Transforming fear into freedom: how great is that?


By M Bilal Awan

Mr. Cod, my neighbour, was seen excessively worried the other day.  According to him, the recurrent instability in the country is tormenting the state’s affairs in an unprecedented fashion. The political equivocalness has never been this soared up, the way it did in the last few months or so.

“There are more things in Panama -and-Paradise Horatio, than are dreamt of in your Philosophy”—-due apologies to Williams Shakespeare—- summed up his sentiments with a sigh

According to him, the real noose, as per the most famous perception, aren’t necessarily laid down by establishment. There are essentially some invincible power houses working alongside for their respective agendas. He claims that the real thing, CEPC—unfortunately he still calls ‘CPEC’ the real thing—has got the better-off the nerves of western world  and which is why the current  ‘artificially triggered chaos’ has deliberately attempted to disrupt the proceedings of the so called  multibillion dollar giant.

“Didn’t you hear that US has raised serious objections over CPEC claiming that since China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ project ‘CPEC’ passes through a disputed territory, therefore any project in a disputed territory by a third country or involving a third country without the consensus of contestants is a violation of international law and the UN resolutions. Now see all this folly against the backdrop of US ties with India—-both are hand in glove with each other. This goes without saying that US considers Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan a part of the greater Kashmir region, which is hell appalling”. His analysis unearthed his doctrines and as he stopped, I caught a moment to interfere:

“Mr. Cod”.  I insisted.  “Let’s go out and have some fresh breathers….what about some brisk walk”?

“No, a big fat resounding NO!”. He pulled an apathetic face.  “Do you even realise that I am glutting with loads and loads of pain and you say walk? Do you have any idea what on earth happened just a couple of months ago in Lahore? the deadliest duo of smoke and fog  spewed its venom upon people. No breathing, no driving, no nothing. Large swathes of Punjab were blanketed in thick smog for many days while engulfing Lahore and its adjoining districts, causing acute breathing problems and disrupting normal traffic. o God, mercy”. He stopped for a second while seeming dreadfully apprehensive.

“How about having some cappuccino or double espresso, in case you want some real nicotine chocking your bad sensors?” I asked gleefully. This further set him ablaze.

“Coffee? You’re not serious, are you? Do you even consider yourself a concerned citizen of this country? Oh I have forgotten, you have that ‘holier than thou’ EU work permit and due to which, pondering over the issues like such are not meaningful to you and rather they might steal away your moments of joy and freedom. You’re acting like as though you are a care-less soul.  Are you serious by the way? Don’t the political instabilities and serious duels between power matrixes bother you at all?”. He rolled around his inquisitive eye balls.

“The trio of establishment, judiciary and bureaucracy is wreaking havoc and you say Coffee, huh! “. He continued.  “Don’t you even realise that at the end of the day, all this could mean we might be welcoming another dictatorial rule that lurks somewhere nearby. Don’t you concede that each single democratic government in the history has been kept on the leash and ultimately seized to death immediately after having started prospering?. These subversions were caused by judicial interventions,  the filthy office games and sometimes simply by the mismeasurement of power corridors. o Lord mercy.” His voice groaned.

The tirade would have been perpetual had I not left the place. I went out, visited an eatery, had my favourite grub, dropped by a nearest Mall, promenaded along the beach and finally got back. Having reached my place, I downloaded at least two flicks, enjoyed listening to singles from my favourite jukebox list and worked out some of my pending manuscripts. All this took at least three to four hours.

During all this time, Mr. Cod’s fixed eyes were tailgating me with sneaking vibes. At first, there were shades of resentment in them, sooner the pervasive inquisitiveness out spaced the bitterness and the vocal Mr. Cod incarnated out of the whole ‘drop dead silent Mr. Cod’.

“So you have done your things?” He retorted. “You and me can’t be the same and so are our sensitivities”. Few moments passed away stealthily.

“You are right Mr. Cod, we aren’t same and we shouldn’t be”. I replied. “But we certainly have some fewer mutual grounds.  In the last three hours, none of us have sorted out the political chaos and the prevailing economical instability in country.  Neither did we mediate between US and Pakistan to resolve issues over disputed territory regarding CPEC nor did we stop the Federal Investigation agency from practising illegal modes of interrogations. So much so that none of us could do anything about the smog and the venom it shed generously and only had to wait until it stopped naturally. We both remained impractical regarding the solutions to the list of problems you presented earlier. This is where we remained same”.

“And yes we are different when it gets down to know the value of our time. While I was trying to extricate my mind from daily humdrums, you were busy in being a potato couch. In the last three hours, I played a robust character throughout and you of a lay-about. We took two different approaches technically, yet we ended up standing under the same roof and with different results.  Political instability, chaos, riots and social issues must not stop us from living our lives. We shall only be able to sort them out provided we survive in first place. Our health and our humanly needs do not recognize the prototype of our society, they need continuous functioning, maintenance, overhauling and fuelling.  It’s all about recognizing your self-worth and appreciating it every single minute. Life is precious Mr. Cod, value it. At least try to cherish what belongs to you”.

I have a famous phrase that might strike the right chord with your heart Mr. Cod, it says:

“I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that?”


M Bilal Awan is a research analyst based in Islamabad



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