Thursday, November 08, 2007

Arbitrary Arrests

With the blockage of the Media nobody is quite sure as to who's been arrested or as to what is happening in the country. The reports are only verifiable if you know someone who knows someone.

The newspapers are quoting a figure of 1700, it could of course be much higher. Those arrested include Judges, the family members of judges (son of the CJ Sabihuddin - Ahsan he's the friend of a painter ! - son of Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany; Brother of Justice Khilji - a lawyer in his 70's; Justice Bhagwan Das's family is reportedly under house arrest, these are the ones I know). Many, many lawyers have been arrested.

Then there are the students, teachers and professors from BNU and LUMS who have reportedly been picked up as they constitute a naitonal threat.

A large number of those arrested do not belong to any political parties; many aren't even politcally active, even amongst lawyers there are many who have never taken part in Bar Room politics.

Take for example Mr. I. A. a Customs Lawyer belonging to a notable Bohri family. His father was a judge of the Sindh High Court ages ago, and known for his left wing views. But the last time his family was active in politics was when his great grandfather was made the first mayor of Karachi. Mr. I.A.'s family run various schools in impoverished areas of the city and devote a lot of time to many good causes. The family through its civic duties symbolises civil society.

Now Mr. I.A., married mid-30's, young children, did not go out and protest, even though he might have wanted to. He stayed home and minded his own business, until the police came knocking at his door; yet another threat to our national security has been neutralised.

So now lets all rejoice at our new found safety and security, don't you just love the smell of liberty now that freedom and the causes of freedom have triumphed; lets add to the merriment and sign a truce with the militants!

My cousin commented about how all these events made him nostalgic and made him remember his youth, mis-spect in the days of Zia. He reminsced how he would get together with his friends and they would go to the youth centre where the authorities put a show every friday evening - 'enemies of the people' would be brought into the centre and flogged.

That he found parallels with Musharraf's rule is alarming, and yet not. A General governing a police state, is a General governing a police state.

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