Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

We are being bitten back

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Many years ago Edward Tenner wrote a thought-provoking book titled Why things bite back. It was all about Nature reacting to what we know as technological advancement. That is, the unintended consequences of what we do to the planet Earth.

We of Pakistan are unfortunately blissfully and utterly ignorant of such ‘inconsequential’ matters. On page 18 of Metro, Dawn newspaper (5 Nov 2016) carries an item about a mayor from some Japanese town visiting Sialkot and planting a sapling in some school or the other.

The accompanying image shows an araucaria being planted!

I do not expect a Japanese mayor either to know about our indigenous flora or to really care about our ecology and what we plant on this blessed land to blight it ever further. Nor too do I expect any such consciousness from the cock-eyed school teachers, bureaucrats and politicians who attended the planting ceremony. Even if there was an official of the Forest Department in attendance, it would be way too much to think he would know any better than planting the araucaria.

Now, the araucaria is a tree native to South America and eastern Australia. To me it does not even seem pretty and I know from the past forty years since it has blighted our land that no birds nest on it. This ‘gift’ was brought to Pakistan back in the late 1970s by ignorant and foolish PIA flight crews – that includes pilots, flight engineers and cabin crew. If Pakistan were not Pakistan but a proper country, such import would not have been permitted. But among this mob of people, anyone supposedly powerful (and who more powerful than an idiot pilot?) can flaunt any law. Araucaria among a host of other alien flora was therefore permitted to flood the nurseries of this sorry land.

The tree grows tall, but has limited biomass. That is, it holds only a small amount of carbon and thus plays an insignificant part in controlling global warming. Worse, it lives only about a decade and a half in our climes. Then it simply browns and dies.

In a nutshell, araucaria is a useless tree. If the sarkari idiots attending the tree planting ceremony in the Sialkot school on 4 November 2016 had any sense at all, they would have gone for any of the hundreds of indigenous trees that bless this land. But no. That would be expecting too much from brain-dead morons.

On page 19 of the same journal on this same day is another headline to show how totally vacuous our so-called intelligentsia is. ‘Country wasting 30 MAF [million acre feet] river water per year’, goes the headline. The item reads: ‘This was the consensus among speakers at a seminar titled “Pakistan water resources” organised by the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) on Friday.’

Among those who attended was Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Federal Minister for National Food Security as well as a few more leading lights of Pakistan’s looming water insecurity. Some days earlier, Dawn had carried another item with the vice chancellor of UAF carrying on about preventing water to flow into the ocean. I never expect any good sense from politicians and bureaucrats, but to see the vision of a so-called educationist so completely blighted and myopic is disheartening. Obviously, this poor chump who, they say is a ‘doctor’, now serving as the vice chancellor has never read anything about ecology.

This Dr Iqrar Ahmad is not only ignorant; he is an extremely selfish person to boot. He cares only for what Punjab can grow even if at the expense of the very livelihood of the Indus delta fishermen. What this man needs to learn is that mangroves are nurseries for shrimp and prawn. Adult crustaceans lay their eggs among the root where the young grow until they are mature enough to enter the sea where the fishermen harvest them. No mangrove, no prawns and no income for fishermen.

Now because mangroves grow in tidal flats that periodically go under salt water at high tide and emerge at low, the soil has a certain pH tempered by the flow of river water. Upset that and the trees begin to die. With mangroves gone, we will have no prawns to eat and we will end up importing them from India and Sri Lanka.

The lot of idiots who attended the seminar in the University of Agriculture on Friday 4 November 2016 are just that: idiots. Wearing their shiny suits and airing all their highfalutin bullshit, these persons are essentially retards and ignorant retards at that. They have no knowledge and they do not care to learn for their air heads are too full of themselves. They do not care if their selfishness for water deprives the poor prawn fishermen of the Indus delta of their livelihood.

He who knows not and knows not he knows not;

He is a fool, shun him.

This is the last bit of an eastern proverb from my Radiant Reader of grade 5. Pakistan is unfortunate to be ruled over by such fools.


posted by Salman Rashid @ 00:00,


At 7 November 2016 at 10:13, Blogger Hiba Moeen said...

People have been chopping off decades old trees that provide us shade and fruits. Why? Because they need to have their concrete jungle expanded and inherited property sold. Karachi is a mess of hyper construction these days that it palpably hurts.
And just like you mentioned about the Araucaria trees, we have the same fools who have planted poison in the form of Conocarpus and Eucalyptus trees. What will become of our land ... I wonder.

At 7 November 2016 at 10:35, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Hiba, this land will be blighted no end. Then it will turn into a green desert where no man, beast or bird will be able to live.

At 9 November 2016 at 20:50, Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Salman Rashid Sb: You are crusading against a crowd, each member of which is N.Sharif in mentality and attitude unfortunately. We're not a nation but a crowd.


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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