Pakistan will rise again

Published: March 9, 2013
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The writer is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She holds a PhD in Economics from Yale University and tweets @MadihaAfzal

The writer is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She holds a PhD in Economics from Yale University and tweets @MadihaAfzal

Pakistan will rise again. It certainly seems improbable right now. But our people are too strong and too full of heart to let this country crumble. I believe in Pakistan and in Pakistanis.

Still, with each act of violence on this soil which destroys the futures of innocent children, women and men, my hope wanes a little and my optimism recedes.

I imagine a young boy sitting in his family’s apartment in Abbas Town on the evening of March 3. His father has gone to the mosque to pray and he is putting the finishing touches on his homework while his mother prepares dinner.

Imagine his face, the surprise when that blast came out of nowhere and took his future away. Imagine his mother’s shock. Imagine the father who found everything he lived for literally blown up. One imagined face and life, and the heart shrinks.

Thinking of all those who died in Abbas Town, as well as the hundreds of Hazaras in Quetta this January and February, is almost unbearable.

Pakistan’s homegrown militants get more brazen by the day, striking marketplaces in Quetta during the evening rush hour and homes in the heart of the country’s most populous city. They attack where citizens are supposed to feel safest. But where are Pakistan’s leaders? Do they grieve each child, each man and each woman lost to this senseless violence?

They do not visit the affected areas until days after the attacks, if then. Do they look at each victim’s picture, not the one with blood and missing body parts, but at the picture of the happy eight-year-old, the face full of life? Do they bother to learn his or her name and what made the child special?

Does the thought that it could have been one of their own cross their minds? They must know it probably couldn’t, given the amount of security they receive. So, they remove themselves from the situation and hide behind aggregate casualty numbers and impassive condemnations of the attacks.

It is impossible that any well-meaning state can be this inept at protecting its own. As long as innocent citizens continue to be killed under its watch, the government’s condemnations mean nothing. A state’s foremost responsibility is protecting the lives of its citizens. How can cars get loaded with explosives and travel through the country’s largest city, through narrow streets, to arrive successfully at their target?

The ranks of the army and police far outnumber the terrorists responsible for these attacks. So, how can the militants be more adept than the state, time and again? How can the state refuse to take the name of the terrorist organisation, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which took responsibility for the Quetta attacks? Why has its leader been arrested in Punjab on charges of hate speech, instead of suspected terrorism?

Where, you ask, is there room for hope in the midst of all this? The government has certainly failed us. My hope in Pakistan lies in its people. It lies in the Shia and Sunni survivors in Abbas Town helping each other out, in those donating blood to the injured, in the lawyers who declared March 4 a day of mourning for the attack, and in those collecting donations of money, food and supplies for the survivors.

In the Pakistan where I grew up, I never knew which of my friends were Shia and Sunni. I never knew whether one was Ahmadi, the other Kashmiri. We were all the same. In almost every way, we have regressed since then, but I can bet that the majority of children today still do not know which sect their friends belong to. Let’s not let that be overwritten by the hatred of a few.

I am not alone in thinking this way. Policy analysts, who know Pakistan well, continually cite the strength and intelligence of Pakistan’s people and its growing ‘civil society’ as the reason why Pakistan is unlikely to fail anytime soon. Pakistanis rally together after disaster strikes.

Following the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan’s north, they helped in recovery and relief efforts by generously donating time, food, supplies, money and medical expertise in the affected areas. They did so again following the debilitating 2010 floods.

So, when Pakistan emerges from this wave of senseless sectarian violence, battered but still intact, I will know who saved it. It will not be the army, nor the politicians, nor the judiciary. It will be the man on the street, who remains compassionate despite the most damning circumstances.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (51)

  • Nadir
    Mar 9, 2013 - 11:37PM

    Please dont demotivate our Army, common man cannot be compared to officers!

