Military Court in Hyderabad
One fine morning we were told that we were summoned by summary military court and we were taken to the court located in Hyderabad cantonment area. We were about thirty of us who were put into that typical jail van. The spirit of our friends was high and as we reached the court, they started raising slogans against martial law. I along with Morai tried to calm them down telling them that we were being produced before the military court and that we should not do anything or act in any manner which may infuriate them.
Our flamboyant friend Suleman Chandio was ahead of them all, and was not at all ready to listen to us and would tease us by raising the slogan over and over again:
“Down with martial law.”
“Ada Suleman; Let us not act in a manner to intimidate them.” We would plead him to cool down.
“I care a damn for them. I will do it at the top of me voice.” Raising the tail of his moustache he would vent out his anger.
The summary military court was chaired by an officer of the rank of Major, who would call us individually. On my turn when I was called, I was offered to say that if I dissociated myself from the ongoing protests and strikes, he would forthwith release me and allow me to go home straight away.
A Deal With Army Major
As this offer was against the unity of students’ community, I couldn’t possibly have accepted it. I told him:
“I am willing to accept your offer. But for that you should also set free our Principal Dr. Afghan and all others who have been arrested on similar charge. And if you can’t do that, my answer to your proposal is in negative”.
He certainly didn’t like my answer and gave his verdict:
“After hearing you in light of charges framed against you, this court has found you guilty of charge, and in exercise of judicial powers conferred upon me, the court convicts you for imprisonment of one year and a fine of Rupees ten thousand. In case of your inability to pay the fine, you will have to undergo the confinement of one additional month”.
Imprisonment by Military Court
Almost similar procedure was adopted with all other prisoners. There was a young boy Abdul Hakeem Makhdoom who was also in our team. He was probably the youngest of all protesters and was in class seven or eight, and was arrested from Tando Allahyar high school, as the students of that area too had joined us in our protests. He too was offered the same proposal as offered to us, and this young boy rejected it. In a fit of anger, the Major said to him:
“You are too young to join the protest and you better go home”, to which he said “no”. The Major asked him:
“Do you know who is Dr. Afghan?”
“Yes, I know him” came the reply.
“And do you know what does he do?”
“Yes. I know. He is a doctor and he injects syringes to his patients to treat them”.
The Major listening to his reply, went berserk and shouted at him:
“You little devil…. you don’t even know who the doctor is, and you still insist for his release. Are you out of your mind?”
The reply of young Abdul Hakim Makhdoom was the same and so he too was sentenced to one-year imprisonment.