Pakistan – A Mob With No Civic Sense

Pakistan – A Mob With No Civic Sense

Whenever I drive on the roads or wait in a queue in Pakistan, I always ponder why most of us are so impatient, fraught and lack any sense of basic civility.
There is no civility in our behavior in any walk of life that we as a nation partake in. So much so that any odd encounter with a civilized person in our society startles us, and makes us feel lucky of having met such an unusual person.

These are the kind of people who play a leading role in managing queues, giving way to an ambulance, leaving their lane for your car, avoiding honking horns, and halting their cars to allow pedestrians to cross the roads. While this should be the normal conduct of citizenry, unfortunately, they are indeed exceptional deeds in our societal context. And most of us, in our herd mentality, follow quite the opposite.
Certain mob behaviors have become too common in our society.

Every other driver, in reckless and rash way, bombards you continuously with pressure horns and forces his high beam headlights on you to give way as if he is the most important person around.
Or a person in the queue, who cheekily skips one or two and moves forward in order to pay his bills earlier than the rest of the lads, who, of course, according to the queue breaker, have all the time in the world to stand and wait there.

There is no civility in our behavior in any walk of life that we as a nation partake in. So much so that any odd encounter with a civilized person in our society startles us, and makes us feel lucky of having met such an unusual person.

While breaking these civic norms, everyone among us has an excuse to offer. These excuses range from emergency, to an urgent appointment, and not to mention the “old age” or “health issues” card played by many.
We also experience it frequently that once a person in the row (hardly resembling a row as everyone is scattered like bees on honey) starts speaking about the breaking of queue rules, others follow the lead, taking refuge behind the back of this one valiant person, who has somehow managed to gather some courage to take a stand on the issue.

Another norm in queue ethics or non-ethics is using your relatives, friends or acquaintances to get your job done without facing the queue. These family members are always willing to oblige and submit your bills even if you are standing at the end of the queue.

Similarly roads in Pakistan have become a violent mob of cars, whose drivers are ready to brawl, grab each other throats, hurl abuses at each other just on the trivial matters, which most of the time rarely falls in the category of mistakes or driving follies. Mistakes are never accepted by any party till eternity.
Another common phenomenon is the way big large luxury SUV’s and supposed vehicles of elites can completely overwhelm you. Such a class in our society can barely wait for the traffic jams or road emergencies, for them, wait is for the common average man of the society. Often these SUV’s have special private security guards too with their long hair, bushy beards and Kalashnikovs in their hands resembling the ancient Viking tribesman or Gaul.

Following any inconvenience in traffic, these guards will jump down from the back of the SUV’s at any moment to start knocking at the windows of the common folk to move ahead and make way for the vehicles of their all-powerful bosses.

Now let us talk about the lower order of food chain – the glorious motorcycle wannabes who are always ready to show their feats of spectacular stunts on the roads, twisting and turning their bikes and flirting with their and others’ lives.

The rules of ordinary driving simply don’t apply to them. They can move from one lane to another in a split second on the back of their bikes by fractionally missing the hoods of the passing by cars or vehicles. They can openly and gallantly travel in the opposite direction on a one-way road or street. And if they end up crashing their bikes with a vehicle, it is always the vehicle’s fault.
Similarly most of them are also having color-blindness issues. For them, red means green and vice versa on most traffic signals. These gentlemen are the reflection of our everyday Pakistani transport and public life.
For that matter, those few people who even try to follow the basic rules are doomed and ghettoized by the majority that lacks basic civic sense and road ethics. And such rationales add up making the fabric of our very own society.

Fahad ur Rehman

Fahad ur Rehman

M. Fahad Ur Rehman is a freelance writer and a teacher belonging to Peshawar. He is also a student of International Relations and Public Policy at SZABIST Islamabad.

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