Fawad Hasan Fawad Lives On
You may or may not like him but you cannot keep the man down. Fawad Hasan Fawad was also gagged, shackled and was supposed to be made an example.
Why make him an example one may ask?
Because he was not supposed to work for a cause, stand up for his beliefs, have a distinctive outlook on public life, inspire those around him, take the bullets for his under-fire boss, and make his absence deeply felt. These are no-go areas for those who come from a self-made background.
The genius of such “caste system” is that it appears voluntary. Since people choose to commit crimes of conscience; they are, therefore, locked up or locked out. This very feature makes the politics of responsibility particularly sickening, as it appears that this outcome can always be avoided with “good behaviour”.
Fawad knew it was coming. As early as 2017, he was teasing the military secretary in my presence, that since they have worked together, he may not to be ambushed in the middle of the night but be allowed to surrender at a place of his choosing when the time comes. In the end, they got so desperate that they put Fawad away for things he never did, funds he never pilfered, and assets he has never acquired.
Detention is an assault on soul, a degradation of self, and a stifling canopy that transforms seconds into hours and hours into days. It can be the greatest possible emotional adversity for a proud man. The stories of his “breakdown” during incarceration, however, are absolute fiction. As time passed, he became more philosophical about its purpose, tried to understand divine reasons behind it, and was able to make the best of the whole shebang. He also wrote, soon to be published, poetry to reflect on how the darkness can appear so different after perpetual sunshine.
Primary commitment of a prisoner of conscience is to escape; whether it means actually leaving or simply figuring out a way to handle things better. Indulgence in daydreaming about the life outside, and about nice things that await after release, can make one trapped in the vicious cycle of fantasy. Fawad chose the path of strength and peace despite knowing that if the devils grow weary in unsuccessful attempts to torment him, they begin harassing his loved ones. God was his only hope and his only grace for the pressures built around him. He left it to His authority when and how the evil gets eclipsed by goodness or finally implodes into nothingness.
It is hard to tell in politics who has your back. The calamity often arrives with betrayal and compromise – by trading in your integrity, you fail to treat your colleagues with respect and dignity. Then there are times in life when you can be made to feel at once betrayed and betrayer; like a villain forced into crime. Without ever advertising his loyalty, Fawad has never been a rat. As a student of history, he knows betrayal isn’t absurd, it makes empires fall. However, accepting what you did officially or someone asked you to do it in writing is not disloyalty. Everything will be revealed in a book coming out soon.
Fawad is philosophical about the current political scene. He believes we are all guilty for the way we allowed our world to become more chaotic because we surrendered to terror and steeped ourselves in it.
He remembers the fateful day of the Supreme Court’s 3:2 decision in favour of Mian Nawaz Sharif. He sat glum when the rest chanted and congratulated the former Prime Minister (PM). When asked, he opined that the saga has only begun. Elaborating in private, he had advised the PM to either call fresh elections or resign from office immediately and appear in court as a private citizen.
Real politics is often about courage and timing; the rest can later be read in the history books.
Fawad always has been a maverick. The kind who could write his own rulebook as an independent character, and who knows how to fight resistance. If the accepted norm did not meet his needs, he has the conviction, ability, and appetite to carve out his own niche. He feels life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t imaginative. He also believes you can sometimes face difficulties not because you are doing something wrong, but because you’re doing something right.
Throughout his civil service career, the ever-increasing weight of responsibilities has kept him locked into the system. The world around him obviously shrank, as he got crushed beneath the suffocating influence of work. He was the pulse, which kept this beast alive in the last government. The cogs of this ancient machine kept turning until one day recently, when he was still behind bars, he retired.
I asked him why is he remembered grudgingly in the current PM office on daily basis? He looked away. When I pressed for what could actually make that office work, he said, “Finish tasks on the same day & delegate (and trust those people)”.
Since his bail, Fawad is organising space to lay himself out, so that he could decide which pieces he wants to pick up. He may soon negotiate how to get out of that prison he has built for himself where he is unable to appear anything less than perfect. He has been treated badly, but each tragedy is an announcement that some good will come in time if we are patient. Like the rest of us, he will recover from some slip-up, loss, betrayal, maltreatment, injustice or misfortune in his own time. Life is a process of recovery that never ends.
Fawad is not going anywhere but he deserves some downtime. He will use this interval to defend himself successfully while wasting no time hoping someone suffers the consequences for what was done to him. He is not the kind to find a nice spot, build a dream-home, and live happily ever after. His is joyful when he is surrounded by people he likes, tall trees, and maybe a lake with hills in the background. We are already experiencing a meltdown in the government. As more people, cities, and players become enthused, who knows how things will turn out.
P.S. This is not my last article about Fawad because he does not keep snakes in his backyard and expect them only to bite the trespassers.
M. Aamer Sarfraz is a philosophical psychiatrist based in London.