Some are more equal than others
The question that begs an answer here is why Majeed Achackzai is so arrogant, cocksure and so special that he can literally get away with murder? Partly the answer lies in the fact that apart from being an ally of the PML-N, the Achackzai family rules the roost in Baluchistan
The special treatment given to an MPA (member provincial assembly) belonging to a nationalist party — an ally of the ruling party in Baluchistan — contrasts sharply with the high handed behaviour employed with an opposition member of the National Assembly. A vocal critic of the government was allegedly mistreated and mentally tortured by the police while in custody.
Abdul Majeed Achackzai, belonging to the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, happens to be the brother-in-law of the party chief Mehmood Khan Achackzai. He literally mowed down a traffic sergeant in broad daylight under his SUV that he was driving himself on a main thoroughfare of Quetta.
The electronic media amplified the sad incident, captured on social media. Initially the arrogant MPA put the blame on his driver.
But when the video went viral on the media the police had no option but to arrest him. Despite the fact that the apex court has taken suo motu notice of the matter the errant provincial lawmaker is reportedly being given VIP treatment in the jail.
His arrogance, knowing no bounds, was for all to see when he was presented in front of an anti-terrorism court. He openly taunted and cursed the media for doing its job.
The question that begs an answer here is why Majeed Achackzai is so arrogant, cocksure and so special that he can literally get away with murder? Partly the answer lies in the fact that apart from being an ally of the PML-N, the Achackzai family rules the roost in Baluchistan.
Mehmood Khan being the head of the party, his brother Ahmed Khan is the provincial governor while his other brother Hamid Khan is a member of the provincial cabinet. The largesse does not end here. His son is an advisor while the wife’s sister is also an MPA. Six other close relatives are also gainfully employed by the state.
But this is only part of the problem. The general ethos in Baluchistan mitigates against egalitarianism. The sardarshappen to be a law unto themselves.
There is only a minuscule middle class in the province. It is either the sardars’ fiat or the common Baloch who living in abject poverty is literally their serf.
Mehmood Khan, always donning his signature shawls, claims to be a progressive and a Pakhtoon nationalist. Only recently in the National Assembly he opposed moves to merge FATA (federally administrated tribal areas) into Pakistan. Of course his other hobbyhorse is consistently opposing the Durand Line and taking potshots at the ubiquitous establishment over its India policy.
In this context it was not at all surprising that Majeed Achackzai, after his initial bluster, sent a senior bureaucrat serving in Baluchistan to the murdered sergeant’s family and offered compensation under Diyat. The same Islamic law was invoked to enable Raymond Davis the CIA contractor who murdered two persons in cold blood in2011 to surreptitiously leave the country after paying compensation to the victims’ families.
For the time being the late cop’s family, recanting the so-called deal, has vowed to pursue the case to the bitter end. But perhaps in the ultimate analysis they will be left with no option but to cut a deal.
Sharif is yet to visit the scene of this heinous act of terrorism. On the other hand tribal elders seeking justice have rejected the compensation offer. They asked a very pertinent question: are we not part of Pakistan? Perhaps, they are children of a lesser God
Unfortunately this is the reality of Pakistan. The poor man has little say as compared to a Sardar or a Waderaespecially if he belongs to the ruling elite. Perhaps things have somewhat changed thanks to a free and intrusive media. Still we have a long way to go to be called a civilised nation.
In sharp contrast is the case of Jamshed Dasti, an MNA belonging to the middle class. Somewhat of a maverick he drives his own transport bus and is also willing to polish shoes for added effect.
His only crime seems to be that he was very vocal against the government during the recent address of the president to the joint houses of the parliament. Perhaps his chanting ‘go Nawaz go’ at the top of his voice did not sit well with the ruling elite. So they decided to teach him a lesson.
Dasti was booked for unlawfully breaching a canal, a crime (if committed by him) he should certainly be punished for under the law. But unlike Majeed Achackzai, he has not murdered anyone, nor has been charged for manslaughter.
Dasti, while being presented in the court, spoke to journalists from his prison van. In tears he narrated the manner in which he had been allegedly tortured in the jail.He accused the police of setting rats and scorpions on him.
According to him he was suffering from sleep deprivation during the past eight days owing to torturous conditions. He also alleged that he was being served inedible food.
Thankfully the chief justice of the Lahore High Court, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, has taken notice of the matter. He has directed the Sargodha district, sessions judge, and the anti-terrorism judge separately, to visit the jail and observe conditions under which Dasti has been incarcerated.
Of course the MNA from Muzzfargarh could be exaggerating his plight. But this is now for the courts to determine. Nonetheless the shabby treatment being meted out to Dasti is quite different from that for Achackzai.
Another outrage is Parachinar where 75 lives were lost and scores badly injured in two sectarian terrorist attacks on Jum’atul Wada just before Eid ul Fitr. A tragic incident near Bahawalpur also took place prior to Eid ul Fitr as a result of an oil tanker spill catching fire, killing 175 people.
The prime minister cut short his London visit immediately and dashed to Bahawalpur soon after his arrival and announced Rs2 million as financial compensation for each family of the victims. This was the right thing to do. However it took him six days to announce Rs1 million as compensation for each family of the victim of the Parachinar carnage and Rs0.5 million for every person injured.
Sharif is yet to visit the scene of this heinous act of terrorism. On the other hand tribal elders seeking justice have rejected the compensation offer. They asked a very pertinent question: are we not part of Pakistan? Perhaps, they are children of a lesser God.
The compensation amount for each family deceased is half the amount announced for the Bahawalpur inferno victims. The prime minister’s detractors allege that the real reason for this stark anomaly is that Parachinar is not the ruling party’s constituency while south of Punjab, where Bahawalpur is located, is very much so.
Hence the bottom line remains that political expediency rather than humanism rules the roost. That is why citizens of the same country are treated differently and discriminated against.