The season of all seasons
It was a time for spring but instead, several other seasons clashed together. Spring has abandoned the flowerbeds and now adorns the billboards. The flower exhibition that had been in progress is now covered with drops of blood. The apex court has already banned the Basant festival, citing the prevention of innocent deaths as a reason for enforcing the ban. But it doesn’t ban the everyday incidents of throat-slitting and blood spillage as it must protect its own throats from being slit. The perpetrators of violence who do get presented in the courts are then let off by the blessed hands of our superior judiciary.
The sky remains colourless during Basant. The soil lacks flowerbeds and is instead soaked with not only smoke, explosions and burnt objects but also with pieces of human flesh and blood. One season has come upon the minorities too. The majority first pushed their Ahmadi brothers into that category. Now, they are attempting to do the same to their Shia brothers. Eventually, anyone who will dissent from their way of thinking shall become eligible to be treated the same way. In any case, the way to heaven can now be reached through bombings, burnt bodies and bloodstained hands. If you can throw a young life into the fire, if you can pierce through a body as alive as yourself, then heaven shall be yours.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t see the spring around yourself. Just look up at the billboards and you shall see the spring colours scattered around you. About three to four years ago, Maulana Junaid Jamshed, who used to be a pop singer before he grew a beard, began clothing this unclothed nation, along with preaching the one true faith. Now his clothes are in such high demand that their prices have skyrocketed. He can run a fashion campaign without having to show the human body or faces. Last year, he made balloons out of the lawn fabric to sell his fares, while this year, he has taken the assistance of boating sails. In any case, it is not appropriate to show the body and face of a woman of faith. And if one wishes to become the hero to our Pakistani women, then one must either become Junaid Jamshed or Aamer Liaquat Hussein, both of whom earn loads of money day and night and are also doing a service to the faith.
There are better ways to earn money, which our textile industry has adopted. Due to the collaboration between fashion designers and textile mills, the lawn has become beautiful, while the fashion designers have prospered. They did not require assistance from religion; they let fashion remain as fashion and successfully showed the world a different face of our country. But as a result, on one hand, smaller textile units have shut down while the large textile mills are prospering every day. Now the lawn will also be seen in the sky or on the billboards. A difference that is similar to the difference that cropped up in health and education has also become visible in lawn.
One lawn suit costs a whopping Rs 20,000 while another costs just Rs 1,000-2,000. One person can’t even afford the latter, while another person is ready to buy 10 suits of the former. People say that these lawn exhibitions encourage economic activity in the country, which is good for the economy, so why do you care? Many jobs are created because of this and it is helping the country immensely.
At any rate, it is going to help the nation as Karachi is not as safe as it used to be. The posh areas are now brimming with people and despite more security, are becoming increasingly unsafe. Agreements are made overnight; more investment shall enter Pakistan and help it to prosper. Numerous jobs would be created. Moreover, the world’s largest building shall not be built here but in the Safe City. I am sure you know how Karachi isn’t a safe city anymore. So now people shall live in the Safe City. Its roads would be separate from the rest and therefore, secure as the security arrangements shall be of the highest order.
The poor Sindh government is perpetually uninformed and powerless. Like you and me, it unearths last night’s events and future predictions with the morning newspapers. Anyhow, the opposition leaders of Sindh remained in the government for four years and 11 months and left the government two weeks before the dissolution of assemblies. They accused the Sindh government of ‘failing to deliver’ during the last five years. What can one say for our Sardar jee! At least, he spoke up after five years.
Nowadays, the season of inaugurations is becoming dominant over the other seasons. Several similar ceremonies are happening everywhere; foundations stones of new plans and projects are being laid every day. The president isn’t going to leave any time soon but he is the hastiest of all. At least 10-12 inaugurations are happening every day and the nation is being promised much progress. The political parties, meanwhile, are releasing their manifestos. The secret to taking the country far on the road to progress is locked within their manifestos. Since they are already in the government, it doesn’t really matter if they haven’t done any work. At least they can install a plaque with their name on it. Later, their successor can inaugurate the plan again and if s/he doesn’t like it, then the plan will just remain in the files and a new plan will be launched instead. Numerous plans will lapse away while they remain hidden in files.
The March that had been eagerly awaited for the last five years has now come at last. It is about time that those who were meant to go, take their leave. Those who have been threatening to return for years have finished their preparations for their return. Our Musharraf bhai is restless to return as he thinks that the entire nation yearns for him. I cannot imagine why he hasn’t yet understood that the solutions to the country’s problems lie in the uniform, which he doesn’t even have anymore.
Without the uniform and its consent, there cannot be a solution to Pakistan’s problems. It is this uniform due to which, the public has had to deal with a deaf, dumb and blind government that has been limping along for five years. It is the uniform that will allow for the elections to take place, as well as peace to be established in the country. If the uniform wishes, a call for a strike can be withdrawn within an hour or two. If the uniform wants, the human settlements would not be destroyed as they are now and that too in broad daylight. Bomb blasts, violence and discrimination can all be stopped. But let the elections happen first, my friend!
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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.