Let’s go back to 2011 when the video of a brutal murder spread across the social media and broadcast channels. Sarfaraz Shah, a lanky young guy, was dragged around by a bulky man who held Sarfaraz’s hair clenched in his right hand. The man, dragged the boy around as he yelped in pain. The scene continues to a small group of rangers. The uniformed men take hold of Sarfaraz as if they’ve apprehended a serial killer. What happened next is already ingrained in the minds of many, and too harrowing to repeat in much detail. At point blank range, one of the rangers shots his G3 rifle at a pleading Sarfaraz. In the final image, we see Sarfaraz lying in his own pool of blood; almost lifeless. That was the last of Sarfaraz.

Not many are aware of what happened to the rangers and the bulky man which is unfortunate. The news was covered by the international media, in the local corridors it was relatively hushed for the judgment represented a reality the boots would not want the civilians to highlight. The judgement passed ruled that Shahid Zafar would be executed for his barbarism. The others too would not be let go off for they too were part of the murder of Sarfaraz Shah. Six men were given life imprisonment and heavy fines were put onto the 7 men.

As of 2014, the latest news available on Shahid Zafar, the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty awarded to him whereas the family of Sarfaraz had decided to forgive all of the convicts on the ‘advice of Sarfaraz’s father’.

The ranger’s case was an important one, for it showed that the boots could not play the game in line with their rules in different playgrounds. Balochistan is their playground. They play the game there in their own rules. This means kidnapping, torturing and even extra-judicial killings. The people of Balochistan have become synonymous with the very unfortunate term of ‘missing persons’. Not many beyond the province really care about the missing persons. Those who do are either intimidated into silence or shot at when they come out of airports or hold conferences.

But that is Balochistan and there they can do this there, because the lives of the people living there are not as valuable in other provinces. This is where Sindh comes in. The Sindh High court was brave to award the death penalty to Shahid Zafar. The government had to abide by the ruling. The boots were made to pay, all the way from the murderer to the higher-ups.

And now the province is in spot light again as the boots have made another mistake. This mistake comes in the form of Aftab Ahmed, the coordinator of Farooq Sattar. Apparently he died due to a heart attack, or at least that is what we are told. His death had nothing to do with the interrogation that he was part of which, we would have believed had the autopsy report not revealed that Aftab had died with bruises on his body. The bruises, as go the many media reports, resemble torture. Whether he died due to them is another thing. However, the man was tortured and this is something that must not be swept under the carpet.

The Army Chief has taken notice and has announced that an in depth inquiry would be held and those responsible would be brought to face the music of their actions. Good. As has been the cases of many such announcements made by the Army Chief, we can rely on the process maintaining its due course and reaching its conclusive end. However, this one right here needs to be put under the spotlight. Those who were part of the death of Aftab need to have a face and their punishment needs to get its share of column inches and broadcast minutes. Instead of awarding judgements in secret military courts, the decisions need to be loud. Much like Qadri, ruling, this one too must set a precedent.

Why? Simply because the boots have played their games a tad too long and it is time there is a referee in this game. It would, as it does, only make the game even more interesting and fair. The boots have enjoyed the freedom but there needs to be a limit and this case can prove the Achilles heel to the giant ego. Raheel Shareef would do Pakistan a favour if he sees this case to the end of a truly just ruling. There and then, we will have another reason to join in the chants of ‘Thank you Raheel Shareef’.