Hiding in plain sight means concealing one’s identity by staying visible or when one’s visibility masks one’s life. In Pakistan, the phrase has the opposite meaning. People with power, money, and connections do not mask their identity by pretending to be someone else. In Pakistan, one doesn’t need the art of deception to hide in plain sight.While the Pakistani judiciary dominated the political stories of Pakistan in 2017, justice remained on the fringes or was completely ignored. The Mashal Khan case happened, and we shall see where the prosecution ends. Three stories in Pakistani newspapers in the last days of 2017 are interestingly and unusually related. A man spent 9 years in jail based on the testimony of a witness who suffered from a hearing and speech impairment. Police had arrested him on September 29, 2008 for allegedly desecrating the pages of the Holy Quran. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009. The Lahore High Court upheld the sentence in 2014.The Supreme Court took up the case in the same year and provided him with a lawyer since he couldn’t afford one. His lawyer argued that someone with hearing and speech impairments could not act as a witness under the Evidence Act. The Supreme Court absolved him of blasphemy charges. He won his freedom after spending 9 years in jail.When Jatoi’s death sentence was read in 2013, he smiled at the camera openely because he knew the trial was a farceThe Balochistan Assembly member Abdul Majeed Khan Achakzai ran over a traffic police officer on duty in Quetta on June 20. Just days before Eid. During his court appearances, he would throw expletives at media personnel. He was been released on bail by the Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Dawood Khan Nasr. Despite the fact that he had confessed to the murder.Then we arrive at the heart wrenching story of Shahzeb Khan. Shahzeb’s sister was eve-teased by a feudal brat named Ghulam Murtaza Lashari. When Shahzeb came to his sister’s rescue, it resulted in a fight. In short, Shahzeb was killed by Shahrukh Jatoi and his other powerful friends.Shahrukh Jatoi doesn’t claim to be innocent or to have acted in self-defence. He had the chutzpah to smile in front of the camera even when his death verdict was read in 2013. In western society especially in the United States, a smile upon hearing one’s death verdict might hint at the defendant claiming insanity. However, Jatoi’s smile didn’t mean any of that. It was mocking the justice system of Pakistan, it was poking fun at the drama created just to make the entire prosecution appear legitimate. Shahrukh Jatoi was smiling because he knew what the verdict would be: his acquittal. While Pakistanis are making efforts to get rid of the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR); a legacy of the imperial British, today’s imperial power has added more loopholes to Pakistan’s justice system. Diyat means paying blood money or financial compensation to the heirs of the victim in case of murder, bodily harm or property damage. It was diyat that became instrumental in paving the way for Shahrukh Jatoi and countless others to kill and buy justice.No investigation or retrial is required to find out who killed Shahzeb Khan or the traffic warden. In both the cases, the star witness didn’t have hearing and speech impairments. Yet, both are free.The purpose of law is to safeguard the weak from the aggression of the strong. However, these cases and countless others highlight that the opposite is the care. Law, Islamic (divine) or man-made, is creatively used to safeguard the strong from the weak’s cries for nothing but justice. Ibn Khaldun, author of the book ‘The Muqaddimah’ has noted that a civilisation was ruined not due to the lack of military, political or economic power but rather due to the erosion of justice in society. Khaldun went ahead to conclude that the real aim of an Islamic society was to establish justice by protecting people’s basic rights. The rise of Islam was due to its superior justice system. Perhaps the Islamic Republic of Pakistan would prove true to its name if it would dispense justice. They say justice is blind. However, the Pakistani justice system picks and chooses criminals, leaving no doubt that it is anything but blind.The writer is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Houston, and he teaches political science at the Lone Star College in HoustonPublished in Daily Times, January 4th 2018.