A wretched tale

A wretched tale
A wretched tale

A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens) A scene in Paris on the eve of the French Revolution 1789

“With a wild rattle and clatter, and an inhuman abandonment of consideration not easy to be understood in these days, the carriage dashed through streets and swept round corners, with women screaming before it, and men clutching each other and clutching children out of its way. At last, swooping at a street corner by a fountain, one of its wheels came to a sickening little jolt, and there was a loud cry from a number of voices, and the horses reared and plunged.

But for the latter inconvenience, the carriage probably would not have stopped; carriages were often known to drive on, and leave their wounded behind, and why not? But the frightened valet had got down in a hurry, and there were twenty hands at the horses’ bridles.

“What has gone wrong?” said Monsieur, calmly looking out.

A tall man in a nightcap had caught up a bundle from among the feet of the horses, and had laid it on the basement of the fountain, and was down in the mud and wet, howling over it like a wild animal.

“Pardon, Monsieur the Marquis!” said a ragged and submissive man, “it is a child.”

“Why does he make that abominable noise? Is it his child?”

“Excuse me, Monsieur the Marquis–it is a pity–yes.”

“Killed!” shrieked the man, in wild desperation, extending both arms at their length above his head, and staring at him. “Dead!”

The people closed round, and looked at Monsieur the Marquis…Monsieur the Marquis ran his eyes over them all, as if they had been mere rats come out of their holes.

He took out his purse.

“It is extraordinary to me,” said he, “that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is for ever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses. See! Give him that.”

He threw out a gold coin for the valet to pick up, and all the heads craned forward that all the eyes might look down at it fell. The tall man called out again with a most unearthly cry, “Dead!”

He was arrested by the quick arrival of another man, for whom the rest made way. On seeing him, the miserable creature fell upon his shoulder, sobbing and crying, and pointing to the fountain, where some women were stooping over the motionless bundle, and moving gently about it. They were as silent, however, as the men.

“I know all, I know all,” said the last comer. “Be a brave man, my Gaspard! It is better for the poor little plaything to die so, than to live. It has died in a moment without pain. Could it have lived an hour as happily?”

“You are a philosopher, you there,” said the Marquis, smiling.”


The Express Tribune report (August 12, 2017) A scene in Lala Musa on the Grand Trunk Road

A nine-year-old boy was crushed to death by an Elite Force vehicle which was part of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ‘home-going rally’ on Friday.

Hamid, a resident of Lala Musa, Gujrat, was killed when the car in the convoy hit him, the police said.

The father of the child fainted as soon as he saw his son’s body lying on the road, the Express News reported. According to eyewitnesses, Hamid was standing near the roadside when the vehicle hit him.

Despite the incident, the motorcade did not stop and sped away. Passersby took the boy to the nearest hospital but he could not survive.


A Tale of Two Cities — Paris 1789

Without deigning to look at the assemblage a second time, Monsieur the Marquis leaned back in his seat, and was just being driven away with the air of a gentleman who had accidentally broke some common thing, and had paid for it, and could afford to pay for it; when his ease was suddenly disturbed by a coin flying into his carriage, and ringing on its floor.

“Hold!” said Monsieur the Marquis. “Hold the horses! Who threw that?”

He looked to the spot where Defarge the vendor of wine had stood, a moment before; but the wretched father was grovelling on his face on the pavement in that spot, and the figure that stood beside him was the figure of a dark stout woman, knitting.

“You dogs!” said the Marquis, but smoothly, and with an unchanged front, except as to the spots on his nose: “I would ride over any of you very willingly, and exterminate you from the earth. If I knew which rascal threw at the carriage, and if that brigand were sufficiently near it, he should be crushed under the wheels.”

Express Tribune (August 12, 2017) — Lala Musa

Despite the incident, the motorcade did not stop and sped away. Passersby took the boy to the nearest hospital but he could not survive.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar termed the loss a “sacrifice for Pakistan.”

“Millions of people rendered sacrifices during Pakistan’s creation [too],” he said and added. “He was our child; if he joined [the rally meant] for Pakistan, [then] God bless him.”

PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique expressed grief on Hamid’s death by the motorcade and said party’s leaders will arrive at his house to condole on the loss. He went on to add that “the boy was the first martyr of our movement.”

A Tale of Two Cities — Paris 1789

He was driven on, and other carriages came whirling by in quick succession; the Minister, the State-Projector, the Farmer-General, the Doctor, the Lawyer, the Ecclesiastic, the Grand Opera, the Comedy, the whole Fancy Ball in a bright continuous flow, came whirling by. The rats had crept out of their holes to look on, and they remained looking on for hours; soldiers and police often passing between them and the spectacle, and making a barrier behind which they slunk, and through which they peeped. The father had long ago taken up his bundle and bidden himself away with it, when the women who had tended the bundle while it lay on the base of the fountain, sat there watching the running of the water and the rolling of the Fancy Ball

The Express Tribune (August 12, 2017) — Lala Musa

The vehicle which ran over a 12-year-old boy at the Lahore-bound rally of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been identified with the help of footage available with Express News.

It shows a black BMW — plate number 875 — hitting the boy and not even stopping once. The vehicle which was part of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ‘homecoming’ rally on August 10. DPO Gujrat Sohail Zafar Chattha said a case has already been registered, however, nobody had been arrested thus far. SP Maaz who is looking into the case said that although the car has been identified, due to a few complications no action could be taken.


Happy Independence Day, Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2017.

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