ANWAR ABBAS — Since my childhood, celebrating ‘Independence Day’ was always the most fascinating event. We used to hoist national flags at the rooftop of our home and small flags as buntings for decoration and for that purpose I used to force my father to bring the national flag and other decorating items no matter what our economic conditions were. Those days were so simple and glorious for all of my age fellows .
August 14, 2022 brought an element of great panic in my imagination for the ‘Independence Day’, shattering all my love and dignity for this day and this was due to the means of celebrations adopted, specially the youth.
This year, the roads were spotted full of crowd instead of a nation. Youth having long noisy bugles were out in the form of hoards everywhere. The gangs of Islamabad were out for hunt and that hunt was to spot lonely female to meet their immoral desires, in my view. Apparently, it became impossible for a lonely female and even the gentleman to step out of their homes due to the presence of out of control gangs of youth setting aside moral values.
Significant number of families were kind of put under house arrest since the evening of August 13. The youth groups were not only throwing fire crackers toward females but also the families who were on the roads. The main roads were blocked with cars and the groups of youngsters dancing madly and celebrating the ‘Independence Day” without caring about those who were in emergency or were not interested in such boundless activities.
These youth groups were spotted on number of places playing their noisy bugles by putting them inside cars with open windows. Even the crackers were being thrown inside without caring about the families, females, children or elderly people on board.
The green flags were waving everywhere on cars, buses, motorbikes, however, the cries of those being teased were snubbed under the blasts of the fire crackers. Some families on the road were encouraging their children to throw fire cracks and to play noisy bugles toward others considering it a major amusement without considering the path on which they are heading their children and minors to.
The most unfortunate aspect of the ‘Independence Day’ was the absence of rule of law. Police, Law Enforcement agencies were everywhere but standing helpless. There was one wheeling, car drifting car and bike racing everywhere in front of traffic police but none was there to stop them or to control them. The gang scuffles and fights were everywhere with youth targeting youth without any interference of the police and the law enforcement agencies. Prohibited narcotics were openly being used under the nose of the police and law enforcement agencies.
Due to lack of traffic control, number of accidents also took place. According to a report, over 55 cases of head injury and bones fracture were brought alone in the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in the capital from August 13 to August 14 this year.
In Lahore, at Minar e Pakistan, over 65 youth were arrested only in one incident for manhandling, molesting and sexual harassment of females and families. In Karachi, over 16 people got shot, and one lost his life due to aerial firing in connection with the ‘Independence Day’ celebrations.
On the State level, a big event was organized at the Parliament House with songs and dances followed by fireworks despite the fact that this all took place in the sacred month of Muharram,
Not only in the Capital, but in provincial capitals, the nation lost billions of rupees in fireworks, dancing and singing without considering that we are facing a serious financial and economic issues and are begging the IMF and friendly countries for assistance.
This year, the seriousness of Pakistani nation towards the Independence Day could be analyzed by the number of green flags fluttering on the roof tops of the general public — as compared to the past, it was not the same.
I wish, if instead of organizing official events for dancing, singing and fireworks worth millions of rupees, the federal and local governments had gifted the nation with some latest hospitals, schools, colleges or universities with the same amount. Gifting a one mega hospital with the same amount that was spent on such activities might have benefited the nation and its poor people at large.
It is strange why as a nation we consider the ‘Independence Day’ as the day with complete lawlessness with no rules, no boundaries. This is not the style of organized and well mannered nations, and this was not the dream for which 10 million Muslims laid down their lives. Many of us would definitely disagree with my words, but let me assure you that the huge community of unheard voices got disappointed.
(Anwer Abbas is a journalist working with Bol News, Islamabad.)