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.
AYESHA AIZAZ QURESHI Canada