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Islamabad

May 18, 2018

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Is God angry over our misdeeds?

“God is angry with us because of our wrong-doings over the last so many years; and that’s why we’re being punished: the irony is that we’re not yet prepared to learn from our mistakes,” say city elders who saw Pakistan coming into being when they were in primary schools.

Can any loyal Pakistani close eyes to what happens in other parts of the country for the eventual impact on human life is also social and economic? That’s how the city olds think about unpleasant events of Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and tribal areas. The common man is the main sufferer along with foreign and local investors who turn shy of floating money in new ventures which are of great help to job-seeking youths.

Islamabad and Rawalpindi have special significance simply because portals of power are there. But there’s another notable aspect: people from different walks of life have opportunities to exchange views once a week, if not daily, and they represent all provinces in an atmosphere of brotherhood. Common food and soaring price problems generate in them like thinking against exploiters, self-seeking politicians and enemies of the country, whoever they may be.

The olds talking about horrible happenings say: “We’re paying for our misdeeds of the last three decades and what we’re now doing in disregard of social, economic and political rights of the downtrodden. We’re after ‘paisa’ (even if it’s black money), little caring for each other’s weal,” say Imran of Rawalpindi Sadar and Khalid Khan of an agricultural research council based in Islamabad.

His mother-tongue is Pushto, but he speaks Urdu fluently, and is proud of having learnt the Quran by heart. He believes in unity of all Pakistanis.

Common people in their gossip endorse the view that Almighty God is angry “because of our faults, mistakes and sins.” “This is punishment to us that prices are not being controlled; hoarders, smugglers and profiteers have been let free; and there seems no tightening up of laws on matters like malingering or inefficiency of ministers and bureaucrats, bribery and corruption,” they argue.

They recall the food price hike of January 2010 when an ordinary consumer had to pay Rs18 for 250 grams of sugar and Rs31/34 for a kilo of ‘atta’ which now sells at Rs.40 per kg. A litre of milk can’t be had at less than Rs85/90 in Islamabad while it’s available in many areas of Lahore at Rs75. Vegetables and grains have gone up so high that one doesn’t want to mention them for fear of breaking the backbone of consumers of middle and lower-middle segments of society. Meat prices are beyond the reach of ordinary man.

Rulers also are getting their share of punishment: they’re being criticized by people. That’s very sad. The citizens experienced electricity and gas load-shedding in 1990s and they had the feeling that future administration would rid them of outages. The situation has yet to change for the better.

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