THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE!

 

The young woman (a friend’s daughter) was fuming with anger! “Pakistan is not worth living anymore! I will migrate as soon as I possibly can.”

Her agitation was natural! Mugged by a scooter driving youth, she had lost cash, her ID card, credit card and cell phone. And as this was not the first time, the hassle she knew she had got herself into was more frustrating. As she knew from earlier experience that reporting at a police station was futile, she had to (again) set upon contacting the concerned people about her dilemma! Applying for a new NIC and credit card, getting her cell no. blocked until she got a new sim and trying to re-collect the numbers of her contacts was no easy job! And she knew that palms would have to be greased for redressing her genuine distress. And last but not the least, the cash she had lost was no small amount!

I couldn’t blame her as she was sharing the general dismal mood of discontent shared by the youth of our country! But like I always do in similar circumstances, I couldn’t stop myself from quipping back, “What percentage of our population can possibly migrate? Don’t you think that people living outside Pakistan have their own set of problems? And instead of planning to run away, we should firmly plant our feet on our soil and work hard to improve the conditions?”

Conditions in Pakistan are detoriating day by day, year by year! Caught in the clutches of greedy politicians, energy crisis, militancy, religious extremists (whom I refuse to call Muslims) blowing up themselves and innocent people in public places, the ever rising spiral of inflation, lawlessness, illiteracy, corruption and unemployment are only a few of the problems gnawing at the roots of our country.

Tall promises are made before every up-coming elections, pledges are made to solve all the problems in no time at all, but our leaders quickly forget about them and promptly busy themselves in amassing wealth in every possible and unethical manner, visiting foreign countries (with huge entourages), distributing ministries to appease their loyalists (competency being the least consideration), and stooping to any level to keep their rule intact. This is a quagmire we have been stuck in for decades now!

The brain drain from Pakistan towards the West has been continuing for the past two or more generations and is one of the reasons for the unfavorable conditions we are facing today. Qualified, young, talented, hardworking and honest people realize that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. A better paid job, much improved basic amenities, an atmosphere of general security and stability, bright prospects for their children’s future, more stable economic conditions and over all a more comfortable life style, attracts them so much that they opt for the greener pastures.

But as the saying goes “Everything comes with a price. Everything! Some things just cost more than the others.” The economic and living conditions may be much better in the greener pastures, but life is not all bliss in an alien land. Adapting to a foreign culture and still retaining one’s national identity is difficult for most people (and more so for their children) and safe guarding their religious and cultural values is an uphill task! Compromises have to be made, as leaving behind one’s roots, parents and childhood friends is always painful.

The most important negative factor is that these people are forced into raising a confused generation, which is neither Eastern nor Western, but a misfit in both cultures! Many a parents have to go through a nightmarish phase when they can no longer control their adolescents, who are attracted by the so called freedom of their native peers. Protecting their children from the culture of drug abuse, extra-marital sex and violence becomes a difficult task for them. The children who have been brought up in a totally alien culture, feel all these are normal part of life and often clash with their parents when the older generation tries to impose restrictions on them!

Sadly, inspite of these difficulties, most people who move out of Pakistan, think it is better to cope with these issues rather live in the difficult conditions back home. And so in their quest for greener pastures, they leave behind their culture, their values and a motherland which is bleeding to the core!

But I say again and again that to run away from problems is not a healthy way to solve them! We must not behave like ostriches who bury their necks in the sand! We have to face our troubles and overcome them, catch the bull by its horns and try to control it with all our might! Fighting the problems by finding out solutions and trying our best to implement them inspite of the odds is the only way things can improve!

Pakistan needs fresh blood more than it ever needed before! Dedicated, talented, hard working, honest and educated youth must come forward to control the helm of affairs! We need them in every field of action, bureaucracy, politics, military, judiciary, education and governance! Personal gains must be sacrificed for national causes! Our youth may be disenchanted and angry, but their angry outbursts show that they still care! And they know that all is not lost in Pakistan, as deep down they also feel that it is high time things should change for the better. I am not supporting or opposing any political party, but to prove my point I must remind people about the steep rise in the percentage of voters especially the young ones, when in the recent elections hope for a change was offered!

