Did you know your grandfather Mr Chief Justice?
I knew mine rather well for a man with 21 grandchildren. His name was Nasir Ahmed Chaudhry.
He lived to be 90-years-old and was a retired Major-General. He was killed on May 28, 2010 in the attack on the Model Town Ahmadi “place of worship” – first wounded by a grenade and then shot repeatedly by a terrorist. These are the facts; you can read them in any number of newspaper articles.
Let me tell you what the papers don’t know.
My nana used to pick me up from kindergarten while I lived in Lahore.
He would buy me chhalli every single day, even if he had to drive for forty minutes searching for a corn vendor.
He liked pizza.
He limped because he had a bullet in his leg from a war he fought to keep you and me safe.
He taught me how to play chess.
He used to reward his grandchildren whenever they got an ‘A.’
Every time I saw him, he would ask me about my three promises. These were promises he would try to extract from me – usually things like, say my prayers and read the Holy Quran. He tried to get me to promise to always be home before sunset, but that one didn’t work out too well. Every time I told him I was keeping one or more of the promises with regularity, he would switch them around. It was his way of making me a better person.
The last time I saw nana he made me promise that while I was in the United States on my vacation I would teach his first great-grandson to say a prayer. I landed at JFK on the May 28 and was told that while I had been asleep over the Atlantic, there had been a gruesome attack on Baitul Noor and my nana had been martyred there. It helped to learn that he had been brave to the end, that he had stayed calm, sat down on a chair in a prominent position, guided people to safety and exhorted them to pray. I would expect no less of him Mr Chief Justice; he was a brave man, had been a Major-General and had led that “place of worship” as its Sadr for many years.
Why am I telling you all of this Mr Chief Justice?
The man who killed my grandfather was captured alive on May 28, 2010. He was not killed or harmed by the unarmed Ahmadis who overpowered him; though you have to admit, their provocation was great. They handed him over to the authorities because that was the right thing to do; that is how justice is supposed to be served.
I’m sorry to report, Mr Chief Justice, that the trail of justice has gone cold.
Where is the man who killed nana?
Will he undergo a trial?
Is he in jail?
Is he already home, planning another attack?
I met Ayaan, my nana’s first great-grandson last year and cooed the prayer at him for hours. Unfortunately, he was barely a year old and not really speaking as yet. Don’t worry, Mr Chief Justice, I’ll keep trying and get him to say it when I see him next. You see, I know I have to keep my promises. I hope you know that too.
I asked you if you knew your grandfather Mr Chief Justice, but to tell you the truth that was a rhetorical question. If you have read this to the end, you know my grandfather. And, you know what your promises demand – your solemn oath to “do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.”