Pakistan: Locally underrated, globally misunderstood

Published: September 28, 2011

I personally have met some of the most amazing, genuine and down to earth people in Pakistan and have been welcomed and respected by locals ranging from the modest gatekeepers to the more affluent and educated populations.

“Out of all the places in the world, why on earth would you want to go to Pakistan?” 

A question I have heard in various forms by countless people. After six months of living in Pakistan, I imagined the questions and shock would have settled by now. However, I am still continuously asked why I am here. On many occasions, Pakistanis have been just as shocked as anyone else as to why a non-Pakistani would ever want to stay in such a country.

I am not only troubled with the misconceptions and ignorance of non-Pakistanis, yet find it just as upsetting that locals think so poorly of their own nation and people.  I am well aware of the socio-economic and political factors that are hindering the progress, prosperity and full potential of Pakistan, yet do Pakistanis really have nothing to be proud of?

Nonetheless, I can’t ignore the countless problems facing Pakistan. Poverty is widespread and visible on the streets.  It is rare to go out of the house without being approached by beggars. The gap between rich and poor is massive. Poverty levels match up with the extremely low overall literacy rate of approximately 50% and the millions of school-aged children that are not even enrolled in school. It is also linked to a number of other socio-economic factors facing millions of Pakistanis, however most of these issues are ones faced by many developing nations around the world and not specific to Pakistan per se.

Unfortunately, Pakistan has a reputation of being an uncivilized and inherently violent country. I was recently asked:

“So, are there roads in Pakistan?”

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Also, I cannot even keep count of the amount of times I am asked:

“Are you safe there?”

Contrary to popular belief, I have never felt in danger or unsafe while living in Pakistan and it is more developed than the average outsider might think. I have come to learn that a number of years back, quite a few foreigners used to study, work and vacation in Pakistan. Safety was not an issue for locals and foreigners alike and the image and progress of the country was significantly better than it is now. Pakistanis genuinely desire peace and security just as much as anyone else and many even reminisce about the good old days.

Yes, the current security and development situation has deteriorated more recently. For example, I have been in Karachi during the horrendous bloodshed and indiscriminate killings going on throughout parts of the city. It seemed that almost every day I was hearing about how dozens of people were killed in the most gruesome ways. The general trend is such that the less privileged communities are most affected by these occurrences.  Sadly, locals seem to be almost immune to such violence and political conflict. Some might take a few moments to discuss, watch or read about such happenings but at the end of the day, life goes on. Can we really blame them?

In my eyes, one of the main causes of this violence and other problems in the country that are hindering Pakistan’s development is politics. Pakistani politics is as dirty as it gets and the average Pakistani is left suffering as a result. Corruption is rampant and the leadership has not shown a genuine interest in the well-being of Pakistanis and the overall progress of the country.

Yet, we can’t deny that similar or comparable problems are happening in different parts of the world; even places you would not expect. The ethnic/sectarian/political conflicts of Karachi are almost mirror images of those in Beirut (past and present). Various forms of violence have occurred recently in the UK and Norway on a relatively large scale. Security is not guaranteed anywhere. Every country has its set of problems. The point is, Pakistan should not constantly be singled out or misrepresented.

With all that said, I genuinely believe that Pakistan has great potential. People severely underrate it and discount all the wonderful things this country has to offer. Living here has made me appreciate the natural and historical beauty found in different parts of Pakistan. I still remember how captivated I was during my bus ride from Lahore to Islamabad. The serenity and greenery of the fields was truly breathtaking, not to mention the mountainous terrain once reaching closer to Islamabad. Also, Karachi’s beaches add character to the city and are enjoyed by all people, regardless of their background. Pakistan definitely has it all; from mountains to beaches, hills to plains and forests to deserts.

In addition to the scenic views, Pakistan is filled with countless historical and archaeological sites from various civilizations and empires dating back approximately 2 million years. Many sites are still intact or being restored and preserved. I visited a number of sites in Lahore such as the Badshahi Mosque from the Mughal empire and was fascinated and engulfed by the picturesque structure. Overall, Pakistan has a rich landscape, history and culture that should be appreciated by locals and foreigners alike.

An interesting observation I have made is that in some neighborhoods of Pakistan the homes are so unique and beautiful that it is difficult to find two that are exactly the same! Each has a particular style and touch to the exterior as well as the interior. Sometimes, I love driving around the streets of Lahore and Karachi just to observe the diversity of homes with their colors, shapes and landscapes. The houses are just lovely!

