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Date Posted: 06:55:35 01/23/05 Sun

By Shahnaz - 30 September 2003

article by Shehar Bano Khan

An article has appeared above link (Daily DAWN Karachi by Shehar Bano Khan) how 8 am daily Aiwan-I-Adal business starts but poor helplessly keep looking for justice due to many reasons namely high fees of advocates, long lists of cases etc.

The article appearing in DAWN September 2003 contains story of a lady Tahira (fake name). To overcome poverty her parents made her housemaid. At 12 her father allegedly sold her under the label of marriage. Her husband allegedly forced her to sleep with his friends and strangers. She has today two small children. According to her as she no longer can stand to it, she has filed her case for “Khula” but for the last two years her case is hanging in the air as she firstly does not have money to pursue the case and secondly she does not possess any nikhanama as according to her at age of 12 she even did not know if there exists any “Nikhanamma” let alone importance of keeping a copy. Her advocate is said to engaged “free” but in our justice system it is not merely advocate's fee but also many other expenses.

Some people made some comments on this article/story but the best and a point to ponder comment came from one Nadia who wonders why articles like this do not fetch more attention and responses from readers particularly from so called social workers. If one really goes deep into this point then solution to “real justice” is not that difficult. Had this story been on anything criticism about Pakistani culture, Pakistani leaders, any abuse for local tradition, any praise for India, any talk of liberalism I am sure it could had attracted hundreds of comments from readers of that article.

The other most meaning full comment came from one reader Fayaz who had tears reading the story and he promised with himself that from now onward he would try helping others.

Situation of “fair justice” in Pakistan is not as bad as people generally talk about just on hearsay or reading negative stories in press. There is justice but only for those who struggle for it. The correct diagnosis was made by Mr. Justice ® Sardar Iqbal the first Ombudsman Pakistan who stated society in itself was to be blamed for today's injustices as every one criminally kept himself silent on the plea that it was not my problem let other solve it which made the bureaucracy brave.

Those who struggle they mostly get justice; of course not all but mostly. After all not 100% patients get cure. I have till today not given any rishwat for any of my genuine work and even then have got most of my genuine works done may it be any bank matter, any locker, any telephone problem, any PIA ticket or what else. I not merely struggle for my own rights but have practically helped hundreds and thousands illiterate in getting justice. Swearing my child only a few hours back a retired person on phone was seeking my advice on a problem created by his post office concerning his pension. I have advised him to do this and that I know within next 20 days or so he would get pension; rather his pension will travel to his home. Last month on my enquiry my father told me he had since many years not got his six monthly bank statement. According to him six monthly statement system has long been finished. I told him system has not been finished but he should wait. Within the next 10-12 days the “Bank” came at door step of my father, as usual told my father bank always timely sent the statements but those appears to have gone lost in mail, handed over him copies of statements for the last three years. I quote you here one example through which BY GOD I have no remotest intention to show that what important I do or what important I am. No, I am just an ordinary clerk level employee reaching to my retirement but purpose only in narrating here is that if we all start struggling for our own rights (struggling for rights of others is!!!) and where people are illiterate we start helping them, in this struggle 80% of injustices from the society can vanish. Politicians and bureaucracy would automatically mend themselves seeing the awareness in the masses. This is what highly respected Mr. S.M. Zafar stated that no system, no Ism would bring any change in Pakistan unless people themselves started recognising their own rights and started struggling for it.

I was then working abroad. Sometime 1986-88 I was going abroad at end of my leave. As I entered the Karachi airport customs Check-In, the officer was engaged in arguments with two illiterate Pathans. I requested the customs officer to kindly check me first as I was late from reporting due to traffic problem. He was kind and soon spared me. In minutes I got my boarding card as I was perhaps the last reporting passenger. Standing in immigration line I saw that same two illiterate appearing pathan brothers were now engaged with a different officer away from the counter and pulled from their waskats some currency notes and handing those over to another custom office a little away from the counter. The officer counted and I could form distance see he retained some and rest gave back to pathan brothers. I knew what this drama was. The law then stated one person can take only Rs. 1,000 abroad with him, taking access was illegal. Law was good in its own place. After a week of my joining duty when I was not a little relaxed form my home sick I took up the matter about these two pathans and money. I proposed that there should be some system at airports where we could hand over our unspent excess money which some authority should money order to our relatives. The customs made a usual hue and cry first asking to name those pathans. I explained that I do not know who those were. I have raised the issue because if one is victim today and my turn could be tomorrow. I explained that I live in Karachi. Outside airport my parents, sisters and brothers come to see me off. I hand them over my unspent money. But a Pathan comes from Peshawar. Karachi is “Perdais” for him. He does not know how many day it will take in getting ticket confirmation, how much would he need for food, how much he would have to pay air airline counter for baggage so in “Perdaiz” he has to bring extra access money. Customs checks him right entry the departure lounge to see if he had more than Rs. 1000/- whereas there is still chance he may need say Rs. 2500/- for excess baggage which counter is still away. I submitted that it could be that from tomorrow flights may start departing from Islamabad then Islamabad would be “Perdais” for me and for boarding from Islamabad I would had to take extra money with me. On this customs raised an objection that I should produce the currency note numbers which the customs officer took. Against my strong arguments however the court ordered the demised Pakistan Banking Council opening of 24-hours banking booths at all departure lounges where a bank draft could be obtained for excess up-spent money. Now government provided a facility and people did not due to their inherited lethargy did not utilise then why to blame government, authorities and customs and so and so. This is what I believe there are not as much injustices as we hear propaganda but people are themselves to be blamed as they do not utilise the Forums which almost ever government in Pakistan has provided.

