To Thatta With A Question: Do We Deserve This?


As soon as the people see a truck (even if it is not a relief truck) they gather around it. At times they loot the truck too.

As soon as the people see a truck (even if it is not a relief truck) they gather around it. At times they loot the truck too.

While our car, and the truck, approached towards the Thatta, one question kept echoing in my mind: do we really deserve to see our country in such an agony? The answer to that was “yes”. Regardless of that it was painful to have this answer — decided by both heart and mind — I wasn’t able to ignore it. It was that that we — me and my friends — were taking the relief goods to distribute amongst the flood-stricken IDP’s who are settled down in Thatta too.

After crossing the Dhabeji, I started witnessing something which, before that, I had been seeing only on the media: the flood ravaged people camping on both sides of the roads waving hands towards the cars passing by. Our destination was Thatta. Stopping in between, as we were advised, was risky. It was solely not the uncompassionate behavior. But then, it was better to dish out with proper management without inviting a big crowd invading and looting the relief goods trucks. If anything, there are local people in disguise of IDP’s as well. It reminds me of what Khaled Hosseini writes in his legendary book The Kite Runner: When you cheat, you steal someone’s right to the fairness.

When Gharo started, we were stopped at the police check post. It was told to us by the policemen that the situation is unwell ahead and that it is being ordered to the police that those trucks traveling without private security should be escorted to Thatta by an armed police mobile. It was quite a bit responsible behavior from the part of our police that pleasantly surprised me. The convoy of 4 trucks was setup by the police which was then led by a police mobile.

Journey was going fine when suddenly a tire of the truck deflated. We were last in the convoy which was led by a police mobile that was seemingly gone far ahead — unapproachable. Unfortunate to have had the incident since 10’s of people, camping on the either side of the road, gathered around the deflated truck. Some were trying to uncover the truck which was covered with canvass. It was near at hand that looting and snatching of relief goods — and maybe of us too — was about to begin, when we saw and heard a Rangers mobile coming towards us — wailing the alluring siren that cautioned the people who were about to explode on the truck. Upon reaching towards us, the Rangers guys hopped out of the mobile quickly. It made majority of people from the crowd dispersed. Some remained standing there who were later removed from there by the Rangers gently.

Despite that I disagree with police, rangers and army on many issues, I would really appreciate them the way they have been coping with the looming IDP crisis. At least I have had experienced their activeness in Thatta and would certainly like to give them a three cheers!

Besides, it is a usual situation wherever the IDP’s are camping that as soon as they see a truck (even if it is not a relief truck), they assemble around it. At times they loot the truck too if it is seen without security. I cannot say they — the IDP’s, or even the poverty-stricken locals, who attacked our truck — were wrong, but all I can say is that we are facing such a catastrophe and uncivil behavior of these people due to our own ignorance by ignoring these people and other relevant problems during many past years until this moment. If only we had justice with equality, we would not have been facing such a cataclysm, yet a high ranking poverty and illiteracy. Chief Justice of Pakistan, are you listening?

It again made me mull over the question I had been asking myself at every moment of the journey: do we really deserve to see our country in such an agony? 63 years are, maybe, not enough to eradicate the poverty and illiteracy and to create a bridge between urbanites and ruralists, but 63 years are still enough to give more people more basic facilities of life. 63 years are still enough to build small dams. If in 63 years we had not straightened out water management of our country to advantage, how many more years do we still require to make it better if not a step further than better?

But all my surprise in regards comes to an end when I recall a short event I encountered in the course of last week of fund raising at Tariq Road, Karachi. A guy, certainly not immature and apparently not a pauper, whom I asked to donate for the flood-stricken people, retorted: “Allah Malik Hai”. Shehzad Roy has said well for these people: “Bus Allah Hi Tera Hafiz Hai.”

With such an outlook, ad nauseam certainly, for the countrymen who are suffering, I will recall the answer of my heart and mind: yes, we deserve all this!