Whodunit? All of them

 A fine memoir of a wronged man who refuses to go for the jugular.

The story of Iftikhar Gilani's days in prison reads like a textbook case of all that is wrong with the criminal justice system in this part of the world. It is also the story of paranoia, prejudice and apathy, all of which found full play in a system that boasts of a functioning and "independent" judiciary and a "vibrant" media trained to examine and analyse the facts of each case. Years from now, retired Intelligence Bureau officials, much-feted retired bureaucrats, and perhaps even honourably retired justices in the know, will reflect on Iftikhar Gilani's case in their memoirs, and as is the wont of many such eminent retirees, will point to what went wrong, and how it could have, indeed, should have, been set right. 'Retrospect' is a comforting, eminently huggable word — it will soothe those occasional pangs of conscience.

For nearly seven months — the time it might take to write half a book, or see your daughter through her final exams and graduation, or launch a successful advertising campaign — Gilani under-went torture and humiliation in Tihar Jail and assaults on his reputation through the shameful conduct of the media. The simple act of downloading a published document, widely available in the public domain, led to a nightmare that began with armed men and brusque officials taking over his house in the middle of the night. Not only did they ransack Gilani's house and tamper with the data in question, they fed false information to a press, which, barring a few exceptions, lapped it up.

Loading content, please wait...
Himal Southasian