The problem lies with you

Published: January 2, 2012

The writer is an author, most recently of Slum Child (2010). She has written for numerous publications including Dawn, The Friday Times and Chowk

Living in Pakistan, I am unable to decide whether its people truly want honesty and transparency, or lies and corruption.

I think the majority of our people have chosen dishonesty as a way of life.

From the richest to the middle class to the poor, we live in hypocrisy, mendacity, and squalor. I think we prefer it that way.

Pakistanis are truly addicted to lying. It’s almost an automatic reflex. We do not love the truth.

For those of you who tell me this is true the world over, I only know the environment in which I live, which is Pakistan. And I haven’t seen people like this anywhere else.

Perhaps this is because telling the truth, being moral, being good, is hard work. And we are not brave enough for that.

This is our national character, this is how the world perceives us. We had better face up to it, rather than hiding in denial.

In truth, we are a cowardly nation. Afraid of the truth, afraid of hard work, afraid of consequences.

Each human being has these tendencies. But in Pakistan, we indulge them, instead of striving to overcome them.

Political parties, mullahs, intelligence agencies, bureaucrats, did not create this culture of dishonesty. They took advantage of it.

And nuclear might, and strong armies, and full coffers will not make us a strong nation, will not make us strong or good people.

Instead of working hard to overcome our difficulties we cry and point the finger of blame at others. We still haven’t faced up to ourselves.

So when you ask what’s wrong with Pakistan, realise that the sickness is within ourselves. Each and every one of us.

You students who choose to plagiarise and cheat, the problem lies with you.

You men and women who enter into marriage under false pretenses, the problem lies with you.

You people who make yourselves feel strong by thinking yourselves suprerior, the problem lies with you.

You who look down on the poor while admiring the rich, the problem lies with you.

You who allow religion to give you a sense of false complacency, the problem lies with you.

You who pander to the powerful and the mighty, and ignore the weak and the frightened, the problem lies with you.

Who are your gods? Not Allah, surely. Your gods are flawed beings who you admire and worship, and your own base selves.

You who chastise your children, but never spend time with them, explaining right from wrong, the problem lies with you.

You who assuage your children with toys and electronics, cars and jewels, the problem lies with you.

Stop thinking the problem is the army, the politicians, the mullahs, the nation. The problem is us. We are the problem.

The same students who plagiarise their papers, who cheat in their exams, are clamoring at rallies screaming for “Inquilab”.

The same women and men who point fingers at the immoral leaders are cheating on their spouses.

The same men who cry against the feudals and industrialists are cheating on their taxes and not paying their electricity bills.

The same people who donate so much money to the poor are underpaying their servants.

Each and every person in Pakistan contributes to this system. We are the problem.

And each person who says, “Not me, I’m honest” is the biggest liar of all.

Including myself.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (102)

  • larkidesi
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:08PM

    I wish there were more ppl like you in Pakistan. U hit the nail on the right place on the head. Bravo u said it all.
    Best wishes for the New Year Bina. Keep up the good work make them use their brains and think. Out of every 10 skulls u open these days u might find a brain in one or two of the heads and the brains you will find are brand new they have never been used. Recommend

  • JS
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:13PM

    For an op-ed, that is quite badly written. Like someone’s rant on Twitter, bit by bit.

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  • Ashish
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:13PM

    @Bina : you have hit the bull’s eye . I think it is not the problem with Pakistan alone. It may be a problem , a melanoma of south asia. We live in a false world of our own.
    It is our tendency that whenever anything goes wrong , we start pointing finger towards other but we forget that the other three fingers of our own are pointing at us only.

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  • jahangir
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:19PM

    Great Job at explaining the biggest flaw our nation has. lack of honesty. its ironic how we are taught stories of honestly in elementary school but never really implement in our own lives.

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  • You writers who only see the glass half empty! have you ever been the the Edhi Foundation, TCF or a Rotaract meeting? The most inspiring and selfless examples of Pakistan can be found, if only we chose to find them. Yes there is evil everywhere, but when people like you IGNORE the good in the world instead of encouraging it, nothing positive comes out of it.

    HR strategist speak of a concept called progressive motivation i.e. praise good work, ignore bad work. Why don’t you make your next op-ed about all the good in Pakistan? If everyone is truly so bigoted as you see them to be, then you know that most people (if not all) want to bask in the limelight. Focusing your attention on societies evils only tells the perpetrators and witnesses that ‘doing so again brings me attention’. Look the other way and talk to the

    a. students who try over and over again to pass ethically
    b. men who willingly marry widows and adopt children
    c. the couple that’s destined to grow old together
    d. Dawood, Sultan or Lakhani family that insist on educating, clothing & sheltering their employees (in and out of the office)
    e. Doctors who came out of the TCF system
    f. SME’s offering scholarships and rewards to primary & secondary students

    There are innumerable examples.

