Why I will never leave Pakistan

Published: May 4, 2012

People of my age or younger are eyeing exit strategies much more seriously than before. However I did, still do and will continue to refuse leaving Pakistan and settling somewhere abroad as an option. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

I have been robbed twice at gun point. On an almost daily basis I witness the gross negligence or ignorance towards the concept of civic sense. Traffic cops more often than not are more interested in lining up their pockets with ‘chai paisa’ (money for tea) rather than implementing the traffic laws and regulations.

The festive season in this country sees a surge in prices rather than a celebration of the occasion. Our current government doesn’t carry the best of reputations and is widely thought of as corrupt. The remaining political options consist of an idealistic autocrat, a tried and tested party from the centre and a mixture of extremists and power hungry feudals. There is a general lack in direction of where the country is headed or where the inflation and ability for the common man to survive in this country is going.

The daily news in the papers consists of people getting robbed or murdered. You can also find tussles in the political corridors of this nation between its institutions and establishment. There is a growing ‘brain drain’ trend. People of my age or younger are eyeing exit strategies much more seriously than before.

Despite all this, I refuse to leave Pakistan. I will always deny the option of settling down in some foreign country somewhere.

I do acknowledge that all of the above mentioned problems exist on a grand scale in our country, but at the same time there also exists good and the potential for greatness.

There exists the human strength in coming together in great numbers at the time of need arising after a disaster ( flood relief, earthquake relief); there exists the talent of extremely bright minds in our country; there exists brilliant artists; natural resources; creative entrepreneurs; wonderful musicians; passionate sportsmen, captivating play writers and performers.

Where people see political turmoil, lack of dedication and the ‘Pakistan First’ spirit in our national leaders, I see the great potential and a vacuum for people to make things happen themselves. I see inspiration from the examples of Shaukat Khannum Memorial Cancer Hospital, TCF, Teach for Pakistan, Edhi and SOS village.

The potential and thirst to do good by our country will always remain. We just have to make that choice and actually commit.

We can continue to dwell in useless drawing room discussions about how things are rapidly deteriorating in Pakistan, but what good will this do? What we can choose to do is acknowledge the problems and then maybe do something about them - whatever we can do in our individual capacities.

I will never leave Pakistan because this country has given me a good education, a blessed life and boundless happiness. It is now my time to give back.

I am not, and will never really be interested in getting involved in fixing the political scenario of this country. I don’t believe that is where I can contribute. I believe in humanitarian causes and have already made a choice for myself. I hope and pray to Allah that I get to that point where I have the ability to implement what I have in mind.

Let’s actually start thinking of ‘Pakistan First’ as more than just a random party slogan or a political mileage making sentence; let’s make it a goal. Let’s not just wait around for a symbol of hope for change in this country to come into power to fix things for us. Let’s start trying to fix things ourselves.

This post originally appeared here. 

Follow Shiraz on Twitter @sammywiseguy85                                                                                                                                                                                        

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Shiraz Abdullah Mahmood

Shiraz Abdullah Mahmood

The author is a marketeer by day and a blogger by most nights. He loves writing, football (Arsenal! Gunner since '99) and is a delusional romantic of the Pakistan cricket teams. Avid book reader, viewer of sitcoms and general fun lover! He tweets @sammywiseguy85

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/PakistaniHindus Pakistani Hindu

    Tall claims come to naught in Pakistan.
    SO DON’T TRY TO BE A HERO.. YOU MAY END UP AS A JOKER.Recommend

  • Maira

    Probably you could do far better to bring good name to our dear homeland by utilising your education on bigger scale and telling world we are also very respectable, educacted and far genious than west can even imagine. Sorry to say, but sitting in a cozy room writing this blog will not do any wonders.Recommend

  • Jeans

    Glad to read stuff like that,, i totally agree with the facts you have mentioned and these problems are also generated by us, we are the cause, we have to own these and have to solve this, if we start contributing little efforts we will definitely be a good nation and the good thing is that the youth of Pakistan is actively taking part to make a clean Pakistan.
    Good luck to AllRecommend

  • Omair Mushtaq

    Ask not what your country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country. – JFKRecommend

  • Ehson

    Go abroad, get a good education (i.e. real education as opposed to the farce over here), earn foreign currency, and when the situation makes becomes better (as in India where the brain drain has reversed because of rapid economic growth) come back and contribute to your country’s development. Any efforts that you put into Pakistan right now, no matter how good they are, will come to naught because the society and government will not support you in the long run (they might in the short run). In other words, it will be wasted. Despite Edhi’s benevolence, despite Imran Khan’s charity endeavors, despite Abdus Salam’s genius and Abdul Qadeer Khan’s perseverance, people continue to starve and die of poverty here and also continue to remain uneducated and illiterate. And they will continue to do so in greater numbers. Until both society and government change from within.Recommend

  • Parvez

    A country, any country needs leadership to set an example, build systems that function in the peoples interest and to show the way forward.. If this is missing as it is and has been for most of our 65 years then we will remain an ‘almost failed state’, a very unenviable position to be in.Recommend

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/PakistaniHindus Pakistani Hindu

    @Parvez:
    Haha.. yes a messiah would come and bring an end to our miserableness.Recommend

  • omair shahid

    i totally agree with u that we have created these problem it’s time we act to solve this problems little by little.Recommend

  • Rehan

    Don’t worry. Pakistan will leave you.
    Regards,
    RehanRecommend

  • Devils Advocate

    @Rehan: Hahaha, good one Rehan! seems so with creation of 4 more provinces!Recommend

  • malik

    Why you will never leave Pakistan? Because, you will never get a Visa in future.