 There is always light at the end of the darkest tunnel. We must move forward, even if we are on our hands and feet, to reach that end! We have to start at the grassroots and corruption has to be eliminated at all levels. Awareness about striking the perfect balance between rights and duties can only be achieved through improving the literacy rate. Each and everyone has to put in his/her share. The effort may be small and seemingly insignificant but when a major change comes, every small endeavour will prove to help in making the difference!

Only then the plight of or Homeland can change!

I know and accept that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Life in the conditions prevailing in Pakistan is not easy! I fear for my children when they go out (and quickly recite a prayer for their safety), get panicked if one of them is late in coming home or  responding to a call on his/her cell phone, worry day in and day out how to stretch the household budget to make the ends meet, cry when I see the pictures of innocent children killed in terrorist attacks, rant and rave at the conditions in Pakistan when I read the newspaper or watch the news on the TV, but if given the choice of moving out, without even thinking for a moment, my answer would be “No thanks, the grass may appear greener on the other side, but inspite of the difficult conditions here, I still prefer my side of the fence!”

 

 

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Drama In Islamabad!!

          I feel angry today, disturbed, ashamed, disappointed and a bit amused too! The weird drama in Islamabad, the way a man, a woman and two children kept the capital on hold, and the manner our security personnel handled the situation has again made Pakistan a laughing stock for the world. 

          And our media, our TV channels licking their lips in delight, reported the whole incident minute to minute! For six long hours! I am no television buff, and had just switched on the idiot box to check out on the weather conditions in Lahore, I was worried because my son and his family were scheduled to reach there from Murree and the rumour was that the roads in Lahore were flooded! (This proved to be wrong as I came to know later).

          There was no news about the rains in Punjab but all channels were covering the Islamabad incident and the drama had started only a few minutes ago! Glued to the Television, I kept on watching in surprise as the police and Commandos were being shown keeping a distance from the car. The woman and children in the car were first reported to be held hostage by the man who started the whole drama by firing wildly in the air. And this was the Blue area of Islamabad, the area with the highest security as all important venues i.e the Prime Minister House, National Assembly, Supreme Court of Pakistan are stuated in this locality.

          In sheer disgust, I kept on posting updates on FaceBook and here I would like to share them with my readers. Although I cannot state for sure what was the exact time but it all started at around 6 in the evening!

OMG….. Police have surrounded the car in the Blue Area Islamabad from which an unknown man fired wildly in the air…I wonder what the police is waiting for!

The car was snatched from a nearby area n there is also a burqa clad woman in the car…hostage or accomplice? The police hv still no clue..Allah reham kare, Ameen

  • The body language of the woman is V suggestive…she hardly looks panicked or nervous as she took something out from the car’s trunk
  •  

Bhaaiyon!!!! Car k tyre hi puncture kar do fire kar ke!!!

 

Two kids in the car Too!!!

My notion was right…….!!!!! the woman claims to be the wife of the man in the car plus the two children are their kids!!! 

 Aaj TVdekhein…I am sure Geo wala will also b enjoying this breaking news…but can not switch channels now…the situation is too weird!!   

Our police keeps on bringing shame to the whole nation!! And the TV channels are having a great time!! All claiming to be the first to report this drama!!I am feeling like a reporter at the moment but cant stop myself from commenting!! Sharamnaak situation!!! Look at the way the woman is coming n going conveying demands! 

Hikmat e amli ki tafseelat bhee bata dee mulzimon ki Sahulat k lye!!! I think these people have never heard of GPRS!!!Humari helpless police bechaari!!! Police dept should be dissolved…the law of the jungle is good enough for us!!!! Both of the miscreants were far enough from their car but still the police didn’t dare to overpower them! 

7.30 PM….I am  getting late for Maghrib.. have to take a short break now! 

High level Drama in Islamabad!!! Baghair ticket enjoy karein!!!  

Latest on Islamabad drama….aap sab ko mubarak ho!! Police ne musslaah shaks ki giraftaari ki tayyaari mukammil kar lee!!!! 

Islamabad Drama smells fishy from Miles!!!! How come no action has been taken although it is already dark?

Easy load for the culprit’s cell by the POLICE…how sweet of them!!

Bachon ko Pizza khana hai!! SSP Operations se naya mutalba!!! Its only my notion: P 

Operation ki tayyaryaan Mukammil!!! Bas anesthetist ka intezar hai!!

I couldn’t stop myself from Re tweeting this!

