Police investigators have found that a financial falling out over the publication of a book of verse between a well-respected poet and his protege or shagird is at the heart of a bizarre blasphemy text message case.
Fifty-six-year-old Zafar Zaidi alias Chaman Zaidi, earlier incorrectly reported to be 45, was arrested on Sunday by the Surjani police.
Zaidi is a poet by profession and started his career in his 20s. He is a member of the Arts Council and several of his books have been published. He lives in a small house with his relatives and married about five years ago.
Yamna met Zaidi at the Arts Council and the two often discussed poetry. However, Zaidi’s wife said that ever since Yamna came into her husband’s life, their miseries had increased.
The family said Zaidi helped Yamna publish her book of poetry. “Zaidi took pity on her and helped her write and publish the book but she turned away from him after it came into print,” said Zaidi’s brother-in-law Sajid. “In the pursuit of publishing that book, Zaidi went into debt.”
Zaidi had sent the messages because he wanted to get Rs45,000 back from his student Yamna. He had deliberately sent the messages in order to court arrest. His reasoning was that if he was arrested, so would Yamna and thus he would get his money back. If he was killed for blasphemy, he said to the police, he didn’t mind, at least that would get the lenders off his back.
Zaidi is being kept at an undisclosed location.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2012.