KARACHI: The glass door with a sign requesting clients to be responsible for personal belongings swung open several times as clients went inside for various services from haircuts to facials and from waxing to massages being offered at television artist Shagufta Ejaz’s Envy Salon in Gulistan-i-Jauhar.
It was just another normal day on Monday, April 4, when a certain client made her second visit in two days at the salon looking for her gold chain, which she had taken off while getting a facial there. “She came in accusing us all of stealing from her. If we work in a beauty parlour, it doesn’t mean we have no pride and can be yelled at. She was certainly out of line but we kept our calm while also requesting her to keep her voice down and calm down. But she became even more upset. That’s when we called our boss,” Afshan John Abibi, who works at the salon, told Dawn on Friday.
“Meanwhile, she was becoming abusive and physical. She pulled me by the arm and twisted my hand. I could have lost my balance but reached out for a chair to stabilise myself. I am in the family way. God alone knows what would have happened had I taken a fall,” she said.
Uzma Shah, another worker at the salon had her arm in a plaster and the angry client didn’t even spare her as she tried manhandling her as well. “She used to come in for face wax or to get her eyebrows done here. She always had a bit of an attitude, telling the girls to treat her well or she’ll call her husband who she said was a very powerful man,” said Uzma. “And she showed his power to us that day,” she added.
“I came rushing to work after receiving SOS calls from my girls. I tried calming her down but she grew more angry and slapped me. We called in the guards, who escorted her outside but instead of leaving she sat in her car and called for reinforcement,” said Haya Ali, the owner’s daughter, who runs the place.
“We were, of course, oblivious of this. A while later, a police mobile pulled up with four men in plain clothes, who attacked our security guard posted outside,” Haya informed.
Saddam Hussain, the security guard, told Dawn that the men snatched his repeater gun from him and hit him with its butt. “They also caught hold of Jalil Ahmed, a 13-year-old boy who works with the salon to run small errands, and slapped him around real good while beating me too. They kept beating us until the girls inside unlocked the parlour door. Then they forced themselves inside followed by the angry client and her husband, whom she had also called,” the guard said.
“There were clients in the private cubicles getting massages or waxing done. The men had no shame as they barged in and ransacked the entire place,” Haya shared. “They carried pistols and our guard’s repeater to trespass and threaten us all,” she added.
Initially, the salon owner, Haya’s mother and well-known television artiste Shagufta Ejaz, tried lodging a complaint about the unfortunate incident with the police but was discouraged from doing so. “The duty officer at the Sharea Faisal police station was pushing for a compromise. When I refused to do that and walked off, they got after my husband. He was worried about us seeing how powerful these people are so he got pressured and went for a compromise. But whatever paper he signed on has no relevant value because I was the complainant, not my husband. I want to take this matter to the end so that no one dares jeopardising women’s respect here again,” she said.
The troublesome client behind this whole incident is Hina Khan, wife of Ausaf Ali Mir. When Dawn tried reaching her for her side of the story, she switched off her phone.
Later in the evening, Gulshan SP Dr Fahad Ahmed said that a case had been registered at the Sharea Faisal police station on the complaint of Ms Ejaz against Ausaf Ali Mir, deputy director of the National Accountability Bureau, his wife and other officials reportedly belonging to NAB under Sections 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 452 (House-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 395 (punishment for robbery) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.