Pakistan’s choked justice system has suffocated so many victims, leaving them unable to speak or breathe. But, there have been a few who, with their consistent and continuous exemplary efforts have snatched justice from this unjust structure.
Among them, with her unmatched suffering and unprecedented struggle, stands Sindh’s Mai Jindo. Hailing from Tando Bahawal, Mai Jindo lost her everything when her two sons and son in law were killed by a Pakistan Army detachment along with other seven villagers in the year 1992.
The incident is known as ”Tando Bahawal incident” and has brought back its memory following the Sahiwal incident.
On 5th June 1992, a contingent of Pakistan Army that was led by Major Arshad Jamil raided the village of Tando Bahawal, located at the outskirts of Hyderabad, Sindh. They kidnapped nine villagers and later shot them at the bank of Indus River. The murdered included Mai Jindo’s two sons named Bahadur and Manthar and Haji Akram, her son-in-law. Later, army accused that these villagers were terrorists and were affiliated with India’s intelligence agency RAW. The media, however, discarded this narrative and produced evidence that the victims were actually farmers included in a land dispute.
THE TWO KEY CHARACTERS: Hakimzadi and Zaibunnisa
As expected, the worth of the life of a poor is cheaper than a grain of sand in this country and the justice for Tando Bahawal incident also came at a huge cost. On 11 September 1996, four years after the incident, Mai Jindo’s two daughters Hakimzadi and Zaibunnisa set themselves on fire as a protest due to delays in execution of Major Arshad Jamil- who was the accused in the murder of their brothers and seven other villagers. Both were rushed to hospital in a critical condition but could not survive.
COURT-MARTIAL OF MAJOR ARSHAD JAMIL:
Hakimzadi and Zaibunnisa sacrificed their lives for this long, painful struggle for justice but it only elevated the strength of Mai Jindo more. She consistently fought and led to the persecution of Major Jamil. He was removed from his position and awarded with a death sentence by the military court on October 28th 1996 and the jawans were sentenced to life imprisonment.
In 2004, 12 years after the Tando Bahawal incident and almost a decade after Maj Jamil’s execution, the Sindh govt allotted 24 acres of land to each affected family in the incident. Later, Mai Jindo told that the land was barren. Mai Jindo, who is in her 70s now says that people honour her for her sacrifices and a woman can do anything if she wants and is committed to it but she is unsure if she achieved anything. She says she has been silently weeping for decades and it is a pain only known to a mother.
Mai’s struggle is exemplary during a time when there was no free media, no social media to challenge the power dynamics. The incident of Sahiwal has an uncanny resemblance with Tando Bahwal incident – but there is no Mai Jindo to fight for justice this time.
What are your thoughts on this? Share with us in the comments bar below.