Where are we headed to?

Ihtisham Ur Rehman Majority of the people lost their homes. Some poor and innocent people lost their lives too. Right after the earthquake, the aftershocks of Tableeghi Jamaat started. They accused women and Kalash tribes of the disaster. Then, I frequently heard majority of the people thanking Allah for the mercy showered upon them, and keeping them safe. Those who had lost their houses or had partially damaged houses also thanked Allah for keeping them alive; saying we can build our homes once again. Then the Prime Minister visited the affected area of Chitral and announced compensation for the affected families. It was announced to grant one lakh rupees to the one whose house was partially damaged and two lakhs to those who had lost their houses completely. Then the stage of getting the data started and lists of ‘deserving people’ were generated. (I don’t know what the criterion was). However, it was completed very quickly and cheques were distributed among some of the affected people. Thumbs up for the government and the machinery who did it so quickly. Isn’t it? Oh stop! The story doesn’t end here. Let’s take a look at it. I am a resident of Balach and in Balach majority of the people have come from outside. Why? In Balach majority of the people have bought plots and built their houses. What does it mean? Balach is one of the most expensive areas of Chitral where one kanal of land costs almost one crore. And having an asset of this much value, does someone deserve those one or two lakh rupees? But the funds were distributed among the ‘deserving candidates’ of Balach. Before going into the details of all those I would like to share a story with you; a story of a family and their talented son. “This family lives in Balach whose only bread winner (Adina Bai Mama, who used to be a mason) had died few years back leaving a talented son behind, named Faizur Rehman. Faiz had scored 870 marks in FSc and 450 marks in the entry test for medical but couldn’t succeed to get admission in medical college with the shortage of few marks. However, he was positive and medical wasn’t the last and only option for him. So, he decided to move forward and got admission at Peshawar University. But here too, the society and his fate conspired against him and thus he left the university because he couldn’t afford the fees. Nowadays he is at home.” That was a short story of Faiz Ur Rehman who lives in a society of people having hunger, lust and greed for money. His father, it is said, was deprived of his wages when he was working as a mason in the construction of a mosque in the land of Tableeghis and influential people, Balach. Then, he never visited the mosque as a protest. But, still, he was never paid. Let’s start with the issue. Right after the earthquake the Tableegi Hazraat of Balach started their threatening sermons. These Tableeghis belonged to good families or rich individuals who frequently go to Tableegh. But in the recent earthquake, their houses were, they claim, damaged. So they applied and got the compensation. One of them owns more than 20 kanals of land, (houses and shops for rent as well) and a house of his own. Another Tableghi owns a house and earns well. One of the Tableeghis owns houses both in Balach and Singoor. He took the money and has gone for Tableegh to Raiwind. But we can’t blame this group because they are the guided and righteous ones and no one should dare to ask them any question. But I felt hurt when I heard that some educated and millionaire people from Balach got the funds. Their houses were recently built and they weren’t damaged. But still they took the money. One of them is a former employee of AKDN and owns two homes in Balach, worth millions of rupees, and bank balance, unknown. And his house was not damaged still he took the money. The other one is a retired administrator in government sector and owns a house in Balch. He too took the money. Why did I share the story of Faiz Ur Rehman? His story clearly prevails the dilemma and the ills which prevail in our society. Being Muslim isn’t enough. Acting like a Muslim is the message of God and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Faiz is a talented student who deserves the attention of every individual in the area. But the dilemma is that he has been ignored by the authorities as well as by the locals. The locals, knowing everything, have usurped the rights of Faiz and his family. I do not say that these people do not take these funds. It is their right, as the government is giving them, with certain criterion for the transfer of these funds which these ‘deserving candidates’ fulfill, may be, they do! According to reports, might be authentic or unauthentic, one crore rupees have been distributed in Balach among these ‘deserving millionaires’, while ignoring the ‘undeserving Faiz’. We blame government for corruption. We blame Kalash for the disasters on the ground that they dance and use alcohols. Well, government is corrupt, no doubt, but what about us? Well, let’s for the time being accept that Kalash are a threat to our culture and religion and a cause for such calamities, and a nation who promotes vulgarity, but what about Muslims? Keeping aside the Tableeghis, what about the other people, some of whom are highly educated too? Where are we headed to? Is it the Islam which we preach today? Is it the ‘land of pure’ where we live today? Is it the education we get? And then we blame non-Muslims and USA/Europeans for their behavior towards Muslims!]]>

