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Missing humanity

97 24 19

SHOULD there be outrage that in recent weeks a number of Pakistani citizens have been taken away forcibly and without legal authority; mostly by plainclothesmen — operating with the impunity that is the hallmark of entitled security services agents — and, in rare cases, by uniformed personnel?

Or should we be grateful for small mercies, such as the fact that of those taken away, many have been safely returned to their families and friends, and that they bore no telltale signs of the third-degree methods the state is known to routinely employ to extract information, even confessions?

Well, I can’t decide. Can you? A freelance journalist who tweets about the issues confronting his community is picked up allegedly by the paramilitary Rangers from his home at four in the morning. Those who take him away show no warrants and don’t even tell his shaken wife where they are taking him.

I know from personal experience, and from talking to many, many victims, that having armed men violate the sanctity of your home can cause acute trauma and leave scars that may never heal in the form of post-traumatic stress. And we aren’t even referring to long detentions and/or torture here.

‘We took him away, we released him. Live with it.’ This was the attitude.

So, when the freelance journalist, or if you prefer to call him a partisan social media activist, returns home late in the evening, what should he, his traumatised wife, and small children feel? Relief, gratitude or outrage? That we........

© Dawn

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