  •  A Good Soldier (@Soldier_pk):
    One thing is certain, all vehicles carrying families will face extra scrutiny at police barriers, thanks to Sikandar ‪#‎BlueA
  • My Tweet…
  • Media personal manhandled! Kumhar pe bas na chala gadhia ke kaan amethe!‪#‎Bluearea ‪#‎islamabad d security forces hs brought d nation 2 shame!!

          The nation is waiting for the drama to end! First it was being suggested by our TV channels that the security personal are waiting for the dark! But on second thoughts, I feel they have decided to wait for the Sun to rise!

          9.30 PM…After this post, I had to be pull myself away from the television as I had to go to a dinner. After exchanging pleasantries with my hostess, I requested her to switch on the TV. The drama was just ending, I could see the PPP leader Zamurrud Khan pouncing on the man and the later, as if taken by surprise, falling down and being overpowered by our brave Commandos!

(I guess Zamurrud Khan will be given Hilal e jurrat for his bravery!!)

        12.30….It is being reported that the gunman has been taken to the PIMS Hospital and is undergoing emergency surgery as he has been shot in the stomach and leg! I only wonder why this couldn’t have been done earlier!

          Frustration and shame has become the lot of the common Pakistani nobodies like me! Helpless, surprised, disappointed and angry at the (mis) performance of our police, rangers and most of all the so called Commandos we just watched the ongoing drama in sheer disgust!

The security personal seemed helpless, spineless and confused! We, the patriotic Pakistanis, demand an immediate explanation! Why were we made the laughing stock for the world once more! For Heaven’s sake, don’t hurt our pride again and again in this manner! We love this country and want it to rise from the dust… and shine!

Long live Pakistan!!

 

 

 

 

 

WHO IS TO BE BLAMED?

This is an edited version of an article published in The Financial Daily

 

WHO IS TO BLAME?

 

Independence Day is approaching yet another time. Yesterday I had a sudden idea and impulsive that I am, decided to implement it at once. Throughout the year, we are busy celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Why not have an Independence day party? Happily I started to call close family members but I was a bit confused at the reaction of the young generation, who seemed to decline my invitation politely at one pretext or another.

I called Sohail, my nephew, on his cell many times and on not getting a response rang him at his office. “What’s wrong, Sohail? Why are you not attending to your cell? And no one is receiving the phone at home?” “Oh, Auntie, my cell has been snatched a third time and I simply can not afford to go on buying mobile phones for muggers.” Sohail’s tone was very cross. “Shazia has gone to her parents with the kids. We have no electricity and so no water for the last two days. How could she manage with the children with no water in this heat?”

Warily I told Sohail about the party. “Come on Auntieji, you must be joking! What is there to celebrate about anyway? Insecurity?  Power failures? Corruption? Suicide bombers blowing up innocent people whenever and wherever they want? Or the sky-rocketing cost of living which is making a respectable difficult day by day? What has Pakistan given us anyway? Please excuse me Auntie, I shall rather stay at home and catch up on my sleep”.

Sohail continued in an angry tone, “I simply see no logical reason left for celebrating the Independence Day. Though we have got a homeland but still we have no freedom. We have to free ourselves from the shackles of religious extremism, poverty, illiteracy, greed and corruption before calling ourselves a free nation and planning any celebrations. The struggle for independence is not over yet!”

 Sohail’s outburst helped me to understand why the people of his generation were not showing any interest in my party. They all belonged to a disenchanted and disappointed generation which had seen Pakistan going on the downwards slide, year by year! Although I tried my best to convince Sohail, his arguments were so strong and he seemed so agitated, I decided to talk to him later.

I was born in an age when the people who had strived, suffered and sacrificed for the sake of independence were all around, so I felt deeply disturbed at the frustration of our new generation. In those days Patriotism was the order of the day and our parents never tired of telling us true stories about the Pakistan movement. Precious lives were lost, ancestral homes and properties were left behind but no one considered this a price too heavy for Independence. I vividly remember my mother shedding tears when she talked about Mohammed Ali Jinnah or Liaqat Ali Khan! Love for Pakistan seemed to be in the blood and everyone seemed proud to call himself a Pakistani.

