Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chapter no. 12: The Decision (II)

The preceding of the court had been started for ten minutes and Saqib hadn’t reached yet.

The lawyer of Saqib had stated that he is on the way and got late due to traffic jam, but he looked worried.

Ilaaf standing in the witness box was looking silently the precedings heading to a decisive phase. Muazzam Rana while arguing in a peaceful tone then requested to the Magistrate that court now should announce the verdict of the case as soon as possible, as Saqib and his lawyer couldn’t present any evidences or witness.

Everybody believed that certainly now the decision would be in the favor of Ilaaf, and this accident will be declared as an incidental accident. Ilaaf himself was waiting for those few formal words from Magistrate’s side for which this drama had been created.

There was the grave silence in the court room, and in that silence bending his head down Ilaaf was just feeling his heavy breathing, but this feeling vanished after a while when he heard the heavy footfalls.

Like a deadbody he raised his head and looked at the enterance door, and just then everything around him went motionless.

He was Saqib who entered court room almost running, and just behind him…….either it was a ruse or just a thought he couldn’t decide, but it mingled the elixir of life in the dead breath of Ilaaf.

He saw Qandeel without blinking his eyes. In black clothing, covering her head with black stole, she was just Qandeel who entered the court room following Saqib, and her eyes were just on Magistrate or towards Saqib, and didn’t feel the need to look at any other face.

Ilaaf felt like his heart will come out of his chest, he had never felt his heartbeat so irregular. He couldn’t understand it was a dream or reality……but how could it be a reality, why would Qandeel come to court, what she would have to do here? He kept looking her, and didn’t move his eyelashes, so that Qandeel couldn’t be vanished or dissipated into the air.

Saqib was now excusing to Magistrate for reaching late.

Ilaaf looked; Qandeel was seated on a chair at the corner.

Accepting his apology, Magistrate asked the same question to Saqib what he had asked to his lawyer earlier.

“Sir, I want to present a witness, who is an eye witness of this accident and who would prove that it was not just an incidental accident, infact it was the result of recklessness of Ilaaf.” Ilaaf was surprised. So, finally Saqib succeeded to get a witness, but who was that witness Ilaaf hadn’t any idea about that, because even then his complete attention was towards Qandeel.

Ilaaf had seen, the rough hairs were probably tied up firmly because not for a single time they tried to come out of her stole. In black clothing with black sandel, her feet were shining like golden sand, her face had an eternal peace, keeping both hands in her lap she was looking the entire preceding silently.

Magistrate asked the name of the witness.

“Qandeel Yousuf.” The sky was fallen over his head; he felt a hammer just hit his brains.

The lawyer of Saqib asked Qandeel to come into witness box.

Ilaaf saw Qandeel standing.

So, Qandeel had decided, to support Saqib Nauman Hassan and not him, to stand with the truth, to give statement against Ilaaf.

Ilaaf was surprised, why he couldn’t have an idea before that what could be the purpose of Qandeel coming into the court, he should have understood immediately. Whoelse other than Qandeel Yousuf had enough courage to stand with the truth, without caring about the power of Qaiser Laashari and caring about her life.

She came to the witness box like was walking in the park, and once she stood in the witness box exactly opposite to him then, for the first time Qandeel raised her eyes and looked Ilaaf.

In these so many days, for the first time Ilaaf felt like he was alive and even now, a pleasant moment is still there in his life. Hatred, disgust and anger, whatever he was expecting, nothing was there in that sight, just was quietness and a nameless impression, giving name to that impression was not possible for Ilaaf.

Now she was attentive towards the lawyer, who was asking questions.

“Had you been to foodstreet that evening on 6th February?”


“What would be the time?”

“Three quarter past five.”

“Who was accompanying you?”

“My friend, Maryam Bari.”

“Which restaurant you people were in?”

Qandeel had told the name of the restaurant.

“Any evidence related to your presence there?”

“Yes.” Qandeel had confidently given the payement slip to the lawyer, which she was holding in her hand, and which had order number, date, time and name of restaurant printed on it. Showing slip to the Magistrate, lawyer gave that slip to Saqib, and once again asked question.

“Where were you, the moment accident occurred?”

“Outside the restaurant, few yards to the enterance door, just near the parking area.”

“What was the exact time of the accident, you remember?”

“Thirteen past seven.” Turning his head Ilaaf looked Adnan sitting in front of him, and he could have idea with the changing color of his face that what would he be feeling, looking Qandeel telling the truth; he already hadn’t a good opinion about Qandeel. The peace of Muazzam Rana’s face was also transforming into agitation.

Ilaaf once again looked Qandeel; she was undoubtedly an amazing girl whose every attribute was entirely different from the other one, and that astonishing girl used to rule his heart with her each and every characteristic.

“Now you tell the court each and every detail of the incident that you know as an eyewitness of this accident.”

Qandeel started telling the details of the incident.

Ilaaf was surprised; she remembered each and every minute detail related to the accident, certainly she had a spectacular memory.

She told the number and color of Jawwad’s jeep, she told about the attire and features of Jawwad while she hadn’t seen Jawwad once after that day, and then she told the color of Ilaaf’s shirt he was wearing that day, the features and attires of boys sitting in the car along with Ilaaf; Adnan, Shariq, and Rohail, she didn’t show sympathy for anyone. After that she briefly described that how Ilaaf and Jawwad turned their cars from roundabout and u-turn violating the traffic rules, and then she told the distance that was between Arsheen’s fourseater and Jawwad’s jeep, and between Jawwad’s jeep and Ilaaf’s car, almost exactly what it was.

Ilaaf was unable to feel anything that moment, he was just hearing her voice, the voice which his ears couldn’t hear for last one month, and it had made no difference whatever that voice was saying for him that moment.

She was proving Ilaaf a liar, cheater, and a fraud, but anyhow she wasn’t wrong and was telling the truth, her each single word was true, she was true like her pure and illuminating soul.

