One from the Heart; How Striking Politics Affects Us

Karachi during strike

Have you ever seen any nation perpetually in a holiday mood? Well, we as a nation are becoming adept at staying in the holiday mood. Frequent rather regular strikes, protests, mourning, black days, white days and special holidays have become part and parcel of Pakistani culture. No matter what the cause is behind the strike, who is arranging the protest, why holidays are announced, we are always ready to welcome the day off. Those who dare step out, do so with fear of anonymous terrorists gunning them down. Our attitude is rather blasé. There are those who turn up for work no matter what and there are others who sit back to watch a movie, chat on net, condemn and criticize or simply take rest. Those who keep working even in these circumstance should be appreciated as they look fate in the eye everyday and have little fear of death.

After steady practice, Karachiites have become rather experts in the preparation for being under siege or on enforced holiday. The better prepare citizens always keep their refrigerators filled with eatables to handle any emergency. Most even gear up to celebrate the occasion. Meat for the home-cooked kababs, grocery, fruits, vegetables and bakery and dairy products are usually picked up a day prior to the strike call, so that all at home can sit back in comfort.

Residents of relatively posh and peaceful area such as Clifton and Defence are rarely affected by these routine strikes. They carry on with their regular routines by going about their business as usual. Their offices remain open, and even though their children are not at school, public places like hospitals and shopping centers often remain open unlike other areas of the city even on such days. The poor people who suffer in this political noora kushtimostly belong to the lower and middle class localities. The daily wages earners are the ones who are really hit hard by these maddening strike and shut down calls.    

Suffering silent majority

To find out how public take strikes, I interviewed  people from different segments of society:

Political activist of a leading party said that the whole nation should be thankful to our party and its leadership who provides the golden opportunity to shopkeepers to sell their products at double rates, to vegi-fruit vendors selling out rotten trash on the excuse that everything else is out, to government and private employees, teachers and students taking frequent breaks and to laborers  delaying their projects, charge overtime and demand for extra payments.

The students’ community whom I discussed the issue frankly shared that they get so much accustomed to these strikes that they actually miss them  and yearn for breaks badly if a week passes without any such call. These interruptions always give them ready-made excuse to miss classes, delay assignment and even exams.  

A vacant classroom on a typical strike day

A heart-throb opposition leader advised that it is high time the people in power should accept strikes as basic human right. No one should oppose it since it is a matter of the public’s will. He threatened that the pseudo-intellectuals, human right activists, civil society advocates and opinion leaders should stop criticizing politics of protests and strikes; else they might give a strike call tomorrow in protest.    

In fact, the government and opposition’s battle lines drawn in the country are nothing unusual. It is a matter of their interests at the cost of all the rest.  But this makes it impossible for common people like us to lead a normal life. Once the city of peace and unity, Karachi is now divided… divided into mera tera no go area;  Mohajir, Haqiqi, ANP, PPP centers on the basis of ethnic and racial differences. It’s is a war of interests and power  to get the maximum share of Bhatta, ghunda tax, vote bank rather than anything for the sake of public. So each party seizes its native localities as its conquered kingdom irrespective of the plight of the Karachiites.  

We hold the opposition responsible for Karachi’s destruction, as it follows the politics of protests and behave like roothai sajna while we level charges against the government for its incapability to provide protection to life, property and honor of its citizens. The saddest aspect of the issue is that no one including government, opposition and pubic gives a hoot against the trend.

If we don’t change our attitude now, our loss will be greater than anticipated. After all, we are responsible for the destruction of Karachi and only we can save it.

act, react or suffer

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One thought on “One from the Heart; How Striking Politics Affects Us

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