Flies and butterflies belong to the same class of insects in the animal kingdom. Nonetheless, there is a great morphological and physiological difference between the two. Butterflies are found in floral gardens while flies are destined to live on the piles of garbage and trash. Butterflies primarily feed on nectars from some fine flowers while the flies have to consume the decaying organic matters. The fascinating and colourful butterflies always outshine unlovely flies. Thus, the nature has put butterflies in a privileged and esteemed position in the animal kingdom.

In Pakistan, regrettably, the inhabitants seem to have been divided into the superior and inferior classes. Always obsessed with the overriding thought of winning bread for themselves, the members of inferior class have somehow resorted to the status of feeble flies. On the other hand, having their bread buttered on both sides, the members of superior class have been behaving like butterflies. These butterflies have taken precedence over flies just like in the animal kingdom. Enjoying a privileged position, these superior butterflies have somehow managed to rule and exploit the miserable flies in the country.

Having been equally exploited by both British and native Hindu butterflies, the enslaved flies of this region dreamed of making their own habitat in a separate garden many years ago. Ironically, they eventually succeeded in securing such a garden, but miserably failed in getting freedom from the powerful resident butterflies. The resident butterflies have artfully put these flies in perpetual subjugation. Possessing excellent avian skills, these butterflies always escape the long arm of the law in this God-gifted garden. Now in this garden, the law is nothing but a cobweb which only catches the small flies while the butterflies always mange to break through it.

During Eid holidays, social media in the country remained inundated with the video clips showing some ladies rudely shouting at two frightened girls, who were later identified as a model and actress Uzma Khan and her sister living in a posh locality in Lahore. After a short while, a number of other video clips of the same incident also went viral on social media where we saw these unknown ladies, along with their armed guards, breaking into the house of the actress. These ladies started smashing home décor items after entering the house. They thrashed the girls. They were also using rough and vulgar language against the girls. I just wondered how a woman can resort to such an indecent behaviour to disgrace another woman.

While the country’s mainstream media preferred to stay silent over this issue, social media again exposed the identity of the ladies who stormed the actress’s home. They were the daughters of the country’s top property tycoon, and wanted to teach the “immoral” actress a lesson for being in an alleged relationship with the husband of one of the infuriated ladies. It is by all means an extremely deplorable incident which must be condemned absolutely. The law of the land obviously doesn’t allow anyone to punish individuals by assuming the role of moral police. But regrettably enough, the media discourse on this issue has been largely centred on the character of the victim actress rather than the conduct of the bullies.

It is no wonder that the mainstream media didn’t cover this incident. Our media, noticeably, instantly goes into a deep hypnosis when it comes to criticising anything concerning this omnipotent property tycoon. Initially, the concerned police authorities also looked reluctant to register an FIR of this incident. However, things changed dramatically when an impassioned but aggressive young lawyer Hassaan Khan Niazi, who has also earned a good reputation in the Khadija Siddiqui stabbing case, courageously came forward to rescue the troubled actress. Following his intervention, some journalists and rights activists also started demanding justice for the helpless actress.

As I am writing these lines, the police has not arrested or interrogated the accused ladies despite registering a criminal case against them. It is being anticipated that the culprits in this case would get away with their crime after managing to reach a compromise with the victim actress. The frightened victim presumably will not be in a position to pursue a criminal case against the powerful ladies involving a long and cumbersome legal process. Disturbingly enough, in our country, the so-called butterflies always manage to go scot-free.

First of all, the police do not voluntarily register an FIR against any influential person in similar circumstances. If such case is registered owing to some public pressure or media coverage, it usually neglects to conduct an independent and impartial investigation that ultimately paves the way for the ‘honourable’ acquittal of an accused person by the courts. The colonial-era criminal laws mostly fail in apprehending and punishing individuals involved in heinous crimes. Unluckily, our judicial system more supports the wrongdoer than the wronged one. Thus, sometimes the courts look like mere mortar-and-brick buildings all meant for perpetuating injustice rather than dispensing justice. In case, any court of law convicts a criminal, the “Islamic provisions” relating to Qisas and Diyat instantly jump in to rescue the culprits. This is what we observed in the high-profile Shahzeb murder case and Raymond Davis case some years ago.

Many centuries ago, the head of state of the Riyasat-e-Madina had made it crystal clear that his own daughter could be punished if found guilty of any wrongdoing. It must, therefore, be a matter of serious concern for the protagonists of such Riyasat-e-Madina if the daughters of wealthy and influential persons escape punishment after committing a crime in the country. Disappointingly enough, just like in purana (old) Pakistan, the powerful resident butterflies continue to persecute and exploit the infirm flies in Naya Pakistan too. Darwin’s theory of evolution essentially maintains that the species which do not evolve themselves in an environment are simply bound to disappear. If the hapless flies fail in asserting and exercising their right to exist any longer, these cunning and crafty butterflies would readily impose upon flies an inevitable liability to be extinct.

Mohsin Raza Malik

The writer is a lawyer. He can be contacted at mohsinraza.malik@gmail.com