First published at Dawn.com
It is beyond tragic that the men that shot human rights advocate Rashid Rehman five times, had to pretend to be clients in order to kill him.
After all, why should pious men undertaking God’s work ever have to come in disguise like cold blooded cowards?
They should have learnt a thing or two from their comrade, Advocate Zulfiqar Sindhu, who being the self-appointed messiah that he is, blatantly pronounced a death sentence for Rehman in an open court.
What a remarkably honest man.
Rehman too, should have known better. He worked for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP); a quick look at the HRCP’s annual report for 2013 would have informed him that the ‘pious men of God’ burned down 100 homes as residents fled fearing for their lives, 17 Ahmadis, 13 Christians and nine Muslims were forced to live in indefinite detention inside prisons awaiting death, as no one is willing to take up their case and the lawyers who are compelled to do so keep leaving one after another.
Activists stage a protest against the killing of Rashid Rehman. —Photo by Tanveer Shahzad – DAWN
With Rehman’s murder that too shall end.
Rehman should have known better than to challenge men who would not even spare him after his death; he should have reread the stories of the Hindus of Badin who weredug out of their graves because they were buried in the wrong graveyard.
In an email, a few days before his death, Rehman raised concerned over media reports that covered a “one-sided” story. He felt irresponsible reporting was flaming the issue.
I am surprised no one replied to remind him about Meher Bokhari’s hour-long TV show reading out fatwas against a sitting Governor who was later shot over 20 times and killed for seeking pardon for a blasphemy accused mother.
Rehman should have known better than to expect the media to cover both sides of the story. If he was being fair and honest, he would have known that when it comes to God’s self-appointed helpers, there is no other side to the story, you can choose between a life of solitary confinement or a lynch mob. A lynch mob is usually easier and quicker.
Also read: Descent into darkness
And what of Aasia Bibi, Sawaan Masih and Junaid Hafeez?
Their names will exist in human rights reports and be quickly replaced by others in the next annual report. To expect justice, rationality or even plain old mercy would be a crime.
No one will utter another word till one more Rehman is shot dead, rinse and repeat.
“Fear is a habit I am not afraid,” is how Rehman defined his circumstances amid threats to his life, what better way to describe destiny that awaits us sooner or later.
Fear should be a habit for each one of us and whether we are afraid or not, no one will be spared from the pious wrath of God’s self-appointed helpers.
Until then, sit back and await your turn.