Pay no attention to me, I am just a Pakistani citizen

I pay money to connect with the people, yet, every week my right to communicate via cellular networks is denied.

Areeba Kamal January 27, 2013
I am nothing but a pawn to be thrown around in a game I do not choose to play.

Nothing I own belongs to me.

I have surrendered it all to the chaos I call my homeland.

Consider my cell phone. I pay a considerable sum to be able to connect with the people in my life. I part with hard-earned cash every month in order to make calls and send text messages upon my will. It is my security against inconveniences and possible emergencies.

Yet, I wake up every week to news that my right to communicate via cellular networks will be denied for the day.

I am not given a reason why I cannot utilise a service I pay for. I do not get any apology for this forced deprivation in a day and age characterised by constant communication.

I have zero evidence that the nuisance of suspended cellular service has minimised crime or violence around me.

On the contrary, I feel more unsafe than ever.

My cousin is a medical student in the local education system, but his efforts or concerns are meaningless before his administration’s whim. After waiting for notification on exam dates for weeks, he is informed forty eight hours before his first scheduled test, instead of the two week notice required.

When he frantically calls all stops to prepare, his exam is cancelled the night before due to ‘worsening conditions’ in the city. A day before the second exam, he is informed that this too has been postponed because the date conflicts with a religious holiday expected long before any exam dates were announced.

He, too suffers because the decision makers forgot to consult their calendar while doing their job.

There is no meaning to the agony that hundreds of students endure, not knowing whether tests their futures depend on will occur according to a volatile, idiotic schedule.

We may despise the system all we want, but we will remain victims.

Every summer I donate to flood drives, knowing that I will do so next summer too, and the one after. There will be no precautions taken, no lessons learnt from the destruction of thousands of homes and livelihoods.

I am painfully aware that government promises to take flood prevention measures are laughably empty.

In my home and at my workplace, I sit through electric load shedding that lengthens every year.

When I venture out on a street, I am embroiled in traffic jams that occur because a government official is expected to drive through the area.

What do I gain by wasting my time and resources so that he can pass conveniently?

There is no answer.

As a lowly citizen, the system does not care about, I am not entitled to ask questions anyway.

However, there are certain roles I can still claim. I have the right to be taxed, year after year, without receiving any benefits in return. I may partake in much hyped protests that yield no results. I can avoid minor charges by bribing the local policeman whenever needed. I may buy pirated films and music, or purchase stolen car parts for a fraction of their price in the thriving black market.

I have the option to utilise corpses of my beloved as props to cry out against never-ending persecution following more deadly bomb blasts. If I have the right connections, I can possess a gun with or without the required license.

If I am a politician, I can push the masses to risk their lives while sitting in my bulletproof car. If I am the president, I can make noble statements about democracy and revenge, and then watch my people die one by one from the windows of my mansion, guarded so heavily that it renders neighbouring streets useless.

As a citizen of my country, I am disgusted by how unimportant I am.

My facilities are not mine to have.

My plans fail in an instant as riots break out around me.

My safety is in jeopardy every instant, everywhere.

My hopes have been dashed too many times by too many statesmen.

My pride, my autonomy, my wealth is an illusion.

I am nobody.

Read more by Areeba here
Areeba Kamal An alumna and former employee of Nixor College. She is currently studying International Relations and Computer Science at Mount Holyoke, USA. She tweets @KamalAreeba
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


FactCheck | 11 years ago | Reply @Maria: Your view of the so called native Pakistani is nothing more than oppression of minorities that takes place every day in Pakistan. If you want to go down that route, then there is no Pakistani, no Baluchi, no Afghan, they were all under the grand empire of the Gupta’s and Maurya empire. Read some history before taking myopic views. As far as US Citizens considering Pakistan as an Ally is history. US Citizens consider Pakistan a two faced fraud and the money given to Pakistan a waste. Just wait and see what is going to happen after 2014. Realize the simple fact, Pakistan came into existence by aberration of history while India is the oldest civilization on planet earth. You ought to know that, Indus Valley civilization site happens to be in Pakistan which in itself is an aberration, the cradle of Vedic Philosophy and Hinduism ends up in country in which it is abhorred. Read history, reflect, appreciate before taking up uninformed positions. Facts are facts, it doesn’t change because of your dislike.
Maria | 11 years ago | Reply @FactCheck: I have lived in the mid West, Texas and the West Coast for over a decade. Some Americans dislike Muslims because of an association with extremism and terrorism, particularly Muslims who are Arabs and Iranians. Pakistan remains an ally of the US and lots of Americans know that Pakistanis have suffered too. There is a TV show in the US called the Simpsons where there's an Indian character called " APU" who is short, dark, skinny and speaks with a thick accent. This is the negative term I've seen Americans use to describe all Indians including the Gujratis who own motels etc. No Paki in the US including my kids wishes to be mistaken for an Apu. I know native Pakistanis, meaning those with Pashtun, Baluch, Sindi, Kashmiri and Punjabi blood consider it an offense to be called Indian looking. I don't want to be unkind but people in Pakistan think they look better looking- taller, fairer etc. You can disagree with this. I don't dispute that there may be some Pakistanis from Karachi who migrated from India and still have family in India.They relate to both countries and the next time you claim to see a Paki saying he is happy to be called Apu Indian, just ask him where his family originally comes from. I am telling you the reality for Pakistanis who are native. It may be simple racism but it is what it is.
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