Now Qandeel was telling the details of the accident. How Ilaaf hit his car to Jawwad’s jeep, how the jeep losing its balance and speed had hit the fourseater driven by Arsheen and as a result how Arsheen’s car had hit the fence outside the restaurant and its windscrren was smashed, the front door was dented, and behind Jawwad’s jeep Ilaaf’s car stopped too that is the proof that the brakes of Ilaaf’s car were not failed. Then she repeated the entire situation after the accident, and then told the colors of the dresses Arsheen, Nausheen and Rukhsana Nauman were wearing, she had told everything that could be helpful to make her statement valid and strong.

Ilaaf had seen a fog over Adnan’s face.

Qandeel went quiet. The lawyer of Saqib asked few more questions and then went to his original position.

Magistrate asked Muazzam Rana to ask questions from Qandeel.

Ilaaf saw, Muazzam Rana had asked few questions as well out of which some were sensible while some were highly stupid questions, but Qandeel answered his each and every question fearlessly. A clever man like Muazzam Rana even couldn’t entangle Qandeel in cross questioning, because at that moment he was bit puzzled and confused himself, and then he went quiet as well.

Qandeel was aked to go back at her seat.

There was complete silence in the court for few minutes.

Ilaaf hadn’t cared, what was going to happen, it hadn’t made any difference for him, he just wanted to see Qandeel for few more minutes, he wanted to surround her face with his eyes by pausing those moments.

Qandeel wasn’t looking him; she was sitting with her sight downward. Saqib who was looking extremely excited and hopeful as compare to last hearing, now was whispering in her ear and, on which Qandeel had gazed Saqib smiling, and didn’t know why that moment Ilaaf’s heart was just incised out.

Saqib sitting near her like this, and whispering in her ear, Ilaaf had felt very bad about it. Totally unconcerned from the decision of his future life, that moment he was just feeling jealousy for Saqib in his heart. Then he heard Magistrate saying something.

The bail of Ilaaf was going to be cancelled then and there, and he was ordered to be kept in lock-up till the further precedings. Jawwad, Sahil, Adnan, Rohail and Shaiq were being included for investigation in the case as co-defendants, and court ordered to gather some more evidences from site of accident and to present in the next hearing. The next hearing was after eight days.

The court was adjourned.

Ilaaf had seen people rising from their seats. Magistrate had left, and now he was being handcuffed. Ilaaf had seen Qandeel leaving the court room along with Saqib; he wasn’t concerned about the handcuffs getting hold of his hands, even that moment he wanted to just see Qandeel one more time.

Adnan and Muazzam Rana came near him, and now were consoling him that they will soon restore bail for him.

He didn’t want to get bail, he wanted penalty, the punishment that Qandeel Yousuf decided for him to get. Walking with policemen silently he came out of the court room, and just then his searching eyes got some peace. Standing besides Saqib on the stairs of court she was in the enclosure of journalists and reporters, and was avoiding giving the answers of their questions. Saqib was trying to cope up with the situation and all of them. Ilaaf looked, in that constricted enclosure she was standing so close to Saqib that her shoulder was almost touching Saqib’s arm.

For a while Saqib kept answering them, and then he held Qandeel’s wrist with one hand and started moving forward incising the circle.

A shooting pain just penetrated inside Ilaaf’s heart.

While moving ahead, Qandeel suddenly turned her head and had seen Ilaaf, and that was just one single moment when Ilaaf felt like Qandeel wanted to stay there, wanted to talk to Ilaaf, something that she couldn’t say to Ilaaf in the court in the presence of so many people and now wanted to say, but perhaps this was just a mere thought. Saqib had opened the front door of the car and made her to sit inside.

The journalists and reporters were now heading to Ilaaf, but before that they could attack him with questions, in the form of a crowd, Ilaaf went into the police mobile,outside Adnan and Muazzam Rana were answering the questions of media, and his own mind was just drowned in that one sight of Qandeel.

The mobile was now moving, everything was in motion but inside him were only those two eyes and that view which was just paused and wasn’t going forward.

When did he reach in lock-up, when did the daylight turn into dark night he couldn’t know anything. In that narrow and dark room, sitting on hard surface of the floor didn’t know how long he kept thinking about Qandeel, neither he felt that ground uncomfortable nor did he feel any difficulty breathing inside that congested dark room.

Qandeel wanted him to be penalized, to be punished. She had decided, and Ilaaf had to accept her decision at any cost. Nothing else was important for him, just what Qandeel wanted, and her decision. As much as he was thinking, finding himself changed inside out.

Then he thought. What if he couldn’t confess his mistake in the court earlier, he could do it now, and now that confession could have more importance than before, because initially if he would have confessed and given true statement then, it would be easier for Baba Saaiyen to declare and prove him mentally ill and thus making that statement meaningless, but now in current situation when he already had attended two hearings and everybody knew that he was perfectly fine physically as well as mentally, now the false medical reports even would be unable to prove that statement weak and unreliable.

Yes, that was true, now he could be able to give his true statement in the court, could confess his wrong act, and after that even if Qaiser Laashari would have tried to prove that Ilaaf’s is mentally disturbed then this trick couldn’t be as useful as it was in previous situation.

Night was passing, he neither felt hunger nor thirst, he just remembered Qandeel, he wanted to see her, wanted to talk to her, and wanted to tell her that the punishment that she had decided for Ilaaf, he is ready to accept thay by heart.

In that grave silence, with drowsy eyes he had seen a light far away, and then the heavy door was opened with a cracky noise. Ilaaf kept sitting with his head down, and he didn’t try to raise his head and see who has come.

“Ilaaf, get up. I have come to take you.” It was Adnan’s voice. He was surprised, why Adnan had come there?

Ilaaf looked him raising his head then said in expressionless tone.

“I don’t want to get bail. Why have you got bail for me?”

Adnan sat down over his tiptoes, and then said like a lost gambler.

“Couldn’t get the bail, Ilaaf. I am sorry for that.” Ilaaf gazed him with an astonishing look. If they hadn’t got the bail then what the hell Adnan was doing there.

