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Is there anyone? (electricity bills)

by Professor Abdullah Bhatti
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Professor Abdullah Bhatti

I was suffering from severe pain and agony as if thousands of poisonous scorpions were released on my body, and with every passing moment, their venom was injected into my nostrils, causing my heart and soul to ache. The feeling of agony became unbearable, so I went to the room, fell on the sofa, and started gazing at the ceiling with lifeless, stony eyes. My eyes and ears witnessed the heart-wrenching scene. Your reaction should be the same as mine—pain, suffering, and helplessness had crossed the limits. One could barely endure, live, wake up, or breathe. A person can burn even in such a hell of pain and suffering, something I never thought possible, but it was excruciatingly painful and bitter. It was the harsh reality I was experiencing, given that God had blessed me with the ability and courage to seek the right path. Yes, but the scene I witnessed today was such a bitter reality that even a humble servant like me was agonized. Life can be so cruel that one’s very breath starts to ignite, and this beautiful life becomes undesirable, shying away from its vibrant colors.

“Life is incredibly beautiful and exhilarating. Every passing moment is adorned with a multitude of hues of happiness and joy. No normal person would willingly turn away from life. They would make countless efforts to infuse it with more beauty. However, for some, life becomes a scaffold of agony, or a swamp of unbearable sorrows, to the point where they would rather find solace in the grave. This is the miserable life I am talking about, and I am about to share its background.

This all stems from my previous column, “Hey Electricity Bill,” which I wrote a few weeks ago. In it, I highlighted the horrors of inflation and the helplessness of the people. Many poor widows, orphans, and women are forced into prostitution to pay their exorbitant electricity bills. Without payment, their electricity gets cut off, making survival impossible. Flour, a basic necessity, has also become prohibitively expensive. If you manage to buy flour, you run out of money. Now, the mountain of electricity has transformed into a mountain of minced meat. Previously, electricity bills were unaffordable. The oppressive government, in its efforts to appease the IMF, has made electricity so costly, leaving the people at the mercy of inflation. Barbarity has reached its zenith, with rulers who appear to be mere jesters, making grandiose claims about saving the country from bankruptcy and doing great favors for the nation. To bolster their false slogans and claims, their courtiers fervently echo these empty slogans. They tout their hard work in rescuing the nation from bankruptcy.

Someone should ask these sycophants—the same people who looted this nation, plundered billions from banks, and drained all resources for their personal luxuries. These rulers seem oblivious to the fact that a government exists to bring comfort to the poor, to bring peace to the lives of its citizens, and to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor. Instead, because they are connected to the elite and wealthy, they craft policies that favor their friends and relatives, imposing taxes on the poor. In every developed country in the world, the rich are taxed to benefit the poor. Yet, here they increase taxes daily, raise electricity prices, and, if not satisfied, resort to petrol price hikes. We need a righteous ruler, or at least a fear of God and guidance in their hearts.

The scene left me in tears, and similar scenes surround us. For God’s sake, take notice and lend a helping hand. This morning, when I opened my door, fifty of my acquaintances, including an elderly, impoverished woman, entered and sat on a chair. Her face was pale, a color resembling death. I instinctively asked what had happened to her; she looked older and frail. She told me she was a cancer patient with tumors in her uterus, causing constant bleeding. After three marriages, she remained childless. Six months ago, her last husband also passed away. Now her body was in such a state that no one would marry her. I had written in my column about women resorting to prostitution to pay their electricity bills. She had no one in this world. She had a husband, but he too had passed away. She had no children and was an old cancer patient with no means to support herself. A single woman couldn’t even sell herself to cover her electricity bills. She’s suffering, dying from cancer, and wondering how she can pay her bill. Her words poured molten lead into my ears.

I offered her whatever I had, with folded hands, but she left, leaving me in anguish. There’s no woman to her right or left, no one who hears her cries. There’s no one to help her escape the agony.

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