Friday, March 25, 2005

Wronged Souls don’t vanish

Wronged Souls don’t vanish

By: Mir Mohammed Ali Talpur

The carnage in Dera Bugti coincided with the departure of Sui rape victim along with her husband for foreign lands after she had seconded the government version of events of that fateful night in Sui on which she was violated in soul and body by those very persons who were supposed to protect her. The President had pronounced Capt.Hammad as not guilty even before any lawful court had given its judgment and closed the doors of justice for the victim forever and ensured that no question of bringing the guilty to trial arises. Attempt has been made to sweep another injustice against the weaker sections of society under the rug by making her leave the country. The possibility of her telling the entire story remains remote because those who wanted to keep this entire shameful episode under wraps must have exacted guarantees that the truth never comes to see the light of the day.

Dr.Shazia’s case revives the Tando Bhawal case memories for the people of Sindh where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had declared the innocent victims as terrorists. Even after the reality was exposed the perpetrator of that carnage was reluctantly given the prescribed sentence only when the relative of victims immolated herself in public. All this reinforces the belief that the guilty in the Army are above law, whether they fail to protect those they are supposed to protect in Sui or choose to gun down innocents in Tando Bhawal in order to usurp the lands for their friends or they mow down women and children in Dera Bugti in name of maintaining the writ of the State. This state of affairs is surely not going to help the Establishment gain the much needed confidence of the people of minority Provinces who already are groaning under the real or perceived injustices of past and present. If any confidence building measures are needed they are needed here in the minority provinces because it seems the Chaudry Pervaiz Elahi and Sardar Armmandir Singh are doing a pretty good job of building bridges between the two sub-continental rivals. In the passing it is interesting to note that not all Sardars are considered persona non grata or war-lords by the present government.

In stark contrast Mukhtaran Mai is given audience by none other than the Prime Minister himself and her civilian violators were re- arrested although the High Court had ordered their release for reasons best known to it. Surprisingly the government thought nothing of the judgment of the Court when it suited it to disregard it. No one grudges justice being provided to Mukhtaran Mai but providing justice for political mileage with mentors in USA negates the very concept of justice. Dr.Shazia deserved equal attention if not more because she was violated within the compounds of Sui installations which is ruled by the DSG and no, repeat, NO unauthorized outsider is allowed entry in those compounds. Justice for Dr.Shazia would have meant pain and very bad PR for the sacrosanct as had the carrying out of sentence on the perpetrator of Tando Bhawal’s carnage. Could her being from a minority province also have played a part in her being dealt a different hand from Mukhtaran Mai? That is what the people of this province are saying and it is difficult to convince them otherwise as they see everything being done at their cost and expense to appease and benefit the majority province be it the Greater Thal Canal or the Kalabagh Dam.

Crimes against the weaker sections of society be they women and children or the peasants or workers are rife and rampant here for of two reasons, one being the very low worth and value given to human life, dignity and honour here in this country, the second being the impunity with which the powerful and moneyed sections of society can commit crimes. Those with clout can and do get away with anything. The powerful can even transgress against the State Institutions with impunity as is exemplified by the mob attack against the Supreme Court during the tenure of Justice Sajjad Ali Shah. Many leading lights of the present enlightenedly moderate government had led the mob and were a party to the rowdiness that followed, all of which was recorded on the CCTV but no one was ever prosecuted; so much for the sanctity of courts. The shady dealings of Dr.AQ Khan would have continued nationally as his forcibly taking over of the IBS from those who made it. His selling of nuclear technology to nations and persons willing to pay the right price would not have stopped had he not stepped on the toes of the biggest bully. The numerous violations against the Constitution here have been explained away by the Doctrine of Necessity. It seems that whatever the powerful decide to do in the end come to be termed in the interest of national integrity. Funny logic, but then this a funny country where clowns pose as Statesman and are accepted as such by the loyalty changing stalwarts of the country’s political elite. Politicians of easy virtue are a bane for any country.

Where does the buck for the Government of ‘Enlightened Moderation’ stop is quite difficult to say, we have the likes of Faisal Saleh Hayat, Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, Liaqat Jatoi, Mushahid Hussain in very important Cabinet and party positions though not long ago they were sought by the NAB or were in its custody. Salma Ahmad was kept in a lock-up in pathetic conditions; she must have ruffled the feathers of some truly powerful personalities in her recently released book inviting such wrath and anger from a toothless body like NAB. It has an attractive acronym which doesn’t represent its track record. It dare not touch those who are held in favor by the powers that be. There must be someone there other than Sheikh Rashid who could explain why Dr.Shazia’s plight wasn’t considered of equal importance as that of Mukhtaran Mai.The entire set up becomes culpable if there is no logical reason for sweeping under the rug a case which may cause distress to certain sections while the other is high-lighted and given special attention to appease some.

The people of Sindh and Baluchistan resent the attitude of the government towards them and their problems, the miscarriage of justice involving Dr.Shazia has reinforced their belief that they will never get justice from a system geared to serve special interests and regions. This government of Enlightened Moderation, what ever that is supposed to mean and represent, the PPL and DSG people and those responsible for DSG at Sui installation will have to live with the ghost of crime against Dr.Shazia which will forever haunt them and this country.

The inherently flawed system which has held sway here and has resurfaced under different guises or under the excuse of preserving national integrity or under the Doctrine of Necessity and perpetuated systemic injustice and denied the common masses their rights is bound to crumble sooner or later under the cumulative weight of the its injustices and its acts of omission and commission as “Wronged Souls don’t vanish”

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