“But I can’t leave you here to spend your night here. Let’s go home with me right now; you haven’t eaten anything since morning. Take you dinner at home, have some rest, and then I will drop you here before morning. Nobody will know that where were you the whole night; everybody would think you were in lock-up.” Ilaaf gazed him.

Was it so easy in real for his father and Adnan to make a mockery of the law, did none of the policemen present outside could remember their duty, is that so easy to be sold for just some money? These were questions whose answers were not possible even for Ilaaf.

“I don’t have to go anywhere, I am perfectly fine here. Just leave.” Ilaaf replied in a plane tone changing the direction of his face.

“Don’t be mad, Ilaaf. I am already really worried for you; an ordinary girl just turned the entire theme. But anyhow, we will see her, what does she think she is, a so called witness.” The disgust that was hidden in the tone of Adnan for Qandeel had blazed a fire inside Ilaaf.

He pushed back Adnan with his full power.

“Mind your language, Adnan. I will blow your face if you said a single word against her.”

Adnan gazed him surprisingly, and couldn’t answer him for a while then said.

“You would make me quiet, but how would you force others to be quiet.”

“Whoever said anything against her, I will force everyone to be quiet, and those who will not keep their mouth shut, I won’t leave them in position to say anything.”

“How would you keep your father’s mouth shut, Ilaaf, who is extremely angry at the moment and can take some strict decision.”

“Baba Saaiyen won’t do anything like that, I won’t let him to do so, and I won’t let anybody to harm Qandeel even a bit.”

“No one else other than herself would be responsible for anything that happens with her and if she gets harmed. Giving a statement against you in the court, she not only made Qaiser Uncle her enemy but your whole family to stand against her, and you know very well that Qaiser Uncle wouldn’t let you to be charged for this mistake even if he has to take serious steps for that.” Adnan was looking bit worried; perhaps he had an idea about the severity of the situation, more than Ilaaf.

“If Qandeel gets just a single scratch even then I won’t forgive anyone, not even myself.” He kept thinking, and then something inside his mind forced him to stand.

He wanted to go with Adnan, wanted to have an idea about the situation. He wanted to prevent Baba Saaiyen to take any severe step.

Both of them left very silently.

In the darkness of that night, the car of Adnan was flying towards home.

They reached within twenty minutes. Ilaaf came inside but couldn’t see Baba Saaiyen anywhere. Jumping over the stairs he came up and just then his heartbeat went unmoved.

The door of his room was unlocked and opened, while he had locked the room himself before leaving in the morning. However, he had forgotten the key on the shelf leaving in rush, and now he was feeling very angry inside out.

Because of the silly mistakes he was committing, the situation was becoming worse with each passing day.

He came inside, as was expected Baba Saaiyen was in his room, and sitting on the couch was deeply thinking.

Fazal who was collecting the tea cup from the table, stopped while looking Ilaaf coming inside.

“Why did you unlock my room without my permission?” He barked.

Fazal kept standing with his head down silently.

“I asked Fazal to unlock your room, and by the way I had picked the key from shelf and gave to Fazal.” Ilaaf looked Baba Saaiyen when he said.

“Entering into someone’s bedroom without his permission is unethical, Baba Saaiyen.”

“Don’t teach me the lessons of ethics, Ilaaf.” Till then Fazal had left and Adnan had come inside.

“This is my bedroom, not a drawingroom. Both of you please leave my room right away.” He said in a dry tone.

There was silence for a while then, Qaiser Laashari rose and came near to him.

“We are waiting for you outside in the lounge. Get fresh yourself and come there.” His tone was very strange. “And by the way, put down all these pictures as soon as possible, otherwise I will ask someone myself to throw them in the store.” He said indicating towards the pictures of Qandeel hanging on the walls.

It was a spark which burnt a fire inside Ilaaf.

“This is my house and this room is mine, what would happen here and what not, this is to be decided by me and not you, and it is better for you not to touch these pictures. I hanged each and every picture here on these walls with my own hands, and these would be hanging there forever. Neither you nor any other one can displace these pictures from these walls.” Ilaaf said each and every word chewing in his mouth and then moving few steps forward stood there silently.

“I could never imagine that your choice would be so despicable, Ilaaf.”

Somebody had thrown acid over Ilaaf’s face, perhaps he could never have felt the pain with an acid what he felt due to this foul word by his father, the abusive that was given him and Qandeel both. He turned back and saw Qaiser Laashari, and that moment if he could have forgotten just for a moment, the reality that the man was his father, then certainly he would have taken revenge of this foul with that man.

“Despicable is not my choice, despicable is your thinking, Baba Saaiyen, which analyzes people not on their character and temperament instead on their wealth, status and power.” His tone was poisonous.

Having an idea about the severity of the moment, Adnan asked Qaiser Laashari to go out with him.

Both of them left his room.

Sitting on the bed Ilaaf took a deep breath.

The situation was becoming worse, and he was unable to find a way to escape out, he was unable to decide what to do, so that everything could go well. His brain was going to freeze, and he was sick of thinking.

He wasn’t concerned about any other thing that moment just was worried for Qandeel, and her safety. Now he could never be able to expect anything from his selfish father; the man who could call an innocent girl despicable without knowing her, the same man could cross any limit to take away that girl from his son’s life, and in any case the statement given by Qandeel in the court had already made the issue complicated.

He could tolerate anything, but it was unbearable for him that Qandeel gets even a little pain just because of him.

He wanted to keep Qandeel away from every storm, every difficulty and misery, and that’s why he had decided that he would protect Qandeel and save her no matter what price he would have to pay in return, and he would save her at any cost.

Getting fresh when he came out then Fazal had already set the dining table downstairs in the lounge.

Ilaaf had his dinner silently, and then he rested on the couch.

Qaiser Laashari and Adnan were already sitting there.

There was silence for a while and then he heard Adnan saying.

