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Rich and poor divide

September 08, 2013

IT is being reported in the media that in Pakistan, specifically in Karachi, wealthy people are getting their cars bullet-proof and bomb-proof. The rich are buying a higher ‘probability of safety’ by getting their cars armoured. The people cannot afford a car let alone travel in an armoured vehicle.

The privileged people, in addition to having private armoured vehicles, can afford private guards, houses with thicker and higher concrete walls with pointed steel bars and electronic security systems.

The affluent mostly live in the DHA, Naval Housing Schemes, Askari Apartments, Malir Cantonment, etc. This is like ‘private green zones’ in the making. A situation where the rich will have their private secluded green zones and the masses will be alienated even further.

The police can be seen stopping vehicles for checking in Karachi. Unfortunately, either motorcycles or smaller cars are stopped while the elite drives by ‘undisturbed’ in their expensive cars and tinted SUVs with open display of weapons under the gaze of the same policemen.

The poor suffer owing to lack of water, electricity, lack of educational facilities for their children due to being profiled by law-enforcement agencies and now they might also feel relatively insecure owing to the formation of private green zones.

They also have children and feelings, and the need for security. They will definitely ask themselves the question: how can we secure our family? But in Pakistan having a sense of security is being reserved for the rich only nowadays or so it seems.

The solution to the security problem does not lie in building more isolated communities or by having more armoured vehicles. Rather, it can be solved by massive police reforms, strengthening of institutions like the CPLC, promotion of education at all social levels, propagation of the concepts of tolerance and patience.

Last but not least, by having the will to oppose oppressors and support the oppressed. If Pakistani society decays like this, then in the not-so-distant future we might have a situation where the rich may build private islands or walled townships while the poor will be at the mercy of terrorists and law-enforcement agencies. It will be like the Hollywood film In Time which shows that in the future the rich live longer as they can buy more time to live, while the poor just prepare for death as life becomes an expensive commodity.