Pakistan – living in denial?

Bilal Qureshi

It is never easy to write about Pakistan because there is never anything good, positive or even encouraging to discuss.  It is always a bomb attack, which now has turned into a horrific Bombay style shoot out as we witnessed in Lahore, or a terrorist or terrorists trying to blow up something in the world connected to a training camp in Pakistan.
Then, there are protests in the country against power shortage, lack of food commodities (think flour, sugar etc).  To top all this, we see agitation and processions against America, facebook and Youtube (and Israel and India) where people are raging and shouting angry slogans. I can go and on, but you get my point. Now, if this is the backdrop, how anyone can write glowingly about a peaceful and/or prosperous Pakistan? One has to write about Pakistan’s true picture.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that today’s Pakistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world, regardless of what yardstick we use to measure danger. It offers nothing to anyone who might be interested in visiting because of work or family related situation. Otherwise, can you think of anyone or any reason for people to travel to Pakistan? I have tried hard, but can’t come up with any rational or logical explanation to fly there. Those who have family ties are cutting back their annual travel plans. Those who travel to Pakistan for work prepare like they won’t come back. And leisure travel to Pakistan was almost never an options for foreigners, and therefore, there goes the tourism (and with that, a good source of income) option.
Perhaps the news that peace is almost always synonymous with economic vitality has not yet reached Pakistan. And it is obvious that Pakistanis don’t even know and realize that companies planning to expand beyond America (google, Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, Dell, HP, Apple, and the list goes on and on) have opted for two countries. For hardware and other production related supplies, corporations deal with China and for software and call centers, businesses establish branches in India. And for Pakistan it means lost opportunities – and by extension, loss of significant tax revenue, excellent job and training openings. But, if you look at Pakistan, they are more concerned about fighting Americans, fighting each other, fighting imaginary threats, instead of developing a country which attracts visitor, business and tourists.
On the contrary, people of Pakistan, sadly, live in a parallel universe, a universe created by mullahs and promoted by the so-called anchors on private television channels in Pakistan. Both mullahs and these so-called anchors take guidance from Pakistan army, which has its own agenda. Otherwise, mullah and these so-called anchors can change Pakistan’s future because they have tremendous reach and power over Pakistanis public, but mullahs and anchors are more sympatric to Osama then their own countrymen and this attitude prevents them from honestly looking up anything objectively.   Thus, it is hard to believe, but it is true that despite horrific ground realities, Pakistanis believe that they are about to run over the Americans, Jews and Indians and after that, Pakistan will become what they believe was always Pakistan’s destiny – a global Islamic power with nuclear arms. Well, this denial and blindness to emerging internal threats has turned Pakistan into a global hub of terrorism and the country itself is a ticking time bomb.
But don’t tell this to Pakistanis as they are not willing to listen to anything logic based on facts. There is only way to get through to Pakistanis – speak and rage against the Americans and you are a hit, a hero and a celebrity, otherwise, you are just an agent working for the C.I.A. plain, and simple.
So, what is next for Pakistan given every day protests, terrorist attacks, shootouts with police, attack on religious institutions, visiting sporting teams, the GHQ, the police academy and F.I.A offices in Lahore, the bombing of Marriott in Islamabad, and other countless attacks? Nothing, yes, the answer is nothing because majority of Pakistanis refuse to believe that they are under attack by the Taliban. They believe and it is hard to accept for anyone with brains, but majority of the Pakistanis believe that a ‘foreign hand’ with aid from the Americans is behind al the trouble. Because the country has been in denial for so long about its failings that now when the fever is about to reach boiling point, it is simply not possible for Pakistanis to abandon what they were told and they believed ‘foreign hand’ behind every tragedy in Pakistan mantra and suddenly comes to terms with the reality of being targeted by Muslims taking on Muslims.
I know a lot of Pakistanis living abroad who believe that Pakistan is a lost cause and there is nothing that will change Pakistan’s course. They believe that living in denial and living on borrowed money has its limit and very soon, the country will explode, not because of external danger, but because of out of control population, out of control rhetoric, out of control debt, out of control inflation and joblessness and out of control angry public’s inability to stop and accept mistakes.

25 Comments

Filed under Activism, Islamism, Pakistan

25 responses to “Pakistan – living in denial?

  1. A

    Good piece. First step is to accept – aceept what ? accept that it is not CIA , India or Israel. It is ppl themselves who break or build a nation. and 60 years is a lot of time to pushing the responisibility elsewhere

  2. A

    Typo : to be pushing

  3. Such a demoralizing post. I wonder why the media has only bad news to give about Pakistan. Now I wonder at people too.

