When man's might is his right -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

When man’s might is his right

KARACHI: Yasmeen, 16, and her mother Dildaar Begam, were admitted to the Emergency ward of the Civil Hospital Karachi in injured condition and a man, who later introduced himself as Abul Qasim, the father of Yasmeen and husband of Dildaar Begam, stood by attending and taking care of the two. When this reporter visited the Civil Hospital on September 21, the extent of sufferings faced by both the injured women and their attendant came to light. As per the case history, both the daughter and mother were victims of assault. They had been attacked by one Mumtaz, alias Mumta, in the Machchar Colony locality within Docks police jurisdiction. Mumtaz was none other than the husband of Yasmeen and son-in-law of Dildaar Begam.

These are the unfortunate yet standard narratives of the residents of such Katchi Aabadis, where people face enough hardships while residing in adverse conditions without any civic facilities. Abul Qasim, of Bengali origin, residing in Karachi along with his wife and five children since 1981, works at the fisheries as a daily-wage labourer in order to provide two meals a day for his family. If someday he falls ill and is unable to go to work, it means no pay, and, hence, no food on that day. When this scribe reached-out to Qasim with a few words of sympathy, he burst into an emotional outpour. As he used his shirt to dry his moistened eyes, a glimmer of hope appeared on his face. This perhaps was after finding a single person to listen to his grievances.

Qasim told The News that Mumtaz, who had been arrested on his complaint, was released against a sum of Rs15,000 and is now threatening his family. He said, “On September 20, Mumtaz brutally roughed up my daughter and fled leaving her unconscious in their rented house. The area residents informed us after which we went to our daughter’s house and took her to the Civil Hospital.” “I lodged a complaint in this regard too, but to no avail”, he added.

After due treatment, he shifted his injured daughter to his home, where, on September 21, Mumtaz barged in and attacked Yasmeen with a sharp-edged weapon. When Dildar Begam tried to intervene in order to save her daughter, Mumtaz pushed her down and rammed her head on the floor. After hearing the hue and cry, area people, including elected representatives, gathered there, saving both the women and also apprehending the violent man, who was later handed over to the police.

“The police gave me a paper and advised me to go to the Civil Hospital, but in our absence they released Mumtaz for reasons best known to them”, he mentioned. “After completing the treatment, when I, along with my wife and daughter, reached home, some of my neighbours told me that Mumtaz had come threatening”, he said. The neighbours delivered Mumtaz’s message: “Be prepared for serious and dire consequences.” Qasim was really surprised by his son-in-law’s immediate release from police custody. In the meantime, Mumtaz arrived again, knocked on Qasim’s door and taunted him: “See I am free and where is your complaint now? Now be ready to suffer my revenge.” “The police, which had taken Mumtaz into custody, released him and now he is threatening us with dire consequences.” “Where do we go and who will listen and care about our hue and cry?” whispered Abul Qasim.

Yasmeen, who received the stab wounds, told this scribe that she wedded Mumtaz about a year ago with the equal consent of the two families, but after only two weeks of marriage he began to brutally rough her up. She said, “Mumtaz’s parents asked to spare a gold set weighing four tolas that had been given to me as Haq-e-Mehar for a few weeks, and when I refused to do so, they turned against me.” “Mumtaz, roughed me up brutally in just the second week of our wedding”, she added. “I remained silent just to maintain good relations with my husband and in-laws, but refused to spare my gold set, which ignited scuffles and disputes.”

She said that though the government is propagating women’s rights, and people everywhere discuss this issue, the claims and discussions were only lip services in the case of women like her. No one listens to her complaints and, conversely, the police support Mumtaz because of his gender. The above-mentioned situation is also a stark example of another very sad reality that while anyone can lodge a complaint, it is up to the police’s discretion whether or not they wish to register it. Without this registration there can be no legal action taken – indeed, it cannot even reach that stage. Yet, Abul Qasim and Yasmeen still remain firm, demanding that appropriate action be taken against both Mumtaz and his parents.
Source: The News
Date:3/10/2006