How I, A Law Abiding Citizen Got Arrested

By Ali Hassnain

I am a law abiding citizen and I have nothing to to do with politics. I went to my village for some work relating to our orchard. I had to drop my father at home and go for my routine exercise at the park. There were two police vans almost blocking the entrance, I smiled at them and told them to make way so I can park my car.  I mistook them for friendly neighbourhood cops who stop by at times. However sensing something is wrong I decided to stay at home. I saw a plain cloth SHO being a little aggressive. I decided to shoot a video, that led to exchange of hot words and I deleted the video.

Relevant S.H.O Shafi Ullah, if I am not wrong, was being unnecessarily aggressive. I offered him a seat and even offered that they sit in drawing room and have tea till the situation is resolved. He refused tea; he did not refuse the chair though. I told him he has no female police and there is no way I would let him in our home. My cousin’s wife had come out in panic and the cop said “aap parda karlain aur hamein talashi lenay dein”. I told her to go inside and reminded him he is in our house illegally and without a warrant and governments change and he is likely to eventually suffer backlash. After that I shot another video from the roof which apparently offended them, although it was my own house.

Our family is amongst the most respected in the district. I told him we have done nothing wrong and the usual police harassment tricks won’t work. After all, my family has seen 1977 election and FSF persecution. I came inside, I am or rather was not political, but this incident has changed me. My cousin’s 12 years old child came to me and said an uncle is on the phone and I should connect him to the SHO. I did as he asked. The uncle did warn the S.H.O that he has foolishly raided one of the most respected houses in the district.  We have a large family house with two portions. I was going to return the phone when one cop started dragging me to the van. I had two options, get physical with him or do as he said. I being the law abiding type, decided not to resist. I decided that getting physical with police is not a good idea and I got in the van while telling him about the law and consequences of his illegal actions.

On the way to the police station, one guy tried to harass me, but I am not a kid any more so I told him to shut up. There was a guy in plain clothes who was probably DSP, or so I was told. He kept playing good cop. The bad cop tried to threaten me; he said you would be in Adiala by tomorrow. I responded by saying a court Bailiff would soon raid the station for illegal detention and government would one day change and he should do what he can. He can take me to Attock Fort if he pleases. The good cop tried to calm me and said it wouldn’t get that far. It would likely be resolved in police station. There were no handcuffs though and he locked me up with my cousin’s servants in a surprisingly clean lockup in hawalaat. Washroom was in the same room and a four feet wall separated it from the rest of lockup. And you have to buy bottled water from agents there. I had heard in lock ups and especially jail you can get what you want if you have money. I saw it first hand when a guy ordered cigarettes and offered me his bottled water in lockup.

They took our cell phones which they later returned. An hour and a few phone calls to our connections later they released myself and the servants. The SHO was particular about the video and asked me to take the cell phone tomorrow. A few sweet words were exchanged and we did leave. I realized later that the video on my phone was deleted. However little did they know I had already uploaded it to Facebook. Faces are blurred but it was an illegal raid by the police to harass the opposition anyway. After an hour I was released and here I am, wondering what police does to masses.

A few weeks back I had written an article on police reforms and they are desperately needed. People at my plaza told me that police in plain clothes visited them and inquired if my uncle had some stake in the plaza (he doesn’t) or were we involved with PTI (we are not). When government comes down to such petty tactics, it signals the end of that government. Nawaz Government is at its cusp, one way or another he would go in my opinion. Now it is a matter of weeks if not days. It is a sad reality that we are a police state and citizens have little rights when it comes to dealing with the police.