Shazia’s Death: A Call For Introspection

Posted on January 24, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Economy & Development, Law & Justice, Minorities, Society, Women
Total Views: 41177


Adil Najam

The murder of 12-year old child Shazia, working as a housemaid in the house of one Chaudhry Naeem (a former president of the Lahore Bar Association) has been widely reported and strongly condemned by all (including Chief Minister Punjab and the President of Pakistan). It is, indeed, something that we must all condemn.

But it is also something that should shame all of us. I certainly stand shamed today.

Certainly, the brutality of this murder and the inhumanity of the treatment that this child had reportedly received is NOT something common. The circumstances here were “cruel” as well as “unusual.” However, the mistreatment of domestic help, including little children and the elderly is not at all unusual; even if the cruelty is.

What happened here is indeed an aberration, but the circumstances that led to it – i.e., children working as domestic servants, the mistreatment of domestic help, and the total lack of rights for such help – is not just common but sanctioned by all of us. In some cases directly; in others by consent through silence and by toleration. No one in Pakistan can claim to be ‘surprised’ by the fact that domestic help, especially the most vulnerable amongst them, are subjected to mistreatment. In this case the abuse was physical and ultimately fatal. In other cases – maybe too many – it is sexual. Often it is verbal. But even if those cases it can be demeaning and destructive to the humanity of those being abused.

This incident deserves condemnation. But it also deserves introspection.

More developments continue as one writes, and will no doubt continue to come in, but the essential elements of the story are outlined in this news item in Dawn yesterday:

Police said on Sunday they had arrested Advocate Chaudhry Naeem, the main accused in the case of murder of a 12-year-old maid, and five others. “We have arrested Advocate Naeem and three members of his family on charge of murdering their maid,” SSP Operations Chaudhry Shafiq told this reporter. He said that Amanat and his wife had also been taken into custody for getting Shazia employed at Chaudhry Naeem’s house in the city’s Defence locality. He said that Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif had taken suo motu of the incident and directed the police to produce the accused before him on Monday.

Citing the autopsy report, a police official said that the girl had been subjected to severe physical torture. But she was not sexually assaulted. Chaudhry Naeem, a former president of the Lahore Bar Association, his son Yasir, a sister-in-law and a daughter-in-law have been nominated in the FIR. Amanat and his wife have been booked for providing the maid to Chaudhry Naeem. Punjab’s Senior Minister Raja Riaz condemned the incident and said that Rs500,000 would be paid to the girl’s family on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari. It ‘s learnt that Shazia, a resident of Lyton Road, started working at Chaudhry Naeem’s house about seven months ago on a monthly salary of Rs1,000. According to sources, she used to be severely beaten even for petty lapses.

The editorial in The News is exactly right in what it says:

The torture and death of a 12-year-old maid in Lahore has caused a stir. Protests have been held and police are reported to have arrested the main accused – a lawyer – and seven others. The president and the Punjab chief minister have both taken note. The child, forced into work by poverty, was brutally exploited by the middleman who hired her and the employers who murdered her. Such trafficking is certainly not unknown. Similar, sordid stories have emerged before. The story of the girl’s life – and death – is now known because her father refused to remain silent despite attempts to bribe him. Now that an outcry has been raised, action has been taken against the policemen who neglected to act.

Indifference and apathy of both government and society is one reason why such crimes take place. Statistics show that 70 per cent or more female domestic servants suffer abuse in some form. All domestic servants remain unprotected by labour laws with no regulations in place as to their hours of work, leaves and other rights. The many young girls hired to perform domestic chores and tend to children more privileged than themselves are especially vulnerable. They have nowhere to turn when subjected to violence and abuse. Measures must be put in place to protect this category of workers. We need specific laws and mechanisms that allow domestic workers to set up unions. Those responsible for murder in the latest case must be made to pay for their crime. Many like them have escaped unpunished. It is this failure to bring such people to book that leads to more such brutalities being committed each year and to the untold suffering that continues behind closed doors. Now that the matter has been taken up at the highest levels it is vital to put in place a system that can save other children from ending up dead at places where they are forced to work.

