What about you, and me, and my grandmother?

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  • Will you, CM?

A few days ago, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar ordered the withdrawal of unauthorised security deployed throughout the country. He ordered it quite out of the blue as he does. It turned out then (although we all knew it, really) that in the Punjab alone, 4,610 police personnel were being used, illegally, to provide unauthorised security for politicians, civil administrative and police officers, judges, lawyers, and media figures. These security personnel have now been withdrawn, at least until there is an opportunity to sneak them back again.

The rest of us of never did have security, and we continue to have none. And why not? What about me? And you? And my grandmother?

Naturally, the order to withdraw that security has not gone down well (was it the CJP’s job to give that order though?), and the many people suddenly bereaved of the style and superiority that armed guards confer, are not happy. An MPA belonging to the PML-N, Rana Jamil, in fact created a kerfuffle in the Punjab Assembly, which place is quite used to its sessions being used to defend everyone except the people it is supposed to defend. The MPA said he was kidnapped once (he and the rest of the country), and was only released because of the personal efforts of the chief minister. What! When my grandmother was kidnapped her kidnappers just let her go because she was too noisy. I didn’t see the CM making any personal efforts on her behalf.

The MPA went on to say that if anything happens to him and the rest of his family, he will hold the CJP responsible, and will file a report against the CJP himself.

It seems therefore that people other than the MPA from the Punjab are being kidnapped too. Surely their families are entitled to security in addition to the family of Rana Jamil?

Now that’s interesting. Is it possible to hold the CJP responsible if the security was illegal to begin with? The fact that the erstwhile security was illegal and unauthorised clearly does not count as far as Rana Jamil is concerned. What counts is that as an MPA he feels he deserves greater security, authorised or not, than anyone in the country can lay claim to.

Why can’t I have security too then, if he can? I’m not authorised to have it, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Or why can’t you have it? Or my grandmother?

Shouldn’t the MPA, and all those other people who have been using the taxpayers’ money illegally, be penalised for breaking the law? What happened to Sadiq and Ameen in this case, or is that only selectively applied?

Meantime, in Sind, a citizen residing in New Town has apparently been abducted, in just one example of thousands of such cases. The police in the area seems not to have taken any action following the event because it was necessary for the Inspector General of Police of Sindh to ‘direct the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) East to submit an inquiry report in this regard as soon as possible,’ and for him to direct that an investigation team be formed to recover the citizen at the earliest, adding that ‘measures should be taken for the safety of the affected family.’ That of course implies that had he not issued those orders, nothing would have been done.

Once again, what about the rest of us? Why did no one direct that measures be taken to ensure safety for us too? For me? And you? And my grandmother?

Earlier this year there was a hearing in the Supreme Court regarding all those thousands of missing persons in this country. There is in fact a Commission of Enquiry of Enforced Disappearance in existence. And an NGO, called Defence of Human Rights — which tries to locate missing persons. The chairperson of this NGO said that the Commission was ignoring their communications, that their documents concerning the matter were being returned by the post.

“There is no let-up in the cases of missing people,” she remarked. “In fact, these cases are increasing by the day.”

It seems therefore that people other than the MPA from the Punjab are being kidnapped too. Surely their families are entitled to security in addition to the family of Rana Jamil?

The Commission of Enquiry of Enforced Disappearances has disclosed that it has dealt with 3,000 cases of disappearances, while 1,577 were still pending.

Meantime one of the judges regretted the parents of the missing persons were having to face all kinds of problems, such as this, in their old age.

So, clearly, there is no recourse to justice, except regrets if you, or I, or my grandmother go missing. Unless of course we make enough fuss in the Assembly, the law go hang, and the CM makes a personal effort to recover us.

Will you, CM?