7 Replies to “Where are we headed to?”

  1. LAL, well articulated.I accord it.Again the case of Faiz-one of my most hard working,respecting and talented junior was far more than earthquake destruction. I strongly appeal our brother who has commented above about philanthropist agencies and scholarship agencies,to list some names.
    It is our failure that our talented brother is facing challenges and we are silent about it.He is deprived of his rights.I don’t know these financial aid offices are giving scholarships to whom?These should search out such talented students to be supported.Every year such issues arise.
    Whatever the cause of natural calamities are, profane or religious, I believe greed and wish to take iron’s share is the top reason.

  2. Ihtisham is a very talented guy and one of my best friends I want to comment on his this article for some corrections and express my point of views.
    1. Ihtisham you have written that in this earthquake mostly the upper areas of Chitral were affected but the assessment whether carried out by government or NGO’s show that mostly central Chitral is affected exception to case of charun owir. Central Chitral is a business hub and the local business has suffered to great extent which still needs to be taken into account.
    2. Secondly you have appreciated the government for quick assessment which has many flaws and is leading towards chaos in Chitral
    3. Your story about Mr. Faiz is heartening but Mr.Faiz should have approached agencies supporting poor students there are a lot of organizations and philanthropists in Chitral and we have alots of success stories in this regard. so far no student in Chitral has been dropped out due to financial constraints.
    4. You are blaming members of Tableghi Jamat for the compensation of earthquake. In the criteria of government till now no one has applied for the compensation and government officials after assessment are making disbursement to the affected households. it does not takes into account the financial conditions of individuals. Thats why i said earlier earlierthat the government assessment and provision of assistance has many flaws which needs to be corrected in future.
    5. lastly The Holy Quran has explained the reason of occurrence of various natural disasters. Science has its own views. its very easy to know why are we facing such disasters in Chitral.
    I hope Ihtisham will agree with my points.

    1. Well, I do agree with your points. So far as government and NGOs are concerned, no doubt,NGOs work very potentially. The way I have appreciated, it clearly shows that it is ironical in its tone. assessment needs proof, but govt did it very hurriedly, which isn’t a good approach. No doubt, you know very well that which area has been affected more. Although I belong to upper Chitral, but live in Chitral town, so I have first hand of Knowledge about Chitral, Balach.
      Yes, I do agree with you about the causes of earthquakes, both sacred and profane (science), but I wanted totalk about the liberty which our religious scholars take whenever such kind of things happen.
      My views, especially data might be incorrect, but I was so emotional when I heard about these situations, especially Mr. Faiz and the treatment of the society towards him, I felt sorry for both.
      I hope i haven’t hurt anyone’s emotions. Lets hope for the best.

  3. Ihtesham has very rightly portrayed the dual face we Chitralies carry. On one hand we are known to be the most polite, simple, and kind people on the other hand we are deep into hypocrisy, moral corruption and indifference to others when it comes to our personal gains. The write up of young Ihtesham may look shocking to majority of us; why? because we have accepted this dual nature of ours as an accepted norm of our society and nobody dares to speak about it for the fear of persecution from the pressure groups be it political, ethnic, religious or so called “shurafas”. He is so very right in asking Where are we headed to?
    The Govt. functionaries whether uniforms or civilians-when they come to Chitral, they live like kings and we Chitralies accept them as the masters of our destinies like obedient subjects. We have factions and groups amongst us, we sell our conscience for tiny little gains just to show to others that we are connected. We would deliver long speeches on current affairs and politics with useless arguments with each other but won’t take a single step to bring a positive change in the mindsets of our people-for as that may not be our priority or else that could be a threat to our self proclaimed power in the society. What have we become and where will it take us?
    Hats off to my brother Ihtesham for bringing up the issue of moral corruption prevalent in Chitral , about which many would think as a taboo! Keep it up young man!

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