I love my ‘mulk’

Published: October 12, 2011
Email
The writer is studying to be a barrister. She holds a law degree from King’s College, London and a postgraduate diploma from Nottingham Law School.

The writer is studying to be a barrister. She holds a law degree from King’s College, London and a postgraduate diploma from Nottingham Law School.

Pakistan’s media must be hailed for the information it has given to the unsuspecting, foreign-dwelling Pakistanis regarding the true state of their home country. Expatriates have a very bleak picture of their country of origin due to the constant horrors of rampant crime, target killings, power cuts, inflation and acts of terrorism that are constantly being splashed all over the mainstream media. However, not everyone in Pakistan is a crook or corrupt. Sometimes there are people who allow a glimmer of hope to tentatively shine through the sludge of fraud, corruption, lawlessness and apathy sweeping the country. I am referring to a particular incident which occurred at my parent’s house in Islamabad last week. Although not important on the grand scale of things, it indicates a sign of improvement despite the media-depicted chaos.

Having retired from their jobs abroad, my parents returned to Pakistan to be reunited with their homeland after many years of separation. My father, a retired surgeon, purchased a very impressive car, a new Toyota Corolla, with all the trimmings including the GPS, alloy wheels and so on.  His pride could be evinced from the language used to describe the car, calling it “my first zero metre car”.  As he was a cautious spender throughout his life, the purchase of a brand new, straight-from-the-factory car, was a monetary indulgence he was not used to. Being well aware of the risks involved in such a purchase, he proceeded to install a tracking device into the car’s engine, the aim being to trace the vehicle in case it was stolen.

It wasn’t long before the shiny exterior of the car attracted the attention of vagabonds who scour the streets of many cities in Pakistan. Once the car was spotted, all it took was a plan and a chance to put it into action. That came early in the morning when my cousin was getting ready to be dropped off to college. The driver decided to unlock the gates but suddenly had an unstoppable call of nature which quickly beckoned him to the toilet. The thieves wasted no time in opening the gates, starting the car, reversing out the house and disappearing, all in the space of a few minutes. No one heard or saw anything. The driver alerted my mother to the car’s disappearance and she told my father who went into a state of panic and confusion. This may seem to be a trivial incident to readers but for someone who was going through it for the first time in his life, it was a big deal.

He immediately called the tracking device company who asked him to confirm his licence plate number. Since he was in such a fragile state, he handed the phone to the driver who managed to give the required details.  The car was tracked in the G-8 sector and the engine was shut off (through a remote device used at the tracking centre). The rather astute thieves tried unsuccessfully to disable the tracking device but soon fled the scene when the police arrived. Having recovered the car, my father and cousin arrived at the place where the car had been recovered and were able to identify it. There were about 20 policemen looking in the area surrounding the vehicle for the thieves but they didn’t fine anyone.

Suffice to say, amidst all the confusion and drama, I felt an overjoyed sense of relief but also pride at the way in which the police had handled the situation. Since they receive such negative media attention for incompetence, corruption and bribed justice, I wanted to make an effort to commend them for the professional manner in which they dealt with the issue. Car theft is so common in Islamabad that I had an honest belief that the car would never be recovered. I didn’t think the police really cared; that was the extent of my belief in their callousness. Surely enough, the car was returned with minor damage done to it and the driver was sacked immediately for leaving the gates unlocked.

As Pakistanis, whether living domestically or internationally, when we see a system that works smoothly then it should at least be applauded, appreciated and improved. And we need to do something about our habit of denigrating everything about our country. Sure, the current political and economic climate can foster such sentiment, but we should aim to improve our country by first having a positive outlook. Those working as security guards in the private sector, or as police constables put their lives on the line and most of us do not realise this. What we tend to do is that we generalise, that if some police constables are corrupt, we argue that the whole force is good for nothing.

Kudos also to the soldiers, as well as the police and personnel of other law-enforcement agencies, who risk their lives every day to fight the enemy within Pakistan’s borders. Many of them die in terrorist attacks and become mere statistics in newspapers and most Pakistanis don’t even acknowledge their sacrifice.

I know I will be told that I am naïve and idealistic, but as someone who has lived all her life overseas, and a comfortable one at that, I would say to all my fellow expats that if they had to return to their country of origin, perhaps because they felt unwanted in their host nation or couldn’t find a job, then they will have to make do with Pakistan. And yes, it has its corruption and its people who harbour extremist views, but after all it is their land.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (14)

  • Nadir
    Oct 12, 2011 - 11:57PM

    “The driver was sacked immediately for leaving the gate unlocked” And that fitted into the narrative how exactly? So you think we should overlook corruption and extremists, but you couldn’t over look the fault of your own driver? Point taken though about generalization. Policeman have a really raw deal when it comes to pay, perks and general treatment meted out by society at large.

