By Hafsa Amin.
“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people”
A lot of criticism has arrived over the salute of a lady police officer Arsala Saleem to Maryam Nawaz when she arrived for appearing in front of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). Many media channels and socially active people are asking that why the officer saluted the daughter of the PM who doesn’t herself hold any position in the Pakistani politics and were appearing because her family is being trialed for money laundering. This act by the lady officer is considered as an act of solidarity with the alleged criminal political family of Pakistan.
But here comes the real question, who wouldn’t have saluted her if he/she were at her place?
Many would claim that they wouldn’t have treated her or her family with the same kind of respect and honor but the fact is, we are a hungry nation. Anyone in her position would have done the same because at the end of the day it is all about money and authority. We do have exceptional cases in our country where the people want and try to stand against the illegitimate power but they are accountable. Majority of our country gives value to money more than morals. This is the reason why accountability of any rich person is hard, the reason why these people are given authority and are the ruling party of Pakistan.
The old tanker crash in Bahawalpur is another example of our hunger that sees no border or warning. More than 150 were killed due to that incident. The tanker turned over while carrying 40,000 liters of fuel and grabbed the public attention. In any sane area, if such an event takes place, the most initial step is to run away safely from the zone. But when people value money and material gain more than their life, they create situations beyond endurance. When people saw the tanker crash they gathered together with buckets and containers to collect fuel for them. It resulted in a national tragedy as a spark from an unknown source ignited the fuel burning the population that was busy collecting their death cause.
A large wave of sadness and anger emerged and the news was all over the world. People were criticizing the victims for being greedy and losing their life. However the event was followed by some similar oil tanker leakage incidents and the public acted the same way as before. They tried to collect fuel from the leaking tanker while the authorities tried to stop them.
There can be many dimensions to the above mentioned events, but the fact that our nation is at fault, is the most important one.
We are a nation that has created business out of religion and crimes. We rush to any opportunity of extra cash. The criterion of a marriage is a Green Card. Organized begging and forced child beggars are in bulks. And even after all this we gather enough courage to criticize and accuse our politicians and leaders of collecting foreign aid.
Our vote is sold. We sell it in order to serve our personal interest over national interest and as a result, for a minimum personal gain, we compromise the well being of our country. Being unjust ourselves, we demand justice. What is the reason behind the selection of Muslim League (N) as the leading political party for the third time if it failed to keep its promises in the first place? Apart from the alleged election rigging, why the party appeared as the majority’s selection if it wasn’t good for the people in the previous tenures?
We voted for them. It is always us who give the chance to corrupt mafias and political leaders to come in our way to progress. And it is the qualities and attributes of the public in general that adds up to the attributes of the government and higher authorities. It is impossible for an illiterate and morally corrupt public to give authority to an intellectual and morally noble leadership.
When the state’s individual wouldn’t give away the slightest chance of possessing extra material wealth, why would the people in power would give away such a chance?
It is not intended to justify the acts of our political leadership but to highlight the root cause of such massive exploitation of the country and its resources. Living and striving for democracy one should know that it is indeed the people who control the state. Their acts, collectively formulate the act of the state and their morals build up the morals of the state.
The pride of Pakistan “Edhi service” has gone down because we adore Edhi but nobody would stand up with Edhi. We follow and serve the people who could be a potential fortune for us. This is the reason why the lady police officer saluted Maryam Nawaz and she shouldn’t be criticized until every citizen or at least the majority would stop following the same trend. When the people themselves would stop flattering the riches and authoritative people around them only then the act of the officer could be condemned. Otherwise it is the fate of a hungry nation to be looted and exploited by every single person who possesses the necessary means for it.
Before changing the leadership the public should realize the fact that they have to change themselves. Their hunger would eventually eat up their nation. They should consider that many lives could have been saved if it wasn’t the greed of the people in the Bahawalpur accident. Our leadership could have been better if people felt accountable for their votes and could have voted for a better option.
We all have high hopes with the decision of JIT but it wouldn’t change a thing if our hunger, as a nation, isn’t curbed. It is the need of time to consider self-assessment as an important tool for nation-building and depict the same behavior which we expect from our leadership.
Hafsa Amin is a graduate from the University of Gujarat with major in International Relations. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org