I have been missing Rehman Malik ever since he starting advising the prime minister on the country’s internal affairs. Now he has no time to record his quotable quotes on important matters to the press which were a delight to his many fans. But it seems his fans can now redirect their adoration to the singing and quotation-spouting chief minister of Punjab, who seems to be the only contender for the post of national entertainer.
Recently, the eloquent chief minister told the people of Punjab before the eavesdropping media (well, not really: it was more like a press appearance at a social event, because our illustrious leaders use social events to voice or sing out their political opinions)-he informed the media that an very easy way of beating the heat was travel on air-conditioned buses.
The honourable CM may have discovered a breakthrough solution to end loadshedding in the country: that families afflicted by loadshedding should pack picnic baskets, hop onto AC buses and scour their respective cities, villages and districts, day in and day out (because that’s how long loadshedding lasts).
Good idea, Dear CM, just like the laptops idea. But first we need to improve the transport system and pave better roads. Oh, yeah, and while we are at it, reduce petrol prices, and hence the fare, so that the public can travel in air-conditioned transport. And as we all know, due to the targeted killing of a particular section of bus passengers, the government should provide security cover to every vehicle plying the road because you never know who will go trigger-crazy and mow people down based on religious/political/ethnic differences. Or just plain insane homicidal pleasure in random bloodletting. Or just for the I-am-getting bored reason. The government has failed to provide protection on specific bus routes which have been targeted over the past one year, as the invisible miscreants descend on buses, carry out the killings and then flee.
Coming back to the “people should travel in air-conditioned buses to evade the misery of loadshedding” statement, if the public followed this advice, there will be hysterical pandemonium. Just imagine thousands of people travelling on the scarce buses, which may be targeted and paying astronomical fares which equal their electricity bills.
The country would experience fierce riots, or an increase in the duration of the present riots. Can the government representatives read the cure-all special manual from where they get such brilliant ideas, so that they can tell us how we can cure the rest of the ailments that afflict us?
All I can say in the end is that when our leaders spout such words of wisdom like the seasoned politician Mr Shahbaz Sharif, it makes you wonder if they are living in the same country as the rest of us. The only plausible explanation to this is that the leaders and masses of this country suffer from an extreme disconnect from each other.
Our leaders sometimes probably put Marie Antoinette to shame by their ignorance and apathy regarding the public’s woes. Fortunately for them, this is not the 18th century and we are not as passionate as the French, or else things would be extremely dangerous for everyone.
Recently someone said I seem to criticize everyone and she had a long and good explanation to support what she said. I was almost convinced. But you know what until we criticise things and look ourselves in the mirror we will not be able to move on and bring a change in our lives.
The writer is an assistant editor at The News.