    PS: Post-2014, when US will have no need for Pak, they are proposing to close down all the consulates, to prevent angry Pakistanis from visiting US. The best chance is to migrate to France, claiming that you are from Azad Kashmir. Recommend

  • Nwaq

    Quiet a heart warming article,may this spirit prevails everywhere in Pakistan.Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Arshad_Afridi Tribal_Pakistan

    This country has taken two of my close relatives on a same day, its law enforcement couldn’t provide security to my neighbors and their 5 years old got kidnapped and then killed. due to poor security system i cant have a good car even if i can afford, I could not jog at evening because 3 guys had been kidnapped from this park since last 1 years. I cant go to my village because Taliban had threatened us to pay them money. I cant have music in my relatives weddings because Taliban have banned it. my relatives cant come out of their homes after ‘Maghrib’ because army’s curfew starts then. and the list goes on…. Recommend

  • Syed Nawfil Rahim

    Dear, the article is great, at least you are spreading good words. Your words can be initial step to bring a change in our behavior.Recommend

  • S
  • Hira Z

    Completely disagree! I’m going to take first flight out as soon as I get visa. Whatever with Patriotism when there is a constant fear of target killing,Random jalaao ghaaro , mobile/car snatchers ,dreadful traffic jams and every othr day a strike!Recommend

  • HNC

    @Maira
    Sorry to say, but sitting in a cozy room commenting on this blog will not do any wonders either,Recommend

  • Nadir

    This is all very good feel good stuff, but the good life and opportunities that you have enjoyed are not what Pakistan have given you but a kleptocratic system that makes sure that an upper middle class elite has access to opportunities. This same system that you are hailing and thanking, also ensures that a vast majority of Pakistanis do not have any of these same opportunities. Recommend

  • usmanx

    Got nothing but love for you brother. Recommend

  • mansour

    Not to mention that you will always be a second class citizen anywhere else in the world. Those who dream of being “americans” and “british” and “canadians” will always remain a second class citizen because they know they are Pakistanis at heart. I would rather stay here than settle abroad as a second class citizen. Recommend

  • Maira

    @HNC:
    I have not even tried to do wonders. I have given my point of view how you can serve Pakistan in best possible way. PeaceRecommend

  • Noble Tufail

    majority of us tend to see the qucik results … when they don’t see em … everything goes dark for them ….. but someone from somewhere has to start this painstaking journey of progress .. so that the blessings of hard work could reach the passive receiptients of “results” …… I have to say they thinking like Shiraz takes a lion heart …. and yes why not all those who think like shiraz .. thier course of life is way differrent than the normals …. they have to become spartas through tough trianings of life .. so that they could execute thier dream. Keep up the spirit Shiraz. Recommend

  • Kumail

    You are a person in self-denial. Nothing more to say.Recommend

  • Hassan

    For those criticizing him, i would say, he at least has the devotion to come up with a written statement of that kind, and btw those sitting out of pakistan like me don’t deserve to criticize him one bit, your guilty conscience invokes you to bully him on this!!

    Kudos to the write, i hope you can keep this flame burning, its not easy to do that under increasing economical pressure and weight of expectations, take it from the one who tried and failed!Recommend

  • http://[email protected] sheharyar

    … I like your optimism but i do not agree with the core substance of this blog. Do you think people who go abroad, they do not help the country in any way? They earn the foreign money and then send it to homeland thus increasing our reserves.I think,in recent times, the “brain drain” has actually done good for us then harming us… Recommend

  • Amjad

    @Maira: The number one source of immigrants to Canada is India and China – it seems all the people there are desperate to leave. It’s not just Pakistan; it’s called globalization and people will always look for greener pastures. The reality is that you give up something for every trade and many people regret leaving Pakistan when they see what happens to their kids.Recommend

  • http://renegadex.wordpress.com Shiraz A. Mahmood

    Thank you for the responses. I take all the criticism in a constructive light. Just to clarify:

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion regarding the state of Pakistan and what needs to be done in their view. The blog piece is my own personal view on things and doesn’t necessarily mean that it will echo with a lot of people. Everyone forms their opinions and views out of their personal experiences and understanding and my experiences and understanding lead to believe what i have written in the blog.

    The blog was not in anyway meant to make anyone who has gone abroad feel guilty. That is their choice and they should be at peace with it. This is my choice.

