I have been getting feedback on posts written about the worsening law and order situation in Karachi and this has in-fact prompted me to write about the dreaded Section 144 and how it does or doesn’t support the common man. By common man I mean a law abiding citizen and not a mugger or a criminal. Before delving in to this subject it will be prudent to take a look at the Section 144 and what all it stands for.
One of my friends father is a retired doctor. He lived for a good part of his life here in Pakistan. Later he worked for a couple of years in UAE. Now he has moved to Canada for good. The walking stick aided man and his wife come to Pakistan during winters and head back to their abode for summers when it is pleasant over there. They came to Pakistan about fifteen years back (after a hiatus of four years), I haven’t met them only once since then, somewhere in 2003. I distinctly remember meeting the old man in 1998. It was winters and we were having coffee. After some Gup Shup I asked the old man what he found different this time on his latest visit to his (once) native country. “Utter lawlessness”, he said, “Beta (son) utter lawlessness”. The answer shook me from inside out, because I think we had gotten used to this decaying system so much that wrong was no more wrong. And right was unheard of. Mind you I am talking of 15 years back! 1998!
Things have now reached a stage which cannot be described in words. In fact one can describe them in events like jumping the line, over speeding, not giving right of way, crossing the red light etc etc. I am pretty sure things have gone from bad to worse since then. And I am not sure if the worst is still to come. But I sometimes wonder what the old man would have to say if I ever met him now? Would it be “Gross Lawlessness”, or “Sheer lawlessness”, or “pure lawlessness”?