Accountability for all

The people of Pakistan need a better perspective on world events

The press and the people of Pakistan, and the US have, each separately, been following the sordid woes of the ruling families of their countries. Meantime, in these countries, and elsewhere in the world tragedies have taken place, many of which are ongoing.  The attention given by the public and media to these tragedies is nothing as compared to the attention Trump and the Sharifs receive.

Here in Pakistan, according to the news, maids, girls of an age where they should not be in employment, have been brutally tortured, and murdered. The other day a young boy employed by a landowner was punished by this employer for allowing the employer’s cattle to stray. The boy was tied to a donkey and allowed to be dragged on the ground as the donkey ran. The boy died.

What happened to employment laws? Why were these employers not worried about repercussions to themselves? Where was their compassion?

A few weeks ago 215 people died. They were so poor and so ignorant – as the bulk of this country is – that instead of running in the opposite direction they rushed to collect the spilt oil when an oil tanker overturned. They were killed when the fuel exploded.

Why did they not fully understand the danger? Why did their needs override their caution?

In the United States, according to NESRI, a human rights initiative, ‘32 million people are without health insurance; the most distressing is the number of preventable deaths – up to 101,000 people per year – simply due to the way the health care system is organised.’

Is this government for the people?

To quote Al-Jazeera: ‘On June 29th, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) published a comprehensive report confirming that the nerve agent used in the Syrian regime’s April 4th attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed 92 was sarin.’ That attack on April 4th was one in which children as well as adults died. The symptoms displayed by these victims, innocent citizens, had given rise to strong suspicion that nerve agents were used. It is this suspicion that was confirmed by the OPCW.

Check out the parties involved, and their claims.

In Mosul, the humanitarian situation is hellish. “The level of destruction in the Old City is almost total,” Al-Jazeera reports just last week. “Virtually every single building is either completely or partially reduced to rubble.” According to the Iraqi military, about 15,000 civilians are still in the area of the Old City, with many of them being used as human shields by ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS).

There are those who use the name of religion for their own ends.

In Saudi Arabia, that staunch ally of the greatest freedom loving nation on earth, eleven people died of suffocation in a house with no windows. These men were all migrant workers from India and Bangladesh who shared this house between them. Poor migrant workers in Saudi Arabia are known to live under inhumane conditions. The Saudi government has now also imposed a tax on workers and their dependents.

The mind boggles at the fact that conditions at home must be even worse, or why would these men leave their families behind to live in such death traps as the one these eleven men died in.

‘Al-Bakistan’ registration on plates anyone?

In Yemen, millions of people are on the brink of famine. That’s approximately 17 million humans like you and I with not enough to eat. About one in four of these 17 million are severely short of food, which means they have so little to eat that they are in imminent danger of dying from hunger. People are selling their daughters to get food for their families.

Also, according to the World Food Programme the child malnutrition rate in Yemen is one of the highest in the world.

Should the richer segment of Pakistan spend on food as they do? Any way we can help?

To compound an already dire situation, there is a cholera epidemic in Yemen. It is this country, or rather the Houthis in this country that the coalition headed by Saudi Arabia aims to crush, this country that it has been bombing and shelling. But since when have bombs and shells been discerning? The Saudis have been criticised for indiscriminate bombing in this, one of the poorest countries in the world. This military action is supported by the US which has signed a deal to provide the Kingdom with a further 110 billion dollars’ worth of weapons including warplanes, which are likely to be used for…you guessed it, further bombing.

Custodians of holy places?

Viewed against this background the woes of people who own tall towers and live in lion encrusted mansions do seem trivial by comparison. Why is it such a big issue if the spoilt scion of one of those houses is made to wait for some time in a room by himself, and if photographs of him doing so are made public? So does the rest of the country. Sure this was deliberate. But so?

And it is no issue at all that another scion of another wealthy family, the son of a man popularly elected to office had meetings and deals with representatives of an enemy country, in search of dirt on an opponent. Why should anyone care? Was anything else expected by such a man or his family? He after all is what the majority wanted.

The similarities between the two houses would be amusing if it were not sickening. Both have great wealth, the children of both are spoilt and in the public arena without public office.

The respectable newspapers of Pakistan, of which there are several, ought to give more coverage to other disasters and tragedies, to draw the public’s attention and sympathy much more than they do at present towards such other situations. People need to be aware what happens to human rights when armies take over and apply it to such eventualities in their own part of the world. To see what happens when economies collapse, when extremists control nations. They know it as yet only on an emotive, distorted basis, not on as an analytical, deliberate, graphic presentation.

No one can achieve anything while so beset by personal issues. In Pakistan the civilian government is being hounded, as is democracy.

While in the case of the US, the alternative to the POTUS is said to be even worse, in the case of Pakistan there does not appear to be any palatable option. This is an elected government. It is not the best – or even close- but it is managing. It isn’t too bad for the economy either. If anyone is serious about accountability, that’s good. Make everyone accountable, fully understanding the dangers of this explosive situation.

Rabia Ahmed

The writer is a freelance columnist. Read more by her at http://rabia-ahmed.blogspot.com/



One Comment;

  1. JKhan said:

    No one denies the need for “Accountability”. Let us concentrate on the current accountability which is of utmost importance for the Nation. By mixing up this with others would amount to playing in the hands of the accused who want such diversion to while away time. WE MUST DEAL WITH NAWAZ/SHABAZ CLAN and then the rest. We have separate laws for the lesser citizens. REMEMBER?

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