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From Canada


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IN 1947 my grandparents, residents of Kernal, India, migrated to Pakistan. They arrived with mere Rs20 and no place to go to.

They left their extended families, ancestral graves and family inheritance in Kernal to start a new life in Pakistan. All they had was hope, faith and patience. They believed in Pakistan.

Today we have achieved the country that they dreamt of. We are a nuclear power. We were home to some of the world’s finest names: Dr. Abdus Salam, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, Guljee and Iqbal Hussain, and the likes. Our writers are globally recognised. Our artists perform worldwide. Each year our students set new records in Cambridge. Our engineers and doctors are spread all over the world. We have one of the world’s strongest army. Our schools, colleges, universities and technological institutes have dramatically increased since partition.

We won the 1992 cricket World Cup. We made our place in hockey and squash. One could never have imagined that one day we would have a woman prime minister, a woman speaker and a woman general. The state-owned unilateral channels have flourished into independent media.

Our television viewership is worldwide. We proudly have an independent judiciary. Islamic banking has become a trend. The Edhi centre has the world’s largest ambulance network. We are on the verge of becoming a true democracy.

In 1947, we were a country with questionable future. Our very survival was sceptical. Today we are a country that everyone knows. Call us whatever you want to: an ‘international migraine’ or a ‘rogue state’. The fact is we survived and we will survive.

Yes, there were certain bad decisions and miscalculations. There were military regimes and civil dictatorships. But the fact that today we recognise democracy and stand up for our rights shows that we have grown up.

We recognise women like Mukhtaran Mai and appreciate movies like ‘Khuda k liya’ and ‘Bol’. This shows that we are not desensitised to brutalities in our society. Time and again, we have proved that we are not blind to corruption, nepotism, favouritism and jobbery. We recognise these as vices because we believe in meritocracy.

Today, whenever I feel disappointed with the power crisis, water shortage, terrorism, corruption, violation of human rights or mismanaged institutions, I think about my grandparents who arrived with nothing except a belief in Pakistan. I believe in Pakistan and I know that we shall overcome all our weaknesses.


