Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lawyer's story

My cousin is a High Court lawyer who was arrested from Sindh High Court when he was there with other lawyers trying to enter the venue. It's his story that I am writing the way he told me and can't tell name(s) of anyone, he wants it to remain anonymous.
We reached the High Court in the morning to see the new judges that have taken oath under PCO. I am still junior and it's been few months since I began my practice, I am still with my supervisor. It wasn't much difficult for us to get inside the court since there weren't many people there but we had heard that a few lawyers had been arrested. The facility seemed like an army house than judiciary facility. My supervisor was mad enough that he said to a nearby standing Major "Well done, you conquered the Supreme Court as well as the lower courts ... seems like you got a real kick in WANA, Waziristan and Swat". The major only stared.
We went inside and it was total cause, no one actually knew what to do and where to go to solve their cases. Majority of the lawyers there had nothing to do with emergency, they just wanted to remain neutral. Barristers and Advocates were moving around, talking amongst themselves and with their clients. While we were at our task, we heard that two of our friends were arrested while leaving the building. It seemed like lawyers were arrested on exit, not while entering the court. It seemed like jail was inevitable.
We went down and saw police standing very close to the walls of the court and looking carefully at the lawyers. My supervisor had a chat with one of their seniors who looked for his name on a list and informed that he is not to be arrested. Hearing that we left, but my experience taught be to be careful and that's what allowed me to detect a hand signal he made to a plain clothed man standing some distance away. Soon after that, we were surrounded by plain clothed policemen who threw us mercilessly inside small wagons ... they were big enough to seat 15 people comfortably and we were 48 that were fitted inside one and took to jail like dogs.
Many of us had nothing to do with emergency and the only way to get out was signing endorsing that we would not participate in anything against government and to get bail from the new judges who took oath under PCO. Both were unacceptable to us who really are against the government ... others who wanted to remain neutral and earn their livelihood were released within a couple of days after endorsement and bail.
We talked, we laughed, read poetry and a couple who were authors recorded the events of jail. One of them had reached 195 pages and he said he'll print it (in Sindhi) soon. The Barrack in which they were kept had two specialties. Nature's three forces remained in complete harmony in there that are Humans, cats and rats. There were 3 cats that were quite cuddly while at least 100 rats that were bigger than cats ... if you discount their tails, they were long enough to rival a normal man's forearm in length with big mouth to eat away one's finger in one bite.
The second specialty was ... it was a torture cell as well designed for very few people. So 80 of us were crammed inside with one toilet to share that was in the room in front of everyone. The food was horrible and majority of the people avoided eating and drinking water so as to escape from the need of using toilet. You can't eat there with plate even little closer to the ground because if you did, the rats would jump on your plate to eat your food away ... they seemed to be there for that sole purpose.
It was a terrible week where we met all kinds of people. Those who are real murderes and those who have received life sentence for a crime they did not commit. We also saw those officers who are specialist at torturing and they seemed to have seen so much that their faces look dead like and nothing seems to make them surprise any longer. Their sense of humor was extinguished and death seems to radiate from their presence.
Finally, after one week of imprisonment my turn came for release. They themselves allowed us to leave because there was no point of keeping us in jail. The only bad thing was that when I left, there were a few more lawyers left that were from Punjab and had come to Karachi for some business and were arrested along with others on that day. Their families doesn't know where they are and that are they alive or not. Since mobile phones were confiscated on arrival, I was lucky enough to get mine back when it was time to leave.
Our jails are really not jails where bad people learn a lesson in humility ... they are universities for honing the skills of more deathly nature and train the criminals to the next level, each becoming more and more capable to rival anything that the police or army can through at them.
-- Conflict is inevitable, but Combat is optional.

1 comment:

Looking for Ritzy Red Ghararas said...

members of the elite find it so easy to say that the lawyers are protesting because of political motives. Thankyou for sharing these stories - it makes one sees what protesters go through when they get arrested and what a bunch of nonsense it is to think that these motives behind such experiences. It makes me stand in awe the sacrafices the protestors are doing for the cause of Pakistan's freedom.
Thank you.