There will be those who will say that such crimes, or worse, happen elsewhere too and are not unique to Pakistan. Indeed, they are not. But that is neither an excuse nor a justification. It is sad, but immaterial, if such inhumanity happens elsewhere too, it matters only that it cannot be tolerated anywhere. There are those who will say that this is an extreme case and not the norm. Indeed, and thankfully, it is not. But this matters little too. This extreme case has happened simply because abuse that is not as extreme, but is abuse nonetheless, is tolerated too often by too many who choose to “look the other way.” There are those who view this as a case of ‘minority victimization.’ It surely is that and for that reason is even more reprehensible. But it is also more than that. The rot in society that this represents is spread wide as well as more deep. A rot that too many of us have too long tolerated.

Let me end by repeating what I have already said above: This incident deserves condemnation. But it also deserves introspection.

39 Comments on “Shazia’s Death: A Call For Introspection”

  1. ASAD says:
    January 24th, 2010 11:49 pm

    What a collossal tragedy this is.

    Those responsible must be given exemplary punishment.

    But you are right in pointing out that maybe all of us bear responsibility for the treatment of children as domestic help. There is a deeper problem here.

  2. Yousuf says:
    January 25th, 2010 12:17 am

    Well… this certainly didnt happen overnight. Some news reports mentioned that the girl complained abt the abuse to her mother before the incident as well. The parents should’ve taken note of it . Parents force their young children to work, especially girls. While the authorities must seek that the employer is taken to justice there should be some accountability at parents’ end as well.

  3. N/a says:
    January 25th, 2010 1:52 am

    The incident mentioned above is horrible. These people who behave in this kind of a manner are mentally sick. But one question arising after reading a couple of articles of this incident. If this child was not being paid for the last few months, what was she doing in that house. Such parents who use their children as a source of income should first be put behind bars.

  4. Azeema Sultan says:
    January 25th, 2010 3:27 am

    Forgive my ignorance but how and whom one should file a complaint if we see child being used as labour around us and even getting torturred? Surely, using children below 18 as Kaam Wali and Safai Wala is illegal, or it isn’t?

    I would really appreciate if someone can provide details. I dont think using children as labour falls under child protection bureaue.

  5. Sujay says:
    January 25th, 2010 4:39 am

    We have child labour even in India. The main reason children seek work is poverty. Poverty cannot be eliminated over the next couple of years, so what could be done? Enforcement, Enforcement, Enforcement. Starting with the rich and affluent class ,people who have education and awareness, and yet abuse juvenile housemaids should be arrested without bial and paraded on the streets with blackened faces.
    5 cases of humiliation and things will fall in line.
    On their part, the housemaids can form a union and register the name of their employers from time to time, and report abuses to the union. How about that?

  6. January 25th, 2010 6:03 am

    Brutal and inhumane. Shazia’s father need to be applauded for his courage in taking up the case. This will for sure help in future.

    Probably, its time for a union formed by the maids to work for their rights.

  7. Hira Mir says:
    January 25th, 2010 6:38 am

    This sort of action does not just require condemn but also introspection. How is one suppose to defeat extremism on Pakistan soil when civilians such as this individual can go to such height. A 12 yr should not be even a main. Guys it is just a 12 YR OLD!! For heaven sake!!

  8. Reality says:
    January 25th, 2010 9:10 am

    This case will die quietly in the courts and I will not even remeber it after a few weeks. You ask why…. because its not my child. This is the reality… however shameful it might be.
    Its easy for me to say, do this and do that, but I will never do anything myself as it takes time and effort. I can spend this time and effort to make money and provide aish-o-aaram to my family.
    I am an average parha likha Pakistani.

  9. Rashid Ali says:
    January 25th, 2010 10:00 am

    The news of the this mistreatment incident came out. This is tip of the ice burg. How many such stories of such torture and abuse remion hidden is any one’s guess. I agree with ASAD that those responsible must be given exemplory punishment. I also agree with Azeema Sultan that we should report such abuse and torture to some competent authority. I think such a mechanism of reporting abuse should probably be handled by a NGO/Press and not police or government machinery.