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  • Ejaaz
    Mar 9, 2013 - 11:56PM

    “It will be the man on the street, who remains compassionate despite the most damning circumstances.”

    You got your answer before your writing was published. The compassion led the burning of the houses of the poor and thoroughly oppressed minority that is at the bottom of the society. They could find the “offender” so they thrashed his 65 year old father. Is that enough compassion for you? Oh wait, instead of rounding up these thugs, the CM of the state has appointed a commission to look into the affair. Is that enough? It was the worst of crimes after all … blasphemy.

    Nice to be from Yale, and sitting in the house of the Great Satan secure and comfortable. Do you have a clue how compassionate is the man on the street in our Pureistan, or was that just a rhetorical flourish you picked up along the way?

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  • Mar 10, 2013 - 12:01AM

    The blog is based on sheer emotions and does not connect with the reasons of hope except the sectarian unity. Actually it is the wishes of the author ignoring the ground realities. It is a day dream, without any concrete efforts in the right direction, to come out of the mess.
    God also helps those who help themselves.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Mar 10, 2013 - 12:21AM

    i believed in pakistan while sitting in nice hot and cold rooms and riding a nice car to work
    and home while milk and honey land pakistan dont even have buses and peoples dying like chicken in sloughter houses english speaking hogs rulling the country.

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  • Self destructive Pakistani
    Mar 10, 2013 - 12:40AM

    Evil prevails when good men fail to act…

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  • Ahsan
    Mar 10, 2013 - 12:45AM

    fat chance

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  • moderatist
    Mar 10, 2013 - 12:47AM

    @Madiha Afzal. you may be right but the “man on the street” is fast becoming a savage, burning down houses of his fellow citizens in the middle of the town. there are those who have kept being a ray of hope, no doubt about that, but they are too small in number. others are either indifferent or actually think the way a TTP guy thinks. it will take decades to get rid of this virus if we start today.

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  • Carl
    Mar 10, 2013 - 1:16AM

    Sounds like a lot of wishful thinking. Exactly how is a few people donating to relief efforts going to stop the terrorists?

    Many countries have suffered from terrorist and insurgencies. To stop it you need strong, determined (and maybe even ruthless) action by the forces of the state. But in a Pakistan where even educated, “liberal” people are in total thrall to religion, where’s the will?

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  • Weird
    Mar 10, 2013 - 1:23AM

    It’s been 40 years since everyone in the population started caring about the Ahmedis among them, let’s see how long it takes the civil society to roll this back.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Mar 10, 2013 - 1:43AM

    @p r sharma,
    rightly said boss.

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  • Falcon
    Mar 10, 2013 - 1:45AM

    I believe in Pakistan and in Pakistanis too. We have to rise from our ashes since failure is not an option.

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  • MSS
    Mar 10, 2013 - 4:26AM

    The state or federal governments should name ALL the organisations who are connected with terrorism in any way not just LeJ. If there is Al Qaiada, LeT, JM or any other, they must be named honestly. No organisation should be protected. There is no good terrorist in Pakistan or anywhere else in the world. The establishment has to come clean and against these criminals whatever their creed and must take action against them in epic proportions. Only then can Pakistan even think of rising again. As long as there are people in power who indirectly either support these terrorists or draw power from them, there will be no new rising and the situation will only continue to deteriorate.
    The author’s emotion is welcome. She is human.

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  • F
    Mar 10, 2013 - 4:52AM

    Rise? Again? !

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  • Roni
    Mar 10, 2013 - 5:17AM

    You wrote ” army and police far outnumber the terrorists responsible for these attacks. So, how can the militants be more adept than the state, time and again? How can the state refuse to take the name of the terrorist organisation, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which took responsibility for the Quetta attacks? Why has its leader been arrested in Punjab on charges of hate speech, instead of suspected terrorism?”
    The fact is PML-N and Sharif are allied with the LeJ in Punjab which is 60% of Pakistan. The govt of Sharif would never arrest their political allies no matter what. These are our strategic assets and coming home to bite us.

