Where is Pakistan headed?

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.

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6 Responses to Where is Pakistan headed?

  1. ZUBAIR ALAM says:

    Whoever this so called “maulana” is, he seems to me a follower of “IBLIS”.
    His followers are so blinded by Taliban’s (Children of Iblis) hate mentality that they are willing to sell their sisters even if comes to that, for pleasing this monster.
    There is no room in Islam for criminals like that and it is the utmost duty of Pakistani government to muzzle him and his followers as soon as they can. This cancer of hatred should be removed if some sanity has to prevail in this world. I am still waiting for all the courageous Muslims to come forward and at least denounce these kinds of threats.
    All Pakistanis (including Mullahs in Opposition) should try their best to make sure this place remains as “ISLAMABAD” and not being turned to “HATEABAD” by these criminals.

  2. […] 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. … – more – […]

  3. ayesha says:

    You know, I have been having similar discussions with friends over the past 2-3 tumultuous weeks. We have been trying to make sense of these developments and I can’t say that we have been successful. But let me give you some reason for hope: I don’t believe we are heading for a civil war – that’s too exaggerated. Social strife, yes – and in a way that is good. Because in a way we are being forced to confront and figure out what our social identity really is. We have evaded that question for way too long. Now its not guaranteed that the outcome of this struggle would be in the direction that we would like – but it would not hurt us to at least partake in it would it?

    The state is not such dire shambles that it can’t control the spiral – it just needs to have the will. And I think when it really comes down to it, Musharraf and our society will find the will. So what can ordinary citizens, like myself, or expats like yourself can do? We can encourage this discourse to play out – lend our voice to it. There are major citizen’s protest rallies being organised in islamabad, lahore and karachi for this saturday. Public opinion is coming out. We need to further strengthen that voice.

    And also its time now that we start working towards developing a socially and politically aware group of citizen who would realise the importance of making their voice heard in such incidents of social strife. All is not lost – its matter of organising ourselves and trying to make some difference – however little that may be.

    apologies, if they are typographical errors. gotta rush, so can’t proof-read. but my message to you: all is not lost. maybe, the battle has just begun.

  4. Manasi says:

    I was moved by your words and didn’t wish to leave without saying so. I feel the same about India and while on the surface all seems to be okay with my motherland, but things are not quiet right. I pray Pakistan never sees a Civil War… for i know what a civil war does to a country… sends it 30-40 years behind into the economic landscape.

    I pray that one day we (and people like us) are strong enough to take that bold step and make efforts to set things right into order in our homes.

    Aameen.

  5. Saad Qaisar says:

    Dear Bilal
    I was wondering if you happened to take a look at the book Three Cups of Tea, A Man’s Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time
    I reviewed it here:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/AO8L89YNXTNUF?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview
    It is one of the MOST inspiring books I have ever read on Pakistan’s education plight. The fact that it has 117+ reviews from a diverse audience and average rating of five star makes it worth a look, to say least, and share with friends around…
    best
    Saad

  6. Henry Kalama says:

    I just love soccer! I really want to get out and play again now.

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