Rangers shooting: Lust for blood

Published: June 11, 2011
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This video holds up a mirror to our society, and if the reflection is ugly and shocking, who can we blame but ourselves?

The video of Sarfaraz Shah’s last traumatic moments imploded on to cyber space with some enthusiasm and a profusion of expletives. Messages like “check kar yeh video” (check out this video), “here’s the full video, yaar,”  “sharing the HD version,” “uncut footage” and “exclusive video” pepper the Facebook newsfeed. Bloodied and battered thumbnails accompany the excited posts. Lust for blood, it seems, is not exclusive to criminals.

Slowly, steadily and grimly, Sarfaraz Shah’s life was extinguished on tape. His blood was squeezed out drop by drop, fanning out in a wider and wider crimson circle around his wiry frame, as he lay on the ground beseeching for help:

Haspataal puhancha day yar, mujhay haspataal to puhancha day!’’ (Take me to hospital, my friend, please take me to hospital!)

How ironic that Sarfaraz was begging for help from the same people who had looked him in the eye and shot him at point blank range moments ago. The very same “law enforcers” in the garb of Rangers who have been deputed to safeguard Karachi and it’s besieged people. As Sarfaraz lay face down in a pool of his own blood, the footage showed a few pair of boots ambling past him.

While the ‘guardians’ looked on calmly as Sarfaraz writhed in agony on the floor of a park, people were strolling and jogging close by, with many avidly watching this gory spectacle. Not one of these Karachiites stepped forward and asked the Rangers to take Sarfaraz to the hospitals nearby, or tried to assist him in any way. Not only is justice blind and deaf in this land, but so are the people who do not have an iota of sympathy or empathy for another citizen in pain.

When Sarfaraz was finally taken to Jinnah hospital, the doctors said that he was still breathing, but died moments later due to excessive bleeding.

A Matric student, Sarfaraz had a zest for life which was all too visible in the video as he tried to claw away from the clutches of the Grim Reaper. All he needed to survive was time so that his torn body would have healed, but those precious few moments were denied to him.

The initial report filed by the Rangers said that the boy was killed in an “armed encounter.” It was only when the video of his cold blooded murder was made public that the statement was retracted when it became evident that Sarfaraz was not armed and was of no threat whatsoever to these heavily armed officials.

Our ubiquitous Interior Minister Rehman Malik says that although Sarfaraz Shah’s killing was unjustified, he was a robber who was handed over to the Rangers by the park guard.

Many people have the audacity to justify Sarfaraz’s death by saying such instant accountability needs to be meted out to criminals. To such confused compatriots, I want to ask:

Do you really trust our law enforcers?

Would you let the women of your family go to a police thana (station) to file an FIR?

If the answer is no, then why do you set so much trust in their version of events?

Tomorrow, they could gun you down and say you were a dacoit, and produce a gun with your fingerprints emblazoned across it.

Whatever happened to the central tenet of justice that a man has the right to be innocent until proved guilty?

If vigilantes and police are going to mete out justice summarily and brutally, then pray what is the need for courts?

Let’s just go back to the Stone Ages and bludgeon each other to death.

Amidst all the fury directed at the trigger happy Rangers and the government, it has to be said that they are not the only ones who share the blame for our diseased and rotten society.

Who were those spineless silent spectators who let Sarfaraz die an undignified and useless death?

This video holds up a mirror to our society, and if the reflection is ugly and shocking, who can we blame but ourselves?

Maheen Usmani

Maheen Usmani

A freelance writer who has covered subjects ranging from socio-political issues to women's rights to counter terrorism, sports, travel, culture and music. Maheen tweets @MaheenUsmani (twitter.com/MaheenUsmani)

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