While you were away, Mr. President

Shyema Sajjad is the Deputy Editor at Dawn.com



Are you having a good holiday Mr. President? While you are away traveling Europe, I thought I’d be a good citizen and let you know about the latest that is happening in your country.

I know you left just two days ago but it seems you were never here. Perhaps a national address would have been nice before you left – you had plenty of reasons to speak to us, don’t you think?

Have you ever had that nightmare when something is after you and when you feel you’ve finally dodged it and can now take a quick breather, all of a sudden something else starts chasing you? No? Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it in this letter.

But before I tell you that, do tell me how you stuck to your plan of visiting Britain despite the country’s PM saying that Pakistan must not be allowed to “promote the export of terror whether to India, whether to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the world.”

Ouch. And still you went. Chances are you’ll shake his hand and pose for a few pictures too. I’m glad you don’t keep grudges – especially against those who say very irresponsible things regarding your country – and then further reiterate them by saying they will not take their words back!

Anyway, that took me away from the nightmare. I’d like to go back to what we were talking about. Yes, so while I clicked on some pictures of you smiling with Nicholas Sarkozy, your children along your side, I also happened to come across pictures of some other families. They weren’t well-dressed and neither were they in France. They were crying, sitting in various parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. But then again, they are just a statistic right? I am not sure what the death toll was when you left but it has now crossed 1,400, with over three million affected. I understand discussing diplomacy and terror strategies are important but what about these people, sir? Are they really just a statistic for you? People with homes swept away and children drowned, can’t just be statistics.

So while bridges are collapsing and dams are bursting, tell me what you are doing Mr.President? I hear you’ll be visiting Normandy too. What’s that like? I’ve never been and chances are neither has 90 per cent of your nation. Perhaps a field trip at some point would be nice? Or maybe just ensuring food and water for your people would be enough for now – Normandy can wait.

You must have heard about the plane crash. In fact you sent some of your government leaders such as Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik in a helicopter to view the crash site – I didn’t see you there but that’s okay. I am sure you must have said a prayer for the victims that night. Anyway, so that’s a part of Pakistan’s nightmare too – 152 lives gone in an instant.

And tell me a bit more about this WikiLeaks scenario? Once again people started at us – between me and you sir, do you think any of those reports were true or are the ‘others’ just out to get us? I don’t know much about all this. I can only read about it, maybe ask my father or my boss but I’m curious to know what you think.

Following the chain of tragedies, here is another one. MPA Raza Haider was killed last night. He was in a mosque when our favourite enemies, “the unknown gunmen”, came and shot him. Don’t worry sir, Rehman Malik has once again promised us that there will be an investigation and the culprits will be bought to justice. Malik said that this is because someone is trying to destablise the country. Once again Mr. President I want to know your take on that. I don’t mean to be rude to Malik but frankly I am a bit tired of his false promises.

Karachi went mad last night. Anger blazed out of its buses and gas stations. Firing kept so many awake last night that they didn’t even need to fall asleep to have a nightmare! I am glad you weren’t in town otherwise you would have been pretty disturbed as well. At least we know you are safe and sound with your children in France.

I must get back to work now Mr. President and I am sure you must be traumatized enough after reading about all this. I really hate being the bearer of bad news but I promise you, the day I hear something good or see something positive, I’ll type out another letter to you. Until then, sleep well.

Best regards.

Shyema Sajjad is the Deputy Editor at Dawn.com

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