IN Pakistan, it is often the case that the state and its functionaries are at the beck and call of the elite, often deploying violence to protect the powerful, and punish the common man for his `insolence`. But some incidents are so brazen that they cannot be seen as business as usual. One such case involves the reported police brutality a father and his teenage son suffered simply because they had attended a protest. Ahmer Mansoor and his son Moosa bin Ahmer had shown up to a recent protest against the KWSB in North Nazimabad, as the utility was allegedly providing a questionable water connection to a nearby private health facility owned by a PPP leader and former federal minister. Residents had gathered at the spot and protested against the apparently special privileges being provided to the facility, in a city where millions are unable to get water through the tap. Law enforcers had dispersed the protest, but Ahmer and his son were reportedly attacked by senior police officials, resulting in major injuries to both. Young Moosa says a uniformed DSP punched him, kicked him and stomped on his feet.
The father-son duo was thereafter taken to a nearby lock-up, and later released without charge.
Those responsible for this sickening abuse of power need to be brought to justice. The Karachi police chief has said he was `shocked` at the reported abuse by his men, while media reports say the relevant SHO has been suspended. Beyond mere expressions of shock, the police culture in this country must change. Law-abiding citizens, who are largely deprived of all services by the state, cannot be treated like serfs while the well-heeled and well-connected are facilitated above and beyond the law. Protest is the people`s democratic right, and the police cannot be allowed to use such barbaric tactics against peaceful demonstrators. There needs to be a thorough probe into this despicable incident, and those responsible need to be punished, while the victims should be compensated.