Source: Foundation for Economic Education
Well the dictionary definition of feudalism goes as, “the dominant economic, political and social system in medieval Europe, in which the nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were in turn tenants of the nobles, while the peasants (villeins or serfs) were obliged to live on their lord's land and give him homage, labor, and a share of the produce, notionally in exchange for military protection.”
What it means for Pakistan
Source: Projects Era
In Pakistan however, it refers to the invincible power of corruption held by rich, old families and the nation’s undying skill at submitting to the injustices and cruelty, in the name of culture. The culture, which lets the rich landlords get away with almost everything including murder and multiple corruption cases. Large, powerful, landowning families are found to be terrifyingly entitled to get away with all the horrific acts, regardless of how inhumane and wrong they are.
The word "feudal" is used as an adjective in the context of Pakistan usually to refer to "a relatively small group of politically active and powerful landowners" and the rest is subtext. "Feudal attitude" basically translates to "a combination of arrogance and entitlement worn with pride like a batch of honor”. According to the Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research (PILER), about five percent of agricultural households in Pakistan own almost two thirds of Pakistan's entire farmland.
Remembering the insane power of corruption and cruelty, we are going to talk about the known victims of this system through out this read.
Fakhra Younus Younus was a dancer in a red-light district in Pakistan who had terrible misfortune of trusting and falling in with Bilal Khar, the son of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, who himself is a former Governor and Chief Minister of Pakistan's largest province, Punjab.
They got married and stayed married for three years, until Younus finally left him with the claims that he physically and verbally abused her. She further claimed that he later visited her in May 2000 and poured acid on her, in the presence of her 5-year-old son.
Younus committed suicide in 2012, at the age of thirty three by jumping from the sixth floor of a building in Rome, Italy. Her body was brought back to Pakistan by Durrani, and was wrapped in an Italian and Pakistani flag. The funeral prayer of Younus was held at Edhi home in Kharadar. She is buried at Karachi, Pakistan.
Source: Pakistan Today
Bilal Mustafa Khar is the son of Malik Ghulam Mustafa Khar who is a Pakistani politician and landlord and have served the Chief Minister of Punjab and Governor of Punjab.
Malik Ghulam Khar himself, married eight times. And was accused of several hideous crimes including domestic violence, so naturally his son Bilal Mustafa Khar also followed suit and just like his father, was never punished for his terrifyingly ugly crimes.
Source: The Nation
In December 2003, judge dismissed the charges on him and he was free once again to terrorize more women in Pakistan. Malik Ghulam Khar continued his pathetic claim of his son's innocence, by basically calling the victim impure and basically characterless, claiming that her perpetrator was a pimp with whom his wife had been having an affair.
One of Malik Ghulam Khar's marriages was to Tehmina Durrani, a Pakistani women's rights activist and author. Her first book, My Feudal Lord, released by Vanguard Books of Lahore in June 1991 caused controversy in Pakistan's society by describing her abusive and traumatic marriage to Ghulam Mustafa Khar.
Source: India Today
Tehmina Durrani who is Bilal Mustafa Khar's stepmother was the brave knight in shining armor who managed to send Fakhra Younus to Rome, Italy, for treatment. Initially she was denied a visa, but under public pressure, she was allowed to leave for Italy. Tehmina Durrani engaged the Italian cosmetic firm Saint Angelic and Italian government to treat her.
Smile Again, an Italian NGO head by Clarice Felli entered Pakistan to assist in the care of mutilated women.
The democratic framework in Pakistan is constructed on the basis of a huge number of causes, feudalism being one of the major causes, which undermines basic government and impedes social balance.
Politicians of this unfortunate country however, keep insisting that democratic government is the best framework, even it has proved to be catastrophic in last seventy plus years.
Feudalism is basically frequently utilized as a platform, existing for the sole purpose of portraying a power structure within a rural society. As explained by Syed Nawab Haider Naqvi, Mahmood Hasan Khan & M. Chaudhry Ghaffar in Land Reforms in Pakistan: a Historical Perspective “The land-tenure system which Pakistan inherited at Independence represented in many ways a symbiosis of structural relationships that permitted economic and social exploitation of the tenant by the landlord. […]
This system of land tenure was characterized by absentee landlordism and led to the exploitation of tenants by the zamindars because of the highly uneven power structure inherent in the system.” According to statistical reports, 80 per cent of people elected as representatives in Punjab are feudal lords, whereas in Sindh the number hits 90 per cent. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Jahangir Tareen and the newly elected Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah are to name a few.
Source: Geo TV
Shahzeb Khan was shot to death at the age of twenty by Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur with the aid of Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, on 25 December 2012 in Karachi.