I am not a reformer nor an advocate nor a so-called social worker. I do not believe even for a single second that I can do this and that for betterment of the society but I do all this for one reason namely that when passing through some street I find some stone lying there I pick it up and put on a safe side thinking my own child may by change come and get hurt. I do not leave such stone unattended only because this street is at too far distance from my home from which my child does not pass. I always feel my own child might by chance come here. This is the result due to such thinking in returning MY ALLAH has rewarded me by way that HE has kept my child from accident, any injury or any pains.

Fayaz and others who have their hearts “kind” can do a lot of service just guiding an ignorant person, writing an application for an illiterate, if bulb of the street light is not working taking up the matter IN WRITING with concerned department etc and you will see how things would to a good extend change for YOU AND for your street. Yes of course sometime hard time also come in this way as many a times I received threats but ALLAH has always helped.

NOW COMING to the point of lady in distress. I pray for her but point again comes here justice is available even for poor but with proper course. Of course I know lady is illiterate but people who are surrounding her they are ought to help her properly. No coming first point that she was a child of 12 years and she did not know about “Nikhanama” hence she has no copy. Why should matter remain unsolved if she does not a copy. Such matters can very easily be tackled with a little tactics. This is lethargy to a little extent on part of his lawyer who of course is doing service “free”. If the lady does not has copy of Nikhanama His lawyer should that her husband has. To force her husband to produce his copy of Nikhanama, if I am her lawyer, I would include name of her husband, his parents, her parents and some area residents of her parents to testfy that Nikha was performed. Husband first remained for many years in Sargodha and for many years in Faisalabad. I being an advocate can include residents of both these area to be summoned as witness to verify if this lady had been living with this man. When witness confirms then husband can be asked where is his copy of Nikha and he refuses she was not his wife then he be asked then how he was living with her. Then case will not un-necessary prolong.

Once someone sent to me an illiterate man early 90s when I was working abroad. The problem of this man who belong from a “tribe/bradri” was that he brought abroad son of his real sister with the aim he would get him job and get him married with his young daughter. The nephew after getting good job and earning 4 years left for Pakistan and did not come back for 6 years. Since girl was still young the old man was trying hard to get divorce for his daughter as at that time there was some suitable alternate match available for girl. But the son-in-law now living in Pakistan, who in the meantime had done another marriage in Pakistan, knowing middle east sitting father in law has good money was demand Rs. 5 lacs for divorce. There was unfortunately also tribal tradition for it. The old man was willing to pay Rs. 3 lacs for divorce not more because he had become old and he had other daughters marriageable. I told the old man that getting divorce was just a small matter which I could solve in a week or so but the real thing is such a person should not be let unpunished. I told the old man if today he has not cared for you (brother of his own sister) then why should he care for his sister who has not cared that girl involved was her own nice and this man can do the same to another person. The old man understood this. I told the old man the boy was demanding Rs. 5 lacs but taste in this would be that he would not merely give divorce to your daughter but instead of demanding will pay to you Rs. 8 lacs provide I told the old you stick to my advice. He agreed. I gave him 4/5 blank papers to get her daughter signed as incidentally next morning I was going to Pakistan on leave. People had lot of blind on me, he handed me over those papers. After arriving in Pakistan I typed three different applications on those blank signed papers text of which was that so and so young man resident of so and so area/city had got a wife in middle east, here in Pakistan has married another one without taking no objection from his first wife and his parents and parents of new bride and all witnesses have lied in new Nikhanama that it was his first marriage. It was a good source of income for area police. Same evening police rounded up boy, his new wife, his parents, wife's parents with Moulivi Sahib etc and charged the boy with “Zina” under Hadood ordinance. Bradri was called, phone rang during the night, bradri gathered vee hours in middle east and old man was pressed to drop the case. I in Pakistan was totally unaware what was happening. When I came back I learnt not only Divorce had been execute but the boy also paid Rs. 4.5 lacs to the father in law. The point is such illiterate people can well be helped by educated people provided we sincerely and honestly do such things feeling pains on ourselves. We do not do anything and we do not help anybody but it is ALLAH THE GREAT who select us to do such things. And once you sincerely and honestly help anyone even in minor matter the inside feeling of pleasure and peace one get are more than 5 times prayers. Service to others and needy it is my experience has saved me from many troubles. But this service should be honest and not with an aim to see your photograph or name in the newspapers for contesting next elections.

There is no dirt of true justice in our beloved homeland. The only need is proper handling and extending of helping hand by educated to ignorant and illiterate.

Those who are there in Lahore can surely help this women and children with true advice, true guidance, talking to his lawyer why he was just getting the case continuously adjourned etc.

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