This week’s column is a deviation from my normal light nostalgic piece, but I must get some stuff off my chest and so dear readers, bear with me just this week. Media has quoted a member of the judiciary as remarking that if security, including a bullet proof car is not provided to a former Head of the Apex Court, orders will be issued to withdraw the same facilities from VVIPs. My mind refuses to believe that an honorable member of the bench can pass such a comment. My disbelief stems from the fact that I have been raised in a family that has served the bench and the bar for more than eight decades. There are some, who will say that the former Chief Justice has retired amidst a scenario where a serious threat to his life and his family is ever present. These people forget that graver threats exist in cases of numerous retired law enforcement officers,  who cannot even think of acquiring protective measures like the ones sought by the ex-judge. My argument would of course be shot down if the lives of these officers are grass as compared to a former Chief Justice.

When will Pakistani media persons grow up and act in a dignified manner is a question being increasingly asked by saner elements of society. By using derogatory language, when referring to the former Chief of the Army Staff and President General Pervez Musharraf, our television anchors are only exposing the darker side of their professional and personal disposition.

We are bandying the word ‘treason’ in a manner that is (regretfully) frivolous, notwithstanding the text of Article 6 in our Constitution. Treason is an act that is far more serious than what Musharraf is accused of. Treason is selling ones country to the enemy or participating and abetting acts which threaten a state’s independence and existence; treason is when intrigues are hatched to dismember the state; treason is when rulers empty national coffers to fill their own and treason is when those responsible push their motherland into a state of bankruptcy. I am looking at a time when fate will turn a full circle forcing our lawmakers to introspect upon the Constitution and realize that the word treason needs to be used therein with maturity and wisdom.

I smile, when I pass signboards urging traffic to observe lane discipline. I smile because I cannot spot any lanes in the road I am driving on. It is then that I often remark to my wife, “I wish they would give me lanes so that I could drive in them”. There are however some roads where pedestrian crossings are so clearly defined that even if the four footed striped creature after which the crossing is named, wanted to get across, it would do so with ease and the knowledge that it had a comprehensive right of way, but this does not happen in our ‘Land of the Pure’. Pedestrians consider it below their ‘dignity’ to use the clearly marked Zebra Crossing only a few feet down the road and will risk life and limb by running the gauntlet amidst speeding vehicles.

While returning to Islamabad from a social engagement, accompanied by my son, I braked abruptly at the point where Simly Dam Road meets Murree Road. I had to stop because a young man suddenly appeared from nowhere with a cellphone glued to his ear, oblivious of what was happening around him. As I waited for the man to pass, I honked my horn at which the ‘future of our land’ removed the phone from his ear and hit the bonnet of my car with his clenched fist. We wasted a few seconds in trying to park the car next to the curb only to find that the delinquent had disappeared in the crowd. Suddenly a bearded traffic cop rushed at us blowing his whistle with an aggressive, “Nazar nahin aata, yeh gari khari karnay ki jagaa hai”. We narrated the incident to the grey clad custodian of the law and could barely control our rage when he ignored our explanation and shouted, “Chalo yahan se..”.So much for the morons that are labelled in posters, as courteous and helpful.

I wish I had a magic mirror on my wall so that I could ask it, if we were the best nation on the globe. I am glad I don’t have such a mirror for it was likely to explode into a hundred pieces in response to my query.

The writer belongs to a very old and established family of the Walled City. His forte is the study of History.