Since I arrived in Pakistan, I had been anxiously waiting for mango season to arrive as it is one of my favorite fruits. It was definitely worth the wait. Without a doubt, I have never tasted more delicious, juicy and sweet mangoes in my life. I was also unaware of the countless varieties of mangoes available till coming here. Mangoes aside, Pakistan has such an abundant selection of locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables that it could probably get by without needing to import such goods. In general, the natural and agricultural resources are plentiful.

On top of it all, I personally have met some of the most amazing, genuine and down to earth people in Pakistan. For the most part, I have felt welcomed and respected by locals ranging from the modest gatekeepers to the more affluent and educated populations. Even though my Urdu skills are basic, people really appreciate my efforts and are happy when a foreigner tries to use the local language.

For example, the first time I interacted with my friend’s gatekeeper  I said:

“As-salam alaykum, aap kaise ho?”

(Peace be with you. How are you?)

He had the biggest smile on his face and replied by saying:

“ Theek thaak! Wah wah, aap Urdu bol saktee hain? Bohot acha!”

(I am well thank you. Wow! You can speak in Urdu – fantastic!)

Additionally, I find many people from younger generations to have a strong desire to make Pakistan a better place and engaging in various forms of activism. At the same time, I am pleasantly surprised by the spirit of those who are less fortunate. Recently, Pakistanis celebrated Eidul Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. I loved seeing the masses out in the streets enjoying the holiday by dancing, playing music and gathering at the beach with friends and family. Even with all the problems and large poverty levels in Pakistan, people still manage to live their lives and make the most of it.

I have faith that Pakistan can overcome the obstacles hindering its prosperity through proper and genuine leadership. I find that many Pakistanis disregard the positive aspects of this country and my hope is that Pakistanis do not give up on their country but rather actively take on a role in making positive changes.

As for everyone else, I hope there will be a realization that Pakistan is in fact civilized, peaceful and beautiful in so many ways.

yasmine.ibrahim

Yasmine Ibrahim

A Lebanese American living in Pakistan who is a masters graduate from Purdue University.

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

  • http://www.elucidations.org Abu Bakr

    What a good read. Though some might argue that we actually know this stuff, it makes me happy to know that a foreigner living in Pakistan feels this way :) I really hope the country continues to please you.Recommend

  • Zainab Khan

    A well balanced piece overall. Seeing your own country from an outsider’s eyes is such a rare and different experience. Well done Yasmin, looking forward to reading more of your pieces.Recommend

  • hamida najeeb

    very well written and i think it;s the voice of most pakistani’s.
    we have a very great country and great people as well……….if only we would get good leaders. This country has loads of potentials , great resources , we just need to be steered in the right direction!!!!!! Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    A question I have heard in various
    forms by countless people. After six
    months of living in Pakistan, I
    imagined the questions and shock would
    have settled by now. However, I am
    still continuously asked why I am
    here. On many occasions, Pakistanis
    have been just as shocked as anyone
    else as to why a non-Pakistani would
    ever want to stay in such a country.

    I am not only troubled with the
    misconceptions and ignorance of
    non-Pakistanis, yet find it just as
    upsetting that locals think so poorly
    of their own nation and people.

    The rest of your blog is pretty good, and written with fair logic, but I take exception to this bit. I am sorry, but it seriously, sounds like pretentious pandering, to me.

    Look, I love Pakistan, and I love living here for the most part. There is nothing like living amongst your own people, eating your food, talking your own language, and enjoying your own culture etc.

    But come on, look at the security situation? The other day my parents were coming back from a party when violence broke out at the Baloch Colony bridge and some dudes ran at the car with sticks on fire and petrol cans, looking to burn vehicles.

    When I am abroad, I can take a jog outside at 11 in the morning without a worry. I can take a bus all over town till 2 in the morning. When I come to my apartment, I don’t have to worry about electricity, water etc. I can feel safe about expressing my opinion with little fear.

    I don’t care about my own life. I don’t even care about putting up with the inconveniences and lack of comforts when in Pakistan. But, when my siblings are out late at night, with all the horror stories I hear, I do worry.