“I think both of you should handle this issue with a cool mind, without getting angry, and to find out a solution which would be acceptable for everyone.” Unexpectedly, Adnan was talking sensible stuff.

“I don’t have to try to handle anything, I have decided.” This time Ilaaf with his half opened eyes, saw Baba Saaiyen, he wanted to know what his decision was.

“Adnan, contact that girl and her father tomorrow, and ask them what their worth is, I will pay no matter how much they would ask.” Ilaaf got extremely angry hearing this from Baba Saaiyen but he controlled himself.

“The girl just created this drama to get money, ask her to tell her price, I will give whatever she would ask just for the sake of life and honor of Ilaaf.”

“She can not be sold, Baba Saaiyen.” He gazed Ilaaf. “If she could be sold then, perhaps low-minded son of a low-minded father would have given away everything he had and in return would have bought her just for a moment, but she can not be sold. One can not buy her even at the cost of entire universe; nobody can estimate her price, her worth, no one.”

There was complete silence for a while and then Qaiser Laashari said.

“If she can not be sold, then she will have to remain quiet, will have to shut her mouth, otherwise in any case she would herself be responsible for any outcome, because I can not take risk on my entire life earning, on life of my son, just because of that valueless girl.” Ilaaf was amazed; he was just like an earning for his father and nothing more than that.

“She is one among those who remain firm on their words, and she will never withdraw from her statement.” Ilaaf said.

“Ok, its fine. Then her death is better for all of us.” Qaiser Laashari had said this so peacefully like this has no meaning for him, and Ilaaf had just saw the dreadful face of his father that moment.

He rose and came close to him, and then kept looking him.

“I feel sorry for myself, that I am your son, the son of a man for whom, a human being, an innocent life doesn’t possess any importance or value. But one thing that you need to rememeber very clearly is that, if Qandeel gets a single scratch on her body, then whatever would be the outcome, you won’t be able to bear that.”

“If Qandeel gets a scratch then what would be the outcome?” Qaiser Laashari looked into Ilaaf’s eyes standing.

“Then I will give this statement in the court myself that I have committed a crime and my father tried to hide this crime by presenting the false evidences and witnesses, and you know very well that at that moment even those fasle medical reports that you would present to show my mental illness, would not be able to prove my statement wrong.”

A poisonous smile just appeared on Qaiser Laashari’s face.

“And if I eradicate Qandeel Yousuf’s presence in this world then……?”

For the first time, Ilaaf surely had an idea that Qaiser Laashari was extremely senseless; he just had cared and worshiped his desires, and wasn’t interested in anything else.

“If it happened then you will have to lose your son as well.” This time the smile was disappeared from Qaiser Laashari’s face. “Qandeel is my life, the day she wouldn’t live in this world then, I wouldn’t like to live here too.”

He turned back and came towards stairs.

“Alright, nothing will happen to Qandeel.” Hearing Baba Saaiyen he turned.

“She will live, but she will have to withdraw from her statement she has given in the court.”

“I don’t think so that expecting this from her would be sensible.”

“You don’t have to worry about that, leave that for us. I assure you that Qandeel will be secured and wouldn’t get harmed, but you won’t demand anything else. What we do to make her withdrawing from her statement, you won’t argue regarding that, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible for me to guarantee her safety, because this is for sure in any case, I am not going you to be proven as a criminal, this would be disgusting for us.” Ilaaf couldn’t answer for a while.

His brain was moving very fast, he was thinking, what he had to do. He wanted Qandeel’s happiness, and confessing his mistake in the court wanted to get rid of this load over his heart, but as a result he was going to put Qandeel’s life at risk in the hands of his own father.

The fate again had sent him on a strange two-way road. A new test, a new trial, and Ilaaf had no choice. Qandeels’ life was most important thing for him in the world, and he could not give priority to any other thing over Qandeel’s safety.

“I accept, but one thing I want to remind you, that if Qandeel gets harmed in any case then the outcome would be worst for everyone.”

“Nothing will happen to Qandeel, but we won’t let her to be a witness against you, and you will remain quiet, and won’t interfere in anything nor would speak about it.”

Ilaaf was standing at the peak of the mountain, at the back of which there was a deep ditch full of thorns and, ahead there was a burning sea, death was behind and the hell was ahead, but he hadn’t any third option, and he had to choose one among both of them.

He moved at the first step, and decided to jump in the fire of the hell.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chapter no. 12: The Decision (I)

Qandeel had come out of that state of quietness, but even then was still entangled with some confusion. Sometimes she used to think that Baba is right, and in this whole case more than Ilaaf, his family was rather involved, and sometimes again like earlier she used to believe that how it was possible to happen without the consent of Ilaaf, and Ilaaf himself had given the same statement in the court what the witnesses had given, so how it was possible that this was happpned without Ilaaf’s consent.

It was extremely difficult for her to decide anything that she herself wanted to fly away from this confusion and to get some peace; this continuous agitation had made her life very difficult; had told her decision to Baba but even then didn’t know why there was something missing, something was left behind; she used to feel burden of some responsibility on her fragile shoulders, but which responsibility, she couldn’t understand yet. The heart was still bearing some load, some strange idea, some unheard thought, some unsaid words, what it was, she was still confused.

Anyhow, she was much better now, and had come out of that silence, and it was pretty good for her because she used to live very busy life, and with that quietness it had become quite difficult for her to accomplish her daily responsibilities with full concentration.

That day, before leaving for the office she told Baba that after office she has an intention to visit Nauman Hassan’s home in order to see Nausheen. Baba went happy with this decision of her as she hadn’t visited Nausheen once during last whole month.

Finishing her daily tasks as soon as she could and left the office sometime before time; had already told Maryam and so directly hired a rickshaw and went straight to the home of Nauman Hassan. The gatekeeper opened the gate looking her; she gave her Salam to the gatekeeper and entered the gate. Despite of the reality that in last few years she had visited this place rarely, even then the gatekeeper knew her very well, and the reason was again Yousuf Mairaj; his goodness was always proved to be a blessing for Qandeel.

