Killed over a jug of juice
June 28, 2013 § 3 Comments
Three years ago, two brothers were beaten to death by a mob in Sialkot. The video went viral on the internet and the society, at large, was outraged at the incident. Justice, although delayed, was eventually served only because the social media took up the cause and forced the mainstream media to attend to the heinous incident.
A similar incident has taken place at Multan, except that this time, the perpetuators of the murders are powerful feudals. According to ground reports, Javed aged 9 and Jameel, aged 13, were forcefully taken from their parents in Kotla Rahm Ali Shah. Faheem Abbas Shah, the feudal overlord in the area, took the kids to his home in Multan, to act as servants. The parents wanted their kids to study but Faheem thought domestic work was far more lucrative a career.
Following their ‘hiring’, the kids were not allowed to meet their parents for many subsequent months. On Thursday afternoon, June 6, Jameel poured himself a glass of juice from the fridge and broke the glass pitcher in the process. Faheem’s wife, Hina Gilani, was so enraged over the ‘brazen’ trangression of a slave that she beat him bad and then slammed the jug against his head.
Jameel started bleeding but retreated to the rooftop, which was his only refuge. In the blistering heat of Multan, he continued to hemorrhage while Hina Gilani and her family didn’t provide any medical assistance. When the 9-year old brother Javed saw the critical condition of his brother, he rushed to his ‘owners’, crying and pleading to seek help for Jameel. Naturally irked by the ‘irritating’ kid, Hina beat him as well. The kid ran back and sat by his dying kid on the hot, cement rooftop.
By next morning, Jameel was dead. Hina called up her husband, Faheem, telling him of the inconvenience. Another elder brother of the two kids, Saeed, was also a personal assistant of Faheem. He was told that his brother had incurred food poisoning and they needed to go see him. On the way, Faheem told Saeed that Jameel had died. Once the duo reached Multan, Jameel’s body was lugged into Faheem’s car and taken back to the village. Meanwhile, the 9-year-old Javed was so traumatized and dehydrated that he fainted and was taken to the local hospital and admitted. He stayed in a very critical condition for a long time before reviving consciousness.
Back at the village, Faheem barred the local imam from viewing or washing Jameel’s body, so as to keep the wounds on his body discreet. He instructed another person, Maulvi Shafi, to wash the body instead. However, when Shafi uncovered the boy, he was shocked to see the bruises on the body and the sharp shards of glass in the boy’s skull. He immediately asked for an autopsy but was told to shut up. In view of the profuse bleeding from the head, it had to be dressed even just ahead of the burial.
When probed by Shafi and others, Faheem claimed that the wound was due to a head sore and that, while his body was being transported, the kids’ head hit the window of the car, causing the bleeding. According to him, Jameel had already died of typhoid back at Multan. The devastated father of the two dead kids, Hameed, has filed an FIR against Hina Gilani and Faheem, under article 302 and 356. However, the DCO of Multan, Gulzar Shah as well as the Commissioner of the city are distantly related to the perpetuators. This is precisely why Hameed is currently under an immense pressure by the authorities and attempts are being made to persuade him to back off.
The big question for us, the spectating, silent nobodies is: are our sensitivies stirred only when we see at graphic videos of tortures and murders? And are the Suo Motu’s limited only to hyper-sensationalized news reports? What about the mainstream media houses, many of which have shied away from even reporting the incident? Does the atrocities committed in the backwaters of our urbane playgrounds unimportant and insignificant, even when they involve the most inhumane acts?
After the Jatoi case, many jumped to the defense of the feudal system, citing how it’s unfair to generalize a single instance over an entire faction. This is the second of the innumerable such incidents, many of which go unreported. And this is indeed a reflection of the feudal mindset which involves taking tenants as slaves, treating the poor as scum and disposing of them whenever the need be.
For the last five years, we dragged Senator Rehman Malik through the mud over every such case. It is time Chaudhry Nisar, the new Interior Minister of Pakistan, started doing his job and took notice of this terrible tragedy. It is also time for the Chief Justice to forego the notions of ‘greater good’ and ensure justice is meted out even to those who hail from the lowest rungs of the society.
Three years ago, it took a shocking video of the mob-lynching of boys in Sialkot to awaken the humanity and invoke our outrage. Will the plight of this boy be ignored in the absence of bloody pictures and graphic details?