Blaming RAW will not help matters. The agencies are responsible for the Quetta incident” or words to that effect uttered by Mr. Mehmood Khan Achakzai did not come as a surprise to me. Mr. Achakzai is the same person, who once said that he did not recognise the Constitution of Pakistan and records perhaps exist that provide ample evidence of this individual’s animosity towards Pakistan.

If Mr. Achakzai likes to overlook and condone India’s role in destabilisation of Baluchistan or sponsorship of terrorist elements, then it would befit him to denounce his Pakistani citizenship and migrate to the country that he refuses to condemn. In doing so, he would have done great service to the Pakistani Nation, which would consider the act ‘good riddance’.

We are waiting to see the reaction of the Parliament and the ruling party to the aforementioned statement, for this will indicate the level of moral courage and patriotism within those that were voted into their seats by the people. If this reaction is mild and expedient, then our elected members and the Government would stand equally guilty of compromising on our national pride and integrity. On the contrary, if the reaction is commensurate to what has been said, it will certainly raise the Government’s esteem by a few notches.

It was on Sunday that while driving on the Jinnah Avenue, I was diverted towards the service road by police barriers. To my horror I saw that the otherwise clean and tidy road was littered with masses of discarded paper glasses, meal boxes, bottles, used tissues and polythene bags. All this was the work of a ‘dharna’ organised by a party from Lahore, whose leadership lives abroad and returns to Pakistan, only to make the lives of citizens difficult and pollute the roads with litter as evidence of their civic responsibility.

The other day I drove through the suburban Islamabad town of Barakahu to fulfill a social obligation. I had refrained from driving on this portion of Simly Dam Road since the route appeared to be part of a war zone. The road was pitted with craters and the edges were enough to wear out the best of tires. I was therefore surprised to see work being undertaken at the two worst spots and thought that at last, the ‘local bodies’ had begun to serve the people. My hopes were dashed, when I saw a banner proclaiming that the repair was being done by a local resident out of his own pocket. In my books, this was more than enough to shame the MNA concerned (who is also the Minister in charge of CDA Affairs), the Mayor or the Chairman Union Council (all from the same political party) in as far as dereliction of duty was concerned. I mentioned the notion to my driver, who promptly replied that shame was something alien to politicians. The spontaneous response echoed the general sentiment of anyone I speak to on the streets.

It was during the above visit that a local resident referred to a media report about a road project linking Murree Road with the Murree Express Way, bypassing the congested bottleneck of Barakahu. It was said that this bypass would branch off in the direction of Shahdara and link up with the Express Way. This was an interesting piece of information as the proposed alignment (if the report is correct) would directly benefit a political bigwig, who lives in that area) and provide a secure entry and exit point to a pair of VVIPs in proceeding to their hilltop retreat. If the alignment was genuinely designed for the dual purpose of reducing traffic congestion and helping the local population, it should have curved around Barakahu, cut Simly Dam Road and linked up with Murree Road using existing road beds. This would have served the purpose of bypassing the bottleneck and helping almost eighty thousand locals, who reside in rural communities along the route.

A friend recently sent me photographs of the Korang Road Causeway. A local private institution had thoughtfully funded the construction of safety barriers on both sides, in case of flash floods and the possibility of a reckless driver attempting to cross the raging torrent. Here too, the work was done in public interest by the private sector, while the CDA and the Government waited callously to see a car being swept away, as evidence that there is indeed good government in the ‘Land of the Pure’.