Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Not my Fault

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This piece appears in the March 2015 issue of Herald

There is an old Garfield cartoon where the orange cat tells readers that it has a very responsible position in the home. ‘Every time something goes wrong, I’m held responsible,’ says the balloon above the Saturnine glumness of his face.

Next to Garfield, our politicians are the cutest people on earth. Whereas poor loveable Garfield is always responsible, our politicians never are for anything that goes wrong. First off, the incumbent PM’s patent look beats the one-tooth-missing grin of Alfred E Neuman’s ‘What, me worry?’ expression. Secondly, he has the habit of saying the most inane things on earth with great gravity. In fact, his gravity while uttering absurdity is greater than that of a black hole.

By the way, if you didn’t know what a black hole is, it’s not a part of the human anatomy – as you so facetiously thought. You can now wipe that smirk off your silly face. It is a celestial body that permits nothing, not even light, to escape its surface. Though there are similarities between black holes and Pakistani politicians, we shall not go into that for the time being.

Just the other day as the country lost yet more precious lives and that too of good people at their worship in Peshawar, Elmer Fudd (you have to admit our PM, despite his thinning hair transplant, looks frightfully like Fuddsy bugged to death by Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny) had advice for the media. Since we are on the subject of his likeness with Old Baldy, as Bugs calls him, I feel that God in His infinite wisdom did indeed create our PM as a caricature of that cartoon character. I get this feeling more so in his third term in power when he mostly looks confounded and inept. God would have done us an everlasting favour had he also created real life Daffy and Bugs.

The PM’s words, as quoted by an Urdu paper, ‘Media must fight against terrorism with government support’. I ask you! Now he wants poor us to go out armed with our pens and keyboards and bash up some bearded bombers. He wants us to face the fire while he and his coterie support us cowering behind their fancy desks and tell us none of what is happening in the country is any fault of theirs and they won’t ever resign for incompetence.

Meanwhile, not to be left behind, the provincial government of Punjab has been bombarding unsuspecting people like yours truly with a cell phone text message that can be paraphrased as follows: ‘Pakistan, a cradle of peace and tranquillity, must be kept from going into the fire of hate and terrorism. Stand by us in this journey of peace, prosperity and progress and report all suspicious persons and things to 1717.’

Good Grief! First of all, the Punjab government is playing cute telling us these blatant lies about the country being all at peace and going full steam ahead on the road to progress when we all know we are still marking time at the crossroads. And, uh, aren’t we already in the conflagration of hate and terrorism? And haven’t we been there for more years than many of us can count? Or aren’t our politicians aware of what’s going on?

The last part of the Punjab Government’s text message is the most nefarious. It instructs you to call a number to report your bomb-making neighbour. You do and the next thing you know is a bomber at your door. We all know that the first thing the Punjab Pulss does about morons telling on others is to disclose the identity of the informant to the person being reported against.

Dial 1717 and the next thing you hear will be ‘BOOM!’ It will also be the last sound you ever hear.

But our politicians neither know anything nor are they responsible for it.

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 00:00,


At 12 March 2015 at 12:38, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Politicians are mere actors in a kabuki theater.
Some one else pulls the strings.

If government is to function for common man
then common man has to fund the government including

In the US that job is done by the Corporations and middle class
but only corporations get to bribe the politicians while two parties pretend to do the work of middle class.

So the question is when your only corporation is also the army.
You need to fund local government and police.
build your own infrastructure and own security.
That should be the first step.

Wait for Godot is not working.

At 13 March 2015 at 11:57, Blogger Jalal Hameed said...

We all are responsible for the mess we are in and specially the political activists. They despite knowing the ills their leaders bring, still support them and even die for them. Politicians have no love for this country or people and that is why all institutions are crumbling being headed by politically-gifted to heads.

I have recently carried out an analysis of the much trumpeted Metro of Lahore/Islamabad with that of Germany and one can very easily smell dishonesty in the Pakistani model for it is not about metro - it is about bridges and roads.

We need awareness at every level to expose corruption to show real faces of our politicians.

At 13 March 2015 at 14:23, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Jalal Sb, this system is rotten. Rotten to the core. You are so right about the Metro. Investigate other things and you'll find the same kind of rot.

At 13 March 2015 at 16:09, Anonymous Muhammad Athar said...

Open any box you will find the rotten egg every where. One must under stand that only those projects are being financed which has the route of corruption well planed


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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days