I can still remember how enthusiastically we celebrated 14th August at school. The principal hoisted the national flag and gave a short speech stressing on the importance of independence and love for one’s Homeland.  As we fervourly recited the National Anthem in a chorus, it was a proud moment and the fluttering green flag never ceased to bring tears to my eyes. Sweets were distributed among the children and all of us were as happy as if it was Eid.

Sohail’s questions brought a rush of guilt to my heart. What is the reason behind this change in emotions? Have we failed to transfer this love for Pakistan to our next generation? Did we take independence for granted and did not strive enough to pass on its importance to their young minds. Or is it our poor and inept education system which is to blame.

Today our young generation has but a fleeting knowledge of the hardships faced during the movement for Pakistan, something which they have learned in the dull and drab books on Pakistan Studies! These books also keep changing with the advent of every new ruler who want the syllabus to suit his whims, trying to write a new history after every few years.

Or should we blame the greedy and incapable politicians, who are too busy filling their pockets (which are already bursting at the seams), to care for the peace and prosperity of Pakistan?

Our country is rich enough in resources. But whose purpose does it serve to keep them untapped and underutilized? Job opportunities which can be created but are not, the rain water which can do wonders for our agricultural lands but instead floods and destroy standing crops, the beautiful valleys were no tourists dare to visit due to fear of the so called religious extremist, growing unemployment and a steep rise in the inflation level are only a few reasons of the causes leading to the frustration of our young generation. These and many other such thoughts kept troubling me as I lay awake in the darkness of the night.

The next morning I called Sohail again, “Whether you come or not, I am celebrating 14th August according to my plans. You asked me many questions yesterday. The only question I have to ask you is ‘What have “We” given to Pakistan’? Nobody from the Heavens will come to change our lot. It is our choice, either we sit in our drawing rooms, sipping tea and blaming each other for our failures, or firmly resolve to strive and sacrifice, step by step, for the prosperity of Pakistan”.

LIGHT THE TORCH! (MY MUSINGS ON THE EVE OF PAKISTAN DAY)

Gloom hangs heavy in the air as Pakistan is going through one of the worst phases of her short history! The most common emotions we are experiencing these days are of insecurity, anxiety, fear, frustration, disappointment and all other such negative feelings! Although elections are just round the corner but the common citizen does not seem to be interested in casting his vote! We have been hoodwinked so many times by the clever and greedy politicians that we have lost all hope that things will or can improve for the better! Tall promises made in the past (and which were never fulfilled) have made us doubt any new claims made by these same faces!

The media is crying its throat hoarse on the intensity (read hopelessness) of the situation. Day in and day out, we witness participants of TV talk shows spell doom. The hosts of these shows invite people at the helm of affairs, people who have influence as well as authority, to discuss on the various issues troubling our country. But these people do nothing except fighting like wild cats, slinging allegations at each other and behaving like a bunch of spoilt brats! No one is ready to come forward and take responsibility, the best that they do is comfortably placing their opponent responsible for the quagmire we are stuck in. Problems are discussed and defined, but no solutions are offered.

I am just a face in the crowd, an ordinary woman in a country of millions. But like every educated and dedicated Pakistani, I feel depressed by the state of affairs and often ponder on means and ways to come out of this situation. I strongly feel that every one with an iota of patriotism should do his/ her share. It may be a drop in the ocean, but with time, effort and dedication, eventually every drop will count! Because every contribution (however small it may seem at the moment), towards a better society, may make some difference tomorrow! According to Shahzad Roy, founder of the Zindagi Trust, “To go big, we must first start small. Alas there are no shortcuts!”

 I and my readers are lucky, in the sense that we had access to quality education. We went to good institutions and had sincere teachers who brought out our abilities as best as they could. We know what our rights as citizens of a state are, and what duties we hold in return. We are leading a relatively comfortable and respectable life and can only imagine the sufferings of the down trodden masses. The current state of affairs strongly demands that it is our turn to pay back to our Homeland and not take our good luck for granted. We must understand that holding discussions over a cup of coffee, comfortably seated in our drawing rooms will not change our lot. We have to do something urgently, nay, on a war footing, to save our country from total turmoil.

The crying need of the hour is to create awareness among the masses. People must learn to identify their rights as well as be aware of their duties! And this mind-set comes only with education. We in Pakistan have a very low literacy rate, although official figures paint a brighter picture of the situation, as they declare near half the population literate. But their criterion is indeed pathetic; as a person who can read and write his/ her name is called literate in Pakistan. We have a dismal education system, teaching a listless curriculum by teachers, majority of who lack any sense of dedication to the cause of “Education for All”. Some of Pakistan’s problems like the rise of the crime graph, unemployment, hatred, intolerance and poor health conditions due to poor hygiene, are created by the lack of education.

