Anatomy of a crime | Pakistan Today

Anatomy of a crime

  • Let’s do a thought experiment.

I am a man in an unhappy marriage. It comes to my attention that my wife is cheating on me. This probably isn’t an isolated incident because she married me for my father’s money and I know it very well. But this time I have concrete information. I know who the guy is and where he lives. He’s younger; better looking than I am and that angers me more. My wife owns a separate 1 Kanal bungalow that’s just a few kilometres away from our home. It’s obvious that she uses this house for drug fuelled parties and to meet with her many love affairs. I keep ignoring it until she starts to spend more and more time at her other house. I feel useless, duped and unattractive. So I decide to act.

I know where she is and I know what she is doing. I plan to raid and catch her in the act. I have with me multiple cars, gunmen and kerosene. I plan to kill everyone and burn the place to the ground. When I enter the house I remember that my wife is my societal anchor. My escort to weddings, formal parties, social events and the mother of my child. She may be unfaithful but she’s still my wife and divorces are frowned upon. I have a reputation to protect. What will all my friends and family think if I hurt her bad enough that she leaves me? She’d a good girl, just misdirected. I can straighten her out by making an example out of this guy she was having the affair with. If I make enough of a ruckus she’ll probably be scared to death and never do such a thing again. So I humiliate and torture the boy.

He thought he was better than me, that he can copulate with my wife right under my nose. I felt helpless. But now I have all the control. I ask my goons to harass and assault him. Throw kerosene on him wanting to light him on fire. Even make them walk on broken glass. Drunk with power; I feel like a Bollywood villain. I can do anything; It’s exhilarating! I am not worried though. He can take it. He knew what he was getting into. Serves him right for corrupting my wife. I hope this incident will set my wife straight and all such men will keep away from her now.

It’s the next day; I don’t have any regrets. I actually feel proud of what I did. My wife is finally back. She can’t maintain eye contact with me but I bet things will be back to normal in no time. I check twitter: oh no…

Outcomes of the Experiment:

Firstly, as per the narration, this is a simple case of audacious criminality. Let’s not turn this political or a battle of the sexes or ideology. The legal remedy available for unfaithfulness is divorce by court. The whole concept of the Rule of Law is that no one can take the law in their own hands no matter what the circumstances are. ‘Zina’ here is just an allegation and hence not on the table. Even if a separate FIR is lodged for fornication and adultery it would require confessions from both the parties and if done so would implicate both the parties punishing them equally so I doubt that would happen. Legally speaking, crimes are judged on individual incidents and not on character or a larger story line. I write this to pare the incident to the bone, strip it of all the ‘brigades’ and the thought police.

So what would have happened to me had I done all this?  Well, at first I’d probably be behind bars even before the videos hit twitter. Such incidents in posh societies are as rare as hen’s teeth. Usually, internal society security seizes you and hands you over to the police themselves before the local forces have a chance to act. And I would definitely be charged with terror, torture, trespass, vandalism, possession of firearms and attempt to murder. To establish such a crime two legal ingredients are essential. Intention and the act itself; what we call ‘Actus Reus’ and ‘Mens rea’ in legal parlance. The fact that I planned all this beforehand; going in well prepared, establishes my intention to harm perfectly. It wasn’t an act of passion. I knew what I was doing and what the outcome would be. I merely thought I would get away with it.

Even now, as all this has been busted wide open the perpetrator in question does not deny or apologise but justifies her act by claiming this was the only way she could protect her marriage. That said, it is safe to say that the FIR registered was technically and factually flawed and was missing many above mentioned aspects of the incident. I would be naive if I didn’t say the report was probably registered as a slap on the wrist expected to wither away and vanish with time; as is the norm.

Finally, by changing gender-roles we come to know that such incidents are never about gender. They are about positions of power. Your darkest urges come to the surface only when you feel invincible. It is only when fear of consequences leave you that you possess the audacity of such acts. Rule of law exists to make sure that no one is invincible and that, at the back of your head there’s this ever-existing voice of sanity. Such cases are a test case for the executive, media as well as the judiciary.