Your democratic rights depend on the value you have within the state. State within a state, to be precise.
For example, you can march and sit and halt the capital, with the Supreme Court on your side. Or you can march, sit, and halt major roads for days and no one bothers.
Sometimes, you can march and create chaos and even kill a couple of people and in the end, you get cash. Rs.1000/- per scum was the rate back in 2017. Considering inflation and 15% increase in salary of “apne log’, it may be up to Rs.1700/- per scum.
Anyway, the point is ‘it depends’.
So, if you people are asking for your missing ones, but you tend to be from Balochistan, then the state doesn’t support you. Courts doesn’t support you. Political parties don’t support you. Even the constitution becomes numb and mute.
One party can ask for blood and bodies and still can participate in elections. Another can ask for constitutional rights and be banned. Treason can come in handy at any time.
For state, missing people is a source of spreading fear. Fear works in a lot of ways. Musharraf – who mainstreamed abductions – wrote in the preface of his book that people were sold to USA for bounties. According to him, shortly after 9/11, 369 out of 672 captured were handed over to the US. “We have earned bounties totaling millions of dollars”. His words. Not His Highness’s.
Well, whatever comes from the US goes some other way. Billions came when mujahedeens were being nurtured and then billions came again when the same mujahedeens were being killed; but fate of the country didn’t change. Fate of some men in uniform did change but the country didn’t. Some even had pizza while sipping blood.
Anyway, since then, extrajudicial abductions became a source of fear. Business of fear.
Then, when the noise became louder, missing people were transformed into mutilated dead bodies.
And then, when the noise became chaos, the families were beaten. Through the state police.
Very recently, Sindh police leashed themselves on people protesting for their missing loved ones. Females and children were also tortured and humiliated. The shamelessness was shameless. Bilawal didn’t speak. Maryam didn’t speak. Because now, they are in the cradle of blood. The cradle of bravery that upholds this security state as a highly insecure state.
We can’t even imagine.
People actually ask for dead bodies. People want to bury their loved ones. Imagine this. Our side of the ultimate pain is burying a loved one. The other side of the country takes burial as a luxury. A privilege.
I head about ‘missing people’ first time in 2005. Then I did a university project on this topic in 2007. I used to be the sole voice among friends and not-friends about this torture. Fast forward to today. Almost everyone talks about it and knows it. But nothing has changed. Nothing.
Because the one in question – who should have been charged and dragged by the collar – holds the power and budget of this country. That institution has a whole country under extrajudicial trial.
Again and again and again.
Same stories. Same words. Same feelings.
And nothing changes.
Adios. Until again. And again.