I have not yet read the Najafi report in detail, but the headlines of the DAWN of today i.e December 6, 2017 are enough to give me substance for this column.
“Damning Najafi report puts Punjab government in a tight spot”. “Tribunal sees cover-up after Model Town ‘massacre’. “Says police did what they had been sent to do”. “CM never ordered police to disengage”.
As a top lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar put it in an interview with a TV channel, the High Court judgment leading to the decision by the Punjab government to go public with the long-awaited Justice Baqar Najafi report, is likely to become a real game-changer in the political history of Pakistan.
There have been many military coups in Pakistan—dictatorial and autocratic regimes, averse to any dissent—but never before has a massacre been ordered.
As I write this, the images of the TV screen are coming alive before my mind’s eyes in which I am witnessing policemen shooting with gay abandon, subjecting old men and women and helpless humans of all ages to brutal treatment —and dragging human cargo with blood-curdling callousness. It all happened in broad day-light in the morning of the 17th of June 2014.
14 perished in that carnage. Around a hundred received medium to serious injuries.
Had it happened in Sri Nagar, we would have forgotten it all by now. It happened in Lahore. And the gun-wielders involved were not Jawans of the Indian occupation army. They were the ‘highly endeared’ policemen of Punjab under the command of Rana Sanaullah.
This decade—starting from 2007—has witnessed the birth of a Justice System in Pakistan, the most recognized of the world’s democracies will be proud of. Yet Pakistan is not yet a democracy. It is a system in which an elected oligarchy, controlled by two powerful families, rules—with cronyism, nepotism, corruption, fraud and lawlessness as its salient features.
One hopes that the events of the weeks and months after July 28, 2017— leading to the 5th of December 2017— are going to guide us to a future when nothing will be the same again in Pakistan.