In our PM's words: And why don't they leave then?
Anderson tells Gilani that 1/3 Pakistanis want to leave the country and Gilani says: Why don't they leave?
A video showing the true colours of the Pakistani leadership is being passed around on the web. This time it's our Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, who has shown the world why Pakistan is in such a sorry state.
For the initial five minutes of this video, our prime minister makes the usual excuses that have become the trademark of the Pakistan government. In the last 15 seconds, interviewer Becky Anderson tells Gilani about poll results that reveal that about a third of Pakistanis want to leave the country. This is when the video gets really interesting.
Following this remark come two statements that, to most Pakistanis, are perhaps the biggest indication of how the Pakistani leadership views us. Mr Gilani says casually and pointedly,
And why don't they leave then?
When the camera shows Becky Anderson's face after this statement, one can read volumes into the international community's perception of Pakistan just by her stunned expression. Her face shows genuine worry tinged with disgust. Her eyes ask the question "Is this some kind of joke?". The same Becky Anderson who, throughout the interview, was never short of responses and questions for the PM, even interrupting him at times, seems at an utter loss for words.
She too, like all Pakistanis watching the video for the first time, pauses in the desperate hope that the PM can recover and do some damage control; that he will say something intelligent and save the image of his country that he lost two seconds ago. Alas! Our PM, as if to add insult to injury, just smiles - yes, he actually smiles - and says,
Who is stopping them?
This renders Anderson speechless, yet again. The PM's smile turns into an embarrassed grin, and Pakistanis world over watch in horror.
One doesn't usually judge the state of an entire nation based on just 15 seconds, however, these 15 seconds aptly depict the state of Pakistan. These 15 seconds are a slap on the face of the entire nation; these 15 seconds leave no doubt that Pakistan is a nation in dire need of help. 15 seconds of a conversation that the majority of the Pakistani population is actually unaware of as they don't understand English. The question is, will this clip change anything?
At this point, Pakistan is in shambles. Never has the country been in a worse position than it is in now. Poverty, loadshedding, corruption, pollution, food shortage, floods, violence, terrorism, street crime, extortion, gang wars, poor health care and education, inflation, extremism, discrimination and many more problems haunt the average Pakistani every single day.
If there's anything that Pakistan needs right now, it is better representation on an international level. In the two and a half years I have been studying abroad, I find myself trying as hard as I can to defend Pakistan from criticism. This doesn't mean I'm disillusioned. I do not deny our problems. But I try to emphasize on the circumstances that put Pakistan in this position. People are the same, wherever they are, it's circumstances that determine their personality.
Despite all their problems, the people of Pakistan are a patriotic bunch. For some mysterious reason, their hope doesn't die. If only the prime minister knew this, he would have an appropriate answer to his question.
When anchors fire questions aimed at demeaning our country, I want our prime minister to rip them apart with cutting, sincere responses. If he is told that a third of Pakistanis want to leave the country, he should say:
My vision for Pakistan is that, in as little as five years, instead of a third of Pakistanis saying that they want to leave the country, those who have left will say they want to come back.
I am simply an employee who is accountable to the entire Pakistani population. My life is dedicated to ensuring that I fulfill my responsibility, and help change this country into something they can be proud of!
Please prime minister, show us a Pakistan that makes us proud.