Picking up the pieces

IT was a political statement of much-needed strength and symbolism. Where there are those bent upon destruction, there are also others willing to do what they can to save the targets. Most Pakistanis were still recovering from the shock of the fury displayed on Friday by rioters, but some steadfast souls pulled themselves out of despair and decided to do something proactive. On Sunday, in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad a number of young men and women went to the spots that had seen the worst of the violence, and cleaned up. Armed with brooms and dustpans, paint and brushes, they did what they could to return their city to normalcy: sweep away the glass, repaint pickets, pick up spent tear-gas shells and collect the stones that had been hurled. In doing so, they sent out a strong message: not only were they not on the side of those who resort to violence, they were active supporters of the rule of law. Few in numbers though they were, they demonstrated to all who saw them — including the demoralised police personnel who had faced the wrath of the mobs — that even in this pall of night, there is light.

Pakistan desperately needs more such pro-activeness if it is to find a way to stand fast and resist the rising tide of obscurantism and extremism. These people’s act should shame the nation’s leaders, otherwise so adept at manipulating large bands of their supporters; the call to clean up localities laid to waste by the mobs could equally have come from them, and been led by them and their workers. It would have been a powerful method of silent rebuke, and of interest in Pakistan’s welfare. Instead, what we have witnessed on the political front is barely audible censure of even the violence itself, let alone anything constructive.

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Comments (6) Closed

M. Asghar
Sep 25, 2012 10:39am
The involvement of the members of the civil society to clear the scars of destruction caused by the frenzied mob is a good sign that all is not dark in the society and a brutal indictment of the shocking lack of political responsability of the political class.
Iftikhar Husain
Sep 25, 2012 10:41am
The young people of the country are showing courage and passion in these hard time they need great appreciation and to all those political parties including the religious parties who show their nationalism must learn from these youngsters. It has really touched meand I congratulate these young people.
Dr IrfanBaigMirza
Sep 25, 2012 08:31am
very bright and sensible example of turning rowdism into sane ptotest ,our prophet came as rehmatallilalamin so his followers should also be blessing for each other .Please help but donot harm.
Agha Ata
Sep 25, 2012 01:55pm
There is an unwritten law that while speaking to public never scold them. But right now, I think we need to change the rule. If media cooperates, the result would be satisfactory.
Akhter Husain
Sep 25, 2012 06:58pm
It is encouraging to see young ones are taking initiative to show their love for the place they live in.Well doneyoungsters.
Sep 25, 2012 12:26pm
Tats what i call productive work. Instead of condemning what happened and abusing rioters, they actually went out and did something. As the famous chinese proverb goes: "Better to light one small candle then to curse the darkness."