Crossing the vast porch she came towards inside and just then met Saqib at the enterance door. He met warmheartedly; perhaps he went happy to see Qandeel like this.

“So good that you came, I have much to talk to you what I couldn’t that day.” Qandeel didn’t get confused with those mysterious words of Saqib unlike the previous meeting, she wanted to hear him. It was necessary to reach some final decision and in real, Qandeel wanted to get rid of this confusion and to follow the path of justice, and what was that path, how it was attainable, this, she souldnt decide yet, but now she intended to.

“I want to see Nausheen, and then will hear you as well.” Qandeel answered in a quite peaceful tone.

Saqib lead her inside.

“How is Nausheen now?”

“Much better, in the opinion of Doctors, she would take some time to come out of this state; her psychotherapy has been started.” Qandeel shook her head.

“This Wednesday is the hearing in the court, Qandeel, and if we couldn’t be able to provide any witness then we will lose.” Passing through the lounge, Saqib suddenly said and just then Qandeel stopped and looked him.

He was looking her, and there was some strange shine in his eyes.

“You will not lose, Saqib Bhai.” Perhaps the voice came somewhere from inside otherwise Qandeel not intended to say so.

“How can you say that?”

“Because I trust Allah, He will bring some means for your help.” Qandeel was unable to decide, who was inside that made her to say like this.

“Why can’t you be that means, Qandeel?” This time she gazed Saqib squeezing her eyes.

“What do you mean?” Stopping near the stairs she said.

Saqib stopped too and stood in front of her.

“It means that you were also present on foodstreet, that day the moment this accident happened, and you are an eyewitness of whole incident then, why can’t you become that means sent by Allah for our help.” His tone was meaningful.

She couldn’t answer for a while.

Perhaps on the unveiling of some secret, one goes in such a state in which Qandeel suddenly went that moment, she just looked Saqib’s face for a moment.

“How can you say that I was present there the moment accident occurred?” She asked in strange tone.

“I got the information, some people had seen you there, and the waiter who brought water and gave to Maryam for you, he told me about you; he had seen you earlier that day, sitting with us on our table. I went last week to foodstreet in order to gather some evidences then, the waiter told me about you during the conversation, he didn’t know your name but whatever he told me, I was sure that he is talking about you, I showed him your picture and he recognized you.”

Having a deep breath, Qandeel bent her head down, like Saqib had caught her stealing.

“I have talked to so many people, all of them know that the brakes of Ilaaf’s car were not failed and both of the cars were running on the road violating the traffic rules, they admit it as well, but among so many eyewitnesses no one is ready to give a statement against Ilaaf Laashari in the court. All of them are afraid from political influence of Qaiser Laashari, they are scared from his power, everybody cares about his own life, no one is ready to take any risk, nobody is ready to stand with the truth, nobody is ready to do justice with two innocent lives, with Arsheen and Ammi.” Speaking like this, the voice of Saqib finally quenched in his throat. “Nobody is ready to help me, because no one has any such relationship with Arsheen and Ammi due to which they could take risk on their lives.”

Qandeel gazed Saqib, it’s not necessary to have some relationship with someone in order to do justice, but perhaps now this was the only principle of justice in the world, justice with loved ones, and not with others.

“But you…..Qandeel, you were a very good friend of Arsheen and you just treated Ammi like your mother. When you were a child, at Eid and all other events you were used to be pampered by Ammi just like Arsheen and Nausheen, you used to ask Ammi for Achar and Kachori and Ammi herself used to fulfill your little wishes happily. How can you forget Qandeel, how can you forget that love, how can you just neglect that precious relationship, unique to any other relationship, you had a relationship of care, and unselfish love with the people living in this home, even then will not you help me and Abbu in this difficult phase, will you leave us alone to see the show of our powerlessness, will not even you do justice, Qandeel, are you even afraid from that cheaply shown power of those feudals?” He was getting emotional while usually was cool minded man.

What could Qandeel have told him that in her veins the poison of love is flowing rather than the blood, how could she have told Saqib that a man who is just hate worthy, the love of that man made Qandeel to forget every other form of love in the world. She kept standing like a deadbody with her head down.

“Give me the answer, Qandeel.” This time Saqib jerked her arms and just that moment the uproar and screaming coming from upstairs had startled both of them.

Nausheen was screaming, perhaps she again had an attack of depression; both Saqib and Qandeel were able to hear her crying.

Without saying anything, Saqib left her arms, and then jumping over the steps went upstairs.

Qandeel couldn’t understand anything and decide what to do, go upstairs or towards the enterance, to move ahead or to step back.

Perhaps she had become a stony figure, but whether it was easy to become a stone, if it would be then perhaps, she would have made herself unmoved and motionless then and there.

She held the railing and then tried to breathe.

The screaming of Nausheen was playing bugle of death in her ears like a trumpet; she wished either to become deaf or to put the burning coals inside her ears.

Didn’t know what had happened, she wanted to move away from that sound but after stepping she knew that she was moving towards the direction of that sound. She didn’t understand why her nerves were not in her control. A flame of guilt and embarrassment had blazed a fire in the river of the love flowing inside. Her heart, soul and body were burning in that fire like a coal.

Holding the railing, she kept moving upstairs, and then steps were ended and she had seen Nauman Hassan from the opened door of the room at some distance.

She moved ahead and kept walking, finally stopped near the door.

The sob, cries and screaming, she felt as the tumult of Ilaaf’s love inside her just quenched in those cries.

She saw, three women were holding Nausheen, but she was slithering like a fish without water, and was crying so badly like a beloved just died in front of her eyes, and on her tongue were just the names of Arsheen and Ammi, she was calling their names and crying, was striking her head in air here and there like want to hit something. Pieces of glass and milk were dispersed on the floor; perhaps Nausheen had broken that glass, because her own fingers were bleeding. The pillows and cushions were randomly thrown away to the corners of the room and the bedsheet was slipped and hanging to one side.

