VIP Culture – A Rapidly Growing Cancer in Pakistan
In my daily commute to the Gulberg and DHA areas of Lahore for office work or outings, I usually come across self-proclaimed VIP movement there, especially during office hours. Luxury cars such as BMWs, Range Rovers, and Porsches are seen escorted by one or more Toyota Vigos (“dehshatgard (Terrorist)” as I like to call them) packed with armed guards often leaning out of their vehicles. While I have no issues with them generally as the prevailing law and order situation has forced people to opt for additional security, issues arise when these dehshatgards start harassing people.
While their job description involves protecting their clients and being constantly vigilant, it does not involve spewing curses and aggressive behaviour that would put a mad man high on steroids to shame. During the passing of these VIP caravans, this is the behaviour you must expect from them, anything less and you should be checking where the sun rose from. They expect all traffic to stay away from them, forming an impenetrable bubble around the VIP which is protected by the threat of AK-47s.
My personal experience: once I was behind one of the dehshatgards and I came close due to traffic and the fact that the signal goes green for a mere 20 seconds. The armed guard literally pointed his AK-47 at me (which is ILLEGAL, by the way!) and shouted at me to slow down.
And if you happen to actually collide with one of these cars and get paint nicked etc., forget getting paid for your damage, you will be held responsible and throw all notions of an apology out the window. They are, literally, the big dogs, you will have to suck it up and suffer in silence. Also, you cannot park anywhere around them, or pass ahead/sideways of them or you will be blasted by horns/curses etc. Like, how dare you try to get past the God of all things? How dare you?
Concluding with a message to those so-called-VIPS, I am not against you people having body guards, maybe you people have a real threat to your life, but the blatant display of firearms and aggression by your guards should be stopped immediately. Not all of us want to kill/kidnap you. You have the right to spend on your safety but you do not own the roads. I believe only ambulances enjoy such privileges for obvious reasons and not you folks. If you are on the road, please do not harass or insult other people who are travelling there as well and who have equal rights as you. You could try alternative routes that are not main-stream. And if you have such a huge imminent threat then I suggest you take the following precautionary measures:
- Buy a helicopter. Do not travel on roads. The view will be great for selfies as well.
- Dial the McDonald’s helpline to have them deliver burgers at your doorstep and eat them in the comfort of your living room.
- Simply ride in a rickshaw. A V8 or a BMW draws a lot more attention.