Target killings, terrorist attacks, floods, politics: there is little fervor, if any, left to celebrate Eid.
There must have been a time in this country when the days drawing close to Eid-ul-Fitr were marked with joy; when faces reflected true happiness; when an air of celebration was felt across the nation; when households prepared for the festivities with gusto; when happiness was awaited for happily.
There must have been such a time. Is this wait till Eid-ul-Fitr still a happy one today? Can we feel the air of festivity? Can we wholeheartedly hope to rejoice and celebrate? If your conscience is still alive, if your eyes still see and if your heart still feels, the answer can be but only one. No.
The days preceding Eid, are days of terror, death, plight, misery and disaster for much of the nation. Terrorist attacks, suicide bombs, target killings, sectarian violence, and so on have all led to the same fate for thousands of men, women and children in the cities of Pakistan.
The city of lights is engulfed in the flames of death. Karachi has witnessed countless deaths in the last few months and the toll seems to be increasing rapidly. The government has a number of solutions to the problem whether in calling or not calling upon the army, in a political truce, or a surgical operation, in rangers or law enforcement officer - the suggested solutions are numerous, yet there is no resolution and it seems unlikely that one will be found anytime in the near future.
Hidden agendas and ulterior motives is the name of the game. The poor and their outcries really don’t matter much to the decision makers. Karachi may be on fire and a solution may be far from realisation, however, these are not reasons pressing enough to cancel or even postpone our President’s foreign tours.
As if the widespread killings weren’t enough, the floods decided to show their face again. 85% of the 1.8 million people in Badin are affected. What do we really mean by affected? Simply put, these thousands of people are homeless, without enough food or any clean drinking water, without a change of clothing and without medicine. With their valuables lost, and their hard earned assets drowned they have no hope left and no energy remaining to help themselves. Such is the situation of the affected. Moreover, those who are in a position to help them are much more affected by rain water entering the doors of the Presidency and committing the government to prevent this rather bigger disaster.
The inundated villages of Badin and the stories of misery that follow are heart wrenching and dreadful. I wonder if those affected even know that Eid is approaching. Would the children who have lost the roof over their heads, even remember that it is that time of the year when the rich and poor celebrate unanimously? Would they remember that they time is fast approaching when girls paint their hands with henna and when bangles are sold in every small road side bazaar in this country? No, I don’t think they would remember. I don’t think the people of Badin are waiting for Eid this time.
Affectees are also found in another category; one which we were not familiar with some years ago. Dengue is new to us still but swiftly gaining popularity, much like that of a highly accomplished serial killer. It works the same way as Mr. Anders Behring Breivik did in Norway. Those affected by dengue are close to 800 in number in Punjab alone, most awaiting a quite certain dead end.
The picture, sadly, is not yet complete. The ever-increasing energy crisis must be mentioned. The vibrant cities of Punjab which traditionally would be lit and geared for Eid, are not so bright any more. The already distressed businessmen prepare for an expected higher shortage of electricity in the month of September. Jubilation for them is not the expected emotion this year.
What to mention of the atmosphere in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa? The less said about it the better. We have heard that 57 terrorist high-ups were recently released and are in the process of re-grouping as they have recruited heavily in this last month. We can surely expect new surprises from their side.
No doubt then, there is little fervor if any left in the hearts of the conscientious to celebrate wholeheartedly.
Those who have not yet suffered at the hands of the various evils infested in our nation, still carry a hope of happiness in the days to come, although for most it is a happiness that has been bitterly scarred.