On the Eve of Eid ul Azha this year, I got a chance to travel from "Sangla Hill" a town in District Nankana Sahib to a town "Hasilpur" in District Bahawalpur. This two way journey was a free ride for me and I didn't hesitate to accept the generous offer, . We embarked at once and I was happy that I will have the chance to observe the abundant creativity of nature. We had some part of our 300 km journey on motorway from Sahianwala to Faisalabad and from Faisalabad to Gojrah . However this journey did not prove a particularly happy one for me . As soon as we were on our way, I started to observe dead creatures crushed by vehicles. Side way barriers on motorway seemed to had offered no resistance to stray animals. Slowly my happiness started to evaporate as more and more dead dogs, cats, jackals, mongoose, pigs and porcupines started to come our way. This broadcast cruelty seemed to be strewn through out all our central to southern Punjab. Worst part of this gruesomeness, I observed in Gojrah when I saw a dog howling in pain, while his crushed legs were dangling in air.

These dead animals are an evidence of our cruelty and inhumanity and on the return journey I decided to keep a record of them. I counted a total of 44 in 300 km. We kill these animals by our reckless driving and then their carcass rot on the road and no one feels the sympathy to remove them . We boast no department nor any individual from among ourselves who can show a bit of mercy or respect to these poor creatures. Their rotting dead remains, produce foul stench and may cause infections to humans. No neutering or culling program exists in our country to control population of cats or dogs.

One and only happiness of this journey I felt when in the dead of night, we crossed the old but dead Sutlej at Salam headworks. It was a "hog deer" who was the harbinger of happiness for me and walked so silently and slowly that I had no difficulty in recognizing it. I wonder even today, do these creatures still really roam our holy land? Or was it just a happy dream?

Muhammad Ashtar,

Islamabad, November 15.