    You can either be the person who says “Pakistan is #1 in searches for sex” and aim for traffic or say “Pakistan is #1 in searches for Quran+Muhammad (PBUH)+Islam” and aim for something much greater.

    The choice is yours, be a part of the solution or the problem.

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  • sheraz
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:20PM

    Dishonesty is the best policy in pakistan

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  • Javaid R. Shami
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:33PM

    After reading this I looked in the mirror only to find it blushing. Thank you for telling the truth.

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  • Falcon
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:35PM

    I don’t think the people of this country are willing to listen to you yet. We would rather find easy scapegoats and live to convince ourselves that they are the core of this country’s problems.

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  • Nangdharangg Pakistani
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:40PM

    Well done woman !!!

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  • Aditya
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:49PM

    Dear Mam,

    What you have mentioned is equally true for our country (India). I wish there were some journalists here to have the guts or more importantly the inclination to write these details. It is in our (Indians) interest to reflect on these realities.

    My respects.

    Aditya

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:56PM

    very well said it maadaam. Bounjor.

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  • Ashah
    Jan 2, 2012 - 11:05PM

    This is the worst piece I have ever seen written by Beena Shah who is a very talented writer, it seems like an opinion of one person.
    Yes pakistan has problems it it is just like any other nation which needs to get it’s act togather . The young are very talented their is hope Yes living in another country for a few months or visting another country for few weeks does not give one a view of that country or it’s people by just by visiting some scholarly institutions friends and neighbours.
    Come to centeral Valley in California and see the migrant farm workers fighting for a 10 cent raise( I know I have worked with them ! or the foreclosure crisis in Ohio there was a whole show
    on 60 mins. TV Florida where kids go to school living in a Van with parents or During Xmas time when We volunteer here to deliver of food to the poor from food banks Go to Albania and see how people live or the gypsys of Europe in India people are born on the streets of Bombay and grow up their without ever having a roof over their head . Sure Pakistan has problems But I have seen worse pockets in the U.S.

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  • Ali Wali
    Jan 2, 2012 - 11:09PM

    I can talk about Pakistani student life because that is my only experience of the country, plagiarism, short cuts, low quality material, almost nothing on practical side, unqualified teachers etc. Quality of our research papers is not upto the scratch, with only 3000 + papers published in international publications. Now compare this with Iran, in 1997 their research students published 700+ papers and in 2010, 27000+, that is called progress if we need any inspiration.Recommend

  • Arun
    Jan 2, 2012 - 11:10PM

    The information given in this article is something that many are already aware of, except for the ignorant population, which are unfortunately the majority, be it any country. I feel that what the author Bina has said is absolutely true, which applies even in the country i live in. But, perhaps the intensity varies with each country, and the case with Pakistan is pretty unfortunate. I have a handful of friends from Pakistan, whom i met in my college days overseas, who shared a similar opinion about the general population in Pakistan, especially the leaders who are running the show.

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  • zsardar7
    Jan 2, 2012 - 11:12PM

    your intelligence is admirable

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  • faraz
    Jan 2, 2012 - 11:19PM

    Poor argument. Social evils are not some inherent traits that travel through generations. They arise from multiple factors like illiteracy, poverty, intolerance, systemic problems, violence, absence of rule of law, class differences etc. You need to have a system in place to prevent chaos and promote discipline. Reforms start from above and gradually transform the rest

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  • Parvez
    Jan 2, 2012 - 11:20PM

    Somewhere in the middle the writer in you took over and the analytical process stopped.
    What you say is one hundred percent right but you should have also discussed as to why are we like this. If we understood why, then possibly we could overcome this.
    Always enjoy reading you.

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  • Jan 2, 2012 - 11:22PM

    Sorry,Bina,I can not in good conscience say ‘well done’,everything you have writen is the bane of our sub-continent which include Sri Lanka,India,B.D ,Pakistan .Nothing new about it.We are a flawed culture,society and nations.Period.No one can bring any improvement or change here,train has left the station long time ago.It is too late.What can we do.NOTHING.Weep,and endure and wait for final curtain.What a way to start a new year,but on second thought what good year we ever had.?I do not can recall,it was bad,worse and more bad of the same,the best you can do is,don’t complain,don’t explain,then pain and misery will be less.This world of ours was not a bad place some century ago,population explosion,religion,false sense of natioalism,has messed up life,everywhere but more so in our land.Read,weep and endure and die,if it is kind enough to knock on your door.Your column has just high lighted and sadened me little more,should I thank you or curse you?It won’t make a hell of beans,differance,one way or other,life still suck for US.Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Jan 2, 2012 - 11:48PM

    very good, young lady!

