Home is where the justice is
SIALKOT, Sept 12: “Provide me justice or I will leave the country”.
The 38-year-old khateeb, of Sankhatra in Shakargarh, is determined to get justice against the alleged highhandedness of secret agencies.
Talking to Dawn on telephone, Muhammad Qasim Siddiqi, khateeb at the Jamia Mosque and organiser of two madressas, said agencies’ personnel stripped him naked and tortured him for seven days. He alleged his attackers had told him that his opposition to the policies of President General Pervez Musharraf and a military operation at Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa had brought the government’s wrath to him.
Qasim is a prominent religious figure in the locality and is a farmer union council nazim.
Qasim was picked up by the agency personnel from Badiana Town of Pasrur tehsil on Aug 31, 2007, when he was on his way home from Sialkot along with his friend in a white Toyota car. He says the officials held him at gunpoint, wore him hoods, dragged him out of the car and bundled him into another vehicle. He said his captors bullied him and asked him to stop criticising the government and the president for the military operation at Lal Masjid. He said they also offered him some incentives for supporting the government.
“On my refusal to accept their demands, they drove the vehicle for about four hours,” he said.
When the travelling ended, his captors detained him in a dark cell.
Later, he said, his hosts stripped him naked and tortured him. He said he had been detained in the dark cell for seven days passing through brutal torture and inhuman treatment every day.
“After seven days, the personnel left me in a jungle near Kharian. I walked several miles to reach the road,” he said.
He said the intelligence agencies arrested him for the third time in the last three years.
“Now, enough is enough,” says Qasim.
“I cannot bear humiliation anymore and agencies’ highhandedness has forced me to plan leaving the country to save life. If I am denied justice I will execute my plans.”
Qasim said that his younger brother had submitted a writ petition with the Supreme Court of Pakistan through counsel Amina Masood Janjua.
He urged Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take note of inhuman practices of the agencies.