  10. Adnan Ahmad says:
    January 25th, 2010 12:10 pm


    kafan sirka’o meri bezubani daikhtey jaa’o

  11. Asim says:
    January 25th, 2010 1:53 pm

    This is a catch 22 situation guys. Poor children are doing these jobs not because they chose to, its because they have very few options. In return they get food and better place to sleep than living with they poor parents. Some employers take advantage of their situation and abuse these poor souls. There needs to be tougher consequences for such cruel acts to set precedence.

  12. Adam Insaan says:
    January 25th, 2010 2:15 pm

    I have tears in my eyes
    My body is shivering
    My blood is boiling

    -when will the day come…….. when we treat each others…
    as we are commanded to do.

    When will we see our daughters smile on the face of every girl..
    when will we treat the old lady as we behave to our mother…
    when will we see a brother as a brother…
    and a sister as a sister….
    -when will we start behaving as humans ??

  13. Watan Aziz says:
    January 25th, 2010 3:52 pm

    Darwin is the advocate for the weak in Pakistan.

    The laws, the government, the poweful, deny justice and equity to the weak.

    Of all the weak, child labor in Pakistan are the weakest of the weak.

    How many new judges were appointed this month? How many FIRs were lodged by the weak? How many cases were adjudicated?

    How can they find money for their Hajjs and Umrahs and other escapades and their security protocols and no money to establish justice in Pakistan?

    Will they listen? Will they heed?

    If speak is all we can do, speak we must.

    Shazia Masih, together with Faiz, hum daykhen gay.

  14. Ahmed Tariq says:
    January 25th, 2010 3:53 pm

    Imagine if there was a reversal of religions in this case i.e if the victim was a MUSLIM and the perpetrator was a CHRISTIAN, the mullahs of our country would’ve shouted themselves hoarse and demanded blood for blood. But because in this case the deceased belonged to a different religion, the mullahs are all zipped up and indifferent and not a word of condemnation or protest has come from their side against this heinous crime. One will come across such knee jerk and self denial comments like,
    “…It also happens in the west, so what if it happens in our society…”,
    “…No Muslim could’ve done it..”,
    “…it has come from the west, such things are unheard of in our country…”,
    “…such incidents give our country a bad name they should not be highlighted …”,
    instead of accepting that such evil is prevailant in our society and is very much a product of our society’s mindset as it is elsewhere.

  15. Rashad says:
    January 25th, 2010 8:58 pm

    This kind of stuff makes me sick to the stomach. I’ve posted a few stories like this on and we decided to make a group for everyone condemning these actions. I’ll be setting up a full page for this, I’m sure that there are charities that can help these types of people.

  16. Abdul Hai says:
    January 25th, 2010 9:30 pm

    Last year I was in Pakistan and found employment of young kids like Shazia was very common. I had a heated discussion with my relatives who had a girl like Shazia as a maid. The poor girl used to sleep on the floor in the family room. Of course she was the first one to get up and last to go to sleep. The salary she earned was taken by her parents. My relatives said that they were doing her a favor by providing Roti Kapra which she will not get in her own house. They said after she has grown up they will arrange for her marriage. I disagreed but my relatives told me that I do not understand. In another instance, I went to a factory where I found several young kids naked except for a small short working hard in 120 degrees heat and sweating like crazy. I was again told off when I objected to this treatment. I believe, Shazia’s case is not unique. We have to look inward and see what we can do on an individual level to solve this problem one life at a time. NGOs and government do not seem to care or have the resources. After I came to US and studied Islam and talked to some learned Imams and physcians, I found out that family planning in some form is not Haram as preached in the mosques of Pakistan.

  17. Jamil Nasir says:
    January 26th, 2010 1:42 am

    It is a naked brutality,which surely warrants an introspection and raises several serious questions about the fudal mentality our society and state of fundamental human rights and dignity.This case is a test for the judiciary as well as the merit and good governance touted by the chief Minister of Punjab.I expect the culprit will be taken to task and our judiciary will enure speedy justice to the aggrieved poor family.Let us see whether the judiciary meets the high standards of dispensation of justice without any bias ,favour and favouritism.