    My grandparents home was brutally robbed a while back. My aunt’s neighbor was robbed and then raped (her husband comitted suicide after) some time ago in Defense phase 2.

    I love Pakistan. I really do. When I am abroad, I do all to push forward my country’s image. Hell, I developed a super crush on Rabanni when she showed big brass ones by speaking up for Pakistan when stateside.

    But, at no point am I in denial about the situation in my own country, no matter how much I love it. We, the citizens of Pakistan, with all of our love, have to stay vigilant.

    Thank god, I am living comfortably here, and I have nothing to complain about. But the average citizen is not so lucky. You have to work much harder to have a normal life in Pakistan, than you do abroad. So I don’t blame people for asking you why you choose to live here.

    This is coming from a dude who paints his face green and white when Pakistan is playing cricket.

    There is a fine line between denial and love. So, that’s why it seems your blog seems to be playing to the sentiments of the masses. Recommend

  • Beta

    Then why don’t you stay here permanently, you won’t, I understand, life is precious for all :)Recommend

  • Zainab Khan

    It is such a rare experience to see your own country through a non-Pakistani’s eyes. Well done Yasmin, looking forward to more pieces from you.Recommend

  • hamida najeeb

    very well written and a true expression of our feelings as well . We are , indeed a great nation with great resources,what is lacking is a good leader ship who can steer the nation in the right direction!!Recommend

  • Jibran Syed

    Amazing! one of the best blogs I have read on ET.

    However, I am a bit confused now – whether I should be depressed for having such a pessimistic outlook of our great nation or feel proud of living in a nation as described above – furthermore optimism identified rightly by the writer (i.e. a foreigner) – is probably expected from them as they are the most suitable judge of the abundant blessings bestowed upon Pakistanis – who continue to downplay them nevertheless.

    I sincerely hope Pakistan can overcome 1) Security/Terrorism Issues 2) Corruption and 3) Basic Utilities (Load shedding/public transport etc) and soon Pakistan shall be the best place to live/work in on the face of this earth!

    “hum bhi dekengay” wo din… very soon Inshallah!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    Just to clarify, I meant the bit I quoted, and not the rest of your blog, which was good, and highlighted a lot of the awesomness that you can find in Pakistan. Whoops! :) Recommend

  • Fah

    good blog.. still, why have you come to Pakistan? work? Recommend

  • malik

    Yet another person suffering from Stockholm Syndrome….sigh…

    by the way, please write more and tell us what we want to hear !!!Recommend

  • abdullah

    Im sorry but the ugly truth is Pakistan is what we have made it today. Its all cause of our own selves. Secondly, living in Pakistan is a sin. Im sorry but i do think this is the bitter truth.
    I say that because look at the people around us. Almost everybody and every organization is corrupt. Even if you go to any government organization for some legal work you have to give some bribe. Atleast accept the fact that we have bribe in our mind so we can get the work done. And as should know: “The one who takes and gives a bribe are both going to hell”Recommend

  • baqar

    This is the answer to the anti-Pakistan rant… Come and see, all Indian noise makers, despite the problems we have the courage to stand up and smile… and besides your beggar population is way larger than our entire population on any given day. Recommend

  • Bigboy

    “In addition to the scenic views, Pakistan is filled with countless historical and archaeological sites from various civilizations and empires dating back approximately 2 million years

    Am I the only one who didn’t get this? Lets hope the author settles in PakistanRecommend

  • Anonymous

    @baqar:
    Isn’t this blog regarding Pakistan and she clearly is not comparing to India or any other country but talking about its own beauty and nature……what is the need of bringing India or comparing to it. Do you only feel proud of your country when you try to put down somebody else’s?? Recommend

  • Anonymous

    @baqar:
    This blog is clearly identifying Pakistan’s unique features and beauty. Why do i always see the same thing that you have tried to do… every time i see an article about Pakistan or a comment…why do people have the tendency to compare to India..Can’t you be proud of your own country without comparing to others or is that only possible by putting down somebody else’s country?Recommend

  • faraz

    Be careful, you could get kidnapped and labelled Blackwater agentRecommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @ Malik
    i think you are suffering a anti pak syndrome like most of world is right now wake up man
    we know there are problems like any where else and i have a question what you doing
    for this counrty.Recommend