    I would have put cheating on your taxes a little higher up. As I was reading this I was wondering whether you were going to give that a miss. It is a SCOURGE of our society and a BLOT on our character.

    We should feel ashamed to call ourselves Muslims.

    ALL other Muslim countries in and around our region do better on this score alone with a lower TI Corruption Index to boot.

    And the greatest hypocracy of it all is that these same TAX-CHEATS say their prayers, they fast, give alms and go for hajj five times (as though they expect to get five times the “sawaab”)Recommend

  • Khan Jr
    Jan 2, 2012 - 11:49PM

    Bina Shah, you have summarised our national psyche to a “T”.

    Unfortunately in the last 64 years we have succeeded in becoming a nation of self serving liars and hypocrites. Lying, which become an art form in our culture, has proved to be more effective than speaking the truth, making money by all means possible has become a national trait and hypocritically relying on religion has become our forte.

    The majority should first practice to become decent human beings before we attempt to progress to becoming good Muslims. (As far as the minority goes we have quite happily usurped their rights years ago)

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  • Ali Tanoli,
    Jan 3, 2012 - 12:02AM

    Every one us very well said it but in reallty we are same like madam mention it just talkers
    nothing else but i remember one line of Allama Iqbal shiary Wafadari sherth e usrathwari asal
    iman hai maray both khanay mey to kaabay mei gharto berhamin ko.
    we have problem of watan farosh.

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  • Muhammad Ali Raza Sheikh (MARS)
    Jan 3, 2012 - 12:20AM

    Spot on !!

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  • Truth
    Jan 3, 2012 - 12:50AM

    @Ashah : Nice to see you roast your host country. In defense of the author, I think she is not referring to physical poverty (being financially poor), but to the poverty of character and morals.

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  • Mirza
    Jan 3, 2012 - 1:43AM

    What a great Op Ed and so truthful, thanks for that. The elected govts have taught us all these bad habits. From adding water in milk, fake baby drugs, spreading Hep B and C, bribes, not going to school and class then cheating, corruption in courts, stealing water and electricity, and victimizing women children and minorities to name a few. Don’t worry, with the overthrow of Zardari the new clean man would take care of it all. We the people do not need to modify our behavior or character. We are all sitting at our hands waiting for that one man messiah to come in to change our plights to prosperity.

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  • jai zardari
    Jan 3, 2012 - 1:51AM

    the reason I think that collective wisdom of the country is deficient
    every one else is to blame and because pak is a nuclear state then can go round threatening the world
    one of the most illitrate nation is lost

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  • Adeel
    Jan 3, 2012 - 2:36AM

    I agree with you 100% percent.

    P.S I have only read the title.

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  • Shamy
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:07AM

    very well written !

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  • Hafeez
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:09AM

    I can see myself in this mirror.

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  • Harry Stone
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:12AM

    @Ashah:

    Maybe you should return to PAK where it seems you believe you have greater opportunties. Eqaully I do not see long lines of people trying to get into PAK legally or illegally. If was as bad as you want us to believe that would not be the case. In the US a person’s station in life really can be temporary and the future can be bright. This can not be said of most nations.

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  • Aisha Shaan Malik
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:27AM

    @AShah I live in San Francisco area you are comparing apples & oranges. No one claims our America is perfect we have issues but we are a HUGE nation we are 51 states but what Bina has stated is RIGHT ON! I have never faced lewd corruption to get a passport or any official Govt documents can citizens of Pakistan say the same? As a Muslim because of 911 I face some discrimination but majority of people are against any form of minority discrimination we are Muslims, Hindus, Greeks, Brits, French, Irish, Africans, Mexicans, South Americans, Sikhs, Aga Khanis,Arabs, Persians, Chinese, Goans, Tutkish & the list goes on we live, work, pray, party & share lives we have our differences we care and love each other so our children can live work & pray in peace. I think Pakistanis need to do an internal examination of your souls are you just a bunch of gutless victims or will you grab the correct path and try to change destiny for future generations? The opportunity is there, the talent is waiting do you have the moral courage to make the change you all know the status off the nation other countries in more decrepit situations have RISEN from the ashes only you Pakistanis can answe!

