The aptly titled Slaughtered Without a Knife (2023) gives us insight into former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Jawwad S. Khawaja’s 16 years as a judge. The book is filled with metaphorical wordings (like the title itself) and has pieces of autobiography instilled within it.
What is unique about the book is that Mr. Khawaja doesn’t start the book with once upon a time I was born here or there, etc. But with a proper introduction of himself as a lawyer, LUMS lecturer, and subsequent judge. The book carries a professional tone throughout its 300+ pages.
There are verses by Sufi poets like Rumi and Hafez mentioned between the hard-hitting facts. The book also accomplishes what it needs to do with its subtitle: Sixteen Years a Judge. This isn’t just an autobiography, it is a plethora of experiences as a judge in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Notable events are mentioned such as the ousting of President Pervez Musharaff and the beginning of the terms of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari. Also, some high-profile cases are discussed as well. A loving tribute to Justice Cornelius has also been included in the book too.
Now, Slaughtered Without a Knife isn’t for everyone. It will certainly please students and enthusiasts of the law. But as a non-fiction work it doesn’t appeal to the masses.
It is also sometimes hard to follow especially in terms of the legal jargon mentioned herein. However, I liked how the intricacies of the Supreme Court were laid out in a mostly simple manner. Mr. Khawaja also brought many changes to the court such as taking his oath in Pakistan’s official language, Urdu, as well as trying to establish Urdu as the lingua franca of Pakistani law.
All in all, Slaughtered Without a Knife is an intriguing read. It gives us an inside look at a place which drives decisions in Pakistani society. There is most probably no book like this out there in the local market.