As I got my car refilled from Total fuel station a few days ago, I did not realize that I wouldn’t be seeing this place, or any other God forsaken fuel station for that matter, for indefinite future.
Little did I know that I had gravely underestimated the incompetence and greed of the species ruling us and the resources of this poor country. PMLN has been notorious for getting superb opportunities and turning them into political and social nightmares for themselves. The record breaking corruption and lawlessness set by previous government was hard to match, yet Mr. PM and his kitchen cabinet went ahead, equaled it, and then topped it with even worse corruption and lawlessness. From 4 constituencies to Pakistan shut down, from removal of a mere barrier to 17 dead bodies, from the immense drop in fuel prices to the extinction of petrol in Pakistan – each of these scenarios, if handled correctly could’ve been medals shining on Mr. PM’s chest and would’ve sealed the next tenure or two for PMLN. Alas no. As someone wisely said, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”
Now that I have your attention, yes you there with red and green armband and Imran Khan’s chappal as your profile picture. Where is your dharna now when it’s a matter directly affecting every single Pakistani one way or the other? Why have you gone silent? Where is the noise? There were at least a dozen representatives defending the sit-in at D-Chowk one on each channel, why is the petrol crisis being merely ‘condemned’ between the lines?
And you – the guardians of the future first lady of Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, I know your slogan just says ‘Roti, Kapra, Makan’ (which you’ve successfully snatched from 11 crore people of Pakistan, I give you that), but a half hour Gulabi Urdu address now would really help. To the most cunning politician of Pakistan – Sir, at least you should raise the voice of the commoner albeit the silent ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’ pact with the sitting government. Raise the issue and once the petrol availability resumes, I assure you’ll be granted your due 10% credit.
And then we have the politician who is nicknamed as a fossil fuel by-product. Respected Maulana sb, your name demands that you stand up now against the ethnic cleansing of your clan – Petrol, furnace oil, CNG, they are all being eliminated one by one. Soon it will be your turn. Stand up now or you may be facing your extinction in the near future.
All the other national, ethnic and religious parties – you can hold country-wide protests, close the business hub of Pakistan and burn tires demanding the termination of the Facebook account of a mentally retarded cartoonist sitting in his momma’s basement, or to secure the honor of the word ‘muhajir’. Yet you are unmoved when people are forced to starve because their workplaces have been closed due to unavailability of any sort of energy. Kya ye khulla tazaad nahi? Or is it because no petrol pump in your controlled areas can dare turning down your ‘request’ of a fill-up?
Finally you, me, the common person reading this and feeling like Razia captured by vagabonds – stop feeling sorry for yourself. We are as much to blame. As soon as the gossip of fuel shortage hit the streets, our winter mode struck and we started filling dozens of jerrycans as if they will last a lifetime. What’s wrong with ‘a little for everyone’? To the rickshaw drivers – you run on LPG. Petrol unavailability doesn’t mandate you to start charging triple the amount. To the opportunist retailers, selling 20 liters of fuel a day for 10 days at 150 rupees wouldn’t get your name in Forbes 500. Oh..and the people spending multiple hours in queues for petrol, next time you’re running a red light or going wrong way to save some 20 seconds, think about the number of 20 seconds you could fit in these 3 hours you spent purchasing (not getting for free) a common necessity. There is your reference to the worth of time in Pakistan, so next time you feel like using the phrase “I am umm busy” or “meray pass time nahi hai” – think again.
For the last 6 days the only topic discussed wherever one goes is the availability, or the lack of, petrol – from incompetence of the government to conspiracy theories claiming a particular minister making 2.1 billion dollars amid this shortage. Unless proven, it is worthless to ponder on fiction rather than facts. And the fact is that life has actually come to a standstill for many, cottage industries shut down, and people have been forced to starve, beg, or at best stay at home.
My grocery guy never runs out of groceries. The smallest of establishments have a formal or informal supply chain mechanism. The sitting government should take the responsibility – that is a very small price to pay for limitless amenities they enjoy as part of their ruling package from shopping at Fifth Avenue on public funds to appointing 4000 personnel for personal security, also from the national exchequer. Hire professionals to run departments and ministries rather than family members or friends you intend to oblige.
If you, Mr. Prime Minister once, just once, try being in a common man’s shoes – wait in a queue for 4 hours to get 1000rs worth of fuel which will get you barely from Model Town to Raiwind, you will ensure over your life that there is never a fuel shortage in Pakistan. Ever.