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  • sundar
    Mar 10, 2013 - 5:21AM

    I hope your wishes come true. But it needs lot of work from the real powers not from the civilian government. Pak army has to realize terrorists are not the ‘assets’. If the army ‘really’ wants to put an end to terrorism, I believe, it can.

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  • Kajamohideen
    Mar 10, 2013 - 7:19AM

    @Author
    You have a short memory. Have you forgotten the “compassion” of the Pakistani man on the street displayed when the “crime” of blasphemy is hurled at anyone? And have forgotten how two young brothers were bludgeoned to death by your “compassionate” Pakistani Muslim man on the street on mere suspicion of a crime? Your Pakistani man on the street is a bloodthirsty beast.

    Regards

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  • Kafir
    Mar 10, 2013 - 9:27AM

    how is amrika … the majority non-muslim country??? sab bariya ??

    bhala ho tum musalmanoon ka ….

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  • Mar 10, 2013 - 10:09AM

    One thing I don’t understand is if people came out to help not knowing whether if the victim is a Ahmadi or not, why are there laws against them, calling them non-Muslims, in this Democracy?

    Doesn’t that contradict your statement? Would they have helped the person if they knew he was a Ahmadi, would they have given him their blood?

    I like realistic opinions, rather than some Karan Johar like fantasy and see only the good side, even when there was a god-forsaken blast!!

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  • sabi
    Mar 10, 2013 - 10:34AM

    Pakistan has a future if this nation is ready to fight for human rights for many of its fellow citizens who are officially declared second or third class citizens.At present there are no signes of any realisation for that obligation even amongst educated class(intelectuals) let alone common man.In the wake of sad state of mind of this nation there is strong likelyhood of fundamentalist taking control of this land of ignorants.Doomsday!

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  • Rao Amjad Ali
    Mar 10, 2013 - 10:40AM

    First of all to attend Yale, drive a nice car, live in a safe environment and talk sense are, to the best of my knowledge, practices that are neither imprudent nor punishable by law! I believe that in the main your observations are sensible and reflective of our national ethos, Madiha.

    There is good evidence that despite 20 odd years of regressive Zia/Musharraf regimes, a mjority of Pakistanis have liberal leanings – they like to get western education, watch Bollywood movies and if given half a chance will dance their hearts out to the likes of Jackson, Reanna and Beiber. And by the way I just got back from a trip to Rahimyar Khan, Bhawalpur, Hasilpur, Chishtian, Rajanpur and Jampur and so have some sense of the “street”.

    Interestingly prior to the 2008 elections, many a guru had predicted that if there is one place where mullahs would emerge victorious by a landslide, it is KPK. Well guess what? The most liberal/socialist of all active political parties for whatever its worth, ANP won the majority vote in a province that was allegedly cascading with little chance of a retreat to the fundamentalist cliff.

    Indeed, there is a huge disconnect between the state and its people in Pakistan and that is what keeps, in my view, the Pakistanis glued together, unleashing extraordinary nervous energy, dynamism and inventiveness made necessary by the struggle to survive, not because they are innately gifted with unusually high doses of Samaritan goodness.

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  • Humanity
    Mar 10, 2013 - 11:05AM

    @author

    Does not matter if growing up you did not care to know which sect your friend belonged to. The fact remains the common man on the street celebrated when the constitution was polluted in 1974 with falsehood and bigotry in the name of religion. Persecution is a natural outcome of enforcing a specific religion as the law on a diverse group of people. The common man is now armed with the lethal weapon of sliting throats in the name of religion.

    A ‘Public Policy’ that is bereft of respect for human rights is a policy of oppression and tyranny. Please spend some time to research human rights and why Islams places such great emphasisi on the protection of haquq-ul-ibad.

    Please wake up from your dream. Pakistan will never rise unless the common man learns to become human by lletting God be the judge of the faith of the others.

