Today I am sharing a genuine story close to my heart. It is a story of a resilient old citizen of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Yesterday, I met him when I was going to work. Apparently, he was looking weak and feeble. His shabby clothes and muddy hands caught my attention. In these hot days of summer, he was making a building. He was a daily wager. The owner of the building was shouting at him. His eyes were full of tears and his hands were shaking while working. After work, when he was going back to home, I requested him for his few minutes to talk. In the start, he was feeling hesitated, but after few minutes he remained comfortable. I started my conversation with normal chit chat.
Me: Baba g, what’s your age and from how long you have been doing this work?
Baba g: My age is 75. And I have been doing this work for the last few years.
Me: Baba g, your age demands rest. What are the main reasons which compel you to work in these hot days of summer?
Baba g: Beta, I was a government employer. I had one son. I gave him best education. My wife and I worked hard for his better future. But after getting a degree, he refused to live with us. He left us. And now me and wife have been living our last days alone. My wife’s health doesn’t allow her to work, so that’s the main reason to work.
(When he was telling his story, I can feel the pain in his face and tears in his eyes. But this respected man surprised me every time; he was so strong beyond my expectations).
Me: Baba g, elections are around the corner. Do you know the importance of your vote and which party you will vote for?
Baba G: Last year, some politicians visited our homes and asked us for a vote. They offered us some money and meal. I trusted them and their words and gave them my vote. I didn’t know the importance of my vote but now I realized that my one vote can make a change. This year I will never sell my vote. This time I will vote for honesty. I will vote for water, I will vote for electricity, I will vote for better Pakistan. I have suffered a lot during last few years. I can feel the agony of a small ranked pensioner.
Me: Baba g, according to you, what is the future of Pakistan?
Baba G: Beta, I am a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We have sacrificed a lot for this land. We have sacrificed our blood, sweat, time and energy for Pakistan. I want to see a Pakistan where the state is responsible for every citizen. I am its citizen and I demand respect from my Land and its people.
This was the most memorable interview of my life. My heart was bleeding when I was listening to his painful story. Life is unfair to him. He has been facing bitter realities of life but he has a vision. He can see what others highly qualified can’t see. We see that the inflation is soaring with every passing moment. Electricity, water- scarce in Pakistan- oil and gas, water, food items and other commodities has gone beyond the reach of a common man. Country’s economy is sagging and poverty and unemployment are on the rise. Old citizens are begging on streets or working hard for their survival or for two times meal. Children should realize their responsibilities and take great care of their parents. It is a responsibility of a state to take care of them and provide them shelter. Being a citizen of Pakistan, it is our responsibility to treat them with affection and care. It is not a story of Baba Ahmed, It is a story of every poor man who is fighting for life. It is a story of every person who is suffering. It is a story of Pakistan! Baba Ahmed’s vote is for better Pakistan. What about your vote? Think wisely!