A letter to overseas Pakistanis: Don't give up on Pakistan just yet
There are many who are fighting for justice, education, equality and freedom. Have hope as a sign of respect to them.
I have been fortunate enough to travel abroad. During these trips I have met successful young Pakistani entrepreneurs, from high street shop owners to rising bankers and several others who are building their careers with hard work and dedication. It's always refreshing to talk with fellow countrymen in foreign lands, but seldom is the topic of the political climate or general atmosphere of Pakistan avoided in these talks.
Many Pakistanis living abroad are very passionate about their country and its people. They play active roles in contributing towards the welfare of their country by supporting charitable causes that are close to their hearts. However, amongst them are a few who tend to hold an extremely negative outlook towards Pakistan and seem to have lost hope in the country completely.
This is because they believe that no such change can take place which will bring an end to corruption or the senseless killings that take place everyday in Pakistan. They have 'lost hope' because they feel that no matter how hard one tries, there will be no justice served. Furthermore they believe no matter how much they pray, there will never be a rule of law that holds the rich and poor equal.
They've lost hope because they think there is very little our politicians will do or can do, apart from making empty promises. They feel there is not enough being done to educate the people, or raise awareness of the importance of education in Pakistan, and that no one in this country can achieve their goals without bribery or nepotism.
By writing this letter, I urge all of these people to not give up on Pakistan. There are many people here who are fighting for justice, for equality, for education and for freedom. In the process, they are risking their lives every single day. Don't give up as a sign of respect to all of these heroes.
On the morning of May 11, 2013, (Election Day) men, women and children living in Pakistan came out of their homes to cast their vote; many of them were first time voters. They stood in line for hours. They voted and sang patriotic songs all the while encouraging each other. They had put Pakistan first and their comfort second. They took part not only in the polls but also by attending rallies that were held en masse all over the country. They did so because they wanted their voices to be heard. They were fighting this hard battle for a better Pakistan and I truly believe this fire will keep burning.
Let me enlighten you about a few Pakistanis living here who are risking their lives every day just to make a difference.
Humaira Bachal is a young 25-year-old Pakistani girl who quietly campaigned in her Karachi neighbourhood of Moach Goth to educate girls after being denied her own education. She currently has 22 teachers and 1,200 students working with her.
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a young female journalist and filmmaker, was able to raise global awareness of heinous crimes committed in Pakistan against the women of Pakistan, through her documentary Saving Face.
Mohammed Jibran Nasir, a young Pakistani Muslim lawyer who has recently returned to Pakistan after completing his education in the UK, didn’t only contest in the elections as an independent candidate, but has been able to challenge the religious extremist on the intolerance directed towards minority sects such as Ahmadis and Shias.
Zindagi Trust, a charity setup by the Pakistani celebrity Shahzad Roy, is a non-profit organisation which has since 2006 enrolled approximately 3,000 students. Out of these, nearly 1,500 have graduated and are looking to continue their education.
Aman Foundation, another non-profit charity set up in Pakistan, not only provides healthcare and education to the unprivileged but is also creating opportunities for unskilled man power in the country.
One charity that needs no introduction and is considered one of the largest ambulance service providers in the world is the Edhi Foundation. They hope to build emergency hospitals every 100km on Pakistan's highway to help with accidents and trauma related injuries. This foundation’s relentless efforts and services to the people of Pakistan since its birth have led to numerous awards, including the nomination by the prime minster for the Nobel Peace Prize for the highly respected founder Abdul Sattar Edhi. The organisation is dependent on nearly 3,500 active workers and thousands of volunteer who help out on a daily basis.
And the last but certainly not least, I want to include in this letter the traffic wardens and other governmental security personnel in Pakistan, who stand in the scorching heat to keep our country moving everyday and protect its citizens. I have also read on online forums about ordinary Pakistanis who distribute free bottled water to them as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts.
If you still feel there is no hope for Pakistan, pause and think of the millions of Pakistanis living here who are trying to make a difference, battling for a brighter future.
The Quaid did not make this country in vain and there are still people who realise that. They continue to rejuvenate his dream and the dream of humanity every chance they get, for they are still holding on to hope.
Read more by Imran here or follow him on Twitter @ahmedi678