Comments (69) Closed

Sauron Aug 20, 2012 12:57pm
Dr. Abdus Salam-Forgotten and Reviled at home. Our engineers and doctors are spread all over the world- True , many drive Taxis in Canada where their degrees are not recognized. We have one of the world’s strongest army- Never won a war. Alienated and lost half the country. Our schools, colleges, universities and technological institutes have dramatically increased since partition.- One of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. Perhaps if the rulers of Pakistan had listened to Manto and cultivated self reliance(instead of letters to Uncle Sam), things would've been way different. The Edhi centre has the world’s largest ambulance network.- All credit to Edhi(may his tribe increase) We are on the verge of becoming a true democracy.- That will start happening when the Army chief dosen't give an independence day address(or setting the foreign policy)
Karim Aug 19, 2012 09:46pm
Believing in Pakistan while sitting safe and sound in Canada doesn't sound ok to me.
javed qamer Aug 20, 2012 02:35pm
Thanks for a positive article. If you notice a lot of indians read Dawn and write critical comments. I wonder how many Pakistani comments are published in Indian Newspapers. Friends from across the border if you cannot write positive things about Pakistan then please desist from reading pakistani newspapers.
KRA Aug 21, 2012 02:32am
Actually a lot of pakistanis write in Indian blogs as well. However the quality of reporting is better in Dawn. Even articles critical of India are more logical unlike our Times of India which is nothing but sensationalism. You should see comments from Pakistanis on Indian websites also before you comment. Some are equally filthy and downright rude. I am yet to come across a Pakistani in real life who actually speaks like that. Most of them are warm and cultured. Internet gets the devil out of you i guess.
Sam Aug 19, 2012 09:43pm
I failed to understand why the author migrated to Canada, when everything was so good and beautiful in Pakistan?Why you ran away from Pakistan when according to you everything is fine and your grand parents arrived with nothing except a belief in Pakistan?
bamaven1 Aug 20, 2012 01:43am
Someone so proud of motherland still decided to live in a safe, far off place like Canada !
stoneheart Aug 19, 2012 10:31pm
Thank you Ayesha!!! need these wonderful word of appreciation and recognition for our beloved. Thank you
Vaqar Ahmed Aug 20, 2012 02:56am
Since it is Eid today and I don't want to be a party pooper, I would desist from puncturing the optimism of the writer. However, just for the record, the Pakistan that was created in 1947 did not survive. Half the country became Bangladesh in 1971.
KMK Aug 20, 2012 02:45am
From Canana
A. Khan Aug 20, 2012 05:01am
Nice to see your commitment to Pakistan. But I wonder why it is that you are stating this from Canada ?
Rashid baba Aug 20, 2012 12:41pm
There is no harm in one being patriotic and living abroad as compared to a crook and good for nothing person living in Pakistan and contributing nothing to set the thing right. There are a few million living abroad and they are atleast contributing something as against a VAST MAJORITY[not all] who while residing in Pakistan who are doing nothing yes nothing for the betterment of Pakistan.
yogesh Aug 20, 2012 10:53am
AYESHA ,please return to Pakistan and then write similar good articles.After all it is your duty to serve Pakistan and contribute positively.
Khalid Khan Aug 20, 2012 02:30pm
May I dare ask the source of author's optimism ? A country with 200m population; high illiteracy rate; leadership without vision, credibility and competence; foreign and domestic policies ceded to outsiders; severe economic crisis; no foreign or domestic investment; surviving on IMF handouts; major power supply crisis; crumbling infrastructure, collapsing institutions; a security situation where militants are bold enough to attack military bases; rule of law has become a joke; state authority and respect shrinking on daily basis; I can probably go on and on..........
Sam Aug 20, 2012 02:25pm
We need such patriotic people inside Pakistan and win battlefield inside Pakistan.Sitting secure,safe and sound in Canada and taking public money from Canadian government while believing in Pakistan seems to be a big problem.
Ayesha Aizaz Qureshi Aug 20, 2012 01:58pm
Hi, Ayesha here. The letter was originally titled "I believe in Pakistan". I have always been living in Pakistan. For us, as Pakistanis these are not the best times but I shall never be completely hopeless. Nothing you say would ever make me lose my faith! This is our country, it has made us what we are ! It shall always be part of our identities. True I have a Canadian address now since I will be moving there in a few weeks but that will never change the fact that I am from Pakistan and Pakistan is from me. Pakistan ZINDABAD. Love this Country!!!
Saadia Aug 20, 2012 01:14pm
I laugh at your sense of logic too, she can be in Canada for many reasons and I don't think so that she is obliged to tell you that, In Europe and N.America I met many Indians who like you are very patriotic, nationalist and proud Indians but they have chosen to live abroad so whats a problem to love and feel great about your country.
syed Aug 20, 2012 01:00pm
After a long time I saw first article in DAWN where someone have dared to write any positive about our country.
Lahori Aug 20, 2012 11:34am
might I point out to all the people who say ayesha should return...overseas Pakistanis are major contributors to your GDP. Be thankful to them for helping your sinking economy. Just because she left Pakistan for a better future doesn't make her a less patriotic person, why she left is her choice and hers only, its no ones to ponder or point fingers at.
suneel Aug 21, 2012 01:57pm