  18. Jamil Nasir says:
    January 26th, 2010 1:45 am

    It is a naked brutality,which surely warrants an introspection and raises several serious questions about the feudal mentality of our society and poor state of fundamental human rights and dignity.This case is a test for the judiciary as well as the merit and good governance touted by the chief Minister of Punjab.I expect the culprit will be taken to task and our judiciary will enure speedy justice to the aggrieved poor family.Let us see whether the judiciary meets the high standards of dispensation of justice without any bias ,favour and favouritism.

  19. Shazia R. Hussain says:
    January 26th, 2010 2:46 am

    Can you please give the name of the artist whose art work is displayed here? Thanks

  20. Imtiaz says:
    January 26th, 2010 2:07 pm

    This is a sad sad story and I am thankful to the author for writing this the way he has. But I think most commenters are missing on the main point.


    The writer invites us all to ask tough questions of ourselves. I am not at all sure we are asking those tough questions yet.

  21. January 26th, 2010 2:21 pm

    Some comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “:(”
    - “Now we should analyse how actually we are as a nation!!!!! And why Pakistanis are disliked so much internationally!!! May Allah grant peace to the poor soul and her parents .. and deal with the cruel ones here and hereafter Ameen !”
    - “Azka you are wrong, your analysis are based on one person or a family, ALL the Pakistanis are not same, see we stand together against this criminal activity and due to this unity government take action against the culprits. May ALLAH Bless her….”
    - “:-(”
    - “but khurram what is the output of that action? that is the point….only taking action is not the solution of the problem”
    - “that LIAR shud be punished in front of not less than 16 Crore pakistanis.”
    - “y only pakistan iz pointed.. alot of such crimes take place in America nd other Eurpeon countries…it doznt menz dat wat happend shud nt b criticizd..just wanna say dat dont criticize pakistan 4 it…criticize da culprit”
    - “i agree…only 1 of us have done that.. simply punish him and let him b a mark for others..”
    - “max i agree with you these bustered should be hanged publicly as an example for others”
    - “See how many response came in my support, but the 2nd thing action , inshallah you will see the action against it, ALLAH is watching everything and he the one doin justice for any kind of.”
    - “i agree with u Nayab and Khurram…
    ….. these all issues arises just to cause defame to Pakistan…see our own people the media just raise some issue n we people start blaming Pakistan…that this is not the place to live..etc etc..y u forgot that this Pakistan is because of u…and if Pakistan is bad it means WE are bad..there is sthing gone …”
    - “My question is why this happened in the first place at all …. if this is a society based on Islamic concepts then this would never have occurred …. As a nation we cannot build if we have no true Islamic Principles in place and who will take action out of those belief less leaders and think they are Gods (Nazubillah) don’t we respect only rich and support them and make life miserable for the poor and weak ….. Come on lets not blind ourselves for something which has been faked by non-Muslim cultures!!!”
    - “And let me clear here that I love Pakistan and Never at all blame Pakistan but i blame the wrong culture which has been adopted by Pakistanis …. We must correct ourselves for deserving this blessed country!”
    - “nice but we shud see ourselves than otha’s”
    - “Another heinous violation of human rights glares at us blatantly in the face. 12-year-old Shazia MasihYes Azka i think u r right we dont have to blame Pakistan unless we have to correct ourselves. we have to kick out those bad sectors from our country”
    - “the sad part is that we are unable to thank God for whatever He has given us .. if we do then we can look around and help others who are poor and weak..! That is true that God will do justice No doubt …but before this He has given “us” eyes, and ears, and conscience …. which we kill while dealing with such cases …. God will do justice and ask us too why we did not stop such behavior which leads to such incidents… We have to admit that our mind sets are totally worldly and we do not fear Allah but we will be answerable ….”
    - “if we are to leave the matter on ALLAH then wats the need of all sch criticism…..obviously we ppl should take a stand against it not only by getting satisfied that our governmnt has taken action”
    - “no 1 here is blamng pakistan 4 all dis bt we r blamng ourslf 4 wat worst is hapening wid us”
    - “being a lawyer myself, i personally feel like prosecuting the murderer on the state’s behalf.”
    - “u r saying such things which are wrong…there is no power greater than Allah…n u must understand that we cant do anything..cursing them, doing protest is not the solution of problem…and abv all doing these things will create problem for so many other people..for example the boltan market incident…so accepting the reality and JUST making urself better is the only thing which is in our reach..
    do think abt it…
    one more thing BLAMING PAKISTAN was for Media…n to some extent to us aswell..coz i face people who just start cursing Pakistan…on basis of such incidents..”
    - “n most important thing we have no Fear of Allah…we have forgotten that we have to face Allah in the end..the people just concentrating in their present…and the life which they spend in this mortal world..”
    - “Strong Social Disapproval for Arrogant and sick behaviors is required ….. We need to promote the standards not on the basis of richness or power rather we should only accept Sanity and Humanistic approach.”
    - “ooooooo darknes……”
    - “o hhhh god wat will made of pakistan”

