Jhe proverb that one must have the age of the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him), the patience of Ayub (peace be upon him) and the wealth of Qaroon to obtain justice perfectly describes the functioning of the Pakistani judicial system. However, the case of Mai Jindo adds an additional resource to the list of the proverb: in addition to unwavering commitment, unwavering courage and tireless effort, one must sacrifice one’s family members one by one on the altar of elite institutions to achieve justice in this country. She was instrumental in securing justice for her two sons and a meager son-in-law. She is credited with changing the fate of the Tando Bahawal case. Thus, Mai Jindo, an elderly and poor farmer, achieved what other women could only dream of in the patriarchal society.
The Tando Bahawal incident took place on June 5, 1992, when a Pakistani army contingent, led by Major Arshad Jamil, attacked Tando Bahawal, a village on the outskirts of Hyderabad, and kidnapped nine villagers . The captives included Bahadur and Manthar, sons of Mai Jindo and Haji Akram, his son-in-law. They were taken to the bank of the Indus near Jamshoro and shot.
Major Arshad Jamil had been delegated to Sindh as part of Operation Clean-up (also known as Operation Blue Fox), launched by the Sindh Police and Pakistani Rangers, with additional support from the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies, under a directive from the Prime Minister. Nawaz Sharif. The major and his jaws alleged that the villagers were terrorists who had links to the Indian military and its intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). They also claimed to have recovered a large quantity of sophisticated weapons from them.
The incident took a turn when Mai Jindo vigorously denied the allegations. She tried to convince a crowd of journalists to raise the voices of her sons, her son-in-law and others killed in this tragic incident. She insisted that the dead were neither dacoits nor terrorists. They were not affiliated with the Indian Army or the RAW. Instead, they were simple village farmers.
For her courageous stand against the officer and army personnel, she was threatened with death. He was also offered a huge sum of money and land. However, she rejected the lucrative offer and demanded justice for the innocent who had been murdered. She took the bold step of exposing the culprits at a time when villagers were afraid to talk about the incident and the perpetrators.
While speaking on an International Women’s Day show at the Karachi Press Club on March 8, 2012, Mai Jindo said, “A woman can do whatever she wants, if only she commits herself to it. . Due to her supreme courage and stubborn determination, she is considered a symbol of resistance against the oppressors because she, through her constant and continuous exemplary struggle, succeeded in wresting justice from the unjust structure – thus, the powerful culprits were punished..
Her efforts paid off, and she, with the help of a few journalists, managed to bring to light that some of the major’s relatives had in fact attempted to occupy the lands belonging to her family. They then asked for the Major’s help. Subsequently, the major, his jaws and civilians involved in the crime were arrested.
Members of the security forces were tried by a military tribunal. However, a separate indictment regarding the civilian defendant has been submitted to an anti-terrorism court. Cases moved at a snail’s pace, and for nearly four years, it seemed like justice was a distant dream.
Disenchanted with justice, Mai Jindo’s daughters – Hakimzadi and Zaibun Nisa – set themselves on fire outside the Terrorism Court on September 11, 1996, a public holiday. They were suffering from severe burns and were in critical condition when they were rushed to Karachi Civil Hospital, nearly 20 miles away, as no other hospital in the province had available at the time. of a service / center for burns. Succumbing to their wounds, they ended up losing their lives. Thus, Mai Jindo and her family had to pay dearly for seeking justice.
Major Arshad Jamil was sentenced to death for the extrajudicial execution of nine people. However, the sentence could not be carried out until the Supreme Court rejected his appeal against the death sentence and the president rejected the clemency petition. Finally, on October 28, 1996, Major Arshad Jamil was hanged at Hyderabad Central Jail. the jaws were sentenced to life imprisonment. However, the civilian defendants were released.
Apart from the punishments meted out to the culprits, bereaved families were compensated through the allocation of land in Thatta district in 2004. In 2006, the district government distributed compensation checks of Rs 4.55 million to relatives of the victims of the carnage of Tando Bahawal.
Speaking on an International Women’s Day show at the Karachi Press Club on March 8, 2012, Mai Jindo said, “A woman can do whatever she wants, if only she commits herself to it. Due to her supreme courage and stubborn determination, she is considered a symbol of resistance against the oppressors because she, through her constant and continuous exemplary struggle, succeeded in wresting justice from the unjust structure – thus, the powerful culprits were punished. She stood as a lone fighter against tyrants.
He is also credited with preventing the powerful from snatching land from poor farmers. Had she not stood up, as a lone fighter, against the land grabbers, perhaps more farmers would have lost their land to the usurpers.
People like Mai Jindo deserve to be in our textbooks. Our children should learn the stories of their struggle and they should be hailed as our heroes.
The author holds a PhD in History from Shanghai University and is a lecturer at GCU, Faisalabad. He can be contacted at [email protected] He tweets at @MazharGondal87