Allow me to apologize to you for not being able to be present during your address to civil society at the hallowed campus of Government College University in my beloved city of Lahore. Much as I would have wanted to benefit from the wisdom of your analysis and foresight, I could not make the journey quickly enough from the remote town of Chilas where I was in consultation with the proponents of a major dam which shall displace 32,000 people and submerge 32,000 ancient rock carvings if and when built. Allow me to further explain that since flights were cancelled from the nearest airport in Gilgit, a tedious five hour journey on the Karakoram Highway, I was compelled to take the road journey over the Babusar Pass situated at an altitude of 14,000 feet above sea level, travelling a total of eighteen hours to Islamabad.
Your Excellency, it was during this eighteen hour journey through some of the most desolate yet spectacular landscape of my country that I imagined speaking to you, being unable to join the privileged few who were invited to hear you speak both in Lahore and in Islamabad. As the vehicle carrying us made its way carefully over open culverts fashioned by the able engineers of the China Construction Company, as it slid over six inches of freshly falling snow, as it dipped into crevices swirling with glacial melt, and as it glided smoothly over the bits of tarmac which have survived the devastation of the 2005 earthquake which killed 70,000 people in these remote parts, I spoke to you, imagining that you were truly interested in what I, an ordinary citizen of this, my beloved, blighted country had to say.
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