I am a writer. I write when inspiration strikes and inspiration can be a dreadful mistress. It can strike at the oddest moments or it will not for months on end. It can strike when you commute back from a tiring, uneventful day at work but it may not strike when the sun perfectly aligns with the Jinnah Avenue while it melts in the horizon.
Over a year ago, it struck when I saw blood, sweat and tears as part of our sustenance. Today, I draw inspiration from the darkest reaches of the human consciousness, again as blood, sweat and tears.
A judge can do no wrong, and if he does, he becomes the judiciary and you do not tarnish the sacred courts.
Blood of a 10-year-old housemaid as she worked her fingers to the bone; the sweat of a little girl, as she toiled to serve her employers; and her tears as they dried up, waiting for her parents.
Tay was left to serve in the household of a judge. Seemingly an above average home in an above average locality of the Federal Capital of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Since the tender age of ten years, she served her employers. Her malnourished body, her frail legs and tender arms worked tirelessly day in and day out. She served tea to the "bhai" and "baji," she cleaned up after her patrons, she did whatever she could, as a 10-year-old, to save herself from the wrath of her masters.
In her words, when she lost a broom, her baji forced her hand on fire, until her flesh sizzled and her agony turned into insufferable screams. In her words, she was hit on her face with a hot ladle; it was one of the many days she cried herself to sleep. In her words, she would spend her nights locked up in a tiny room, famished and cold until the inevitable blanket of slumber would wrap her in its arms.
Yet amid all this torture, the mental agony and the helplessness, when an Assistant Commissioner asked her if her employers ever gave her medicine or took her to the hospital, again, in her words, they did, and the bhai was better than the baji.
The district administration in Islamabad took her into custody as soon as police brought her over. Feeble, fragile and fearful, Tay showed a colossal amount of courage as she spoke those words before a magistrate.
Taking notice of the incident, the Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court asked for a report within two days, after which the Registrar summoned the judge for an inquiry. He has denied all charges.
A day after, as inquiries were being initiated, news channels started reporting that she had changed her statement. News poured in that according to the little girl, she fell on a stove, which resulted in her hand being burnt and that other wounds were not inflicted upon her, but were the result of a fall.
It is not a judge or judiciary facing charges. It is an above average citizen from an above average locality in Pakistan, accused of tormenting a little girl.
These statements, not recorded in front of the magistrate, seem to free her employers from guilt and culpability. Leverage, influence and authority have now started to shroud the truth in a mystery where confusion will benefit the powerful.
Who cares what a lonesome 10-year-old maid goes through, it is the "sanctity of the judiciary" that is under threat? No, not because Tay served as a housemaid to the judiciary, but her employer happens to be a judge—and individuals will assume the role of institutions whenever it may suit them.
A judge can do no wrong, and if he does, he becomes the judiciary and you do not tarnish the sacred courts. A judge's wife, as all wives in the world, wields even more power and authority. So, yes, who cares if the little girl fell on a stove or she was shoved into one.
As the story unfolds and details surface, the police have filed an FIR for illegal confinement and criminal intimidation, based on the statements Tay gave before the magistrate.
Whether intimidation of the girl will stop with this FIR or not, is yet to be seen. Sold into modern-day slavery for a mere 6000 rupees, less than half of the minimum wage, Tay's future remains uncertain.
Proceedings will continue, medical examinations will be conducted and inquiries will be set up to probe the truth from beneath a myriad of proofs, statements and witnesses.
It is not a judge, justice or judiciary facing charges for this most horrific crime of child torture. It is an above average citizen from an above average locality in the Federal Capital of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, accused of tormenting and agonising a little girl.
Let us hope that that the truth, whatever it may be, comes out victorious.