  22. S. Harpasand says:
    January 26th, 2010 3:26 pm

    ahem….introspection? from whom ? You do realize that almost every Pakistani posting on this site, including the authors and admins, probably have minors like Shazia employed as maids in their own homes.

    Raise hand if your family, immediate or extended, in Pakistan does not use minors as maids ?

  23. readinglord says:
    January 27th, 2010 3:54 am

    Its all a one-sided story, without any concern for verifying the facts. Of late the Paky media seem to have gone berzerk with hyper hateful yellow journalism. They talk too much of Islam but start calling some body as a criminal just on hear-say without listening to the story of the accused.

    What is sad, in fact, is the poverty of our people which forces parents to get their children employed on house jobs and themselves to try to go abroad for seeking employment by hook or crook risking sometimes their lives even.

  24. Kasim Mahmood says:
    January 27th, 2010 9:31 am

    Surprised to see the writer of this blog trying out this case here on ATP and almost passing a guilty verdict on all the accused based on the news reported.

  25. Haider says:
    January 27th, 2010 9:40 am

    excellent post. thank you for raising this uncomfortable topic because we need to talk about this. there will of course be those who will de facto defend the culprits and blame the victim, but THIS IS a call for introspection.

  26. Someone from US says:
    January 27th, 2010 12:07 pm

    I agree with the previous poster’s note about Introspection? from who? These are fancy words to use; but the facts be facts. Let’s see how the medical examiner proves out that she died due to physical abuse and let the defense team prove out that she died due to falling from stairs as the news states coming out today.

    Not to digress, but too often in Pakistan’s judicial system and society in general, things are said, but never proven out in the court of law. The current president sat in a prison for almost 10 years but nothing was proven against him. Same goes for the MQM leader, 71 cases against him, 31 just for murder, but not a single day in court. The list just goes on and on…

  27. krash says:
    January 27th, 2010 5:05 pm

    Why are the lawyers demonstrating in favor of the accused?
    Why did they kick out the girl’s relatives from the court?

  28. readinglord says:
    January 30th, 2010 8:50 pm


    The lawyers are not demonstrating in favour of the accused but against the media trial of the accused. It appears there is none to check the very low level the TV reporting and comments. Their reports are usually and in this case intriguingly highly cheap, tendentious and subjective, paying scant regard to facts and statements of the accused party.

    In their view all men are ‘darinda-sift, saffak’ and all women are ‘Khawaateen’ (Ladies) to be worshiped like ‘Satti-Sawitri’.

  29. Lateef says:
    January 31st, 2010 4:24 pm

    Can someone please give an update on what has happened in this case and where things now stand.

  30. grandma says:
    February 1st, 2010 1:11 pm

    This is a very sad situation that families in poverty need to send their children into homes that abuse and murder them. We should pray for the parents in their grief and pray they will have courage to press for changes so that others so not suffer.