  • Pragmatic

    Author is talking like a tourist on an adventure trip. It’s very easy to say such things when you know you don’t have to stay for long. If she is so concerned about Pakistan why don’t she stay in the country and do something good for the country. People like her come from rich countries to enjoy in third world countries and return back after getting refreshed. Recommend

  • antony

    empires dating back approximately 2 million years? Which empire madam ? ..I like the Pakistan definitely has it all; from mountains to beaches, hills to plains and forests to deserts.” Because as an Indian I want to know what are all the good things in pakistan as I hear only bad news for the past few years!Recommend

  • SM

    Thank you for appreciating the truth about Pakistan and loving it the way you do => Truly a lift me up and a moment of pride Recommend

  • Arslan

    @Bigboy:
    Yes i got that too. But you cant really criticize a whole article for just one wrong fact stated in it. I agree on most of the things stated by noman but Overall the article was a good read. After all a little optimism is never harming in a situation as one pakistan is facing.Recommend

  • let there be peace

    may be it is just my prejudiced mind; the only thing I noted in this article:

    “As-salam alaykum, aap kaise ho?”
    He had the biggest smile on his face and replied by saying:
    “ Theek thaak! Wah wah, aap Urdu bol saktee hain? Bohot acha!”

    .
    he did not reply ‘wa alaikum assalam’Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Sorry but have to agree with the other comments about the “2 million years” bit….The birth of Pakistan only took place 64 years ago…..Recommend

  • Sajoda

    Yes, politics is a problem. In other countries people have realized people need to become active. Democracy’s guardians are the people, if they fall asleep, they have only themselves to blame if their representatives do not act as expected.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/world/as-scorn-for-vote-grows-protests-surge-around-globe.html?hp
    As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around GlobeRecommend

  • Shajia

    Well said Yasmin! It’s a tragedy though that Pakistanis can never come to appreciate all that they have unless they are given an insight through a foreign lens. I hope we can come to accept all that is great and all that is bad about this country, and get some discipline in ourselves to make Pakistan a better place.Recommend

  • Parvez

    98% of Pakistan is great. Its just the upper 2%, those who call the shots who are rotten.
    Hope you have a good stay in our country.Recommend

  • Cynical

    Nice post.You made my day.Recommend

  • Farah

    Even if you had not mentioned it, it is easily obvious from the article that you are merely a foreigner in Pakistan. Not trying to outright undermine your point altogether, I believe such feel-good articles are severely needed in Pakistan right now – and yes, despite everything, the country still has a heart, a history and people that are amazing. But is a person really making a misinterpretation when they say Pakistan is unsafe or that Pakistan is on the verge of a breakdown, and has almost broken down? I think not. I think those are just facts, whether or not every indvidual (or yourself for that matter) is severely impacted by those factors is another story, but that doesn’t mean those negative statements are “misinterpretations”. I lived in Pakistan for over 18 years, my parents and grand parents have lived there for longer and as much as they love Pakistan, as much as I love Pakistan, it’s hard for me to come up with a list of necessarily positive things happening in Pakistan. And say, even if some “good” things are there, do they matter? Does it matter that a person who drinks and smokes heavily does jogging at the same time? Not really. Recommend

  • Farah

    Also, let me clarify, I am not anti-Pakistan, so to speak. The comment I wrote before this one is merely to express the fact that such articles fail to make me genuinely feel better about the situation in Pakistan. Nonethless, thank you for your genuine effort. :)Recommend

  • Farah

    @Noman Ansari:
    Atta, boi! clapsRecommend

  • Malik

    “various civilizations and empires dating back approximately 2 MILLION YEARS” !!! It is clear that the entire blog is written with intention of playing with the sentiments of the people rather than giving the hard facts. Recommend

  • Amjad

    I think compared to some Arab nations such as Yemen and Syria, Pakistan is most definitely a safer place. I guess Pakistan is still better off than most Muslim nations if you include Afghanistan and Somalia. But you are right, despite all of our challenges, there is great beauty in our nation and our young generation is determined to improve things. Pakistan Zindabad!Recommend

