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13 June 2012

COMMENT: Real Muslims don’t need electricity

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By Dr Syed Mansoor Hussain

It is indeed my considered opinion that electricity and in particular the use of air-conditioning has undermined the ‘fighting ability’ and the intellectual development of the ummah
Concerning load shedding, I have an important revelation that must be brought to the attention of my readers and by extension, the public. In the past, I have been a trifle harsh about our now former minister of load shedding, especially about his statement after he took over his ministry that load shedding would end in a day. The more I have thought about what he had up his sleeve, the more I am convinced that he had a diabolically brilliant plan worthy of Professor Moriarty.

Based upon how load shedding was increasing steadily, I believe that our minister of load shedding intended to keep decreasing the amount of electricity available to the public to the point where finally no electricity was available at all. Once that point was reached, load shedding would also have ended. No load, no shedding! Then slowly, he would start to provide some electricity, increasing the amount available every day, and take credit for reversing the entire load shedding problem. From then onward, instead of load shedding it would become ‘load provision’. All those so incensed about load shedding of 12 hours or more a day would suddenly become ecstatic over load provision for 12 hours a day. Brilliant, don’t you think?

Sadly, it seems that the higher ups in our government had never heard of Professor Moriarty and more importantly, did not have the smarts to understand the intricacies of this plan and have evidently replaced this minister. What is done is done, so now to the problem at hand; how can we fix load shedding? There are the usual rational solutions but it was the recent action of the intrepid chief minister (CM) of Punjab, who decided to shift his office ‘under’ the Minar-e-Pakistan that finally crystallised in my mind what indeed needed to be done to fix this problem. Desperate times need desperate measures.

My suggestion is that as of June 6, all air-conditioning should be turned off in all official residences, offices, especially those of the ESCOs and WAPDA, and assemblies. This of course, includes the presidency, the prime minister’s (PM) house, houses of parliament, secretariat buildings, provincial and central; the Supreme Court and the provincial superior courts, the judges residences, ministerial residences, private palaces of all ‘government servants’, including the PM, the president, the CMs, provincial ministers and other important servants of the people. The ban on air-conditioning should also extend to all official vehicles. More importantly, all residents of these places should be forbidden to leave for colder ‘climes’ or even to countries where air-conditioning is available until the load shedding problem has been solved. If all this is done, I am sure that within a matter of weeks, this problem will be resolved and if not, I will donate 1,000 rupees to the PM’s flood relief fund.

Of course, the government functionaries will complain about the impossibility of working in an un-air-conditioned environment. I will remind them that the Brits ruled this country for 100 years without air-conditioning and did a pretty good job of it. Also that Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Quaid-e-Azam, delivered his famous inaugural speech to the constituent assembly on August 11, 1947 in an assembly house that had no air-conditioning and that Pakistan was run rather well for quite some time without any air-conditioning. Why June 6 as a start date? Well, think of John Wayne, Normandy and Omaha Beach.

Now back to the intrepid CM of Punjab who has decided to hold his camp office under the Minar-e-Pakistan. My suggestion to the CM is that he and his staff should permanently move to the Iqbal Park until load shedding is no longer an issue with us. The entire cabinet of the Punjab should bivouac out there, sleep there and conduct government business out there. However, massive generators to provide electricity are ‘verboten’. All this will also tremendously cut down on electricity use by the government of the Punjab and offer an important example for other provincial governments to follow.

As far as ‘bathroom’ facilities are concerned, there should be one port-a-potty for the CM, two for all officers of grade 20 and above, two for officers from grade 17 to 19 and those below that rank can use ‘natural’ facilities. Considering the availability of wireless internet and cell phones, most communication can take place without any land lines. By sleeping out in the open, the CM will learn firsthand about the scourge of mosquitoes and traffic noise. And yes, it will bring all our khadims (servants) from the CM down closer to the people as well as nature. Perhaps, as the CM lies in the open and watches the stars, he will through such a commune with nature, come up with even better ideas on how to run the government of Punjab.

Before the most honourable Chief Justice (CJ) of Pakistan gets perturbed by my suggestion that air-conditioning should not be available in the Supreme Court (SC) or in his residence, may I remind him that Justice Munir, the first Pakistani CJ, not only wrote the brilliant Munir Report, but also dealt a death blow to democracy in Pakistan without the help of any air-conditioning. It is indeed my considered opinion that electricity and in particular the use of air-conditioning has undermined the ‘fighting ability’ and the intellectual development of the ummah. After all, the greatest Muslim conquests and scientific progress took place before air-conditioning or even electricity was invented. Therefore, if we in Pakistan wish to bring back the glory days of Islam, then we must indeed not only eschew air-conditioning but all electricity. And yes, that will indeed significantly decrease load shedding. Here, Imran Khan can play his role in bringing glory to Pakistan by starting a national movement to not use any electricity. And Imran Khan would also look quite dashing on horseback.

[The writer has practised and taught medicine in the US and in Pakistan. He can be reached at smhmbbs70@yahoo.com]

(Courtesy: Daily Times, Pakistan)

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