    Thank you for reading :) Recommend

  • BlackJack

    The assumption that those who leave Pakistan are deserters is infantile and reprehensible. No doubt, they go to find a better life for themselves and their loved ones, but how does staying behind in this land of chaos provide any benefit either to you or to them? The article is actually a statement of self-love cloaked (rather thinly may I add) in meaningless patriotic platitudes. You will never leave Pakistan because you are probably of no use anywhere else.Recommend

  • Naughty

    Real reason that you will not leave Pakistan is that you cannot get a US visa.Restvis just sentimentalist speechRecommend

  • Bilal

    You can claim all u want about what ‘potential’ this country has. I have seen more than enough to realize that this nation is doomed. I know you’re all going to say oh what u have done for your country bla bla bla. I will tell you what I have done, I have dealt with people honestly, given everyone respect regardless of who they are, followed the law, followed the rules as much as possible, gave way to other cars, stopped at red lights. But unfortunately people like me are never rewarded for such behavior instead we’re mocked and seen as fools who can be taken advantage of. The saddest part is we call ourself the “Islamic” republic of pakistan.
    I would love to leave pakistan and never return, this place makes me sick. People who say that we live like second class citizens in the west, have you ever lived there?? The kind of fairness and respect with which we are treated as immigrants in those countries is more than we will ever get in our own country from our own people. In the west they dont care which social class you belong to, whether you drive an expensive car or take the bus, whether you’re a clerk or a executive, everyone is treated equally and that is the beauty of those countries. Everyone has equal rights in the eyes of the law, which is actually upheld and not just some worthless words on a piece of paper like it is in pakistan. Recommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    Shiraz – You are a good soul. I agree with you for the most part. However, I would humbly suggest based on reasonable amount of reading of development economics and to certain extent of history that you should not shy away from participating in politics or supporting the best option amongst the political entities. Its dirty precisely because it is the top of the power pyramid. Philanthropic work might pacify your soul but it is just a band-aid and the real difference only comes through changes in meta-structures and processes, which is unfortunately difficult to achieve without fundamental reforms of the system. Interestingly enough, I have arrived at this conclusion after a lifetime of hating politics.Recommend

  • bangash

    I think you should not give up a possible educational or business opportunity abroad. You can always return to Pakistan.

    Best of luck brother.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Very nice, Shiraz. Recommend

  • Good One

    Shiraz I like your article , very well-written, but disagree with your viewpoint.

    You see, you’re right now what 26? Wait till you get married and have kids. Your viewpoint will change completely. Once you settle down with family you have to not only look out for yourself but also your beloved dependents. Security risk is too high in Pakistan and a major driving factor for families settling abroad.

    You’re saying all this patriotic talk right now but trust me once you realize the stakes of your own family you will think otherwise.

    Regards,
    Good OneRecommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    You know what I think?

    I think I’ll pledge my allegiance to something much greater than this country: humanity. Whichever country allows me to serve humanity the best, I’ll go there. Whatever allows me the best opportunities to perform scientific research and expand the boundaries of human knowledge a little bit further, I’ll stay there. Whatever country recognizes my worth and doesn’t treat me as a second-class citizen for being an atheist, is where I belong.

    I’m thankful to a certain group of Pakistanis, but I owe nothing to the country. Pakistan didn’t educate me, my parents educated me with their hard-earned money. The services and utilities that the government has provided me, we paid for them through bills and taxes. We didn’t get our money and food because of the benevolence of the Pakistani public, but because we offered them certain services in return. The simple altruistic acts that I have witnessed, are nothing that I haven’t witnessed in the 29 other countries I’ve visited.

    A child’s allegiance shouldn’t be determined by what territory he falls on to as he emerges from his mother’s womb. If the author had been born and lived in Tel Aviv, he would’ve been writing a nauseatingly sweet article about how much he adores Israel.

    I, on the other hand, make my own destiny.Recommend

  • Hassam

    I have been meaning to write something like this for some time, just to share the positive things that I see / remember about Pakistan! Shiraz, great job there my friend, you done good! I was hoping against hope that you wouldn’t get trolled on this, but I guess I can’t expect much can I! There is a lot of bad in our country, but then there is some good and we have to cling to that! So good job highlighting that and holding that close to you.

    I would like to address Bilal here, who wrote something quite harsh in the comments section! I have no background information on you sir, but I assume you have not really been ‘to the west’ or lived outside Pakistan to believe what you do! I currently live in the UK and do not see the fairness you are referring to. While I myself have been fortunate and blessed, I have seen and heard plenty of cases where people have been treated unfairly based on their ‘social status’ or colour of their skin. Especially in the economic environment these countries are in, you are still treated as an outsider and I know of second generation Asians who, even though are British and know of no other culture, are still considered outsiders! I have personally witnessed bribery here. Deals have gone through simply because of said bribes. Corruption is not as rife as it is in Pakistan, but it’s still there! I have friends from Eastern European countries who reminded me of Pakistan when they talked about their own country! The situation in their countries is more or less the same as it is in Pakistan! A friend had malaria, went to the hospital thrice, was told he had the flu. Fourth time, he fainted because of fever and then his friends had to arrange an ambulance for him.