Successive governments have failed to work for raising literacy levels in Pakistan (134th position in the 180 countries of the world and 31st out of 35 Islamic countries). Our selfish and greedy politicians realize that mass literacy will give people dignity, self respect and the courage to fight against their oppressive policies. Because with education comes enlightenment and the will to fight tyranny!

In the past Punjab government did come up once with the slogan Parha Likha Punjab. (I beg to state that the name is suggestive in itself of the political motives behind it as Parha Likha Pakistan would have been a more patriotic slogan). But it was rolled back after millions of rupees were misspent. So whatever tall claims they may make, education has never been on the top in the priority lists of our governments.

Whoever is in power, in every budget only meager funds are allotted for education, while much bigger chunks are spent on the luxurious spending of the government high-ups. Although the outgoing government had announced that over 80% literacy would be reached by the year 2015, but with no note worthy efforts in this direction, this proved to be only a verbal claim. We can easily understand how sincere their claims were by the fact that approximately a paltry 2% of the budget was been allocated for the educational sector. (UNESCO has recommended increasing this to at least 4%). In which I call only a vote gaining tactic, a resolution to implement free secondary education was passed in the National Assembly a few months back, but every educated Pakistani felt that this was “Too little, Too late!

In the rural areas, the situation is worse. The influential landlords consider it against their interests that their Haris or their children get educated. They know that their uncrowned kingdoms will have to face a down fall once awareness is created amongst their domains. To keep their powerful tentacles firmly rooted, they discourage their Haris and threaten them with dire consequences if their children are sent to school. They forcefully have schools shut down, using them as their Autaqs, or worst still as their cattle pens. As most of our feudal landlords have a strong hold on the country’s political power, they can easily have their way. So majority of the population continue to live on as illiterates, in abject poverty and unaware of their basic rights to a minimal quality life.

          NGOs, philantropists and private trusts are working in the education sector and doing a lot to provide free or affordable education to the poor children. The parents are urged to pull their children out of child labor and sent to schools; something they are often reluctant to do, as the children help out their parents by bringing in additional income. But the problem is so enormous that these efforts can not be enough to tackle the situation and bring our country out of this culture of chaos, corruption and confusion. Each and every educated person in Pakistan should come forward to do his/ her share.

My slogan is “Each One, Teach One”. If each educated Pakistani vows to impart education to only one illiterate person, young or old, soon we will see winds of change blowing. By adopting just one person as our student, be it our maid, chowkidar or their child, the boy selling tidbits at traffic signals or the Chota at the motor mechanics or Pan shop, we have to coax and urge these people and take them under our folds. By sparing a couple of hours of our free time and making all out efforts to impart education from the basic level, we can change the destiny of at least one person, as our student will not just learn to read and write his/her name to be called a literate, rather would have the awareness and vision only education can create. Making only one person literate by the educated ones, will double the literacy rate of Pakistan in no time. And the only repayment we may ask from our student is to ask him to pass on his knowledge to someone else in his circle.

Being a firm optimist, I believe that there is light at the end of the darkest tunnel. Every educated Pakistani must come forward to light the torch of literacy and to make sure that this torch keeps on burning. It may take time, patience and endurance but in not- too- far- off days we shall see hands coming out of the darkness; hands which shall pick up this lightened torch of education and awareness and march ahead, spreading the light of literacy to each and every part of our country! In Sha Allah!

 

THE BEGINNING OF THE END?

 

I grumble, I protest, I rave, I rant and yes, I am not ashamed to admit that in weak and emotional moments I cry too! But in the depth of my heart there is a sad and sinking feeling that all this is in vain! I can not do anything to change the way things are going in my beloved Homeland. And then I realize that my pen is my only tool! At least I can give a path to my emotions, share with my readers my pain, my anger and my frustration at the non stop downslide in nearly every aspect of life in Pakistan! Being a stay at home mother and grandmother and also a senior citizen, my ageing body and mind hampers me from any active participation in the state of affairs; this is the only small contribution I can make. It may be a drop in the ocean, but deep down I firmly believe that eventually every such drop will bring about a tsunami of change!

