Happy Independence Day? (II)

As August 14 approaches, most Pakistanis are filled with dread, despair and disillusionment.

Letter August 13, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Due to the dismal place that our country has plummeted into in all spheres of life in the last several years, events that all Pakistanis can look forward to and celebrate together are becoming harder and harder to find.

August 14 was one of those rare events that continued to awaken anticipation and excitement. People would look forward to decorating their houses, getting bigger, newer flags and Pakistan lapel pins for family and friends. Children would excitedly look forward to venturing out to see the bedecked city — the bright lights and paper flags adorning buildings and parks. There was a revival of hope, a revisiting of the Quaid’s vision, a promise to one self to keep up the struggle.

But not this year. As August 14 approaches, most Pakistanis are filled with dread, despair and disillusionment. They are dreading that instead of the Quaid’s speeches, they will be reading headlines of the latest threats and counter-threats. A friend with a sick father is worried about how she will take him to the hospital if his condition takes a turn for the worse. Businessmen are praying that shops in which they have invested their life savings are not stoned, attacked and razed by mobs. Parents are thinking of ways to distract their children from watching television so that they do not get influenced by the violence and chaos being broadcast and so that they do not grow up thinking that it’s okay to burn buses, to stone and assault people and to resolve conflicts by outshouting and disrespecting one another.

Our political parties are responsible for the despondency we feel today on Independence Day.

Dina Ahmad

Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2014.

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