Dear Nergis, with love, from Pakistan

Darling, we are certain it was our teaching of science that got you to where you are today. You can move back now.

Afaque Riaz Ahmed February 16, 2016
Dear Nergis Darling,

We are very happy to know that you have become super famous and that you were born in Karachi. In order to create a ‘usable’ past, we somehow distinctly recall that while you were growing up in Karachi, we were certain that teaching you sciences, and physics in particular, along with the rigors of the scientific method which is what we do best in the schools of Pakistan, especially, girls’ schools. Therefore, we would like to take full credit for your achievements, especially those that have made you famous. The rest we neither know nor care about. We are practically salivating here over the possibilities of marketing.

Since we do not really understand what you have done and what the discovery of gravitational waves really mean for Astrophysics and humanity in general, we have setup a high level Judicial Commission to really tell us the truth. We expect this commission to provide the government a report within your lifetime, hopefully. Had you invented a vote-faking machine, the commission could have provided you a report within 24-hours. We value speedy administration of justice over here with quantum level accuracy. In fact, if you had solved our energy problems using water (like the Pakistani invention of the water-powered car); the Pakistani media and majority of the Pakistani government would have gone ballistic and would have been doing hundreds of interviews during talk shows talking about how great the invention is. Alternatively, in Pakistan, the prestigious Ruet-e-Hilal Committee are the experts in Astrophysics in their ability to observe, measure and predict astronomical events and the position of celestial bodies, therefore, getting a scientific explanation from them regarding your discovery would be the fastest and easiest for the government in order to make astronomical decisions affecting 200 million people.

Regardless, before you get a Nobel Prize in Physics, we would like to make you an offer which you cannot refuse. We are prepared, after the competent authority’s approval, to offer you the post of girls’ volleyball coach in a government school. Darling, if Dr Abdus Salam (who is also a minority and who also won the Nobel Prize in Physics) had accepted a position as the boys’ football coach in a government college in Lahore we would have been able to accept him. Hence, you should just accept the position of team coach of the girls’ volleyball team. If you agree to serve your country of birth, let us know and we will start the requisite lobbying to get you appointed to such a coveted position.

Have you applied for your Pakistan Origin Card (POC) from NADRA? If not, please do so as soon as possible to be considered a certified expatriate Pakistani and also be prepared for a six month waiting period while you go through the security clearance. The intelligence agency responsible might call you for directions after six months saying that they couldn’t find your address during their first attempt for POC verification. Once you get your POC, you can send us money via the official banking channel, which I am sure Darr uncle would be very pleased about. After all, so many Pakistani expatriates contribute in paying the bills which run the government over here. In fact, the expatriate remittances is very comparable to Pakistan’s total exports, but getting you voting rights would create legal and logistical problems, which we cannot solve at this time. Please keep sending us money though, if you still have any family left back in Pakistan. If not, we’ll give you plenty of other emotional reasons to send us money.

But remember, before you get appointed to any government’s position, especially, in an academic institution, your degrees will go through a thorough and detailed verification process by the HEC. They will ask for your original high school records, even if they have to verify your bachelor’s or master’s or doctorate degrees. If you don’t have the required subjects (Pakistan Studies, Islamiat and Urdu), your high school record would be considered incomplete and therefore, all your subsequent degrees would become unverifiable and therefore, unrecognised in Pakistan. But don’t worry, we can use your fame, and hence, your ability to raise funds for your country of birth, in other ways.

We invite you to visit us at our corporate headquarters - Lahore to discuss this further. You would be escorted by the Dolphin Force, if the competent authority approves, otherwise, you will have to take the Turkish cab. As a tourist attraction, we will show you our metro bus. However, I am afraid; meeting the appropriate personnel in the ministry requires careful planning, since they are intensely occupied with other important engagements. We don’t want you to suffer the same fate as your senior - Ashar Aziz - MIT graduate, billionaire, cyber security guru did, who despite having a scheduled meeting, could not meet the competent authority in the ministry in Islamabad. But I am sure you’d be in complete awe of our metro bus, such awe that you will never forget us and eventually decide to move back to Pakistan.

Darling, don’t get overly excited yet with the options above, we have another one for you. We could ask an Ivy Leaguer, DHA resident person, to partner up with you and setup an NGO. This NGO can raise funds from foreign countries to educate our children and girls especially. Perhaps, a film-maker with a similar background can make a superb documentary about you or with you in it so that the NGO could generate more foreign funds. We think this would be your greatest use by the country of your birth. Just send us dollars!

So don’t worry, sweetheart. We would be happy to welcome you back – after all, home is always home, right?

With all my love,
Your Step Mother (PAKISTAN)

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Afaque Riaz Ahmed The writer is the founder and president of KITE – Karachi Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Hamza | 7 years ago | Reply Go see the history of madrassas and know the list of scholars generated by them .......... then talk as much as you like....
Nouman Ahmed | 7 years ago Why should I see the history when present tells me more relevant facts? The fact is that the kind of education MOST of the madrassas are instilling in young minds is corrupted. Don't tell men how many scholars have been produced by madrassas in the past, as they are not gonna come up from their graves and save us. Name one scholar in last 10-30 years who is a madrassa graduate and has a considerable positive reputation.
siesmann | 7 years ago Name one scientist of repute madrassas have produced.
Hamza | 7 years ago | Reply She is a PAKISTANI and nothing can change that... it's not about taking credit it's about the satisfaction that a Pakistani born can do something like that, But you simply want to take that away from us .... right?......... Why can't people for once be happy. If a terrorist turns out to be Pakistani we all be like........ shame for Pak.... Ban madrassa etc etc.......... But now that someone has done good we just can't digest it........
siesmann | 7 years ago Looks like the author forgot to mention madrassas-the world known universities of higher learning.
SamSal | 7 years ago We want to take credit for even the slightest achievement of a Pakistani-born - no matter how irrelevant the nationality may be in the achievement - but we quickly disown any Pakistani who is involved in any unlawful / criminal activities. Why is that?! We don't want to believe that Tashfeen Malik was a Pakistani, but want credit for Nergis's achivement? Kyun bhai?!
Qazi Fazli Azeem | 7 years ago
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