In a time where everyone agrees education is the key to growth and betterment, Pakistan has made it extremely difficult to go forward. Sure, we have some of the best universities and colleges, even schools when it comes down to it, but has anyone considered what comes with the cost of education as well?
Picture this; a family belonging to a small rural city send their child to get an education from a metropolis city like Lahore. You wouldn’t expect the whole family to shift with that one 18-year-old would you? Of course not. The family will stay back to earn and the kids will go and complete their education.
Most colleges or universities do not have as many hostels as the number of students applying and thus a few remain behind without any accommodations hundreds of kilometers away from home. They decide to get a place nearby and pay rent while they study. Sounds easy, right? It isn’t.
I recently went to Lahore looking for a place to rent out, any upper/lower portion of a house in the posh DHA area or Askari 11 flats but ended up disappointed. Not surprised, just extremely disappointed. Every place I went to repeat the same thing that became tiresome after a while: “we don’t rent out to bachelors”.
My mother was with me since she wanted to make sure I would be safe wherever I ended up settling in, the recent rising number of rape cases and the motorway incident had her worried sick but more on that later, and the brokers all told her the same thing: even if your daughter (me) is going to live here alone, you need to hide this fact from the landlords/authorities.
I am a 19-year-old student who carries a national identity card, a driving license, has her bank accounts, and is registered to vote, yet can’t get herself a decent place to stay unless her parents step up and sign the necessary documents for rent as an illusion to show people that a family lives here. The question is, why? What is it that I’ll do that has me not set up as a suitable candidate to get a place on my own? How many of us have grown up watching Hollywood movies and dramas, the kids move out once they’re of age and get their apartments and pay their rents, and so on. Why can’t children in Pakistan do so too?
Many students I know do live alone on rent, but only after their parents show up to sign the documents and pretend that they too live with their kids, the rent is paid on or before time to not have the landlord show up on the door only to discover that the students live alone after all. How is that fair? How will you ever raise responsible independent children if they cannot even have their living situation sorted?
Not everyone gets to have a hostel attached to whatever institution they study in and some of us simply cannot and do not want to adjust to hostel life. I go to LGS Defence for my Bachelors of Laws and as is known, LGS Defence doesn’t have a hostel facility. I moved to Lahore for my A-levels and have been here since, staying in the DHA area the whole time. I am sick and tired of the problems that come with living as a bachelor in Pakistan and the consequences of a landlord discovering a girl lives alone.
My father ended up getting so disappointed he offered to buy me a home, something I’m blessed to be able to afford but what happens to those who cannot? What about bachelors who move to bigger cities in search of better job/business opportunities? Are all of us supposed to move our entire families with us? How is that a country that allows uneducated beasts with past criminal records of rape and assault to roam freely only to target a mother of 3 children at night and not get caught doesn’t allow it’s bright young and full of potential minds to have a safe place of their own?
Will an educated bachelor do something so much worse than what Abid Mallhi or those who rape 2-year-olds do? I agree the bachelor might get into a consensual relationship, spend time with friends and celebrate valentine’s day that the whole country gets so mad at but would they make an environment unsafe for little ones like Zainab and so many others?
I would like to ask this, when have you ever heard that an LGS Defence, LUMS, Aitchison, or LSE student has done something as heinous as some religious teachers (molvis) do to those in a mosque of all places? It’s high time that we as a nation and our leaders and our extremist religious scholars (so-called) set the priorities right and focus on what needs to be focused on, not what a student aged 18 living alone is doing on a Friday night.