Thousands of young men violated traffic laws and norms of decency to celebrate Pakistan’s 64th Independence Day this week. Anti-American sentiments ran high after Lady Gaga stole all the attention away once again. Many of those who were celebrating took off their shirts to show solidarity with poor people and actress Veena Malik.
A number of deaths and injuries were reported in traffic accidents. “This is what we have learned from our great history,” a security analyst said. “We are brave Muslims and we always look for adventures. It does not matter if we risk the lives of those who are sitting on the back seat and not making the decisions.”
“We are ready to sacrifice our lives for our country,” a woman said while falling down from a motorcycle. She was later seen asking around for the phone number of the 1-1-7 ambulance service.
“Do you know what this flag is telling us?” another defence expert asked while pointing to a waving flag. “It is telling us nothing. It is just waving.” He waved back at the flag. “The ideal Pakistani should not think about what he is doing,” the expert said in what appeared to be a veiled reference to cricketer Shahid Afridi. He could not be reached for an explanation because his motorcycle was too loud.
The spectacular show of patriotism on the Pakistani streets has also put an end to speculation that there is a fuel or electricity shortage in the country, improving Pakistan’s image and selling the right signal to the US that Pakistan can take care of itself and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a number of unfortunate incidents were also reported on the occasion. This scribe lost his identity card after his pocket was picked. A number of journalists also lost their identity in the ruckus. Back-up copies of all important personal information and phone contacts were later obtained from the spooks. Several women complained of being mistreated, including being searched by unauthorised personnel.
There were no additional measures to control crime or traffic, after the decision last month to restrict the movement of American diplomats. Movement of terrorists could not be restricted, however. More than 14 people were killed in two terrorist attacks in Balochistan and the Tribal Areas.
The reports saddened the revellers. “Why do these people attack their own country for a few bucks from America?” one asked. “For me, my country is like gold. I will only sell it when the price is right.”
American attempts to sabotage the celebrations had begun weeks ago in the lead-up to the celebrations. Several newspapers had reported the victimisation of Pakistan’s top female defence expert by an American citizen in a restaurant. It is being reported that the Raymond Davis-like American had deliberately hit her chair when he was moving back his own. The people of Pakistan are now demanding a restriction on the movement on Americans’ chairs.
The writer is a media critic and the News Editor, The Friday Times. He may be contacted at [email protected]