Eid-ul-Azha September, 2016
I had to make a rather urgent program of visiting Pakistan this Eid-ul-Azha and packed my bags with the same conventional excitement to meet and mingle with my loved ones. After one day of rest, I visited Bakra Mandi of Bhains Colony on Sunday the 11th September, 2016 with my uncle and cousins. It was a fine cloudy afternoon and people from all trades were out to shop for Eid. After much struggle with high rates and seeing variety of behaviours, we found the destined man who insisted on giving us Bakras and deal was settled shortly; what a fine gentleman from interior Sindh he was? Thereafter we carried our Bakras in an open Suzuki run by 3 persons one of which was an apparently educated young man. I felt a strange attraction in him specially his calmness and deep eyes; we talked in short questions and answers all along the way and then both of us got lost in our own businesses after delivery. Eid-ul-Azha remained a busy day as all family members got together to do justice with 8-9 Bakras and the subsequent distribution of meat was the next task. People were quite happy and relaxed as fear of hide-snatching was no more; again #ThankYouRaheelSharif
Dealing with Utility Providers
I ran from post to pillar for carrying out some documentation and formal procedures for my new under-construction house. As a semi-outsider, it was a real experience to see different flavours of people working in these authorities. I visited SSGC office 3 times for a meter shifting issue. People got more active when they came to know that I was a Qatar resident; one of them said “I am completing this task as you are living abroad or else you will go and spread negative word about us”. I am really thankful for this kindness. Pursuing my case aggressively, being calm with them and being an expat, I was able to finish my obligations and now wait for their action. Everybody seems to be happy and smiling in SSGC itching and pitching with each other; more focused on enjoyment and taunting less on work. I am pretty sure this work would have been buried for months if it was not followed up properly.
Then came K-Electric which was found competent and active of all. I asked a very old question burning in my heart to one vibrant gentleman out there “Why are you doing load-shedding in some areas and not in others; when will load-shedding finish in my area?”…”Actually in your area there are considerable losses and regularising people is also very difficult” he replied. ”But what is my fault? Me and my forefathers have never theft a single rupee of electricity?” I said. Then he opened up. He shared his views on condition of Pakistan and specially Karachi in particular. According to him, situation in Karachi was deliberately spoiled and kingmakers were destroying the city stepwise as there were stages of decaying bread, first it’s attacked by fungus and slowly it becomes completely rotten and uneatable. “Me and my daughter are unwell for the last one month due to unbearable overflow of gutters leading to unhygienic condition in our area; perhaps people are right in leaving this country”, he sighed. ”Gentleman you do justice in your capacity and I will handle my area of responsibility; that’s the best we can do today”, I uttered and left K-electric office after shaking hands.
Karachi water and sewerage board was an entirely different world. “I will not beat about the bush, honestly there are 2 ways of getting customer name on bill changed” the officer said: “1) You pay me Rs 1000 and we will get everything fast tracked for you and you will get name changed by next month, I am taking only Rs 200 share out of it. 2) You go by the book and we will post your application to the head office, may be the postman forgets your application or it’s missed somewhere in the middle; the procedure will take around 12 to 18 months but it’s not guaranteed that your work will be done.” And I was thinking why government does not raise their salary packages and legalise fee/commission procedures so as to save everyone of us from hell-fire.
Losing a dear Cousin:
Unfortunately I lost one of my cousins Ms Shahida Sultana during this visit and it was again a reminder that this world and all associated stuff is temporary and everybody will have to taste death one day. May her soul rest in peace and may Allah grant her Jannah.
Roaming in Karachi
Karachi was a different place this time. I saw people moving freely in huge numbers along with expansive mobile phones contrary to us expats who carry one phone for outside and other for inside home. Sea-view was alive and people were having great time enjoying their rides at horses and camels. I observed overwhelming display of love for General Raheel Sharif as I moved on the roads of Karachi and saw many vehicles with Raheel Sharif and Baba Quaid posters with Pakistan flag background; and you know what, most of them were pasted on auto riskshaws. This buries the theories of racism and provincialism; people love and support anyone who strives for betterment of Pakistanis, no matter which place he belongs to or what domicile he carries. Public cares for those who care for public. As I left my home, like always my mother filled us with all sorts of food and saw us off with half gate opened reciting various Surahs and Duas. She always watches me till my car is gone off the street.
Train Journey to Punjab
A man learns a lot while he travels this world. Same happened with us while we travelled from Karachi to Sargodha with a brief stop at Faisalabad. A/C class was not available directly to Sargodha from Karachi therefore I booked 3 A/C seats to Faisalabad on Millat Express on 28th September, 2016. We enjoyed sole compartment up to Nawabshah where we were joined by a seasoned journalist Mr Aslam Munir, another gentleman from Rohri, and the last one from Sadiqabad. It was a pleasure to travel with Mr Aslam Munir having an overall 57 years of experience, currently serving Nawai-Waqt. He treated me and my family like his own. Our discussion spanned form family life in Pakistani society, to journalism to evolution of various news agencies and condition of employees within news business. He shared his experience from various spheres of life to make our journey a real treat. Facilities within A/C class were quite good and system was satisfactorily. We switched from A/C to economy class from Faisalabad towards Sargodha and it was like moving from heaven to hell. Nothing was in place in economy class; from people to luggage. Fans were not working and dust from outside was fading everything. Luckily we avoided the need to use toilet. Government should make efforts to raise standard of economy class in trains and provide respectable environment to lower income class. Contrary to witty Qoolies of Karachi and Faisalabad, the one in Sargodha was a cool guy who shifted our baggage in reasonable rates without much argument.
City of Sargodha and end of journey
This was my 5th brief visit to Sargodha and as always it was found to be a peaceful, neat, clean place with easygoing people. My brother-in-law Ali introduced me to Doodh Wala from Karachi who was selling milk, sitting by a footpath. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the place having crystal clear glasses and no flies at all, milk’s taste was awesome; will definitely try again next time. Ali also showed me various landmarks of the city including Army Cantt area. Daewoo travel was comfortable to Lahore from where I eventually got flight to Doha-Qatar. Sitting inside plane, my mind’s screen was flashing with fast events happened to me in Pakistan, quiet faces of loved ones saying so many things with their eyes and my very own people who played their role by giving something and taking something from my life. Allah Hafiz Pakistan, meet you soon again!