Sadly, we as a society do not deserve to be tech-advanced

Sadly, we as a society do not deserve to be tech-advanced


Like any 20-something girl who does not know how to drive, and is suer to have my best friends around, just like some of the most reliable services: Careem and Uber, need an eye-opener!

No doubt both ride-hailing services have, to date, taken passengers to their desired destination, with rides that are always a pleasant one, and of course not to forget, these air­conditioned cars with the radio cranked up are truly a blessing compared to rickshaws.

Ever pondered about how cab-hailing services can deny any of you a ride anywhere? You could’ve said Islamabad, and they are bound to comply, because customer comes first, isn’t it?

Well, NO!

As a new year on our calendars hit, two Careem captains have been killed, and their cars snatched.

In the first killing, 26-year-old Junaid Mustafa lost his life just outside the federal capital, and much to my surprise, it was the men who ordered the ride who ensnared him to the outskirts where he eventually embraced death.

The other killing, of 22-year-old Sajawal Ameer, took place a couple of days ago, and it is assumed he was also targeted by the customers he was giving a ride to within Rawalpindi.

Two 20-somethings just like most of us, are now dead; both targeted by the horrors of society without any reason or explanation. Both departed souls vanished from the surface of the earth with no one being answerable to the victims’ families, only to be remembered in prayers by us. These people, regardless of where they belonged from or what their financial needs or problems may be, were not slaves to a company.

It was recently discovered that if a Careem captain refuses up to three rides in a week, the fourth refusal will eventually lead to a fine and a costly inspection of the car.

The day Mustafa was killed, Careem captains of all day and ages gathered to protest against this.

Why is it that we have the option to cancel as many rides as we want – if the car isn’t up to our preference, if the driver is too far away, or if we are simply in a hurry – but the Careem captains are not given the same privilege? Why do they not have the free will to also assess whether they want to pick a particular ride or not? Why are we Pakistanis further withholding the manacles of capitalism in the country? The company might be aiming for maximum profitability, but at what cost – our lives?

This is where Careem is undeniably at fault! How is it possible that even after the first death, the company didn’t immediately reflect on their procedures, and failed to cook up a comprehensive plan to avoid such incidents in the future? How is it that in a span of one month, two captains were killed without any immediate plan of action?

Perhaps, Careem can make their screening processes more rigid for users. Perhaps their captain-protection plan should be more crisis-management oriented. They could even give their drivers more freedom to cancel or opt out of more rides. It is their right after all!

But then again, if they were to do that, who’s to say the drivers won’t take advantage of it? Who’s to say an infuriated mob of users won’t show up at the Careem office, demanding explanations for cancelled rides? You see, there’s only so much Careem can do only if it seemed bothered. The drivers are bound to abuse that service; the people are bound to abuse this service. This is a vicious cycle which will never end. So, what do we do?

Blame the government!

How is it that the federal capital, the twin-cities, the most secure and protected areas of the country, the main hub of foreign and national activity, are incredibly vulnerable to attacks? What about the thousands of check posts and hordes of police vans racing from area to area? Where were they when these incidents happened? Why did the judiciary, the police, or even the government, not notice? These days everyone notices everything in a fraction of a second, but apparently, not this.

Even after the Faizabad protest and sit-in, the government did not have a comprehensive plan to counter oppose law and order situations. How is it that people can come up with new and innovative ideas to snatch cars and kill people by ordering rides through an app, but the government can’t come up with a plan to curtail this?
Where are all our ministers appointed to ensure the end of all our problems? Were those two young men not their responsibility as well? Evidently, the government is all talk and no action. People lose their lives every day, and what have they done? What are they doing?

However, you can blame the company and the government all you want. But let me tell you whose fault it really is – ours!

It is not an easy task to be a chauffeur, especially in Pakistan, where a “driver” culture exists. Our distinctions of social class and power have instilled a uniquely threatening hierarchy in our heads, where domestic help and drivers belong to the lower tiers. They are to be at our beck and call and are never supposed to refuse or ask too many questions.

Often, I’ve heard people complain about how chatty their drivers are, how they don’t know how to use the GPS navigation system, and how they are still new to the roads and consistently ask for directions. My question is: Why does this bother us so much? Have we all become so insensitive and out of touch with humanity that we don’t recognize the quandary other people go through in their daily lives?

The fact that two Careem captains died on duty – enveloping drivers with fright all over the country, who now fear for their lives – should be enough to awaken a sense of empathy or humanity in us.

We, as a people, don’t deserve amenities and luxuries such as this. Even if 80% of us use this service for its true purpose, there will always be the 20% who utilize it for horror. For a good two years, everything was hunky-dory, nobody complained, and everybody sang praises. This means the problem isn’t in the company, and the fault doesn’t lie with the two-innocent people who agreed to the ride leading to their death. It is the people who have been given this luxury. It’s our fault.

We don’t deserve such luxuries, because all we can do is potentially damn them for ourselves. The people of the country have no control and will go to whatever ends for personal gains.

About author
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Urooj Fatima

A self-motivated & result oriented individual whose modus operandi is to weave elements of success together & forge ahead in all spheres of life.

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