By Justice Markandey Katju–
(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)
The Pakistani Establishment, which has unleashed a fascist reign of terror, has gone all-out to finish off former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is bravely fighting for the restoration of democracy and human rights in the country.
He has over 140 cases against him, and the police have arrested 10,000 workers and supporters of his party PTI, including many of its top leaders. There have been two assassination attempts on him, and the media has been allegedly instructed not to mention his name, as if he does not exist.
The government has obtained a sham, flawed and planned verdict from a crooked, shameless, and unscrupulous judge Humayun Dilawar (whom I have called a modern Judge Jeffreys) who has sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment, thus disqualifying him from contesting elections, for which he has been rewarded.
Imran Khan is locked up in a small dirty 8×8 cell in Attock jail among murderers and hardened criminals, with no bed, open bathroom, in extreme heat with no AC or cooler, poor sanitation with flies and insects, and no basic amenities.
This reminds one of Alexandre Dumas’ famous novel ‘The Man with the Iron Mask’. It also reminds one of Dr Manette, a character in Dickens’ famous novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, who was incarcerated for long years in the Bastille, for no crime of his.
One cannot but admire the dauntless spirit, intrepidity and spunk in the man against whom the full force of the state machinery has been thrown.
I have composed a sher (Urdu couplet) on him (paraphrasing the poet Majrooh Sultanpuri’s sher):
“Sar par hawa-e-zulm chale sau jatan ke saath
Kaptan ki kulahkaj hai usi bankepan ke saath”
One is reminded of Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchiil who, in the darkest days in the summer of 1940, when a Nazi German invasion of Britain was impending, said, “We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight in the air, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.
How can one not admire the man.