Safdar wanted justice. His wife was raped by men belonging to a society where rapists usually go scot-free, encouraged to look for other victims; all the while boasting about their ‘manly feats’. The agony and anguish is reserved for the victim and her family alone. Justice was not in sight, and in sheer frustration, Safdar set himself ablaze outside the police station, and died days later. Rape is a four letter word: but it is a misery that lasts a lifetime. It is one of the worst possible crimes against a human, and it dwarfs even murder. The victim is left alive with a wound so deep that no medicine or therapy can heal it. The rapist may revel in the indifference of a society which, more often than not, blames the victim partially or wholly for the crime. She becomes a social outcast, discouraged to speak of her torment to anyone, and advised by friends and family to suck it up and live with it for the sake of her family’s ‘honour’. Honour is a six letter word rendered worthless and hollow due to our messed up priorities. There is honour in killing family members who dare step out of the confines of social conformity – yet there is no dishonour in taking an innocent life. There is honour in being embraced by a billionaire – yet there is no dishonour in making those billions by looting, plundering and lying through your teeth. There are rights activists who encourage people like Safdar and his wife to come forward with their grievance and seek justice. There is a culture that leads the victim to commit suicide before it leads the culprits to prison. Three years ago, Amina Bibi set herself ablaze in front of a police station in Jhang. She was on her way home from her college when five men bored of their uneventful lives decided to play with the ‘object’ they saw, and raped her. Amina Bibi decided against staying silent and sought justice. Pursuing her case made her scars public, but she was fine with it as long as there was any hope for justice. But there wasn’t. The main accused was soon released and, faced with absolute hopelessness, she ended her life in the most painful of ways. Just as Safdar ended his. If you were ever to end your life, burning yourself to death may be the least appealing method. Painless ways seem more reasonable. Only when life becomes more painful than being burnt to death, you decide to set yourself on fire. That is what Amina and Safdar went through. The sheer loss of faith in society, justice, and humanity took away not only their desire for life, but also any sense of physical pain. Statements must have been made, grief expressed, and far more eloquent articles written on the victims of rape, on Amina, on Safdar’s wife, and on all who came and went in between. Nothing changed. In the three years between Amina Bibi’s shrieks and Safdar’s burns, there has been no progress. In a society where hundreds of lawyers come out to protest a contempt notice issued to their peer, no one raised a single cry for the worst ever contempt of justice seen in Amina’s or Safdar’s case. Thousands poured onto roads for a glimpse of their beloved leader, none for his convoy’s unfortunate ‘road-kill’. Take a moment and think. It is impossible, but try and feel what Amina felt. Not when her soul was being torn to pieces by those hounds in human flesh, but when her hope for justice and faith in humanity was being shred to pieces by the very system that is put in place to actually protect her. When her inalienable right to be dealt with in accordance with law was being denied to her,just because she was not the offspring of any ‘notable’. This is a society where hundreds of lawyers come out to protest a contempt notice issued to their peer but no one raises a single cry for the worst ever contempt of justice seen in Amina’s or Safdar’s case. Thousands pour onto roads for a glimpse of their beloved leader but none for his convoy’s unfortunate ‘road-kill’ The hounds ought to be crucified, burnt bit by bit; they out to be reprimanded in a manner matched by; the gravity of their crime. But what of the other animals lurking in the distance, ignoring the shrieks of those mauled? Our acquired apathy has only given one more reason to the victims to opt for silence; there is no justice for you. The wheels of justice will only come in motion – and that too for a short insignificant while – when a victim manages to attract some attention by nothing less than an attempted suicide. It is not about gender of the victim or genre of the crime: this is about social status. While a rapist may belong to any class or creed, the victim often comes from the lower cadres of society; the poor, the ordinary, the insignificant: stricken by the illusion that laws cater for them too, and that the Constitution speaks of their rights as well. Well, it doesn’t. Amend Articles 62 and 63 by all means. But before that, pray do amend articles 4, 9, 14, and 25A. Add a proviso to these articles that makes it clear that they are not meant for citizens who are not ‘important’. Make it known to the ‘ordinary’ public that social stature is a necessary precondition for the protection of fundamental rights. If they don’t deserve justice, at least they deserve disillusion. The writer is practicing lawyer with a Masters Degree from University of Warwick, and an ex-Member Provincial Assembly of the Punjab (2008-2013). He tweets @ZafarSahi Published in Daily Times, September 5th 2017.