolutely unconstitutional and unlawful. There is no rule of law; the rule of man (corrupt, illegal, selfish and stinkingly illegitimate) has been reigning supreme uninterruptedly for the last six decades… absolute negation of Quaid’s vision of Pakistan and people’s cherished dreams and aspirations.

However, the judicial revolution of 9 March 2007, launched by Chief Justice, at the cost of his life, his family, his service, his future and all his perks/privileges, has given a strong signal for the defiance of the illegitimate set-up. The call was enthusiastically supported by the lawyers’ community, forcefully projected by the media, vigorously galvanized by the civil society and finally so honourably climaxed by the Supreme Court through restoration of the Chief Justice on 20 July 2007. It has been a momentous milestone in the political and judicial history of Pakistan…..a symbol of hope and courage…..a glimmer of light at the end of the long and dark tunnel …..and a great leap forward for rule of law against the rule of man. The success of the above judicial revolution is a historical and defining moment. Let us not waste such a rare opportunity. The people of Pakistan are eagerly looking forward to Bar, Bench, Media and the Political Parties for the rule of law. These forces should not fail and disappoint the people. Let there be no unconstitutional or extra-constitutional misadventure hereafter by anybody to disrupt the smooth sailing of the ship of our national destiny.

The Supreme Court’s verdict regarding restoration of Chief Justice is indeed a big step forward towards rule of law. However, the ultimate destination of total elimination of rule of man seems to be still elusively far away. The deeply entrenched, closely integrated and ruthlessly selfish forces of civil-military bureaucracy, corrupt ‘lota’ politicians, characterless ‘wadera/pir shahi’, certain industrialists and shameless boot-lickers of various catagories are hell-bent for uninterrupted continuation of the existing system of governance…..rule of man. Because of the commonality of their selfish interests, their thoroughly orchestrated tactical/strategic future plans, their deep sense of mutual support, their richly varied financial resources, their shared culture of ruthless exploitation/ extortion and their aggressive stubbornness…..they have thwarted so far the earnest desire and efforts of the general masses for the rule of law. Accordingly, the disgraceful chapter of rule of man has persisted in Pakistan during the last six decades. In the conflict between the MAN and the LAW, the MAN has a long history of winning. This process has to be reversed, as the people of Pakistan want the law, to win. This reversal is, of course, an uphill task and a very demanding ordeal.

However, the people of Pakistan are honour-bound to boldly accept the challenge, whatever the cost. Let us stand up and defy the stinking and immoral RULE OF MAN… bring about the blissful and refreshing RULE OF LAW. The crucial showdown is apparently round the corner. Let us unceremoniously bury the unconstitutional, unprincipled and unlawful forces…..for bringing about an era of genuine freedom, legitimate democracy, equality of citizenry, justice and writ of the constitution. Active, united and dignified role of the people is simply critical for the fateful transition from rule of man to rule of law.


About mumtazpk
I am retired Brig. from Pakistan Army.

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