Our television news channels often try to outdo one another as they bring us our daily news. Solely out of habit, I have the idiot box on every morning as I dress, and I try keeping up with the moment to moment developments in the soap operas that are our news shows. This morning as I was putting the finishing touches to my routine, I heard the TV reporter talk most excitedly about a pig that had been spotted on the premises of the Supreme Court, and had given everyone a run for their money before being caught.
Pigs in Islamabad are often spotted and people are used to the occasional row of them crossing the roads at night. They seem as bewildered in the spotlight as the people who see them, and generally venture out only after dark, having understood somehow that they are not welcome at all in this part of the world.
If there is a single despised creature in this land of the pure; one whose very name is considered abusive, it is the pig, and the blatant dislike of it runs across the board. At least, on this one thing, (barring our love of cricket), we stand utterly united. So given this background, the news that early in the morning, just as their lordships were about to sit down and begin proceedings, one pig had the gall to run amuck in the gardens of their hallowed premises, had sounded amusing. Not just that, but the excitable news reporter who brought us this breaking news further informed us that the cheeky animal, when given the chase by the oh so diligent security wallahs, also crossed over to the offices of the Election Commission of Pakistan (it being in the SC’s neighbourhood), thus managing to sully two major constitutional offices of the capital with its naa-pak presence.
The passion that we displayed for hating and removing the pig from our sight should serve as a fitting analogy for the sort of passion that is required to oust the militants who sit in hiding all over our country. They are the actual pigs on our premises and the ones who plan to do more harm to us, the country and all its constitutional offices in comparison to these wild animals spotted now and then.
We seethe in anger and outrage at the blatant day time attack on the courts which resulted in so many deaths, including that of a young lady who had just stepped in to the legal profession barely a couple of days before being murdered. The security on the premises was way less than it should have been and besides, there was no rapid response business to speak of. The same SSP who had the long and inconclusive talks with Sikander of the Blue Area drama fame, is apparently designated to explore where the lapses occurred on that day.
The talks between the appointed committee and the TTP have resulted in nothing except a breather for the TTP with a month long ceasefire. They have not given anything up and have bought time for themselves. The attacks like the one on the courts have been claimed by some breakaway faction. And if we are going to be confronted with attacks like these by factions other than mainstream TTP despite the ceasefire with innocent citizens dying, then the month long ceasefire is obviously more good for the other side than the state of Pakistan. The people’s protests, the opinion pieces in the print media, the hungaama on the talk shows, does nothing to enhance the security for the ordinary citizen. All this falling on deaf ears reminds me of Faiz Sahib’s response that I read, to a question by a fan relating to when he thought things would improve in the country. He said, “I don’t know about improvement... my biggest fear is that they will just continue to remain the same.” He could not have been more prophetic. Let’s see what is in store for us once the ides of March are over.
Post Script: We know that sports and particularly cricket in our country can do wonders for the spirit. It was so uplifting to watch the Pakistan cricket team change the country’s mood from doldrums of despair to fever pitch excitement. The sheer treat of winning from both India and Bangladesh, and moving in to the finals of the Asia Cup has been so tremendous. The adulation and good will received by the team in general and Shahid Afridi in particular in these past few days cannot really be captured in words. However, on the other hand the Punjab Youth Festival and its bid to create and break inane records have been quite silly. Meaningless records remain meaningless records even if they find a place in the Guinness Book of Records. The energy of our youth ought to be tapped and channelized for things other than breaking the most walnuts and performing a variety of push-ups etc. Our youth can measure up to bigger and better things- of that I am sure.

 The writer is a public relations and     event management professional     based in Islamabad.

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