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The Silent Struggles of a Historic Footpath

by Dr. Ijaz Ahmed
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I am a broken, historic footpath on Mall Road, located in the heart of Lahore. I stand opposite a building that is supposed to deliver justice, but I am still being treated unfairly. On one side of me is a very old educational institution. Many renowned personalities in this country, along with their parents, used to walk past me daily, holding their fingers. Whether it was before the creation of the nation or the protests that followed, be they religious or political, all have left their mark on my heart and my existence.

Yes, you have identified me correctly; I am the neighbor of Regal Chowk, a Romanov novelist, poet, writer, artist, journalist, and lawyer. Authors remember me in one way or another through their writings, compositions, or discussions, highlighting my significance. The purpose of all these references, emphasizing my importance, is to draw your attention to my helplessness, injustice, and lawlessness in this country.

Maybe this message will touch your heart,

My ordeal with injustice has been ongoing for a long time. As is often the case, the Land Mafia in Lahore spreads its influence. I have also fallen under their watchful eyes. Today, my condition is terrible. First, a prominent political figure initiated the construction of a “100-foot path” in the name of maintaining the footpath. In the beginning, it was built with bricks in three phases—starting, middle, and end—with heavy blocks, which were inaugurated. These bricks are still there, and that personality has departed from this world. The first step taken was to create obstacles for pedestrians.

The second step was the appointment of guards with iron rods in the name of strengthening the security of the employees who manage the parking area. While it was good for some time to quench the addiction of the motorbike riders with these guards, it also made it easier for me to take a breath. When the Lahore Development Authority leased the parking, my troubles increased. I was wounded from various places, and I was never bandaged. Despite my historical significance, people in society and those responsible for its management do not value me.

I, too, faced a stepchild treatment. I heard that a lawyer took my case to the justice system, but no one was scared of my pitiful state. Even the students who used my services to go to school had their protests ignored, and with or without the knowledge of those protests, the main gate of the school was closed for me, and the flute ceased to play.

Now my condition is such that every passing day, the land mafia blinds me with its motorbike parking mess. Those people who used to feel relieved after passing me, those whose service I also took pride in, are all under the control of this land mafia. Every day, I hope that someone, some ruler or some justice deliverer, will see me in their eyes, and I will be saved from this unnoticed force that engulfs me every day. That my heritage and identity will be restored to me. I am still a witness to those who have left this world. I hope to find solace in the words written about me in the annals of history.

This was mentioned to express the hope that the present Punjab, which holds power without votes and asserts its presence every day in the media, may also come to my aid. My voice may be heard, and I may be rescued from this parking mafia that is slowly erasing my past and my beauty. After all, having a good opinion is also something.

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