Shahzeb was gunned down for trying to protect his sister against sexual harassment on their way home from his sister’s wedding with his other sister, when he crossed paths with Shahrukh Jatoi and his friends/servants who started throwing sexual slurs at his sister. Shahzeb, firmly ask them to stop, launched a physical assault on the boy.
A fight broke out between Shahzeb Khan and Shahrukh Jatoi and his friends, Shahzenb’s father, DSP Aurangzeb Khan sensing the danger of his son standing to this feudal landlord, quickly intervened to resolve the conflict and seemingly succeeded on a good note.
After Shahruk Jatoi and his friends left And everything appeared resolved and normal, Shahzeb, oblivious to the lingering danger and vengefulness of this Sindhi landlord, decided to have tea with is friends.
He drove near Mubarak Masjid, where Talpur and his friend Shahrukh Jatoi followed him, along with Jatoi’s armed guards and started shooting at the car. Four 9mm bullets pierced through his car to enter his body, leaving him severely injured and eventually murdered, silencing the voice of anyone who ever dared to have a voice against the corrupt power of feudalism in Pakistan.
According to several records claiming that after mowing down Shahzeb Khan, Shahrukh Jatoi went back to shoot more bullets into the injured twenty year old to make sure he never wakes up.
Shahrukh Jatoi is the son of a feudal landlord Sikandar Jatoi, and this factor alone, belonging to one of most influential feudal families in Pakistan, who have connections to people in all of the powerful positions, enables this murdered to get away with any and every crime, including sexual, murder, illegal possession of weapons, fleeing country on false documents and lying on the stand about his age.
Now regarding the fact that Jatoi basically lied on the stand and there were actually twenty two witnesses to his ugly crime and Shahzeb’s sister also testified the events of the night, ATC finally awarded death penalty to Jatoi and Siraj Talpur on 7th June, 2013, for Shahzeb Khan’s sadistic murder and Siraj Talpur’s younger brother Sajjad Ali Talpur and his servant Ghulam Murtaza Lashari were sentenced a life in prison.
The retrials were held at Sindh High Court which revoked the punishments previously awarded to reopen the case on 28th November 2017.
Source: Twitter @Jeroriain
Feudalism in Pakistan, is what our British rulers left behind, it’s their legacy in Pakistan, except for the fact that they got over it years ago while we’re still clinging to the toxic paradigm for the sake of the momentum of things.
All that because we simply do not want to stop and reflect on how things really are, because we are just so terrified of change that we don’t want to grow but keep repeating the same old mistakes, regardless of how destructive they really are.
We want to keep repeating the mistakes because they are, even though toxic, but still familiar.
Feudal system in Pakistan, inherited from the horrifically biased British social and economical system where a labor or worker is known as a vassal have to serve king’s land to get a chance at owning the piece of land in return. Basically British rulers introduced three land revenue systems, that is the zamindari system, the ryotwari system and the mahalwari system. As is commonly called “wadera system” or “jagidarana nizam”.
Wali Khan Babar
Source: Committee to Protect Journalists
Wali Khan Babar was a twenty eight year old Pakistani journalist working for GEO News who was killed by gunmen in the Liaquatabad area of Karachi.
Wali Khan Babar was gunned down on January 13, 2011, when he was returning home from the office. His murderers Saulat Mirza and Faisal Mota who are target killers of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), were sentenced to death by the court on March 10, 2015. Later in the year, police said that at least 17 men were involved in the murder plot.
Several witnesses in the murder case have been killed including a police informant, two police constables, and the brother of an investigating officer. Syed Mohammad Ali Rizvi, Shahrukh alias Mani, Naveed alias Polka and Shakil alias Malik had also been indicted for the murder.
"One of the constables, Asif Rafiq, was on the scene when Babar was murdered and had identified the plotters' vehicle.
On November 10, 2012, two gunmen aboard a motorcycle killed Haidar Ali, the only remaining witness in the case, near his home in the Soldier Bazaar area of Karachi. He was due to testify in court two days later," according to CPJ. On August 18, 2017 the Sindh High Court (SHC) overturned the death sentence of Faisal Mehmood, alias Mota who is the main accused in 2011 murder case of Babar, the primary accused in the Wali Khan Babar case and ordered a retrial by the lower courts.
Major Feudal Wealth
Source: World - Time
Old feudal families in Pakistan actually possess hundreds and, in some cases, even thousands of acres of land, while making little or near negligible direct contribution to agricultural production, which is handled by common people who live at subsistence level, starving with no access to education or any form of humane opportunities to build a better life for themselves.
All the while, Feudal landlords basically build a form of kingdom for themselves, a state within a state where they can be kings of ruling over poor people, their own believers, enough to make them take decisions of several lives and even deaths in their own hands.
Source: India Times
Mukhtaran Bibi now known as Mukhtar Mai, who survived gang rape at hand of feudalism, is a Pakistani woman from the village of Meerwala, in the rural county of Jatoi of the Muzaffargarh District of Pakistan.
