A helpless feeling

Are we giving up? As Pakistanis have we decided its not worth it to move on.

Kamal Siddiqi July 27, 2014

As we celebrate Eid-ul Fitr this week, there is a feeling of helplessness. We are not sure where we stand and how we can move forward. Events in our country and abroad have left us shaken.

In Pakistan, the military offensive in Northern Waziristan has been followed by an exodus of under a million people, possibly the largest such internal migration in the country. Arrangements for them have been poor at best and our agencies that have been set up to help facilitate them have failed miserably.

There is also donor fatigue. Despite hopes that collections for the IDPs will pick up in Ramazan, this did not happen. The largest flow of IDPs, the lowest collections ever made.

The money that the government is spending on the IDPs, most of which is not even reaching the people it is meant for, will be recovered from tax payers - both corporate and individual.

The people who make all the loud noises will not be sharing in the costs. It is sad to see how little out PM pays in taxes and how much of our public money is spent on his palaces - both in Islamabad and Lahore. The same is true of other public officials. They will never sacrifice their perks.

Then there is the depressing state of politics in the country. We continue to rely on outsiders to settle internal squabbles. Our PM has made yet another trip to Saudi Arabia. One can only wonder what solution the Saudis will offer this time round. Not to be outdone, our former president has gone to the US, where he has extended his stay for deliberations with American officials.

Politicians continue to fight at a time when we should stand united against the common enemy of terrorism. The government wants to involve the army in its tussle against the PTI and PAT. They want troops on the streets of Islamabad.

This is the same government that resisted calling in the army in Karachi on grounds that it would weaken the democratic set-up there. Businessmen in the Quaid’s city have begged for some sort of law and order intervention to save them from criminals and mafias.

Aviation is a sore point for us all. The recent attack on the Karachi Airport and the aerial firing that hit a plane landing in Peshawar has had a very negative impact on our country. By all means it was a successful terrorist attack given the damage it has done to our international standing.

Hundreds of people who otherwise would come to the country for business or professional reasons have refused to do so, thus increasing our international isolation.

Our helplessness does not end there. The death of hundreds in plane crashes around the world has left us shaken. What if we were on one of them? What about the innocent people that were. We were heart broken to hear of the plane crash of Haris Suleiman, the young man who was flying across the world with his father to collect money for The Citizens Foundation.

The events in Gaza and the violence we are seeing in Iraq and Syria where historic places are being blown up has also left us shattered.

In Gaza we see unarmed innocent Palestinian men, women, elderly and children being butchered. Their mosques, schools, refugee camps and hospitals bombed, while the rest of Islamic world and their leaders chose to remain either silent.

Other than Qatar, which displayed some character and spine, there was nobody willing to embark on a diplomatic offensive. Among the countries that recognize Israel, the only country to recall its ambassador is Brazil. We marked solidarity with the people of Gaza on Jummat-ul-Wida but in practical terms did nothing else.

What I see in all this is a bigger issue. Are we giving up? As Pakistanis have we decided its not worth it to move on. As my friend Roland deSouza tells me, he is tired of fighting wrong all the time.

Fortunately the answer is no. We haven’t. There are pockets of resistance. Those who continue to work to make this a better place. Those who collect funds for IDPs. They challenge the status quo. Their number is once again increasing. I am hopeful.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2014.

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Alfa Romeo | 9 years ago | Reply

@Ranjha. Oh, join PTI.. Why not TTP? Both are same , isn't it?

Xman | 9 years ago | Reply

@Ranjha : yeah right, join PTI cult and follow the delusional IK who is out to destroy what is left of Pakistan.

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