Punishment of silence
Some time ago, I was driving with my wife on a road where four young men had recently died in a car accident. After that I told her some facts about the accidents, which I also want to share with the readers.
The biggest cause of unnatural human deaths in Pakistan is traffic accidents. But for some basic reasons, this tragedy has completely disappeared from our eyes. The first is that human life has become worthless in our society. The death of a single person is not a news to us. Yes, the beauty of a TikTok star, a minor incident in the life of an actor or a player or the statement of a politician is more important to us. So that’s what we see in the news. A traffic accident becomes news only when the death toll is high.
Secondly, apart from not being news, the FIR (First Information Report) of most of the people who died in accidents is not registered except for that unauthenticated FIR which has no legal status. As a result, 60% of accidents do not appear on official records. Third, despite the fact that the number of deaths per year is around hundred thousand, the figure seems small compared to the number of people who die in a vast country of about 220 million people in a single day. Otherwise, if a plane crashes in which fifty or hundred people die, people remember this for years, but about hundred thousand people die every year but no one pays heed to this issue.
In addition to telling my wife these details, I also told her about that special accident on that road and why it happened. In that accident, the youngsters were driving at a very high speed on the empty road. In front of them was a motorcyclist whose backlight was not on. If there is no backlight in the next car in the dark of the night, it is difficult to see it without getting close. The young man’s car was so fast that by the time he saw the motorcycle, he had no chance to apply the brakes. As a result, the driver subconsciously turned the steering wheel and the speeding vehicle lost control and collided with the pillar of the overhead bridge on the road. All four young men died on the spot. Four families mourned and the motorcyclist returned home satisfied.
I was about a few kilometres away from my house when I was telling my wife about the incident at the scene. I told her, “Let’s take a look at how many cars we find without a backlight when we get home.” We started counting and in fifteen minutes, on our way home, we found thirteen motorbikes and a car on the way with the backlights off, ahead of us. No one bothered to fix it and then drive.
The fact is that the law cannot be blamed for such murderous negligence. The real culprit is our national consciousness that we have not made a basic thing like road sense part of our curriculum. This is not the subject of TV channels. This is not a problem of government and intellectuals. This is the death of people of the nation and is not the headache of the nation.
The fact is that our national, governmental, intellectual and journalistic priorities have become criminally wrong. Punishment for such a collective crime is meted out to all members of society one by one. Some families mourn today, some will mourn ten years later. So let all the people who are sleeping know that mourning will come to your house sooner or later. You will be punished for your criminal silence.