DISTRIBUTION of rations to the poor, the needy, orphans and the destitute, particularly in Ramazan, is a very distinguished act indeed and is repeatedly stressed upon by our Holy Prophet ( peace be upon him) and the Holy Quran.
Unfortunately for several years fatal incidents have been occurring wherein a number of old and fragile women are crushed to death by mobs trying to reach the distribution point, usually a window or a gate.
Sadly such incidents are liable to be repeated unless necessary remedial measures are immediately adopted by those directly or even indirectly involved in any manner.
Although the sincerity of distributors must be beyond doubt, they should ensure that such deeds of generosity do not end in tragedies like the one repeated in Karachi early this week and last year. For this, they must ensure the culture of forming queues.
Owing to the vast disparity between the haves and have-nots more and more people would like to come forward to join such good deeds.
They just need to be a little more organised. A few notices clearly displaying that distribution of rations or food will commence and continue only if and when the recipients are in a peaceful queue would hardly cost anything.
But just that would not be enough for all. Therefore, in order to form proper queues, temporary inexpensive barriers of bamboos (tied by coconut ropes like scaffolding) can easily be installed to lead people to distribution points and then exiting safely.
A couple of volunteers to guide the crowd and prevent any disorder at an initial stage will, of course, help to a very great extent.
Protecting lives of those already suffering and in miserable conditions, the handicapped, weak or elderly by these simple measures is essential and not difficult at all. And even if a single life can be saved, this small exercise is well worth the cost.
Needless to add here that educating the masses to form queues everywhere should be the ultimate goal.
If we do not wake up even now, such tragedies will keep recurring endlessly.
People are frequently seen queuing at railway stations, cinemas, bus stops, lifts, escalators, etc., in neighbouring countries such as India, Sri Lanka and even Bangladesh now, but hardly anywhere in our country. It is time we made it a habit.
S. IJTABA HUSAIN ZAIDI Karachi