    I understand I am talking in very vague terms here but I just wanted to give some idea that things are not perfect in other countries either! Okay, the extent is very different, but still. We have GOT to stop blaming others and blaming our country and stop externalising! I applaud Shiraz’s resolve to get involved and do something! I was part of TCF’s Rahbar Programme and plan to join it again as soon as I return. At least he is doing something and isn’t blaming anyone. He’s not sitting at home but going out there, making an honest living, and also giving back. So good job Shiraz, and please don’t let the Trolls and negative people get you down!Recommend

  • Mbn

    Every year some self styled patriot comes up with an article/post like this.
    Every year it makes even less sense than before.Recommend

  • ayesha_khan

    I will also not leave because no other country is willing to give me a visa.Recommend

  • Bilal

    @Hassam

    Sir I have lived in the United States for 3 years before returning to pakistan. I have also lived in Saudi Arabia for 17 years. You only refer to things you have heard about, but what have you experienced yourself?? I heard Osama bin Laden was living in Pakistan for a long time before he was killed. maybe thats true as well?Recommend

  • Bilal

    pakistanis love to exaggerate how they are humiliated and stripped at US airports yet they conveniently forget how many pakistanis get caught trying to use fake visas and passports to enter the country and how many stay in the country for years after their visas have expired. I myself have never been discriminated or been stripped for a random security check, and I have travelled through a variety of large and small airports in the US. I was only subjected to the same security search as every other white skinned blue eyed blonde haired american and nothing more. So dont just believe everything your friends tell u they went through because you never know the whole story.Recommend

  • SnQ

    Loved this article. Mainly because it highlights the importance of doing something for our country. The problem with most Pakistanis living abroad is that they have a tendency to crib about a country which they chose to visit once every few years. Yes there are a lot of issues that Pakistan is dealing with. And it’s a pity that the country has suffered so much..but cribbing in a country abroad won’t be of much help to this nation. I believe where you earn your rizk is decided by Allah, so where I end up is probably not in my hands. But i truly hope I can contribute in any small/big possible way that I can to a nation that has given me an identity.Recommend

  • Cynical

    @Loneliberal PK

    What an enlightening post.Congratulation, from the bottom of my heart.Recommend

  • Zoaib

    Thumbs up for not leaving Pakistan (I assume you have that option) but please do reconsider your decision of staying away from politics. Aristotle said it right when he said that when there’s injustice in a society, everyone will participate in politics except for two kinds of people, one would be the selfish ones, and the other cowards.

    We as a nation (and especially the educated class) has to understand that unless we step forward and enter the dirty world of politics (in whatever capacity we can), we can never hope to clean it and bring out the transformation that we require in Pakistan. Being apolitical is not really an option anymore for us…Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    Patriotism is more often than not the hatred of other countries than love of your own.It limits your faculties and clouds your judgement yet is instinctive in it’s very nature!.Recommend

  • Critical

    Chill guys!!!

    I’m an Indian,but I find it too much that you’re criticizing someone who wants to stay in his home country….

    Everyone has their own way of looking at life…The author loves Pakistan and wants to stay there…Even I love my country and I’m desperate to return back when my assignments gets over rather than applying for green card(I’m sure I will not be rejected)…
    Yes,living in USA has lot of advantages than being in India…But I dont get the same warm feeling I get in India,even though we have power cut,rising petrol prices,food inflation,population explosion….

    I’m not sparking any revolution to save my country…I need to feed my family more than to sacrifice for my country…However,I contribute to my country by filing taxes correctly,not misusing public property,try not to dirty the surroundings(In India,we have dustbins in every corner but its dirty compared to US where I sometimes had to walk across 2 streets to find a trash can)…

    Just like in the tamil movie Anniyan(dubbed as Aparichit in Hindi),if everyone contributes a little to the country,the country will automatically get improved…Whats the use of cribbing about politicans and police when we ourselves fake tax claims and not follow rules…

    I salute your patriotism brother…Hope to see your tribe increase in Pakistan as a sane Pakistan would help India a lotRecommend

  • ST

    Living abroad in a country like Canada, I can say it’s no better…We have had theft at our home with everything gone and police DON’T do anything here…they just make a report and say claim insurance if you have one…I have had theft at my office 1 time and 1 fraudulent transaction as well…nothing to do for the police still…I have had thefts in my car 3 times, once during daytime…but nowhere to complain…and btw, I lived all my life in Pakistan and never had such incidents…and now for the people who want to flame me for staying here; no i m not staying..will be back in Pakistan!Recommend

