“I left my parents years back. I had asked my father either to get me a new bicycle or get old one repaired. He refused and I left Multan and came to Lahore for greener pastures. It has been eight years since I left my hometown. Now I want to go back home, but I don’t have the money. I will return one day…….[a pause]….…but when I have the money and a bicycle…….,” said a homeless 13-year-old drug addict, who is a garbage collector, while talking to the presenter of a documentary on drug addict children aired on a private television. A horrible scene, indeed!
Only God knows, if the poor 13-year-old child will ever be able to meet his family.
Undoubtedly, as this is just one example of the cruel face of our society and negligence of the ruling leadership, there are many more cases which go unnoticed. Abandoned to fend for themselves and ultimately to be found lying dead somewhere – on a sidewalk, in a dumpster or a park – for the people to stop, sympathise and walk off. Without even bothering to think, not even once, what may have led the child to such harsh circumstances.
Is this Pakistan’s future? Homeless, poor, mistreated, deserted…
Poverty, unemployment, inflation, class divide, corruption, are the immediate causes of such a state of affairs. “Our children, our future” is a common rhetoric one hears in speeches of leaders at seminars, and especially on International Children’s Day and the society at large. The question is: Does any one really care?   
Unfortunately, the government and the law enforcement agencies have miserably failed to control drug addiction that is not only rapidly increasing in adults, but also children.  According to the Quaid-i-Azam: “Pakistan is proud of her youth.” The point is, can we save our future?  With the present PPP government in place the chances are not too bright.
AMRAH MALIK,
Lahore, January 12.