Don’t call my country ‘Hell’
“I want to plead guilty, and I’m going to plead guilty 100 times over”. Faisal Shahzad, a suspect in the failed Times Square bombing said this on Monday when he pleaded guilty in a US court.
I read this the same day I read that Pakistan has been declared failed. Again. A report by the US based Foreign Policy Magazine ranked Pakistan 10th on the Failed State Index 2010. We have been characterized as failed by a measure of social, political and economic indicators. I have acknowledged it and come to terms with it.
There are a few things, however, that I am having trouble coming to terms with. First, the likes of Faisal Shahzad, who are bent upon making our lives complex, to say the least, in both our country and abroad. Second, people who are responsible for taking our economy down the drain. Third, the accompanying information given in the foreign policy website. There is a media gallery entitled ‘Postcards from Hell.’ When you click on it, it gives deplorable images from countries declared as failed states, giving a pitiful image of Pakistan as well.
When I read this title, I was perturbed. I was livid at the person who displayed such inconsiderateness and labeled our country as hell. This is our home. Not hell. And people who are not part of our home and do not contribute in making it more livable certainly don’t have the right to say so. But then I pondered more over the ‘state’ of our state. Forget those living outside Pakistan. Forget me, forget you. We enjoy far too many privileges.
All of us are aware of the issues we deal with living in Pakistan; unemployment, inflation and disorder to name a few. But we live in a country that despite its size and resources has outrivaled many internationally. Hell did not produce Abdul Qadeer Khan, Benazir Bhutto or Edhi. Pakistan did. We have our heroes but we have our villains. People like Ajmal Kasab and Faisal Shahzad who plead guilty to their crimes and say “I wanted to injure people or kill people.” As long as we have these villains, our heroes will remain disregarded.
These aren’t the only villains though. I started thinking about a friend who lost his brother-in-law in the parade lane mosque attack. I thought about that junior in college who lost her aunt and cousins when they were shopping in Lahore’s moon market. I thought about that father who killed his children and committed suicide because he was unemployed and couldn’t provide for his family. I thought about the toddler I saw on a pavement close to my home, sitting in blistering heat with the mother begging every passerby for money. Would Pakistan be close to hell for all of them? Probably yes.
However, Shahzad or Kasab aren’t responsible for this. We have villains at home. Villains running the government, ruling the masses. Villains who created extremists in our own country. Villains who have achieved their goals through corruption and deceit but failed us and failed Pakistan. Yet again. I can defend my country from those living outside who call it hell, but I can’t guard it from those who live here in abject misery, who lose their family in bombings and who are close to committing suicide over financial pressures. We need to get rid of the villains at home and then tackle the ones who defame us abroad.