Just another life. Just another boy who died.
In a country bleeding and wounded from countless blows of terrorism, staggering forward at a slow pace, craving peace and asking for justice, today one more life got erased from a faceless mob at Shahdara, one more right to breathe snatched away, one more soul sucked out of the body.
But today it was different and at the same time not really unfamiliar.
It was not a masked man behind the gun, neither some namaloom afraad blowing them up. Today it was a noun. A noun which looms high over a terrified, passive nation. A noun which weighs more than the ultimate right to life. A noun which is the privilege of the influential and capital punishment for the poor.
The VIP PROTOCOL.
It does not matter if Edhi built us the largest ambulance service in the world, our own police force, our protectors, will stand in our way with their back to the swarming road, deaf to the pleas of a father whose son is in critical condition with guns raised high and eyes waiting for the caravan of the “powerful”. It is not some PTI vs. PMLN debate; It’s the VIP culture of the powerful. The powerful we elect, surrounded by guards, sitting in air conditioned cars, looking out from their tinted windows, ‘serving’ the very nation who’s now immobilized behind the containers and a wall of armed forces.
And tonight our parents after the 9 o’clock news we’ll flick the channels and frown at “Zalima Coca-cola pila dey” commercial. Youngsters will rant on the social sites and soon the post will get buried under the endless updates of our news-feeds. And we’ll all do what we are best at. FORGET.
Forget the boy who died today in Lahore, and the female patient in Rawalpindi.
Forget Bisma, an infant girl, who died outside civil hospital because a political leader was visiting it.
Forget the boy shot dead by a political figure’s security guard because he did not move away when signaled.
Forget the boy with ruptured appendix dying in a traffic jam because general was on the move.
Forget the that premature baby who passed away outside Children’s Hospital because a ‘’Public Servant’’ was visiting it.
Forget the woman in labor trapped in Rickshaw in the name of some leader’s VIP protocol.
Forget and wait for the next VIP convoy to trap us, take away another soul, so we can be infuriated enough to talk about it again.