What do you do when you have more money than the poor masses of your country can even imagine? You make it rain, of course. What do you do when you travel through helicopter and there are no helipads in your poor, impoverished country? You descend from the skies when you so desire. Remember, the world (read Pakistan) is your oyster (read parking space).
Our beloved Sindh Chief Minister, Qaim Ali Shah, is being chastised for landing his helicopter in the middle of Niaz Stadium and disrupting an under-19 cricket match. People are saying that he is disrespectful, high-handed and embodies VIP culture in Pakistan. They’re saying he has too much money, has no regard for the people of Sindh and is just basically a terrible person. I fail to understand these admonitions.
Suppose you were out and about in the stratosphere, enjoying the clear skies, above the smog that everyone else lives in, in your big metallic helicopter and had to land somewhere in Hyderabad. (Luckily, imagination does not require riches so you can afford to let your mental faculties run wild). Suppose, you run out of fuel, or want to meet a friend at a restaurant, and absolutely have to land. Imagine the mental anguish that would envelop you when you only see dirty streets and broken roads down below, when you see narrow galis, overflowing encroachments and a city in disarray. Think of how distressed you would be when you can’t find a place to park your millions. Imagine, then, finding a nice open space where a bunch of children are playing cricket. You love cricket. You think to yourself,
“Surely, they wouldn’t mind if I drop in, park my vehicle and say hello.”
“Surely, they can stop the match for a few hours until I get my business in order.”
“Surely, they can fix whatever damages the helicopter landing causes.”
Would you be so wrong to think that the country cannot pay for your follies? Would you be so wrong to assume that people would accept your innocent transgressions against a historic stadium and an organised event by a federal institution?
You dear, dear, fool. God have mercy on your (imaginary) rich, recalcitrant soul.
You see, the people of this country would not care about your distress. They would not care if you do not have space to land your helicopters, your airplanes or your drones. Scratch that, drones are okay, especially the nice, ‘Western’ kind.
You see, the people of this country lack empathy. They do not put themselves in the shoes of the wealthy, perhaps because they are unbelievably expensive, but that’s beside the point. The point is that the people of Pakistan do not understand the needs of their rich politicians.
People in this country scream and shout about minority rights, women’s rights and God know what. But did you know that there are no prescribed rights for the rich in our Constitution? What is a man with a helicopter to do?
Mr Qaim Ali Shah, I feel for you. You have faced tremendous injustice at the grimy hands of this public.
You were nice enough to meet with the players and talk to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials, yet phrases like “You did not ask for permission” and “You’ve destroyed the stadium” were smacked across your face by the media.
Ah, the media.
That remorseless wretch.
The mouthpiece of the grimy public.
No matter how hard you try to shut the disparaging voices of the public out, with your helicopter headset, the media always manages to create enough ruckuses. I understand your plight. When you were a young chief minister, you only had to deal with newspaper headlines. Now you have to deal with television talk shows, news on the internet, blogs and that monster, social media.
— Abdullah umar khalid (@Abdullahuma) December 30, 2014
Qaim Ali Shah rushing to Abu Dhabi is his helicopter to save Pakistan.
— Ashar Zaidi (@AsharZaidiGeo) October 17, 2015
Qaim Ali Shah wants a helicopter for himself , but can’t provide Food and Water to Thar People… #Shame
— Simky (@SeharSaleem007) December 23, 2014
You might have bought another helicopter, but life has become significantly harder.
But don’t let this get you down. You and I both know that the uproar is going to fade away until your next excursion. The people may be loud, but they have a short attention span. Maybe Nawaz Sharif would take his tigers out on another stroll and accidentally let them loose. Until then, let Facebook shout, let Twitter scream. You can always buy better sound proofed helicopter headsets.