June 9, 2011

What have we done?

The mother of Sarfaraz Shah. I bet she wonders why her son 
was punished so brutally?
After approximately 32000 page views of this blog, the introduction of a new Blogger user interface, and a murdered man later, this is where we stand today.

Yesterday evening, a man was shot dead by one of the many dreaded law enforcement agencies of Pakistan aka the Sindh Rangers. Now I know how clich├ęd it sounds constantly reminding people that it is time to wake up from the stupor, lest we become a part of the madhouse and be treated like mad hounds but that has never made any difference. And well to be honest, I don't expect this to make any bit of a difference either.

Yesterday evening, before I had heard, seen or known anything about the 19 year old kid named Sarfaraz Shah murdered in cold blood by the Rangers, I was mulling over the fact about how the police is perhaps the most hated, reviled and abhorred institution in this entire country. Apparently the paramilitary which comes under the direct control of the military is fast catching up.

Remember the incident involving the Punjab Rangers by the way? The one in which the son of the DG Rangers Punjab parked his car in a no parking zone and when the traffic warden came to serve a ticket to him, he called up his goons who thrashed the warden and then locked him up in the Rangers HQ? Is it a problem individuals or is this indicative of a major problem with the mindset of the entire military? The latter seems to be true, but only God knows what's the truth.

I saw Javed Hashmi of the PML-N cry on TV today. I could see how this incident had hurt him. How this incident has hurt a lot of people. This incident reminded me of the Sialkot incident in which two brothers, Mughees and Muneeb Butt were beaten mercilessly for 4 hours before they succumbed to the callous, despicable violence and after which they were paraded around the town on the back of a tractor trolley with a police escort. Back then my blood boiled with rage. In fact, if it wasn't for my young age (probably) or God's mercy (definitely) I would've had a heart attack. But today? I just mourned. I was angry yes, but my anger was morbid. My anger was more of a desperation. I mourned the death of sanity in Pakistan. However, I simply could not open my arms and welcome the barbarity that has engulfed my beautiful, ruined country.

But getting back to Sarfaraz Shah. He was a 19 year old kid. He was a petty thief. He stole a mobile telephone from someone. His admission of guilt can be heard loud and clear in the video of his murder. You would imagine that when a thief admits his guilt, he would be hand cuffed and handed over to the police because civilians or paramilitary troops for that matter, cannot become judge, jury and executioner. But I forgot. From the people who brought you the Sialkot murder, this was totally expected. It was stupid of me to have assumed otherwise. It is strange how short our memories are. Even a whole year hasn't passed since the murders of Mughees and Muneeb Butt (whose murderers still walk outside of prison by the way) that we have a repeat episode. Only the cast is different this time. In the Sialkot case, the police had stood idly by. In this case, they were the mob themselves.

So what exactly went wrong? Sarfaraz Shah was caught by a plain clothes member of the law enforcement agencies (allegedly) and then thrust towards a van of the Sindh Rangers which had appeared there apparently on the call of the apprehender. While Sarfaraz Shah stood besides the van, he admitted his guilt. Then he gets an automatic rifle thrust into his face with the superior of the Rangers saying "Shoot him! Shoot him!" Sarfaraz Shah panics, raises his palms in supplication and moves towards the person who is thrusting the gun in his face, begging him not to shoot. He touches the barrel of the gun and begs for mercy, at which point another Rangers man grabs him and pushes him backward. Sarfaraz Shah still has his hands in the air, raised, begging for mercy when the Rangers man shoots him. One bullet pierces his hand and hits his leg. Then he fires again. In to his leg.

Sarfaraz Shah is then heard moaning and begging the Rangers' personnel to take him to the hospital. But he forgot that he was dealing with incorrigible wild, rabid dogs. Who know nothing of humanity or mercy.

The purpose of telling you all this narrative is so that I don't have to post the video here. We've seen enough blood being spilled to merit another one.

All I can say now is this: May Allah have mercy on us. May Allah have just a teeny weeny little bit of mercy on us. Please say Aameen. Please do.