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  • 1984
    Mar 10, 2013 - 11:29AM

    I do love your hope…But I would like to remind what some guy called “Markandey Katju” remarked about Pakistan…He called it a “Jurassic Park”

    Though,he has a bit of a verbal diarrhoea,I agree with his analogies….

    Jinnah like John Hammod wanted to build a nation which will show the world how great his religious people are….But they went wild and started attacking the tourists…Now after finishing all other forms,the T-Rex (Sunni) are attacking the velociraptors(Shia,Ahmedi) and there is bloodshed everyday…..

    A nation formed out of hatred is now getting consumed by it and the only way to rise is to let it go….

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  • Hassan
    Mar 10, 2013 - 12:31PM

    I think it is the mindset of people who with spate of constant violence since late 80s have given up. I am very hopeful that Pakistan can come to at least some state of normalcy in my lifetime and it already seems like a distant dream. Until we recognize the problem and address the root cause, we will remain in a long state of denial… Most Pakistanis are stuck in the first and second stage of grief cycle i.e. Denial and Anger. We need move on to “Acceptance” so we can figure out how to address our problems in a rational manner.

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  • karma
    Mar 10, 2013 - 12:46PM

    History shows us, nations rise and fall and rise again. But, constitution of a nation (boundary, system, ideology) doesn’t remain the same for long centuries (except a very few).

    So, Surely – Pakistan will rise again. I mean – What ever is left of Pakistan once all these religious madness ebbs.

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  • Mar 10, 2013 - 1:01PM

    Madam, please do not despair. Good you are in America. Get all the education you can and then if you feel like it, make the change. Salams

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  • Mar 10, 2013 - 3:37PM

    well the author as a girl has written a nice article but an emotional article and in the era of globalization business doesn’t understand emotions.so if no business no rise then how Pakistan will rise again??? the author did try to put her own opinion that is respected but lacks logic as her article did not explains or backed by any laws of economics but rather contains full of emotions so coming to conclusion that Pakistan will rise again is irrelevant.

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  • cautious
    Mar 10, 2013 - 3:42PM

    Upbeat article but I doubt the authors childhood Shia or Ahmadi friends share her optimism.

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  • Shahid Kamran
    Mar 10, 2013 - 4:34PM

    @Nadir:

    One way or the other the Army has failed. Thousands of civilians have lost their lives due to terrorist organisations that expanded throughout this country during rule of an Army dictator. Even today intelligence services, FC, Rangers and other forces controlled by Army fail repeatedly. We do not spend our hard earned money so people can live in prime housing societies and play golf while our kinsmen die. Over forty thousand Pakistanis have died 90% of them civilians because Army was unable to do its job. Respect is earned not extorted.

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  • Parvez
    Mar 10, 2013 - 5:00PM

    A nicely written ‘ feel good ‘ article for the author but not really grounded in reality.

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  • singh
    Mar 10, 2013 - 6:18PM

    How to raise from ashes

    India is not your arch enemy , it ain’t would attack you . Cut your defense budget .and divert this money into public welfare schemes. with proper check of funds.
    Cap control on monster corruption plaguing the system. with harsh punishment to the perpetrators.
    bring on english education with your own desi subjects. dunt feed your young genration with india and jew hatred .
    curtail the Army power and bring on strong and stable democracy..
    give proper attention to each and every sect be it balochs or anyone . decentalization of power. its easy poeple u can do it a progressive and stable pakistan is all that india want
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  • Kashmiri
    Mar 10, 2013 - 7:12PM

    Is she some sort of cheerleader? At least cheerleaders are mildly knowledgeable about the game and are in the stadium! Her knowledge is abysmal, quite apart from the content-free feel good stuff she keeps repeating, And doing it from the Cozy Confines Of the “Great Satan” half way around the world is even more annoying.

