(Reuters) – Relatives of a nine-month old baby charged with attempted murder in Pakistan have taken him into hiding, one said on Tuesday, in a case that has thrown a spotlight on Pakistan’s dysfunctional criminal justice system.
Baby Musa Khan appeared in court in the city of Lahore last week, charged with attempted murder along with his father and grandfather after a mob protesting against gas cuts and price increases stoned police and gas company workers trying to collect overdue bills.
“Police are vindictive. Now they are trying to settle the issue on personal grounds, that’s why I sent my grandson to Faisalabad for protection,” the baby’s grandfather, Muhammad Yasin, told Reuters, referring to a central Pakistani city.
The baby is on bail and due to appear at the next hearing on April 12 but Yasin said he was not sure if he would take him to court for the case.
“There is immense pressure on me from various corners,” he said.
At his first appearance in court last week, Musa cried while his fingerprints were taken by a court official. Later, the baby sucked on a bottle of milk and tried to grab journalists’ microphones as his grandfather spoke to the media.
“He does not even know how to pick up his milk bottle properly, how can he stone the police?” Yasin asked journalists at the court last Thursday.
The baby was apparently charged because an assistant sub-inspector complained in a crime report that Musa’s whole family beaten him up and injured his head.
The case has once again highlighted dysfunction in Pakistan’s police and justice system.
Poorly trained and underpaid police are frequently accused of corruption and human rights abuses. Many are not even qualified to write a crime report.
Commanders say it is not their fault, pointing out that the this year’s federal budget gave the military about $6 billion and the police a paltry $686 million.
The provincial law minister, Rana Sanaullah Khan, told Reuters that the provincial chief minister had ordered an investigation into the charges against Musa. One policeman had been suspended, he said.
“He has directed police authorities to take action against the officials who booked the infant,” he said.
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This story follows on from an earlier report here.
Reuters is missing something here. If this was just an incompetent policeman, the relatives would not take the baby into hiding. This is clan dynamics. The memory of clans is gone from our culture, although we have kind of artificial folklore feel for it in Ireland and Scotland (especially the Highlands) because that was the last place they existed in northwestern Europe. The word “clan” is one of very few Gaelic words in the English vocabulary.
But we are the odd ones out, not the the Pakistani family above fearing for the safety of the baby. It is a totally different style of life, one in which an individual counts for little but his clan means everything.
In such a society, children are told never to trust anyone but their close relatives. If a feud gets nasty enough, killing innocents is entirely possible: even if they are babies. The relatives are merely being correctly prudent.
That our Western society is organized along totally different lines than much of the rest of world is a little-discussed phenomenon. Is it political correctness? Or maybe plain ignorance.
It certainly explains why democracy is a failure in the Middle East. A democracy assumes that it is composed of individuals who are loyal to their nation-state. They are willing to do things to benefit their nation. This is not the case in the Middle East or Pakistan. This is part of the reason third world countries have so much trouble with major infrastructure: it is something that benefits people who may be hated rivals.
When Japan was modernizing they studied the West carefully. They noticed that it was not organized by clans and began to copy it. Apparently the Muslim world is not the slightest bit interested in trying to reproduce the success of Japan. They are far too arrogant and convinced of the superiority of their society to even consider copying techniques that have worked elsewhere.
Coming up tomorrow: A look at how clan society is being imported into Europe (Germany in this case).