    Recommend

  • John B
    Oct 13, 2011 - 12:22AM

    The grass is always greener when looked from the other side. Speak up for Aasia Bibi if you really love your “Mulk”.

    Recommend

  • Deb
    Oct 13, 2011 - 3:23AM

    @Faiza Iqbal

    Your last para says it all.
    It applies equally to all ex-patriates whether Pakistani,Indian,Sri Lankan,Chinese or whoever.
    I am an Indian ex-patriate and feel inspired by your post.

    Recommend

  • Liaqat Ali
    Oct 13, 2011 - 5:32AM

    As an expatriate who has fond and undimmed hopes of one day returning and dying in my country I concur with the sentiment that there is scant attention paid by the well-to-do to the efforts of the average law enforcement personnel in Pakistan.
    We are guilty of using our’connections’ to bypass the self same law enforcement personnel when it suits our needs and then claim that the local constable is the one who is corrupt. **it flows downhill and if they are not given the respect their position deserves and all they see is the higher ups spending their time living it up then it is easy enough for them to try and grasp their piece of the ‘pie’. When the head stinks the rest of the fish is not far behind and this is in no way meant just to point out the greed of the civilian authorities; our brothers in uniform are as guilty.

    Recommend

  • Reader
    Oct 13, 2011 - 10:07AM

    Let us not be harsh. Faiza, being a patriot, has very eloquently voiced her feelings for Pakistan and I am sure it is not a one-timer. At least she is playing her teeny-bit role in defending and highlighting the good side of this country and not mouthing off as the rest of us.

    Recommend

  • GetRidOfFeudalPolitics
    Oct 13, 2011 - 10:53AM

    @John B: Again, you could not bear to read something positive about Pakistan. We have our problems and we are fighting against them. But, you really need to curb your bias.

    Recommend

  • JohnC
    Oct 13, 2011 - 11:38AM

    @John B: What Asia BB has to do with this? Why are you so concerned about Asia BB? There are millions of women in the world who are tortured/killed/raped/abducted every day, you don’t care about them, but al lyou see is one Asia BB.

    Recommend

  • Hassan
    Oct 13, 2011 - 12:44PM

    This is goood! I am now motivated enought to spend some precious money on car tracking devices etc. And Thanks you for highlighting something positive about Pakistan. There are many many instances like this that show the honesty, bravery, or hardwork of the simple Pakistani. We need to write more of them!

    Recommend

  • Saad Ullah
    Oct 13, 2011 - 2:47PM

    The police u are reffering to is Islamabad’s police! Infact the whole Punjab’s police is far better, compitent and non-corrupt compared to that of rest of the country!

    Just visit any police station in Sindh and u will realize the differenc!Recommend

  • Saleem
    Oct 13, 2011 - 3:33PM

    Hate everything but never hate the Motherland
    Its all that we have
    I am just another Be rozgar nojwaan but i love my country and i will do anything for it ..
    Akhir Mulk tu apna hai na

    Recommend

  • John B
    Oct 13, 2011 - 5:22PM

    @JohnC:
    @GetRidOfFeudalPolitics:

    Under normal conditions every one in PAK expects police to register a case against a thief, intimidators, murderers and alike. No more and no less.

    If the police require a column to be devoted for their simple task, then there is something terribly wrong in the system. ie. The people don’t expect much from police, and if they do something there is joy of a miracle! This column is just that. Personal joy, self centered, and shallow in out look.

    She had a wonderful opportunity to write about several burning issues in PAK, let alone Aasia Bibi.

    This kind of apathy to the masses by the privileged few who can make a difference irritates me.

    Aasia Bibi, the girls school hijab police, Quadri rose petal lawyers, girls of red mosque, tolerance of intolerance are ripping PAK society apart. She had a bully pulpit to speak up and all she did was ……?

    Grow up. Recommend

  • antanu
    Oct 13, 2011 - 6:01PM

    @John B:
    You are really obessed with Asia Bibi…look in India (and u r an Indian, whatever name u give urself)and other parts of te world…lots of Asia Bibis will be crying for justice…what target an isolated case in Pakistan…because its a muslim country?

    Recommend

  • sars
    Oct 13, 2011 - 8:49PM

    this article would go down well as an ad for tracker!

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 23, 2011 - 3:12AM

    Nice article, well written! Its good to be positive and dont get lost in all the negativitiy. We must ALL keep hope that there are good days ahead and still good people in our beloved “mulk”. If we let negativity take over, then we will end up like the people we critisize.

    JohnB, Its good that you are standing up for Asia BB, but do you really believe writing such comments to an article like this are any help to her? Injustices happen all over the world, yet not a single newspaper dedicates every single article to one single case. Critisizing Faiza Iqbal for writing something positive and helpful, is just sad on your part and of NO help to Aasia BB. Dont use her name to win arguments.

    Recommend

More in Opinion