THE only voice we seem to be hearing these days is about price hike. From statements to speeches and talk-show chatter to interviews, politicians and media are apparently having great fun selling the misery of the poor. Indeed, the prices have gone up and the consequences are back-breaking for the majority, but is it not also true that for a considerably large number of people, it is life as usual out on the streets? Why don’t we show that side of the story as well?

Five star hotels and posh restaurants where one meal per person costs from Rs1,500 to Rs3,000 and beyond are overflowing, with people having to spend time in the ‘waiting area’ for their turn despite having reserved their seats in advance. Tell me if I am wrong or even exaggerating. And all of them are not elite, mind you. From Dou Darya on the seafront to the many outlets on the Super Highway at the other end of the city, take a look at the profile of those spending lavish money there, and you will know for sure that they are not the ultra-rich. They are just ordinary Pakistanis, and they have money to spend and spare.

A tier below, people are seen buying fruits without even asking the price first. They just ask the vendor to pack whatever they want, and pay the asking price without a second thought, without a frown, and without a murmur.

Yes, the majority living below the poverty line is having troubles, but society’s collective sense of charity, which has now been institutionalised by the government through various programmes, comes to their aid. From the mausoleum of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi to the various outlets across the city, no one ever goes to bed on an empty stomach. Things being what they are, who is affected by the rising prices? The protest rallies and processions against the rising prices will only affect the economy even further which will take the prices even higher. Is this what the protesters want? Surely they have some other agenda in mind. And that agenda can’t be good news for the country.

S.K. Jamil

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2021


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