I often ask myself this question: are we a free nation? My answer, usually, is no. While we have been a free nation for 66 years on the map of this world, we’re still not truly free. Our great leader, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, gave us a free homeland. After that, we didn’t bother putting down a constitution for the first nine years of the newly freed country. The military has ruled us for over 30 years, out of the 66 since Pakistan’s creation and yet, we call ourselves a democratic nation. We have amongst the poorest literacy rates in the region — even when compared with the Saarc countries. No one in the world is ready to trust us. We are treated like terrorists at international airports. We are amongst the largest nations facing terrorism and the security situation in this country is extremely poor. Our major business institutions are failing: Pakistan Railways and PIA are good examples.
Almost 40,000 people — citizens and security forces included — have lost their lives due to the ongoing war on terror. Terrorism, the deteriorating law and order situation, unemployment and the energy crisis are amongst our major problems but our rulers and leaders are busy focusing on other issues. Over 50 per cent of our population has no access to health and clean water for drinking, and an even larger number is deprived of basic health facilities. To add to all this, there are three million children who are not going to school and the poverty rate is increasing by the day.
Under these circumstances, can we honestly say that we are a free nation and are moving in the right direction? I think not. We haven’t moulded as a nation yet. We are just a bunch of people moving together, but without a clear direction, towards an unknown goal. Most of us are leading our lives without any purpose. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow so, I believe that we are just killing time.
If we want respect from countries the world over, we should head in the right direction. We need to give priority to education and provide basic facilities for our people. We need to fight corruption and strive for a corruption-free Pakistan for our people.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2013.