The President Is Indeed In Town


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When I left my home a couple of days ago, I noticed that there were more cops of many different varieties than is the usual in my neighbourhood. Has anyone else noticed how many different kinds of cops there are these days? Special forces, extra special forces, the not-so-special-more-like-extra forces, the forces-in-black, the forces-in-khaki, the forces-in-khaki-with-accessories-like-hats, and my favourites, the forces on horses.

Oh no, I groaned. Is he in town? As I drove by Bilawal House, situated on the double road that was one of the perks of living in the area, and is now the cause of road rage and accidents, all the surma-wearing, mustached, potbellied uniformed men peered into my car. Yes, that’s right. All terrorists are women driving along in little Cuores, and therefore, I must undergo the most thorough inspection.

But they haven’t blocked all the lanes across from Bilawal House, which would mean he’s not in town, I thought. Ah, but they’re putting those pretty flowerpots at the mouth of the road. A large number of the countless Prados that roam the streets of Karachi with their odd/missing number plates and PPP flags milled in and out of the restricted zone. He is here. Or if he isn’t, then he’s definitely on his way. Maybe it’s the brats, I said. The Bilawal House Brat Pack get the ambulance but not the fire brigade, and I couldn’t see one of those. I didn’t have to wonder for too long. By the next day, we heard the whirr of the choppers. President Asif Ali Zardari was indeed in town for a visit, and we, the residents of the Bilawal House area had to adjust to all kinds of traffic maneuvers.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=zardari&iid=7632705″ src=”f/a/8/7/2010_Sundance_Film_1d30.jpg?adImageId=12932898&imageId=7632705″ width=”380″ height=”251″ /]

Needless to say, this is not the first time. It happens regularly, and yet, we never get used to it. What is even more surprising is that we don’t say a thing about it. I will, I threaten every time. Then I think, well, there is a lot worse going on in this country. At least I’m not a peasant woman working all day in the field, and coming home to feed six children and a drunk husband who beats me to a pulp everyday. There is that. What would they do if a queue of cars drove up to the blockade, and did nothing but honk? They’d shoot at us, a friend said. Would they really? I could write about it. The wise words of a former editor came to me, urging me not to write in a fit of righteous anger. Another valid point.

But I’m not furious or anything. I am just mildly annoyed, and also a bit curious. Surely, it can’t be legal for the entire road to be blocked off on a permanent basis. I understand he has security concerns, but this is a private residence and not a state/government building. There have to be laws that prevent this kind of blatant misuse of power.

I see the big story of the day. The President overrides the judiciary to bail out Malik. Laws indeed.

Then again, at least I’m not a peasant woman working all day in the field, coming home to feed six children and a drunk husband who beats me to a pulp everyday.

A version of this post first appeared in the Express Tribune.

3 Responses to “The President Is Indeed In Town”

  1. 1 Dr. Muzzamil

    This is v nicely done, there is so much inbetween the lines. I wish I would live to see the day when our leaders would mature enough to stop acting like lords…and concentrate on serving us — the Mazloom Awaam…..

  2. 2 Sohaib Khan

    This surely is a dilemma here. If you are in power, you are the only human being deserving the right to live a decent life and the rest all are there mere to serve and stay miserable.
    I agree, being a president or anyone close to that, you are bound to have extra privileges and facilities but then again come to think of it, how does a person become a president. I am not talking about the whole election procedure here but just the overall theme. The public decides to come up with a bunch of people who will work for their good, come up with solutions to their problems and make their lives easy. For this, the public will pay ’em extra respect, money off course, some lavish bounties on and off and that’s all. But frankly, I see nothing like this here. We work our level best to come up with people who will get all the benefits they can ever think of and in turn they shall make our lives miserable, ignore us, over stress us and in the end force us to flee this country for good. Isn’t this a bit ironic? I pay to live in a hell!!??!!

  1. 1 The President Is Indeed In Town | Tea Break

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