THERE is a rather strange sense of pride that we, as a nation, have started feeling in our dependence on others. We recently felt happy about Saudi Arabia’s decision to provide $500m for development projects. Another ‘breaking news’ on some television channel said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was to “construct a huge mosque in Islamabad”.

Similarly, the decision of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release the next loan tranche makes headlines in the media, and the same is the case with the arrival of every batch of free Covid vaccine.

The government launches support programmes which are basically nothing but free food and shelter arrangements. And in markets and roundabouts across the country, men, women and children are seen carrying a few items which they show as if they are trying to earn money, but it is just a façade for practically seeking doles. The same applies to those with windscreen-wipers in their hands.

Even stout young men at specific locations from where labourers are picked for hire on the basis of daily wages choose to reach the point a few minutes before the end of working hours, pretending that they were out of work and deserve monetary help from kind-hearted passersby.

These are all vignettes of our national life. They may appear to have nothing in common, but there is, indeed, one common denominator: dependency. The nation apparently has become desensitised to the issue. It is like suffering from some kind dependency syndrome.

As an honourable, independent nation, we must depend on our own resources and and feel proud about it. The dependence on free income coming from local or foreign sources should be a matter of shame and must be abhorred.

We may not be able to do it right away, but we can at least not be happy about how things stand today. We can at least not ‘celebrate’ the dole. Can we?

Sayed G.B. Shah Bokhari
Peshawar

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2021

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