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  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:41AM

    Hats off to the only woMAN in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Abdul Qayyum
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:20AM

    I think our bigger problem is complex we just become prey to the mighty and become namrood for the weak.We are never informed in pakistan about the truth and we are never allowed to speak .Yes the root cause lies with the people and thee people are Parents who love their children so much that they somehow incorporate fear of the mighty to save their lives or they give birth to the humans in such an environment.so Now the young people of today should somehow act as brave and either give birth to braves who can challenge or do’nt give birth to cowards change the situation.remember FEAR is the only enemy we have and we have to KILL it.May God bless us all!
    My reply may be irrelevant but i described what i hv felt about people of my Land!

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  • hedgefunder
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:23AM

    Maam, Your opening statement says it all !
    Anyone who wants to understand Pakistan just needs to read this article of yours and trust me , the Americans or west would not have given given them a dime !!!

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  • T Khan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:28AM

    Does not in the least matter how it is written. In my humble opinion, that being the opinion of only ‘ONE’ person (btw all the articles, editorials, blogs and so on are opinions of ‘one’ person), what matters is that the simple heading is a bigger truth than any other thing written in today’s paper.

    We are what we are and denying that is again what we do best…lie upon a lie is what its called.
    She has hit the nail on its head…that is what always makes people squirm and that is what this did…and honestly!!! giving an Edhi Foundation example to reflect our nation??? We are an embarrassment to him…poor chap with that heart and in this land will not have a single breath of peace in his life.

    @ Ali Tanoli
    Where did that come from?? even if all we are guilty of is ‘watan faroshi’, it is because we are lying hypocrites…exactly what she says

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  • T Khan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:30AM

    an after thought… the broken disjointed piece of writing that readers think they find here is the depiction of the frustration of a normal human mind that is still probably capable of feeling and reacting

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  • hidayat ullah khan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:35AM

    Excellent and so true! It is all about the socio-politico-economic supra-structure rather than individuals which makes or breaks the fabric of the whole commumity. I would also say that we should give benefit of the doubt to the writer because she may have not experience those societies herself where things are a little organized. And there is a saying, “The dilemma of human specie is when it doesn’t experience, it doesn’t know” (Imroz).

    And then there is a line that:

    Log Na Haq Kisi Majboor Ko Kehthain Hain Bura
    Aadmi Achay Hain Sub Waqt Bura Hota Hay

    Cheers!
    Hidayat @faraz:

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  • Maria
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:50AM

    @Meekal Ahmed: I don;t know if you know that other Muslim nations are far more corrupt and dishonest than Pakistan. That’s why Arabs, Iranians and Afghanis have the worst reputation in North America. At least Pakistanis talk about corruption and the need for accountability or transparency. The Arabs are only now trying to remove some of the dictators who have ruled for 40 odd years in the case of Libya, Egypt, Yemen or Tunisia. Pakistanis have always tired of dictatorships after a few years. As for the problems of Pakistan or any Muslim nation, I agree that the problems lies within. It is easy to criticise others but each citizen should look at herself or himself.

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  • Pure
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:17AM

    Great article. We the people – perhaps. Our leaders certainly.
    Leaders create the climate for accountability and good Governance. But something is to be said for how we – the masses, so readily accept and support our mullahs, military and “establishment” despite repeated lies and failures.. Why?

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  • palash,bd
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:34AM

    This has been great honest,courageous and candid writing i habe ever Seen in any s.asian newspaper.the same Blog can also be written for us bangladeshies.actually i dont know who is responsible to make us so great liar but one thing is our social mechanism we are grown up watching our family members lie each other for minor interest we are cheated regularly by neighborhood traders our institutions are full with corruption we pay dowry for our sisters and take the same thing for our Brothers and etc etc.

    Respect to the writer.

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  • MarkH
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:50AM

    It’s funny how predictable some people can be. The ones guilty of it and in denial always attack the writer and the “quality” of the article. That’s not the same as people actually offering counter points, though. Just the insults.

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  • vasan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 6:22AM

    Education, honest education, not degree awarding colleges, is the only solution to avert any of these crises. With education comes awareness, open mind, questioning ability and willingness and ability to earn for the basic living. Once basic needs are met, the % who lie will automatically go down and people will start electing honest people. Driven to the wall for meeting even the basic needs, many people cut corners, take escape routes and lie. No, the leadership has no role in this, It is the urge to meet the basic needs, the bottom of the pyramid of Maslow;s theory of needs. The number of people who get motivated to lie like the leadership can be handled by mass education. This is the curse of the subcontinent.

