Spirit of Independence

March 20, 2018

By Zara Maqbool

Today a cousin of mine felt extremely frustrated when he set out to work for a very important meeting and the Islamabad expressway was blocked without any alternate route. These days rehearsals are underway for the 23rd march show and one can hear jets flying over our homes skipping a few beats and rejuvenating the spirit of independence. But for those who got stuck today for hours might not share the same spirit of independence or feeling so patriotic.

There were students, children who got late for school, adults with important meetings and events with their day scheduled beforehand going haywire and creating chaos for many. The army was apparently manning the roads whereas no traffic police was seen anywhere. Some people were stuck till 2’ o clock in the afternoon and many went back home missing day at work and school. Someone I know missed his flight, as this is the way to the airport. I am also wondering what if there was a medical emergency, who would be held responsible for that.

So apparently the civil government had intimated beforehand but it was done in such a way that many people were not informed. So, two things come to my mind when I hear of a situation like this. Firstly, it was the civil authority’s job to make sure they intimate the civilians quite a while beforehand so people don’t face this inconvenience. This happens every year as 23rd march celebrations are underway and yet its not properly planned as far as the rest of the city goers are concerned. Yes its for our security but then security is not the only need that we need to get fulfilled. How about a corporate event that I might have planned days and weeks ahead of time? Who will I hold responsible for its failure? Secondly, such situations where the expressway gets blocked have happened before with Dharnas but then is this situation similar?

Here, the authorities involved without a care for the comfort and convenience of the civilians make decisions all in the name of security. I am all for celebrating 23rd march and glorify our armed forces but lets incorporate the comfort of the poor civilians so to speak also. Yes, security is a prime concern but then maybe do a better job of facilitating the people too. Like changing the hours of the rehearsal maybe when its not the rush hour. 8:00 am is a terrible time to be doing this.

When such things happen, I wonder how much do we feel like celebrating the spirit of independence when we are so dependent on the state. Where we leave our homes with the entire day planned and oooops! The unexpected happens.

I also cannot understand how and why if any civilian says a single thing about army it has to be judged and attacked with heartfelt speeches on all that they are doing for us. Who says they are not? Army is us and I for one do have a lot of regard for our armed forces and all they do for us. But, why so much defensiveness if one remark is made where they might be slacking a little? Why are awe made to feel like a traitor for saying anything? Aren’t our hard earned taxes paying for them and is that not enough of an expression of appreciation? Apparently not!

So, all I can say is that in a country like ours where injustice is experienced at many levels by many of us, even a so called minor inconvenience considered by someone can be majorly frustrating and its important to be more organized when it comes to unexpected changes in the scheme of things.