By Aisha Aijaz for Opinion Maker.
Lets imagine a scenario (based on a true story).
One ordinary night, back from work and school, tired and worn out and looking forward to another day of respective tasks, my family sleeps peacefully. Three o clock in the morning, my door is busted open and my children wake up, scared and crying. The first thought that comes to my mind is,’ it’s the burglars, call the police’. As I rush to the phone, I see 4 policeman coming upstairs shouting out loud, ‘heads down and hands up’ with guns pointing towards us. They don’t tell us anything and take my husband away and ask me and my children to move out of the house immediately as it would be sealed until further notice. My family starts to try getting some help, writes to the Pakistani embassy and the concerned (rather unconcerned) authorities, arranges a solicitor. We are not told what our crime is. My children and I suffer from extreme mental torture. My kids are bullied at school as ‘terrorists’, my neighbours shut their doors at us, labeling us as a threat in the area or someone who should at least be isolated. The world seems quiet, unchanged and indifferent, but my little world is shaken to the core. I get no help from anyone, my fellow brethren don’t even know what’s going on and my leaders have so much to tackle with, that they are least concerned.
A few weeks pass and my husband is released with no explanation but a plain apology. We return to our house where every drawer, book shelf, CD shelf and wardrobe has been searched like hell. Tears break into my eyes and I feel like an orphan, who has no one to defend him or question this treatment. We never find out why, in the first place, we were made to pass through this ugly phase of life and of course no one is bound to tell why my children would have to live under fear and bully throughout their lives.
This is one of the mildest stories of a Pakistani abroad and trust me, there’s no limit if you start looking for the most horrifying ones. The silence of our embassy despite the innocence of our people is remarkable. Now lets move to a real situation..
Raymond Allen Davis (does anyone know his real name?) is a made up character in a story whose author, no one knows yet. A man with a fake name, forged identity, in Pakistan on an official visa, travelling between Pakistan and Afghanistan 9 times in the last 18 months, well-versed in Pashto, gets arrested after he fires two ‘suspicious’ men in their backs with extreme accuracy through his windscreen from a range, not to smash it. He was on a mission, as described by Davis, in a rental vehicle with a cloned registration plate in a thickly populated area of Lahore city where no American would dream to go to. The car carries spy and surveillance equipment, GPS tracker, satellite phone, telescope, masks, maps and make-up kit. Help arrives in the shape of a four wheel drive car while Raymond calmly takes pictures of his achievement. Another worthless Pakistani is butchered under the wheels of this giant while it tries to jump in to save the killer. Raymond gets arrested by the police but still has a hidden camera which goes unnoticed. Some conversation is recorded by it and reveals later that he admits to being a consultant and not a diplomat.
Information unfolds and we learn from the embassy about his fake name, his official (and not Diplomat) visa status, which they revise later, and refuse to hand over the men in the rescue-car which killed an unfortunate passer-by in cold blood. Overnight, he becomes a diplomat and shielded by Vienna convention’s customised laws of immunity (which Mullah Abdus Salam Zaeef never enjoyed as an ambassador in Pakistan and was handed over to the Americans and ruthlessly treated. Out of nowhere, we are reminded of Shariah Laws of accepting money against blood, as they serve American interests, the family is offered a passport to heaven and luxurious lives. The embassy probably thinks that the people of Pakistan are like their leaders and would be dazzled by the lustrous offer above everything, but no luck!! So now what’s left to try? ‘’ OK, if you do not accept the bribe on the table, I will make your life extremely difficult for you and take your aid away’’. Sounds like a scene from a third-class bollywood movie, doesn’t it? But, this is the way all mighty forces treat the weak ones, or probably how beggars are dealt with.
Further development in the story reveals that Hyperion Protective Consultants (www.hyperion-protective.com) which the embassy claims he works for, is a non existent company. Yes, the website exists, but nothing else does. Even the phone numbers are fake. I quote Dave Lindroff from www.counterpunch.org,
‘’There is not and never has been any such company located at the 5100 North Lane address. It is only an empty storefront, with empty shelves along one wall and an empty counter on the opposite wall, with just a lone used Coke cup sitting on it. A leasing agency sign is on the window. A receptionist at the IB Green & Associates rental agency located in Leesburg, Florida, said that her agency, which handles the property, part of a desolate-looking strip mall of mostly empty storefronts, has never leased to a Hyperion Protective Consultants.’’
A long list of lies by the US embassy to save whom? Who is he? What’s the mission? Why his camera has pictures thickly populated markets, bridges, army bunkers, cantonment and border areas around Lahore and Peshawar (none of them picturesque views at all)? A lot needs answering.
If Raymond is handed back to US, we shall lose our sovereignty for good (you might argue if we’ve not lost it already). It would become a norm, ‘Killing Pakistanis made easy’ (or easier) just like civilian murders in cold blood by US security contractors in Iraq, and would ignite a wave of an already flourishing anti US sentiment in the country.
Let’s now come back to my million dollar question. What’s the price of my blood as a Pakistani, three of us killed by an American a few weeks ago and thousands killed by unquestioned drone attacks which we have now gone immune to. What’s the fate of Aafia Siddiqui, whose crime was never proven, whose trial was never run here, whose pain and torture melts no stonehearted leaders. And what’s the price of the blood of a young girl called Shumaila Fahim who committed suicide very rightly knowing that death in my country is easier and painless rather than expecting justice for years and years.
Just thinking aloud and wondering, what level of deprivation of human rights brings people to streets, what starts up a revolution, When do people say a big ‘NO’ and what pushes beggars to stand up on their own feet, if not a chaos like this…
Writer is a medical doctor, currently in UK for specialty training. Interests apart from medicine: Pakistan/World Politics and current affairs. Hobbies include nature photography and reading Urdu poetry.