Ever since the ill-fated night of August 16th when 40 years old barrister Fahad Malik was ruthlessly gunned down just a short distance away from the main F 10 police station of Islamabad, my perspective of Islamabad being a safe city has unfortunately changed. His fault? Trying to act as a mediator between two groups of people, a conflict that arose over a Facebook comment that ended with a cold-blooded murder of an innocent man leaving behind a young wife and two kids.
What makes my blood boil is, who defines the criteria for getting justice in Pakistan? This man in spite of being from a well-connected family was brutally killed and his culprits were able to run away. Not only that, one of the main suspects has been granted bail before arrest and the other one interim bail in a first-degree murder by a judge sitting in Multan. More importantly right after the murder that was five minutes away from the police station, the perpetrators were able to run away in a car full of weapons. And the so many check posts in the city basically is an obsolete concept as these weapons were allowed to enter and used and taken back.
This brings attention to the safe city project launched just last month in the capital city. Government spent millions of rupees on this project installing cameras on all major traffic lights. What good was this project that promised safety to Islooites? It was meant to make this city “ free of crime”. Ch. Nisar also promised that the police was depoliticized. Just a month later we see how effective this was. Why didn’t the police check the cars for weapons and confiscate them knowing there was a grave conflict underplay?
And yet the offenders callously used the weapons and managed to escape and not get caught until much later. Not only that, the footage of hours inside the police station where the mediation was taking place is missing. But please feel obliged that the SHO was suspended and so the authorities can now sit back and relax and wash their hands off a loss of an innocent life.
Sakina Fahad, the grieving and heartbroken wife says, “ I am numb over this irreparable loss. He was a loving husband and father. This act was nothing short of ‘zulm’, a cold-blooded murder. Even if the murderer is hanged, it cannot compensate for our family’s loss.”
My mind again questions… Who deserves justice in this country? Does a man get killed all because a professional ‘ghunda’ knows he can get away with it? Does it simply boil down to this, that whoever has the greatest power in our so-called civil society wins? Shahzeb Khan the young boy killed in Karachi in 2012 brings back painful memories for many of us where we were forced to believe that power is the name of the game and gives rights to those who can, to act as pharaohs.
Fahad Malik’s close friends vouch for what a peace loving man he was which makes his violent end more painful.
A close family friend Murad Ali Shah says. “The only thing on my mind is that this case should be tried in the anti-terrorist court. We all want a speedy trial and demand that justice is served quickly by the culprit awarded capital punishment.” Otherwise most cases in Pakistan becomes a battle of wills and whoever can afford for it to stretch longer.
The residents of the capital city feel an enhanced sense of fear over what happened. The fact that something like this can happen in a posh residential area like F 10 has left many confused and fearful. There seems to be no promise of accountability over a crime as big as murder and more importantly who will explain to the common man what criteria he has to meet to get justice in this country.