Saqib was holding the wounded hand of Nausheen, and now perhaps he was trying to clean her wound and bandage the hand, but Nausheen was not letting him to do so.

Nauman Hassan sitting aside had given his head into his hands. Saqib holding Nausheen’s hand turned his head to the right and just then his eyes came to the door.

Qandeel had seen him, there was a question in Saqib’s misty eyes, a request or appeal, Qandeel couldn’t understand. He then looked Nauman Hassan and asked him to call the doctor. Nauman Hassan moving besides Qandeel came out of the room, in the crying and screaming of Nausheen it wasn’t possible for him to talk on phone.

Qandeel saw, Nausheen was losing her nerves and in just a while, she was being unconscious, slipped into the arms of the women like a cut beam. Saqib rubbed his eyes with powerlessness and started dressing her wound.

It was impossible for Qandeel to stay there further, if she would have stayed there then perhaps would never be able to go back. The energy was lost from her body, and she wanted to reach home as soon as possible.

The weight of the shoulder bag hanging onto her shoulder was suddenly heavy like tons. With the support of the wall she turned back, shoulder bag just slipped and came down and Qandeel held it in her hands. Just then her feet got agreed to support her. She moved ahead in a fast pace, and then started running, coming downstairs she crossed the lounge running and just then she felt as her cheeks were getting wet, it was a hot spring which bursted out from the infertile land.

She came out crying, without caring about anything crossed the porch running and came towards the gate, left the home running and kept running in the wide street without looking here and there, she didn’t try to wipe her tears, either her tears were falling down on the ground or slipping over her neck were absorbed in her collar, she even didn’t try to see. She kept running, and kept crying, and then her legs were getting fatigued, feet were tired, breathe was haphazard. She stopped and breathing very deeply just sat over the pavement. The main road was near, and she could hear the sirons of the cars.

Raising her head she gazed the road, life was moving, everybody was going ahead, and she…..Qandeel Yousuf was standing at the same place, at the same position, in the same congested street.

She cried like a child, keeping both hands over her face looking at the sky and then the fast road, cried on her powerlessness.

“I will never forgive you, Ilaaf Laashari. You snatched everything that I had. My credibility, my pride, my courage, my passion, you took everything, you made me powerless, I will never forgive you.” She kept crying while muttering. “But never ever think, Ilaaf Laashari, that Qandeel Yousuf can not get rid of this powerlessness. Qandeel Yousuf is not enough biased that couldn’t be able to differentiate right and wrong, if love makes one weak and fragile then Qandeel Yousuf doesn’t need that love, and if love strengthens one’s self then this love will give me the courage to take the right decision, even if that decision would go against you.”

Rubbing her eyes, she rose and looked for the rickshaw.

Reaching home, she got normal, because she knew that would be able to take some decision.

Entering the home, looking Rohail sitting in the courtyard along with Baba, didn’t know why a fire just blazed inside her body.

She moved ahead without saying anything and went to veranda; just then Yousuf Mairaj stopped her calling her name.

She stopped, turned back and gazed both of them.

“Rohail is waiting for you for quite some time, and you are going inside without meeting him.” Qandeel looked Rohail when Yousuf Mairaj said.

“How are you Qandeel?” Rohail asked in a soft tone.

“Still alive and have no intention to die right now.” Her poisonous tone had surprised both of them.

“What are you talking, Qandeel?” Yousuf Mairaj said surprisingly, while Rohail was standing silently.

“I am talking in the same tone, in which I should talk to these so called friends.” Yousuf Mairaj wanted to say something but Rohail didnt let him speak.

“You are rightly angry to me, Qandeel, but just once let me say everything that I want to; I at least have the right to do so.”

“Right……go and use this right on your friend, Rohail Faizan Quraishi, whom you favor in his each good or bad act and standing on his back always supports him, who ruined the lives of so many people in one single moment and now keeps a mask of innocence over his face everywhere.”

“Qandeel…..” She prevented him to say anything by raising her hand, and then looked Yousuf Mairaj.

“Ask him Baba, just go away, and until and unless the case concludes to a decision, and Ilaaf Laashari gets punishment, he shouldn’t show his face to me otherwise, keeping all lessons of ethics aside, I will behave very badly to him.”

Turning back she moved towards inside and just then stopped again hearing Rohail.

“I am not trying to say anything to defend either me or Ilaaf, because I know you won’t believe anything, I have just come to convey a message given by Ilaaf, for you, and certainly I will never show my face again to you until you believe that I was faultless.”

“Mr. Rohail, first of all I am not at all interested in hearing any such message sent by your cheater and liar friend, which he sent by wrapping it in costumes of lies, and secondly, soon very soon I will be facing Ilaaf Laashari, and then I will see that what can he say and what does he have to say now, that’s why you don’t need to perform the duty of a messenger.” Without looking any face, didn’t wait for any word, she came inside her room with long steps and shut the door behind her.

And just after a while she again left the room, because unlike the earlier state she wasn’t feeling herself weak. She didn’t want to hide, had kept sitting hiding her face for many days, now wanted to face each and every fact which was cruel but a truth without facing that, life was impossible to move forward and Qandeel wanted to move forward now, wanted to come out from that congested street in which she was roaming for last one month.

Baba was in his room. Qandeel prepared the dinner, then had her dinner but couldn’t dare to go to Baba’s room and to ask him for the dinner, because after this misbehave with Rohail, she had an idea that Baba would be little angry.

She offered Isha prayer after her dinner, and then finishing some necessary tasks finally, having the coffee mug went in the courtyard and sat over stairs.

That night of March wasn’t hot but pleasant. Qandeel wasn’t thinking about Ilaaf that moment instead, was thinking about the decision she had taken inside and just was waiting to act accordingly. She was bit peaceful, love for Ilaaf was still living inside her like a feeling, but not that agitation which she had for more than one month.