In June 2002, Mukhtar Mai was the survivor of a gang rape as a form of honour revenge, on the orders of a tribal council of the local Mastoi Baloch clan that was richer and more powerful as opposed to her Tatla clan in that region.
Even though Pakistani custom actually expected Mukhtar Mai to commit suicide after being raped, Mukhtaran spoke up, and pursued the case, which was picked up by both domestic and international media. On 1 September 2002, an anti-terrorism court sentenced 6 men, including the 4 rapists to death for rape.
In 2005, the Lahore High Court cited "insufficient evidence" and acquitted 5 of the 6 convicted, and commuted the punishment for the sixth man to a life sentence. Mukhtaran and the government appealed this decision, and the Supreme Court suspended the acquittal and held appeal hearings. In 2011, the Supreme Court too acquitted the accused.
Even now, while the safety of Mukhtaran, and her family and friends, has been in jeopardy. Mukhtar Mai remains an outspoken advocate for women's rights. She started the Mukhtar Mai Women's Welfare Organization to help support and educate Pakistani women and girls.
Source: BBC News
Abdul Shakoor called Shakur with love by his family, is Mukhtar Mai's 12-year-old brother, was abducted by three baloch Mastoi men. He was taken to a sugar field where he was gang raped and sodomized repeatedly. When the boy refused to stay silent about the incident, he was kept imprisoned in the home of Abdul Khaliq, a Mastoi man.
When police came to investigate, Shakoor was instead accused of having an affair with Khaliq's sister, Salma Naseen, who was in her late 20s at the time. Shakoor was then arrested on charges of adultery but later released. In later trials, Shakoor's rapists were convicted of sodomy and sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment.
Source: Tribune India
The Mastoi tribal council called jirga convened separately regarding Shakoor's alleged affair with Naseen. They concluded that Shakoor should marry Naseen while Mai who is a Gujar tribeswoman, be married to a Mastoi man.
Villagers rejected this conclusion due to the belief that adultery must be punished with adultery. Mai was called to the council to apologize to the Mastoi tribe for her brother's actions.
When she arrived, she was dragged to a nearby hut where she was gang raped in retaliation by 4 Mastoi men while an additional 10 people watched. Following the rape, she was paraded nude through the village. Her clothes were presented as evidence in court and following the medical examination of Mukhtaran and chemical analysis of her clothes at least two semen stains were revealed.
Political Influence Of Feudalism in Pakistan
Source: Global Village Space
Pakistan’s major political parties are held by a bunch of feudal landlords, and more than two thirds of the National Assembly that is the lower house of the legislature, is composed of feudal class.
Topped with the fact that most of the key executive posts in the provinces are held by them.
To begin with, the Pakistan Muslim League party which layed Pakistan’s foundation about more than seventy years ago, was almost completely dominated by feudal lords such as the Zamindars, Jagirdars, Nawabs, Nawabzadas, Mansabdars, Arbabs, Makhdooms, and Sardars, the sole exception being the Jinnahs who were merchants and lawyers and the Sharifs who were industrialists. But the power is corrupted to the inhumane level of evil.
“The feudal system and bribery are the root causes of many evils in Pakistan and they must be rooted out.”
This was stated by the Deputy Attorney-General of Pakistan, Abdul Fateh Malik. It is not just rural landed illiterates which are accused of the curse of this feudal mindset, but also urban mafias which have been smitten by this evil.
Both run private torture cells, private jails and armed criminal gangs and are involved in land grabbing, and prevail on law enforcement agencies, exploiting their political influences, each joining every government that is in power in their province or at federal level.
This one, is personal. I don't know how I remember this considering Shehnaz died when I was 4 years old, so I wouldn’t dare make any claim on it but I remember.
She was our maid, And I'm going to tell her story today, as I remember it and I remember my 4 year old self crying about it, possibly traumatized, which would explain why I remember it still. I remember her as a skinny young girl wiping the floor in her unusually colorful clothes, I remember her beautiful brown face with black, I have this image of her like a flash memory.
Source: The Nation
She was nice to me, pretty friendly, and I remember myself evesdropping from the open front door, as some woman tells my mom that the nineteen year old Shehnaz ran away with a guy she loved but her family found her order of the tribal council and beat her until her legs broke and she was disabled, and more over she was forced into marriage with a fifty year old from her tribe as a punishment.
And they killed her lover. Shehnaz died a year after her marriage, possible in child birth.
I may not be able to authenticate details of Shehnaz’s story but Abdul Shakoor, Mukhtar Mai, Wali Khan Babar, Tehmina Durrani, Fakhra Younus, Shahzeb Khan and then those who did not receive media coverage, they suffer still. Is there hope?