Do Pakistan’s leaders care more about extravagant weddings than the well-being of their own citizens?

Published: February 25, 2017

There were glittering shoes, wafting smells of sumptuous food samples beckoning, piles of gift bags sharply wrapped up and more. PHOTO: PINTEREST.

Imagine this:

The lights danced on the ceiling and in her eyes. There was silk, chiffon, satin, velvet… all of it – their touch as light as water. Scores of boxes arrived from the jewellers filled with bright diamonds, gold as shiny as the sun, ocean-blue sapphires, scarlet rubies and emeralds as green as lush green leaves of an oak tree. There were glittering shoes, wafting smells of sumptuous food samples beckoning, piles of gift bags sharply wrapped up and more.

Saleha hid behind her mother, staring at everything in pure awe. Her mother Jannat was an old cleaning lady who was a trusted servant of this household. Now the daughter of the family she worked for was getting married and she had to bring Saleha to help. It was the first time she had ever brought her 15-year-old daughter with her to the house where she works.

Nervously tending to different chores, Jannat kept an eye on Saleha; worried that she might knock something down as everything in this house was ridiculously expensive. The first night after working, Saleha returned home completely mute. The next morning when Jannat woke up at the crack of dawn, she couldn’t find Saleha in the room. Apprehensive, she looked around in both rooms and finally found her sitting in the backroom, staring at the old suitcase Jannat had tried to fill with clothes and possessions for Saleha’s dowry.

A few unstitched fabrics with their colour faded off and a pair of shoes her mistress had given her for Eid last year were all she had saved up. Jannat called out her name several times in panic but she didn’t flinch. Sitting down beside her, she put her hand on her daughter’s shoulder and Saleha fell, lifeless to the floor. The bottle of rat poison fell from her hand. Jannat sat there in horror. After a few hours, she cleared the place and straightened her daughter’s body. She sat beside her daughter’s body and wondered what killed her.

The direct line of blame is most definitely not linked to the privileged family that could afford to host a lavish wedding for their daughter. Any law in the Penal Code cannot hold the upper strata of the society responsible for the suicide of an impressionable young daughter of a destitute family.

What charges could be pressed against them? They put too many lights on their bungalow or that they bought too many sets of jewellery? From a legal standpoint, it is against common sense to blame a family for simply trying to celebrate an important day in the lives of their children. But is it really necessary to have such weddings?

Recently, the former finance minister and senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader, Naveed Qamar held his daughter’s wedding at the most extravagant and expensive venue in Thailand. Resultantly, it caused uproar among people back home in Sindh and Pakistan as he is the leader of a party that represents the most impoverished lot of the country.

Photo: Twitter