  4. YLH

    Mehreen

    Tell us the good news please… was it the bombing of 95 Ahmadis… was that good news? Or the storming of Jinnah hospital to finish the job.

    Kindly tell us the good news that we should put up as Pakistanis.

  5. muahammad arsalan

    what i don’t get is PTH’s administrators persistence in shooting themselves in the foot by not creating options for sharing their articles: by emailing others,or facebook,myspace,twitter etc. YLH,all your frustration is amounting to nothing as u r preaching to the choir.u need to reach new audiences.

  6. Sarang

    Great article.. And sure it is a grim picture, but it is what it is..

    @ Arsalan.. I agree, the calibre of articles here sure deserves to reach a larger audience

  7. androidguy

    “For hardware and other production related supplies, corporations deal with China and for software and call centers, businesses establish branches in India.”

    After almost 15 years, Indians still known for call centers & software. Pathetic.
    Yes, this is not even tangential to the main point of the article, but I had to lament.

  8. if Pakistan were to become more liberal in issuing visas, Indians might still be willing to visit in large numbers.

    harappa, mohenjedaro, taxilla, indus, karachi, lahore, peshawar, katasraj, nankana …

  9. Mansoor Khalid

    Things do look gloomy at the time but the elements of change have also started appearing. People have started to refute ideologies which lead to extremism and going for more liberal and secular ideas. The process of change must not stop, that’s what we need to make sure.

  10. Kay

    Well written.

  11. T.S. Bokhari

    @Mehreen

    She/He might have an hallucination of a good news that,’ Since all Qadianies have been butchered, henceforth we Pakies can call ourselves Muslim as of right without filling up any halif-nama about our faith, like all Muslims world over’.

  12. Sher Zaman

    Although there is nothing positive to discuss, but we must not leave it the way it is. Until and unless every Pakistani is not willing to stand up the change or reformation won’t occur.

  13. Sadia Hussain

    The denial syndrome is acute, acceptance is the first step as a nation we need to recognize that we suffer from widespread religious extremism which hampers the prospects of a progressive Pakistan. The power-greedy clergy use Islam as a tool to meet their political gains.

  14. Unknown Indian

    androidguy
    June 1, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    “For hardware and other production related supplies, corporations deal with China and for software and call centers, businesses establish branches in India.”

    After almost 15 years, Indians still known for call centers & software. Pathetic.
    Yes, this is not even tangential to the main point of the article, but I had to lament…………..

    Typical pakistani style, like a vulture who only look for the dustbin. I wonder if the writer reads newspaper other than urdu papers, otherwise he would have known that more than half of the Fortune 500 companies have established research centers in India.

  15. Androidguy

    @unknown Indian,

    Dude, I am an Indian, not a pakistani. And I lament that we have not diversified enough from call centers and software. Given the talent we have, we should have been excelling at much more than 2-3 fields.I do not read urdu papers cos I dont know how to read urdu. I have read the Economist and the New York Times, however. Change your name to “prejudiced Indian, from unknown Indian.

  16. shiv

    @Bilal Qureishi
    ” Thus, it is hard to believe, but it is true that despite horrific ground realities, Pakistanis believe that they are about to run over the Americans, Jews and Indians and after that, Pakistan will become what they believe was always Pakistan’s destiny – a global Islamic power with nuclear arms. ”

    In his first book on India (An Area of Darkness) Naipaul made an insightful observation. The observation was made with regard to a magnificent empire at a place called Hampi that was destroyed by a confederation of armies from neighboring Mughal sultanates.

    Naipaul opines that Hindus themselves, by the time Islam came had reached a stage of civilization in which they felt they had all the answers and did not need any further inputs. Indeed, spiritually they did have some great answers, but they did not know what else could come. They welcomed outsiders but were contemptuous of them, and were unable to see threats that were posed. This was an internal state of mind that laid them open to external threats.

    Pakistan is eerily similar. Pakistan started off with its leaders imagining (and telling their people) that all battles had been won. Islam had won. The land of the pure had been established. Allah was naturally with them. Perfection had been attained. Pakistani writing and rhetoric from that era reflects this. But even at that time Pakistan was laying itself open to foreign intervention.

    Nehru naively imagined a world of equality without conflict – having become PM of India just after World War 2. He trusted China, even forfeited a security council seat for India in favor of China, until India got its ass kicked. That killed him.

