In Pakistan, 84% of the population is without clean drinking water; there is a 2% literacy rate; and every third person lives on less than $3 a day, according to the Tribune Express. The situation is even worse in Balochistan, which is one of the largest provinces, that demonstrates the alienation, helplessness, and deprivations that sometimes remind me of God. Balochistan is considered the Serbia of Pakistan, where military and civilian officers of different ranks are posted as punishment.
The irony is that on one side, people of PirKoh, Dera Bugti are the owners of one of the largest gas fields and still dying of thirst while on the other side, majority of Balochistan is drowned. We have a local saying Maath thun aa kushhta, jinkk namein daryaa khatun this roughly translates to: the mother dies of thirst, despite her daughter’s name is ‘Miss River’. The reporters who used to report exclusively from Tora bora cannot visit Baluchistan.
Understanding the matter better
Meanwhile, to our nation, media, and political parties, it seems there is only one issue in Pakistan, which is Shahbaz Gill. The shipwrecked people of flood-ridden areas be damned. If only Pakistanis showed as much outrage over their fundamental rights and other social issues, but unfortunately, their anger and outrage are often misplaced. Most of the time, their attention and anger are diverted from profoundly pertinent issues to sensationalism to keep them engaged and entertained. It is because, as a nation, we lost the purpose of our existence at large. This mob (nation) requires regular doses of scandals, paranoia, and dilemmas to alleviate the boredom of their meaningless and directionless lives.
Thus, while the poor are left with nothing to do but sloganeering like “zindabad” and “murdabad,” the masses are preoccupied with mundane day-to-day concerns, and politicians, on the other hand, remain busy playing Nero’s fiddle, basking in the hullabaloo of petty politicking for underlying vested interests at the expense of others’ grief and sorrows. It calls to mind a passage from Arundhati Roy’s book ‘The God of small things’ “Our dreams have been doctored. We belong nowhere. We sail unanchored on troubled seas. We may never be allowed ashore. Our sorrows will never be sad enough. Our joys are never happy enough. Our dreams are never big enough. Our lives are never important enough. To matter.”
Pakistan has indeed been cautioned numerous times about the consequences of climate change, as Lieven notes in Pakistan: A Hard Country that if Pakistan collapses, it would not be due to Islamic extremism but rather to climate change. It is undeniably true that Pakistan will be decimated as a state and organized society if floods and other ecological calamities of this magnitude start to occur periodically. The following steps could be taken in this regard: while aiding and abetting may reduce the effects, but such disasters cannot be averted all at once. The spiral of cause and effect will continue as long as the causes of these kinds of tragedies are not eradicated.
A “one size fits all” approach cannot suit the interests of Balochistan due to the province’s peculiar position in terms of its weather patterns, and internal diversity, therefore special dispensations must be provided. The whole country of over 208 million population and its civilization is dependent on the existence of a single river Indus. Even the drainage system of the ancient Indus Valley civilization was better than that of today’s Pakistan. We haven’t learned anything at all from either developed nations or our own history. What can bring us back to sanity: a galactic jolt, droughts or more floods?
The writer is studying Politics at GC University, Lahore. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.