Justice delayed, justice denied
After almost ten years, Azaz Ullah is still hoping for justice. The 30-year-old from Mardan was shot a little above the knee on May 15, 2003, outside a Nazim’s office in Rawalpindi, where he worked as an attendant, when a loaded shotgun sitting in a policeman’s lap, accidentally fired.
While Azaz Ullah lay there on the floor bleeding profusely, Ch M. Safdar who was in plain clothes, at the time, took off and is still on the run.
Azaz Ullah bled for ten hours that day. “Hospitals refused to admit me because it was a police case. I still remember being put into an ambulance and they drove me from one hospital to another. Even Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) refused to take my case,” the 30 years old recalled explaining how his former employers in Capital Development Authority (CDA), then made a few phone call to get him immediate medical attention but to no avail.
The ten hours delay in the treatment cost Azaz Ullah his right leg and they amputated it above mid-thigh.
Since 2003, Azaz walks on a German made wooden prosthetic leg that set him back Rs35, 000.
Azaz Ullah’s family was forced to sell 20 kanals of their property for medical expenses and then court fees. Since then he has knocked on every door where he thought he might get justice.
“The three years in the civil courts were some of the worst experiences of my life. Although the court ordered the arrest of Ch M. Safdar from Pind Dadan Khan, he is still an absconder,” Azaz Ullah said.
Being the eldest and the only bread earner of the six brothers, Azaz Ullah works for a government department, where as a lower division clerk (LDC) he tries hard to make ends meet.
At least once a week he calls or drops text messages with officials in the Punjab Chief Minister’s office for any update on his case, seeking justice and asking for compensation.
His case had been forwarded to Additional Secretary and Director Administration CM office Lahore, Nisar Qamar for further action.
“There are 50, 000 such cases everyday. We don’t know which one was Azaz Ullah’s,” said Nisar Qamar over the phone in her brief response.
Azaz Ullah needs a new prosthetic leg that he is afraid would cost him an arm and a leg. Pointing towards the cracks and the chipped corners and the temporary arrangements with pieces of ropes to make the leg hang on and last longer, Azaz said: “I am afraid to find out how much money I need for a new artificial leg. It’s so worn out now that it has started to hurt a little now.”
Faced with a dilemma, last week Azaz Ullah was more worried than ever.
He had to make a choice of walking on crutches or pay Rs20,000 college fee for his younger brother. Azaz Ullah opted for the latter.