Guinness records: It’s about Pakistan, not politics!

Published: October 23, 2012
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Around 24,200 students formed a national flag holding coloured sheets over their heads. PHOTO- SHAFIQ MALIK

Pakistan soared in to the international news once again on October 20, 21 and 22, but this time around it was a happy moment for everyone! We made it into the news for something positive and progressive.

Some kids run with the Pakistani flag prior to the record attempt in Lahore. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK

(Some kids run with the Pakistan flag prior to the record attempt in Lahore. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK)

In a country that is so accustomed to digesting the news of target killing, honour killing, bomb blasts, terrorist attacks and drone strikes, the news of Pakistan setting a record after record brought nothing but moments of pure joy and national pride to us. Amidst all the sad news and negativity, these small events serve as ventilators that bring in fresh air for those of us who seem to have lost hope.

(Saddi Muhammad set a record by using his moustache to pull a 1.7-tonne pickup truck a distance of 60.3 metres. PHOTO: AFP)

The Punjab Youth Festival (PYF12), renamed as the ‘Pakistan Youth Festival’ by Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif is void of any political affiliation. It is a one-of-its-kind initiative for the youth of Pakistan; an opportunity for the common people of this nation to spread hope and the vision of progression.

(12-year-old Mehek Gul took just 45 seconds to arrange the pieces on a chessboard using only one hand. PHOTO: AFP)

I sincerely hope that all Pakistanis enjoyed witnessing these events in their respective provinces and cities.

Although I wasn’t physically present at the National Hockey Stadium of Lahore when these records were broken, I witnessed and recited the national anthem along with the 44,200 participants who sang it. It felt great; a moment of pure national pride, unity and sheer pleasure. There have been only a few times this year that Pakistan made its presence felt in a positive forum, and this record setting activity has, by far, taken its place at the top of the list.

Around 44,200 participants set a new world record for singing the national anthem simultaneously. PHOTO: APP

(Around 44,200 participants set a new world record for singing the national anthem simultaneaously. PHOTO: APP)

Amongst these records was that of 24,200 students holding up sheets of paper to form and break the record of the largest national flag record. With patriotism pulsating through the veins of all those watching, we knew that this day was going to bring smiles to the faces of millions of distressed, agitated, disappointed and worried citizens. It was a moment of collective realisation and pride; it is these little things that will help build the image of our country in the international arena. Amongst other news that became a source of jubilation for Pakistanis were the exhibition matches between Pakistan XI and International World Stars XI, showing the world that Pakistan was making its way back into international cricket.

Many believe that all the terrorists and Taliban of the world are manufactured and exported from Pakistan. However, on that day, perhaps only for that one day, social media forums turned green. People texted, tweeted and posted congratulatory messages to one another, and the unity and public acknowledgement was overwhelming!

This happy episode continued until I came across the unfortunate cynics who are the sole reason for the disparity and discontent in this nation. These were some of the truly disappointing tweets I came across;

 

Regardless of political hatred for the Punjab government or PMLN, we should have all partaken in these moments of national pride in a time when all we get is bad news. Yet, PTI trolls took to social media forums, not to boast their nation’s newest achievements but to belittle it and spew hatred against the Punjab government for corruption. The Punjab government spent billions of rupees on PYF12, yes, and if that is what corruption looks like or if that is where all the ‘looted’ money goes to, then so be it; I will happily accept this reality. Unfortunately, what all this proved is that political hatred in the nation is greater than patriotism or love for Pakistan.

People celebrate after the record was set. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK

(People celebrate after the world record was set. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK)

Political leaders and opinion makers need to divert their attention immediately to this misfortune before it becomes an even worse epidemic than it is today. This division between loyalty to the country or to a political party is not only disturbing. it is the cause for many of the problems Pakistan faces today.

This brings two simple questions to my mind that I would like to ask all the self-claimed-revolutionists out there:

1-  If this money could be so well used otherwise, why didn’t they donate all the money for the rehabilitation of drone victims instead of creating all the hype and drama for the so-called ‘peace march’?

2- Are these records building Pakistan’s image or the Punjab government’s image? Who participated; common man or political workers? In case PTI comes into power, should we expect no-sports in Pakistan, since it’s such a waste of time and money?

In my humble opinion, we’ve already suffered a lot and the reason behind this is our inability to unite. We are so segregated by these ‘classes, be it ethnic, political, sectarian or social. We cannot rise unless we break free of these barriers that are keeping us separated and injecting intolerance and hatred amongst us.

44,200 participants of Punjab Youth Festival set a new world record by singing the national anthem simultaneously. PHOTO: INP

(44,200 participants of Punjab Youth Festival set a new world record by singing the national anthem simultaneously. PHOTO: INP)

It’s about time we put in a combined effort for the sake of Pakistan alone – beyond political bias – and learn to give credit where it’s due. Let us unite and cherish these moments of national pride and joy together, and show the real soft image of Pakistan to the world.

