Minority seeks help from the unsupportive system

Rich 'Nambardar' kidnaps poor cleaner’s father

Old man carrying his wife migrating to Pakistan from India, 1947. Over 10 million people were uprooted during the partition.
By: Asem Mustafa Awan

GUJRANWALA: Sharif Masih over 80 years is missing for over a month and a half and presumed to be murdered owing to influential Nambardar (landlord) who has occupied his home for over 10 years.

File Photo: Sharif Masih

Shamoon’s application number ‘2933102’ seeks attention

The application reference number at 8787 is 2933102 and Shamoon Masih, his son has run from pillar to post but to date, the FIR (First Investigation Report) has not been registered. Shamoon a poor and hardworking cleaner has lost all hopes in the system and the government and believes that ‘minorities have no life in Pakistan, we are punished for no reason and no one stands up for us.

The poor Sharif got the land from the rich ‘Nambardar’ with Pervaiz Jutt acting as a witness in the deal and built it with his hands working day and night for years.

The area where this happens falls in the jurisdiction of Gujranwala which is part of the land of the pure and not far from the country’s Capital. Moreover, Aimanabad, Qila Nohad Singh are the areas where the old man went missing and is presumed to be murdered.

It all happened in 2009 when Sharif Masih was beaten and abducted and his signatures and hand prints were taken on the affidavit at gun point.

To cut the long story short Sharif Masih survived two murder attempts in 2016 and 2018 his older son was forced to leave the village fearing for his children life and all incident reports are with the concerned offices and police stations.

The old man stayed and kept raising his voice against the ‘rich Nambardar’s’ atrocity. The current kidnapping/ missing is a sequel to the prior events as the voice that stayed against the ‘nambardar’ was silenced to make the alleged illegal claim authentic.

The illegal possession by the Nambardar was challenged by Sharif Masih with the writ in court in 2011 and the case went on for years before the writ getting dismissed in 2018.

Sharif Masih family was kicked out from the house he built with his own hands in 2007 over gun point and the entire village witnessed the episode. It took him years to collect money and hire a lawyer in court to seek justice which required more money and more time as speedy trial and justice is unheard phenomenon in prevailing system which go at snail pace.

Sharif Masih in pursuance of justice lost the case owing to lack of evidence and money and lastly he also went down, like the lost case and is currently presumed dead with no trace of body.

The system prevailing in Pakistan at the village level is the ‘word of honour’ which parties agreed upon in presence of village elders and the deal is binding. No one has the money or means or time to get the paperwork done which is time consuming and often requires greasing the palms of government officials who are corrupt, incompetent and  play key role in making a ‘bloody mess’ for the judiciary.

The tedious ‘Judicial System’ which is corrupted owing the officials who switch sides when money changes hands comes after when the intentions are changed from one of the parties.

An unending pursuit to justice, start from the aggrieved who loses money, material and even life.

Pursuance of justice in Pakistan requires ‘sacrifice’ and the courts are filled with these cases where people have given sacrifices in the form of their lives and they went six feet under ground, for the land they own but powerful (Nambardars, Wadairas, Maliks, Chaudherys, Sardars, Khans etc) took possession over gunpoint and with fake papers, evicting the other.

The ‘land wars’ in Pakistan have taken many lives as blood begets blood and sadly there is no system in place which can end the ‘blood feuds’. The law of the land doesn’t exist when it is ‘blood wars’ and in seeking justice for the deceased loved ones the pursuant also goes down the grave and murder accused gets bail owing to non-pursuance of case.

The local or the village justice system called (Parya/ Jirga) is the only forum which ends the ‘blood fued’ in the country. The judicial system in the land of the pure has failed miserably in administering the justice and resolving the matter resulting in the blood feuds which are carried out for generations.

The truth and bitter reality in short with regrets is the current catastrophe befalling Sharif Masih is his own doing as his lack of understanding caused distressed to his remaining family, prevailing system, to 8787 (‘utopian’ complaint cell that promises everything with nothing happening).

Sharif Masih believed that he will get justice as he is right but he failed to understand the prevailing system and failed miserably in taking the line which ‘officials’ wanted him to take.

Sharif staying alive since 2009 after the incident is miracle that his life was spared by the influential but in 2020 it was deemed enough is enough and now no more Sharif Masih and his ‘talks’.

Sharif Masih ordeal is one of countless stories that are in the city courts where orphans, widows, old age men and women with walking sticks and bent backbones move the paths with listless eyes as justice takes times to be delivered.

Asking any of these widows, old men and women in the court premises will result in a tearful tale which can melt even a heart of stone and they are aggrieved parties who roam the court corridors for years in quest of justice which in their cases in mostly delayed and often denied.

The court corridors are full of awaiting listless open eyes which get shut and lifeless while waiting for the outcome which most of the time is not there owing to information that gets distorted before it reaches the ‘honourable judge’.