Love is just like the soothing shade, and it doesn’t leave anyone to be burnt in scorching sunlight. She loved Ilaaf, and the very first demand of that love was justice, and justice was just that she neither should leave Saqib, Nauman Hassan and Nausheen to be burnt in the scorching sunlight of pain and powerlessness, nor should leave Ilaaf to blacken himself burning in the sunlight of sin. For Saqib, Nauman Hassan, Nausheen and Ilaaf himself, it was better that the punishment that he deserved according to the law, he should have it, so that he could be saved and come out of the darkness of lies, cheating and betraying into the light of the truth and could be able to see everything clear.

Sipping the coffee, she was deeply thinking that couldn’t see when Baba came out of his room into the courtyard, and just when he sat besides Qandeel over the stairs then she straightened herself and kept looking him, but he was silent.

Qandeel couldn’t say anything. There was silence for a while.

“You should haven’t talked to Rohail like this. He would have felt pain.”

“Just don’t know what should do and what not.” She had a deep breath.

“You did wrong.”

“May be.”

“You will have to compensate.”

“There is entire life to compensate this mistake; right now there are other things which are more important.”

There was silence for a while, and then turning her head she looked Yousuf Mairaj.

“Baba, you had said that you will be with me no matter what I decide.”

“Yes, I had said and I still say the same thing.”

“I have taken a decision.”

“That is good.”

“Would you accept that?”

“I have accepted.” Qandeel gazed him with a surprising look turning her head. He was accepting her decision without even knowing about it. Qandeel was pretty sure that if he would know her decision then could never be able to remain firm on his words.”

She couldn’t say anything after that.

Next two days were passed very silently; she was restless inside even then couldn’t gather enough courage to inform Baba about her decision. Third day the restlessness was at the peak because now it was too close, next day was Wednesday, and the hearing in the court, and still neither she told anything to Baba nor could have talked to Saqib.

That day she didn’t go to the office, and stayed the whole day in home, kept thinking about the days coming ahead, and didn’t know what was going to change after this decision of her, and what would be the reaction of people around her on this decision.

She wanted to inform Baba in the evening about her decision, but when he came back home he wasn’t alone infact, Kamran Ali and Hamza Shahid were with him. If they would have come some other time like this then Qandeel would have felt happy for sure, but right now them coming home with Baba was not likable for Qandeel, and her restlessness was getting height. She wanted to inform Baba as soon as possible, but the time was slipping away.

Unusually, looking her extremely quiet, Hamza Shahid and Kamran Ali both were surprised, but they neither asked the reason nor insisted her to sit with them and have her tea. All three of them were sitting in the courtyard. Qandeel served the tea and then having her tea mug came straight upstairs at the house top.

At this time of the evening the breeze was extremely pleasant. Qandeel kept the mug over the parapet and tilting her back with the wall started looking the sky.

Downstairs from the courtyard, she could easily hear the laughters of Hamza Shahid, if it would be some other time then she would have heard the humorous sayings of Hamza Shahid and laughing, but right now she was confused in a very strange manner, so kept starring into the air while having tea and kept thinking that what would happen next.

Then she heard the knock on the door downstairs, she thought that somebody would have come to meet Baba that’s why didn’t try to move forward and see who have come.

Keeping the empty mug over the parapet, she fixed her arms over the parapet as well and then looking down into the street tried to see the kids, who perhaps now were taking back their bats and balls to their homes as sun was about to set. And just then she heard a familiar voice.

Qandeel heard this time keenly, if she wasn’t wrong then it was Saqib’s voice. So, the one who knocked the door was Saqib.

The heartbeat of Qandeel suddenly got faster without any reason; perhaps she was feeling some unhappneing to be occurred.

She turned and walking in a slow motion came to stairs and just then she had seen all four of them talking in the courtyard. Saqib was standing, and perhaps was arguing about something to them.

“Yousuf Uncle, what’s wrong if it happens. Please, just let me see and talk to Qandeel once, if she refuses then it’s my promise that I won’t insist. If we couldn’t present any witness in the court tomorrow then we will lose the case. Ilaaf Laashari will be released, and we will never get justice.” Qandeel saw, Saqib who always remained well-dressed, this time was looking in a messy condition.

“Qandeel is a girl, Saqib, and just like your sister. And you better know that how dangerous it could be for her, how can you put her life and honor on risk like this, even when you are well aware with the situation yourself. I am just surprised that how could you think about it, tell me if it would be your own sister then, would have you permitted Arsheen or Nausheen to put their lives on risk and be a witness in the court, would even then justice had the same meaning in your eyes, which is now?” Yousuf Mairaj and Hamza Shahid were quiet, just Kamran Ali was arguing with Saqib and presenting reasons.

Didn’t know why, despite of the fact that Kamran Ali was right in his saying, that moment Qandeel felt sympathy for Saqib and thought right whatever he was saying.

“Just to get justice for yourself, don’t put any other innocent life at danger, Saqib. How can you behave in such a selfish manner, I could never expect it from you. I thought you were fearless and brave, but no brave man uses others in his own fight in such a way, you want to use Qandeel.” The straightforwardness of Kamran Ali wasn’t appreciated by Saqib.

“I have to meet Qandeel, Yousuf Uncle.” Totally neglecting Kamran Ali and Hamza Shahid, he had seen Yousuf Mairaj.

“I have no objection with you meeting Qandeel, but she is the only daughter of mine Saqib, and remember that I don’t bear enough courage so that could be able to agree her to help you.” The tone of Yousuf Mairaj was weak.

“This is enough for me, I just want to see her once.” This time Saqib was looking pretty satisfied.

“No sir, you can not allow Saqib to meet Qandeel. We all know that how sensitive and emotional Qandeel is and therefore I think that due to this weakness of her, Saqib would agree her to give statement in the court.” Kamran Ali couldn’t see this softness of Yousuf Mairaj.

“I am not as sensitive and emotional sir, as you are thinking I am, so that I would get agree to do anything without thinking.” She said involuntarily and this time all of them looked her turning their heads.