  • Adeel

    @Noman Ansari:
    Exactly the author’s point of view… Rape/Murder/Knife attacks/Robbery, etc happens in EVERY country…
    I have lived in England for 6 years, I would know. There are areas in London I would not goto after 7pm…
    Yes Pakistan, especially Karachi, has a high crime rate, but every metropolitan, cosmopolitan city in the world has those problems… And yes, we have to be vigilant, which is true. Less fortunate citizens have it much much harder than us, agreed, however, I disagree with “…you have to work much harder in Pakistan to have a normal life than abroad…” NOT TRUE.
    watch Talat Hussain’s program on the plight of Pakistani immigrants/students in UK… you’ll be shocked. They are being forced into prostitution, etc to pay off their rent…

    Rather be a first class citizen in a third class country (insha Allah won’t be for long), than a 3rd class citizen in a first class country… Recommend

  • Muhammad

    Thank u for representing my country in such a beautiful way :)..I have also been asked same questions by my friends outside Pakistan, especially “Are there roads in Pakistan”? :@…Come on we are more civilized then many so called “developed nations” of the world..

    P.S : I am also waiting for the mango season ^^ !Recommend

  • Nazar Naqvi

    I am pleased to read the article. Yasmine has expressed her feelings and observations in a nice way. The facts are the same and we know about these. But its always better to appreciate and keep the hope alive. I enjoyed the reading of article. Recommend

  • Hasan Ayaz

    Thank You!Recommend

  • Saad khan

    Excellent effort ….i think its about time we learn to value wat is ours…..if a foreigner can value PAKISTAN…y cant we…????…Recommend

  • Bigboy

    @Arslan, Fully agree with you. She has written well. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    @Adeel:

    I would rather walk the streets of London than Karachi, any day.

    The End. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @ Noman Ansari
    I challenge you and walk in east new york at 8:00 p.m in the evening i bet i will find in some hospital with three teeths broken…Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @ Noman ansari
    come and walk in the streets of east new york at 8;00 p.m i bet you will be in hospital with three broken teeth.Recommend

  • salma hussain

    Its good u didnt come across violence but it effects everyone in one way or other. We do wish to live in our home land &really want to work for it but these politicians for the sake of their seat they put barriers. They talk of education, they do set up schools etc but after few months or a yr,there are only walls to see. Recommend

  • Arslan

    @malik bro this article is not about facts and figures. Yes i know the author stated one wrong fact about civilizations in pakistan being 2 million years old, even the modern man wasnt present that far back. But the point of the matter is that the writer is expressing her own opinion about pakistan, how she experienced it. She isnt giving us facts and figures to make us believe that pakistan is not as bad as the pakistanis themselves or the world believes.
    We all are well aware of the situation in pakistan. Not many people write good stuff about pakistan nowadays. I myself have come across this article expressing a good feel about pakistan after a while. Reading this article made me feel better and more optimistic about my country like most of the readers here. Once in a while it feels better to just breakaway from the mainstream and hear someting good about your country. Specially when some independent (non-pakistani) person is writing it. Its not that we are turning a blind eye on all our issues and problems, its just that i dont want to think about them for a couple of minutes and just have faith in God that one day our country will be a better place. Have a nice day.Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    Having been born and raised in Karachi. I have seen the deterioration over the years. I remember sitting on the sidewalk in Nazimabad an eating nihari at Mullah Nihari House at 1 am. I remember walking down the Clifton beach at midnight. Driving out to Khadeji Falls on the Super Highway and spending the night camping out.

    These are the kind of things that we cannot do any more as we run the risk of being robbed, kidnapped or killed.

    The world is right when they say that Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    @Ali Tanoli:

    Yea been there, done that several times. No broken teeth. Recommend

  • Amjad

    @Noman Ansari: Then you are welcome to roam the streets of London and make a point of going to all the dangerous places, particularly where foreigners from the 3rd World are detested. Let’s see if you don’t change your mind when a couple of British nationalist thugs of the BNP come across you. You forget all the social problems in the UK, particularly among Third World immigrants who live there. A good number of them don’t work but live on state social assistance/khayrat called the dole, live in government flats for the poor called council flats and are at the bottom of society since they don’t work. When you hear of the social ills such as drug dependence, single mothers and dysfunctional societies don’t say no one warned you!Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    It is unfortunate that the perception of Pakistan in the outside world is not positive. It is up to all of us to change this image.Recommend

  • Beta

    @Ali Tanoli:

    Walk in at any streets of Karachi at any time of the day, you are fired !!!Recommend

  • Raheel jutt

    Its good u didnt come across violence but it effects everyone in one way or other. We do wish to live in our home land &really want to work for it but these politicians for the sake of their seat they put barriers. They talk of education, they do set up schools etc but after few months or a yr,there are only walls to see.I have also been asked same questions by my friends outside Pakistan, especially “Are there roads in PakistanRecommend

  • Raheel jutt

    Also, let me clarify, I am not anti-Pakistan, so to speak. The comment I wrote before this one is merely to express the fact that such articles fail to make me genuinely feel better about the situation in Pakistan. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    @Amjad:

    This is getting tiresome. There are dangerous spots in every country of the world. It is sad that our entire nations is a dangerous spot.

