I dream of a Pakistan where there is dignity for every living soul. Where there is no hunger. Where my 'maroora' (people) are safe from injustices. Where they are secure. Where they are given the tools to excel. Where they lead fulfilled lives.
My dream will become a reality when the youth starts dreaming and believing in achieving this dream. When the crushed poverty-stricken decide they have had enough of being slaves to those elected representatives who only milk them. And when the politically aware break out of the current political party mindset of vested interest power politics and starts saying no to all evils.
We don’t always need to have a population living below the poverty line. We don't always have to accept a political, bureaucratic, religious, business, agricultural, military elite which plunders ruthlessly. We don’t always need to be craving for basic necessities. We don't always have to live in the middle of lawlessness. We don't always have to be slaves to foreign powers. We don't always have to be hostage to extremism or supra-liberalism. We don't always have to accept injustices, honour killings and state-patronised crimes, kidnappings and brutalities. We don't always have to have a Pakistan split on ethnic, sectarian and class fault lines. We need to say no to all these compromises. And we can do it.
Why? Because we were not created inferior to any developing nation. Because we have been blessed with natural resources beyond our imagination. Because we have the human capital to capitalise on them.
Who will lead this dream? All those who have the power to dream, who can sacrifice personal comforts for the greater good, who can harness collective expertise and wisdom domestically and internationally to make winning strategies. Who will not be corrupted by power. Who will stay grounded and focused on the mission of a just, developed and moderate Pakistan.
We need to aim high and look outside Pakistan for success stories on different political, social and economic indicators. For example: Vienna's quality of life index, the US's GDP growth rate, Hong Kong's economic freedom index, Singapore's business environment index, Netherland's technological readiness index, New Zealand's corruption perception index, France's tourist arrival levels, Timor's health spending rates and Luxembourg's press freedom index.
Who is blocking the politics of saying no to evil politics? All those existing parliamentary forces whose stakes are in the system are the ones who say yes to all of these evils. But it is important to realise that it is possible to break out of this system. And one can do that by saying no loudly, as I have, to a hostaged Pakistan and saying yes to a truly emancipated Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2011.
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