Meet the residents of ‘Bubble-abad’, a small town in Pakistan. Known for its scenic beauty, this town is bordered with green hills and covered with a cling film-like bubble that protects it from the outside world. Everyone living in ‘Bubble-abad’ enjoy their life to the fullest. They are secure; they have good jobs, thanks to strong family ties with influential people. Every house is protected with armed guards. Everyone is a ‘someone’. News only matters if it’s affecting their bank accounts and money laundering is not a crime here. Everyone looks happy.
On a casual evening, I sat with friends at a local cafe. Suddenly, there was a moment when everyone’s phones started ringing simultaneously. Instant message alerts to twitter updates to urgent phone calls.
Since I was the only reporter in the group, a friend visiting from abroad asked, “What is going on in F-10?” Apparently, a shop-owner had been shot dead. It took less than five minutes for the news to sink in and then everyone resumed to sipping their coffee and discussing their wardrobes for the upcoming party. Quieter than usual, the visiting friend seemed a bit distressed. With a confused expression and an ashen face, she asked since when have we become so indifferent to such horrendous events. Another friend just laughed and said, “Oh well, life has to go on and we live in a bubble that is safe anyway.”
Reading up on news, I always wonder how people continue living a sane life with such insecurities all around. But with emerging recent crime events in the capital, I knew that life appeared okay for people living inside the bubble, but those outside must worry. While reporting on that story the next day, I felt this sense of fear growing over many local residents and shopkeepers who were now beginning to worry about how safe the capital really is. That night, I witnessed a bunch of people enjoying themselves at a lavish party at a posh hotel in ‘Bubble-abad’.
A recent statement by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar resonates with the security situation, wherein one feels there might be several hideouts where ‘intruders’ are secretly plotting to burst this ignorant bubble. If they succeed, the residents of ‘Bubble-abad’ may be exposed to the potential risks that lurk outside their make-believe world and who knows what may happen then.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2013.