The conviction of Ajmal Kasab and the confidence with which India is claiming that it has shown Pakistans responsibility, and the uncovering of the lady doctor beaten in a Faisalabad police station, show the strength of the executive in Pakistan, which does much to explain the mystery of Faisal Shahzad, accused of a bomb plot in New York, and for which he has been arrested. Faisal stands accused of having driven the sports utility vehicle that did not explode in New York, even though laden with explosives. An explosion would not have been as damaging as the 9/11 attack, but would have been the worst attack on American soil since then. Assuming the truth of the Faisal Shahzad story, this would represent the second attempt in just over five months; the first having taken place in the shape of the attempt, detected in Europe, to load explosives on an airliner headed for Detroit. This is a repetition of a pattern preceding 9/11, of an increase in attempts to create terror on the American mainland. The heightened awareness among American security agencies would help prevent an attempt from being successful, but one of them will ultimately be successful as happened before 9/11. Also shown is the unpleasant reality that the entire 'war on terror, including the American occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, have not helped eliminate the terrorists, who point to Israel and the presence of the US forces in Saudi Arabia as their reason for existence. Both the conviction and sentencing of Kasab, and the behaviour of the police in the Abida Hameed case, show that the state created by the British is alive and well in both her ex-colonies. The Raj, like its predecessors, was based on a strong executive, with the judiciary subordinate to it. The Abida Hameed case occurred in Faisalabad city, where recently in Bhowana, district Jhang, the police was shown as brutal towards a suspect. The Raj depended on such brutality being committed, and the confessions thus made being upheld by the courts, as in the Kasab case. Significantly, the British developed the concept of an executive magistracy, whereby executive officers also had judicial powers, which, as in the Kasab case, meant that confessions obtained under duress were also ruled in, and where it was possible for one part of the executive, in this case a minister, to speak of the conviction teaching a lesson to another country. This means that the judicial officer recognises reasons of state, whereas the whole struggle for the rule of law is to preclude reasons of state from the courts. Reasons of state, it should be noted, are only quoted when it is proposed to violate the rule of law. There are a number of problems with reasons of state, not least that they are violative of fundamental rights. Also, they allow the servant of the state, the policing and prosecution mainly, to cover their mistakes. This is ideal for those who have to answer to a legal system, as the Americans do. It is to escape the scrutiny of executive actions by the judiciary that the Americans have come up with the practice of renditions, of making sure that prisoners in the 'war on terror are held in other countries, outside the reach of American courts, which might not recognise reasons of state. That is how the 'war on terror has ended up in the Pakistani Supreme Court, in the shape of the missing persons case. The Pakistani judiciary has rendered great sacrifices in pursuing this case. Another dimension has emerged, that of the Baloch missing persons, mostly picked up by the security forces. It appears that corruption of purpose has taken place, the original reason why reasons of state are so much deplored. The emphasis shifts from reasons of state, to reasons of the state servant. It has been noticed in the Punjab that whenever a policy of eliminating criminals by faked police encounters is followed, people eliminate their enemies by bribing the police to eliminate them in a staged encounter. Similarly, the American practice of rendition, started to avoid the jurisdiction of American courts, was perverted in Pakistan, not to make Americans safe, but to 'handle Baloch political workers. It would be a mistake to assume that the 'war on terror took place in one of the successor states of the Raj because of the overwhelming advantage held by the executive over the judiciary, but in a review of the theatre, this must have been seen as one of the salient features of the region. That this took place at a time that the judiciary was working for the establishment of the rule of law was probably a coincidence, and an unfortunate one for the Pakistani executive, which was used to giving unlimited cooperation without a thought to national requirements, or even the law. The practice of rendition has spread throughout the world, but it has shown up in Pakistan, not just because its victims were imprisoned here, but because the practice was spread by the local law enforcing agencies to a local problem, that of Balochistan. Therefore, when the Times Square suspect was arrested, it is feasible to imagine the relief of interrogators that the victim belonged originally to a country which could find out what it wanted without bothering too much about human rights. Unfortunately for the process, which involved Pakistan having a traditional judiciary, compliant with the wishes of the executive, the Pakistani judiciary started paying attention to First World doctrines of human rights, as showed in the missing persons case. This has shown the judiciary at its most active, but there are other episodes which show the judiciary as willing to do the executives work for it. Pakistan is now about as inconvenient a place as any to fight a war which is meant to keep American citizens safe (not to mention whatever other objectives the US establishment hopes to see emerge), because its courts will do their utmost to ensure obedience to the freedoms (most notably of life and liberty) enshrined in the constitution. Behind all of this is the backing of the people. People do not oppose the US as schoolboys might oppose a headmaster, but because they see the US as having attacked their most basic point of identity. They also see the government as following American dictates, and the judiciary as following their own. The actions of the judiciary thus have public support, even though they have fought no elections. This is a very difficult problem for elected representatives to face, but they must do so by acting to carry out a transformation of the purpose of government similar to that carried out by the judiciary, which in the midst of the 'war on terror chose to transform itself into a post-Independence judiciary from its colonial origins. Now it is the executives turn. Email: