( My hearts voice on the 9th abduction anniversary of Masood Ahmed Janjua –an innocent victim of the war on terror- an illegal secret detainee in Pakistan )
Masood Ahmad Janjua , a famous businessman and educator of Rawalpindi disappeared mysteriously on 30th July 2005, enroute to Peshawar along with his friend Faisal Faraz. As the tragedy shook the two families it also shook the political scenario of Pakistan – when it was found to be illegal kidnapping in the wake of the War on Terror, it was strongly and courageously protested as never before. It was the reign of terror of President Musharraf in 2005, now facing criminal charges against breaking the constitution, his illegal activities and human rights violations. This commando president was at his peak of power and atrocities, who admits in his book …that Pakistan has taken bounties for handing over people to the CIA, but his illegal abductions were challenged on the streets by a simple house wife. This showing an undeniable reality that any simple and shy woman can turn into a lioness if her love will be snatched and her home attacked.
Out of thousands of those who were never given a chance to plead innocence or just to be a person in the eyes of law, to be allowed to have fundamental human rights, to enjoy an inalienable right of liberty and freedom, as guaranteed in the constitution of Pakistan, one was Masood my loving husband.
As a loving caring and beautiful person as he was, it is simply impossible to forget his soul or even dim the awesome memories surrounding his charismatic personality, no wonder pangs of love and longing are so strongly felt about his disappearance. In the loving memory of Masood, on his 9th abduction anniversary today 30th July 2014, I want to relive the day he departed.
Me and Masood were having breakfast together, it was a nice sunny Saturday of 30th July 2005 and our kids were sleeping. We took fried eggs with bread and milk. Masood joked and made me laugh as usual as he knew I never liked the idea of him being away even for a single day. Something to be truly proud of; we were one exceptionally close and loving couple ever to be present on the face of this planet. His cell rang, Faisal was on the other side, we are getting late will you please hurry and reach the bus stop. Since they had to visit a common friend, Masood said sure I am just leaving and will be there in 10 minutes. Their seats were booked in Daewoo bus service for 10 am. Quickly he finished breakfast and picked up a bag with one brown colour suit in it. Bearing a lively expression, his typical broad smile on the face and wearing white shalwar and shirt suit , he looked extremely handsome. Next he told me to take care of myself and the kids as he will be away for 3 days. He lovingly held me close to him, comforted me and then we both stepped down the stairs hand in hand. I always said goodbye to Masood on the gate even when he would go to office, so that day too I accompanied him and bid him goodbye. I watched him go till I could not see him anymore. I never knew that my world would darken from the very same day ….!!!
Campaigning for 9 years on behalf of families of missing persons
After that day till today I have not seen him, he disappeared from my life and from the life of our three kids without whom he couldn’t imagine living and from the lives of all who loved him, leaving behind an all time piercing dagger pain in our hearts. I cried, I protested, I shook the world, I struggled to get justice and knocked at the doors of everyone in the corridors of power, I ran pillar to post to find answers but to no avail. I could not find Masood no matter how desperate I was, no matter how courageously I fought throughout these 9 years, against this grave violation of illegal abductions and enforced disappearances.
I have not given up, nor the nerve breaking struggle has exhausted my soul, rather it has strengthened my spirit and given me a new dimensions in sacrifice, new parameters in love and new heights in courage.
I waged a war against those individuals or governments or institutions which practice cruelties, torture humanity without reason, make a mockery of human rights and justice –those perpetrators of a heinous crime of snatching loved ones away forcefully and disappearing them for years and years. I can never forgive them for ruining happy homes and taking smiles away from the faces of young children and for breaking the hearts of loving wives/mothers and sisters.
I collected data and registered 2000 victims of enforced disappearance, I filed nearly 800 cases in the supreme court and advocated for them since 2006, I protested on the roads in day and night camps along with the aggrieved families, I was tortured, beaten and arrested for raising the unchallengeable voice for the disappeared, I travelled far and wide to raise awareness, met highest of officials of UN and world Human Rights bodies, head of the states, parliamentarians of Pakistan and of the influential western world but no matter what I did or where I went, the pain of longing was always with me.
The golden memories of Masood and dreams of his coming back are the only hope me and my children stick to. The children grew up, become big with time, so did the grief, it grew up too and it became bigger. Listen all those who have a heart and who care; no matter how much time has passed, me and my children are never going to come to terms with this dilemma, I want tell this to the world today. Our hearts have engulfed the pain of all the disappeared loved-ones and bearing the pangs of separation has given us a strong determination to fight for our Loved-one. This sacred mission is to bring back Masood and all the innocent loved ones safely home who are subjected to enforced disappearance.
We know what a mother feels when she waits for her disappeared son, when she remains bedridden for years as the wait is too painful , and then eventually dies with a dream unfulfilled .We know why families cry when their loved one die, killed in wars or forcefully taken away as illegal prisoners. The grief is that of all the aggrieved families of Gaza who are being killed by brutal bombings of irrational forces. What a father feels burying his beloved babies torn to pieces. Our hearts bleed with the same pain when a Waziristan based mother leaves behind dead bodies of her sons and burns in agony for others separated in ambush.
“Justice delayed is justice denied”
Masood has given us a big heart to feel for the pain of all the suffering, crushing and dying humanity. For me and my kids, Masood is not one person now he is a movement in search of justice and truth. He is an icon of hope for all the oppressed and aggrieved who are devoid of justice and their basic fundamental Human rights flagrantly violated. Masood is a passion of not giving up and never stopping unless motive is achieved.
He is a story of an unimaginable love, immense and boundless for everyone everywhere- across the globe.
Amina Masood Janjua
Defence of Human Rights, Pakistan
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.