If paper changed the title without seeking your permission, it is their fault otherwise you have to learn to accept the moral responsibility. Also, the reasons to celebrate is depends on one's perception. Taliban Victory may be a reason to celebrate for some, for others it may be very opposite. Lets take Pakistan (and South Asia) toward tolerance and love and think about changing lives of millions of poor peoples, rather than celebrating on things that does not make any difference to them.
Khalid Khan Aug 21, 2012 01:54pm
Actions are louder than words. On one hand you have such great optimism (in these times) for Pakistan and on the other you are leaving (or left) Pakistan. To many of us (pessimists/ realists) this pretty much symbolizes jumping/ abandoning a sinking ship.
Hassan Aug 21, 2012 01:47pm
The context article is your business not the author's personal life.
Hassan Aug 21, 2012 12:46pm
None of what you have said is enough to weaken the author's position. Dr. Abdus Salam, one man out of the list of many. Our Engineers and doctors are spread over the globe as engineers and doctors. Most of these people are very successful too. Professional degree holders who drive Taxis are not just from Pakistan, they are from world over. This was due to recession. Beside abroad Taxis drivers are not looked down upon. No job is inferior. The military has successfully protected the borders for last six decades. As a nascent state Pakistan was very vulnerable. She was surrounded by hostile countries. No country in the world can afford to have hostility on two borders. You have said "Our schools, colleges, universities and technological institutes have dramatically increased since partition.- One of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. " The comparison was between pre-partition and post partition. There was just a handful of technical institutes at the time of partition, now it has certainly flourished. Out of the entire letter which was full of positivity and hope, you picked up few waves of negativity. How very unfortunate. The Nation needs to take little steps at a time to make big difference. This country needs to be loved and appreciated too. just because a handful of people have ruined our reputations, we can not disown our own nation. As a Pakistani we must strive for the better and yet appreciate the small wonders that we make!
Lajwar Aug 21, 2012 11:18am
For Edhi you wrote may his tribe increase. Who are you man. Are you from Madras or from Mars, but definitely not from Pakistan.
Farrukh Aug 22, 2012 12:45pm
I respectfuly advise the author to walk the talk, surrender Canadian citizenship and serve Pakistan. Your grand parents and millions came to Pakistan with just "hope". be a role model and show the world we can sacrifice everything for our homeland!
Life Aug 25, 2012 12:33pm
I lived for around 6 years abroad and lived with joy. I am in Pakistan for the last 3 years now and i find it hard to survive although i am highly educated by standard and earning alot. I still want to do something for my country but I want to serve with the foreign currency i will remit through proper banking channel. I dont want to pay tax on salary here because i know my employer is not going to deposit it in the government treasury, and if after a couple of years he will deposit after income tax final notice (if that ever come) that will too not be utilised for building Pakistan. If somebody is looking the light at the end of the tunnel believe me that is a torch beam.
Ali Aug 23, 2012 07:44pm
The author already mentioned the source of her optimism. I for once would ask you to provide the source of your negativity. You talked about crumbling infrastructure and I say at least you got a highway. When I left Pakistan there was no highway. I agree with the author 100%. We being away is due to many many reasons but continue to be source of foreign reserves and maintain love for the country. We are also a great source of eliminating misconception about you and others serving pay free ambassadors for the country. You should become more optimistic and get on your feet. You do your part with honesty and forget about the rest and all will get better not over night however.
suneel Aug 20, 2012 03:17am
hahaha...Made my day.. Ostrich Effect or It should be a satire....Why did you move to Canada if Pakistan is as wonderful as you claim...Learn to accept our Problems, only then we (south asians) can fix them....
ali malik Aug 20, 2012 03:15am
So why you left?
Guru Aug 20, 2012 04:35am
Optimism is needed, not blind faith.
dr vimal raina Aug 20, 2012 04:13am
It is easy to believe in Pakistan sitting in Canada as it is easy to believe in Canada from Pakistan.
kamaljit singh Aug 20, 2012 04:18am
Ayesha why did you settle in Canada then?
Abdul Samad Aug 20, 2012 06:08am
Why are you living in Canada then?
yusufkhan Aug 20, 2012 09:25am
Saadia Aug 20, 2012 01:23pm
Ayesha that was a good one. I bet you that half of those who criticise that why are you in abroad are are also living in abroad and as usual half are our neighbors (actually more than half). Don't bother both categories, just serve Pakistan wherever you're. I saw couple of British media report that how Mirpur Pakistan is developing and its not due to our govt but people who live abroad have sent their money and made that place from remote area to a better place to live.
@SSGPA1 Aug 20, 2012 03:40pm
Great article Ayesha. Well balanced, next time do add Imran Khan, Sharmeen Obaid and AQK to the lists of our legends. Don't worry about our Indian friends commenting here as they are obsessed with Pakistan. As you know India is not that great that is why so many Indians ran away from India star :)
sarmad Aug 20, 2012 04:00pm
Pakistan looks pretty when you have a green card in your pocket
Larkanavi Aug 20, 2012 04:27pm
Ayesha, which planet do you live on? May be there is another country by the name of PAKISTAN on a remote planet in a galaxy 200 million light years away from our solar system.
