Karachi Central Jail
We were in Hyderabad central jail for almost about two months now and there was no hope of getting out of this mess in the near future. The protests outside the jail were continuing and the number of arrested students was growing to an extent that the jail was filled to its capacity, and the jail authorities started shifting the students to other jails in Karachi and Sukkur. It was almost about midnight when we were asked to get ready as we were to be shifted to Karachi. For us it was good news and a blessing in disguise that we were getting rid of Hyderabad jailor, with the faint hope that Karachi should be a better place. And indeed, it was.
Friendly Relationship With Jailor
The jail superintendent of Karachi was Manzoor Panhwar, with whom Ghulam Nabi Morai developed a friendly relationship over a period of time. Conditions in Karachi jail were relatively much better. We noticed this immediately on our arrival there. Manzoor Panhwer was a kind hearted elderly man who greeted us respectfully and told us that apart from the jail rules which we had to adhere; we were free to move around anywhere within four walls of the jail. Here the living conditions were much better, the quality of food was good and the jail staff was cooperative.
Small and Clean Room in Karachi Central Jail
We were allocated a small room which was shared with me by Ghulam Nabi Morai and Tahir Soomro. And to add to the level of our comfort, one “bardashti” was provided to us who would look after our household matters, like cleaning of the ward, up keeping of our beds, washing of clothes, etc. Bardashti was a local Urdu term which meant the one who bears the load, or the bearer, as we would normally call him.
Prisoner of Jail
The bardashti was a prisoner of jail, and this privilege was normally provided to “A” class and “B” class prisoners. Incidentally the bardashti given to us was eunuch, a transgender in terms of his sex identification, and a lively young guy. He had interesting stories to tell us and we had all the time in the world to hear him or her (call him by any gender). Besides our household work which he would dutifully do, he was also good at massage and literally all of us had become addicted to his massage.
Top Leaders in Jail
In the ward next to ours, there was a group of political prisoners hailing from Lyari. With the passage of time, we developed friendship with them. Shamshad Ghanchi was a political activist of the then newly created Peoples Party founded by Mr Bhutto, who had parted ways with Field Marshal Ayub Khan. Shamshad was a lively fellow. We also met Shahanshah Hussain, President of Muslim students’ federation (MSF) and Dr. Rasheed Hassan Khan, who was the President of national students’ federation (NSF). They would spend most of their time with us.
Freedom in Karachi Central Jail
The jail authorities had given us so much of freedom that we would often invite them to a party and we would ask jail staff to arrange dinner for us from famous eateries of Karachi, like Bundu Khan which was a famous barbecue restaurant during those days. And this had become almost a daily routine. Sometimes we would invite them and sometimes they would reciprocate. Life was getting better except that we were confined to jail premises.