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Being a VIP in Pakistan is nothing but shame

Have u ever wanted to get it off your chest and ever felt about something. That’s how Philip Reeves our correspondent feels right now which is why he has sent this essay along the way from Pakistan. It’s true, u won’t believe me but when I am saying this trust me.

I am feeling guilty because, journalists like me really do not like to irritate people but we try not to interfere as we go about our work. The other day I more or less brought a town to a standstill.

A day can be easily ruined on in the South Asia when very important person (VIP) is on the move in the city. The police block the whole roads from where he or she has to pass. In the heats and fumes in the hot summers or in the freezing cold weather u sit for ages, waiting for a politician or a general or any other important body sweep in a blaze of guns and flashing lights and surrounded with soldiers.

I am lucky that I have an air conditioned car. It is really miserable to see for the multitude perched on the motorbikes with the tiny helmet-less kids and families sitting along with them.

I made a brief visit to a town called Gwadar by the Arabian Sea, my guilt is about that. Mostly Western journalists rarely get permission to go there.

It is situated in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan, where the insurgent separatist and the government are locked into the low level war. Not at least because now it’s a strategically important point, authorities see Gwadar as a sensitive area.

When I walked out of Gwadar’s tiny airport, I was happy to see the police standing and waiting for me. I went with a group of anti terrorism commandos carrying Kalashnikovs, but I was not expecting them to close the roads and escort me everywhere.

They feel that VIPs are too often exempt from the law. You often hear Pakistanis grumbling about what they call the VIP culture in Pakistan. They tell you that, “There’s too much groveling to VIPs!”

They have resent the idea that a politician’s time is more important than their own. And sometimes even their anger boils over.

Furious passenger confronted a couple of VIP politicians a while back and after they delayed the plan by the two hours. The politicians were met by cries of “Shame! Shame! Shame!”, when they finally boarded.

Now I can feel completely that how the shame feels like.

They police though was very quite in the Gwadar. They asked me not to go out for a while at one point, because all the men they had were blocking the roads needed a break for lunch.

That’s the thought which is irritating me very much, the thought made me feel worse about my brief stint as a VIP.


The article originally published in NPR