Bilal Aug 20, 2012 04:50pm
Dear Madam Ayesha Sitting on the earth, the moon seems beautiful and romantic and exudes a very gentle soothing luminosity. But as you get closer to it the craters, unliveable conditions, barren landscape etc all become visible thus shattering the myth.
Sam Aug 20, 2012 05:01pm
Seems like Ayesha is one of those Pakistanis who have been in Canada for many years now.She haven't been to Pakistan since last 15-20 years and now suddenly started day dreaming about Pakistan.
Truth and Wisdom Aug 20, 2012 07:32pm
What hogwash (for want of a better printable adjective). You need to get an education.
Ayesha Aizaz Qureshi Aug 21, 2012 11:35am
I have been living in Pakistan all my life until the last few months. So it isn't an ethical lapse. The letter was not even titled to be "From Canada". It was edited by the paper. Which has made it misleading. It was from a Pakistani who had been here to fellow Pakistani. None of the happy facts above are false. This is the bright side. No situation ever could be completely hopeless. I am not saying that these are the best times to be a Pakistani but there are still reasons to celebrate.
Razzaq Aug 20, 2012 07:46pm
Aysha, please return to Pakistan, You are needed.
malik Aug 20, 2012 08:46pm
Please leave Ayesha alone, she is entitled to her opinions. What about the rest of you!!!!!! Are you all waiting like vultures for the end??? What happened to Pakistan is all our failures, look in the mirror and see what oue people,yes our relatives have done for the sake of greed. These are the people we know and our proud to call our own. We are killing our own kind, look in the same mirror and you will see your own dark end. It's never too late to revert, change our destiny wether we live in Canada,USA or Europe. We must either go back or have people among ourselves that care for Pakistan, leave greed and all the wordly sins for this world. Look at the mummies of Egypt, everything they gathered in their tombs are still rotting in their tombs. Do we want to be a nationless people??????
Farooq Aug 20, 2012 08:46pm
Who said that our degrees are not recognized internationally? Those who drive taxis in foreign lands are those who do it by choice (as it is very profitable) or by laziness of not increasing their educational qualifications in the foreign country.
Irfan Aug 20, 2012 10:22pm
A typical fact deprived Pakistani!
Iftikhar Aug 21, 2012 12:58pm
To make Canada looks like Greece in 60 years :)
Iftikhar Aug 21, 2012 12:56pm
To make Canada looks like Greece in 55 years :)
suneel Aug 21, 2012 12:52am
Your are not in Canada, but still title of this article is "From Canada". That is a big ethical lapse Ayesha, either from you or whoever gave this title. Living in Canada will change the way you think if you mix with people from other communities. Your love for Pakistan may remain but blind faith will not survive.
Hassan Aug 21, 2012 12:53pm
Yes it does, even when you have a green card in your pocket.
Hassan Aug 21, 2012 12:51pm
It is has easy to people in Pakistan as it is to believe on any other nation. The history of Europe is all blood stained, yet today Europe is what it is. Power outages, inefficient governments, rule of elite, unemployment and losing most of the crown possession was the post world war 2 fate of England but she survived. So will Pakistan.
KRA Aug 21, 2012 02:37am
Good article. Good optimism. However a vast majority of "proud" pakistanis do not even identify themselves as Pakistanis outside of Pakistan. WHen asked people skirt the question or say that they are from Dubai, London, Punjab (without saying which side) or Hyderabad (again no mention if it is one from India or Pakistan). The biggest disservice that educated Pakistanis do is to disown the so called "pride" when faced with a challenge. Almost invariably, a Pakistani show will be titled "South Asian show" or the "Indian Diaspora show" or "Asian show" or even "Middle east show". But you will never see an advertisement openly proclaiming a Pakistani event. This sense of seclusion is largely permeated by the so called educated, elite class. The ones driving taxis, running grocery stores (apparently Indian/ South Asian grocery stores) are the ones that are truly patriotic, who speak in chaste Urdu or punjabi even in foreign countries and are down to earth to the core. Trust me, they are better brand ambassadors of Pakistan. BTW, I hope this comment gets published.
observer Aug 21, 2012 07:06am
javed qamer, are you sure you are asking some people not to read something on some open public forum? I hope you are in your senses. Good luck. Common sense is a good thing but it is not correctly named.
observer Aug 21, 2012 07:16am
What other newspaper writes anything positive about Pakistan? Especially the front page of all newspapers are usually more gloomy. I remember when Pervez Musharraf assumed power, he made an emotional speech praising glaciers and deserts of Pakistan. What good a cold glacier and a hot desert do when the people of the country are uneducated, unaware, intolerant, unhealthy, unskilled, etc? Even today when someone highlights the need for the country to improve, that person is dubbed as a pessimistic and someone who toes the line of vested interests that international media has against Pakistan. This is self-deception. Pakistanis need to be honest about their problems and need to develop a plan to solve them instead of dumping all the blame on Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, or Gen Kiyani and waiting for Mr. Right to come and do it for them. Imran Khan is the present day Mr. Right (soon to be another one who disappointed the nation just like all other politicians out there).
Saadia Aug 21, 2012 07:29am
