Budget 2020 is simply like this:
Education: Rs.4 billions
Health: Rs.20 billions
Defence: Rs.1402 billions
I know. Education and Health are mainly under provinces (18th Amendment) and will get allocations through provincial budgets as well.
But dear Vawda-kinda! This Rs.1402 billion doesn’t include military pensions (Rs.369 billion which is 79% of federal government’s total pension bill). Major weaponry procurement. Mega projects under FWO. Security enhancement (Rs.45 billion last year). Or businesses. Their revenues. Plots. Potential DHAs.
And supplementary grants? Like the one which they got a month back of Rs.1.66 billion for a surveillance project.
And how many supplementary grants?
There is another calculation which I leave to you: subtract debt programmes from the total federal budget, and then calculate how much is allocated to defence (%age) vs rest of the country – considering we are fighting a pandemic.
Anyway, don’t bother.
But don’t be ill-informed.
And don’t defend the defenders for God sake.
We saw our PM cry every other day for the poor on TV. As he had no strategy or plan to tackle the virus, he offered us crocodiles tears. Regularly. And then his team presented a budget – shamelessly – wherein every single component related to the poor has been robbed.
After him comes Gill. Then Chauhan. Then Rashid. Then the other Rashid. Then Mirza. Then another. Another. Another. And the whole day is spent in press conferences with exactly the same rhetoric.
‘Mafia’ is the new scapegoat.
Who is behind medicine and drugs price hike? Mafia.
Who is behind sugar prices? Mafia.
Who is behind wheat crisis? Mafia.
Who is behind petrol crisis? Mafia.
Who is behind your seat Mr. Prime Minister? Mafia.
Rarely you see doctors on TV. They are not included in committees to handle the virus. They are not allowed to speak publicly. Their voice is completely missing. And the budget too – criminally – has ignored doctors and their advice.
This isn’t war. In fact, there is no war around the world at the moment. The whole world is tackling the same crises and doing its best to prevent it.
And here, in the land of pure, the budget has been prepared based on the same old two nation theory. Diamonds for me. Nickels for you.
Sadly – and honestly – blaming Khan or PTI is foolish too. They aren’t ever in power.
Just like their predecessors.
And their predecessors.
And their predecessors.
No more Khalil ur Rehman Qamar vomiting on TV. But it doesn’t mean shit doesn’t exist anymore. It does. Only we have some other problems.
Firstly, there is this virus. Supreme Court is trying their best to control the pandemic. Forgetting that they themselves are endemic.
Then, we have this sugar crisis. Tareen’s sugar levels is high as IK – well, not IK – made the report public. Now Tareen is running here and there, looking for some Musharraf-kinda-daddy. ‘Sugar daddy’ looking for daddy. What luck!
Meanwhile Saad rafique met Pervaiz Elahi. Yes, the same ‘daaku’. In ten years, PML-Q desperately wanted to hangout with PML-N, but they were not needed before. Now political frustration has paved the way for the two ugly ducklings. This is precisely where Zia’s DNA meets Musharraf’s DNA.
And Vawda is back again. Without a boot this time. If coronavirus had a face…
Even religious scholars and mullahs are providing comedy. Yeh to ho ga. When their businesses will be closed, they will be frustrated. And in frustration, they will provide content.
Anyway, with all the fuss, comedy remained intact. IK says something. Sindh goes the other way. Punjab follows Sindh after a day or two. Then KPK follows Punjab. Then Federal endorses everything with ifs and buts. And then comes sugar and wheat report.
Government has issued vague notifications and has directed Commissioners / Deputy Commissioners to resolve the confusions. Well, the bureaucrats rarely handle straight guidelines, and here they are asked to use their minds. Embrace yourself!
There is much ado about nothing. Lockdown is here. It’s not curfew. Yes, you can open your shop. No, not you. You. I mean you, not you. Who?
But don’t blame them.
We got these laws, courts, bureaucracy and military from colonialism. Ranks and designations and hierarchies and grades are exactly the colonial way. In exactly the same offices they made during colonial era. With exactly the same mindset sucking the system.
Majority of our laws and penal codes – including 144 – are from colonial era. The exact same system is lynching the public the exact same way.
Only the elite natives replaced the gora sahibs.
That’s why our history, throughout the decades, is same. Same ink accusing the same class of the same mind.
Jalianwala Bagh before partition.
Babrra massacre after partition.
Manto wrote before and after 1947. And he wrote exactly the same stories.
Stories of atrocities.
Stories of lawlessness.
Stories of corruption.
Stories of fanaticism.
Stories of men. Men of lust.
The only difference is what he wrote as derogatory has become itself a writer with endless scripts and dramas. But we have other problems for now.
Un-globalization in process.
How many companies will adopt work-from-home model when this will be over? Isn’t it less costly?
How many people will re-shape their work-family balance?
Will the business and strategy books keep on teaching “globalization” like before?
Will China remain the production hub of the whole world?
Will the nations keep on buying weapons to build on arsenals or will healthcare get some light?
Will healthcare be adopted back by the government, as it was being privatized and outsourced in most of the countries?
Will there be Hajj this year?
Will secularism / liberalism see a boom or will the world keep moving towards populism / conservatism?
Will science be considered as important as orthodox beliefs?
Will the neighborhood life resume as before?
Will we have more divorces or more babies?
There are so many questions. We don’t even know how many will perish before a virus-free world sees the daylight. But who cares?
We deserve this.
First of all, this debate of science vs. religion will never end. It is as ruthless today as it was when Galileo said that the earth is a ‘globe’. One side can claim that science has failed to prevent the world from this invisible virus. And the same can be said for the other side.
Exactly same arguments can be thrown on both sides of the pole.
The question is, why is this even polarized. For me, it is exactly the same side of a single being.
We deserve this.
With bloods on our hand, we deserve this.
When kids were being killed in Yemen through drones, we didn’t record resistance. We took Sunni / Shia split sides. We defended our troops and blamed others.
When Afghanistan was being bombarded – with Jihad and without Jihad – we played dollar-based-politics. While counting dead bodies, we never shuddered and continued counting dollars.
When Rohingya were undergoing ethnic cleansing, the world watched it as silent spectators watching a horror movie.
When Syrian refugees were drowning in the water, we cried, wiped our tears, and went on to buy products of the same people who pointed guns at the refugees.
When kids were being raped and murdered, we were unable to make policies to tackle the situation. Now, see, kids are safe. Or maybe not?
We never thought of the consequences of our consumerism.
We never changed our lifestyle. Because we never had an ideology.
We never had conscientiousness.
We deserve this.
With arsenals rising, missiles getting bigger, drones getting smaller and jets getting swifter, poor people became poorer.
Those who were unable to be fed, were bombarded.
For narratives. Ideologies. Politics. Business. Religions.
We deserve this.
So, here we are.
I hope we will learn a lesson.
I hope it will be classless and ruthless.
I hope it will be liberal and secular in selection and conservative and fundamentalist in implementation.
As we have been for centuries.
Because, we deserve this.
And I hope and pray this virus will spare kids.
Because the next generation is the only hope this world has.