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  • MSS
    Mar 10, 2013 - 7:48PM

    As pointed out by any commenters, I hope this religious zealotry and madness does not become a frenzy like partition of India. Someone has aptly said here that man in the street HAS to learn to become human first. The problem is”aadmi ko bhi muyassar nahi insan Hona”.

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  • gp65
    Mar 10, 2013 - 10:51PM

    @Falcon: I hope that what you say comes true. But wishing and hoping like the author is doing will not get you there. If there is a silent majority that is against sectarian killing and suicide bombings, against the use of blasphemy laws to oppress minorities, against kidnapping. raping and forced conversion of Hindu girls, against the killing of NGO workers and polio workers, against sending jihadis to neighbouring countries and creating fassad there – now is the time for them to speak up and let their voice be heard.

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  • gp65
    Mar 10, 2013 - 10:58PM

    @Rao Amjad Ali: “There is good evidence that despite 20 odd years of regressive Zia/Musharraf regimes, a mjority of Pakistanis have liberal leanings – they like to get western education, watch Bollywood movies and if given half a chance will dance their hearts out to the likes of Jackson, Reanna and Beiber. And by the way I just got back from a trip to Rahimyar Khan, Bhawalpur, Hasilpur, Chishtian, Rajanpur and Jampur and so have some sense of the “street”.”

    All that you described above is not what liberalism is. Liberalism is tolerance of dissent and speaking up for the oppressed. That is not in evidence at all. Be it the suicide bombings and naaras of Kafir, Kafir, Shia Kafir, or the kidnapping and forced conversion of Hindu girls or the descration of Ahmadi graves or the ongoing use of blasphemy law to oppress minorities or the suicide bombings or the blowing up of girls schools or the killing of Redcross workers and polio workers there hasn’t been any noteworthy protest.

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  • Rafi Ka Deewana
    Mar 10, 2013 - 11:08PM

    The solution to Pakistan’s problem is very easy and simple. 1st, be a Pakistani, 2nd, be a Muslim. Until that happens, no matter what you do, it ain’t going to work.

    Pakistan has to decide – should it exist for the Muslims of the world or citizens of Pakistan. If the choice is the 1st one (seems like it), then why worry about a country called Pakistan as Islam knows no national boundaries. Just work for Islam and accept whatever shape and size of Pakistan turn out to be.

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  • Hassan
    Mar 10, 2013 - 11:47PM

    @Rafi Ka Deewana: You hit the nail in the head. Well said!

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  • Rex Minor
    Mar 10, 2013 - 11:52PM

    Miss Afzal,
    Your emotions are well meant, but please do not ignore the reaity nor your over dramatising will help. Your country is a war front for the country which sponsors you. Your country’s arch enemy India is still occupying Kashmir. The infrastructure and highways of Pakistan are being used by the country who is droning Pakistan women and childern of the North who do not speak the language of the privileaged elites. Your country is not yet in ashes either.

    Many imposters from the world of neo-cons, and incompetent from the home front have put in their best to lead which is not good enough. People alone have the power to resist occupation and people alone have the ability to build and rebuild the land for the benefit of the people. And the people need a leader whom they can trust. Where is this Caesar that the people want, where is the ‘Chavez, of Pakistan, the commadante of the proleterians, the Saladin of the defeated muslim warriors, who can restore their dignity, provide freedom and dignity to those who have nothing more left than their faith? He or she is certainly not going to come .
    from the universities of Neocons!.

    Rex Minor

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Mar 11, 2013 - 12:45AM

    @gp65:
    Very good analysis. Being modern does not necessarily mean being liberal.
    Way of living has nothing to do with way of thinking.
    A village woman working in fields maybe more liberal than her city counterpart.
    Its all in the mind.

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  • Rafi Ka Deewana
    Mar 11, 2013 - 1:25AM

    @Hassan: Very easy to say. The problem is implementation. Mullah’s income is based on Islam, not on Pakistan. The telebans make their living based on Islam, not on Pakistan. The Madarassa thrives because of Islam.