Every new incident of terror, arson, cold blooded target killing, corruption and sheer negligence bring a flurry of troubling questions to my mind. Is this the price we and our coming generation pay for loving our country? Who are these people who have unleashed a reign of terror on the common (and patriotic) Pakistani? Why are the people who are supposed to trace them and give them exemplary punishment a total failure in their jobs (for which they are paid hefty amounts after fleecing the law abiding taxpayer)?  When will the situation change for the better and this hopeless situation end? When will our politicians end their race in corruption and greed and rise to the occasion and try to control things which are getting out of hand day by day? When will the sufferings of the man on the street abate?  How can the heartless people who are killing innocent and unarmed fellow countrymen dare to call themselves Muslims? Although I can find no answer to my questions, the intense pain, the deep anger and the sense of frustration abates a bit when I express my feelings of utter hopelessness!

I am no political analyst, nor a religious scholar, so like every common Pakistani I can only ask, nay, demand for solutions! Maybe someday, someone will come up with an answer to my queries but at the moment I, like all sensitive and patriotic Pakistanis seem to be groping in the dark! We are walking in a tunnel which seems to be endless, our souls so tired we feel like dropping down dead, but the vague hope that there is bound to be light at the end of this dark tunnel keep us dragging our bleeding feet on!

11th January..2013

I had started this blog a few days back, but the slow and lazy writer that I am, had left it unfinished. But the bomb blasts in Quetta have brought me back to my computer. Today is a black day in Pakistan’s history! And I am sad to say that we do not have days like these once in a while! The bomb blasts in Quetta which has left more than a hundred people dead and a lot more injured has opened a new set of questions in my mind. Who are these people who are targeting the Hazara Shias in Balochistan? Are we all not human beings, and then Muslims before we are Sunnis or Shias? When will the high-ups in Baluchistan wake up from their deep slumber to stop these killings? Are they a part of this conspiracy and deliberately turning a deaf ear and blind eyes to the ethnic cleansing of these innocent people? The list of questions goes on and on and I just grope in pain for answers!

13th January…2013

The relatives of the bomb blast victims have taken a seemingly strange step. As a protest for the killings of their dear ones, they have decided to hold a dharna(sit-in) at the site of the blasts, with the coffins of the deceased! They are demanding that the army take over the control of Quetta and the inefficient and corrupt government of CM Raisani sacked! The voice of their peaceful but painful protest is reaching out to every sensible and sensitive Pakistani, waves of protest are spreading country wide as sit ins are being held in many cities in all the four provinces of Pakistan!

The unburied coffins of the victims of the gruesome carnage in Quetta seem to ask more questions? What was our fault? Why are we being targeted so cruelly? Why have the security services and the government failed to give us protection?

As I try to go back to sleep after my Fajr prayers, my mind goes back to the people out there, braving the freezing temperatures and the agony and pain of sitting with their unburied dead! As I pull my blanket closer, my ageing body seems to shiver at these disturbing thoughts. I feel restless! And pushing my blanket aside, I try again to complete this blog.

 My heart goes out to you, the relatives of the innocent people killed in the Twin explosions. It must be breaking your hearts to sit out with the dead bodies of your loved ones, bravely facing the bitter cold and rain as well as the emotional trauma you are going through!

14th January ..2013

After the three days long painful sit in, a day of mourning which has brought most of the country to a standstill, the government finally has to give in! Although the prime Minister had reached Quetta earlier in the day, he did not seem to have the courage to go out to the protestors. Media coverages of him, sitting comfortably in the warmth of the heaters in the Governor House, holding talks with concerned people, while the young and old, men, women and children were shown shivering in the intense cold, only added insult to injury!

Finally late in the night, he went to offer his condolences to the bereaved, not looking very comfortable as he hummed and hawed during his speech, and had to be prompted again and again by the Information Minister Kaira. He finally announced that the demands of the protestors have been met. There would be Governor rule in Baluchistan, immediate compensation for those who have been killed (as if money could compensate for their lives) and free treatment for the injured.

And the rest is history!

Today there is only one question which keeps on tugging at my heart! Is this the beginning of the end?

