‘More than six months ago two children were mercilessly beaten to death till their blood was literally drained out of their bodies when they were hung up for display as if they were prizes from a hunting game. They actually were prizes in somebody’s life once, their mother’s, the mother who used to look after them every second of her existence and now does not know what to do with her time. They were prizes for their nine year old sister who used to run to the older brother, Mughees, a handsome youth of 18, when the younger brother, Muneeb, a sprightly child of 16, used to annoy his little sister out of adoration. They were also prizes for their now aging father because they used to shoulder his each and every burden, shoulders that now droop with the agony of having lost two sons within his own lifetime.
They were beaten with every possible instrument, on every possible part of their bodies by everybody surrounding them. When I say everybody, I mean everybody. I mean not only the mob of almost 20, or the men bathing in the futility of their police uniforms, or the men barely containing themselves in their disguise of ‘human beings’ as they apathetically stood and watched. I mean you and me as well. We were part of that mob that day and we still are today as half a year has passed and their murderers are resting without punishment.
If the day of 15th August, 2010 wasn’t enough for me then six months from that day was. I needed to do something about it not just because every minute of my guilty existence in my own skin felt like torture but because they were my own children. I have children of my own as well but Mughees and Muneeb are my children from a bond of humanity I have never been able to feel before. It hurts more to lose them because I never saw them grow up, I never got to memorize their smiles or their habits. Losing them has been more painful because as every day passes they become more alive to me and their loss becomes more real. And if this is how I feel I cannot even begin to imagine what their mother feels. That is why I needed to do something.
I decided to have a protest in Manchester. Being an ex-pat, I had mixed feelings towards this effort of mine. We live far away from our home as it is and as we live here we gain strength from that the fact that we work for our country from here. We do not want to bring a bad name to our country but to improve its conditions. So this protest was not a protest against Pakistan but against what has hijacked Pakistan and taken what it means to be Pakistani from us. Being a Pakistani does not mean standing in a crowd and watching children get murdered. It does not mean ignoring the cry of a mother who has lost her only two sons for six months. It also does not mean ignoring the God-given and judicial rights of human beings especially when the facts are so blatantly clear-cut. This protest was not only meant to reveal the reality about the brutal murder and it’s follow up, to raise the issue again in a muffled and silenced society, but to take back what it means to be a Pakistani from those murderers. Being a Pakistani means not to stand by and watch as someone suffers in pain, regardless of their relation to you. It means to not let anyone have injustices committed against them. It means to join hands and unite under impossible circumstances as we have time and time again in earthquakes, floods, suicide bombings, drone attacks, and now in these dark times where public lynching have become the threat that hits nearest to home.’
The above was written by Mrs. Khan, who went to all the extremes to organise this protest that took place in Manchester on 19th of March 2011. Even though I could not attend this event, I still felt like a huge part of it. This spirit, this enthusiasm by the people who took part in this protest was commendable. This is a message, especially for all those people living in Pakistan that it is time for you all to wake up too and fight for your rights. Because when justice becomes the choice of people in power, it is time to remind ourselves, as responsible, educated, and civilised citizens that we raise our voices for all those people who have suffered because of our silence. We remain silent because we think that it does not affect us, so we should not intervene, or that we have enough money to buy our rights. We should not buy something that is our right, and justice is every human being’s natural right to have. And we must not let the corrupted system snatch that from us. Because to let the ‘bad’ represent your ‘good’ is complete cowardness, and then to complain and yet hope for a better world is complete hypocrisy when you’re not even ready to work hard for a better world. The world outside cannot be a better place if your inside is not strong enough to stand against the wrong. You cannot silence the roars of negativity deafening your ears if you don’t raise your voice to ensure that it is positivity that echoes in this society.
P.S. Anyone interested in viewing the pictures from yesterday’s protest can check this album (http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/album.php?fbid=189999334369962&id=141249905911572&aid=35768) on facebook.