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  • Gabriel
    Jan 3, 2012 - 6:58AM

    with all due respect you are a bit too critical of pakistanis. I am a pakistani and i live abroad, all of pakistanis living abroad are labelled as brutelly honest and not having a sense of talking in a way that shouldnt offend others. I dont think that is embeded in us by the west, its very much an eastern thing.

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  • Adnan Yasir
    Jan 3, 2012 - 7:03AM

    Its true. This is exactly what Elvis said: A little less conversation, a little more action please. I know he meant it in a different context :P but you know…we Pakis talk alot. We’re a gossip nation but show no positive productivity. But surely there are people like Ehdi. We cant just stereotype everyone.
    You forgot to mention one problem about us. We just love to take people down with us, even the good ones. :)

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jan 3, 2012 - 7:03AM

    @Ashah:
    SO, you say that “Sure Pakistan has problems But I have seen worse pockets in the U.S”!
    Wow, lets try two questions: (1) How many Americans would jump at the chance to emigrate to Pakistan?
    (2) How many Pakistanis would jump at ther chance to emigrate to America?

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  • Bina Who?
    Jan 3, 2012 - 8:56AM

    So what exactly is your point?

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  • Amelia V
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:04AM

    I have read your articles before and enjoy them. I dont agree with this one as I for one know that there is a lot of positive and honest people in our Pakistan. This country is struggling because some people are corrupt, this much is true. However, to peg this as true for the vast majority of people, is a great disservice to the rest of those who we look up to and love.
    True that we must look at ourselves to begin, charity does begin at home.
    Negatives do not inspire, it is the positives, the goodness, the human element stories that do. Writers have a huge task ahead of them to use their words to evoke goodness from that aspect of our personalities. Help us to become better individuals. I believe that you can.
    Please continue to write, we need young, articulate women like you.

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  • atif
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:23AM

    yes we are dishonest, but questions is why? is it some genetic problem? or our system makes us? It is the system, education, social, political system that makes the population dishonest.
    dishonesty is not chosen by choice. we are forced to chose it only way to survive. because the system is dishonest, it supports dishonest.

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  • Eyes wide shut
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:31AM

    @numbersnumbers: FYI a lot of people are going back to Pakistan from USA and Canada. US economy is in shambles and Canada almost eternally remains cold climatically as well as economically.

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  • Arifq
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:45AM

    Madam, it’s all about Evolution. Pakistanis and most of the Muslim world have yet to evolve as per the standards required for a nation state. We have problems with the other but rarely with our biradari, panchayyat, tribe or religious sect. I agree with the gist of your article but fail to understand it’s timing and audience.thanks

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  • Malik
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:55AM

    No offense, but badly written…just shown the gloomy side. Do you really think that you are the reason behind what’s going on around you or for that matter in the country??? Well, i disagree with this thought.

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  • Ahmad
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:16AM

    Great Artical bina.. good job.. but its still half done.. next step should be the solution… we all have now to make efforts to change the people and not just system or politicians.

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  • hasan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:18AM

    @Ashah:
    At least have the courtesy to get the author’s name right!

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  • pmbm
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:45AM

    Sorry to bring “religion” in, But those are things Quran teaches. But Pakistanis mostly read or memorize the book for “sawaab’ only without understanding it, not as a guide book that it is meant to be. Parents do not know the book to be truthful and honest, therefore can not guide their kids, so that what writer says is perpetuated generation after generation. Please read The Quran with understanding to guide yourself and your loved ones.

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  • sial
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:46AM

    Dear Bina, During the raj, the British when confronted their local servants who often lied and stole from their masters told them that this was the ‘dastur’ of this land, see book ‘Plain Tales from the Raj’. Lying and cheating is in our genes.

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  • Harry Stone
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:51AM

    @Arifq:

    So what you are saying is that PAK as many muslims are not ready to become nation states. I think the US is finding this out both in Iraq and in AF.

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  • Hashmat Ali
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:18AM

    Nothing can be better then this at this moment in Pakistan but only it needs the nation to understand it.

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  • Mirror
    Jan 3, 2012 - 12:20PM

    Your every word is true to the core. The root of this hypocrisy is ‘fear’ because fear kills love and fearlessness breeds rebellion. We needed the middle course, the direction of love, peace and respect. There is no easy solution to this because any one who will try to tell a liar that he is a liar will be called blasphemous, agent, anti-democracy and what not. You too a step and had the courage to speak but honestly it would mean nothing to those who need to read this and look within. Your words, though, glow in the dark and who knows who catches their light. Respect, Dua and Regards for you. Ameen

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  • Jan 3, 2012 - 12:36PM

    And each person who says, “Not me, I’m honest” is the biggest liar of all.

    And its true for all world also, not only for Pakistan!!!!!

