It was a scorching Saturday noon. I was supposed to reach a net practice/ trial session for my office’s cricket team. I called a colleague of mine and we decided that he’d pick me up from a point close to my place. I reached the place and since it was very hot, started looking for a shelter to stand beneath. I saw a tree under which incidentally a ranger’s mobile van was also positioned. With the thought of killing two birds with one stone; i.e. to have shelter under the tree and also have a little security around to protect from mobile snatchers etc. I moved under the tree and beside the van. I started my wait for my colleague who was late that day. I chewed on to my chewing gum a little more than I would normally do expecting my ride to come any moment. 10 minutes had passed and I was still waiting.
Then suddenly, a ranger’s official came close to me and said, ‘Maulvi sahib, aap thora agay jaa k kharay ho jaeyn saaey mein.’(Please go and stand a little farther in the shade.) I looked in the direction in which he was pointing and I couldn’t see anything there except an electricity pole which my mind suggested wouldn’t be adequate to provide a shade no matter which direction the sun provides particles of light to find obstruction in it (that day I realized my physics wasn’t bad after all.)
I turned around and asked the Jawan, ‘is it not allowed to stand here?’ he looked a bit confused and replied, ‘umm… no, it is allowed but….’ I considered that enough as an answer and told him I wasn’t going anywhere till my colleague arrives and stood my ground. The Jawan backed away but made me thought for a moment why he was so worried about a civilian standing next to his van.
I looked at myself to find the answer; I put myself in the Jawan’s shoes and tried to visualize who he was talking to. He was talking to a man with a long beard standing with a bag on his shoulder which he was constantly opening and peeking into to find his cell phone and check time on it (I was wearing a track suit lower so I had to keep my cell in the bag). Oh! Wait a second. I could’ve been a suicide attacker waiting for my jacket to tick off. But I was only wearing a t-shirt that day. Maybe he thought the bomb was inside my bag, or maybe they’d invented a suicide t-shirt now. Was my chewing of the gum a signal for something? Or was it the time when I kneeled down to tie my joggers’ laces? It could’ve been anything.
I’ll tell you what it actually was; it was pure case of confusion regarding who’s protecting who. The whole nation is a victim of it. Pakistani nationals are made to feel like aliens in their own country. Security is provided by the government for God knows who, because wherever an incident is planned to take place, it actually does; be it a target killing, mobile/ car snatching, robbery or a suicide bomb blast.
A country where law enforcing agencies need security themselves, the situation cannot be good. A country where the best solution for ensuring safety of lives is thought to be buying bullet proof vehicles by members of parliament themselves, the situation cannot be good. Running a government is no child’s play. A government is responsible for the life and prosperity of each and every individual that it exists on the land it claims to govern.
A common man isn’t interested in what Obama plans to negotiate with Osama. Neither does he care about what Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lugar have donated in charity to our royal beggar brigade (AKA our leaders.) An ordinary citizen of this country needs a calm stable life with an assurance from its government that care will be taken of its life with responsibility instead of the citizens being made to take care of the government to keep it stable. The next time you step out of your homes, make sure you carry your CNIC with you; you might have to prove your identity for the sake of your ‘own’ security.
Hammad A. Mateen