Archive for August, 2007


Any Laws? Anywhere?

I don’t think so!!! And believe you me, I would pay you if you could prove otherwise!

So, here is a situation – hypothetical of course. Imagine a relatively shareef person, and I mean in the alliterative sense of the word beyond politics, an employee of the Federal Government of Pakistan who has bought a car from a dealer, being surrounded and stopped by 6 thugs travelling in 3 cars, smack dab in the middle of the I-9 sector and told to surrender the car to them.

Apparently, they are goons hired by Askari Leasing and have been told to repossess the said car because there has been a fraudulent dealing somewhere in the process of releasing the car. And these goons actually carry arms and push the person around and try and snatch the keys away as well.

Do you want some background here? This happened once before and the case was taken to court. 2 bloody, friggin’ years ago!! But as our legal system is so very efficient, parallel cases were filed in a sessions court, a high court and the banking court in Lahore. The sessions court allowed the car to be returned to the plaintiff and a year and a half later, the banking court absolved them of all responsibility since the car had exchanged more than 6 hands before coming to the present owner and there had been no liabilities attached to it. Also, the owner had verified original documentation relating to the car. According to the judgement, they were not considered party to the crime of fraudulent release of the car and allowed ownership whereas the bank was ordered to find the bank manager who has absconded since who was responsible for clearing the transaction in the first place.

Here’s what happened this time. Apparently, the bank filed an open application simply stating that they be allowed to repossess the car in the banking court, and a learned judge without looking at the context of the case or the judgement concerned, or even providing a legal basis for overlooking the judgement or ignoring it stamped the document.

Then? Then, the car is lifted and rather than taking it to the concerned police station in the vicinity where the car was stopped. the car is taken to Sadiqabad police station without informing the owner who had to hitch a ride to bring the legal document he believed had meant his problem had been solved. And there, relatives or accomplices of the thugs actually tried to force the owner to hand over the car.

The fact that this incident took place in broad daylight at 12 in the afternoon and the harassed and haggard owner of the car, despite being in the legal right, returned past 8 with his car and too only after he managed to get somebody to telephone a DSP and the absent SHO of the station. To gain his right, he had to resort to finding somebody who knew the UC of Satellite Town who came to the station. Even then he is being pressurised to ‘discuss’ the matter because of calls being made by a major in Sialkot who has no legal documents to claim ownership of the car.

The interesting thing here is that the other cars that have been released can’t be traced, because their owners  unlike this ‘bewaquf’ person have not registered the vehicles and have them hidden ‘underground’.  The reason this car got traced, besides the 20, 000 rupees commission that the mugs get for every car ‘returned’ is that it is the only car that they’ve seen on the roads in the twin cities.

At the end of this, may I ask a few questions?

  • If I carry an I.D. of Askari Leasing, does it give me the right to carry a revolver, stop cars in the middle of a road and without any legal documents and push and snatch at an individual who is a citizen of Pakistan?
  • In the said event, when they have no legal documents, how is it possible that the harassed individual cannot even file an F.I.R against them?
  • Are the courts in Pakistan and their judgements so negligible that their own judges sign and stamp any application that comes in front of them without looking at the premise?
  • Has our Army really degenerated into nothing but Machiavellian individuals who now believe that their present status or status is far above that of an ordinary citizen of Pakistan? Where it has become a status quo that what an army personnel wants, he gets even if it means snatching it away from an ordinary citizen who owns it by right?
  • How is it possible that the bank manager in whose tenure, at least 4 other vehicles were released illegally, who by the way is the son of a General, has been able to disappear abroad and get away scot-free while citizens who are nothing but victims in the scenario are bullied, threatened and harassed publicly?

Can anybody enlighten me? I do not claim to know law but have always claimed some understanding of rights and legalities. Can anybody explain if my anger and disillusionment with our system and my disappointment with the life of individuals in this state is misplaced? Are incidents like this the determinants of a so called system where rights and justice have significance beyond being just dirty words in a dictionary?