  • http://renegadex.wordpress.com Shiraz A. Mahmood

    once again i would like to thank everyone for their comments and for reading this post. and once again i would like to clarify that this article is not about being a narrow minded patriotic nut who wants to have a go at people who went abroad. When I was talking about the brain drain I meant it in the sense that the situation is such that people are wanting to leave. I am not accusing them of anything. It is my personal opinion however that some of the brain will need to stay back in order to fix the ‘brain drain’ or rather to ensure that the future of Pakistan is that which will motivate and inspire the future generations of this country to stay on and work here and contribute here. And yes I am going to think of Pakistan first and that has nothing to do with me having a limited faculties or a cloudy judgement. I don’t have any hate or disregard for any other country, race or ethnicity. But I would by simple application of logic first like to fix the place where I have come from or hail from in whatever capacity that I can. Recommend

  • Babar

    Well I haven’t read the article but let me make a guess. Because you belong to the elite?Recommend

  • ubaid tariq

    @Pakistani Hindu: Let him be, if he has a passion for it:)Recommend

  • Hassam

    @Bilal
    Aah so this makes things a lot more easier to understand. :) I generally don’t dwell on what I have gone through personally, but since you have mentioned this: 1) I was asked to wait nearly an hour while my passport was ‘checked’ at Heathrow once and the other time, had to wait about half an hour, 2) had my passport scanned and checked thoroughly in Paris and Geneva while others were rushed through 3) have been called a Paki (in the derogatory sense) at least 3 times, 4) been called Osama bin Laden on a particularly eventful Halloween night 5) told that I must be a terrorist (by a Nigerian gentlemen of all people!!) when he found out I was from Pakistan 6) had to wait 6 weeks to get registered with the NHS while others were registered much earlier and then there are a couple of more examples of things that I have found particularly interesting here! I am not saying these experiences have made me think any less of the British or the ‘goras’, but just saying that bad things happen everywhere!

    I am glad you have not been stripped or searched at an airport, thankfully neither have I! I am also glad you have fond memories of your time outside Pakistan, and if you are unhappy in Pakistan, then I certainly wish you get the opportunity to move abroad because with such an attitude, it is very difficult to be a productive member of the economy! Such negativity can’t be good for you and neither can it be good for those around you!

    Just to add to this, instead of focusing on the fact that Shiraz doesn’t want to move abroad, can we focus on the reasons as to why he wants to stay in Pakistan? He has highlighted some good points there, can we all please focus on those and let them brighten our outlook? If we keep being so negative, how can we even be remotely productive and stay sane!! Can’t see anyone in power looking out for us; we have got to take care of ourselves and motivate ourselves!Recommend

  • Farhan

    Why is everyone coming up with articles like these? I’m not trying to hate but write something which adds to the readers knowledge or makes them think. I have read a bunch of articles on Tribune recently – all of them talking about what goes on in Pakistan! Everyone knows that. Recommend

  • Ali J

    I am person living in usa and I say this is a great article. After finishing my education I will come back to Pakistan to make it a better place. And yes if I had my way I would be in Pakistan right now.Recommend

  • farah

    this is true there are lot of troubles and issues going on in our land but still its a best place for a pakistani to live in I am in USA wana come back to my country so bad .life is not what you see in the movies out side world also have problems and issues .be possitive and do your duety towords ur country have faith in Allah.Pakistan is the best.Recommend

  • HQ

    I’d rather not live in the country than pay taxes to fill up politician’s personal pockets. I’d rather live in a place which provides my family opportunities to prosper, and provides me the ability to give back to my parents, who have done much more for me than my country.

    I am sure you studied at a private school; have never used public transport, go to private doctors (and pay out of your pocket), spend most of the day without electricity, and have never trusted the authorities to provide you protection. So what exactly is that the country gave you? An identity? An identity that becomes an abuse as soon as you leave Pakistan?

    Sure its the people who make a nation. But do you really think you represent the views of an average Joe who believes in corruption, bending the rules. discrimination, religious intolerance etc, and represents this country. I am sure you are not. Yet you have to carry that baggage.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love Pakistan and really want the country to prosper. But, I, like every other human being, am selfish and rational, and understand the daunting task at hand. If you want to live in denial sir, then be my guest. Recommend

  • http://renegadex.wordpress.com Shiraz A. Mahmood

    @HQ .. I respect your views as everyone is entitled to their own views and opinions. I would however request you not to make assumptions out of nowhere. I have used public transport. My entire schooling has been in federal / armed forces schools, etc etc. I don’t belong to the ‘elite’ but yes I come from a priveleged background. There is a difference between priveleged and elite. And I am sure I don’t represent the views of the average joe, I represent the views of someone from my background who has the choice to stay back and contribute in whatever way they can to make this a better place , hand in hand with the average joes. Recommend

  • Hadi

    I live in US and I can say all kinds of discrimination exist here based on gender, religion, ethnicity and nationality. If you get a stable job, living in your own country is far better.Recommend

