Reactionary Nation

There is recondite social responsi-bility which we as a nation have rebuked and rebuffed.

The death of one young per­son is the death of count­less expectations, emotions, and aspirations. There is little val­ue in human life in Pakistan. Thousands of people die in road accidents every year. According to the World Health Organi­zation, 29,000 people were killed in road acci­dents in 2023 alone. But only a few incidents awak­en the people sleeping in silos of power and authority. They follow a textbook pattern after every sin­ister and painful disaster or ca­lamity: come on the media; issue statements, condemn the incident, and suspend a few lower rank of­ficers. Afterward, they return to their power corridors and wait for the next issue to emerge. Nothing has changed since the inception of Pakistan. Who is responsible for this social and political apathy? Merely blaming the government is neither a solution nor an escape route. There is recondite social re­sponsibility which we as a nation have rebuked and rebuffed.

Let’s decipher the bloody game of kite flying first to analyze the paral­ysis of the government and neglect of the community. A young motor­ist was bathed in his own blood be­cause of a stray kite string having metal inclusions in Faisalabad last week. What happened next is the repeat telecast of any parallel in­cidents. The SHO of the concerned police station was suspended. The Chief Minister condemned the is­sue. Opposition parties highlighted the neglect of the government. An­chors and vloggers got the much-needed content for their videos. As an emergency measure, Punjab Po­lice apprehended scores of people associated with the nefarious busi­ness of kite flying. It did not stop there. Two more boys were killed in kite flying accidents on 25th March in Sargodha and Pattoki. The remiss of society and govern­ment continues unabated. There is a need for a reasonable rejoinder to explain these incidents.

The behavior of the government is an epic and glaring rendition of the state of affairs. Why was the po­lice and administration not proac­tive? Why preventive and preemp­tive steps were not taken? Why is there always a long wait for the calamity to occur? Kite flying has been banned in Pakistan since 2001. In a landmark decision in 2005, the Supreme Court ordered the ban of manufacture, trade, and even flying of kites because of the related fatal incidents in which precious lives have been lost. Who should be held responsible for the death of an innocent young man in Faisalabad? We have short-term and long-term memory issues as a nation. We mourn the deaths of in­nocent fellow citizens. Then we for­get without resolving the issue and holding anyone accountable. The government does the same. Re­ports are prepared and submitted without any implementation of the recommendations. Is this the fate of a nation of 243 million people to be killed in accidents, washed away with floods, and to live miserably in poor economic conditions? We have to rescind it once and for all.

In order to revivify our com­mitment to a vibrant, responsi­ble, and prosperous society there is a need to thwart and disrupt the current state of stagnancy. It would only happen once the is­sues are understood and practi­cable solutions are implemented without any political hiccups.

There must be a schematic anal­ysis of why governments are reac­tionary to incidents and not pro­active. The underlying factors are seething for the masses as they have given their time, energy, and resources for the national devel­opment yet the outcomes are not encouraging. Lack of resources is the seminal cause of policy fail­ure in Pakistan. For instance, how can a Station House Officer(SHO) with 40-50 officials at his disposal can avert kite-flying incidents? It is the story of every government department.

Unless required funds, human re­sources, a workable plan of action, and proper facilitation are not of­fered to the government depart­ments, the expectation of results from them is daydreaming. Simi­larly, complexity and bureaucrat­ic red tape further complicate the progress. Government machinery is overstretched and lacks a co­herent vision. On the other hand, there is consistent resistance to the change in the official work. The model of governance is still extrac­tive. Government departments still deem them as colonial outfits. The criminal absence of checks and bal­ances has debilitated the perfor­mance of government agencies. Ex­pectations of performance delivery from a system where rent-seek­ing and corruption are the norms are neither logical nor rational. This system of institutional weak­ness has snubbed the ideals of per­formance and service delivery. Its continuation is a recipe for disaster for the lives and welfare of society. There is a need to revisit the situa­tion and devise a plan of action for course correction at the govern­mental and social levels.

Contrary to the role of the gov­ernment, the responsibility of the community is inevitable in ensur­ing the safety and security of the masses. From parents to teachers, every social institution is equal­ly responsible for inculcating so­cial responsibility among the young lot. When cultural norms and values give value to the col­lective welfare and well-being of the society as a whole, citizens act responsibly. Then murderous sports like kite flying are a rare occurrence. Overall, the govern­ment must abstain from reaction­ary policies and ad-hocism in or­der to dispense the rights and facilities to the citizens. The citi­zens should be equally vigilant of the performance and government while fulfilling their responsibil­ity as concerned members of so­ciety. Only through collective re­solve, the painful incidents can be averted and security and safety of the citizens can be guaranteed.

Khaliq Dad Lak
The writer is a civil servant. He can be reached at

Khaliq Dad Lak
The writer is a civil servant. He can be reached at

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