Let’s love Pakistan ─ a new resolution (III)

Published: July 14, 2012
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I'm making a list of 65 reasons I love this poor, broken, taken-for-granted country we call Pakistan. PHOTO: REUTERS

In September last year, I took up the challenge of making a list of 65 reasons why I love Pakistan—the poor, broken country I and everyone else I know takes for granted. The idea was simple, but its execution, not so much. Which is why it’s taken me all these months to come up with the third set in the series.

With 26 reasons down, I now plan to complete the list in a number of quick and regular posts by August 14, 2012—Pakistan’s 65th Birthday.

So, here goes, again.

16. Thanda Pakola

Inspiringly green with a distinctively refreshing taste and smell, this purely Pakistani pop drink is perhaps one of the most prominent brands to come out of our country, ever. For the past 62 years, dil definitely bol raha hai… Pakola (My heart definitely says, “Pakola”).

 

17. Mithai

If you’re going to say you don’t light up at the sight of a pristine box of chum-chums and gulab-jamans that softly call on you to come closer and have just one (more!), then I’m sorry; you need to work on your Pakistaniat.

 

18. All those Guinness World Records

I have to admit I couldn’t find the exact number of world records Pakistan has held since 1955 when the annual reference book first started coming out. However, a little Googling confirms Pakistan’s top notch status as one of the most competitive countries in the world. Whether it’s for standing tall (literally) or shooting down five fighter jets in less than a minute; throwing balls that travel faster than your average Rawalpindi Express or simply squeezing 19 girlies into a two-door smart car; you name it; we’re on top of it!

19. The mangoes

Although I personally fall in the category of those oh-so-famously denigrated by Ghalib, I can’t deny the fact that our Langras, Sindhris and Chaunsas  are, without a shred of doubt, the kings of fruit everywhere!

 

20. Sufi culture

Sufism has played sitar with our veins right from its introduction in the subcontinent in the 8th century. The magnanimous contribution of mystical Sufi saints in conveying the message of peace, love and divinity through their philosophical teachings and excerpts of poetry of wondrous depth is virtually irrefutable.

Pakistan was lucky enough to inherit the shrines of some of the most prominent Sufi giants of the region, and their resting places continue to draw disciples in the thousands, providing them with food, shelter, peace, and most importantly, inspiration—something this world fails to offer.

21. The Moin Akhtar, Bushra Ansari, Anwar Maqsood trio

I think this one’s pretty self-explanatory and any attempt to explain or justify the troika’s significance for Pakistan would only be able to serve feebly.

22. Sunday Bazaar

Sunday Bazar has practically got something for everybody and boy, is it addictive!

You can come here for the dime-a-dozen books, cheap stationery, imported china and kitchenware, or simply enjoy browsing the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” section after raiding the “I can’t believe I found a barely-used designer shoe in my size for Rs500!” section.

23. Saddar in Karachi

Speaking of good bazaars, Saddar in Karachi has got to be the one stop solution for all your needs—literally!

Whether it’s pets or fruit, prosthetic surgeons, orthodontists or stolen televisions and imitation cosmetics; if you want it, Saddar’s got it; and at implausibly decent prices too! I’m sure the legendary Bara markets in Rawalpindi are Peshawar are equally accommodating to their visitors.

24. Mehdi Hassan

A few weeks ago, the man who was best known for capturing hearts as he sang his own out, passed away after spending years running in and out of hospitals for various ailments.

We’ll never really be able to recover from the loss. Mehdi Hassan debuted on Radio Pakistan in 1957, and spent the next fifty years building a reputation as the unassailable king of ghazals. He finally made a grand exit by recording his last ghazal with living legend Lata Mangeshkar in 2010. A musical gem to be proud of? I definitely think so!

25. “Loose” police-walas, government clerks and traffic wardens

No matter what you say or how guilty you feel for taking advantage, living in a country where a 100 rupee note unfailingly doubles as a truce flag, you’ve got to stop and thank your parents for not relocating to Amreeka or some other law-abiding country in the 80s!

26. Muslim Shower

Need I say more?