  • Bilal

    Hassam my friend you’re complaining because you had to wait?? really? thats not really their fault its the fault of your country having such a wonderful image in the international community that you receive such protocol. But were u denied entry? were u asked to pay bribes? were u disrespected? I doubt you were. You complain about being called a Paki at a Halloween party a place where 75% of the people are most likely drunk. Again really? And you complained about a Nigerian calling you a terrorist, well hes an immigrant himself and not a gora. Besides what about the way we constantly mock Pathans, sindhis, punjabis, biharis etc in our country? All those pathan jokes that people SMS to one another, have u seen something like that being done by goras against pakistanis abroad? These people are mocked by their own countrymen and nobody cares about that but when a foreigner calls you a Paki or a terrorist you start crying discrimination and what not. Really?
    As for contributing to the economy, sir I make an honest living for myself and pay taxes – something which over 50% of our population doesnt do – so that my government officials will have enough petrol in their Prados to drive to and from their mansions in defence. You think this economy can be made better by someones attitude? Have you ever studied economics or business my friend? With people who are more interested in taking kick backs and bribes than ever letting the economy prosper, people who would sell counterfeit medicines and food items which harm people just to make money, do u honestly believe one person with an ‘attitude’ can help this economy prosper? I really hope the positivity from my corrupt, deceitful, selfish and crooked countrymen serves our nation better than mineRecommend

  • BlackJack

    @Shiraz A. Mahmood:
    @Loneliberal PK:
    To the writer, I respect your patriotism and appreciate the effort taken to make those 2 posts above – my first post may have been overly critical. However, I do not equate love for one’s country with physical presence; I am probably of more use to my country as an expat than as a resident citizen working in a private company – I make forex remittances that are larger than my salary in India, utilize less of scarce natural resources, and (hopefully) add to existing goodwill towards India as an attractive talent pool that will help a number of other Indians in the future – and the cycle runs on, and then goes into reverse, with many NRIs (and foreigners) now making a beeline for India.
    To Loneliberal PK, your humanist point of view does you credit, but may also have to do with your exasperation with your country. I subscribe to the same philosophy, but am grateful to my country on several counts; for staying strong without jettisoning liberal values – I am but a by-product of this; for possessing a history and mythology that piqued my imagination early on and added layers to my character; and for allowing me to experience unparalleled diversity, to learn many languages and feel comfortable in a substantially different environment. I don’t wear my patriotism on my sleeve, but identify myself as Indian on several levels.Recommend

  • Rashid

    @Pakistani Hindu:

    This sentiments of writer are of higher level of understanding than that of your’s.
    I really appreciate the writer’s patriotism.Recommend

  • HQ

    @Hadi: I live in the US as well and have not felt anything. Yes there is some discrimination, but there are laws in place to protect you. No one will put you behind bars for voicing your opinion. The Blasphemy law, the law against the Ahmedis etc. ensure that people exploit religion to their advantage.

    I had a more than a stable job in Pakistan but i moved. Recommend

  • HQ

    @ Bilal.. Spot on!Recommend

  • Bilal

    @ HQ exactly. So many christians jew muslims whites blacks hispanics arabs asians live together in the US in peace and harmony with no ethnic violence. Why? because the law has given protection for everyone to practice their own religion the freedom to do what they want as long as it doesnt harm anyone else.Every state u go to no matter how big or small has at least one or two mosques which the government has allowed to be built. I doubt in pakistan christians would be given that much freedom to build churches. And the most important thing is that the law is enforced and implemented. In pakistan its almost a daily occurence where mohajirs savagely murder pathans for no reason other than their ethnicity, balochi people kill mohajirs and so on. Recommend

  • Rehan Ali

    I will never leave Pakistan because I am Pakistan :)Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Pls read *piqued in my last comment as intrigued for want of a better single word replacement – error made due to shoddy editing of a larger post.Recommend

  • http://Tdurrani.blogspot.com Taha D

    Great piece, Shiraz. At least you’re honest about your motives, without any sugar-coating. Haters stay away. I sometimes fail to understand the criticism put up at tribune blogs by readers – while some of it may be logical, most is simply for the sake of criticizing, with pointless arguments and assumptions. Read, move on, do what you do best. Don’t demotivate those that love to express themselves through their writing.

    Godspeed and all the best to everyone. Recommend

  • Hira Z

    @HQ:
    Can’t agree more.
    ET has more genius commenters than contributors.Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Pakistani Hindu: No,not a messiah….. just an honest, patriotic person.Recommend

  • Awais

    @Pakistani Hindu:
    Hopefully that was sarcasm, otherwise your belief in a magical messiah coming and making everything better is one of the things that hold Pakistan back most of the time.Recommend

  • Awais

    @Rehan Ali:
    YAWNRecommend

  • Awais

    This post reminded me of a scene in the movie The Way Back (2010) Several people escape from a Russian Gulag prison camp and they arrive at the border, one of them can’t leave despite the hardships he has suffered in ‘ze motherland’.

