Monday, August 23, 2010


By Muhammad MAHTAB Bashir
Daily Times

There are times when our being even vaguely human comes into serious question. The barbarity on display in a shocking video doing the rounds on television screens across the country is one such example. Showing two brothers, Hafiz Mughees, 15, and Hafiz Muneeb, 19, being brutally tortured, beaten with sticks and iron rods, dragged half-naked through the streets and then hung upside down where they draw their last breaths, the video is a morbid reminder of how we have lost all traces of our humanity. However, more shocking still is the fact that some 14 police officers stood guard whilst the torture and lynching took place and instead of stopping the madness, they facilitated it as silent spectators and in keeping back the gathering crowds.

It is said that the perpetrators dispensed with their own brand of vigilante justice against alleged dacoits but it has since been discovered that it was nothing more than an old grudge that was being settled by those accused of this horrendous crime. The fact that a complacent police force stood watch makes them key instruments in this most deplorable of brutal extra-judicial killings. The Supreme Court has taken suo motu notice of this heinous act and has sternly cautioned Sialkot District Police Officer Waqar Chauhan that he deserved to be suspended and sent to jail for nowhere in civilised society do such actions take place. It has also ordered Anti-Corruption Director General (retd) Kazim Malik to investigate the incident. While it is appreciated that the courts have taken immediate notice and have instructed an urgent response, mere dismissals and suspensions will simply not suffice.

The callousness and depravity on display seemed like something from the middle ages. Is our society this barbaric and animalistic? Are we so uncivilised that, as individuals, we are dispensing Taliban-style murders in public? And for all those who witnessed the incident without trying to stop the crime, shame on them.

Shame too on a police force so cold and callous that it stands by silently while two young boys get beaten to death, so inhumane that it beats people up with laathis at a whim, and so cruel that peaceful demonstrations such as the one by the students of Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur are baton-charged and the protestors, including young girl students, are beaten black and blue.

We have proved again and again that we have degenerated into a vile culture when left to our own devices. Pray that the punishment for these offenders fits the crime.

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