On Wednesday, local residents shaved the eyebrows, moustache and head of a young man for roaming in the streets with weapons and threatening people.
According to locals, Abdul Waheed, 17, was from the dera of a feudal landlord in Chak No103-RB in Khurarianwala. Waheed, the son of Chak 103-RB resident Muhammad Suleman, was allegedly roaming near the dera of Muhammad Nazir a rival landlord of the same village.
“There were nearly 40 people sitting in the dera along with the Nazir. When someone spotted Waheed they told him he was in their area and was bearing weapons,” said a village local Khalid. “Nazir ordered that he be brought before him and accused the boy of being a spy,” he added.
“Waheed was on our land and he was spying on us. Besides he was openly brandishing weapons,” said Nazir’s servant Asad, adding “we needed to make an example of him to serve as a warning.”
Zameendar Nazeer told his men to hold Waheed and they searched him. Waheed was carrying a pistol and a dagger and Nazeer ordered that he be beaten in front of the dera and his head be shaved. “Not only was he encroaching on our territory he was also bearing arms. He was a spy and we punished him to teach him a lesson,” Nazeer’s guard Anwarul Haq said. Nazeer called a panchayat to pronounce judgment on the matter. The panchayat unanimously declared its verdict, saying that the youth had insulted the entire village and disgraced all of them by moving around their dera carrying weapons. “They called a panchayat and yet I was not informed that they had my son. No fair panchayat could have been convened without me,” said Waheed’s father Muhammad Suleman.
Declaring him guilty of undermining the landlord’s authority and disgracing the village elders, the panchayat unanimously announced that the youth should be publicly disgraced by removing his eye brows, moustache and shaving his head.
The panchayat called in a local barber who removed the Waheed’s eyebrows, moustache and shaved his head. Then a group of Nazir’s men thrashed Waheed with sticks before locking him in a room.
Later, Nazir called the police and a police party from Khurarianwala station headed by Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Muhammad Javed rushed to the spot and recovered Waheed. Muhammad Javed registered an FIR against Waheed under Section 13/20/65 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on charges of keeping a weapon without a licence and accused Waheed was later on released on bail.
A number of villagers of Chak No103-RB belonging to Waheed’s family protested against the police and said that the police had refused to take any action against the boy being tortured. “I called in the police to recover my son but instead they arrested him. It seems that Nazir paid them off,” Muhammad Suleman said.
To satisfy the protesters, police have also registered another case under Sections 337/20, 148, 149 of the PPC against Muhammad Shahbaz, Rizwan, Ansar, Safique, Anwarul Haq and Khalid. However no arrest has been made so far.
When contacted, Javed said that the matter was under investigation. “Both parties have been accused and we have registered cases. We will investigate before the men are taken to court,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2011.