How many Zafirs, Zains and Shahzebs will it take for Pakistan to stop bowing down before the Khawars, the Kanjus and the Jatois?
I can very well imagine his pain, his helplessness, as he was being ruthlessly deprived of his right to live and follow his dreams. How he must have begged and pleaded for his life, only to be left alone to offer apologies for something he didn’t even do. I mean, wouldn’t anyone do just that to save their life? But the monsters did not just lack sympathy – they were inherently void of even a shred of humanity.
They trapped him from all sides, with nowhere to go, and then their guns started blazing. Entire caches of bullets were emptied on one poor soul. As he lay in his car, in a pool of his own blood, all humanity was lost in that one moment. They fled without even bothering to call in an ambulance, and why would they? The prime goal of these animals was to finish him off.
Not only was a family bereaved of their only kin, but 18-year-old Zafir Fahim Zubairi left this world at an age when he had merely begun seeing the possibilities it had to offer. All his hopes, dreams and aspirations will now be buried 20-feet under the mud, along with him.
How long is this going to continue, might I ask? Will the architects of our future continue to be massacred like this? On one hand, we have terrorists attacking the youth in schools and universities, while on the other, we have urban terrorists, products of the VIP culture who continue to play Holi with the blood of our youth. Because of these monsters, those aspiring to contribute to the country’s development are forced to meet an early fate.
Nothing highlights the appalling state of justice in Pakistan better than the words of Ghazala Rauf, mother of Zain Rauf, the slain victim of yet another spoiled son of an influential man, Mustafa Kanju. Ghazala told the Supreme Court,
“I cannot fight powerful murderers with two daughters.”
These unfortunate yet historic words are enough to expose the flawed justice system, and are no less than a slap on the standards of the judiciary of our country. The 16-year-old victim’s mother withdrew the case after realising that the law and government was on the side of the perpetrators, who were influential people, and that she could lose more than her son’s life if she kept fighting.
It would be pertinent to mention another failure of the corrupt system we live in – the Shahrukh Jatoi case. After five years of innumerable suffering that Shahzeb Khan’s family had to endure, the courts recently acquitted Shahrukh citing some technical loophole. The family, however, had already come to a compromise a few years ago, fearing their remaining children’s safety as they were intimidated by the influential Jatoi family. There were reports that not only was Shahrukh initially able to escape to Dubai with the involvement of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), but was also given VIP treatment inside prison, with him allegedly leaving the prison to spend time outside as well.
If, and only if the judiciary had crushed the head of the snake there and then, by not just sentencing Shahrukh to death but also ensuring the implementation of the sentence, we would not see the snake get bigger and annihilate another victim.
However, things haven’t changed a bit since Shahrukh murdered Shahzeb.
Trigger-happy barbarians like Khawar Burney continue to roam the city with unwavering support of the law on their back. Armed to the teeth, they display their affinity for automatic weapons with their henchmen, and that too while drunk. Exhibiting their might and prowess in their double cabin cars, they threaten to harm anyone who dares look at them the wrong way. They kill and maim countlessly, yet we get to know only when the victim is lucky enough to garner media attention, like in the case of Zafir. Even then, they use the same tried and tested techniques to evade justice, at which point it simply becomes a repetition of history.
For instance, although the eyewitness has claimed that the firing was started by the civilians – Khawar and his friends – Khawar has used the oldest trick in the bag by claiming it was done by his guards, just like Shahrukh claimed. Another similarity is how Khawar is trying to shift the blame on the victim, by claiming that they started firing after getting hit by Zafir, just as Shahrukh had claimed that his friends were slapped by Shahzeb. Funny how these animals have such low regard for human life that they believe in killing mindlessly just to satisfy their fragile egos.
Zafir’s was not the first young life lost to VIP culture and privilege, nor will it be the last, especially if the precedence of justice continues like this.
I am afraid that we will see a surge in innocent people losing their lives to blood thirsty ‘waderas’ (feudal lords) and wealthy gun owners, whose only values are those that are embedded in violence, wealth and luxury. Therefore, unlike past precedent, the judiciary must take a firm stand this time and ensure swift justice by sentencing the perpetrators, and implementing it, as soon as possible.
There are already doubts, and not much hope, that the perpetrators will be given exemplary punishment, or any punishment at all. The rich may yet again escape justice by exploiting the flawed legal system, if they successfully silence the victim’s family and intimidate them into a compromise. Who knows who will be the next Zafir that another Khawar chooses to target to quench his thirst for blood?
I am sorry to say this, but if justice doesn’t prevail, perhaps the younger generation should seriously mull over leaving this country while their heads are still on their shoulders. ‘Pakistan se zinda bhaag’ (Run away from Pakistan while you’re still alive) might then soon become the anthem of the educated youth.
Perhaps this country would be better off with the killers establishing the laws of jungle more openly and freely, while those of us civilised enough should just leave for someplace safer.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.