KARACHI: The year is 2015. He’s dead; her head rests on his coffin. The air-conditioned ambulance, in which his body is transported, has been shrouded with dupattas to protect their privacy. In there, she spends almost an hour weeping.
Saulat Mirza, notorious target killer and former activist of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, returned home after 17 years of imprisonment; his lifeless body welcomed with a flood of tears by his wife, Nikhat (Nazi).
Family members of Saulat Mirza try to take a last glimpse of him before his burial. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
“Neither did he tremble on the gallows nor did anyone hold his hand. He was walking faster than the police. And once at the top, recited the ‘kalma’ loudly,” she said, picturing the execution in Machh jail on Tuesday.
Hours before his death, Saulat managed to send one last message to his beloved through a jail officer: “Be patient and pray for me.”
Nazi had hoped her husband would live. After Saulat’s execution had been postponed on March 19, she had hoped that renewed interest and the creation of a special Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe a video confession by the death row prisoner would be investigated, putting his execution off for a little while longer.
“We were hoping that the case would reopen. It was such a strong JIT. But everything seemed different in the last two days.”
Her plea to defer Saulat’s execution in light of the investigation was rejected by the Sindh High Court who could find no cogent reason in her argument to postpone the hanging any further.
On Tuesday evening, after his body had been flown to Karachi from Quetta, Nazi and other relatives offered prayers at the couple’s house in Gulshan-e-Maymar before his burial.
She and the rest of Saulat’s family thought that the backdoor deals and pressure on the government had led to the hanging.
Relatives gather around the ambulance carrying the dead body. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
“The deals won, the activists lost,” she lamented, adding, “A political party with which Saulat had been associated for years was behind it”.
She said she was content but could not accept why the government had halted his execution earlier if they had no plans to save him.
“Why did they give us hope? Why?” she asked, the pain cracking her voice.
Childhood sweethearts, Saulat and Nazi got married in 1997. They stayed together for three months before Saulat fled to Bangkok.
On his return in December 1998, he was arrested at Karachi airport by SHO Chaudhry Aslam and had been jailed ever since.
Relatives carry late Saulat Mirza’s body to the graveyard. PHOTO ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
Now, as his life less body lay with relatives gathering for one last look, Nazi was missing. She sat in a corner and cried silently.
Her dream of reuniting with her husband and living abroad will now never come true.