In the late 80’s I was attending a seminar being held at the Avari Hotel in Lahore, where a lady from an NGO was talking about the money being spent on our nuclear program, and contrasted it against the 3 bombs we already possessed!
This comment really drew everyone’s attention, and we were all ears to learn about these three mysterious weapons we actually had in our arsenal, and till now, had no inkling of!!! A break for tea was announced, and the room was suddenly abuzz with spontaneous discussion to find out if anyone knew of the 3 bombs the lady was alluding to! We couldn’t get the tea down fast enough for the speaker to resume her talk and relieve us all of our intellectual tension and misery!
Slowly she began to draw our attention to the largest section of our Population, the poor, undernourished, uneducated, unemployed and marginalized folks all over Pakistan; those were the days of an authoritarian ruler who had just religion on his mind, so much so that the impact, even today, we are suffering the effects all over our Motherland, and steadily we continue to multiply!
Thanks to that same bigot who began the journey down the road of religious confusion, we note with horror how we have multiplied our numbers when every resource is stretched to the limit as a result! Family planning was made to take a back seat in an agenda that furthered the cause of his time!
In recent years I was party to a nikah ceremony being held at a mosque in a seminary, (I refuse to use the M word because it conjures up all sorts of images! And believe me the attitudes and demeanor displayed there was distasteful). The sermon before the ceremony lasted by contrast, for 45 minutes! While the nikah, took 10 minutes!
The sermon included the subject of procreation, the message was very loud and clear! Go forth and multiply, we need the numbers if we are to win the global conflict! OMG! I thought, we are headed for oblivion! Today you see the effects of such preaching on our streets, under bridges, in kutchi abadis, in rural and urban seminaries, everywhere they can possibly seek respite from all the ills that plague their wretched existences.
Having successfully projected a picture of this segment of society, she then, began telling us of how we all were actually choking the Motherland to death, simply by not having set up an effective way to dispose of our waste and garbage! How we all worked to make sure that our homes were clean and spotless, without casting a thought to what happens when the cleaner walks away with the day’s waste and garbage. How it all ends up at the street corner or is just dumped over the wall, or outside the front door for a phantom collector to clear!
Planned waste management was still in its infancy and the afghan kids had yet to take up this lucrative livelihood, of making money from rummaging thru our waste and garbage.
Till recent years, they never addressed the final fate of the heaps that have now become landfills despite which we continue to suffocate and choke the atmosphere, with the smoke of the heaps of burning garbage, the naalees, the nalluhs and the canals of our Motherland!! Only recently private enterprise has got involved in setting up projects to address the challenge, while making a pretty penny for their pocket, challo, I condone that, as they are beginning to scratch the surface of the pollution challenge. She then drew our attention to the smoke belching out of vehicles on our roads, 20 years down the road; we have yet to resolve this challenge of Pollution!
Finally the lady drew our attention to the crisis of the economically challenged.
In a previous article I had mentioned the US Aid program that directly converted us into a Nation of beggars! Ever since, we have adopted our nick name of Kashkoleistan! And despite all the money that has found it way into the coffers and pockets of the Motherland there is no change in the living standards of the majority of the population! Look around you, everywhere there are the deprived, lesser people of this Motherland, but we all continue to elect those who continue to loot and plunder, heartlessly, our beloved Motherland, including most of them in today’s Management Team.
The poor are still relegated to their permanent existence without any hope of seeing any ray of hope in their lifetimes! Poverty will reign supreme!
To be fair though, the numerous, genuine institutions and NGOs who are bravely attempting to support and provide for them while provincial and federal governments continue their mere lip service of their good intentions and responsibilities.
There you have them! What you ask? The 3 P-Bombs of Pakistan of course! With ignited fuses, slowly burning away until they finally explode!
POPULATION, POLLUTION AND POVERTY!