A Pakistani, and proud of it

 

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It was the year 1947 when the Muslims of the previously unbroken India thrived on hope and prosperity as they watched Pakistan triumphantly gain Independence and acquire recognition as a distinct country on the map, albeit sandwiched between two massive countries, Afghanistan and the notorious India. For the very first time, we were convinced that this marked the advent of eternal peace and success.

She, Pakistan, sprawled beautifully over the vast Arabian Sea, presenting her remarkably pronounced land area that totaled the collective land areas of France and England. Boastful of one of the highest peaks in all lands, harboring some of the most beautiful landscapes the world has to offer, refuge to some of the oldest archaeological remains in existence, and a nation to starry-eyed enthusiastic minds; she was home to us all.

67 years and running, she now seems to be fast deteriorating. The land is distraught; the mountains appear weak as the once scenic landscape has powdered to dust owing to the endless barrage of bullets and bombings. Here it seems, human lives are increasingly devalued, and bad news is always on the rise. The country is collapsing like a house of cards, or so the mass media projects.

The crux of the problems amassing the country today is that everything Jinnah stood for has been dissolved. A Muslim state, in Jinnah’s mind, was modern, but not altogether western. Jinnah believed in clinging to our identity, our morals and our values. It was Islamic yet not fundamentalist. Iqbal and Jinnah anticipated Islam in it’s true, real essence; accepting to change and continuously evolving, progressing. The day the people of Pakistan can understand and work on their ideas, they will make their way out of their prevalent identity crisis.

In face of trying times it is difficult not to worry about the new challenges springing up every passing moment. About one in three Pakistanis are still surviving on less than 50 rupees per day. Nearly 12 million of our children do not have the privilege of being schooled. And worse still, less than 0.5% per cent of our population pays the income tax. The National Debt that we bear rolls at $60 billion, with the result that larger than 60% of Pakistan’s federal revenue goes straight to paying the debts and interest yearly.

Resilient as ever, Pakistan has squared her shoulders and embarked on the hard path of economic reform, bent on improving governance and battling dwindling energy crisis. This, is one of the many steps that the country needs to take to pave its way to glory.

Pakistan, throughout its history, has been plagued by endless democratic shortfalls, widespread exploitation and corruption, and the menace of excruciating terrorism. A country that can stand back on it’s feet after major devastations since it’s traumatic birth – from overcoming the partition of the subcontinent, the bloody breakaway from East Pakistan, the earthquake in the year 2005, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007, to the horrendous floods in 2010 and to other countless horrors including the scores of rampant brutal target killings – and can give back to it’s people has great potential.

The nation continues to bask in the hope of a better tomorrow for their homeland. Our nation is radiantly diverse, vivacious and proud. Pakistan has a self-motivated and young population, an ever-growing high tech sector, and an amazingly prominent and robust civil society, exemplified by the likes of brave, exemplary individuals such as the real-life saint Abdul Sattar Edhi, the real-life hero Perween Rahman (the lady who was attempting to bring sewer and water services to the poorest of the third largest city in the world, and mercilessly murdered), Irfan Khudi (an activist who perished in a bomb blast in Quetta as he helped the victims of another bomb blast a couple of minutes earlier), and the warrior Malala Yousafzai among other heroic, brilliant individuals.

The nation is privy to the reports about extremism taking over the country day in and day out. The sole reason that there may be a threat of an extremist taking reins or of a breakdown of the dream that our Pakistan is, is owing largely to the silence of our people who have gone on to allow the likes of our political ‘leaders’ to rule our concerns. Our greater part of the population including the educated youth recognizes them and deems them as mindless, and devoid of any aspirations and vision. There is dire insufficiency of intellectual structure that can safeguard against the terrors and oppression of both, the Taliban fundus and the highly miscarried Westminster style parliamentary system which inadvertently serves to make dictatorship a simple resort in a country with defenseless masses, wrecked and crippled institutions and a blatant lack of transparency in dealings of governance and responsibility, rather than facilitate democracy.

