Army man: Move away, please

The jawan’s incessant orders to move made me wonder that under what law he was restricting my movement in public.

Gibran Ashraf September 16, 2011

The common phrase which describes freedom of expression goes something like this:
 “Your freedom ends where my nose begins”.

Personal space must be respected, but man does not often care for such trivialities. Fortunately, living in a civil land, rules and laws dictate what yours, mine, or anyone else’s freedom is.

A few days ago, as I was heading to work, I saw the heavens part and the sun shone down in quite a magical manner. Being in relative proximity to my apartment, I retraced my steps, got my camera and attempted to preserve what I had seen.

Parking my car by the roadside, atop a hill, I found the perfect spot to take a picture. As I was about to take the photograph, I was interrupted by a Rangers’ personnel ordering me to go away.

The Rangers jawan had crossed a busy intersection, and marched several dozen metres from his post, just to come and tell me that I couldn’t take a photograph. My initial reaction was that the Ranger had thought that I was trying to photograph his boss’s house. I explained that I had no such intention, and in fact, the subject of my interest lay in the exact opposite direction and some seven kilometres above sea level.

The jawan, however, did not listen to a word I was saying and kept repeating:
“I do not have orders, move on.”

I tried to reason again and again and even offered to show him what I had shot to the Ranger so that he would know I wasn’t taking a photograph of a ‘sensitive location’.

The jawan’s incessant orders to move made me wonder that under what law he was restricting my movement, given that I was not inside a military cantonment or a restricted area. Barring a declaration of emergency or suspension of the constitution, how can a member of a security agency violate my right to move freely?

Members of security forces are bound not only by their orders, but also to the constitution. Our failure lies not only in how the security forces are unaware of the constitution but also in how we blindly accept their orders.

Gibran Ashraf A sub editor at the web desk of The Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Raja Tariq | 12 years ago | Reply Very simple. Our watchman has got the opportunity to rule us. What option left with an unarmed person in front of a gun?
Jumple | 12 years ago | Reply @Raja Islam: Exactly! If the way to achieve security was to put security guards at every corner of the streets, Pakistan would have been a very VERY secure country today. Unfortunately that's not the answer. All this is doing is taking away the freedom that we deserve.
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