The new year and the old everything else
The year comes and goes amidst the echoes of bombs. The country has been surrounded with danger, remaining in a state of war since its inception, which became a source of sustenance for everyone. Sometimes we are told that external factors threaten us. Sometimes it is the internal factors that pose a threat to our existence. They can’t find the ‘enemy’ either. The suspension of mobile phone networks was gifted to the nation on Eid. Now it has become a fortnightly fixture on Fridays. If the situation continues like this, then shutting down mobiles according to the daily prayer schedule might start being considered.
Actually, these poor souls don’t get the full reports regarding exactly where an ‘act of terrorism’ is occurring. All they know is that a bomb blast may occur today or tomorrow so be alert and keep the forces ready. And yet, they are still aware of all terrorists’ whereabouts. First, they block YouTube, then mobile services. The only thing left to do is to put a ban on the Internet and email, but that too is heard to be under consideration presently.
Despite all these measures, bomb blasts still occur, and those involved in the blasts assume responsibility for it through phone. They ensure a place for not only themselves in the heavens above by achieving martyrdom but also for those who died with them in the blast. If those who are paid to combat terrorism die in the line of duty, then they are also considered ‘martyrs’. Martyrdom is becoming an increasingly popular hobby now. People are killing and dying in order to obtain blessings.
One is out to save the country, while another is out to save democracy. Others are out to save Sindh or Balochistan. The powerful ones lament their being powerless. They are in the government, and outside it. There are those who have always been outside of power, as well as inside it. They have been controlled by the real heirs of this country since the beginning. The country runs according to their wishes. If they object to YouTube, then who are you to unblock it? All orders can be taken back in a few minutes.
So the rope has begun to move, and those previously distant from each other have now begun to come closer. Right before the elections, the Lucky Pakistani Circus has begun operating, showing us so many new acts. The one from London takes refuge under the shadow of the one from Canada. The entire media is now talking about this Sheikh-ul-Islam. The pir from London, Difah-e-Pakistan, and the Canada-returned Sheikh have all gathered under the same umbrella. After Sheeda Tully’s meeting with the rising star of Sindh, even the pir sahab said that he can’t see the elections taking place.
In Sindh, all those nationalists, progressives, and social activists who gathered under the shadow of the rising star are now attempting to save Sindh together with the religious parties. A mob stoned a man to death in the same sufiyana Sindh, and our enlightened Sindhis still think that the enlightened and sufiyana Sindhis cannot do such a thing. When the rope moves, they would negate their ideology and thought by allying themselves with the mullahs and pirs, which will result in worse things than a lynching. The religious parties are standing with them one day, and holding an Islamic conference the next. Only they can tell us where their interests actually lie.
Then, another star rose on the sky of Sindh – with the same slogans, promises and the same voice and mannerisms. Another young man has been sent into the battlefield. The same story has begun from the identical point from where it began five years ago. People can neither believe their eyes nor ears. Only in the father’s eyes, was a glow to be seen. He smiled widely from ear to ear – he was that happy.
The rest of the shrewd politicians, who had been ruling with the help of the shaheeds, sat comfortably at the back of the stage, listening to this young man attempting to take the responsibility of telling the public about their performance. It seemed as if they had used the shaheed daughter five years ago and now they are using her son. The boat is in trouble – let us see how it reaches the shore.
The public has nothing except their right to vote. But for this, a reshuffling is taking place in the entire country. Everyone is busy working on this. Some are dreaming of going into power without a vote. Those who use a trick or two to gain votes are now riddled with uncertainty, and are looking for easy ways to maintain their seats of power. Those who are the real possessors of power are now sick of catering to the whims and fancies of the politicians in the last five years, and are now trying to ‘apni ghhot te nasha theevay’. Meanwhile, the public continues to stand in the CNG queues, simultaneously making the politicians’ rallies successful.
Even the new year was welcomed in echoes of gunfire, reverberating from each house. If the wadera’s son or the urban boys deem something unacceptable, they can shoot you dead. One takes your life in the name of Islam, while another takes your life in the name of national security. If someone doesn’t have all these reasons, then they use honour as a reason to murder their mothers, sisters and daughters. The muhafiz are busy protecting themselves. Now they have also begun to openly lament their helplessness and lack of information.
There remains only one magic solution to all the problems – close everything! Close the roads! Close the gas! Mobile phones, YouTube, Internet, reading, writing, thinking, music, dance and if nothing else can be closed, then pass a law banning all kinds of breathing. Would that result in peace or unrest, even those who ban wouldn’t know that.
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The author has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. He is currently working for DAWN as an illustrator.