It used to be that world shattering events came about just once in a very long while but, of recent years, this trend has definitely changed. In conjunction with the ongoing revolutionary upheavals throughout the Middle East, the Gulf and North Africa, the island nation of Japan was hit, as we all know by now, with three devastating hammer blows in rapid succession; first the massive quake now reported to have measured 9 on the Richter scale, followed shortly afterwards by a tsunami 10 meters high and then what promises to be a nuclear disaster of lengthy duration the legacy of which is still unfolding. These events followed so closely in the wake of others, such as the destructive earthquake that hit Christchurch in New Zealand and unprecedented flooding in Australia, serving to seriously impede coherent opinion let alone logical thought processes. To use the oft quoted maxim, we live in interesting times, uttered, I must admit, with one raised eyebrow and a rueful expression and, as only to be expected given the increasingly dire state of the world we struggle to exist in, there are those going around, my regular cab driver amongst them, proclaiming the end of the world as we know it and the beginning ofwellthis is where their doomsday scenario fails themwell ofsomething else as, being selfishly human, they simply cannot conceive of an actual end irrespective of which 'book they elect to follow. It may appear, on first impression, to be both nave and unfair to lump man-made revolutionary fervour, irrespective of which foreign government is behind it, with a series of natural calamities which, depending on personal interpretations of HAARP, may not actually be 'natural at all, but they all, whether following the high road or the low one, lead towards the same destinationuntold human misery, which is a state of affairs we here in Pakistan appear to relish way above that of peace and tranquillity. Take our very own catastrophic floods of last year: These were a direct result of a suspiciously 'abnormal blip in the jet stream, which both diverted and monstrously intensified seasonal monsoon rains which caught the country well and truly out. This murderous catch, it later became known, could have been partially avoided if American and European climatologists, meteorological departments and general weather watchers had bothered to foreworn us, they had plenty of time to do so yet chose to turn the other cheek using an 'absence of official protocols, as a criminally lame excuse. These floods, possibly instigated by that 'Made in America nightmarish weapon of mass destruction known as HAARP, swept away, at one fell swoop, the homes and livelihoods of some 20 million people and coming a mere five years after our very own massive earthquake, from which countless people are still in the process of recovering, served to further attune the nations psyche towards complicit acceptance of the futility of even trying to improve our lot. 'Whats the point in even thinking of undertaking any positive steps for betterment of the population when something, a war, a drought, famine, flood, earthquake, plague or attacks from outer space is sure to come along and knock us back further than we were before starting out just about sums up current governmental attitudes to the plight of the 180 million people it is supposedly responsible for. If, and this is a very big 'If indeed, the government contained a single grain of human decency then all earthquake affected people would have been rehabilitated long since, as would the millions of people displaced from our northern border areas by the ongoing military actions and, the 80,000 plus flood affectees living hand-to-mouth in camps in the Sindh province alone would, along with the flood devastated legions in other provinces, have been rehoused too rather than living in fear of what this summers monsoons may bring. The Government of Pakistan is, apparently, totally immured to the spectre of human misery which increasingly stalks this ravaged country from end to end as it does little, if anything, to safeguard against future catastrophes, which will multiply the existing number of suffers manifold as, contrary to what actually comprises any sense of human decency, indeed even humanity, it greedily anticipates the inflow of foreign aid which is, despite known levels of corruption, channelled in its direction by those who should and even purport to know better which brings right back to where I started out from. Disasters, man-made or otherwise, have increased in regularity to an alarming degree and we in Pakistan are a sitting duck for a whole host of nasty events: America, along with India and others with a warped mentality appear set on seeing the country fail, climate change will result in serious droughts, famines and more horrendous floods, suicide bombers and other forms of terrorism are on the increase as the already laughable hold of law and order further wanes, water shortages, power shortages, gas shortages will increase as time goes by, the number of unemployed and homeless will continue its upward spiral and those as yet unaffected by cataclysms to come will continue hiding their heads in the sand in the vain hope of everything untoward just passing them by and, when whatever it happens to be comes home to roost they will lethargically wallow in the human misery they have done nothing to avoid. n The writer is a Murree-based freelance columnist.