Stories about killing

The memory of partition must become invalid now

During our Aman Chaupal initiative, where we invite a representative from Pakistan to interact with students in India, this time I got the opportunity to meet Mr Aamir Nawaz. Nawaz is the president and artistic director of the MAAS Foundation, a leading theatre group of Pakistan which showcases plays on several social themes. One of their prominent themes is Indo-Pak issues. As a part of the Aman Chaupal, we showed the video of one of MAAS’s plays to students of the South Asian University (SAU), which was followed by a discussion on the theme of the play. The play, named Permasher Singh, was based on ...

Read Full Post

A dialogue with my murderer

I am Bano. My mother used to call me Pari (Fairy). I was the only baby girl of my parents. I was killed by my uncle. My father was supposed to kill me but he didn’t have the courage so he asked my uncle for the favour. I was killed in the honour of my family’s good name which I destroyed. I was killed on Eid day. My grave is in my village and I was buried in my Eid dress. My father visits my grave in the dark so that no one sees him. My mother never visits my grave, she can’t make it. My ...

Read Full Post

Sarfaraz Shah murder verdict: Ranger or not, justice is justice

I believe it was J R R Tolkien who said, “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” Then again, there is Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the famous political philosopher, who states in his treatise, The Social Contract, “There is no man so bad that he cannot be made good for something. No man should be put to death, even as an example, if he can be left to live without danger to society.” The ...

Read Full Post

My lover, her father and the ‘honour’ that tore us apart

Our ordeal had begun. She said to me, “What if something goes wrong? We will be doomed, my whole life will be ruined and they might even kill me.” Although I was scared, I responded in a brave voice, “Don’t be scared, just have faith and everything will be alright.” We were stuck in the midst of a battle to reclaim our lives and live it according to our aspirations and desires. The only other option we had was to abandon our hopes in the name of chauvinistic traditions, where women were the sole victims of culture and tradition. Her destiny had been sealed by her ...

Read Full Post

I am sorry Convent of Jesus and Mary, for I have failed you

I am a graduate of the Convent of Jesus and Mary (CJM), Lahore – a sprawling campus situated off the Mall Road. Every day at 8:00 am sharp, we were made to stand at arm’s length from each other in lines as straight as they could be. We would first make these rows outside the intimidating assembly hall, and then one by one we would march in, making sure our backs were straight and shoulders pushed back. If anyone dared to whisper or fidget, a vigilant nun would drag that girl out and make her stand in a separate ...

Read Full Post

Taxi driver shot dead: The Rangers are not to blame

Most of the time, law enforcement agencies in Pakistan are blamed for corruption and for being in cahoots with criminals. However, recently, the elite contingent of Pakistani law enforcement – which is usually called in when the situation becomes too big to handle for basic level officers – has come under fire for allegations of extra judicial killings and for sporting a general “hair trigger attitude.” The reference here is, of course, to the Rangers and the spate of recent incidents that have involved shooting at presumably innocent people. The Rangers first drew media attention after they opened fire on an unarmed young man ...

Read Full Post

Zain Ghaffar: The lawyer who law could not save

The sweltering heat on May 21, 2013, was nauseating. This is when my senior Mr Shahid Ikram Siddiqui asked me and another colleague to sit in the court where his case was to be heard after the judges’ tea break. We entered the air-conditioned court room of the Lahore High Court and I took the seat on the extreme left corner, which would have a direct view of the counsels when proceedings would begin. I began to go through the case papers which Mr Siddiqui was to present that day. I was deeply engrossed when my colleague brought to my notice ...

Read Full Post

Shahzeb and Hamza: What makes murder worthy of coverage?

He was just around 20. He was his parents’ only son. He was shot dead — allegedly by the son of an influential person — at point-blank range. His body was found in the DHA locality. Shahzeb Khan? No. This is Hamza Elahi. A resident of Lahore, Hamza was found dead in DHA Phase VI on June 2, 2012. He was allegedly murdered by his friend Shan Khusro, over jealousy (as claimed by the administrators of his memorial page). Shan — son of former Lahore commissioner and Additional Federal Secretary Khusro Pervaiz — admitted to shooting, but by accident. Shan said ...

Read Full Post

Man dead for falling in love: Parachinar is taking us back to the stone ages

A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post which delved into the rich prospects of the jirga system, its history and advantage to those who don’t have quick and easy access to the legal system in Pakistan. A couple of weeks ago, it made me ponder over my inflexibility towards accepting it as a system of justice – today I hold a strong stance against it. Having practiced in the courts of Pakistan, I understand first-hand the issues that the common man would face in his quest for legal justice; acute delays, unending legal costs and corruption within the ...

Read Full Post

With every Hazara you kill, you are killing a piece of me too

It’s easy to be disheartened by the general state of affairs in Pakistan at present. We seem to have lost the capacity to choose dialogue over violence, to stand for what is right over joining the latest political circus (Tahirul Qadri et al), and to be a nation, if ever we were one. And now we’ve taken to something not-so-new, driving out all elements that are deemed non-Pakistani, or non-Muslim perhaps — there is little distinction between those terms of late. The latest 80 plus Hazaras massacred, depicts what is swiftly becoming nothing short of genocide. To what end, I ask? What ...

Read Full Post