Fair & Square: Once a convict, always a convict!
P the Pygmy: Is this some new phrase that you’ve coined?
Fr & Sq: Yes, but it is simply a reflection of our social ethos.
I am simply expressing my dismay over the sad plight of those damned ones who committed some mistakes and got punished subsequently but are still hated and treated as social pariahs.
P: But how can we praise people with a criminal record?
Fr & Sq: I’m not pleading mercy for the criminals. I’m only suggesting to my compatriots not to torture a wrongdoer after he has undergone punishment.
P: Yes. I think you are talking about our attitude of not forgetting others’ follies.
Fr & Sq: Exactly! If we will not abandon this ‘double (read multiple) jeopardy’ attitude, the social spectrum will never see lasting peace.
P: Can the lawyers do anything about it?
Fr & Sq: They can do a lot in collaboration with other opinion-making, leading fraternities.
P: But they need to ‘do more’ in areas pinpointed by you in your last column. I endorse your suggestion that our lawyers should not entertain cases of adulteration, rape, burglary and terrorism. However, I don’t understand how can the lawyers differentiate between right or wrong clients.
Fr & Sq: Dear P, our lawyers aren’t simpletons. They are rather shrewd enough to arrive at the truth at first sight.
P: What a phrase! I mean ‘truth at first sight’!
Fr & Sq: Yes, I mean it. Adding their lately revealed boldness to their astuteness, the lawyers can work wonders in transforming the society. I’m, however, pained to read a write-up by Majid Shah that tries to malign the outstanding lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan by painting him as a man with India connection.
P: Very upsetting indeed!
Fr & Sq: Do you know what does the column say? It says that “India’s Intelligence chief Ashok Chaturvedi, a friend of Aitzaz Ahsan, is in hot water and that Aitzaz has been tasked to show some results as soon as possible so that Ashok can continue as the chief of India’s RAW”.
P: Isn’t it being unfair to such a brilliant person?
Fr & Sq: Of course, it is malicious propaganda. But to add insult to injury, the column further says: “After spending over U.S. $ 500 million since March 2007, when the lawyers’ movement started, the Pakistani political system could not be crippled”.
P: It is not only being unfair but also being unjust.
Fr & Sq: That’s what I was trying to prove in the beginning. That we need to reform and transform a lot at least in the area of character-sketching.
P: Your talk reminds me of an article written by India’s former Army Chief, General ( r ) V P Malik that calls upon politicians not to tarnish the image of army chiefs on the floor of the house. Malik says such things result in erosion of apolitical ethos of armed forces and that it is unfair to discuss army chiefs’ professionalism and character in parliament because a serving officer, unlike MPs, doesn’t enjoy parliamentary privileges that could enable him to defend his honor in parliament.
Fr & Sq: What if the officialdom goes astray?
P: The question is basically that of decency and balance. Where there is decency, there is balance. And where there is balance, there is no room for deviations, interventions or even for clinging to power.
Fr & Sq: Aren’t you providing justification for moves aimed at perpetuation of power?
P: Not at all. I’m just trying to explain the mindset of people in ‘power race’.
Fr & Sq: What in fact is that mindset? P: People continue clinging to power because once they are stripped of powers, they are deprived of all the honour.
Fr & Sq: But now the situation on ground has changed. Now, clinging to power, for whatever reason, is not going to be a fad anymore.
P: What in reality generates this hope?
Fr & Sq: The realization on the part of key players of national politics to move wisely and collectively.
P: Well, what are the expectations?
Fr & Sq: Expectations are innumerable. I rather take it as a story of Great Expectations.
P: But I think good administrators like Premier Yusuf Raza Gillani and Sharif brothers (Mian Nawaz and Mian Shahbaz Sharif) spell hope for 160 million pygmies.
Fr & Sq: Yes, during the last one to two years, I received myriad communications on this issue. Some people rather seem to be waiting eagerly to see unyielding and effective administrators like Mian Shahbaz Sharif in the saddle.
P: Their prayers have been granted by Lord. Can you name a few persons sending you these communications?
Fr & Sq: The list is long. Some names readily available are Abdul Basit, former SVP, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Tariq Hakim, former MPA; Tariq, Advocate based in Shakargarh; Nasir Butt, a Lahore-based businessman.
P: What are their problems?
Fr & Sq: Basit’s foreign-collaboration firm’s genuinely owned land has been forcibly grabbed in Kasur by a powerful political clan. Tariq Hakim’s ancestral property in Johar Town Lahore has been encroached upon by some persons known for penetration in echelons of power. LDA officials’ attitude in the past also makes their role questionable. Tariq of Shakargarh is fighting for 20 years for retrieving his one kanal land from someone who got prepared forged documents with the connivance of officers of a powerful organization whom even police seniors of Narowal district dare not touch despite court orders giving relief to Tariq. Nasir Butt has been wronged by some ‘blessed’ and ‘protected’ police seniors. He wonders if ACE Lahore will ever be able to help.
P: Then, who dare touch all these influentials?
Fr & Sq: Shahbaz Sharif, say the aggrieved. However, only time will tell how much effective the Sharifs (or junior Sharif) might prove in dealing an iron blow to the wrongdoing political clans and mighty officers
P: Yes, where there is a push, there is a way!
Fr & Sq: Should we then replace ‘push’ with ‘Sharifs’ to make ‘way’ for the oppressed ones to get back their due rights, properties, honour and liberty?
By: Mian Saifur Rehman email@example.com