Category Archives: Misc.
I’m fairly certain my disdain for my fellow man came from a resentment for inconsiderate buffoons who check their email while standing still on busy staircases, or let their kids play video games at the dinner table, or check their text messages while they’re having a face-to-face conversation with me.
Jails need to be reformed
Amidst reports of over-crowding of jails across the country and lack of proper facilities to the inmates, it was a welcome gesture by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Justic Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to have visited the Kot Lakhpat Jail near Lahore the other day. It was an eloquent manifestation of concern for the inmates of the Jail by the Chief Justice, The main objective of the unannounced visit by the Chief Justice was to see the arrangements made for the prisoners in addition to hearing prisoners complaints directly. It is good that the Chief Justice feels for the poor people and his visit to Jail to have an on the spot assessment of the conditions in which prisoners were being held would send a loud message not only to jail authorities across the country but other public dealing institutions to set their houses in order.
The Chief Justice in addition to visiting various barracks and dispensary inquired about the provision of food and other facilities under the law to the prisoners. It was surprising for the prisoners who appeared to be much excited that Chief Justice of Pakistan had personally come to see their living conditions and treatment being meted out to them in jail. He took notice of the overcrowded barracks and directed authorities to redress the situation. It is worth mentioning that off and on prisoners have been complaining of inhuman treatment meted out to them by the jail staff and they had been staging protests over it. The latest agitation in this connection was in Hyderabad.
The visit of CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to Kot Lakhpat is an indication that he is determined that the system gets needed reforms to remove injustices and distortions, which is a holy mission. The visit to the jail in sultry conditions by the Chief Justice is reflective of his desire to reach to those who are unable to air their grievances and give them hope of justice at the door step.
Ever since the reinstatement of the Chief Justice, the people in general and the poor in particular have heaved a sigh of relief. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad has endeared himself among the people as they know that there is some honest and dedicated person at the helm of judiciary to redress their problems and provide them quick and inexpensive justice.
As for the conditions in the jails are concerned, there can be no two opinions that a complete overhaul; of the conditions prevailing there need to be done without any loss of time. The jails are overcrowded and under-trial and the convicts are huddled together, The quality of food served is too poor to talk about.
There is gross violation of the jail manual and prisoners are denied the facilities to which they are entitled. Under these circumstances, the visit of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to one of the most notorious jail will certainly send a message to the officials concerned to take remedial measures and treat the convicted as well as under-trial strictly according to the Jail manual. We salute the Chief Justice for finding time to undertake the visit to the Kotlakhpat jail. We are sure his visit will follow necessary message to the authorities concerned not to improve the living conditions in the jails. Another aspect that needs to be addressed is to expand the capacity of the jails and to ensure the appearance of the under trials before the Judges/Magistrates on the date of hearing so that the pending cases do not pile up. It should dawn upon the authorities concerned that Justice delayed is justice denied.
An incomplete existence
A short story
I just do not remember how I have reached the state of affairs in which I am now.
By nature I do take rash decisions. I do not make choices without giving second thought as to what consequences my decision will bring upon me as well as my near and dear ones, but that’s the way I am. I am a forced loner. I am using the word forced because humans are social animals and I am a human too.
I do not want to bore you by telling you about my past; straight away I will take you to my present picture.
I live in a single, rented room alone, on the first floor. This same room serves as the bedroom, drawing room, and the kitchen; I prepare my own food on a kerosene stove, and work during the day. Evenings are usually passed by sipping tea at a bus stand. It’s a very small village, with irregular and erratic supply of electricity and drinking water, a deserted and desolate place, populated with a few families one can count on the fingers of one hand.
Nothing grows in nearby areas except thorny bushes which is a source of food for camels and goats owned by most of the families which in turn survive on these animals. This little two is always full of dust, wind gusts blowing dust all hours of day and night. During peak of summer, the temperature reaches around 46 degrees celsius.
Many times I have asked myself what am I doing here but never came up with any logical reason. Ultimately I stopped thinking about it at all.
Today this stove is giving me real good trouble. It is already past noon and I wanted to cooke rice which I intended to eat with goat’s milk, because that’s the only edible food available. But for the last hour I have been struggling to fire up the stove, the room has filled with fumes of kerosene as sign of my struggle to cook something. Today again I will skip my lunch. There is no way to get help, as there is only one shop that’s at the bus stand and it is only open in the evenings.