    How will you convince them to pull back, to sacrifice their livelihoods. Just not possible.

    Only the citizens of Pakistan can decide not to go to them. But a whole generation of Pakistanis is so brain-washed that it believes in the reality that doesn’t exist. So, if I have to analyze the whole situation from ground up or top down, my conclusion will be, it’s just not possible – at least not in the near future.

    Neither I see a dim light anywhere nearby which you hope will brighten up some day.

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  • Mar 11, 2013 - 3:16AM

    I just find this kind of unfounded overtly optimistic talk as delusional and not what you’d expect from an academic or policy analyst.

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  • Abid P. Khan
    Mar 11, 2013 - 3:20AM

    @Author:
    “…in the lawyers who declared March 4 a day of mourning for the attack….”

    .
    Madiha Afzal, sees hope, this time around did the lawyers run out of rose petals? Be realistic, Missy.

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  • Arzoo
    Mar 11, 2013 - 5:50AM

    Please, for Heaven’s sake, everyone who is taking the author to task for expressing her inbuilt hope that “Pakistan will Rise again.” Her thesis is based primarily on the fact that for a people who are so vibrant and possess many noteworthy values it is only natural to overcome the tremendous difficulties and present day mayhem to one day become viable again. What is so difficult to understand in that? In the 1860s of America in the midst of their Civil War it would have been difficult for many to fathom that just 100 years later America would be a Superpower. Yet Alexis de Tocqueville had kind of predicted that in the 1840s. Bravo, Madiha, for a nice article.

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  • Sidrah
    Mar 11, 2013 - 8:49AM

    I wish I could go to Yale and all those big shot Universities the author is affiliated with. Sigh

    Anyway In my opinion humanity is slowly diminishing away from Pakistan. Do you remember the Ahmedi Bomb attack. I personally know a few people who distributed sweets on that. How about the Sialkot mob who killed two children by lynching them. I dare you to watch that video once without feeling the urge to vomit. What about Mumtaz Qadri being glorified and garlanded? Did you forget that? What about the 11 year old and mentally disturbed girl booked for blasphemy or a mentally ill man burned alive for blasphemy?
    Why even go far. You are a woman and just see some of the things happening against women in our country. Actual journalists in credible newspapers published articles in support of acid attacks saying women bring it upon themselves by dishonouring families. 90% of people believe that rape is a women’s fault and she caused it to herself. Most people don’t even take domestic violence seriously.

    It feels so nice to sit in a big office in USA and write something hunky-dorey about Pakistan. But truth is bitter and different from reality.

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  • rehmat
    Mar 11, 2013 - 9:45AM

    @Arzoo: “In the 1860s of America in the midst of their Civil War it would have been difficult for many to fathom that just 100 years later America would be a Superpower. Yet Alexis de Tocqueville had kind of predicted that in the 1840s”.

    Each country has its genes that show where it is headed.

    US assimilated people of diverse races and religions and from day decided that there would be no state religion. This is why the best and brightest from world over were drawn to US. What is the status of minorities in Pakistan?

    US acknowledged its mistakes and corrected them. Any idea what happened to Hamudoor Rehman report?

    For the first 150 years after its indepndence US focussed on building itself up economically. Did not depend on any other country for that purpose. Pakistan started wars of choice repeatedly with India and on top of that rented its army for foreign arms making some Pakistani generals very rich but impoverishing the Pakistani people.

    From day 1 US was a democracy and has remained one. In Pakistan the people themselves have distributed sweets each time an army man seized power.

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  • Babur Sohail
    Mar 11, 2013 - 10:31AM

    Did not read the column only want to comment “Pakistan will rise AGAIN”
    I am doubtful about again. Did we ever rise????? Although I strongly believe we will.

