Losing our dignity, one drone at a time

I met a cab driver in Dubai who told me that Arab countries have little respect for the average Pakistani citizen.

Adam Sakia May 23, 2012
I still haven’t forgotten a story that my father told me about eight years ago. We were sitting outside one late night, revelling in the midst of family and friends, smoking the traditional hookah and dining the night away. I don’t remember how we reached this topic but suddenly I found myself listening to my father reminiscing about the days when he first flew to Saudi Arabia in the 1960s.

He spoke of that time with great admiration and fondness, recalling how, when he first mixed in with the locals, the first question they asked him was where he was from. And the moment the Saudis heard he was from Pakistan, they would follow up with another question, asking him whether he was a doctor or an engineer.

It was not until a few days ago that I was reminded of this anecdote while sitting in a cab in Dubai.

I must mention here that I have the habit of always conversing with cab drivers throughout my journey. I find it soothing, especially when I see the joy it brings to the faces of the cab drivers who long to converse with someone while driving around a foreign city day and night, far away from their families.

These cab drivers always vary in nationality; from Egyptian, Indian, Afghani, Yemeni and Nigerian to Pakistani, your company for the taxi ride can be from any region.

On this particular day, the cab driver was from Pakistan’s region of North Waziristan. He told me that he had come to the UAE about four years ago. I asked him where he lived before, to which he replied  Saudi Arabia. At the mere mention of Saudi Arabia, I was reminded of the story my father told me about eight years ago. I found myself retelling that story to the cab driver. I enquired from him about his own experience of interacting with the Saudis. Here's what he said:
Terrible. They don’t respect us. Sure, they respect our leaders when they fly there to do their Umrah, but they don’t respect the average Pakistani. And it’s not just the Saudis; it’s the same with the rest of the Arab world.

By this time, we had reached my destination. As I pulled out my wallet to pay the cab fare, I asked him what, in his opinion, were the reasons behind this change of Pakistan's perception in the mind of the Arabs. He replied swiftly:
Money! In the 60s, Pakistan was the Asian Tiger. Our entire country was growing like Dubai. Now, we don’t have money and the drones don’t help either.

In that instant I realised that the man I was speaking to was from North Waziristan, the center point to the majority of the US drone attacks that take place in Pakistan. I asked him what connection drone attacks have with Arabs losing respect for Pakistan.
Sab kuch


How can anyone respect a country, the only Muslim nuclear power at that, which gets bombed by a foreign country every few weeks and does nothing about it?

I said nothing. As I placed the money of the cab fare into his hands, he refused to take it. After much difficulty, he accepted the payment and I walked out of the cab with more questions than answers.

Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his address to a gathering in the city of Ahmedabad (Gujarat province of India) in 1946, a year before Pakistan’s creation, had said:
Pakistan is destined for greatness. It is a Muslim ideology that must be protected for time to come.

Sadly, today Pakistan is being drowned not by its enemies but by it’s own leaders. Corruption, nepotism and radicalisation due to lack of education plus poverty lays at the heart of Pakistan’s ills. From being the country that other Muslim nations looked up to, Pakistan has become a country that other Muslim nations look down upon.

It is imperative for the country to shrug itself of its ills, lift itself from the shadows of darkness and capture the greatness that it’s founder envisioned for it. Otherwise the country will continue to lose its dignity, one drone at a time.

This piece was originally published here

Follow Adam on Twitter @adamsakia
Adam Sakia An aspiring diplomat who is currently living a dramatic and unconventional life.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


jameela ki behen farkhanda | 12 years ago | Reply ADAM the point is clear and the answer is also very very clear, why u take so much tension??:P lol, pakistan has a bad reputation not only in arab countries but all over. And this was never the case long time back. Its due to the same 9/11 story and so on that strongly changed pakistan's reputation. They hate us but at the same time they are jealous too, because arabs really cannot do anything on their own, and due to their jealousy they even break the car's mirror of the young pakistani boys living in saudi. I wonder why they would do that. Simple, because there is something that makes them jealous, and which makes us superior ..in some way!!
A Peshawary | 12 years ago | Reply It is said "history does not lie", ultimately the truth is coming out. I heard the name of Das and Bhagat from my father before I could see the Indian movies. What a petty; concocted history remained silent for more than half century but you cannot keep the historians silent for ever. A Peshawary
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