She was moving downstairs and each next step was like heading her towards a new destiny.

They were looking her silently.

Coming downstairs she came near to them, and then stopping somewhat near she gazed each and every face. Somewhere the lightning quenching lamps and somewhere curious sights, neglecting everyone else she saw Baba.

“You had said Baba that you won’t have any objection on my decision, and you have already accepted my decision without knowing what it is.” On this sentence, for a moment Qandeel saw the shade of fear waved in the eyes of Yousuf Mairaj.

“Yes, I had said my child, but…….” Qandeel interrupted him.

“When you have said yes then, how is this ‘but’ Baba? This I have learned from you that when you are satisfied with your heart taking some decision then one should act accordingly, and therefore I have decided after thinking so much, and I have contentment in my heart with this decision Baba, why then your heart is not satisfied?”

For a while Yousuf Mairaj couldn’t answer her, and then showing extreme patience he controlled him.

“Your every decision is still acceptable for me with my heart and soul, Qandeel.” The tiredness of his tone went high.

Moving forward, Qandeel held his face into her hands.

“Do you trust Allah?” she asked.


“Do you have faith on your love and pray?”

“Indeed yes.”

“Are you confident about my belief?”

“More than myself.”

“Then why is this fear inside you, why does this tiredness and weakness exist in your tone Baba? I am going to support the truth, to be a witness on the name of Allah, going to wave high the flag of the justice without any benefit, going to do what my Prophet (S.A.W) liked.” Unwillingly her tone got heavy and wet, and a drop of dew just slipped from her eyes.

Yousuf Mairaj, who was looking her without blinking his eyes, his own eyes misted as well and he displaced her hands from his cheeks then touched with his lips, and then he started kissing her hands like he was kissing a very sacred thing.

“I feel proud,Qandeel, that I am your father, the father of a daughter whose faith and courage left behind the faith and courage of her father.” Qandeel wiped the tears from his cheeks smiling and then turning back looked Saqib.

“When is the hearing?”

“Tomorrow morning at eleven o’clock.”

“I will give my statement tomorrow in the court.” Saqib smiled.

“I will pick you at half past ten.”

“Alright, I will be ready.” Qandeel had contentment in her tone.

“Thank you, Qandeel.” There was complete silence once Saqib left.

Qandeel looked Kamran Ali, he was looking her silently.

“Are you angry with me, if you are then please tell me so that, I can make a cup of coffee for you to move away this anger.” He smiled.

“It’s not easy to be angry with you, Qandeel. You are so stubborn but righteous student that I can not be angry with you even on your disobedience.” Qandeel laughed and then while laughing collected all cups of tea and went into the kitchen.

Hamza Shahid and Kamran Ali left in a while. Qandeel had her dinner with Baba, and then after offering Isha prayer when she came into Baba’s room then looking Yousuf Mairaj offering prayer, sat on the floor somewhat near the prayer carpet.

Yousuf Mairaj finished his prayer then; he raised his hands for pray just then didn’t know what happaened, Qandeel slipped and went near to him, and started looking him praying.

She remembered when she was a child then at each prayer, used to sit near Baba like this, and after finishing his prayer when Baba used to raise his hands for pray then used to adjust Qandeel in his lap. Qandeel used to spread her little hands over the hands of Baba, and then both of them used to pray with closed eyes silently, and both of them never tried to know the other’s prays.

She wished to spread her palms over the hands of Baba in the same way and then to have lots of prays.

Without thinking about anything she moved forward her hands and kept her palms in a zigzag manner over the palms of Baba.

Yousuf Mairaj raised his head and looked her, and then moved back his palms smiling and took her into his arms. Qandeel gave herself into his arms like a child and tilted her head with his chest, and then she joined both palms of Baba and kept her own palms over his, and then closing her eyes started praying. How peaceful that prays, that moment and that state was, an eternal peace just penetrated inside her.

Next morning, at half past ten she was completely ready.

What her decision was going to result, what was going to happen with Qandeel after that day either good or bad, what change was going to occur regarding her status and position in the society, and in the behaviors of people, she didn’t try to think about anything. That moment she was just thinking about her job, and was repeating all those things which she had to mention while recording her statement in the court.

Covering her head with stole when she came out of the room then, Baba was waiting for her in veranda, looking her leaving the room he moved towards her.

Qandeel looked the watch, in her idea Saqib should have reached till that moment, she didn’t want to be late.

Yousuf Mairaj kept looking her silently for a while, and then Qandeel had seen his lips were moving, but he wasn’t saying anything to her infact, was reciting Ayat-ul-kursi. Qandeel kept standing silently, for the first time in life she had seen Baba holding her shoulders and reciting Ayat-ul-kursi like this, then he blew on her forehead and Qandeel just laughed.

The love of Qandeel had taught everything to him that usually mothers are supposed to do.

He kissed both of her cheeks one by one and just then Saqib entered the home.

“Let’s go, Qandeel. We have to reach on time otherwise would be in trouble.”

Qandeel said Khuda Hafiz to Baba and came out along with Saqib.

Throughout the way, they just talked about the case, and saqib was looking quite satisfied, he answered all questions of Qandeel with full contentment. They had left bit late, and got traffic jam at one or two places on the way, so despite of trying a lot they arrived ten minutes late. Saqib was little worried, but Qandeel tried to console him.

Leaving the car both of them moved towards the court room upstairs, and then didn’t know what happened, just few stepa away from the door, Qandeel’s feet suddenly stopped, and an idea just made her motionless.

She was going to face Ilaaf Laashari, the man whom she loved more than anyone else in this world, and that moment she had not to support Ilaaf but the truth. What a difficult task and how easily she had come to perform this, to give an examination which perhaps was not given by any other lover in this world.

Saqib turned back and looked her.

“Why have you stopped, Qandeel? Let’s move inside, we are already late.”

Shaking her head, Qandeel asked in her heart some more courage to Allah, and then moved forward to enter the room.