“Why do you want to live in Pakistan?”

9 Jul

A friend asked me today why I want to live in Pakistan. I’m used to talking non-stop but I felt it necessary to pause and think of exactly why i want what I do. I know I won’t be treated with the same respect that women in other parts of the world are. I know I will have to dress in a certain way that may be uncharacteristic of me. I know I’ll have to live under certain laws that I simply cannot understand because of their draconian nature. I know I’ll worry about the safety of my friends and family who live here with me. I know I’ll have to struggle more than I’d have to in any other country in the world. 

 
Every holiday I get from University, I come back to Pakistan. I see the same antics – the same hypocrisy. I see a repressed society where a woman is raped through a man’s eyes. I drive my car and hope I won’t be put in a situation where I lose my temper over some guy overtaking me from the wrong lane like its his father’s road. People toss trash on the streets like they couldn’t care less about the poorly paid CDA trash collectors who have to work extra due to their apathy. The elite sit and trash talk each other the whole day, while engaging in the same behaviour they’re criticising. We all see people bribing the police and then abusing them for taking the very bribes they give them. Breaking a red light, so what? Who’s going to stop that 17 year old without a license when he has to make one call and the police officer will lose his job. 
 
These are just our flaws as a society. How the state has failed us, though interconnected, is a different story. We ask ourselves can we really respect a state that can’t even protect its own citizens? Can we accept paying taxes when we know our taxpayer money is used to strengthen institutions that harboured Osama Bin Laden for 9 years? We just assume since our tax money is going to be misused that there’s no use paying. We vote in the same people who can’t even organize a proper sewerage system due to which major cities are flooded every year during the Monsoon Season. 
 
What sane person would want to live in a country where he can’t feed himself let alone his family of five? Why does he have a family of five despite his awareness regarding his means of earning? Is there any awareness the relevant ministry for family planning has actively engaged in spreading regarding contraception, vasectomies, and so forth? Why are these ministers sitting in prados and land cruisers from our money when they can’t even do their job? 
 
So then why am I so insane, like so many of my fellow citizens to want to live in Pakistan? We are, or at least should be, well aware of Pakistan’s potential since that is our source of inspiration and hope. We have a truly blessed piece of land. With it, we have some unwanted occupants who’ve taken up arms and decided to turn brother against brother. Despite this, we have the majority of our peace-loving, compassionate, resilient countrymen and women working/trying to work for a better tomorrow. With all our natural and human resources, it should be a very short matter of time before we move towards prosperity and development under the leadership of a true statesman. This statesman is no where to be found in the status quo – he is not Nawaz Sharif, and he is not Imran Khan. Sincere, dedicated and honest leadership can only emerge where the society is sincere, dedicated and honest. Our leaders are carbon copies of each and every one of us – the good, the bad and the ugly. 
 
When we truly decide to change as a society, as a people, there is no force on earth that can deter us from achieving only the best. And the best aren’t Engish speaking, Prada-wearing leaders who eat us out of house and home. The best aren’t the people who make big promises but can’t walk the walk. The best will be those who learn from our past. Pakistan can only move forward when we, as a people, are clear on who we are, and what we want. Are we the men that take up arms because they know they can never win the hearts of the people? Are we the women who sit silently and condone rape to allegedly protect our family’s honour? Are we the hypocrites who talk about Islam while killing innocent women and children? We are none of these things. We are neither extreme. We are a moderate society that has been repressed through use of force by a state desperate to maintain its power. But we must fight. And we will fight, be it through our pen, our hard work, our words. We must be clear on our identity to pursue goals that flow from this identity. Do we really want a society in which a man feels he has a right to rape a woman because he is physically more powerful than her? Can the men in our country whole-heartedly state that they want their sisters and mothers to be second-class citizens? I know the answer, and I know the majority of our population does too. So why stay silent, why hesitate? I am proud to be Pakistani. Pakistan isn’t a terrorist country – it is a country a handful of extremists are trying to own when they have no right over it. It is a country run by leaders who forget that we elected them in and that ruling us is not their God-given right.
 