  31. readinglord says:
    April 25th, 2010 8:42 pm


    The postmortem report of the deceased Shazia, if I correctly remember, said that she did not die of violence but of infection of her old wounds which she probably got by falling as she was prone to fits. As it is, the accused lawyer was released on bail.

    Cheap sentimentalism aside, I wonder why the parents of such children who lend them for work are not held punishable under the law prohibiting child labour, in the first place.

  32. Watan Aziz says:
    April 25th, 2010 9:19 pm

    A child died.

    Will people have empathy?

    Hum dakhay gay!

  33. Umar Shah says:
    April 29th, 2010 3:21 am

    I agree with someone who said the parents should be held responsible for leaving the poor child in someone’s house to earn money. How callous can one get? leaving one’s own child in an unknown environment? I dont buy the ‘what would you know about poverty’ argument either which is similar to ‘graduates dont have jobs therefore they resort to robbing people & banks’. Poverty should have nothing to do with endangerment of a childs life. One has to take responsibility for safety and security of one’s family regardless of any excuse. May the poor child’s soul rest in peace.

  34. Watan Aziz says:
    May 1st, 2010 7:46 am

    I am Woman

    I am woman, hear me roar
    In numbers too big to ignore
    And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
    ‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
    And I’ve been down there on the floor
    No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

    Oh yes, I am wise
    But it’s wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I’ve paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to
    I can do anything
    I am strong (strong)
    I am invincible (invincible)
    I am woman

    You can bend but never break me
    ‘Cause it only serves to make me
    More determined to achieve my final goal
    And I come back even stronger
    Not a novice any longer
    ‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

    Oh, yes, I am wise
    But it’s wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I’ve paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to
    I can face anything
    I am strong (strong)
    I am invincible (invincible)
    I am woman

    I am woman watch me grow
    See me standing toe to toe
    As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
    But I’m still an embryo
    With a long, long way to go
    Until I make my brother understand

    Oh, yes, I am wise
    But it’s wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I’ve paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to
    I can face anything
    I am strong (strong)
    I am invincible (invincible)
    I am woman

    Oh, I am woman
    I am invincible
    I am strong

    I am woman
    I am invincible
    I am strong
    I am woman

    Helen Reddy

    Shazia Masih was a girl.

    A child.

    She was at her place of employment when she died.

    She belonged to a religious minority.

    She was as weak as you can be in Pakistan.

    She was killed due to circumstances I do not know and in custody of people I will never know.

    But I know, her poverty and gender combined to take her youth away. And I know, this kind of cruelty exists all over the world, but Pakistan can not be the lowest of the low.

    Society asks only the medical examiner or the lawyer of the deceased to speak in precise but words that have no feelings. All others must approach the deceased with dignity and respect, unless of course, they are the victims. In her case, she was a victim.

    So, on this Labour Day in Pakistan, Helen Reddy for the weakest of the weak, Shazia Masih, in “I am Woman”.

  35. Z T Minhas says:
    May 1st, 2010 8:36 am

    Let me be the chief of police… let me investigate this case. let me prosecute this case. let me make sure this case is televised on all channels. let me make sure that the accused, if found guilty admits to his crime on tv. let me make sure the victims family gets what they want. so that this message is sent to all. Then let me investigate again and again other cases.

  36. Imran says:
    May 7th, 2010 7:03 am

    There is no justice in Pakistan
    Shame for this Muslim nation
    Corruption has crept into the courts
    no sou moto actions
    No bells

    Haath per Haath derha bathaain haain muntazar i farda haain

  37. Aisha Iqbal says:
    June 18th, 2010 11:06 am

    There is definitely a need for Child Labor Laws in Pakistan, it is way overdue.

    But let me get this straight; the girl’s family will be paid for their loss?
    Where is their responsibility for selling their daughter into slavery? Where is their responsibility for not doing something about the abuse that had been taking place for the 7 months preceding her death? Was her father working too or not?
    I have seen and heard too many stories of fathers sitting around not doing much of anything while they force their “very young” children away from home to work and support their parents and siblings. Some parents sending their young children abroad all alone to be at the mercy of a “trusted” friend. Children are not cattle to be bought, sold, and/or traded by their parents. They are truly gifts from Allah and we should feel privileged that as parents we were the ones chosen to care for Allah’s precious gifts.