    I’m going to start of by being honest, I was originally going to post a pessimistic and negative comment about progress in Pakistan, the religious extremism and cultural stereotypes that I think holds it back, I’m British, born and raised in London and been to Pakistan almost every summer of my life and spent one year in Lahore. Each time I go there I feel nothing but pity at the people who suffer and frustration at the ignorance of the people who blame America, Israel and the West.
    But yet again, I always have hope for Pakistan, maybe, just maybe we can all come together and make Pakistan a safe and better place to live. Pakistan has been on the list of 20 failed stated since 2006. Maybe we can change that.Recommend

  • http://- Adil Memon

    its just disapointing how everyone has disagreed and have Said they would leave Pakistan given the Chance… but Pakistan is a piece of Land we make it hell or heaven and i guess its only us to be blamed for leaving pakistan get to this stage and the Chronic Diezezz like Corruption and Violance have Engulfed it… just saddens me :( Recommend

  • NSK

    its surprising to see some of the comments on this piece. this really shows the state of mind of we as a nation are in. if someone intellectually/objectively try to point out problems and gives out his/her opinion we start to question the life style, background, affiliations etc. of that individual. We actually are guilty conscious and are afraid to come out in open expressing voice. but we are quick to criticize and be judgmental about others’ opinion.

    well done Shiraz for initiating the thought process (thumps up)Recommend

  • HQ

    @NSK: With all due respect, I am not sure how guilt plays a part when someone tries to disagree with the writer’s point of you. I did not see anyone question the life style of the writer either. A more educated term for it will be “putting things into perspective”.

    Capital (including human capital), in a rational world, gets allocated to its most efficient use. Capital flight will continue as long as the mind-set of the people, more than anything else, changes. These sentimental patriotic pieces do nothing but reinforce the status quo, and remind me of the irrationality that prevails in our society. It reminds of me of why I decided to leave Pakistan and start over in a place where your opinion is heard, and where basic human rights are considered paramount and not compromised for the sake of religious symbolism.

    If we do not come out this irrational, sentimental, and biased love for our country which we conveniently term as ‘Patriotism’, nothing will change. Recommend

  • http://why-i-will-never-leave-pakistan mirkhasim

    Shiraz beta, are u in US or UK now. Recommend

  • Bilal KL

    @Hassam:
    If you think Pakistan is so safe and have so much potential why do you live in UK … Bro its easy to be said then done…. Yes i agree that Pakistan has its greatness but when it comes to the basic safety of your loves ones nothing is worth staying in that hell hole…
    I am sorry but I rather be a second class citizen of a First class country and have peace of mind .. I just hope and pray for our country…. Recommend

  • K!n!

    I don’t want my children to grow up in a country full of mullahs and the worst thing is their numbers are increasing like rabbits. Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Nicely done, Shiraz. The first step for spreading awareness is by starting on a small scale. Good stuff. As for the pessimists- well they’re aptly called so for a reason.
    Keep up the good work.Recommend

  • raza

    i left the country ten years ago for better life, trust me (qasam se) i m regrating it now and i would rather love to atleast burried in my homeland and guys believe me or not iam planning for it……Recommend

  • Bilal

    @Pakistani – theres a difference between a Pessimist and someone who talks about reality. If you think after 65years this country has even made an ounce of progress then I think you’re a perfect fit for Pakistan and the ideal voter that people like Zardari look for.Recommend

  • HQ

    This goes to all the foolhardy patriots, including the writer, who want to stay in the country, because they see something magical in our anarchical society. And especially to those who label the one’s who leave as pessimists, as apposed to rational individuals who are aware of who is, and will be, running the country. I encourage everyone to look at the video, and see our leader embarrassing himself and the entire nation. Our leader cannot care less about the brain drain.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/09/world/asia/pakistan-gilani/index.html?iref=allsearchRecommend

  • Hasan

    Unbelievable…a guy posts a positive message about Pakistan, and he gets more support from Hindustanis than his own people.

    I was born and raised in London – and I’m more grateful than words can express to my parents who took the opportnity to come here. I love the UK dearly, mainly for the reasons that many have so far mentioned already – there IS equality, there IS law and order, there IS tolerance, and there IS a system in place. So there is no way I can babble on about the courage of living in Pakistan, when I myself have never done so.

    However, let me mention also that there is racism here – against Muslims in general, and Pakistani Muslims in particular. The amount of times I have had to talk to goreh – both friends and strangers – in defence of Pakistan is too often for me to remember. There is a growing right-wing movement, as manifested by the BNP, EDL, National Front, and even the changing pollicies of mainstream parties. The quality of living is in decline, people are looking to relocate to Canada and Australia among other places, and there is no sign of things improving. So if somebody wants to say life is good here, I will agree, but if somebody wants to argue also that life is difficult here, yes I would agree with that also.

    But none of that is relevant. What makes me laugh is the level of abuse this writer can get simply for offering a different viewpoint. Whom has he offended? He has already posted several times to make it absolutely clear that he isn’t judging those who have left, or who are hoping to leave. He hasn’t indulged in mindless patriotism – half of his article was a stinging critique of the country, for God’s sake. So why has he come in for such mindless mockery?

