By Sidrah Roghay
The last thing any news buff remembers of Saulat Mirza is the image of a defeated middle aged man who had lost everything he ever believed in. Disowned by the party he was ready to give his life for, was perhaps his greatest loss in life—and the reason for a video shot hours before he was being sent to the gallows.
Mirza, a hardcore Muttahida Qaumi Movement activist was sentenced to death in 1999 by an Anti Terror Court for the murder of serving managing director of Karachi Electric Supply Corporation, Shahid Hamid, his driver and his guard.
But it was not until March 2015, interest in him rose for the second time. After the moratorium on death penalty lifted, Mirza was to be hanged.
Amid controversies surrounding Imran Farooq’s murder and a targeted operation in Karachi, where the MQM felt it was being victimized and demonized, Mirza’s statement against the party felt like yet another ‘game-over’ moment.
After the MQM officially denounced having any links to Mirza, a video recording was aired on several news channels, where an exhausted and aging Mirza exclaimed that he had met a terrible fate. “I have been used like a tissue paper and disposed off,” he said.
He apologized to the nation. He named important party leaders who had planned the murder with him. And then he humbly advised young activists to not be “brainwashed” into the Mohajir ideology.
The country stayed glued to this mysterious video confession which was aired by all leading news channels on March 19, hours before Mirza wassupposed to be hanged.
After the video emerged Mirza’s execution was extended twice.
It was a tough time for the MQM, which mired in controversy. Re-election in Na-246 constituency – considered the party’s home-turf- was soon to be held. Many predicted that MQM could lose their historic seat to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. But no. It won a landslide victory—puzzling pundits with the complex dynamics of polls in Karachi once again.
Amid the mysterious way with which this case was proceeding, a softer, almost human side of this hardened criminal emerged. His wife, Nighat, with her face covered in a veil, did all she could to save her husband’s life.
She went to the media, staged protests outside the press club—and held press conferences.
Their love story went viral. This was a murderer— and in the 18 years they had spent together Mirza had only spent three months with her— yet she loved him like any other wife would love her husband— strangely even more.
Mirza was finally hanged at the Mach Jail on May 12, as his wife claimed “he went down like a lion”. History will read Mirza as a pawn used and abused— and then discarded. His was a young life wasted.
This story is part of our ‘most discussed people in 2015’ list.
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