    To me it seems like a Win situation for the girls parents from their prospective, unless they too are held accountable and receive no money for their participation in her death for their neglect. The Rs500,000 is more than the young girl would have earned over the next 41.6 years at the rate of Rs1000 monthly. The girls father must be delighted at his new windfall, besides all it cost him was a daughter!

    “Statistics show that 70 per cent or more female domestic servants suffer abuse in some form.” Yet, that hasn’t deterred parents from “FORCING” their young children to work as domestic servants!

    If the girl’s father is awarded like this even though he put his daughter in that situation and he ignored the abuse for 7 months, what message does this send to parents?

    I am utterly appalled by the treatment of children in Pakistan by their own parents and the gov’ts lack of concern to let this problem continue to go on.

  38. Watan Aziz says:
    June 18th, 2010 7:13 pm

    Ho mera kaam ghariboon key hamayat karna?

    Is that just a poem we learned as children to impress relatives and friends of our parents? Does it not mean anything for us?

    The nostalgia that Pakistanis express regularly in these blogs is only one generational thing. Have you not heard that you could not even go on certain streets since you did not belong there? Gymkhana was not yours to enter? Governor’s House did not belong to you? You could not be even found within a mile of it.

    Have the “connected” of the 3 cities not regularly denied the “unconnected” of the same cities?

    Have the residents of 3 cities not taken away resources from the rest of Pakistanis and denied them equity and justice?

    Have you not seen that things are so bad with judicial process (because they do not expand judiciary) that people think that if a policeman made someone “murgha”, the policeman is actually doing him a “favor”?

    What kind of people have we become?

    Dard-mandos say, zaeefoon say muhabat karna?

    It is easy to accuse the victim, but then only a peer should do it. And in this case, not if you can read this? You are not a peer of the weak in Pakistan. You are the privileged.

    Let me try to explain it in a different context.

    Until recently, rape victims on college campuses were routinely asked if they “invited” advances from the rapist. It was not too long ago, that some nut-job judge would ask the victim, “but did you enjoy it?”. And it was also said that her “style of dress” invited the rape; “she had is coming”. And I am not even talking about Pakistan.

    Yes, it is not a perfect world. And we will not make it perfect either. But before we cast stones, let us for once try to see, where did the system fail? How do we fix the system? Before we begin to root out evil, and we should, what do we plan to plant in it’s place? How do we plan to water the plant and how do we become better gardeners?

    I really do not know what happened in Shazia Masih’s case. Facts are really not relevant. What is relevant is that the system is broken and nothing is happening to fix it.

    Year after year, decade after decade and soon century after century, how long should be long enough?

    Speaking of water, how long should Mai Jori Jamali wait for clean water? The children of villages in Pakistan have no imagination that water can come pouring out of a “tap”. For that matter, she has no imagination that water can even be “hot”?

    Have we no shame? Do we have no care?

    I do not want to join in the “politically correct” statements lineup. But we have postponed the problems for so long, that individual or a small group of people cannot make any difference. The hour is late. We need a “Grandest Marshall Plan”. We need to transform Pakistan overnight. We need a tsunami of reforms and real changes on ground. Fast. And it can only be done at the government scale. And it can only be done if the educated demand it from their elected leaders and government.

    The educated broke it, they will have to fix it.

    There is nothing Pakistanis cannot do. There is no good that Pakistanis do not understand. There is no equity they cannot see. There is no justice they cannot feel.

    Year after year, decade after decade and soon century after century, how long should be long enough?

    I have the audacity of hope, with fierce urgency of now.

  39. E Malik says:
    July 29th, 2010 8:25 pm

    Children should not be allowed to work outside the home until they are atleast 16 years of age. This girl was exploited by her community, her family, her employer/murderer and her country. How can one claim to love Allah and exploit the weakest most vulnerable people of this world. I thought real men (men of God) protect women and children. Great countries and great politicians can be judged by how they treat their most vulnerable citizens, children.

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