2016 has been a terrible year for Pakistan. We were still not over Amjad Sabri’s sudden death that we get to hear about Junaid Jamshed’s demise in a plane crash. They were from two different genres of music, but both had played a major role in the days of our youth. Losing both of them like this has left everyone devastated.

What I find parallel in both tragedies is how people and media reacted; how emergency protocols were ignored and how religious factions jumped out of their holes to spread hate messages.

As the news of PK-661’s crash started to spread, it shocked people beyond belief, with many even refusing to believe it. Social media was ablaze with anger and pain on the loss of so many lives. On the other hand, media was reacting as irresponsibly as ever. Reaching homes of victims’ families and asking them how they feel and what would they like to say. Media showed animated videos of the crash which left people debating if the media should be showing such stuff or not. But little do they know, CNN and BBC do it all the time. Egypt Airways crash years ago was animated and telecast, leaving me disturbed for years. I wonder how the families of the crash victims would feel when they see these animations.

Then a private TV channel reporter said ‘Akhroot bach gaye par insan ki skull jo itni sakht hoti hai wo logo ki yahan pari hui hum ne dekhi’. (Walnuts are safe after the plane crash but human skulls that are really tough to break are seen scattered here.) Do these reporters think twice before reporting live? I often give credit to President Musharraf for giving freedom to this media, but now it seems it was his mistake. This media was better off when it was chained. Why is it so that in all these years they have not been able to frame proper rules?

Then comes the emergency protocols. Why on earth are we Pakistanis so careless in case of emergency crises? There is not one incident where we have given first aid or rescue immediately. Edhi, Chippa, FIF and Army rescue teams are always found working in critical situations but other institutions are hardly found anywhere. We are fighting a war since 2001 but we have yet to organize any institution to handle bomb blast victims. Even yesterday, the families of plane crash victims were running pillar to post to get some information, but no one helped them at the airport.

During all this hustle and bustle an audio was being circulated on TV and social media of people shouting and someone reciting Allahu Akbar loudly. Everyone claimed that it’s of the plane crash. It was so horrifying and disturbing. Later it was verified by various sources that the audio clip is from an old Etihad Airway flight from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta during turbulence. Why don’t people realize what impact it will have on others when they commit such irresponsible antics?

Amongst all this sadness, tears and pain we saw how various religious factions got an opportunity to celebrate Junaid Jamshed’s death. Junaid Jamshed had given some irresponsible statements, which resulted in severe criticism from liberal and religious groups. No matter what ideological differences you have, there is no way one can be happy at anyone’s death. If you are one of those then you for sure are not amongst the humans of this world. We even saw a tweet by Ansar Abbasi asking that Junaid Jamshed’s past as a pop icon should not be talked about, rather his change of heart as a Muslim should be highlighted!

There was another debate taking place: why only Junaid Jamshed is being mourned but not the other passengers. Can people stop moral policing for once? No one said that the other passengers were children of a lesser God, but Junaid Jamshed was a star and he had a very special place in our hearts. All others were equally humans and their lives were equally important. Everyone felt sad for them. Only those who were directly linked to the families could feel the loss. Otherwise Jinnah or Iqbal should not be given such prestigious positions in history either, since there were many others who gave their lives during Partition. Why should they alone be remembered on specific days, but the others who got killed not be remembered at all?

Do people realize that many of these bodies will be buried without an identity? I visited the Islamabad graveyard last month where Bhoja Airways and Air Blue crash passengers are buried. They did not have a gravestone on them. It just said “victims of plane crash”; it would be the most painful thing for the families. Just imagine you get nothing but a few pieces of flesh put in coffins with stones to balance the weight and you can never open it to see the face of your loved ones for the last time. Please think before you become all insensitive to such tragedies.

‘Dear 2016 can you get any worse, it accepted the challenge’ was a post I saw on social media related to the recent plane crash tragedy. It was heart breaking. There is no limit to tragedies in Pakistan. Just few days ago Hotel Regency Plaza in Karachi caught fire and around 15 people were killed and many injured. According to the investigative report by the police, the hotel was not up to the international standards which caused so much loss.

Why have we become so immune to bloodshed and loss of life? Earlier when December started we used to post poetry related to winter and love. Almost everyone was humming Bheega Bheega sa December by Abrar-ul-Haq. But since the past two years December does not present the same emotions, rather it hurts our soul as a reminder of APS tragedy and now it would remind us of Junaid Jamshed too.