Many believe that the present disorder in the international system is greatly amplified by the collapse of local order across a number of key states. In this paper, Manzar Zaidi investigates how in Pakistan, the state has partially failed to establish local order in its region because of poor governance, the lack of a coherent counterterrorism policy, and a disconnect between state organs. Additionally, unresolved questions around Islam’s relationship to the state and attendant implications for state legitimacy and power relations between state institutions and Islamist groups have complicated the scenario. This has allowed non-state actors like Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and emerging Islamic State (also known as ISIS) elements to undermine domestic order and participate in dispensing justice through the establishment of their own shariah adjudication bodies. This occurs most often where the state’s institutions have failed to protect human rights and provide justice.
Reconstituting social order in Pakistan must be made a serious priority for the government of Pakistan as well as the international community. If the lacunae in distributive social justice are not considered in policymaking, and anti-state sentiments are not addressed properly, then there is a high probability that these non-state actors will increasingly evolve into viable alternatives to the state in the future. Even though there seems to be substantial reform needed to the justice delivery mechanisms, with the system delivering very little, all is by no means lost. The issues are of regulatory quality rather than just a lack of laws or poor legislation. However, unless social order is re-constituted in areas where perceptions of injustice prevail in Pakistan, these shariah courts and other informal dispute settlement mechanisms may continue to thrive and may even assume more ominous overtones with time, in no small part inspired by ISIS’ ideology.
President López Obrador's extension of the term of Supreme Court chief Arturo Zaldívar is part of his strong effort to recentralize power in the Mexican presidency and hollow out the independence and power of other Mexican institutions. His other moves to bend the justice system to his will include a reform that lowered the salary of judges but did not improve the quality of prosecutors and his unwillingness to allow an independent selection of the attorney general, with López Obrador himself retaining the power of appointment. His latest move with the two-year extension of Zaldívar’s term is especially worrisome. Zaldívar is also the president of the powerful Federal Judiciary Council. The council appoints and dismisses judges, sets career advancement rules and disciplines judges. Zaldívar will be setting the council’s and, thus, the whole judiciary’s, agenda and priorities for two years. This allows López Obrador to influence how courts will rule in cases regarding the executive branch, what cases they take up and the legality of new policies. These moves are taking place when the effectiveness of the judiciary in Mexico remains limited and deeply concerning. The attorney general’s office has proven weak, unwilling to take up key cases such as against the suspects in the brazen attack on Mexico City’s security minister, Omar García Harfuch—an event that symbolized the impunity with which Mexican criminal groups operate. Mexico’s justice system showed itself equally meek and disappointing in inadequately investigating the alleged complicity of former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos and dismissing the case, potentially the most significant case of corruption and criminal collusion charges against a high-ranking Mexican official in two decades. A decade and a half after Mexico initiated its justice system reforms, 95 percent of federal cases still go unpunished. President López Obrador has scored some points, but the already precariously weak rule of law in Mexico, and thus the Mexican people, will suffer.