Nothing at all seems to have happened since a retired colonel roughed up a well-known music director in a well-publicised incident that took place in Lahore some days ago. This happened after the music director had a minor altercation with the colonel’s son following a traffic-related quarrel. Rather than attempt to sort out the matter, the colonel arrived on the scene and proceeded to beat and threaten the music director. The administrator of the housing scheme where this incident took place has so far reportedly refused to act, presumably since the perpetrator is a retired colonel. Apparently, army officers, even if retired, can get away with literally beating civilians black and blue — even when the victim has suffered cancer, had chest surgery and obviously did not pose a major threat of any kind. Yet several days after the incident, there appears to have been no effort by the institution that prides itself on its discipline to act against the colonel or even question him as to his actions. Certainly there have been no reports of disciplinary measures, while the family of the victim is said to live in fear of the further revenge they have been threatened with. Police have registered an FIR against the colonel but no arrests have been made so far.
This is not the first incident of its kind. We have heard of others before in Lahore and Rawalpindi. Men in uniform, it is quite obvious, consider themselves above the law of the land and see civilians as somehow below them. This is no way for the army to gain the respect of the civilians they are intended to serve. Happenings such as the unfortunate chain of events involving an award-winning music director and the colonel simply add to this mistrust. It is unfortunate that despite the widespread reporting of the events, there has been no apparent attempt to ensure that the victim gets justice and to dissuade other army men from engaging in similar behaviour when it comes to resolving disputes. Rather than resorting to physical violence, they should turn to the forums which exist to settle such matters in a manner that does not involve physical brutality.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.