Calling himself the Anna Haraze of Toba, Mian Muhammad Rafiq from Toba Tek Singh caused a ruckus in the Punjab Assembly, when he blamed a fellow party MNA Asadur Rehman for using ‘abusive language’ against him for raising a voice against alleged corruption of the MNA, also from Toba Tek Singh. His emotional appeal and his threats that he would hold a daily walkout of the House, protest on the stairs of the assembly building and even resign from his seat if he failed to get justice, managed to win the solidarity of the house – which is not unexpected as most of the business of the house is conducted to through walkouts, sloganeering and table-banging. Yet the reason this otherwise commonplace occurrence is significant is that the same day the house was holding a discussion on lawlessness in the province; saying that the police are exceptionally politicised and changing the ‘thana’ culture was a priority. A family in Toba Tek Singh – which Mr Rafiq is the representative off – was dragged to the middle of a busy intersection and publically humiliated – beaten and striped – by the goons of a political family; as punishment for their son eloping with the daughter of the politician.

The beaten families protest fell on deaf ears as the local police are too intimidated to register a FIR; the local residents dare not join in for fear of reprisal. The question is, whether the Anna Hazare of Toba was campaigning against this exact form of lawlessness or was his outburst motivated by personal and political objectives? Whatever the answer may be, the truth is that politicians continue to use their influence to blatantly and publically break laws, and the parliament – including the representative from the constituency where the crime happened – would rather engage in political tussles of their own rather than address the real problems of their people.