Update: 16 people were killed while 1,027 were injured in Punjab alone on 14 August 2022.
The year 2022 is special for all Pakistanis.
This year, we’ll celebrate the 75th Independence Day. If it was an anniversary, it would be a Platinum Jubilee.
While our country is 75 years old, we need to ask ourselves if we have matured at all in all these years.
This stained tainted light, this night bitten dawn
Where this day is a pleasant reminder of being citizens of a free country, unfortunately, each Independence Day brings with it news of traffic jams, road rage, road nuisance, eve teasing, one-wheeling and accidents with some resulting in death of motorists. Exploiting your land and its people in the name of independence is not something our forefathers would be proud of.
To be fair, citizens of many countries tend to go wild on their Independence Day. For example, alcohol related road accidents in the US happen on July 4th, but their numbers are negligible – in three digits in a country where more than 330 million people live.
While Independence Day specific data isn’t available, seeing stuntmen bikers creating nuisance on the road by one-wheeling and eve teasing is a common phenomenon on August 14 every year. Going wild does not have to mean leaving behind your values.
Furthermore, some like to celebrate Independence Day with bravado. Aerial firing in some parts of the country is common. Reports of stray bullets hitting random people isn’t unheard of. The victims may not celebrate another Independence Day.
These incidents take a toll on the government, its machinery and coffers. In order to maintain law and order, police along with the anti-riot force are out in the streets. Engaging these and other law enforcement agencies, including Rescue 1122, costs money. Your tax money!
Moreover, policemen spend this day maintaining decorum and controlling crowds instead of celebrating it with their families. They are deprived of celebrating this joyous day because some citizens act so irresponsibly.
Therefore, celebrating this and every Independence Day with civility is important.
Some Eye-Opening Facts
In Pakistan, motorcycles are involved in over 80% of the road accidents, followed by rickshaws and cars.
Careless and rash riding in the form of one-wheeling and overspeeding are the major causes of motorcycle accidents. Most bike accidents occur due to a minor (under the age 18) riding it.
Around 10% of road accidents result in head injuries. Over 20% road traffic accidents result in single or multiple fractures.
And where some motorcyclists are being blamed, motorists shouldn’t go unnoticed either.
Driving their cars without silencers, some motorists like to stand out every year by contributing to noise pollution. Do you know, getting exposed to loud noise for a long period of time can lead to health conditions like hearing loss, etc.?
Other than that, they lean out of car windows, blasting music out loud while rushing through the traffic putting themselves and others in harm’s way.
It is Time to Grow Up and Be Responsible
Freedom of Expression is one of the most cherished principles in a modern and democratic society. However, this is a two-edged sword in which acts which fall within the ambit of disgust, disturbing or frightening are also permitted. Though not every act of expression is permitted or legal. If you want to freely celebrate Independence Day this and the next year and the years after, don’t abuse this right.
This does not mean for you to lazily sit in your homes and let this day pass by. Keep your spirits high and celebrate your independence. It is a day meant to be celebrated but perhaps, in a different way. You just need to change your ways. Show your patriotism by helping a person in need, feeding a poor person or planting a tree. Show some kindness to the country which has blessed you with freedom.
So, let’s celebrate this Independence Day in a way which would make our Founders proud of us.
From Team OLX Pakistan, Happy 75th Independence Day Pakistan!