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  • wonderer
    Jan 3, 2012 - 12:57PM

    Rare courage and honesty!!!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Yusuf
    Jan 3, 2012 - 2:37PM

    Of more than 36 Pakistan Tax assessing agencies approched Bina, yet. Ms.Bina, the government give you the appearance as stakeholder, you pay tax but you are not direct beneficiary to all the money taxing you in Pakistan. No retirement fund for you from the government, its one way street, the appearance as stakeholder is the Truth.

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  • Eyes wide shut
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:23PM

    Totally unfair. It seems to me people you deal with are not so much upto the mark. with all due respect, All Pakistanis don’t deserve to be insulted like that. Recommend

  • Raja Yasir
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:08PM

    Its not true that no one in this country wants honesty and transparency. I think you can write something which can be taken as cure for the social diseases in Pakistan. We need to correct ourselves from education to all major departments.

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  • Sarah
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:52PM

    Very vaguely written and quite unconvincing.

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  • Lord
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:55PM

    Harsh but true.But still majority of pure nation is living in a state of self denial they will continue to do so until they will pay the highest price .Blood .Only after that we as a nation will realize the truth.

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  • Irshad Khan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:56PM

    What goodness is left with us? It is easy to enumerate but difficult to search!

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  • Sana Hai
    Jan 3, 2012 - 6:29PM

    I think many points that you make are quite valid- each one of us may not have all the flaws that you mentioned collectively but we do have one or more of them- I too find that for us it is easier to look at the grey between the black and white lines of right and wrong and justify it to ourselves or blame someone else or the nation as a whole for making us this way- the only way to stop it is at the individual level if we take a vow to stop lying cheating and being dishonest no matter what the consequences.

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  • Jan 3, 2012 - 6:41PM

    Very True. But systems are also at fault. They are all still colonial.

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  • Lobster
    Jan 3, 2012 - 7:03PM

    Even the top-notch students who gets HEC scholarship break their bond and runaway. We are dishonest. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli
    Jan 3, 2012 - 7:33PM

    @Bruised Indian
    Hahhahahahahahahah its a good one wo MAN ………………..

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  • Incurably optimistic
    Jan 3, 2012 - 7:34PM

    It takes a columnist to highlight and generalize the faults of a nation. It takes a leader to show them light at the end of the tunnel and to give the route map. Let’s find out who and where the leader is, if any.

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  • andleeb
    Jan 3, 2012 - 8:12PM

    OK so everyone knows this, you are not shedding light on something we didnt know. The article is a waste of time…. if you are a true intellectual, give us the answers. We already know the problems.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Jan 3, 2012 - 8:40PM

    Pakistani women are much more brave, intelligent and honest than their counterpart men.

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  • Nangdharangg Pakistani
    Jan 3, 2012 - 8:46PM

    Bina Shah, thank heaven for people like you !!! Kudos !

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  • Nangdharangg Pakistani
    Jan 3, 2012 - 8:53PM

    And What a smashing debut !!!

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  • marehan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:04PM

    one of the best, i read after a long,long time. chakas type of to the pointer.

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  • Arifq
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:08PM

    @Harry Stone:
    Harry, I did not say Muslims were not ready to be nation states, they have not evolved means it’s work in progress thus the obvious contradictions.

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  • Aisha Shaan Malik
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:18PM

    Brother R.S.Johar to you I say AHMEN! Pakistani women rock! Recently we are stepping to the challenge to change the course of Pakistan from the generations of our male counterparts that have run our great nation with a dhanda of failure, corruption & lies. It is evident the sons of these males who are writing negative posts directed to the writer like Bina who? These same immature posters would love the status quo but there are many intelligent Pakistani brothers who are delighted that we are having this conversation and most changes are initiated with just that and sister Bina Shah we desi sisters all over the world salute your corage to tell it like it is with no punches I think if the Pakistani media has any credibility they would launch a show with you as a host this is a subject that delves into the soul of the creation Pakistan.
    Mr. Jinnah & his sister are smiling from heaven as they whisper among themselves we are PROUD of our daughter she is doing us proud!

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  • Jan 3, 2012 - 9:19PM

    Oh My God! I don’t think there are people in this world who criticize themself so much. Btw you are correct about lying thing. Good work.

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  • Jan 3, 2012 - 9:21PM

    Woman you are so good!! hope that you are not like what article is trying to suggest.. :P

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  • Anonymus
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:33PM

    Google search shows Paksiatn topped in search of our Prophet.

    in separate search we topped is sex

    what that tells us is hypocrisy.