I have no hesitation saying I’m Pakistani, when I’m abroad. I’m not ashamed but am infact beaming with pride when I show the UK Border Agency my Green Passport. When they ask me whether I was treated well in Pakistan, I don’t pause for one second before smiling and saying, “why wouldn’t I be? My country is one where we accept everyone with arms wide open.” There will always be a few extremist liberals and religious fanatics – we must strive to attain our happy medium; our balance, not a system dictated to us. So when I finally came down to giving my friend an answer, i said, “Pakistan is the only country I can ever live in. It is the only place I can love each and every one of my fellow citizens, despite the differences in our backgrounds. There will always be a connection. And nothing, not even personal interest, can break those ties. The only thing I strive to do in my life is ensure Pakistan becomes the country it was meant to be, where everyone lives in peace, as equals.” 
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12 Responses to ““Why do you want to live in Pakistan?””

  1. fatimamuzaffarahmed July 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Lovely post Iman apa 🙂 Love the way you write, your posts are very interesting. Keep it up :*
    -F

  2. Tabassum Ali (@SharmilaJut) July 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    peace is the tricky part as i think because most of the politicians don’t want.they struggle only for empowerment not for people.People are also very innocent who don’t even know whom to vote. illiterate educated population of Pakistan are increasing due to our Politicians.this will stop only when political leaders lead by example and give sacrifices for homeland otherwise illiteracy will keep on blooming and education won’t cast any impact on thinking level of people:)

  3. HASSAN August 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Clearly the mass poor wouldn’t have the same reasons as you do!

  4. As desperate as yourself August 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    You asked too many questions ….. Democracy n elections are meant for educated societies ….
    Just think …
    When an educated voter’s casted vote is counted against an illiterate voter who decides over a Biryani platter served to him on election day….. when presiding officers and polling staff lock a primary school on an election day to have lunch served to them n police on duty by Political parties and civil administration of towns and villages are hostage to their SHOs n Patwaris ….
    When ladies who come to caste their vote (if at all allowed by local village elders cum pinchait/ jirga) their ID cards taken over by polling agents and stamped …..

    We have too much to change….

    Keep up the good work….

  5. saudbinyounis August 26, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    InshAllah we will make it the best place to live in.

  6. saudbinyounis August 26, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Reblogged this on SaudBinYounis.

  7. Naqiyya. August 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Came across your blog as an accident, but it’s one that raises some excellent arguments, the majority of which I believe in, too. As a prospective Law student, I do want to study only to find my way back to Pakistan and benefit the country like I’ve benefited from it! Here’s hoping we all get to make the change we’ve been waiting for!

  8. farooq September 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Your twitter “aboue me”section force me to follow you on twitter, and I don’t know why, I read the same sentences number of time. Because I really felt something special as I was honoured to witness yet another special pakistani, although your twitter account has also a picture of a woman( being a. Man of a man dominated society and often blamed for being “raping a woman through eyes contact, I would like to mention specifically that your even a cute looking picture unable to attract me, cuz the wording was so powerful that I was totally ignoring everything)!

    Like your being so ambitious and still have dream for a better Pakistan, as often we do lost our direction or ambitious after a certain period of time..wish you all the best for your dreams…

    I just felt from your this writting as you think too much at the same time..why don’t u stick to one topic when u write.than I guess your script could be more powerful!!! Even you can choose “bad men of society:-)” its your choice!!

  9. darko September 13, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    nice..
    if thr were more people thinkin lyk u,thr wont b anymore fights

  10. tablet ainol February 20, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    i want to live here because it is my homeland and we all willbring it at the top

    • tablet ainol February 20, 2014 at 8:53 am #

      and i wish that all people think like u

  11. lala July 8, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    quaetion is where else to go what else to do. ….. you say you live in UK … do the give you respect there … at the end of the day you are just like a a bengali bankabab wala to them in UK .. some times it feels like .. we had our golden days … and now they are over for good

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