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To the corridors of power


A society that is indifferent to the plight of its own people is a society in ruins. When Raja Khan stood in front of the Parliament and lit himself on fire he hoped to invoke the few men and women in the corridors of power, so that they would pay heed to the plight of their people.

At 22, Khan, is a father of two from Naushero Feroz Southern Sindh, who lost his battle with joblessness and poverty; yet he’s just one of the 1600 people — in a span of 10 months — who preferred death over the arduous struggle with poverty.

At least 283 people have been reported to have opted for suicide due to hopelessness and poverty in the past two months. This despite the fact that we assured the world that we would do whatever it takes to end poverty by 13 per cent in 15 years and meet the millennium development goal (MGD) that ends in 2015; a goal that for now seems absolutely impossible.

At the moment we suffer from multiple crisis, soaring maternal mortality rates, devastating recurrent floods — that have cut our GDP growth rate by 0.5 per cent — war on terror, volatile energy prices and food inflation, reflecting a battered economy. Under such circumstances will we witness a paradigm shift that views poverty and unemployment as a national security threat?

Probably not.

Raja did not make headlines, nor did any politician vow to fight the menace of poverty and unemployment to prevent others from a similar fate. His burnt body was wrapped into sheets, like his attempt at self immolation was a much expected accident rather than a consequence of the pent-up frustration in need of dire attention, as he was moved to the hospital where the doctor’s reported that he had suffered 90 per cent burns. Chances of his survival are scarce as he now breathes at the critical care unit at Pakistani Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) hospital.

“I am fed up of poverty, I am a father of two children but unable to feed them. My soul will rest in peace if the government took care of my family, including two children.”  Raja had scribbled on a piece of paper, with a few clothes and his identity card wrapped in a polythene bag. Raja’s note and his last hope from the state have now been reduced to a half burnt piece of paper and apathy from those in power.

I wonder if anyone of our respected parliamentarians would dare to stick their necks out of the windows of their high-priced vehicles and spare a thought at the site where Raja’s charred body was found on the road in front of the Parliament house.

Perhaps, Raja’s ordeal will fall on deaf ears and be forgotten as the likes of Ghazala Bibi, who stood at the city square for seven hours seeking buyers for her three children; the eldest being her 9 year old daughter. Muhammad Asif, 25, who killed his wife and his three children before hanging himself. Or if luck happens to be on his side, he might be subjected to a random act of kindness from government officials much like Aqsa Parveen, 35, whose four children put themselves on sale prompting the government to pay for their mother’s Kidney transplant.

But how long will this last? How many more children will be sold at the hand of their helpless parents? How many more charred, ripped and hung bodies will we witness before the men and women in the Parliament decide to prioritise poverty elevation?

Days before his death, Khan had tried to contact politicians, Member of parliaments hailing from Punjab, when all attempts became futile he left a suicide note that reflected his dying hope, a plea from the poverty stricken to the men and women in the corridors of power.

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7 thoughts on “To the corridors of power”

  1. We need a massive ‘Family Planning Campaign’ and our mullahs can play a very positive role in this regard. I always wonder that when a mullah himself stopped after a certain no’ of children why he still propagates, insists and encourage other people to have more children (their main point is that by more children means more no. of Muslims=stupid argument)

    This jahil mullah does not know he is directly responsible in increasing the no. of thives, dacoits, murderers, car and mobile phones snatchers, criminals, drug addicts etc instead of increasing the no. of muslims.

    A person who could not afford to provide proper food, education and skills to his children due to lack of resources or abundance of children; these children will ultimately fall into prey to the criminals and will become a burden to their parents and soceity

    Ghamdi was right when he said, ‘ A person is punishable in the eyes of Shariah who has not controlled child birth rate as per his available resources and prevailing circumstances.

  2. Ok, so here is the situation. There is poverty and joblessness. How do people counter that. By marrying early and having 10 kids? Yes, the government is responsible for poverty, but the government is not responsible for people having 10 kids. The government is not responsible for bastard mullahs and jahil tablighees preaching that everyone should have as many kids as possible, while they themselves only have 2 or 3 kids. Their hypocrisy disgusts me.

    (The general mindset of the average Pakistani man is that a woman is a baby producing machine. They are impregnated without their will to have children, or any consideration for their health. This is also rape).

    There is only one solution. A two child policy should be enforced, condoms should be distributed freely, and a birth tax should be enforced. Also, on billboards, sidewalks, boards, etc, there should be signs saying, bachche kam peda karo, jahilo.

    We need to take responsibility for our actions. I have said this before and I will say it again. We are responsible for our problems.

  3. Tragic is a mild word to describe this and many more incidents of this nature. And it is also true that the govt.is to be blamed for the existing situation. But can we really absolve the people who can help in dealing with these maladies. What is our duty as citizens just talk and write. What is the action. Can we actually cut down on sugar if it is being hoarded and then sold at high prices. WE CAN. But we have poverty of will just like the state so those who can pay the new price will hoard it and the rest will be pushed to the edge of poverty where the only way out are the acts given in the article. We cannot make our state do what is there responsibility but people can. CHANGE comes when people become pro active not the govt. Thanks

  4. we all know that our motherland is passing through a very sensitive time. our poor people are suffering and the elite class dnt even care. from these daily suicides reports, one can imagine that how much difficult it is to get a single time meal for oneself and his family. challenges are many and opportunities are almost zero. still we should hope and and fight till the end. we are strong nation and we know how to be more and more strong to face all these problems. we shud never give up and inshAllah we will be blessed in the very near future.

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