(Updated: Included a video at the end of the post with some description)
I do not know what to say or do. It is one thing that barbarism prevails in many parts of the country and daily we hear news of people dying in ethnic clashes, drone attacks, target killings, burglary, street crimes, enmity, blood feuds etc. Seeing this video, however, the brain simply goes blank and is unable to process reality.
Yesterday a short video became public where a young man was being held by Rangers in front of Benazir Bhutto Park at Boat Basin and he tried to plead with them to lower their guns that were pointing right at him at point blank. Within seconds the ranger shot him twice, in lower abdomen and leg, and he fell down. Later, a longer version of the video (embedded below) was made available that showed him bleeding like anything and lay there at the mercy of his captors who simply walked around him with no hurry and didn’t take him to hospital for emergency treatment despite the bleeding young man’s pleadings.
Caution: The video contains violent footage. Viewer discretion is advised.
Watching this makes my blood boil, but remembering the case of flogging video of a girl in Swat I am forced to calm myself down and think on rational and logical lines. Before we come to any conclusions based on this video, these are the following questions we need answers:
1) Who was the cameraman? Why was he allowed to make this video in the first place? Why didn’t the Rangers snatched his camera away instead of permitting to continue shooting the footage even though the guy lay there bleeding?
2) Why didn’t the Rangers immediately called the ambulance or took the young man to nearest hospital? South City Hospital was just 5 minutes away from that location, yet later the guy was taken to Jinnah Hospital which is at least 15 to 20 minutes away if you drive at reckless speed.
3) Why was the claim made by the Rangers that the young man was armed and held a family hostage in the park? There was no gun with him when they shot him. Did the Rangers submitted any armament as evidence or produced the family/people/persons he held captive?
4) Even if he held someone hostage, why in the hell he would do that in a PARK and even that at Boat Basin, an area crawling with Police, Rangers, Army, Intelligence and what not due to stone throw distance away from Bilawal House?
5) Did the video only came out because the victim was brother of a journalist and he used his influence? How many more of such videos people have but don’t make it public? I clearly remember back in year 2000 when a shaken classmate asked me
You heard the news Police killed two robbers yesterday?
Yeah I did
Dude, I was there. The two guys were simply going on bike when police van hit them, got off the vehicle and showered them with bullets. It was assassination I tell you
Cameras weren’t common in those days and mobile phone was a rarity. What if someone had made a video or took pictures, how much of it would have become public?
6) The young man was later identified as Sarfaraz Shah. Will the Rangers men be named as well who were involved in the incident? Victims are often named pretty quickly, as was the rape case last year where the girl’s name was made public on a whim but the names of the accused kept secret.
7) What is the Rangers SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) in such cases and when are they allowed to open fire?
8- If Rangers claims turn out to be false, will the victims family get justice? If so, how and who will decide what justice to be given?
9) What impact will it make on Rangers continued presence in the city? What will be their role if they do stay? They no longer are seem as guardian against chaos, especially not after this incident and police is not trusted in any case.
There are too many questions, some small others not so, but I have listed down what should be broadly covered before making any assumption or passing any judgement. Nevertheless, even if the accusations against the young Sarfaraz Shah were true, I will still condemn the shooting and subsequent killing in such a barbaric way.
Update: Unlike the previous link, the following link is more clear with footage that was missing in the previous one. In the following footage you can see the boy, Sarfaraz Shah, moving TOWARDS the Rangers Jawan despite their repeated warnings and instruction to sit but he kept on moving ahead, so much that he nearly pushed the Jawan about five steps and even touched his hands. In any other country this would have happened, the law enforcing agencies would have opened fire on the legs just like it was done in this case. However, the lack of medical help and cold-hearted behavior is unacceptable as ever.