By: Farooq Tariq
I was avoided another arrest last night on 23rd September 2007. I had just returned home at 11pm from Toba Tek Singh, a five hour drive from Lahore. I am planning to contest general elections for national parliament from Toba Tek Singh, my home city. When the bell rang, I was sure it is police again. My partner Shahnaz asked me who can come at this time of the night. Our children have just gone to sleep, but Mashal (14) our daughter got up as well with the bell ringing constantly.
I asked Shahnaz to check who they are and if police is there do not tell that I am at home. We had decided that I will not be arrested this time easily. Police has to work and work little harder to catch me. If I am at home and police comes, they have to break the doors to get me out. I will not voluntarily come out. I was also sick and tired of police knocking my door again and again.
Shahnaz went out and she was tricked by the police to open the door. They did not tell her that it is police; instead they said friends of Farooq. But when she opened the door, she found dozens of police men in uniform and they asked where I am. Shahnaz who has now become used to police arrivals at our door step, told them courageously that he is not here and he is in Toba Tek Singh. My daughter Mashal was also with her watching the drama.
They did not insist to enter home instead asked my mobile number, which was given to him. The police officer connected my number and my cell started ringing at home, Mashal immediately felt the danger and ran inside to stop the phone. The running of Mashal inside home could have convinced the police officer that I am at home but he did not force himself inside the door and said thanks to Shahnaz.
Shahnaz closed the door but police remained there for some time. I as watching from inside home fearing of police climbing the walls and break in. But it seems that police officer was just doing his duty and not really interested to go any further. It was the same police officer with his team who had arrested me last time on June 4th 2007 from my same home.
I then sent SMS to the friends and press informing that I just avoided the arrest this time. Police is arresting most of the activists from the opposition parties and this time including the main leadership of the opposition parties. This practice is to avoid more demonstrations against General Musharaf who wants him to be reelected again for the next five years from a parliament who was elected for five years term. This parliament has elected General Musharaf with the help of the religious fundamentalists in 2002. But this time the religious parties do not want him to be elected and has decided with other political parties to resign from the parliament instead of electing him.
The regime has arrested dozens of activists and leaders of different political parties and is raiding houses of more activists like me. I do not want to be arrested this time and has decided to remain active but to avoid arrest as well.
Going to jail again and again is no good and comrades and friends have made jokes and jokes about me. Whenever, I meet a friend, he asks me when have you come out (jail) or when are you going in?
My son Abdullah (7) told me this morning that it now my turn to play „find and hide‰ game with police. When he was only one year old, police came to arrest me at my home and at the time both Shahnaz and myself were not at home, when Razia, the women who was taking care of Abdullah told police that Farooq is not at home, he said ok where is his son, I will take him with me and then Farooq will definitely come to present his arrest, a normal practice by many police come in Pakistan. He did not know that my son is only one year. Razia went inside home and brought Abdullah outside and told the police officer in anger, yes, you can arrest him, he is son of Farooq. Looking at Abdullah, the police officer was ashamed and said sorry and went back not come again for some time.
When I was living in rented place, my house boss was arrested and my office boss was arrested instead of me when police was unable to find me at home and at office. I went to one friend who was editor of Daily Jang to help the release of my home and office bosses, when he heard, he advised me to leave the buggers with police, and told me that at least you do not have to pay rent anymore.
So a new game has started with police, I will attend the demonstration on 27th September alongside with the advocates in any case and till then will try that police should not get hold of me.
So be ready for a new possible solidarity campaign please.
Labour Party Pakistan
40-Abbot Road Lahore, Pakistan
Tel: 92 42 6315162 Fax: 92 42 6271149 Mobile: 92 300 8411945,