Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pakistan, the Land of Evil

I was never a patriot. Having grown up in the Middle East till the age of 10 with parents who never spoke positively about Pakistan much, I never grew to care about a country that I spent hardly a month in each year. My trips were happy yet unpleasant. The joy of being showered with love by relatives was mingled with the fear of being kidnapped, the pain of electricity failures, the stink of garbage dumps and bouts of food poisoning.


My family moved to Pakistan because of certain issues. I hated the country. I hated it every bit of it. I was forced to leave the city (Sharjah) I considered home and live in a totally inferior place.
This was the land where people were evil. They threw garbage on the roads, cheated in business, exploited the weak, kidnapped children and sold their kidneys, robbed houses and what not. This land had no beauty. The buildings were in poor state, roads were all broken with no tracks, traffic was in utter chaos, vehicles drove on footpaths and dirty beggars littered the signals. The policemen were to be feared more than the criminals and the government officials were to be treated like lords. This land was surely not like my old home. I’d like to repeat: I hated Pakistan and its people.

11 years later – 2011

Life moved on. Much of my aversion for the country turned into pity, anger and resentment at its people. I learnt the country was rich in history, culture, minerals, agriculture, talent – you name it we have it. And yet I never thought of it as home.

In 2010, I paid a visit to UAE. I was in tears. It was like returning to my happy place after a long, tiring voyage. And in spite of this joy, there was something missing. It didn’t exactly feel home anymore. Not because my passport was still green but because this wasn’t my home to begin with. No matter what, it could never be home for a hundred reasons.

On returning to Pakistan, I felt utterly uneasy and restless. Pakistan was my home but it didn’t provide to its people what a home was supposed to provide – food, shelter, love, etc. So what was I to do? It was certainly a lose-lose situation. But I grew to care for it. To ease my distress I told myself, ‘If every person in Pakistan acts with honesty, integrity, reason and justice Pakistan will change for the better.’


I resolved to be one of the people whose presence benefitted the country. I faced several instances (Read: Walked beside burning buses, dodged through bullets but I am not leaving Pakistan) in which my safety was jeopardized, yet my slowing blooming love for the country and its people did not subside.
I started my professional life. My second job was all about Pakistan, entrepreneurship and changing our society on different levels. I thought this was it. This is what I want to do. I resolved to stay in the country and work for it.


Things turned really ugly in Pakistan. In the past year, at least 3000 were shot dead in Karachi alone. This figure does not include people who died in blasts and victims of other crimes. I realized: No matter what I do, the fact that the city is shut down every other day by gangs starving daily wage earners cannot be saved by my honesty. The bomb blasts that blow off in every nook and corner of the city cannot be prevented by my sense of justice. The CNG strikes that prevent people to travelling to their work places cannot be saved by my professionalism.

In short, I realized my country needs much more than a bunch of civilized citizens. Given that the speed with which people are getting killed, corrupted and manipulated is greater than the speed by which they can be possible educated and enlightened, it needs a revolution, a rebellion, a renaissance to change.

Today, I have a dream. I dream that Pakistan becomes what it is capable of becoming. It becomes pure as it was intended to be. It becomes the land that my forefathers gave up their lives for. It becomes a place I can call home with pride and joy.

Hoping for change is like hoping for a miracle. But I will still hope change comes and it comes soon.

As for me, I’ll try to preserve my life by doing whatever it requires me to so.