The last few years have set fire to the nation. The Land of the Pure in blood and flames. Politically, economically and socially, things in Pakistan have spun out of control. The question that clouded my mind was how Pakistan is still alive.
One of those days, when I sat with my friend, talking about the issues in Pakistan; the communal feuds, the ethnic genocide, the murders at point blank range, the ferocity of uprising corruption, the betrayal of the trust of our people who we chose our leaders and the hatred that simply breeds and breeds some more.
I looked at her and asked her what was to become of all this and she merely said, ‘My grandfather would say, so many people are trying to tear this nation apart but they fail to do so.’
At that time, I just shook my head but now, I see it too. The tearing apart but yet not completely. Something, something still is responsible for keeping Pakistan alive. Keeping the 1947 dream alive; a place where the people of Pakistan can live as free and independent people.
The state’s current affairs have through a very rocky road. And that too, marked by blood which need not ever be spilled. There is a list of awfully disruptive things that have taken place and still do. Any person can easily plot down a sad, critical list in black and white about what is wrong with this nation. But truth is, what we really need is to know the good things that can keep us going; importantly, the cause that we are working for. This is my take on why all this is worth fighting for and being here. Being Pakistani.
It is said that people make a place not the building and blocks: a house, into a home. Now, Pakistan has that beauty of connecting so many different ethnic groups and people by one simple thread; of faith. You see people of every color and caste and name in Pakistan. The diversity is as amazing as the map of Pakistan itself. This makes a nation of big and small. A nation of great and wonderful.
Remember the 2005 earthquake? The insanity of the situation. Nothing prepared and the chaos that followed. But what happened next? Helping hands were rendered: the Army stepped in, saving lives; government forces helped build shelters and roofs; people gave help for survival for their country fellow men and women. The amazing outpour of contribution from the people is still remembered.
Then the 2011 floods in Sindh and Baluchistan. The water had left the nation devastated. But I also remember the nation’s participation in getting the needs of the affectees fulfilled. NGOs poured in. Volunteers driving down to those affected areas and getting the job done by hand. I remember listening to them on the radio; telling their story and inspiring more people to join the road to help more.
The sectarian attacks in 2013. Every month a very bloody story. But even in that insane despair, there was something to hold on to. I remember coming home and finding the Kacheri Chowk a quiet show of people standing, solemnly. Holding black flags to express their grief and condemn the attack on humanity and innocent lives. On the television, connecting the major cities of Pakistan, one could see how everyone, side by side, stood together in peaceful protest against the inhumanity and the genocide of the Pakistani Shias. The fact that so many people came out, demonstrated utmost patience and peace yet still got their message across, clear and good: that we shall not stand up for this and we stand together against the genocide of our people, of our country men and women. I believe that was something very moving. Hope filled. Beautiful. Even in the saddest of times, knowing that there are people who care, who stand up for what is right and are ready to fight for their people and they are united – I believe it’s milestone that Pakistan has achieved over the years.
Then there are opportunities that Pakistan has to offer in the educational field.
Pakistan has a list of incredible institutions. To name a few, there is National University of Science and Technology, FAST, Agha Khan University, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. Then there are the prestigious institutes which have been present for a long time: Dow, King Edward College of Medicine, National College of Arts.
The places that Pakistan has to offer: from one of the most difficult climbs of K2 to the swaying sound of the Arabian Sea in the South and the valleys in between. There are deserts and barren lands. Then there are the forests and mangroves. From 52’C in Jacobabad to -16’C in Quetta. Kisa Khawani in Peshawar, Badshahi Masjid in Lahore.
Jinnah’s residency in Ziarat. I could go on about the places and cities. Pakistan is filled with priceless heritage of so many years and traditions.
Of the things that people miss the most about Pakistan when they are away from her is being surrounded by that familiar warmth and people who look after you and you after them. There is a very strong connection that binds people together here, in Pakistan. In families, in friendship and in relatives. A place where you are born and where you are raised has always that special connection with you. Even when you are far away from you, you would look back and remember it. It’s a part of you. Like Pakistan. A part of all of us.
History teaches a very important lesson. Looking back through the pages of War of Independence and then the struggle for freedom in south-east Asia. The speeches, conferences, mass contact movements, revolutions, blood and then finally independence, 1947. A generation spent their life for us to have a land where we could live and breathe as free and independent people. Giving up now would be a poor repayment for their incessant struggle and contribution. So what should be the cause? Pakistan. The people. The dream. That.
After all, there are now so many reasons to believe.
There is no power on earth that can undo Pakistan
– Jinnah (October 1947)