Pakistan Zindabad… always!

Follow Abrar on Twitter @Abrar_kureshy

Abrar A. Qureshi

Abrar A. Qureshi

A telecom professional, Abrar holds an MBA degree in marketing. He tweets as @Abrar_kureshy twitter.com/Abrar_Kureshy and occassionally blogs at abrarkureshy.wordpress.com

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

  • I.

    Although I’m a supporter of PTI,their reaction towards this whole episode was disappointing.
    Nd yeah tweets and some comments on express tribune also showed the mindset of bunch of people who would find sth negative in everything!
    Great piece of writing!
    And of course Pakistan zindabad :DRecommend

  • Majid

    You have said it all.

    “The Punjab government spent billions of rupees on PYF12, yes, and if that is what corruption looks like or if that is where all the ‘looted’ money goes to, then so be it; I will happily accept this reality Unfortunately, what all this proved is that political hatred in the nation is greater than patriotism or love for Pakistan.”

    Just a minor change, this phenomenon is not political hatred but Imran menace. In fact PTI supporters call themselves, ‘hate politics but love Imran Khan’, God knows what they think who Imran Khan is, if he is not politician. Recommend

  • Muhammad Jahanzaib

    This story is impressive. I advise all my Pakistani Brothers to Love Pakistan. Even a benefit of a “Needle” should be favored for the Sake of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Mazi

    200% AgreedRecommend

  • Hashmi

    Great work by the youth.

    There will always be people who speak venom and hate just for the sake of it without any reasoning. Twitter is only a social media, it holds no importance.

    Entire Pakistan rejoiced for a bit. We will see many names in next years Guiness. Long Live PakistanRecommend

  • Ahsan

    I’ll most probably vote for PTI. I will definitely not vote for PML-N anyway but whats important is that these records and the event itself brought some good news for Pakistan. Internally it brought a sense of unity in a highly-fragmented society and externally it was sent as a positive signal. Bizarre, may be but definitely positive. Words of Shahbaz Sharif on this occasion “This is not a Punjab festival, but a Pakistan festival” sums it all. Hats off to all organizers, irrespective of their political affiliation.Recommend

  • Maria Qanita

    Dear Writer-in-denial,

    First up THANKS for featuring my tweet, might well increase my followers. Secondly before claiming anyone a PTI troll let me tell you I like PML-N more than PTI any day, so before making such claims get your facts straight. Thirdly without knowing the context of whole thing you should better stop bashing ppl for their point view. I appreciate the whole thing overall but ppl claiming that now we don’t need anything else to excel is a wrong notion, at-least to me. We need so much more to compete in the world, this is not the end but the start. Recommend

  • Enough

    Yaar this party (PTI) and its followers are really becoming a joke. Everyone is so scared of them, I dont think even Musharraf or Zia managed to terrorise as many people.Recommend

  • http://.............. Waheed

    It was indeed a possitive thing amidst plenty of negativities strolling around and deserves appreciation as also the writer’s effort heralding to share the joy and to take it as a national pride. Recommend

  • Salman

    So, when PTI goes for a peace march it is a political drama,although it highlighted a problem of pakistan ,not of PTI. But when PML-N organises youth festivel it is purely for youth of Pakistan and anyone who criticises it becomes a troll, while every one here bashed Imran for peace march. I don’t know what would these people do to PTI when it comes to power. Recommend

  • tipu

    “If this money could be so well used otherwise, why didn’t they donate all the money for the rehabilitation of drone victims instead of creating all the hype and drama for the so-called ‘peace march’?”

    you are calling “Imran’s peace march” a drama, while teaching others to give due credit to CM’s positive initiative. isn’t it a clear double standard.

    i am IK supporter and i am really happy and admire all these achievements. yes, indeed, its for Pakistan. Recommend

  • Maria Khan

    well written! I wish I could have participated in these events! anything and everything should be done to promote happy times in Pakistan :) I pray that we have many such events to experience the tears of joy instead of the almost-everyday sorrow! Pakistan Zindabad! Recommend

  • unmet46

    Dear Author

    Your article is disappointing and you are yourself making the issue political. Couldn’t you have just said that “some people” criticized the event instead of dividing the nation and calling people “pti trolls”??

    I can show you facebook status posts and tweets where hard line PTI followers, even their office bearers (one example Mr. Sikandar Fayyaz) have been encouraging the event. And as you have seen even many PML-N supporters have criticised the event (Maaria Qanita- whose tweet you quoted is a PML-N supporter).