I hope and pray this time the country wide protests, and the painful sacrifice of the mourners of not burying their dead unless their demands are met, do not go in vain and the moment of change we all have been waiting for has finally arrived! Maybe I will at last get an answer to the questions which make my heart bleed and keep me sleepless at nights! May be we have reached the end of the dark tunnel, even if we are on our hands and feet, but being the resilient nation we are, we are bound to bounce back!

Long live Pakistan!

 

          

The Real makers of Pakistan’s Future

    0
 

August 14, 1947, is the most important day in the history of Pakistan. In 1947, this was the day when, under the inspiring guidance of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and after a long struggle, the Muslims of India achieved a free homeland.

We celebrate this day in a befitting manner. The official festivities begin with flag raising ceremonies in Islamabad and the provincial capitals. Most schools hold special Independence Day programmes, flags are hoisted on rooftops and terraces, and children wear badges on their arms.

But sadly, over the passage of time, all this has become a sort of norm. We all do these things not from patriotism or love for Pakistan, but because everyone around us is doing the same. The fervour and love for our homeland and the fierce sense of ownership, which should be the essence of the celebrations, seems to be missing.

I was born to parents who had witnessed the Pakistan Movement. When Pakistan came into being, they, and most people of their generation, gave up their ancestral homes, properties and friends without a second thought. Their hearts filled with hope, they happily migrated towards the land of their dream.

For them Pakistan, ‘The land of the pure’, would be the country where peace, honesty, dedication, tolerance and justice would be the order of the day; where the Muslim majority would lead their lives in compliance with the teachings of Islam and also let non-Muslims freely follow their respective religious beliefs; where the three golden principles of Quaid-i-Azam, Unity, Faith and Discipline would form the base of society and where the law would rule supreme!

Tragically, after the initial few years of Pakistan’s creation, things began moving in the wrong direction. Greed, lust for power, corruption and putting personal gains over national interests started gnawing into the roots of our new found homeland. There was a total lack of will on the part of the people at the helm of national affairs to root out illiteracy and poverty from Pakistan.

And the resultant downslide in the conditions of our country has not stopped to this day!

Today, Pakistan is facing multiple troubles. Religious fanaticism, political instability, ever increasing foreign loan burden, corruption, illiteracy, inflation and an immense shortage of electricity and gas are only a few of these problems. The Pakistan that our forefathers dreamed about and the one that our great leader envisioned, is no where to be found!

Friends, our Quaid had great faith in us. On one occasion he said, “My young friends, I look forward to you as the real makers of Pakistan, do not be exploited and do not be misled. Create amongst yourselves complete unity and solidarity. Set an example of what youth can do. Your main occupation should be in fairness to yourself, to your parents, in fairness to the State, to devote your attention to your studies. If you fritter away your energies now, you will always regret.”

Talking about the importance of education our great leader stated, “Without education it is complete darkness and with education it is light. Education is a matter of life and death to our nation. No sacrifice of time or personal comfort should be regarded too great for the advancement of the cause of education.”

This year, on August 14, when we hoist the national flag on our rooftops and terraces let us resolve to work hard to raise the prestige of Pakistan in the world. When we pin Pakistani flag badges on our dress, let us pledge that we shall use these arms to root out corruption, injustice, greed and illiteracy from our homeland.

I feel that I and the people of my generation have failed miserably to put our country on the right track. By giving up the teachings of Islam and the guidelines our Quaid gave us, we have contributed towards the downfall of Pakistan.

But I am pinning my hopes on my young friends. Children are called the architects of the future of a nation. With your concentrated efforts, you can pull out Pakistan from the quagmire it is stuck in. By adopting the guiding principles of Unity, Faith and Discipline, and with dedication and hard work, you can guide Pakistan towards a bright and prosperous future.

Friends, let’s join hands and vow to strive and sacrifice with dedication and love for our country, just as our forefathers did.

In the end, I would again like to quote Mohammad Ali Jinnah, our visionary leader, “We have weathered the worst storms and the safety of the shore, though distant, is in sight. We can look to the future with robust confidence provided we do not relax and fritter away our energies in internal dissensions. There never was greater need for discipline and unity in our ranks. It is only with united effort and faith in our destiny that we shall be able to translate the Pakistan of our dreams into reality.”

Long live Pakistan!