PHOTO CREDIT: PUBLICITY/AFP/REUTERS/NOOR JAVERI/EXPRESS/FILE

Read more by Saad here.

saad.zuberi

Saad Zuberi

An Economics graduate with a post-grad in International Relations who’s currently pursuing Chartered Accountancy while working as a freelance writer for a number of local publications.

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

  • Afreenish Gul

    Definetely worth a read! Two thumbs up :DRecommend

  • Awans

    The point 5 of Sufism dont exist anymore as We are in Hatred mode now a days and Original Sufism is already replaced by Peers and Faqeers and Gaddi Nasheens. Also the Showers you are talking about are not Muslim Showers but you will find them in the whole of Sub Continent and in Japan, Italy and in whole of Asia and in Africa too. There is one version of it known as Bidet available in Italy and in France and you can search for what Bidet mechanism is all about. So please dont connect this with the religion and I visited Japan and just search on Google on Japanese Washlets and you will come to know about it.

    Also I hope someday somebody will make a List of Social ills in the society and i am sure it will cross the 100 mark as Jingoism and Nationalism sometimes make you think you are impeccable and you try to hide every ill under the rug and just want to close your eyes like a rabbit ready to be hunted. I may be pessimistic but for me Pessimism sometimes leads to a ray of hope. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Like your enthusiasm, but 65 is tough number to achieve. Just like our budget / economic survey figures change and then get justified or that even not, you should come down to 45 reasons. Otherwise you’ll be singing the praises of Veena and Mathira, not that I would mind, but it would be a stretch.Recommend

  • g antanu

    @Awans:
    why comments on point 5 only? there are more points. you are either a pessimist or do have appetite for what is not available there. what is available has no meaning for you. and this the main reason for present state of pakistanRecommend

  • Saira Iqbal

    @Awans
    This is a list about Pakistan for Pakistani readers, and most of us who live in Pakistan are not familiar with “bidets” and “Japanese Washlets” but know “Muslim Showers”. It’s got nothing to do with religion really and I’m sure Saad didn’t intend to offend anyone by calling them that… Its just they they are widely known as Muslim Showers here…. so please take a chill pill and enjoy the rest of the list!!!

    Good job, Saad. I’ve read all 26 points and more or less agree with all of them… Waiting for the remaining but please hurry as you’re short on time! :)Recommend

  • stinkyloveserum

    Thumbs up for the Muslim shower!! :DRecommend

  • Aftab

    I agree 100% with all points except Pakola but only because I personally don’t like it. I agree that it’s a great Pakistani brand and definitely deserves to make the list!Recommend

  • Naj

    Awesome work buddy! I love Pakistan no matter what and wish you all the best to complete the list. Like Parvez said, you don’t have to do all 65 if you can’t… even 50 would be great! Recommend

  • KKhan

    LOL @ the appropriateness of Muslim Shower! You gotta live outside Pak to truly appreciate their value! ;) Recommend

  • Ahmedullah

    Hmmm… Sufism is a subcontinental invention. Not just pakistan’s. Subcontinental Sufism is a merger of islam with the much older Bhakti tradition of the subcontinent that revolves around shrines and wise men (pirs, bhagats, etc). Our sufism is characteristically native to the subcontinent deriving as much from Hindu/Buddhist thinking as Islam. That is why many in Pakistan who prefer the pure Arabic Islam, don’t think Sufis are Muslims at all. Recommend

  • Raw is War

    Muslim shower? Do you know what it is used to shower?Recommend

  • Akram

    Its good that someone is tryng to stop the negativity and ACTUALLY think about the good things in our homeland!! Great initiative, this is definitely something we all need to think about!Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @Author

    I won’t rain on your otherwise optimistic article. However, I do take issue with point #10.

    “Loose” police-walas, government clerks and traffic wardens

    Let’s not be thankful here for basic common corruption. Would gladly take a law-abiding country a 100 times over, be it an undemocratic Gulf country or a democratic Western nation.

    @Ahmedullah:
    Origins of Sufism may have started and populated outside Hejaz, such as Arab and multi-lingual Syria, Egypt, North and Central Africa, Turkey, Iran, etc, but it certainly was not born in the sub-continent, and was, as the author correctly suggested, introduced, even though it has it’s own native brand or orders which bridged or derived from the existing cultures and religions.

