I woke up this morning asking myself that question: Where is Pakistan headed? What is its future in the short and medium term? and how could I cope with the despair that emerges when I think of all the mess that is right now Pakistan. I think my thoughts were triggered last night when I downloaded forms to renew my Pakistani passport. It was that moment of realization that I am still a Pakistani, and while not as bad as the situation in some other parts of the world, my country seems to be on the verge of a civil war.
I also realized this morning that despite all that has happened in Pakistan in the past few weeks, I had not felt a particular urge to write much about it myself: the loss in the cricket world cup, the murder of our cricket coach, the dismissal of the chief justice, attack by police on a TV station, the attack on video shops, kidnapping of women being labelled prostitutes by hooligns from a local mosque/seminary, and the the threat of suicide bombings by the mosque leaders….
Why is that so? Do I really not have anythign to say, even to complain o rjust express my disdain and anger? I have read the posts on ATP on these topics (thanks to Adil’s diligence and interest in keeping us abreast), and the comments that followed, and countless other newspaper articles, journal entries, editorials, etc etc. But I have not found much in me to say on my own. I feel all this talk may be useless. The news coming out of Pakistan is simply that down right depressing!
But I am mad, I am angry, I am frustrated, disapppointed, sad. Am I ready to give up on Pakistan and seek a permanent sanctuary elsewhere? Probably not. But if someone came to me right now to ask me to move back to Pakistan, to help build it up, to teach there, to work there… I could not offer much else but smile. Yeah right! What a shame that this is where things stand today.
The mullahs and their creed are hell bent on plunging the country into darkness, the political goons stand aside with their tongues hanging out in anticipation of regaining power, and the military President seems so far removed from reality that it feels he is either highly incompetitive to deal with the current situation (best case scenario), or is openly deceiving and lying to the nation (worst case scenario). And what is the general public in Pakistan doing? They are probably as confused and lost as I am. Engrossed in their day-to-day travails, and desperately lacking of any leadership. Stuck between trying to earn bread, dealing with water and electrical shortages, and wanting to earn a place in heaven (hence not openly protesting aginst the mullah thugs).
What is a man like me to do today then on a fine Saturday morning in Boston? I may spend some time today searching the internet for political opinions, op-eds, views etc that may shed a slightly positive light on the goings-on. Maybe someone will be able to find the silver lining in all this, and restore some of my faith in Pakistan’s future. Or maybe I will say, to hell with all the difficult news about the reality in Pakistan. Let’s watch some TV shows, enjoy the lighter moments, have a laugh, read articles about the social glitterati in Pakistan and their lifestyles, look up how Pakistani elite parties in the confines of the gymkhanas and local clubs, and drink a mango lassi to the temporary freedom of being able to separate myself from that reality if I really wanted to. Come join me if you want to watch the fabulous Galapagos exhibit at the Museum of Science.