Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lynching of Sialkot Boys

Upright Opinion
December 29, 2010

Lynching of Sialkot Boys

By Saeed Qureshi

If the assassins of two teenage brothers Hafiz Mueez Butt and Hafiz Muneeb Butt, mercilessly lynched and bludgeoned to death by a mob in Sialkot on August 20 this year, are not punished sooner than later then this country named Pakistan is doomed. If the killers are freed or given mild punishment than what they deserve, then this country has no right to stay.

That horror scene of clubbing was not from a movie. It happened before the whole crowd of inhabitants of Sialkot together with the police personnel watching it with cool faces and joyful interest as if some animals were being butchered or enemy combatants were being tortured.

Since then every effort is being bent and every trick is being contrived by the assassins backed by their highly influential and powerful abettors to place this heart wrenching case in a perpetual limbo. And they have succeeded in their nefarious designs as not one single hearing has been fixed for the case to pursue ever since this most heinous crime was committed in broad day light and in full public view.

This case which is self evident as it has been witnessed by the Sialkot spectators on the spot and even the whole country on videos and in media. One cannot find such a gruesome, macabre and spine chilling murder scene even in the ancient Roman coliseums where slaves were thrown before the hungry predators while the public shouted and applauded. Here the humans turned predators and kept beating the boys till they were dead. The callous perpetrators of this brutality, in their unquenching rage and unrelenting revenge, hanged the dead bodies, then dragged them in the streets and finally threw these in front of their house.

Can one believe that such a loathsome incident has happened in 21st century and in a country that was created in the name of Islam and for justice and peace and all good things that Islam ordains? Why is the case not coming before the court for hearing? What other evidence or witnesses the justice system in Pakistan needs to adjudicate as to who committed this ghastly crime? The whole country is a witness, the whole city of Sialkot is a witness, and even the faces of the police personnel supervising the crime are distinctly visible. Then why is the justice not taking its course? Why is there this unpardonable delay in charging the assassins and their abettors and sending them to gallows?

This is not an ordinary murder case. This is neither complicated nor short of evidence for which the police have to mount a search for the murderers. The murderers are seen bludgeoning the boys with heavy sticks and the rest of the macabre scene is recorded in the gadgets. What else the courts and the police want to grab to pursue the case in the court?

Are there no religious Maulvis or Imams or pulpit preachers at least telling their audience that it was against Islamic system of justice to kill anyone all the more in such a savage manner that leaves no shred of doubt in favor of the murderers? If the religious orators from the mosques goad and counsel the worshippers in the mosque five time a day that Islam offer the best justice model in the world, then why not one single voice, protest or demand has come out from these religious zealots for the speedy justice in support of these hapless boys who lost their lives at the prime age.

Where are the human right activists collecting charities day in and day out for relief work which is a handy ploy to raise money for self-enrichment than actually spending it on the needy? Where are the lawyers with a pricking conscience and professional ethics to come out and hold protest rallies and stage sit-ins in support of the parents of the assassinated boys? Where is the honorable judiciary taking cognizance of the delay being deliberately injected to weaken the case and to buy time for the people to forget?

More than the suo motto notices of the superior judiciary about price hikes of commodities and NRO and similar issues, this case is of most urgent nature and therefore merits rapid attention. The superior judiciary should urgently enquire as to why there was so much unpardonable delay in dispensing justice to the killers of two sons of the nation.

I saw today on the television the forlorn, spent up and entirely grieved and innervated mother and father of the deceased boys. They were the pictures of an incessant trauma and immense anguish writ large on their grief stricken faces. They talked more of divine than human justice which was a candid reflection of their utter dejection with the courts in Pakistan. It was even difficult for them to utter words to explain that no one was in a mood to listen to them and talk about the case despite earlier loud commitments. Every two weeks they go to the court and come back without even the preliminary submission of the case by the police.

The president, the Prime minister, and the Law minister of Pakistan bear an equal responsibility with regard to the snail paced progress in this one of the most harrowing and distressing cases of all times. Do they have the morality, the conscience, the sense of responsibility to rise above their party, clan or group affiliations and ask the relevant prosecuting authorities to submit the case before a special court for legal proceedings every day without break till a verdict is handed out?

The verdict would be a simple formality as there are countless witnesses and there cannot be more absolute and irrefutable evidence that what the videos show. The videos cannot be tempered because both the victims and the killers and police abettors are as distinctly visible as to leave no doubt about their loathsome and nefarious identities.

If the residents of Sialkot still go to mosques and claim to be Muslims, they ought to ask for forgiveness for watching this brutal murder with absolute apathy and aloofness? They can redeem their complicity in the crime by storming the local court and pressing the presiding judge to start the legal proceedings without further delay.

(The writer is a Dallas-based freelance journalist and a former diplomat writing mostly on International Affairs with specific focus on Pakistan and the United States)

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