Islamabad – 7th Gift to the World
To celebrate the spirit of the holidays and reinforce the pleasure of gift giving to promote good will over the next few weeks, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world throughout the week of NOV 26th – DEC 2.
This is Islamabad’s 7th Gift to the World.
Welcome to my fair city of planned roadways and residences, of lush greenery and a clear blue sky. Follow the straight and not-so-narrow Quaid-e-Azam Avenue for fifteen minutes or thereabouts to stand upon the Constitution. I beg your pardon, Constitution Avenue, of course. Behold, the wonder before your eyes, the House of Parliament, the representation of the strength of the ordinary people of Pakistan, a symbol of the highest authority after the Bureaucracy, the politics of contacts and the military. Look to your right to see the presidency that has housed more Chiefs of the Armed Forces rather than the civilian propagated by the constitution, and to your left a rising, jutting structure that looks like a marble mausoleum or is it a mosque gone horribly wrong because really the builders had no idea that they were making the Prime Minister’s residence and offices. Go along further to come upon the misguided, misused, mistreated and mistaken for justice, Supreme Court of Pakistan.
However, as interesting as all these are, I return time and again to gaze in wonderment at the parliament house in all its quiet dignity and suffering. Stand there a while and you will see in all their magnificent masses, the elected representatives of our poor nation. How do you recognize them you ask? Why, can you not see how much they resemble the ordinary man? See, how they are chauffeured in cars that are just barely last year’s models, with guards flanking them back and front and the secret forces running beside them. Of course, you must know that 95% of these brilliant people do not even own cars; they just ‘borrow’ them from relatives and even wives. Can you not see the starched stiffness of their white clothes, holding up against the bulges of their poor, undernourished bellies and see the proof of their despair in the eyes hidden behind black or brown tinted glasses?
Come a little closer, walk through the gates and slip into the gallery where you can watch them struggle and strive for your fate. Watch them sit and discuss pragmatically in the calm and soothing environment that would put a fish market or an impending street fight seem tame. Do you hear how they protest by banging the desks and stand and shout slogans to declare how insignificant the increase in their salaries and benefits have been? Imagine, they’ve been unable to holiday in Europe or the States this Summer.
Witness their dedication in the archives where a poor soul has determined that during the last years session, time spent on actual legislative issues and viable debate was less than 48 hours. Blessed be the little dickens with their tantrums and pampered lifestyles should you ever see them in a non-political environment. Did you not hear of the Governor, Minister and their -er… colleagues who planned on going on a pilgrimage? Poor, misguided, innocent ones actually believed showing up at the airport a half an hour before the flight would be enough to get them on the plane, and all the arrangements done. Imagine the horror their poor souls must have suffered to be turned back before the crowds who had actually had the affront to pay for tickets and were unwilling to share.
These brilliant people are so beyond us in their generosity and human spirit. You just need to lift the newspaper and see the effort they put in to entertain you. The speeches and the silences; the blackmail and the extortion; the catfights and friendly doggedness; all aimed at providing you and me the laughs we need to get through our day.
May we all NOT be blessed with that same generosity of spirit, ever and simply retain our distinction of being human.
Happy Holidays All!