    I am personally a PTI supporter but i liked the records of the national anthem, the moustache, the chess, the chapatis, and the wires. Talking of the waste of money- it is the right of Pakistani citizens to critcise the wastage of money in any event because we are a poor nation. Just as an angry wife would criticise you if you spend more money to buy a beautiful decoration piece when you have little money to buy grocery:) If the govt had been spending and intelligently dividing the money as per the needs of the people, no one would have been criticizing it. But the govt has a history of wasting money. “They tend to buy Plasma tvs before making the roof of the house!” So there is no problem in hosting mega events and building mega structures AFTER you have the BASIC NEEDS of the people addressed/ fulfilled. OR after you have JUSTLY divided the money for health, education sports etc.

    I am looking forward to more breaking of records which do not involve much money wastage (like it was in the flag record) and are sport oriented and which get to show our peoples’ talent. Recommend

  • Faraz Eman

    Was these parties not made for the same reason? “PAKISTAN” why every act be measured on bases of political drama. All those who stood there loved Pakistan and i hope and pray all this blame game come to an end. The truth is I am tired of becoming PTI supporter and arguing that this is the party that provides hope, but the truth is revolution and changes don’t come about from a person who just keeps on telling people how bad shareef brothers are and not telling what he thinks of bringing about. People with great ideas just don’t do this. He just lack the idea behind the dream he promised us he will fulfill. Recommend

  • Zalim Singh
  • CB Guy

    good initiative, better make these records then not making any. Punjab government deserves the praise for this action most certainly. Recommend

  • Posekid

    This is complete nonsense. I am a pti supporter. what these people did by setting the records. Thats amazing. Its a good step to help pakistan to improve his image at international community and imran did the same at peace march and still being critisized by pml n supporters but the writer of this artical forgot that and put up this rubbish article. He clearly have a biased opinion.Recommend

  • Abbas

    A mop up operation Punjab behind all the glits and glamour is doing far worst ,most of the operations either pertaining to the textile industry or other industries suffer long hours of load shedding and all around escalating violence rates ,will the elite politicians gobble away cash from the poor and not provide them any benefits .Recommend

  • Parvez

    When something good happens it should be appreciated……….it’s as simple as that.Recommend

  • mudassar

    @maria;lame excuse u found it hard to accept the argument,i second the writer,,,bravo bro v well expressed. keep the passion alive.Recommend

  • Ahsan

    It was SPORTS festival and the speech of Shehbaz Sharif was complete political.Recommend

  • gp65

    This was a nice feel good exercise = not sure why it drew flak from so many people?
    For examle some people complained about so many people sigingthe national anthem- why could they not have gatheed to do somehthing else productive. But it is baby steps. If they can gather today for a completely non-controversial task as singing the national anthem, tomorrow they will gather for a greater nationbuilding task.

    I can only see the positive in this whole exercise.Recommend

  • omair shahid

    Dear Writer,
    please tell me how do you know these are pti troll any one can write pti supporter with there name just to defame PTI please check properly and than say something secondly if some of the people saying that this is a drama it’s there opinion but most of the people have appreciated these records what they have done is simple remarkable.Recommend

  • Rahim

    As an expat, am happy to see my beloved country participating in healthy competitions regardless of it breaks any world records or no.
    I guess its the right time for all of us (including and excluding PTI trolls :) ) to come up, join hands and make sincere efforts to make Pakistan a healthy, educated, tolerant and respected country.
    Pakistan Zindabad!!!! :)Recommend

  • Ignorantways

    @unmet46:

    me also not PTI follower . .

    but as like you point out ,me also stuck at the use of ” PTI Trolls ” by the author and ET published it :P

    no need to recall same things, you all familiar with ET policies and backgrounds. Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/EduGuides EduGuides

    I also think that these records are useless. We should think about making records in poverty reduction, eradication of illiteracy, alleviation of unemployment and improvement in human rights.Recommend

  • http://Islamabad Asad

    I second EduGuides…
    At least one records for the welfare of the society? Please Recommend

  • http://www.ideasevolved.com Ziad Bashir

    @Maria Qanita:
    You are so missing the writer’s point here Miss Qanita. I wish you well.Recommend

  • unmet46

    @Ziad Bashir we get the writer’s point. But it was no use making this article a political one. At least 2 of the people the writer quotes are NOT PTI supporters. If you follow Mr. Shoaib, he in fact has got some tweets against Imran Khan and even against the so-called ‘PTI-trols.’ He might have never imagined he would himself be labelled one!Recommend

  • Kamran Naqvi

    The good governance in Punjab is far far better than All provincial govts & the federal govt of Pakistan. This fact has been acknowledged by the govts of China and Turkey. Even the visiting CM of Bihar also praised the administration in Punjab.
    Pasha Tehrik-e-Intaqam (PTI) and its immature trolls stand shoulder to shoulder with PPP & PMLQ in mindlessly criticising PML-N. while PML-N emerges as the largest political party of Pakistan, the unholy trio of PPP, PMLQ and PTI is dooming forever.
    Vote for PML-N !!!
    Long Live Pakistan !!!Recommend