    Islam was/is meant to be universal. What you call ‘pure Arabic Islam’, really is reference to adopting austere Saudi culture derived from it’s puritanical Sunni Wahhabi ideology, which itself was reactionary to Sufis and prejudiced to other sects. While going the other way, Pakistanis still seem confused in cultural and religious identities and have the misconception of Arabic being superior or Arabs living in proximity to Hejaz as correct Islamic practitioners. Not surprising, unfortunately, why a majority in Pak view virtually every other Muslim sect intolerantly as non-Muslims or worse. Recommend

  • jazba junoon

    You’re right. Moin Akhtar, Bushra Ansari and Anwar Maqsood trio is the best thing that’s happened to Pakistani television. They’re all irreplaceable! Recommend

  • CB Guy

    Nice read, refreshing indeed to see an ET blog not propagating depression. Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Raw is War: Love the way you think. You’re truly incorrigible. Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Muslim shower?yeh kya hota hai?pehli baar sun rahi hoon.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    I thought i should clarify that i just found the name “muslim showers”kinda funny.wonder how it came to be called that..i do not need any other explanation. :pRecommend

  • Sadruddin Mitha

    We all Pakistanis love Pakistanis to the core of our heart. Please do not invent some new theory on love Pakistan. we are because Pakistan keeps us going and provides everything nature has to offer. please stop this none sense and in case if you have just discovered you love Pakistan, thanks for opening your eyes. please do not teach us . every single Pakistani will sacrifice his/her life when asked for. so stop this time killing propaganda.Recommend

  • KB

    Love your effort !!!! we really need to look into the positivity in life as a nation.

    @bigsaf: what makes you think a law-abiding country will take you?Recommend

  • A.

    Did Pakistanis invent muslim shower?Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Nandita.: Hi Nandita, they are still debating how the ‘french fry’ got its name………you’re right the ‘muslim shower’ will possibly be tougher to fathom.Recommend

  • J.k

    Really really cool. Good work Zuberi!Recommend

  • http://let’s-love-pakistan-─-a-new-resolution-iii/ Azaruddin

    Just after reading 18 people killed in Karachi, we should rename Pakola as Kilkola.Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @KB:

    what makes you think a law-abiding country will take you?

    On account I’m settled there. You’re assuming I’m in Pak and face migration hurdles. Its neither the case nor point I’m making. In Pak, many simply will not be thankful for ‘loose’ system, and want this corruption culture changed otherwise try to move elsewhere. Taking advantage should not be accepted or promoted as a proud/’cool’/’thrill’ value on positive lists.Recommend

  • Kareem

    For everyone being all negative here… PLEASE stop… we have enough negativity in Pakistan out for a little while and appreciate the writer who’s taken up the challenge of making this list… it might not be very important and serious but I’m sure it’ll put a smile on everyone’s face when it’s complete!Recommend

  • Zain

    Great !Recommend

  • S Khan

    What a nice, fun way to commemorate our country! three cheers for Saad and Pakistanis everywhere! I will be waiting for the next installment! Recommend

  • http://ameermirza.wordpress.com Ameer Mirza

    Assalamoalaikum

    When will we start considering people like Abdus sttar Edhi, Dr. Abdus Salam, Dr. Samar mubarik mand and other great names as assets and heros of Pakistan?
    Best Regards Recommend

  • T A Z

    yes, i too would like to see some more great pakistani personalities added to the list…. otherwise it’s a great list and congratulations for coming up with so many points specially in times when its hard to come up with even a few! Recommend

  • siddra

    The article is worth reading as it is discovering our inner enthusiasm about the country. no doubt when we start blaming our country we ignore the positive aspects. we have so much to be proud of our own country instead of praising other countries and their culture. we should be thankful to GOD that we all are blessed with a country full of talents. we should promote our culture and country on any cost.. I still remember the famous saying Be Pakistani Buy Pakistani.Recommend

  • http://- hasan

    hahaha this is a joke. the title made me laugh.Recommend

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    I’l forever want to be update on new articles on this web site, bookmarked ! .Recommend