    Next door there is a country with a far higher poverty rate, with similar levels of unyielding corruption, with chronic malnutrition issues, and with a growing energy crisis – and yet Hindustanis go out of their way to support their nation to the hilt, whether from within the country or from overseas. The most abuse I have had to take for being Pakistani has not come from goreh, it has come from British-born Hindustanis. Imagine they had a chance to comment on this article…they would probably have most of you guys applauding them.

    Shiraz, you’re a pioneer – people like me can send overseas remittances, we can try to combat negativity within our personal spheres of influence, and we can do what little we can from thousands of miles away. But people like you have hardship to suffer, and judging from these comments, your only reward from many around you will be cynicism and hostility. I don’t know what to tell you, brother; I just hope and pray that you will ultimately be rewarded.

    HasanRecommend

  • Pakistani

    @Bilal
    I wouldn’t jump to swift conclusions like you. And who says ‘being real’ means being hopeless and pessimistic about the state of the country? I’m positive that 65 years from now, our country WILL see betterment. Because 65 years from now, the youth will be running the country. And I don’t know about you, but we certainly realize our responsibilities and duties to our homeland.Recommend

  • Vicky

    Thank you Sir. Very nice article. I especially liked the part where you said that you will stay in Pakistan and make it a better country. I love that part because there are already too many muslims in our non-muslim country. By staying in Pakistan – you are helping your country and ours too.Recommend

  • Kamran Abdullah Murad

    Well Written Mr. Shiraz , I am proud of you for writting such an inspirational reading.

    “When we see the need for deep change, we usually see it as something that needs to take place in someone else. In our roles of authority, such as parent, teacher, or boss, we are particularly quick to direct others to change. Such directives often fail, and we respond to the resistance by increasing our efforts. The power struggle that follows seldom results in change or brings about excellence. One of the most important insights about the need to bring about deep change in others has to do with where deep change actually starts.”

    — Robert E. QuinnRecommend

  • Confused

    Why is everyone so patriotic? Why must you only serve Pakistan and not any other country in dire need? Because you happened to be born in it? Why are you accountable for the actions of hundreds of millions of people in various scenarios in the country? If not, why make a big deal out of it?
    I really can’t figure this out, spending so much time and energy figuring out why one should/should not stay in Pakistan when that is not a major concern, Chanting slogans when it is not conceivable to generalize so many people and cultures under one name.
    Your parents and your school gave you your education and your cultural values, not your country. Your country is a piece of land that has been manipulated beyond measure.
    But I sincerely admire your passion, it’s only how you’re directing it is what I am worried about. Pakistan is nothing if not for the people in it, and honestly I think humanity should be the primary concern and the nation secondary.
    Of course help those around you, that is the best thing any human can ever do, but for the sake of improving lives, not improving a country, there is a difference. Get the best chances from wherever you can, which I doubt are abundant in Pakistan, and then help the poor people from a stable base. Or is that not a Pakistani thing to do?
    I apologize if I’m not making any sense here, sorry for wasting your time.Recommend

  • HQ

    @Confused: Agreed!. Humanity should be the primary concern. Religious symbolism (I am not talking religion itself, in case the fanatics get offended), national allegiance etc is secondary. The question should not be whether one leaves or not, but whether one takes decisions to optimize life. Recommend

  • Khalid Shahzad

    Dear Friends

    A complaint case of Blasphemy laws 295 B ppc has been filed on 18- 5- 2012 in Farooq abad Police station FIR NO 173/12 against Sajjid Masih S/o,Inayat Masih of Sadeeq Abad Farooq Abad District Shikhupura Punjab Pakistan. Yesterday morning 8:A.M when Sajjid Masih was going out for breakfast from his scrap shop. When crossing near the electricity poll where box of holy pages was hanging and burning with fire Faisal S/o,Akhtar Called him and asking him about Fire but Sajjid masih just ignored and going his way, Then Faisal Akhtar, Imran Ashraf ,and Nafees Akbar shouting and the villager were gathered, They protested and blocked the road and shouting against Christian community then the city police station Farooq abad reached their and the registered FIR against Sajjid Masih and arrested him The perpetrator is Mohammad Shaher UL Zaman who is the President of (Karwan-Tahfooz – Quran) Farooq Abad. Today 19 May 2012 police send him in to Shikhupura Jail without presented to Magistrate. The Trail will be going on in the Jail due to some awful situation.

    Khalid Shahzad

    Human rights activist.Recommend

  • sheila

    @BlackJack: He never said those who leave Pakistan are deserters, infantile or reprehensible, overseas Pakistanis are beneficial in their own way to the country providing remittances etc, and we have to have some brain and talent left in the country that can at least pave some way for betterment for its future. Things just don’t change one day sitting and doing nothing. People of high resolution are required for that and I appreciate this guy Shiraz’s optimism and determination. These are the sort of people we need to stay in Pakistan, meanwhile every Pakistani is important in their own way, be it overseas or staying in Pakistan. so please don’t confuse yourself. I’m with you Shiraz, good going! light the flame, no matter what. we need peace and people with good and positive intentions here in Pakistan, it is the need of the hour!Recommend