Suo motu this, your Lordship

Dear Chief Justice: forgive me if I sound angry. I don't have the DCO on speed dial if my car is stuck in the rain.

Mahwash Badar September 14, 2011
In a recent news piece on television, told in a voice-over that makes me wonder if the narrator was secretly snickering at the story, it was reported that the Chief Justice of Pakistan couldn't make it to the Supreme Court on time because his car was stuck in the flooded streets of Karachi.

As I go through The Express Tribune's slideshow of ordinary citizens wafting, wading, waddling through the waist-deep waters, the news piece on CJP getting late disturbs me. I wish one of these pictures could speak to His Lordship if this is what it takes for the DCO to take notice. Is this the urgent action criteria?

Your Lordship, we can't all be wig-wearing heads; we can't all be premiers and high-ranking officials. Some of us only have scooters and Honda 70s to reach work. Some of us even travel by bus, sir. While it has been a great problem for you, to be late for work today with all due respect the water has destroyed our houses, food and livelihood. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, DCO’s and media, were summoned for you, sir, but I don't have these people on my speed dial.

While big people worry about getting their expensive cars and suits wet, our children get bitten by mosquitoes and suck the blood their little bodies produce, after the limited food we can give them. The common man has no choice but to be okay with these problems because it is not for nothing that we are common.

Someone once joked that to live a good life in Pakistan, one must have four sons; one in the Army, one in the bureaucracy, one in America and one doing his MBA from a popular university.

If I was a part of one of the elite forces, sir, I’d have a pump just like the one depicted in the image, so I could spit out water on main Shahrah e Faisal, not caring what it does to one of the busiest roads in this teeming metropolis.

Do you remember Zil-e-Huma, sir?

Or maybe the name Pervez Musharraf rings a louder bell? It was his motorcade, sir that blocked Zil-e-Huma’s way. She was twenty-three- years-old and she died because VIP treatment for our country’s leaders is more of a priority than an ambulance carrying a critically ill person or a fire engine rushing to rescue stranded people.

What about Sughran Bibi, sir?

I don’t know about you, sir, but doesn’t the Rs500,000 compensation stand a little meek against the 12 per cent increase in the defence budget in 2011? Should Sughran Bibi have donned a khaki uniform to be taken more seriously? For her children to feel safer, should her husband - a property dealer - enroll in the army? Lord Forbid, Governor Latif Khosa has any other angry drivers.

I’m a common Pakistani, sir. Class action lawsuits aren’t my forte. I wish they had been. Maybe I could complain more effectively about the fact that KESC promptly cuts my electricity when my bill isn’t paid but doesn’t pick up my phone when I’ve been without power for over 12 hours. Lack of electricity has now ruined every possible chance for economic growth and is also killing us slowly and painfully. All these lawsuits about breach of privacy and racial profiling sound so futuristic, sir, don’t they, in a country like ours? We can barely sue for loss of life.

Forgive me if I sound angry or irritated, sir, but you shouldn’t be featured in the news for facing one small hiccup (that’s what I like to call it, given the amount of adversity I face every single day) because it rained too much. You shouldn’t deserve a piece in the news when you easily get every other benefit Pakistan has to offer.

I do have one question for you, sir; please forgive me for being so bold, but how did it feel to have your luxury sedan stuck?

Did it make the same 'putt-putt' sound like the scooter that can't run because it’s clogged with water?

And did you have electricity when you went home so you could dry the sweat off your forehead?

And what happened when you didn’t have money to buy detergent to wash those clothes?

Tell me, sir, when you were wading through knee-deep water, when tiny cockroaches were swimming in your socks and weeds and shrubs sat on your elbows - how did it feel to be an ordinary man for a day?
Mahwash Badar The author is a clinical psychologist, a mum to two boys and permanently in a state of flux. She tweets @mahwashajaz_ (
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