Sunday, 6 June 2010

Five-Star Prison

Norway is a nice place where nothing worth remembering ever happens. I have been to Oslo many times; the taxis there are very expensive and men from my own country run the entire system of public transportation. One a recent trip, one such man occupying the driver’s seat spoke with me.

“I’ve been here for thirty years now. With God’s grace, it’s been a peaceful stay and I can’t remember anything nasty ever happening here. Anyway, so what’s happening in Pakistan these days?”

“Oh, the usual protests over blasphemous cartoons, burning of American and Israeli flags in major cities and a few suicidal attacks by foreign guests who appeared wearing explosive dinner jackets”, I updated him.

He slowed down a bit as if suffering from sensory overload, analyzing while twisting his moustaches nervously, not in a mood to hear any more breaking news that broke his tender heart at age sixty.

“So, what’s with this Norwegian luxury prison?” I broke the silence.

“Norwegian prison bosses are ready to inaugurate the world’s most luxurious jail. It will have a host of facilities such as flat screen TVs, a recording studio for bathroom singers, and Banksy style murals. The £160 million prison, near Oslo, Norway, will allow 252 inmates a single en suite cell with its own bathroom and windows without bars inside the ‘maximum security’ compound. The authorities here have spent more than £1 million on modern art, and even provided prisoners with climbing walls,” he elaborated.

That was a buffet for thought. By contrast, our rulers, who have successfully turned the entire Islamic republic into an American prison, complete with barbed wires, dangerous road obstructions, security checks and what have you, will never understand this luxury prison concept.

The security agencies here claim repeatedly, “This is for your own safety”.

But how much is safe enough? When will that day dawn when the world will be free of those giant green bugs from planet Mars whose sole mission in life is to destroy the America way of life?

I thought of the forever-smiling man in-charge of my country who, while languishing in Karachi’s jail, never enjoyed what Norwegian criminals will soon be able to. But that is Europe; this is Pakistan. There men of honour resign at the slightest hint of misdemeanour or misappropriation; here they do not know what the word resign means.

Now, if the Europeans treat their criminals so humanely, imagine what they will do next to law-abiding citizens.


Jhilmil Breckenridge said...

Very well written, Tahir, and food for thought, indeed!

TGH said...

I'm glad you found this yummy despite being in the Parathey wali gali...!