It is extremely frustrating and saddening to see what is happening around us, not only in or country, but most parts of the world. However, in this post, i will stick to Pakistan and will refer to some news articles coming fairly recently in the newspapers.
Some time ago i posted about a man who was the owner of the shed where journalist Daniel Pearl died. The man subsequently left Pakistan fearing correctly, that he would be pursued by our law enforcement agencies. He fled to another country where he was tracked down by the FBI, after which he was arrested and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay( one of America’s numerous torture centres) for three years. After this he was handed to Pakistani ‘agencies’. All this had happened without his family or friends having any clue about him, he had thus become one of the many ‘missing’ people and had remained thus since 2003 until about a few months ago when a court ordered him to be produced in front of the court. On 28th of April this year the intelligence agencies left him nearby his house where he was recognised by his neighbours. News reports indicate he was left there in a ‘pulp’, as a ‘skeleton of a man’ weighing a mere 18kg, having lost all his memory. Soon after, he died because of his weakness.
It is important to note that there were no formal charges aginst the man, throughout the whole period. Thus his detention was illegal, and looking at what was done to him, inhuman.
Another notable event is related to what happened to Advocate Iqbal Kazmi, and is primarily related to the MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement). After the MQM sponsored events of May 12, human rights campaigner advocate Iqbal Kazmi filed a petition in the Sindh High court against the MQM and Sindh Government, as well as against PEMRA ordinance. Soon afterwards he was picked up by unidentified men, who asked him to drop the petition against the MQM and also took away his mobile phone which had evidence related to MQM activities on May 12. The sensitive parts of his body were burnt and his fingers were pressed with stones. He was not allowed to sleep and was interrogated about his association to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan.
After about 2 days, he was released on the condition that he would drop the petition and leave Karachi with his family within five days. There is no doubt that it was the MQM using its customary terror and torture tactics to scare the advocate and warn him from pursuing his case against the MQM.
Soon after, law enfocement agencies took Iqbal Kazmi into custody for some obscure false cheques given by him to others an year ago. Obviously these cases were fabricated against him only to punish him for his act of filing the petition. Iqbal Kazmi is still under custody and the court has extended it till July 7. Here are the articles referring to these incidents:
Activist seeks dismissal of FIR 21 June
Activist’s remand extended 23 June
An honest and courageous person, who valiantly stood up to defend us, has now been awarded this treatment. But such cases are not rare, in face, they are very common and even more so since Pakistan has come under Musharraf and thus the military.
This also brings to my mind the murder of Hammad Raza who was registrat of the Supreme Court and close friend of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad. No doubt he would have been called by the counsel of the Justice as a witness, and therefore the intelligence agencies thought it best to kill him. Of course, there is no solid evidence for now about who was behind the murder, but that is always what happens. The agencies make sure of that.
Hammad Raza was an extremely honest and upright man. God grant him Paradise. But a mysterious death at the hands of agencies is how Pakistan rewarded him.
It pains me so greatly, all these things happening around us, and yet, almost nothing is being done. We too are doing little, but then again, we cannot do much anyways. We are perhaps powerless. However everything could be corrected if we were to have good leaders and genuine politicians, but that seems far away. But more on that later.
Continuing with the topic, a very good summary of the situation highlighting this situation of ‘missing persons’ and torture can be found at the following link. Indeed, none of us who chooses to follow his/her conscience is safe, even in our own homes. The article is indeed very moving and tells us about some of the people who were tortured by these agencies.
When one’s house is not a sanctuary A Must Read
For Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, it lasted six months where he was stripped naked and hung from the ceiling for hours on end, deprived of sleep for many days and given anaesthesia injections. Baloch returned on a stretcher. He was in hospital for three days and could not stand for two months.
This was easier than Sattar Baloch’s agony. Sattar came back with holes drilled into his feet and many months later, he is still trying to stand. Dr Hanif Shareef was also kept for six months and says that it is unlikely that he will ever lead a normal life. “They gave electric currents to my genitals and I have not recovered in so many months,” cries Shareef.
Finally, an editorial which appeared in dawn yesterday also relating to this situation.
The fact is that torture in unimaginable forms is being practised routinely in Pakistan especially by the Police and intelligence agencies, so much so that it is inhuman beyond imagination. We are collectively responsible for atleast trying to stop torture and ‘rein in’ the intelligence agencies, if for no other reasons then for our own sake and safety, because for all we know, we might be next. Who has given these people the right to destroy another beings lives, and that too in such a cruel way. In my personal opinion, our lives are not worth living if we see all this and yet dont do anything to stop this madness. and perhaps the smallest thing we can do is vote in the upcoming elections for someone who might try to improve the situation. Many people have lost confidence in our system, but if we do not vote, the worst will come to the top and that must be prevented. agreed, that our politicians are not exactly what we could have wanted, but even then, lets try to bring in those atleast who are least corrupt. Even that might do wonders.