The imbedded ‘Elite Protection System’
Pakistan may have voluntarily and insanely become the only nation in the world to legislate a bill that could enable a scoundrel, criminal, rapist, plunderer, thief or money launderer to serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is either not qualified to be, or disqualified from being, elected as a member of parliament under Article 63 of the Constitution. This could include individuals of unsound mind, dual nationals, those convicted by courts for either being against the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan or for moral turpitude.
What makes Pakistan bend itself backwards to seek such despicable measures to please and pamper its already contemptible lawless ruling elite? In any situation of conflict between an ordinary citizen and a privileged brat, the entire state machinery invariably converges to protect and facilitate the rich and the powerful. Cronyism for these parasites appears to have become imbedded in the structure of the Pakistani state.
Consider the recent tragic incident in which a young girl Tania Khashkheli, daughter of a poor Sindhi villager, was brutally gunned down in front of her parents, by an influential ‘wadera’ for refusing a marriage proposal. Although the killer was well known for his crimes and possessing an arsenal of weapons, Pakistan’s ‘Elite Protection System’ (EPS), immediately swung into action in his support offering at least 5 different safety nets.
Firstly the police failed to arrest the culprit. Next it allowed him to disappear from the scene and the city. Then it refused to register an FIR. When finally coerced to do so, it conveniently omitted the important sections 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act in the FIR. An influential political leader abetted the crime by providing shelter to the murderer. As per the unwritten constitution of ‘EPS’, all ‘EPS’ elements must close ranks and come to the aid of a fellow ‘EPS’ in trouble.
Consider yet another recent case of a young maid-servant Fatima, who was murdered in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority. Her lifeless body was found hanging by a fan in the house of a rich person under mysterious circumstances – that pointed more towards the possibility of rape and murder and less towards a suicide.
As expected the imbedded ‘Elite Protection System’ came to the rescue of the rich in many subtle ways. An FIR was not registered. A medical autopsy was conducted at the city’s largest government hospital which concluded that it was a case of suicide. Lab tests for possible rape were not conducted. The theory that the ‘poor love to commit suicides’ finds ready acceptance in the corridors of the ‘EPS’.
Under normal circumstances that would have been the end of these two cases. The rich and the poor would have moved on to their respective lives of pleasure and misery. But the grief-stricken families chose a different path. They assembled friends and relatives to protest outside the police stations. They wailed and pleaded in front of the TV cameras and reporters at the press club. They were joined by NGOs, ‘tehreeks’ and individuals who demanded action against the culprits.
The ice began to melt only when the CM Sindh, the IG Police and the Sindh High Court entered the scene. Things began to happen rapidly. The FIRs were registered, murderers were arrested, a second autopsy was ordered and samples were sent to the lab to ascertain the possibility of rape.
The ‘EPS’ has managed to placate the aggrieved. There has however been no attempt at reforming the reluctant FIR or the fake autopsy system. Fatima’s second autopsy found visible torture marks and concluded that it was a case of murder and not suicide.
Those who refused to register FIRs , those who enabled escape, those who produced fake autopsy results, those who did not seek lab tests and those who abetted the crime by protecting the culprits have not been held accountable. So the ‘EPS’ remains firmly intact ever ready to support yet another influential murderer or rapist.
A murder is a crime against the state and the state must come to the aid of all citizens and not just the rich and the powerful. A country where the poor have to hold protests, sit-ins and hunger strikes to obtain their fundamental right to life is not a desirable place to live. Pakistan needs to dismantle its ‘EPS’ forthwith.
Ex tribune Sept.2017