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  • jai zardari
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:38PM

    Pakistani people have low opinion of themselves ,they don’t loose any opportunity to criticise everyone they are the only people who abuse ridicule and defame their own elected president all over the world,but then I think what do they have to be proud of,
    one leader is giving telephonic lectures from London as if his people are enslaved by aliens,one PM sighned a pardon note and left the country,president is dragged in courts,religious leaders are operating from hills and caves, .terrorists are going round all over etc,God help his own creation

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  • B Zia
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:11PM

    yet the same dishonest Pakistanis stand in lines like sheep waiting their turn oversees, why ? because they know that that can’t get away with it, and the system forces them to act like human beings.

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  • Abdullah Noorani
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:55PM

    mirror…

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  • person
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:19PM

    Like most of the other readers I think this is a very good article. Well done Bina.

    Those friends that found fault in composition are ignoring the content, and for those asking Bina to highlight the positives rather than the negatives of Pakistani people are judging Bina’s understanding and knowledge of Pakistani people on basis of these few lines. She only highlights her perspective on how each individual citizen can influence the state of Pakistan.

    Please try to get the essence of her sentences, don’t take them as sweeping statements.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:20PM

    @Aisha Shaan Malik:
    Sister, I fully agree and support your views. Nations where women are opressed, never prosper. Pakistani women can and should play a major role in putting the country back on its rails and our very best wishes shall always be with you and your sisters for achieving this noble mission for your country. God bless you. R S Johar India.

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  • Saleem
    Jan 4, 2012 - 12:04AM

    Is this going to end with praises to the witter or will we practically start looking into changing to make better for our selves and Pakistan at large.

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  • Cautious
    Jan 4, 2012 - 12:35AM

    Interesting article – there are times I wonder whether all the mirrors in Pakistan have been banished.

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  • Harry Stone
    Jan 4, 2012 - 1:00AM

    @Arifq:

    It seems it is going to be a long time coming. I wonder if the rest of the world can absorb the pain this is inflecting on them.

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  • maaz
    Jan 4, 2012 - 11:53AM

    madam ,u r extremely extremely right , indeed this is the root cause of what all we Pakistanis are facing that we all are cheating our ownselves and blaming others for problems . very very nice effort !!! may we all get hidayat from ALLAH AND MAY WE ALL START WORKING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AMEEN !!!
    pls all those who are saying that this is wrongly written are infact thgose who are afraid to see there real face in the mirror !!!

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  • Wahab Saleem
    Jan 4, 2012 - 12:17PM

    u r saying 100% true….i m totally agreed with with ur strong arguments. in all over the world people say us lair, dishonest and they perceived it from our continuous behavior from years unfortunately.

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  • Basit
    Jan 4, 2012 - 2:30PM

    I agree to the extent that we are not honest to ourselves and lacking morality.

    But might be the lower & middle class has adopted this way because their rights and needs are not being fulfilled being honest.

    Secondly, I will point our schooling, where we are taught different subjects but not morality, honesty, helping others…. of course, I am not talking about the text book teaching…

    May Allah bless Pakistan and Pakistanis and whole humanity.

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  • attique
    Jan 4, 2012 - 3:27PM

    Very well written indeed. It depicts our true picture both inside-outside. However we have one of the greatest and strongest family bond system which is rarely seen elsewhere specially here in west. There is a sense of belonging-patriotism in Pakistan which you can never feel elsewhere since you wouldnt be home. Home is Pakistan by all means; good or bad.

    Still I agree with you 100% of all the above.

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  • Well wisher
    Jan 4, 2012 - 6:17PM

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

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  • Arifq
    Jan 4, 2012 - 8:45PM

    @Harry Stone:
    3000 lives lost 9/11, compare that to 35000 killed in Pakistan by the same extremists, that’s more than a 10 times ratio. Muslim world has suffered at the hands of these extremists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq maybe you should also consider pain of innocent moderate Muslims.

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  • Pakistani German
    Jan 5, 2012 - 3:27AM

    The author is quite right, however I dont think that all people are bad in Pakistan.
    Because in all societies there good people and bad people, but when the majority is honest and hard working then that society prospers, so I think at the moment there are more bad (immoral, dishonest, inltolarent) people in Pak than good, hence the dismal state of affairs. But to say all are bad would be hugely unfair to those who are trying.

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  • Harry Stone
    Jan 5, 2012 - 4:17AM

    @Arifq:

    Then the innocent moderate Muslims should say enough already and do something about it. This is alot like saying not all Germans were Nazi’s. That is true. But their inaction caused a long war to be waged and millions of people to die.

