We often use the term “rolling stones” for people who roam from one place to another, but “rolling ashes” has its own phenomenon. This term encapsulates the emotions of grief and sorrow.

In Pakistan, the common people are the rolling ashes. They are the ones who don’t know how to escape the never-ending inflation. These burning souls regret being part of a nation where corruption has no limit, inequality prevails, and only the wealthy are respected. Instead of progressing in healthcare, education, and quality of life, we are just progressing in unemployment, mental illness, harsh weather, wars, lack of unity, and all kinds of social evils. According to the laws, the basic pay should be 32,000.

Those who are daily wagers, domestic workers, laborers, or employed by private companies have their own unbearable stories. They receive wages according to their boss’s mood, and there is no job security. They might be fired at any time or anywhere. They can’t complain to anyone, as they don’t have any higher authority.

The government should establish a system where all domestic workers’ data is recorded, and there should be a tracking system of working hours. These poor people do not have any kind of rules, authority, or balanced system.

Rolling ashes have another horrible story. A spike in electricity prices or basic amenities makes people more vulnerable. How will they pay the $15,000 bill for K. Electric when their salaries are below $32,000? They have three kids and a housewife, and some have extended families too. These are all problems that need to be solved from a government perspective.

Climate change is another burning issue that is now affecting the whole of Pakistan through heat waves. Those who work under the scorching sun are more susceptible to heatstroke. They are hard workers who want to bring bread to their tables, but what will happen if they faint during their working hours? The big silence: who is responsible for the heat that took someone’s life? Will these poor people be able to afford fancy medical treatment for their life-threatening conditions? In our country, will government hospitals be able to bear the burden of the diseases caused by climate change?

These are the common people who pay a huge amount of tax, and in return, they can’t expect to get treatment from government hospitals. Government hospitals are busy nowadays because they don’t have the capacity to bear this overpopulated yet overly illiterate population. We lack basic resources.

The question is, who is answerable for the increasing taxes? The price of gasoline increased today by 7.5 cents per liter. Public transport has its own worries, and the country’s roads are filled with holes and are asymmetrical. How much do our people need to suffer? Is there any end? Moving towards the upper level of patience.

Load shedding is another issue we are way too familiar with. People are on strike because they haven’t had electricity for the past few weeks. Yes, there are some areas of Karachi where people don’t have electricity during these heat waves. The hike in prices makes people more chaotic because, at the end of every month, they face the core tension of the electricity bill. This is not just a bill, but a bomb for the local people. Ignoring the basic human rights of Roti, Kapra, and Makaan, our people are not even able to breathe properly. The air in Pakistan is way too contaminated.

The air quality index places Pakistan’s provinces among the top 5 for poor air quality, which is unbearable. This gives rise to respiratory issues, and people are developing lung cancer from the pollution they breathe. There are two ways of suffocating: one is inflation, and the other is climate change.

Patience has one more story for the rolling ashes, i.e., mental health. Our Pakistanis are now more prone to this vicious cycle. Our youngsters are the prey of it and the most vulnerable in terms of mental health. High financial burdens make people more susceptible to suicide.

This is the story of the middle and upper middle classes, not the lower ones. Our youth are the most depressed because what they are inhaling is toxins, what they are seeing is inflation, and what they are hearing is the muttering of people over these basic issues. Our youngsters are the generation that has so much stress regarding every aspect of life.

From the lower class to the upper middle class, everyone has the same issues and stories that need to be sorted and heard. This is a humble request to the government to come up with a solution that helps the nation solve these life-taking issues that make people prey to mental illness. Our youth are talented and should be treated and trained to be problem solvers.

Arisha Irshad Ali


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