    Pakistani leaders were hedging their bets. They were still not secure and the US got involved very early. Ironically even the golden era of the 60s when Pakistan was purported to be an Asian Tiger was riding on American aid. Drunk on American aid and US arms, Pakistani leaders pursued global ambitions, secure in the idea that Allah would help the righteous, which is what they thought they were.

    I believe that if you are a wealthy Pakistani with an estate and family wealth in Pakistan, more likely than not you are a second or third generation Pakistani who has grown up in the atmosphere of self delusion in Pakistan where Pakistan’s problems could be ignored and Pakistani leaders hobnobbed with the powerful men of the west, thumbing their noses at a dark, stinking India next door. It is not difficult to find Pakistanis of this type even today.

  17. D_a_n

    @ shiv

    you know, for a man who has written ‘a book’

    (if you would call a radom collection of words strung together, without historical context or any understanding beyond grade school level — add a dash of prejudice a book)…..

    on Pakistan you know surprisingly little. Every post that you make here attests to that.

    We might and do have many, many imperfections. Some by default, some deliberately cultivated and some that we are oblivious too but the one thing that I have YET to encounter is something that can be described as follows:

    ‘Perfection had been attained. Pakistani writing and rhetoric from that era reflects this’

    perfection? I have heard us crow about a lot of things. Many things which I would not have crowed about but never perfection. The very EXISTANCE of this blog confirms that but probably ‘in-room elephant spotting’ was a class that you missed in college…pity! does come in handy from time to time.

    but onto a more pressing question. You very magnanimously wrote the following a day or so ago:
    ‘as an Indian I have been amused (and cheered) by Pakistan’s attempts to kill diversity.’

    Real classy shiv sb! real classy…I lay myself prostrate at your good breeding and tact. why would you say something so tacky.
    Maybe we need to have a sign at the door that says ‘ —-> Chowk 17 Kms’ …

    better to guide to you more familiar surroundings no?

    you chose to come here during one of our darker hours, fail to recognize good, decent folk and then stand and cheer at our misfortune? How sad is that? I suppose you are a middle aged man. Just what is missing in your life that you need to take time out of your day, come here and clap and high five yourself that we have suffered.
    like taking a dump at our door step while we watch and then walk away leaving a little umbrella stuck in it.
    If this is all the dignity that you can muster; then you are a far lesser man than many good and decent Indians that I know. Shame.

  18. @Androidguy

    Whether you are yourself an Indian or not is hardly the point; your original remark was meant in a positive sense and should have been taken in a positive sense. Unfortunately, what you encountered is one of those knights errant that go about the Internet, parking themselves at bridges and narrow passages, looking for fights.

    Ignore him.

  19. Ammar Zafarullah

    We just cannot let go off the comforts of denial, for we would rather believe that the whole world is conspiring against Pakistan then to admit that our society is plagued with the venom of religious extremism. Unless we come to terms with this harsh reality and let go of bizarre conspiracy theories there is little room for improvement.

  20. shiv

    @D_a_n
    “you chose to come here during one of our darker hours, fail to recognize good, decent folk and then stand and cheer at our misfortune? How sad is that?”

    The ability to choose which misfortune you want to ignore or laugh at and which one you want to be sad about tells an interesting tale

    I will not bother about urls:

    1) The status of maternal health is poor in Pakistan. An estimated 30,000 women die each year due to pregnancy related causes

    2)Nearly 1 in 10 children does not survive his or her fifth birthday, with the majority of deaths due to diarrhoea, pneumonia or vaccine-preventable diseases.

    3)About 2 percent of households control more than 45 percent of the land area. About 75% households own no land in the country.

    Pakistanis have been having dark hours for years now, dark decades by some assessments and you chose this time to feel sorry?

  21. The post is good. D_a_n’s answer to Shiv is classic.

  22. Androidguy

    @Vajra,

    Thanks; advice taken.

  23. san

    as for pakistan, inspite of the fact that we have been declared non muslims by this state and are not allowed to call our mosques ‘mosques’ ,not allowed to say azaan(call for prayers),are being killed in large numbers due to the widespread hatred etc, we still remain loyal to our country ,we still pray for it each day because this is what we are tought

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  25. skyview

    Denial (is) living in Pakistan.

    No pakistani is saying “we must first of all stop hating, slandering and ridiculing the hindus”.

    That is the first step for pakistanis towards coming out of the denial mode.

    Then comes the long puzzle about how to stop hating, slandering and ridiculing the hindus.

    Habits die hard.

    How to survive as Pakistan and Pakistanis without hating, slandering and ridiculing the hindus? How can water and bread (roti) taste sweet if we stop hating, slandering and ridiculing the hindus?

    It’s a real tough challenge.