14th August… Another Day

Due to a strange fluke of history and single-minded effort of a few million delusional people, we celebrate the 14th of August 2007 as the 60th birth anniversary of the state of Pakistan.

Odd that our Pakistaniat is there just for a day, manifest in flags dyed green in a pigment that runs as the sky cries for what should have been and what is, staining the white just like the strains of blood that remain in this country’s skyline long after days like May 12 2007 and the siege of the Lal Masjid have gone by.  We scream our joy in our freedom by putting up paper flags that are not the right green and at the end of the day are just pieces of paper that will float down when left to the elements for days to come and trodden under the feet of those who return to normalcy as the day sets.   We await the month of August with glee waiting for another day off where we shall kick up our heels and dance the jig to Indian songs blaring out of our music systems, cars and television sets or if nothing else to return to the bosoms of our extended families to bitch, gripe, whine and otherwise complain about all the nothing that this worthless country has given us.

But hang on a minute, that doesn’t sound too different from what I do anyway.  Except for the green flag thing but then, I don’t do that on the 14th either.  There were days when my papa used to put us in a car and drive us around Islamabad to see the Parliament House and the Presidency glittering with ‘soobat’ lights and this was when these were the only two buildings worth mentioning.  It was in the days when Islamabad was more than just a network of dug ups, dug outs and otherwise in process developments for collecting rain water in ditches.  Damn creative way of doing it right in the middle of the road too.

I’ve been dragged over a cheese grater by a lot of people over the last couple of weeks over my lack of show of patriotism and love for my country.  And as I’ve felt myself break into a drizzle of salty sweet parmesan, I have also tried to rack my brain to think of something good to say.  I came up with a truth which can be a starting point.  I suck as a Pakistani.  I have no right to call myself that.  I deserve the misleading, confused title of a non-pashto speaking pathan, who is a quarter Iranian, belonging to Kohat, living in Islamabad which was eons away from Pakistan till this year but had an identity crisis at last and collapsed on its big, fat bureaucratic ass ripping off its marble mask and revealing the torn, scarred face that matches the ripped apart countenance of the country it represents.

But I regress.  I am not a Pakistani because I don’t give a damn.  Of all the countries my parents could have chosen for me to be born in, they choose this place.  For me, being a Pakistani is a slight on my good name.  I am a terrorist, an Islamic fundamentalist, a fanatic, a goon or at the very least, I am a cheating, thieving Paki which is what all the news channels and all the Western countries that I travel to, say I am.   So, it has to be true.  Which means that being all I am I don’t quite do all that.  Instead, I’m a hypocrite of the nth degree, all for shooting my mouth off about the system, and its deficiencies and then ensuring that I don’t get kicked out of it either.  I break traffic rules.  I throw trash on the streets.  I would go kiss an American’s feet if I thought it would get me a seat on the next plane out of this hell hole.   I categorize all Pakistanis as cheating, lying,thieving, bribing, murderous thugs forgetting that I’m at least as big as any in the league because hey, this system allowed me to flourish.  Let it be said that I admit I am a part of this system and I herby solemnly swear to deny all this in a court of law, under duress, and with the damnation of an affidavit behind me so there!

 And this rant ends in tears…  And the sky cries along with me, at this time of the night as it always does when the 14th of August arrives.  Happy Birthday Pakistan.  This game to you.  You played well enough, through no real talent of your own and simply for the sake of Lady Fortune’s one kind smile and actually live to die another day.  And you will die, won’t you?  Every time, one of us stands in front of the world and begs for money to feed you but actually goes for a holiday to the States.   You will die Lé Pétité morté  every time one of us ensures our own safety at the expense of another, regardless on how many paper laws we trample in the process. 

And ultimately, you will be nothing more than the earth and sand and stone we say you are.  Nothingness!!  Shall we see how long you prevail in spite of our efforts to do otherwise…  I do not claim to be strong, moral character because I don’t know what that means but in the spirit of a fair fight, I offer a prayer today for you.  If nothing else, let the Almighty ensure that the people you give your name to, understand what the word means!

Happy Independence Day Everyone!

August 2007