Monday, 2 June 2008

Boycotting the Police and Judiciary

Written on Saturday 31/05/08
Taxila, Punjab - Pakistan

I've not slept at all, about 10 million issues are racing through my mind.

I had made an appointment last night with Mr. Hanif Abbassi (a politician who toppled Sheikh Rasheed - Musharraf's dubious former information minister - in the constituency adjoining that of our sad symbol of Pakistan Mr.Bashir). Unfortunately, I couldn't make it on time and had to endure a ticking off from the potentially venerable Mr. Abbassi."Best to leave it for another day", he angrily suggested.

An opportunity delayed rather than an opportunity lost I hope.

Visiting a police station in Pakistan is hardly ever a pleasant experience. Since the creation of this country, they've acted as 'terror cells' facilitating political and economic expediency. In the process, many a poor and vulnerable Pakistani has felt the harsh 'arm of the law' and bowed to whatever has been demanded from him or her.

In my three years here, I've made a point of not participating in what I can only describe as all-encompassing, rampant and over-flowing corruption. I can proudly announce that I've not given or taken a single rupee to promote, indulge or instigate corruption. I may not be able to influence the mind-set or habits of these pitiable people but I can as 'sure as hell' refrain from participation.

Coming back to the topic of police stations and PS Waris Khan Rawalpindi in particular. As that is where the FIR (First Information Report) against Mr. Bashir and his fraudulent cheque was lodged on the 1st of May. It took the police 22 days to bring the issue to the Session Court Rawalpindi and that only after Bashir had been granted bail before arrest. It also took the police more than 6 weeks from the date of offence to writing the FIR. Having absconded from court the following day, just before the announcement of his bail rejection and then suddenly providing a bail slip from the High Court, after a week of disappearance does make me livid.

I can almost understand the limitations of the police force. They are horrendously underpaid, undertrained and work in conditions which make them constantly susceptible to the darker side of human nature. Having said that, I cannot afford the same level of empathy to the judiciary. Their pivotal role in society makes it intolerable for citizens to have to endure transgressions on their part. For a criminal judge to judge criminally is gross criminality.

In any case, the concerned investigating officer was not at the police station at the time, the SHO (Station House Officer) had been transferred while the original investigating officer had just returned from suspension. It was he who I met and his attitude was so deplorable that I decided not to prolong my stay.

The impulsive thought in my mind is that of outright boycott. I did pursue and persist with the prevailing legal structure in all my time here. This is perhaps the time to state, "Enough is enough, how much more affront does one have to confront?"

The rest of the day appears dark and hollow, lack of sleep is affecting me too. It does make me wonder about the conditions which convince human beings to become destructive. I will never contemplate that, I know I've cut through the threshold of physical and mental pain. Nevertheless, extending the boycott to money that comes into this country sounds like a promising strategy. After all, people abroad of 'Azad Kashmiri' origin are probably the most significant contributors of foreign currency into this economy.

Anyway.....let's leave that for another day. I'm shattered.

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