Graffiti that adorns the walls on the streets of Pakistan has multiple reasons and a host of opinions too. For some people, it is a means of livelihood, for others it is an outlet for their thoughts. The walls around commercial areas are used for political messages such as political slogans and political marketing not only by political and religious parties but also by student federations, unions and other organisations. Wall chalking is excessively used, without any fear or restriction, as a mode of cheap marketing by low-level companies, palmists and so-called health clinics.

Apart from ignorance and lack of awareness, one of the possible reasons of widespread wall chalking in the country may be lack of forums or platforms to express one’s emotions. People ruin the aesthetics of the city to vent their frustrations and use other people’s property as an outlet for their thoughts and feelings. However, those who write on walls do not realise how graffiti tends to ruin the aesthetics.

Advanced countries like the UK have strict laws in this regard and anyone caught indulging in wall chalking is arrested and prosecuted under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 and Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. In Pakistan, strict laws need to be devised to deal with this burgeoning culture. A check and balance system by the government is needed in order to combat this issue. Parliamentarians do not take this issue seriously, possibly because of the fact that all political parties deface our cities with wall chalking, especially during election campaigns. Simultaneously, people, particularly students and youth need to be ‘morally’ educated as well.

MUHAMMAD SHADMAN,

Karachi, February 17.