Such times call for all Pakistanis to take a stand, and let nothing violate their principles of justice, equality and liberty; not simply for their countrymen, not merely for Muslims everywhere, but for all of humanity.

The strength of a country lies in it’s people, and Pakistan is proud to have it’s people epitomized by starry-eyed optimism, and combat the ongoing crisis head-on. Brilliant, young minds from across the country have been making a name for themselves the world over since time immemorial.

Pakistan’s people pay great heed to values and relationships, and are strongly bonded to one another in a way that is uncommon in other countries – it is an attribute, in fact, that other nations would do well to follow. Pakistan has all the makings of a great nation – what the country needs to better itself is for the country to have a fair government system, equality, peace and prosperity, a finer quality of life, and high-quality education for all.

Pakistan has long been home to geniuses –  from budding photographers, app developers, engineers, doctors, scientists, journalists, to teachers, writers, filmmakers, singers and whatnot. Celebrated examples include Arfa Abdul Karim Randhawa, the computer prodigy who secured the youngest certified Microsoft Professional title at the age of nine, and Ali Moeen Nawazish who set the world record by passing 23 A-levels. Malala Yousafzai, peace ambassador, has become a household name and an icon for millions of people across the globe today. Another noteworthy example is a journalist and documentary filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, winner of an Emmy for her documentary ‘Pakistan: Children of the Taliban’, and an Academy Award for ‘Saving Face’.

Even in the face of all adversity, our people are rallying against all odds, each intent on making the world a better place. I firmly believe that with a nation so resilient, Pakistan undoubtedly has phenomenal potential and will rise to to great heights.

–       A Hopeful Pakistani

PAKISTANI FLAGS WALL PAPERS (19)

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My Sweet Escape

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I should really warn you about what I’m about to write, about what you’re about to read. But, here’s a tiny, little secret I’ve never told anyone; I don’t have the slightest idea what that may be either. For, I rarely ever do.

But then again, for me, writing is like breathing. As always, my fingers lie poised, and then they seem to play almost by themselves on the keyboard, to a melody only they can hear. And so, words dance around, entangling mixed emotions, forming little sentences, with memories so raw and feelings that are almost palpable once more.  The simplest and dearest of pleasures, I have come to know, is inking in these words, weaving them together, and watching them gently sprawl their way across the page.

Those who write tend to feel with emotions that most certainly would suffocate most. It is precisely this that enables the feelings to flow freely into simple, little words.

Lately, I have had quite a lot on my mind. And, I keep finding myself delving deeper and deeper into the very corners of my shell of introspection. Somedays, one may feel blue for no apparent reason. I reverted to ice-cream & chocolate therapies – Did it do any good? Not quite… unless getting bloated and ending up with about twenty zits on your face is what you were aiming for.

As we pave our way through life, the winding road twists and turns. Some of these twists good, and some not-so-good. Heck, it might even seem as life itself is working hard to thwart one’s pursuit of happiness.  For a while, we may lose our footing. Look within yourself, and find it in yourself to keep going on, just glide forward. They say all good things will come to an end. I strongly disagree. Good things will fall apart only so that better things fall together. People may come, and people may go. But, writing, it seems, will forever beckon me. ..

For me, writing is one of life’s simple pleasures – it whisks you away to a world where it’s you, just you, at peace. It’s where my thoughts rein free, my words hang unchained, and my spirits fly right into the clouds. The things that take each one of us to places vary – Lavender sunrises, the smell right after it rains, the breaking of dawn, the birth of a baby, the sounds of a bird chirping, or a game of football, a run early in the morning. Whichever yours may be will always serve as a “sweet escape”.

And for me, that’s my writing.

Write, and you shall grow to love it. And one day, it will become a part of you that no one could ever take away. So to all those who want to write, I say, please do write. For, anyone can write. If it is your purpose & your being, it will forever summon you. And in time, it becomes the very beat of our heart.  A beautiful thing, it certainly is.

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“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
—Enid Bagnold