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Couple of days ago, the social media was abuzz with the news of a brilliant student Zara Naeem, who has secured the highest marks in ACCA globally. A proud moment indeed for her, her family, her community and the entire country. Today, while going through the Twitter feed, I saw a picture of a beaming family. The daughter of a traffic warden of Sindh became the first female fighter pilot in Pakistan Air Force. Historical achievement, we must say. Another news said that a new book by Dr. Zubaida Saraang is being hailed as the ‘Best Book on Eye Diseases’. Dr. Zubaida comes from Gilgit. Muhammad Ali Sadpara lost his life but made a name for Pakistan in mountaineering. These isolated events of extraordinary achievements are not rare. Every now and then, we keep knowing such things.
Pakistan is recognized across the world as a ‘nation of young people’. We are also recognized for our above average IQs. Our professionals who got the opportunity to work abroad, immigration or overseas employment, have done remarkable jobs. Not to mention the skilled and unskilled labor who are also recognized for their good work, though it may be marred by instances of occasional rowdy behavior.
We look around and see lots of people working in substandard conditions but producing excellent results. While we see many young people not having proper work to do, but there are more people breaking their backs to do great jobs. In the offices, we see people working extra-long hours for a pittance for salary. The working conditions like seating arrangements, lighting, climate control, refreshment etc. are poor in most offices but people still work without complaining. The working conditions in factories are pathetic beyond description. Hundreds of women hunch on machines in textile industry for 10-12 or more hours and receive less money and more harassment.
We watch television, see social media and find scores of men (and some women) preaching religious practices and good values. Their rhetoric is unconvincing and sooner than later, most of them are exposed as hypocrites whose preaching and practices are world apart. We see trolls taking over social media. The language in so many posts is filled with profanities and the intent is so clearly abusive.
We have become exhibitionists in general, and we show our bad side and good side with equal ease and comfort and do not fear anything. We are exhibiting our charity work, our religion, our rituals, our values and this exhibition is quite ornamental and elaborate. We exhibit our appearances which have nothing to do with the substance. Women in some fields are not far behind. Our showbiz people are desperately trying to copy their Indian and Western counterparts.
The society is fractured, and one block has no relevance to the other. The higher echelons look down upon the lower ones and don’t want to have anything to do with them. The lower strata hold great animosity towards the others and hate their guts. The wealth collection is criminal and dubious, and distribution is severely unequal. For a year , I lived in a street in Karachi which had a PTI stalwart house on the corner. At any given time, at least 50 armed guards stood around the house. Any car which came out of the house was escorted by one or two pickups having many armed guards. It is not just showoff of wealth and power; it is equally a showoff of insecurity arising out of unequal distribution of resources. If, one day, the guards take the house inmates hostage, who will come and rescue. The scenario is not entirely fictional; Punjab Governor was shot point blank by his own guard.
The distance between government and people is at its maximum. Government is apparently doing some important work, but it does not appear to have any connection with people. It is so much evident that the government policies do not reflect the interest of people. Like other states of similar status, the elected representatives do not represent people and employees paid from people money pay back by killing people.
Why are we where we are? Was it really our destiny? Is it a punishment for our sins committed repeatedly over time? Did we really deserve to be in such state?
To be Continued……
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