June 30, 2010

Three months of traumatic stress & media blackout

By Ghulam Rehman

The writings of my elder brother, Habib R. Sulemani, had almost killed us! His novel, The Terrorland, has brought miseries to our entire family before publication. God knows what will happen when it sees light of day?

It is exact three months since he went into ‘hibernation’ after the first attempt on his life: a hit-and-run incident in Rawalpindi city, which is the headquarters of the Pakistan Army. Soon after this incident, he sought security from the government, demanding action against the accused, including some of his colleagues, a group of government officials and personnel of secret agencies.

My brother refused to come out of home until he was provided security. At this point, there were two more attempts to kill him and finish the story once and for all! He escaped a target killer’s bullet on the terrace of our house one day. Then one night, when all family members were sleeping, effort was made to enter our home but, fortunately, the inside bolt didn’t open.

My steel-nerved brother has informed his employers about the looming dangers besides writing to the government, several leaders and organizations. Last week, when a delegation of the management of Dawn Media Group – Manager Human Resources Mr. Khurshid Aizid and Publisher/Senior General Manager Mr. Tahir Owais – visited our home, he showed them the scene, seeking their help in registering criminal cases against the powerful accused.

We all – from my youngest sibling, Karim Rehman, 15, to our sexagenarian parents – are suffering in isolation since March this year when my younger sister, Nasira, came under a planned attack at the Karakoram International University (KIU) in Gilgit. According to a mass murder plot against our family, she was the primary target. However, the plot was uncovered and since then the planners have started a very organized propaganda campaign, trying to malign us in every way possible. We’ve been warned that it is just the beginning!

Despite the sacrifices of our family for this country (no need to repeat them), we’ve been labeled as 'unpatriotic'. Thus we've been isolated in the society. We're being tortured mentally in an engineered way—a crime against humanity.

Everyone at home is traumatized and under stress. My mother and sisters’ health is a bit normal but my father (who had come under direct attack from the KIU administration) is very sick. He is in Gulmit, the village being submerged by the Hunza dam that came into being after the devastating Atabad landslide.

Being a student of mass communication, I’m surprised to see the blackout of our family’s sufferings in our media. The media monopoly and cartelization of news has made the journalist community helpless! There’s fear. No one is ready to hear us. No one is ready to publish or broadcast our sufferings. This situation in the era of a democratic government is strange. It's against those professional ethics I’m being taught at university.

Let this be clear: we're not afraid of the powerful and their atrocities. We will fight for our basic human rights and dignity according to the laws of the country. We’ve refused to bow before a bunch of people in the government and media who’re abusing their power. The world is watching but, unfortunately, our elected government is in slumber!

I, on behalf of my family, want to make this point clear here today: if, due to the effects of trauma and stress or direct attack, something happens to anyone of us, especially my elderly parents, the governments of Pakistan would be responsible for it.


  1. I assume it was you who left a single line of comment at my blog. Thanks for bringing this blog to my attention. It is a true eye opener.

    Though I have previously written about the dark side of our secret agencies, I hadn't realised that the reality was much darker. May Allah give you the strength and the courage to continue with your struggle.

    Here is the link to the blog post I have alluded to above:


  2. Sir, Rehman Pakistani is a human rights activist and one of the moderators of this group blog. Thanks for your prayers. Be blessed.