Pakistan is a country with a rich history and vast tourism potential, possessing the highest of mountains, the hottest of deserts and a beautiful sea. It contains gateways to some of the most prominent players in regional and global politics today. It contains much internal diversity with its wildlife and culturally rich tribes. The country has vast dialects and trade potential, a wealth of youth yearning to receive education and prove themselves to their country and to the world, and an expatriate community that wants to see the country flourish — not to mention those expatriates who have returned to the native land and are involved in activism of various sorts. Unfortunately, the country has been unable to capitalise on this wealth because the people within it are too preoccupied fighting one another.
As embassies of foreign countries like the US and the UK face long queues daily, with people camping out early to be first in line, it shows the desperate times faced by many in this country. The arrest of 80 Pakistanis in Indonesia en route to Australia highlights this desperation once again. While some people in the country look at proper channels to obtain membership to other countries, hundreds have attempted to flee Pakistan on their own to seek asylum. Does this shame the government or fellow Pakistanis any? This year alone, hundreds of people died on their way to Australia travelling in boats. This time, 80 migrants from Pakistan and 17 migrants from Afghanistan were forced off their boat on to an island when the boat became damaged upon hitting a reef in rough waters.
Desperation is evident in this runaway attempt. Citizens of a country that is rich with potential and has a wealth of resources want an escape. This developing nation is a true land of opportunity but if citizens keep running away, going to depths such as attempting to tread the oceans on boats and days-long journeys, we will remain stuck in these internal struggles. The Government of Pakistan, value your people and give them reasons to stay!
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2012.