LAHORE - Ajoka Theatre’s new play ‘Intezaar’ (The Wait) that has been written by Shahid Nadeem and directed by Dina Mousawi was staged yesterday at Forman Christian College.

The E Block Auditorium of FC College was jam packed with a large number of students.

The cast of the play included Usman Zia, Ammara Hashmi, Sohail Tariq, FahadHashmi, TalhaAkhtar, Muzammil Shabbir and Luka Calvine.

The play was based on the true stories from Pakistani prisons, stories of suffering, of injustice and of wait to get released. The wait, in the context of our judicial and prison system, means waiting when your loved one will come home; when will the judicial system provide justice to the falsely accused? When will a verdict be given on the right to life of a human being and then waiting forever of the black warrants for the fixation of the date of hanging.

It was told in the play that on average a death convict has to wait for 10 years or more in prison before the State can take his life.

Death penalty is regarded as inhuman punishment in most countries. It becomes even more unjust and cruel in countries where the police and judicial system is corrupt and flawed. The characters of the play narrated this point of view.

Very little is known about the life of prisoners in Pakistani prisons, even less about those on the death row. One appalling aspect is the never-ending uncertainty and interminable wait.

Characters of ‘Intezaar’ are death row inmates of a Pakistani prison, their miserable existence and their resilience and courage to make their meaningless lives somewhat meaningful.

There is a prisoner who can paint, another who can compose and sing, yet another who spends all his times studying and teaching others. But there are other inmates who are there in violation of Pakistani and international laws: the juveniles, the physically handicapped and mentally ill.

There are other characters whose lives are connected with the death convicts, the families who are asked to collect the dead bodies of their relatives. One character which gives hope in this depressing situation is the lawyer who is devoted to work to seek relief and justice for unfortunate victims of social and institutional injustice.

Shahid Nadeem said that this play was our latest production with the collaboration of Justice Project Pakistan highlighted arts in an interesting way.

“The play was based on the true stories from Pakistani prisons which are never given justice due to our ‘flawed’ judicial system. Prisoners are being treated miserably. We will stage this play at National College of Arts at Rawalpindi in coming days,” he said.