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  • Milind
    Mar 11, 2013 - 1:11PM

    @Rafi Ka Deewana – That’s optimistic & wishful thinking at the best… It can serve as a map, but what about the means to achieve it…

    Pakistan needs an Ataturk, who can stand his ground and stamp out this menance in your country. 2 people I think can fit the bill (as of now), one is Musharraf – whatever his shortcomings, he exhibited his proclivity for secularism after he expressed his admiration for Ataturk (when he took power in 2000). Second could be Imran Khan – being western educated and having seen the world, he can also be a suitable candidate, provided he aligns his thought processes well and discards his overt expression of religiosity…

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  • Rex Minor
    Mar 11, 2013 - 4:02PM

    Those who glorify America should also know that the colonialists occupied the land of apachies and brought slaves from Africa to sweat under the supervision of the European immigrant pioneers how the west was won. There was nothing civil about the so called civil war. Yes Super power indeed, but tell us the one war USA has won on their own; O’K Nicaragua, Panama.
    There is no alternative to self reliance, innovation, creative thinking, hard and honest work. Your country produces the finest surgcal equipment and sport articles in the world. Peace in your land will bring investments and improvement in life style. Look east, yours is the land of the future. The power of America is ebbing away, the Romans, the Habsburgers, the Imperialit America, Nunc Potens Minus Est.

    Rex Minor

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  • TraxRider
    Mar 11, 2013 - 5:58PM

    @Rafi Ka Deewana
    You are missing the first basic step, definition of what is Islam and what is a Muslim. We dont even have that sorted yet.

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  • Tafi Ka Deewana
    Mar 11, 2013 - 7:51PM

    @Milind: 1st of all, I am an Indian who like many here, want Pakistan as a stable country. When I said “dim light”, that is what I meant – someone who has the vision. Musharraf or IK – I don’t know how strong they both are. Musharraf already had attempts on his life when things were much quieter. IK – not even sure which side he belongs to.

    @TraxRider: Yes. A very ordinary man caring about his family and believing in Allah could be a Muslim, but in today’s Pakistan, that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, seems like.

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  • Riaz Ahmad
    Mar 11, 2013 - 10:40PM

    Pakistan will rise again?????
    Nations do not rise with wishful thinking and rhetorical slogans, they have to understand themselves and the world around them, work out a viable and functional strategy and work hard to achieve the targets. Pakistani masses put the entire blame for their troubles on corrupt politicians and military dictators, but they are not being honest with themselves. No doubt, dictators, corrupt politicians and equally corrupt and dysfunctional establishment are part of the problem, Pakistani masses are just as much to blame. Society in Pakistan is just as corrupt, they have absolutely no moral or ethical values, Islamic or otherwise; they have no respect for law or any rule based system. Pakistani society has long been living in a state of chaos, where corruption is an accepted norm of the culture; their is no awareness of immorality or illegality, an ultimate state of deep rooted ignorance. There is hardly any difference in social behavior between uneducated poor and educated middle class in so far as respect for law and ethics and morals is concerned. A society with out these two indispensable social ingredients will never make progress, it will continue to live in a state of chaos and culture of dog eat dog society. If there is to be a change in Pakistan, then it has to start from the roots and not from the top.

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  • Arzoo
    Mar 11, 2013 - 10:51PM

    @rehmat: You have a very twisted version of US politics and history. As someone who has lived in the U.S for the last 43 years I think that I can tell you a few things you have conveniently pushed under the rug in your eagerness to disprove the author’s thesis. In the not too distant past, not even more than 45 years ago, the black churches were still being blown up and the blacks were still being lynched by hanging from the trees in the South. And the huge Ghettoes in the industrialized North were a testimony to the despicable conditions blacks were living in and to a great extent still continue to live in. There is nothing in the genes to prevent those unfortunate circumstances. Get over your tunnel vision and genetic theories. Pakistan is going through a tough time and is suffering the consequences of getting involved in the intricacies of the Cold War between the Big Boys. Things may get worse before they become better. But Better they will be, have no doubt about it.

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