Where is Pakistan heading as a nation ! | By Zaheer Bhatti


Where is Pakistan heading as a nation !

THE Pakistani Rupee was trading at 4 to a US Dollar in 1970 when both its wings were together, it is Rs 180/- to a Dollar in Pakistan today in 2022 and mounting, whereas 76 Indian Rupees, 86 Bangladeshi takas and 106 Afghanis in the crisis-ridden Afghanistan are equal to a US Dollar, but the Pakistani Government still has the cheek to insist that the country was the cheapest in the region.

On top of it, one encounters statements quoting international institutions rating Pakistan’s growth rate and economy positively which is not only Greek to the common Pakistani, but also enrages him in reaction over his rapidly reducing buying power whereby as a consequence, he has lost track of his obligations to the State as a law abiding citizen.

When a Government begins to indulge in selective cosmetics like Ehsas Cash disbursement, Dastarkhwan and Shelter Homes for the deprived in the country and propagates issuance of Health Cards for free medical aid to every Pakistani, without adequate health facilities in the country for the teaming millions and more than half its population under the poverty line, it only shows that it neither has the will nor plans to reinvigorate the economy and generate employment opportunities to make self-respecting citizens out of every Pakistani.

Instead of enhancing their skills and generating employment opportunities, it is tantamount to producing organized beggars out of this Nation; more so when this financial assistance is given out of mounting international borrowings without any payback plan.

Our moral bankruptcy as a nation was aptly demonstrated by a lot of lip service expressing shame, condemnation and condolences from all quarters which followed the gruesome mass lynching and burning alive of the Sri Lankan Manager of a Pakistani factory, whereby the industrialist community raised millions of dollars for the widow and other survivors of the deceased, but the Pakistan Government and the State Judiciary months down the line, merely hands down a one year jail sentence with a paltry fine to one of those involved in the crime, whereas several of them directly involved ought to have been sent to the gallows to make an example of them, and repair the tarnished image of the country reflected in such incidents.

Wednesday 19 January encountered a terrorist attack at the confluence of one of the busiest Lahore markets Anaarkali and Lohari Gate in the heart of Lahore, the terrorists using a remote-controlled device accounting for 3 lives and 29 injured as the area was set ablaze.

Such random cowardly attacks being beyond anyone’s control despite surveillance and intelligence alerts, the first thing it required besides immediate rescue and medical relief which was promptly delivered besides expressions of solidarity, condemnation and condolences with the bereaved.

But while most civil and military leadership expressed grief and indignation, Bilawal Bhutto of the PPP and Maryam Nawaz of PML(N); the two novices in political roles via family fiefdoms, yet again exhibited their immaturity as they chose to take a jibe over Imran Khan’s inability to govern; as if they would have done any better under the circumstances.

The people of Pakistan, as a consequence, have become so apathetic that while they evoked an overwhelming response to the cowardly Indian invasion of Pakistan in 1965, and voluntarily reduced prices of commodities during moments of crisis; as also during the month of Ramazan year after year to provide comfort to fellow citizens in pursuit of God’s mercies, today by contrast over half a century down the line, while blood-littered dead and injured were gasping for life at the Anarkali Chowk blast site and people scurrying to help each other, there were some who engaged in looting Prize Bonds in an adjacent banking facility.

Up in the Murree Hills, as a lethal snow storm hit the visitors, the Administration was found napping and crippled as usual, to provide timely rescue or relief to the hundred thousand stranded in a traffic jam, while the local hotels and outlets reportedly raised their rentals 10 to 20 times, accounting for 26 such people unable to afford; dying buried in their cars.

Conversely, might one ask why the visitors to Murree did not bother to check the weather alert and refrain from heading on, while those who cared and did so, saved themselves the catastrophic dilemma? Granted that the administrative machinery was not up to the task and heads should have rolled instead of just posting them out because those found guilty after proper investigation, at least deserved a demotion if not sacking.

But what about the people themselves! How long will we continue blaming everything upon the Government and the State! It is a two-way traffic folks! As you have a compulsive duty to perform yourselves in a civilized society, without which no State apparatus can function effectively.

Even though the PTI Government takes credit for managing and averting the Corona pandemic in its first few rounds, it seems only per chance that this nation has not been subjected to its full range of consequences as witnessed in other advanced societies.

There is incontrovertible evidence that hardly 5 to 7% of average Pakistanis in public observed the SOPs except at Banks, some Departmental Stores, Eateries and restricted public gatherings, while scores were and still are seen taking them very casually despite concerted Government calls and announcements. Same is the case with mosques where even in the housing sectors of Islamabad which is supposed to be the elite Capitol Town, few observed them in letter and spirit; the response being poorer to the latest SOP reminder in the fresh wave of the pandemic.

How many of us follow traffic rules, revenue requirements of paying taxes and adhering to rules and procedures in our daily pursuits! The answer will be at best an abysmal two to tree per cent of the adult community.

The people of Pakistan have been made to reach such a state of impunity with perpetual exploitation by successive Governments delivering nothing and insulting their intelligence with rosy promises, that as a reaction, they refuse to recognize and fulfil their obligations to the State. Where are we heading and what kind of a nation was Pakistan turning into! One asks.

The common man in Pakistan today has no moral scruples to realize that while they expect the State to deliver goods and services, they, as citizens of the State, have a national duty to demonstrate civic sense besides obeying law and order, to deserve being called a civilized people.

—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.

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