While the country was busy in the Ehtesaab Rally and the Qisaas March, an innocent kid and a lady lost their lives in Lahore and Rawalpindi yesterday as both of the deceased could not reach the hospital on time for their lives to be saved. A few months back, another little angel was sent back to the heavens in her father’s arms in Karachi when Baby Bhutto’s protocol denied Bisma’s parents’ entry to Civil Hospital where Bilawal was inaugurating a Trauma Center; an inauguration indeed that came with a trauma for Faisal Mohammad Hussain (Bisma’s father) and his family. These are just 3 of the many deaths on roads, in ambulances and rickshaws this country has seen over the past so many years where politics, politicians and the elite of this country have cost the common man their lives. The very common man that makes them what they are through filling ballot boxes with votes for them for which they come begging to their doors before elections. The very common man that speaks in their favor in countless debates at roadside hotels, barber shops, meat markets and the social media without having met them even once in their lives. I wonder who will be held accountable (whose ehtesaab will be carried out) for yesterday’s deaths and who will pay the Qisaas?
I am all for fighting against corruption and bringing back the country’s looted money to where it belongs, but while we are at it, we also need to learn a few more things from the very nations that we aspire to become one day. That goes for both the ruling parties and those in opposition. This also implies to the bureaucracy in the country. Most importantly, this also holds true for the common man themselves.
Saying no to VIP culture is the ‘in’ thing these days. We see people taking out their cell phones and recording videos of such incidents and posting them online. Some of them have gone viral as well. But are we as a nation mentally sold to the idea of eliminating a VIP culture that also includes us? Are we aware and conscious of the fact that at some level and in some cases we may also be the VIPs ourselves and that while shouting out a ‘Say no to VIP culture’ slogan, we may actually be acting a little hypocritical . You see whenever we talk about a ‘No VIP’ culture, we’re generally talking about those who we consider VIPs and the influential strata of the society. What we tend to forget very easily is the level to which this disease has already spread. This includes, going to banks for payments and asking a friend who works over there to relieve us from the hassle of standing in a queue. This also involves people driving cars considering those on motorbikes inferior and therefore not important enough to be given way on the road. These are examples where we, the common people and citizens of this country take pride in breaking the rules and feeling special.
Generally, the fight against VIP Culture is more out of us being jealous than anything else. We have trouble seeing others being given VIP treatment while deep down inside we hanker ourselves to be treated the same way and whenever we get the slightest of chance of to do that, we make sure we do not let go of it.
So the next time you say ‘No to VIP culture’, make sure you believe in it and are ready to implement it in your own lives as well.
As far as the elite of our society go, I completely understand the security situation of the country and also realize how valuable your lives are in comparison to a normal person walking on the streets. After all, you are the people who work day and night to protect, serve and lead us towards a brighter, better future. Despite all my understanding and the trust that I have in you no matter how contrasting the on-ground reality is, I’m still not comfortable watching people losing their lives just because you were busy working towards their well-being. You can do your Dharnas and Jalsas and Rallies and the common man will continue to keep filling stadia and flooding the roads but just give a little consideration towards not hampering the routine life of the same common man; the cobbler on the roadside who all of a sudden finds himself in the way of the rally, the ambulance on the way to the hospital with a patient in critical condition that is stuck either due to your VIP movement or road blockages, or the fruit vendor who earns only enough in a day to survive the next day and has to shut down his business as he is seen to be a potential security threat for the Jalsa. These are the people who only get negatively impacted from the positivity that you wish to spread through your actions.
Societies that we look up to and desire to be like uphold, promote, and practice equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels. This is something that demands equal amount of effort and seriousness from all stakeholders including government, opposition, bureaucracy, civil society and general public. Those who lead and those who follow need to accept the same set of rules and decide once and for all not to compromise on principles.
After all, those who block the traffic for VIP movements or place obstacles on the roads are also part of the same society from which both the ones for whom the traffic is blocked and those who suffer due to it belong.
Let’s start from ourselves and mend our ways. Take small steps but all in the right direction.
-Hammad A. Mateen