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Les Miserables

January 18, 2013

THE heading of this letter is taken from French writer Victor Hugo’s epoch-making novel which deals with the miseries of its protagonist Jean Valjean who is pursued all his life by a police inspector for stealing a loaf of bread.

What stirred my imagination to write this letter are some incidents which occurred recently in our country.

The police arrested all women and men in Naushahro Feroze but left a five-month-old baby in the house who died of starvation and dehydration. Its mother’s cries on a television news channel shook me up like nothing else. Some senior police officials would say a few words and then the case would be hushed up.

In our locality somebody fired on a political gathering which was being attended by Dr Nafisa Shah, the Sindh chief minister’s daughter. Later, the shooter was killed in a fake police encounter.

Will Dr Nafisa Shah, who is our colleague, take up the death of the baby on an equal war-footing and make sure that the police officials concerned are punished just like the man who opened fire on her gathering, killing some people.

In Shujaabad, near Multan, a landlord let loose his dogs on a man after having an altercation with him. At least for 10 days the town police did not take any action against the culprit. By then the victim had died in the Nishtar Hospital, Multan.

In Dera Ghazi Khan and Sindh, women are butchered in the name of karo-kari. Such crimes come under the Islamic legal term of Shariat as ‘Fasaad Filrz’ whose punishment is execution or cutting of arms and legs or being exiled from the country.

I request National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, Dr Nafisa Shah and the Punjab inspector-general of police to make these cases an example for those who violate basic human rights of Pakistanis.

If they do not take any action soon, then I will pray to Allah to come to the rescue of the common people who are being trampled under the feet of tyrants of this country.

PROF EICE MUHAMMAD Principal and Professor of Medicine, Medical College, Sargodha