By Saleem Fazil
Tring tring Ring . I woke up early morning to the phone bell blaring all over my little bedroom.”Hello, Saleem bhai .I’m in a police lock up in your area. Please come and help me get out of here “. The panic stricken call ended abruptly. I was perplexed. I had no clue as to who had given me a SOS call from an unidentified number. I tried to call right back on the number but to no avail. Phone was switched off .I took no time to get out of my bed .In another 10 minutes I was parked outside my area Police Station . So what do I do now? I asked myself .Right, I will meet the SHO and tell him about the phone call. I walked in, guided to Head Moharir’s room by shabbily clad policeman. “SHO is not present at the moment; the man seated in plain clothes told me .Please check for your person in the lock up right ahead of SHO Sb’s room,head Moharir ordered . I walked a few steps out of his room and right in front was a small lock up with heavy iron bars and the first person I saw behind was Hanif, my area line man of Telephone Company. I personally know Hanif bhai for last 20 years and was surprised to see him in the lock up. The whole situation dawned on me within a split second. Hanif must have called me to help him out of lock up from someone’s cell phone .He looked confused and petrified .There were about a dozen more young men inside the cell and from behind the bars they all looked at me as if I will be their savior . I wish I could!
I spoke to Hanif bhai and in a jiffy he told me that night before he was picked up from a local park along with half a dozen other youngsters by the area police. “Police said, we have to fill out today’s register for arrests. Instead of sitting in the park now all of you sit inside the van “he told me outright .We, protested but by force we were pushed inside the van and brought to the lock up, he added. I looked inside the lock up .Two young guys stepped forward and started to talk to me. One of them was a final year Medical student who had lived most of his life in Houston Tx USA . The other boy ran his family business of automobile showrooms in the vicinity. According to them they were sitting in the park and they have no clue why police has put them in the lock up. Worst part was that a FIR had already been lodged against all of them .The only way out would be bail after being hand cuffed in the local court.
“The Police expect us not to become criminals after we get out of here “the young doctor to be asked me. What is our fault? They gave us no reason, asked us no questions and forged cases against us; he said it all in one breath. Obviously I couldn’t do anything except sympathize with him. It was a sorry state of affairs. Another visitor at the lock up told me that one of the inmates is his younger brother and he had been at the station all night waiting for his release. He told me straight up that is unable to face his family as his mother is a serious cardiac patient and telling her about the mishap may result in a catastrophe in his household. I heard his sad story and last I saw two young boys being hand cuffed. What is going on Hanif Bhai , I was startled .’They are being taken to the court for the bail. I don’t know their story but they come from the affluent and educated class’, Hanif bhai replied.
During the time I spent talking to Hanif bhai and others at the Police station, I discovered that they will not be set free at any cost .They will all be produced before the judge in the court and given a verdict. .Whether Hanif bhai and others will be set free or given time behind bars will totally be at the discretion of the Judge.
I shook hands with all inside the lock up .I wished them well. I told Hanif bhai that I would inform his family and not to worry about any thing. There was only so much I could do!
Nothing more I want to add here. What I saw, experienced and observed was all in a day’s work or should I say a routine thing. There are thousands of innocent people who go through miseries everyday in Pakistan because there is no rule of law, sadly.
This is Pakistani justice for you, me and Hanif bhai !