    These arguments about parts of NY and London being dangerous are silly, and only dictated by nationalism. Be reasonable. If some parts of NY and London are unsafe, the rest is still awesome for enjoying yourself even late at night. Our country is just far more dangerous.

    Get over it. You can’t resolve a problem unless you admit it is there. Recommend

  • Jamie

    Yasmine this article is wonderful. I truly appreciate you sharing your experiences in such a beautiful way. Thank you. Recommend

  • Amjad

    @Noman Ansari: Yes this indeed getting tiresome and I only wish that people can learn to put things in perspective. The majority of Pakistan’s population lives in Punjab and there is no real security issue in the Punjab. Have you been to Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala or Faisalabad recently? Are there isolated instances of criminality and violence there too? Yes but nothing along the lines of Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya etc. I have travelled extensively, I can assure you that there are neighbourhoods in New York, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Los Angeles, London and Manchester which are a great deal more dangerous than those in our Pakistani cities. It is the hysteria of some misguided people which prevents any objective reading of challenges. And don’t forget, I am the first to accept that we have plenty of challenges but I think that the art of exaggeration is sadly a trait many Pakistanis have learned too well.Recommend

  • Saeeda Mushtaque

    Dear Yasmin,

    We, the Pakistanis, are really glad to see how much you love our country and your sincere effort, of introducing the world to the positive side of Pakistan in this critical time, is highly appreciated since we most of the Pakistanis, surely underrate our country ourselves. Who else to blame? as you can well analyze through the criticism and contrary arguing comments on your article. Its such a shame.

    Food For Thought:

    Dear Pakistanis (who have earlier negatively commented),

    We shouldn’t be this mean. Even if we or most of us are suffering, why discourage some foreigner for loving this beautiful land of ours? Are we the very reason, that makes Pakistan so unattractive today, to the entire world? THINK!

    Regards,
    SaeedaRecommend

  • Nafisa

    “Understatement is better than the over statement”.Recommend

  • Mastishhk

    @ Ali Tanoli
    @ Amjad
    @ Adeel……Try misspelling “Naat” in any part of Pakistan :))

    @ Noman Ansari..So agree with you….

    @ Author……Nice attempt at making ur feel better about ourselves..I would suggest u leave Pakistan asap if u haven’t been robbed or assaulted yet…….Do not stretch ur luck….Leave with happy memories and yummy taste of Pakistani Mangoes…Recommend

  • Yasmine Ibrahim

    Dear All,

    Thank you for your comments. I recognize that there are problems in Pakistan and security is an issue for many people. I do mention this in the article, but I did not dwell on it as it is not the point I was trying to get across. Pakistan is currently going through a rough patch and the situation has deteriorated from previous years. However, every country has its good and bad times and it can be overcome. My family is from Lebanon and our country has been faced with numerous problems, instability, violence, wars, political/social conflicts, etc. but no matter what I love and support Lebanon and find that the Lebanese are resilient as I notice many Pakistanis to be as well. Thus, my intention was not to come off as ignorant about the security, etc situation in Pakistan but rather give a different perspective and point out some of the amazing aspects of Pakistan and the people here.

    As some have pointed out, various forms of violence are common in almost all big cities in the world and not just Karachi per se. Thus, Karachi is faced with the usual violence found in a big city (robbery, assault, etc.) as well as the political/sectarian/ethnic violence more specific to the dynamics of the city.

    In regards to the part about the history of the land that is present-day Pakistan, inhabitants (Homo erectus) were found to be living near the Soan Valley and Riwat almost 2 million years ago.