Javed Dawn is a decent newspaper and no doubt they have also good newspapers too but problem is that Dawn publishes comments of Indians while Indian newspaper wont give you a chance if you say something productive or decent. They will publish your comment if you criticism and then let 50 Indians to reply you (90% with hate comments) and if in reply you send your comment they wont publish it. While Dawn has given enough space to all Indians and it shows that our media is unbiased. Moreover like many other PK newspapers Dawn is not provocative even if its about publishing any comment from us or Indians. I congratulate Dawn for doing decent job!
amirshah1 Aug 21, 2012 08:15am
I live in Pakistan. Everything bleak discussed above is true. There is no need of such corrupt system of governance in Pakistan. The whole Pakistan could be run by Pakistanis living abroad as the country is already at the alms of the US aid & IMF dole outs.
Sauron Aug 21, 2012 06:56pm
However a vast majority of "proud" pakistanis do not even identify themselves as Pakistanis outside of Pakistan.: True. I've seen this first hand. Najam Sethi had discussed this in one of his shows as well.
Sauron Aug 21, 2012 06:58pm
No chance buddy.
Juwairiyyah Aug 21, 2012 07:50pm
Ayesha, Ignore the negative comments. Living in Canada has nothing to do with your level of love and patriotism. I loved your article. great work :) We should be proud Pakistanis no matter where we live. Sometimes people forget all the foreign dollars that are sent to Pakistan that helps run our economy as well as our welfare agencies. Cheers, an big supporter :)
Nadir Aziz Aug 22, 2012 01:29am
You have to wake up and smell the coffee?
Ali Aug 22, 2012 03:17am
Javed Qamar-I am a Pakistani and prefer to write comments on timesofindia site as they are more open to publishing comments. Dawn is selective and can be frustrating.
Salman Ahmad Aug 22, 2012 09:06am
Good to see all those comments..friends, do you know that it takes 20 years to bring an overnight change for a nation? and the change is coming..bit slow though..
DrSana Aug 22, 2012 05:59am
JazakAllah Ayesha for such a splendid article...indeed we are proud Pakistanis and inshaAllah will always be...and for all the negative commentors here...plz if u cant say or do anything positive for Pakistan, please dont try to bring down others who do good deeds... our Country is the BEST in the world and no matter which part of the world u travel to, our first and foremost identity is, was and will always be Pakistani..Pakistan Zindabad :)))
Saadia Aug 22, 2012 08:01am
KRA I never met any Pakistani who says he is Indian. Though I met Indians who call themselves Portuguese that's another story now you may twist it to that false claim that their forefathers were from Portugal.
Saadia Aug 22, 2012 08:12am
Ali, I am thankful to Dawn for its selectivity when publishing readers' comments, I've read comments in timesofindia it looks really very gross and everyone like youtube just use filthy and racist language. They only publish hate comments and if you write something respectful from Pakistan you would have no chance that they will publish. It happen to me many times and now I gave up. My comments about respect and friendship were not published while those who wrote provocative comments got space and then 50 indians reaction was also published. I am glad Dawn doesn't play that kind of drama, let Dawn keep its identity as a decent newspaper. I rather compare Dawn with German noble papers like Frankfurt Allgemeine and Die Zeit.
Saadia Aug 22, 2012 08:18am
Well said Hassan, today Greece is insolvent and Pakistan's economy is doing far better than Greek economy. Germany is pouring its tax payer money in Greece as its really in minus and wont breath without German support. Does it mean Greek people start hating their country? They do hate the system but it does not mean they should hate their country. I agree Pakistan will survive and it will survive better than any other land. Let people dream of its division in several pieces or call it failed state or claim that there will no PK in 2020. They will see that Pakistan will rise again. There will be a new dawn in PK and you will see these headlines in Dawn newspaper as well.
Ali Aug 22, 2012 06:44pm
Thank you Saadia and I am glad you had positive experience with Dawn. However, 50% of my comments are rejected for no obvious reason. I do disagree with the authors but never used inappropriate language. While I appreciate not allowing inappropriate language but being selective otherwise in discouraging freedom of speech and makes the board biased. Sorry, I am not aware of the German papers but found most Western news papers quite biased. Even local papers here in Canada are tilted in one direction.
Shahid Aug 22, 2012 07:57pm
By reading comments and analyzing thumbs up/down.. one thing gets very clear that is INDIAN MENTALITY.
Ayesha Aizaz Qureshi Aug 22, 2012 09:29pm
Yes, Pakistan, these are not the best times to be alive but I promise you we will live through it and survive! This is an uncertain juncture and we reached here together. There are so many factors that brought us here but I admit that I am responsible too. I under estimated the value of my vote. I refused to open up to enlightenment. I did not give democracy enough support. I declined to pay my taxes. I kept my personal interest way too up high on the pedestal. I forgot that you are the source. I forgot that you are my home. I am sorry! This Eid, I like to give you something: a promise. I will keep my heart and soul alive. I would not let rampant violence desensitize me. I will not let the changing times put off the sparks in me. I will use my vote sensibly. I will give democracy a chance. I will seek and spread enlightenment. I will become a responsible citizen. I will stop blaming others and I will start solving our problems. I will believe in you! You can crush all the flowers but you cannot stop the spring- PABLO NERUDA
ROHIT PANDEY Aug 22, 2012 10:50pm
Bad memory goes by another is nostalgia!