I cringed as I read the newspaper today. A pregnant woman was publicly stoned to death by her family outside the Honourable High Court because she had the audacity to marry for love. With one swift peristalsis I had regurgitated my entire breakfast. Wonderful start of a beautiful day in a great country! The court premises are bounded by some of the most important buildings in the provincial capital of Pakistan. The mall road is the centre of many government buildings and prestigious offices. The huge High Court structure appeared before my eyes as I tried to imagine how someone managed to commit a crime as heinous in such a crowded and high security area. The road is infested with police officials, traffic wardens, lawyers and litigants. It is impossible to find a parking spot or run a traffic signal here. How many people must be witnessing this cruelty? In my estimation no less than fifty bystanders watched the barbarity. The question is not why those people killed a pregnant woman on the street. There are criminals in every inch of the globe and our country is no different. The most painful realization is that not one person in the spectators had the moral courage to even attempt at stopping them. I am truly beyond words and disgust.
My medical knowledge fails me when I wonder how much time it would take for a pregnant woman to be killed by stoning. It would be a matter of how she was cornered, pinned to the ground, where the stones hit her, if she lost the child in her belly or if she was simultaneously kicked and punched. To her, time must be infinite and endless as her body is battered and she is begging for help while the crowd watches her ill fate. To the murderers, it must be a matter of minutes until all their anger and hatred is imparted in full proportion to their own daughter or sister. To the crowd it must be another quick spectacle in a very busy world, something to gossip about later how they saw it all happen. The reporters reached in time to take the right shot for the newspapers. The policeman intervened quickly enough to handcuff the murderers and get their picture taken. The Edhi ambulance arrived in time to clad the poor, devastated body in the coffin garb. Everyone had a perfect timing except the small irrelevant detail that no one could save her life. I have a good mind to send a brand new set of glass bangles to the Chief Justice and the Inspector General of Police along with all their brave brigades. With women publicly stoned, someone has to wear the symbol of innocence and fragility.
I write this message for the banner holders of humanity in Pakistan. It is not a single murder outside the High Court. Your sue motto notices makes no difference whatsoever to the victims. The dead are long buried and the living are following closely in their footsteps. It is just a turning point where justice has failed in such a great degree that anyone can commit any crime anywhere and know they will get away with the right legal representation. The stoning of men and women carried on inside these legal premises is a far greater curse. People have no faith in justice because in our great country justice is not only delayed, it is adamantly denied. The system is filled to the brim with sleazy lawyers, palm greasing policemen and arrogant, power hungry politicians. And the cherry on the cake is that we have the ignorance to pretend that all is well in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We will make several hundred roads and bridges, start a new bus or train service and will pretend to have achieved great goals. We need roads and railways too, but not when the people starve and suffer.
The country that has no legal system, where no life, property or reputation is safe, is not much of a country. It is a sordid reality and to every patriot this realization is a torture. I am putting in my word for what I believe can turn things around. We need education for every child irrespective of his economic status. An ignorant nation cannot help itself in any way. We call for speedy justice that cannot be jeopardized by political influence, power or money. We require a good healthcare system with impeccable standards and health for all. One, two, three and prosperity will follow. Is it so unachievable that we cannot find a few hundred thousand honest, capable people in Pakistan? What if we start off with a few honest teachers, lawyers, doctors, architects, scientists, etc and encourage them. Pass on the word when a good person outshines for his brilliance and service. Let us refuse nepotism and bigotry. Maybe this is just a dream, but what if enough utopians dreamed the same dream and made it happen. Let us do all of this and keep on adding our little voices to the song of prosperity. Let us scatter the mindless crowds and recreate a nation of moral, good people. Let idealism meet practicality and find the greatness that we all love to claim in our rhetorical speeches. Let us drop our stones and feel ashamed for the woman who died outside the biggest court because our national pride has died.