They had tortured him brutally. We could see it and he told us so. They had pulled his nails out, used electric wires on him, and his skin showed deep bruises where they had burned him with cigarette butts. I will never forget that moment the first time I saw Shafqat in prisone – dragged out in chains, his small, frail, weak body shaking from fear. He wept when he saw us and could not stop insisting on his innocence. I remember that he wet himself standing there telling us about his torture. I tried to reach for him through the prison bars, but the Police refused to let me touch my brother. I do not have the words to explain the pain I felt when I realised that I was powerless and could not help him. I have never forgotten that moment, and the humiliation of it. He insisted on his innocence until the very moment of his execution. He was just a small boy. We did everything we could to save him. We sold all that we owned, including our lands and our home, to pay for the lawyers, the trips to Karachi (well over 36-48 hours away by road) to fight in his defence. Today if we have nothing it is because we gave it all away for him. This small mud house we now live in is the only thing we have left. Our parents were badly affected by this entire episode, and their mental and physical health deteriorated severely over the years, so much so that they both basically lost their sight and their general interest in life. After Shafqat’s execution, his father stopped speaking. He basically lost his mind. Our family never really recovered from his death, and we are simply holding on because we have no other choice. But this is no longer a family that is alive and together.
Manzoor Hussain, Elder Brother.
For more on the history of Shafqat’s case, see here.