stray reflections

For the last few days I had not been watching too much TV (apart from IPL), given my somewhat busy routine and the facts that:

1) Our local TV has become extremely uninteresting
2) Our local TV tends to over-hype, dramatize, scandalize and criticize every single news event to the last extent known to mankind
3) I prefer internet as a more reliable source of news on Pakistan

But today I sat down for a while to watch a news channel. Three pieces of news one after the other struck me and I will paraphrase them here without commenting on them. It may be business as usual (or life as usual) in our country, but it hasn’t always been like this… or has it?

a) Severe traffic jam in Lahore due to a mass procession in front of Governor’s House. The protestors were carrying 3 corpses of their tribe/community who were killed in a clash. The scenes were very disturbing. Chief Minister Punjab had to come over and negotiate.
b) Similar protest in front of Governor’s house in Quetta on the same day. I have actually forgotten what was this protest about, but probably on some killings as well. As I said, these instances are business as usual now.
c) A tribal clash broke out some days ago on killing of a dog. The rival tribes fought for a few days (killing several people) before the elders were able to sort it out. As a way of punishment, one tribe handed over its 10 young girls to the rival tribe along with 7 lakh rupees.

A few days ago, mob in Karachi burnt a couple of thugs to death on the grounds that police would not be able to get them prosecuted. A few days later mob in Lahore tried to do something similar.

Before that we were trying to figure out why do we have 3000W shortage of electricity leading to 6-8 hours loadshedding per day, not to mention shortage of wheat which is supposed to be the staple food of Pakistan, an agriculture based country.

And before that we were having one new suicide bombing every 6th day in one city or the other.

And before that we were trying to cope with a situation where our GDP growth targets were being revised downwards, while inflation (food, fuel and housing) kept going upwards.

And before that our major problems were 55% illiteracy, utter lack of health facilities outside main cities, serious pollution and frequent violence inside main cities and corruption everywhere around.

Not to mention poverty and lawlessness… the list goes on…

However I don’t blame the present or any of the past governments. The problems that we have are much more deep rooted. One particular regime (whether Mush (1999-2007) or PPP (1988-90, 1993-5) or PML-N (1990-93, 1995-9) cannot be blamed for all this and that. Maybe as a society, we have all failed in doing our bit, or making our contribution towards progress.

After all, when we blame the mob, we forget that in aggregate terms, “we” are the mob. Why don’t we look at things this way… if 55% of Pakistanis are illiterate, mathematically speaking we all are 55% illiterate, no matter what degrees we tend to flaunt among peers and friends… it’s only when we start to realize our duty as citizens (not that of standing in protests and shouting slogans, but that of actually doing something constructive and positive)… only then we will achieve anything.

3 Comments so far

  1. azface on May 30th, 2008 @ 4:12 am

    Faraz, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think when a society stoops to a level where we settle our feuds with exchange of women is just plain unacceptable. But who is to blame…surely the people who are carring out these monstrous acts cannot be blamed entirely.

    For generations, the masses have been kept systematically illiterate and poor to feed the greed of corrupt rich people, feudal lords and overzealous religious hate preachers. What hope is there for people in far flung villages where there is no law but the law of the feudal lord. It is sickening I tell you. The fact that this is all happening in the 21st century is even more shocking.

    I really think the people ought to over turn the whole political and social fabric of our society and start from scratch. I appreciate it’s easier said than done but we must start from somewhere. I think the first step could really be regular inter-racial/religious/class/provincial dialogues where we end up discussing our problems and find common solutions.

    On a silly note, something along the lines of Jerry Springer show where you vent out your anger but end up solving most of the issues. I don’t mean that we have to wrestle each other during the discussion!

  2. mohsin855 on May 30th, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

    love it, thanks for writing it!

  3. Hasan Mubarak (hasanmubarak) on June 2nd, 2008 @ 1:04 am

    We desperately need something to celebrate :P

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