From my other blog posted on 31/05/2013
Wednesday 22nd May 2013; 42 C, highly humid, no electricity, uncomfortable chairs and my Physics exam. A delightful combination. Sitting in the Examination Hall full of some 200 people with no fans and no air conditioning. Plus the amazing Pakistani weather meant that even my water bottle, which had ice cold water in the morning, now had luke-warm water.
I did well in my exam, and I finished half an hour before the time limit. I happily submitted my answer sheet and went outside to call my sisters to pick me up. But Viola! No network signals available. My other friends came and reported the same thing, and I finally realised what was happening.
The respected Chinese Prime Minister Li Kiqiang (I genuinely do love the Chinese, maybe they can drill some sense into us) was arriving on this date to meet with our esteemed President (ex-President now). And all mobile networks had been ordered to shut off service due to “security reasons”.
That left us all waiting for 12 o’clock to come around, which was the time our parents usually came to pick us up. We all waited at the gates for 5 minutes, which turned into 10, which eventually turned into 15. My family is ridiculously punctual, so I was naturally worried about their tardiness.
Then we got talking about how we had to pass the entrance to the Army Garrison and also the airport, to get to our exam centre. Another eureka moment. The roads had been barricaded for security reasons for the PM to pass through. This also happens on a daily basis when the Army Generals go to the Garrison for meetings. When my sisters finally arrived, they told me that that was indeed what happened.
At the end, these “security-reasons” left 15 teenage girls stranded at an unknown place for an hour, with no phone services to boot. The common people were not secure in any way. They couldn’t even make emergency rescue calls to the authorities.
To all those other unfortunate people tolerating similar events, every single person in Pakistan, understands your dilemma.