Happy Ramazan: The message of Ramazan……http://dawn.com/2012/07/21/happy-ramazan-the-message-of-ramazan/

We have been blessed with the month of Ramazan again. This is the time of the year to re-learn lessons, to stop and think, and to act for a better life and a better future! Ramazan is not about refraining to eat and drink from dawn to dusk, neither is it only about preparing and shopping for Eid, something we all spend a major part of the month in doing. The message of this month goes much deeper! If we think a bit profoundly, we will find that this is a month to change ourselves for the better, to improve in all aspects of life.

We all know Pakistan was created on August 14, 1947, but maybe most of us do not know that this day coincided with the 27th of Ramazan 1368 Hijri. If we truly realise the real lessons of this month, and apply it to our behaviour and attitude as citizens of Pakistan, we can make a drastic improvement in the future of our homeland. All of us have to play a role and change ourselves to contribute towards this goal.

Discipline, obedience, punctuality, compassion for those less blessed than us, sharing and caring and a sense of accountability are all feelings that we experience during Ramazan and which can go a long way in improving our lives as well as the situation in Pakistan.

My dear readers, you may be too young to realise the intensity of the dire state of affairs we as a nation are stuck in, but you are enlightened enough to know that all is not well in Pakistan. The newspaper and the electronic media give us disturbing news every day.

Your parents fear for your security when you go out. Illiteracy, crime, corruption and greed are gnawing at the roots of our beloved homeland. If we, as a nation, resolve to apply the true spirit of Ramazan to our conduct and outlook as a nation, a positive change in the situation is bound to come.

Ramazan teaches us the lesson of obedience. We know that we have to go without food and drink during a fast, but we can easily sneak a snack or a glass of water when no one is watching us. But none of us would even think of doing so because we all firmly believe that a Divine Eye is watching us! Why is it so that we take pleasure in breaking rules and
disobeying laws? Sneaking a flower or two and walking on the grass where it is clearly written “Do not walk on the grass or pluck flowers” give us a sense of adventure. Breaking traffic signals and over speeding on roads are not even considered a crime by most people. Pushing and shoving each other instead of making a queue at public places are all national habits with us. This frame of mind gives rise to a disregard for law at all levels. If we learn to obey and respect the law at a young age, a far reaching change will be seen very soon.

Ramazan is the month of punctuality. We start and break fasts according to fixed timings and not according to our mood or whim. But as a nation, we totally lack a sense of punctuality.

Students submit their work late, government officers generally do not care if they do not reach their offices in time; we seldom follow the timings when we attend a wedding or other
functions. And often I have found patients waiting and suffering in pain because doctors do not turn up at the exact time they have given to their patients.

Time is a commodity which we love to waste, although if we study the cases of developed nations we shall find that punctuality and valuing time is one of their foremost qualities. So, this Ramazan let us resolve that we shall value time and try to do everything according to a set routine.

When we give out Zakat in Ramazan, we come in contact with people less privileged than us. This creates in us a sense of compassion as well as a will to share our blessings with the needy people around us. Feeling the pangs of hunger as well as going thirsty makes us realise what poor people go through the year around. If we nurture these feelings and keep them
alive around the year, a large number of people around us will benefit.

Giving away clothes, toys, books and other personal possessions which you can comfortably do without, may bring joy and content to those who cannot afford to buy these things.

Frustrations and deprivations usually give rise to crime. The crime graph in our country can come down sharply if the rich change their attitude of amassing wealth by using unfair
means and depriving others of their share, but these qualities have to be learnt from a young age.

In the end, I will say that Ramazan gives us a general sense of piety, an urge to do good deeds and shun bad ones. Lying, cheating, selfishness, greed and backbiting are all qualities which are causing the deterioration in the conditions our country is facing. While fasting we have a natural urge to keep away from these ills. Why not resolve firmly to make this a
national habit? Even when Ramazan is over and we are not fasting. Truthfulness, honesty, patriotism and discipline can go a long way to guide Pakistan towards the road to
development.

So, enjoy the delicacies Mummy cooks for Iftar and Sehar, but do not fail to lend her a helping hand wherever you can. Shop for your Eid preparations but do not forget those who are less privileged than you. But foremost of all, this Ramazan let’s resolve to make Pakistan a better place to live in. When we all join hands and make a firm resolution, things will improve Insha Allah. Because, as an optimist, I firmly believe that there is light even at the end of the darkest tunnel! A change (for the better) in our values and preferences is the need of the hour.