Pakistan’s hottest issues that no one cares about


Problems that even alarming stats can’t generate interest in



Pakistanis never have a dearth of problems to discuss. From the rising rates of just about everything in life to the perpetual cat and mouse game that we’re playing with electricity. However, some of our hottest problems get the least amount of face time with the general masses. From pretending these issues don’t exist to stigmatising them to a point where people wish they didn’t exist – we’ve done it all.

The rape conundrum

In the last five years there have been a devastatingly low number of rape convictions in Pakistan. The number of convictions is in fact almost fabricated as we’re blasted with it time and time again. The grand total of this number lies in a single digit. The grand total doesn’t surprise many, and conforms to plenty of cynical expectations as well. The grand total of rape convictions within half of the last decade is zero. And while the number of people raising their voice for the issue may not be zero, it’s interesting to note that they don’t account for millions.

One would think that a country whose culture revolves around keeping women hidden and safe from the evils of the world would be able to punish rapists in a better fashion. It’s rather ironic that we place such emphasis on keeping women in line, ensuring that they behave properly, dress modesty and act decently so as to avoid trouble. Yet as soon as a woman is raped our outrage is nowhere to be found. What happens to her is seldom her fault but that’s seldom anyone’s business or problem. Shame is the only constant in this situation, and it’s never prescribed for the rapists.

The education crisis

One in 10 of the global population of children who aren’t in primary school are in Pakistan. That means that we’re housing a great chunk of the world’s children whose futures are stifled by a lack of education, despite there being no chance of Pakistan meeting the Millennium Development Goal for education by 2015. There’s also zero chance that around 25 million children will be finding their way into schools anytime soon. There’s an additional zero chance that the problem will start getting any real attention in the near future.

This is a country where the Taliban (which ironically means student) get more face time and support than Malala (whose only crime so far is to repeatedly beg for more educational opportunities). Our education woes continue to mount as we experience one theatrical joke after another. Some politicians get honourary degrees which they never studied for or deserve and others persistently justifying their fake accolades. There’s no discussion about imparting some knowledge and wisdom towards those that desperately need it: 30 per cent of Pakistan’s population which currently resides within the confines of extreme educational poverty. But in the times of Amir Liaqat’s “tukka lagao musalmano” and Bilawal Bhutto’s bourgeois revolution, who really cares about education at the end of the day?

Waster of water

Pakistanis are so delightfully consumed by their hide and seek game with electricity that they’re failing to notice another resource that’s slowly but surely going to be a thing of the past soon. Water is life, electricity is not. You can live without a fan, but no, even a Pakistani can’t live without water. Pakistan has found itself in the unique position of either having too much water when it gets battered by floods year in and year out, or when it’s thirsting for a little more during a heavy drought. The nice little in-between place is slowly fading away, and none of us is noticing a damn thing.

Does Pakistan have any effective prevention plans for a water shortage? No. Does it have adequate storage capacity to deal with an acute shortage if it were to occur? No. Is it currently focusing on any projects aimed at fixing the water woes? No.

Electricity is the younger sibling that takes the cake and eats it too. When will Pakistan start caring about the water problem? When they can’t find a glass of water to drink, to put it simply.

The wrong minorities

An interesting news broke a few days ago. China, it seems, has banned fasting. In Pakistan someone can get away with all sorts of things if they’re a good Muslim fulfilling a good duty towards God. The problem is that people often forget the difference between earning God’s favour with their deeds, and thinking that they’re doing everyone a favour by being religious for a month. The reactions ranged from people wondering why we’re even friends with China to begin with, to people asking why and how China could do such a thing.

These reactions were interesting because only recently did we have a young man go on a hunger strike for the rights of his people. He quite literally starved to lose a Kg a day while Pakistanis produced nothing more than stoic smiles and empty responses. Latif Johar was prepared to die, and once he was to expire, his organisation, the Baloch Student Organisation, had a replacement in place. Some even wondered what the Baloch were thinking, staging a hunger strike at a time when the country has so many other problems, bigger, better and juicier, to keep it company. Why on earth would anyone care about a minority in the middle of everything else?

It was apposite then that when the Sri Lankan government decided to deport Ahmadis seeking asylum back to where they came from, our foreign office responded with the equivalent of “sanu ki”. Oh, but we will offer a place to stay to Kashmiri students, and even Shahrukh Khan, if they are to ever find themselves in trouble.

At the sad end of the sad day we realise that the average Pakistani has better things to worry about. The next iftar party and the number of pakoras that can be consumed rank far higher than any developmental problems that the country is facing. Our lack of interest in long term planning is found plastered across our absolute interest in living in the moment. Yes, living in the moment. What else can you say about a nation so absurdly lost in stupor that it fails to notice its own roof toppling above it and floor crumbling beneath? But I digress… where are those pakoras?

The writer is a fan of whining about problems that no one else finds interesting. Readers can further share a list of things that they feel they exclusively care about at [email protected]


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