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  • Arifq
    Jan 5, 2012 - 9:01AM

    @Harry Stone:
    I agree, moderates should have done more to proclaim their rights but hen again we are talking about moderates! History teaches us that the small but noisy extremists have always dominated the silent and moderate majority, Nazi Germany, Japan, Italy in WWII. Stop their funding, support civilians relative to the traditional military setup and insist on promoting citizen fundamental rights then only can we hope for some progress.

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  • Adnan
    Jan 5, 2012 - 11:48AM

    Simply Excellent.@Chief Marketing Officer @ Sociality360: Recommend

  • Jan 5, 2012 - 6:03PM

    Vassan,and many who have commented on ,on Bina are missing the main argument,.Only Max,has some notion what’s wrong,he mainly concentrate on events on Pakistan and on what’s happenening now.I on the other hand,dwel on underneath causes,nothing happens in vacumn,nature abhors it,when that happens garbage fills the void.Simply laboring the point,education will set everything right,Really?Was mr Nehru not enough educated?was Hitlar illiterate?When society becomes corrupted,not just the leaders,but the people at large,rot sets in.When that sets in,everything is up side down,I mean DOWN.Does it needs super education to realize India has no territorial ambition on Pakistan,never did,never will,not Indians are noble nation,it is incapable off.!Bengladesh happened more due Pakistan’s stupidity than anything else.Why then this unremitting,unrelenting hatred which has harmed the harbor more than than the intended object?Answer that question rationally,half of Pakistan problem can be tackled ,same way if Indian become honest in day to day life,half of their problems can be dealt with,but that is easily said than done.Both have deep roots,in Pakistan case religion,and in India’s case inherant character flaws.How do suddenly become tolerant people of others religion,when your main tennent is every other religion is inferrior, & false,that’s ok if you stop with that,but if remedy is overthrow and physical elimination,only sheep will go to sloughter house,Americans and Indians would not oblize.that’s need no rocketery insight.So India /Pakistan can not coexist,PERIOD.India will not instigate trouble but resist it when forced to.So also the Western world,is this hard to fathom?Then why do Pakistani act irrationally and Indians dishonest,if you can find remedy ,please, then you have found the “ERRICA”moment,poor Bina found so many flaws in her folks,when it was elimentary,WATSON.!!TRAIN HAS LEFT THE POINT OF NO RETURN ,WEEP AND ENDURE, PAINFUL TRUTH, BUT HARD FACT.I wish I was less cruel.No malice for any one.I’m no genious,just read history without cow webs.Do it and find the joy of truth,it will set you free.Worth trying.

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  • Adnan
    Jan 5, 2012 - 6:14PM

    What ever you have said is common to all societies. Things you highlighted are more prevalent in poor and mismanaged societies and less prevalent in affluent and managed societies. I dare say that grooming more than education makes a difference. Unless restrained, individuals would tend to trangress, exceed or violate the defined parameters. Can we imagine individuals in countries like England, Germany, USA, or any other advance nation, not falling victim to these traits if not fearful of the exacting punishment of the law or social backlash to thier actions. Humans tend to revolt. Acquisance prolongs status quo.

    There are faults even in advanced and educated societies.
    Despite harsh punishments and strict laws, people in west still get drunk, drive and kill people. Despite being open societies where men and women are free to choose another man or woman for marriage, fornication and adultery is common. Despite highlighting the importance of commitment, love and tolerance, western family is a ragtag with high divorce rates. Despite being open and free societies, rape, is still prevalent. Despite proclaiming values of high ethical standards, their executives provide millions of dollars in terms of commissions and bribes to buy contracts around the world. Despite proclaiming respect for life, denouncing genghis and Tamerlane as barbarians, they killed millions of innocent in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Latin America and now in Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite proclaiming freedom with responsibility, they publish pictures that offend at least a billion Muslims.
    It’s easy to find faults. There is no denying we are in a deplorable and miserable state. However, our recipe lies in creating atmosphere where respect for law is dominant and people practice tolerance.

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  • Jan 7, 2012 - 1:19PM

    Now that you have establish the fact that problem lies within though many readers disagree with that, the next question is what can be done to rectify ourselves. As a writer or journalist you might have highlighted the issue but that is only 30% of overall effort. I expect that you write subsequent article where you provide solutions and guidelines which are neutral to your own personal faith and allegiance and can be fruitful to your readers.

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  • Asmat khan
    Jan 10, 2012 - 11:08PM

    The basic moral values are the essence of appealing outlook of a society. Negating these values, we are subjected to social abuses. The flaws rest with societal institutions, exercising key jurisdictions, that leads to its infiltration to society.

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