My Lord! It is heartening to see that the Supreme Court under your able leadership is taking steps to make sure justice is served. Critics may view it as judicial activism, but for the public, it’s their last hope. The failure of the system and the collapse of governance in this country force people to look up to your court for help. If the police, or for that matter, the lower courts were of any help to common folks, they would not feel the need to come on TV channels or organise dharnas and appeal the guardian of the highest court for help. My Lord! I don’t blame your critics for the simple reason that they mostly come from the privileged class which does not face hardships like common people (subjects) in lower courts, police stations or hospitals. Their properties are not being illegally occupied, their family members are not implicated in false cases and their dear ones don’t suffer in government-run hospitals. Since we live in a hybrid society, we will always remain half Western when it comes to Western values like separation of powers and democratic principles but the moment our interests are hurt, our true third-world self-comes out seeking odd justifications to serve our self-interests. The absence of governance and the failure of institutions to dispense justice pave a way for anarchy about which English philosopher Thomas Hobbes said some 400 years ago that no country can progress in a state of anarchy. Life in such a state is too short and too fraught with suffering and insecurity, he wrote. My Lord! You must be thinking what’s this letter all about, the simple answer is that my own family is a victim of this rotten system which you and your team is trying best to fix. I must appreciate and thank you for your services working even on weekends on behalf of all those who suffer at the hands of this help-the-culprit system. My uncle Barrister Fayyaz Ahmed Gul, the son of legendary filmmaker and distributor Ghulam Ahmed Gul died in suspicious circumstance on December 04, 2017. The very next day of his demise, his munshi (Rafiq Shah) broke into his office in his commercial plaza in Islamabad that Fayyaz Gul owned and possessed, not only stealing his valuables and property documents but also illegally occupied it. Later on, he and his gang used those stolen documents (he tampered them) in the courts to show that my uncle had sold the plaza and a house in Rawalpindi to Rafiq Shah and his gang members. After four months of struggle dashing literally from pillar to post, with the help of some efficient and honest police officers (AIG Asmatullah Junejo, SSP Operations Najeeb-u-Rehman Bugvi) finally an FIR was registered against the culprits. The absence of governance and the failure of institutions to dispense justice pave the way for anarchy This personal experience My Lord educated me about the rottenness and collapse of the governance system in Pakistan. It also informed me that how members from Lawyers’ community, police personnel, some politicians and members from my own community, journalists, have developed a land grabbing network depriving common people of their properties bought by hard earned money. I was shocked to know that some media men even get monthly from land grabbers against their support that they extend to courts and police stations. The land grabbers’ rackets are so organized that like mafias they have distributed localities and regions among themselves. Never before My Lord! I had experienced dealing with the lower courts and its operations. This enriching experience made me interact with people from all walks of life and with deep respect My Lord a common man’s opinion about your institution (lower courts) is very negative. They believe that something that a teenager would identify as a fake document in one look, judges in the lower courts take months giving ‘stays’ in wholesale dragging the matter for years and forcing the genuine landowners to reach a settlement with the land grabbers. One police officer joking told me that if I file a petition that my neighbour’s wife is actually my wife, I would get a ‘stay’ from the lower courts. What I learned during the course of the last four months is that despite my media background and resources, I could not register an FIR for months. How a common person would be treated by this system when his/her property is illegally occupied. It happens only in Pakistan that one good day your legal property bought with hard-earned money is illegally occupied by land grabbers and the system that should favour you will be siding with the culprits. My Lord! Your suo motu notice on F-8 football ground’s illegal occupation by the lawyers’ community won you accolades from people like us and encouraged me to write to you this open letter. This letter is not just from my family but from thousands of families whose property is being illegally occupied by land grabbers in Pakistan and who are looking up to your court for help. My Lord! I request you to set up a commission under a High Court judge to look into cases of land grabbing and make sure speedy trials. It shall give hope and security to people like my family and especially overseas Pakistanis, who are being affected the most. The writer is a journalist and media consultant. He tweets @KZalmay and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, April 2nd 2018.