Asia-Pacific, Pakistan, Opinion, Editor's Choice

Is it viral? Video and Barbarianism

Lawyers protest by storming into a hospital in Lahore, Pakistan.

Pakistan, a country previously climbing the ladder of development at a snail’s pace, is now progressing very quickly with an increase in the literacy rate, a decrease in terrorist activity, and perhaps a better standard of living for some social classes. Additionally, the number of people in the country using the internet is now at a massive 35.1 million, and 25 million Facebook users. 

Pakistanis are always on the quest for seeking more information, and any video that is funny or has some important information to impart goes viral and the whole country is quickly talking about it. Unfortunately, videos are not the only thing going viral in Pakistan- seemingly, so is barbarianism. 

Very recently, a video of a doctor went viral in Pakistan in which a doctor trolled lawyers as he spoke of an incident when one lawyer asked the police to arrest the doctor for not providing priority care to a lawyer. The doctor, from the Young Doctors Medical Association, also mentioned that two lawyers went to the Inspector General of Police and coerced him to arrest the doctor under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. After the Inspector General refused, reportedly the lawyer told him to at least file ” a case” in order for him to be able to avoid embarrassment. 

Lawyers gathered in multitudes, hundreds to be exact, to protest against the video. However, it is to be noted, that their protest wasn’t a silent one nor was it based on discussion. How did they protest against a viral video made by an unknown young doctor? 

Lawyers attacked the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), stormed into the Intensive Care unit, and wrecked havoc. The protest was extremely violent where stones and bricks were pelted towards the building, cars were destroyed in the parking lot, and innocent patients were vandalized and refused care. It was also reported that one lawyer removed the oxygen mask of a 22-year old mother in the intensive care unit who died within a few seconds. Six people in all died because they were in critical condition when the attack took place and because of the mayhem, were not given proper attention- or for that matter any attention at all as everyone was running for their lives. 

Fayazz ul Hassan Chohan, the Information Minister of Pakistan, arrived on the scene in order to negotiate peace. Instead of civilly complying or even listening to the minister, the lawyers attacked him, pulled his hair, ripped his clothes, and beat him with their fists. Chohan later claimed that the lawyers were trying to “kidnap” him and vows that he will be taking due action against the responsible party. 

In consequence, the Young Consultants Association has announced a nationwide strike, saying that until the responsible party is given due punishment, no doctor would come to duty. At least that is the stance they hold till tomorrow, Thursday December 12th. 

In this clash of egos between doctors and lawyers, which is absolutely absurd to the core, the bereaved party are the patients and the innocent people trying to get their family and loved ones due treatment. With those six innocent patients dying in one incident- all because of a viral video- humanity and civilization has died within this country. Of those six people, there were two mothers leaving grieving families behind and the other four (yet to be identified) definitely leaving households overflowing with anguish. How will those families feel about lawyers for the rest of their lives? 

Now that doctors are on strike, there will be hundreds if not thousands of patients unattended and without treatment tomorrow and for however long this continues. Who is accountable for their demise? The extremely worrying factor is that this was a protest by the educated/privileged class- lawyers, responsible for upholding the law and protecting citizen rights in courts. What can you expect from the illiterate in such a situation? 

Surprisingly, with the thousands of articles published about the pros and cons of social media, spreading hatred and causing immense protests wasn’t exactly a factor considered. For those looking to advertise through this medium, there is dire evidence that you will be seen and heard if you have something to say- preferably something funny or negative. Because, you know, simple positivism doesn’t get as much attention, especially in a country where the educated class believes killing innocent patients and pulling the hair of your lawmakers is the best way to comfort your cracked ego. 

The lawyers have definitely made a statement – a statement that they are most uncivilized and barbaric. While they need to dwell more on their character and their role in their profession and in this country, perhaps we all need to either think about where this world is going or accept where we are headed. 

T.S Elliot said it plain and simple, “Let’s not be narrow, nasty, and negative”. But can we?

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