Recently, news was spread over the social media that Zaid Hamid had been arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities and was sentenced to eight years of jail, with 1000 lashes. Though the news has still not been confirmed, the matter of concern is that there has been no attempts from the side of the Pakistani government to bring him out of the clutches of the cruel Saudi rulers. For all the research I have done, I could only find that he had been accused for making speeches and spreading awareness among the Saudi people about how their government had made a mistake by initiating the war in Yemen.

When it was first suggested to Pakistan to join this war, I completely in favour of it. I believed that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia shared diplomatic relations and that no country could practice Islam and implement its rules better than Saudi Arabia. However, Pakistan’s decision to not support Saudi Arabia in the war came as a shock to me. To find out the reason behind the war and why it wasn’t so important for Pakistan to assist Saudi Arabia – where the sacred sites are on the brink of destruction – I spoke to some of my Saudi friends.

Upon discussion, I understood that the people of Yemen had only been asking for their due share in governance over the country and the recognition of the Shi’a community. My friends did agree that there are terrorist and extremist groups in Yemen, but killing innocent people in attempts at eradicating the terrorist elements from Yemen is also not the solution. To astonish me further, they gave me examples of Pakistan where military operations are conducted only after the people who aren’t involved are moved to a safer place. It revealed to me how Saudi Arabia was putting an end to freedom of expression.

Unfortunately, the people of Saudi Arabia are not even allowed to express their opinions and raise their voices even the social media. I found out that their citizens themselves are unhappy with the system of monarchy. However, raising their voices against the authorities can result in execution, cutting of hands, legs and tongues. Indeed, I have discovered now that Saudi Arabia is just the best example of modern slavery, practicing all un-Islamic acts under the cover of Islam.

Zaid Hamid, a loyal and patriotic Pakistani had to be arrested for expressing his opinions in public. He merely spoke about how the idea of indulging into war with Yemen and killing of Muslim brothers at the hands of other Muslims is totally wrong and unjustified. What he did wrong was that he forgot that he is not speaking in Pakistan. If he would have been in Pakistan, he could have run social media campaigns, stage strikes and protests, sit-ins, distribute pamphlets, write up blogs and speak to the channels to expose the government.

However, in Saudi Arabia, even thinking about fighting for human rights is a crime. It is indeed sad to state that even if the law forbids freedom of expression in the country, eight years of prison and one thousand lashes for Zaid Hamid is in no way justified.

The thing that has bothered me the most is that this news is being taken very lightly in our country. I remember the same happened to Dr. Aafia Siddique many years ago. For the crime of defending herself, she had been put behind the bars and subjected to physical and mental abuse. With the emphasis the US government has put on the severity of her punishment, I can gather that they aimed to make Aafia an example in front of the world. All they wanted was to convey was that they were free to do all they want, and the entire Muslim world was powerless to get one innocent Aafia out of prison. I believe, the same strategy has been opted by Saudi Arabia to avenge Pakistan’s decision for not partaking in the Yemen war.

Unfortunately, Zaid Hamid who had gone beyond all measures to support and develop a good image of Pakistan is facing such ignorance from our government. When it happened to Raymond Davis, his government went the distance to get an “ordinary” citizen out of our jail. Have we become so immoral as to leave our people jailed abroad and let their families suffer – only at the expense of being loyal to their country? It’s high time for our government to take strict notice and do whatever they can to bring Zaid Hamid back to the country. If this will not happen, I have only one thing to say: “Pity the nation who does not values its heroes”.