Once a week, a bus arrives here, usually empty. Who will come to such a place except few ill-fated ones like myself? Maybe I am related to this place in some unknown way, beyond my understanding but I am here, night and day fighting with loneliness and surviving.
Untill she came.
Nobody knows who she is.
One evening as I was as usual struggling with my stove, suddenly she appeared near the door, politely asking me if she could come in. I am not used to receiving visitors or guests nor I was expecting one but there she was and for a second I thought she was not real, but then she spoke again and I realized she was real.
I have never been very friendly with people since my youth. In a little erratic and piercingly straight forward manner, I asked her what she wanted and said she should knock at the door before entering other people’s place. I never had a habit of locking my door in this place.
She was very polite in answering and patient too and in short she told me that she wanted money.
I looked at her closely now because I found her reply little awkward. She was young, close to early twenties, attractive but not beautiful, pale yellow complexion, thin built.
I replied I was not into prostitues nor did I have any money to spare. What a strange reply I gave. Later I felt bad but that’s the way I am. Without thinking whatever comes to my mind its out from my mouth. I have been in trouble several times in the past for my blunt behavior and every time I have vowed to do better next time. But I have never changed.
For a moment, she stood silently at the door, and then slowly told me that she would cook my meals, do all household chores, and would not ask for any food to eat. There was one condition; the money, whatever amount I decided to be her wages, must go to an address without fail every month.
I was really very hungry that day and dying for stove to get started so that at last I could have a glass of warm milk with lots of sugar to satisfy my hunge but the stove today was in no mood to obey me. I asked her to come in and start the stove and prepare something to eat. I sat there watching her fiddle with the stove and within 10-15 minutes rice and milk was ready and for the first time in a very long time I had the luxury of enjoying my lunch in peace and comfort. I agreed to keep her at my place for work.
That was the first and the last time I ever saw her. I always found my food ready, room cleaned , clothes washed and folded properly. I too kept my promise; every month sincerely I started sending a decent amount to the given address.
The strangest thing was that even on holidays when I was home, I would never see her but my food and other things were all done. May be she came in and did all the work when I went out to the community toilet or for a cup of tea at the bus stand. As far as her work was concerned I never had any complaints. Life moved on.
Today I was desperately looking for her. No not for physical needs that you might think of. I believe love comes first before the physical attraction. To sleep with somebody means I would have to be in love with that person first.
Actually I had been transferred to a different office in another place, and I was planning to move out on the same day, as that was the day when the bus usually came. As usual she was nowhere to be seen and I could not find her before leaving. So, I left. Using different modes of transportation, by bus, by bullock cart and by train, finally I arrived at my new place of posting and joined the office.
It had been more than six months since my arrival to this new town and all this time I kept on sending money to the given address. I do not know why! Sometimes we humans do things which do not have a logical answer or explanation always but we do them.
It was the month of December and I had lots of vacation time left so I took time off from work, packed up a few belongings and set off for the the place, the given address. I got there after travelling for three days. it was a decent village, much better than I had imagined, but sad looking ,few stray dogs here and there, nothing unusual about it. Near the bus stand I saw the post office sign, a small dirty room with no soul to be seen inside, but on my careful survey, I saw him, the stooped old chap, doing some paper work. Before I could ask anything, he asked me me what I wanted, immediately I showed him the address. He was little taken aback and kept on staring at me. I asked him what the matter was, and then he slowly told me everything.
The girl belonged to a well to do family, she was the eldest of all twelve siblings. At the age of twenty, she had run away with some scoundrel and one month later, her dead body was found in a field in the neighboring village .
Her father had died when she was sixteen, and there was huge family to be fed. Being the eldest all responsibility had fallen on her shoulder but she had different plans in her mind.
Now the only survivor was her seventy-five year old blind mother. My money was the only source of relief for her old blind lady. All her brothers and sisters had long since died in an epidemic.
Pakistan under enemy occupation
Pakistan once again has fallen victim to the illegal occupation by its very own rogue Armed Forces following the imposition of emergency rule by the illegitimate President Pervez Musharraf, suspending the countryâ€™s constitution and choking any democratic aspirations by its besieged people.