'We are Pakistanis, that is the only thing that matters'

When I was a child I once came home from school and asked my mom if I was Punjabi or Urdu speaking, my mom replied: We are Pakistanis and that is the only thing that matters. I will forever thank her for teaching me that, because it made me realise Pakistan is my home and no matter what people say it will always be my home.

Nojeba Haider July 10, 2010
When I was a child I once came home from school and asked my mom if I was Punjabi or Urdu speaking, my mom replied:
We are Pakistanis and that is the only thing that matters.

I will forever thank her for teaching me that, because it made me realise Pakistan is my home and no matter what people say it will always be my home. I am to be counted among the small percentage of the population that harbours a simultaneous deep love for my country and shares a heart-wrenching disappointment with the people in my country.

On my visit to Dubai a few months ago, I met people from various countries including Pakistanis settled in Dubai.  Almost everyone I met there asked me why I’m still living in Pakistan. A couple of foreigners even asked me if I was allowed to wear western clothes in Islam and would be allowed to marry out of my choice.  What infuriated me was how the Pakistani’s settled there made fun of Pakistan too.

Yes I agree there is political instability in Pakistan, yes I agree there is no security in Pakistan, but what are we as Pakistanis doing about it? We blame the government, but we cannot blame the ruling party alone. Every developing country has teething problems. That doesn’t mean you abandon it.

We take for granted that we were born in a free country

Ask the people who lived their life fighting for an independent country, people who never had the freedom to practise their religion. We were lucky, yet it’s a pity we have taken that for granted. Ask our ancestors who lost their loved ones in their fight for an independent country, who left and travelled miles with nothing but food for one day to live in a separate country. My grandparents tell me stories about their suffering at the time of migration from India to Pakistan and my heart bleeds, when after all that we are ready to give up Pakistan.

The world believes Pakistan is a dangerous country with Muslim fanatics

It is up to us to change the opinion of the world. We need to stand up for our religion, tell the world Islam is about love, equality and brotherhood not violence and suicide bombings.  One should try to clarify misconceptions rather than give in. Why should we try to appease others in the fear of being declared an outcast? Who the hell are these people to give their opinions about Pakistan and Islam anyway? They have never lived in Pakistan, never read the Quran, what gives them the right to judge our country and our religion? They declare Pakistan to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world, yet we seem to go out, socialise, attend weddings/ parties, then why are we agreeing with them?

It is not our country which is bad, it is our people

This country has given us a place which we can call home. Whether we like it or not, we were born Pakistanis so we should be proud of being a Pakistani rather than spending our whole life trying to gain nationality to another country.

Pakistan has been resilient enough to withstand the onslaught of corruption year after year for 60 years, watching one tyrant after another, even then our country has withstood the onslaught and continued to serve its people. After a 60 year struggle it seems to be worn and tired and its now time for Pakistanis like us, to stand up and give our nation a helping hand. Wake up people, its time for us to stand up for our country rather than watch other people destroy it.
WRITTEN BY:
Nojeba Haider A corporate banker based in Karachi. Nojeba tweets @nojeba.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (25)

Rafia | 10 years ago | Reply i think rather its 200% on the mark...love ur article...thanx Allah m just fadup frm polititicied articles(biased journalists) bt this one is relief...this z v.interesting thing u hv pointed, m punjabi well i knw this when i was in my master(msc) in QAU where there r pplz frm all provinces...i just learn frm the lap of my mother that m Pakistani...but un4tunatly i hav seen that pplz frm Sindh n other areas hav sumwhat rude behaviour 2wrds Pakistan+punjabis...i m jst surprised to c that they love to speak against punjabis n they watch us with the same eye as kashmiri watch indians(even kashmiris r right) bt m very confused still that our parent taught us 2 to love all pakistanis...then what their parents taught that hate punjabis???
jingoist | 10 years ago | Reply I agree Naeem... but lets just not be hopeless! No one else would come to us to resolve the problem unless we make our mind to do that! Bring awareness among your friend circle and ask them to do the same with others! We need to get away with the sectarian/geographical/religious blocks! Because practicing your religion doesn't have to do any thing with becoming a Nation! Lets just make our minds my dear fellows! This land is responsibility of ours! Pakistan is expecting from us and we must take the responsibility.
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