    Also, I just accepted a new job here in Karachi so I am not leaving Pakistan anytime soon :) Recommend

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/urduboloaursuno UrduBoloAurSuno/SpeakAndHearUrduNow

    Great Article! Bohut shukria!Recommend

  • Muhammad

    @Yasmine Ibrahim: Thank u very much, i think its exactly the way we need to think about the problems, may be little bit “extra amount” of optimism is the way to go. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @ Yasmine Ibrahim
    Great explantion thank you miss and god bless u..Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    @Yasmine Ibrahim:

    Hope the 20 year rough patch ends soon. The only point of contention is that you don’t understand why people don’t get why you don’t live in a relatively problem free country like the USA than Pakistan. It is a perfectly fair question.

    Saying that there are dangerous spots there too is fine, but what the heck does that have to do with anything?

    It is like if I have a tiny bald spot on my head, and someone saying that I am as bad as someone completely bald. One tiny bald spot doesn’t mean a completely folically challenged head.

    Thus, Karachi is faced with the usual
    violence found in a big city (robbery,
    assault, etc.) as well as the
    political/sectarian/ethnic violence
    more specific to the dynamics of the
    city.

    OK, you are taking denial to an art form Yasmine.

    Are you serious? I have family all over London and the US. Every big city has its issues… Karachi has those, and then some by ten fold. Get real. Apples and bananas! Playing to the lowest common denominator here.

    Congratulations on your new job. Please enjoy yourself and be safe! :)

    @Amjad:

    When most Pakistanis talk about abroad, they talk about first world nations, not “Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya etc” LOL

    Anyway, you are mixing responses, moving completely away from base in order to satisfy some sense misplaced nationalism.

    You aren’t worth my time. Kindly point out one thing I’ve exaggerated, and I will send you a ticket to whatever “safe” vacation spot in Pakistan you desire.

    You are talking about exaggeration, when you are the one doing it. Unfortunately, it is people who lack intelligence, have giant egos, and can’t accept an issue staring them in the face without letting rage dictate their thoughts, that are holding this nation back.

    I’ve wasted enough braincells on you. I now realize that if I say one thing, you are going to correlate it with something, anything, in some desperation to sound right.

    Your arguments don’t have a leg to stand on. I am done. Recommend

  • marc

    Had you mentioned that you are from Lebanon, the the entire article would have made more sense !

    Compared to Lebanon, yes, Pakistan is a great country !Recommend

  • Amjad

    @Noman Ansari: It’s easy to say ” I am done” when you don’t have an argument. I suggest you take a good look at yourself and your motives. Then the truth will indeed free your mind. Yes Pakistan is facing challenges as are all Muslim nations from Tunisia to Libya to Egypt to Syria to Yemen to Somalia to Afghanistan. Your smug comparison with any of these nations or Pakistan for that matter is proving nothing to me. The point is whether or not there is beauty in Pakistan. Any impartial observer would say there is untold beauty in Pakistan despite all of our difficulties. You seem to want to ignore the whole gist of this article to indulge your gratuitous nation bashing. I hope that someone like you finds his way permanently to the UK or the US where you can get your just desserts. Your type of thinking cannot be changed since you have closed your mind to any objective debating.Recommend

  • Doctor

    Whoever this Noman Ansari guy is smart.

    @ Ajmad – your inability to differentiate between daily violence and issues that spread an entire city (Karachi) vs. pockets of poverty and sporadic violence (poorer parts of major US cities) shows that you aren’t really thinking very much. Are you kidding that Punjab does not have major security issues? You must not be Ahmmadiya because you’d be living in daily fear of being blown up. You must not be in Faislabad because you’d be living in daily fear of having acid thrown in your face. You must not be a woman because you’d be in fear of being raped. You must not be a Sikh because you’d be worried about your gurudwara being shut down and your business being thrown out of its rental property. You must not be a Sufi because you’d be worried about being killed at your place of worship. You must just be delusional.

    @ Author – you sadly take this too far to be reasonably received. Mr. Ansari is right.Recommend

  • http://www.pharmacytechnicianblog.com/ pharmacy tech

    nice post. thanks.Recommend

  • Rabia Malik

    Inshallah Pakistan will definitely overcome its all problems… but needs a strong and sincere leadership as well sincerity with our ownself and with our duties are given to us……. its very easy to criticise and talk for the change but nobody want to change him or herself….. so our land of pures can only be save n make progress if we r sincere with ourself and with our work…Recommend

  • Habib

    Great article. I started to love my country more than before. :) Recommend