Mr Bilal Lakhani, Pakistan is not a dying nation

Published: November 24, 2013
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Pakistan has come so far with such little resources. Any neutral individual would appreciate the progress Pakistan has made in such a short time period. PHOTO: AFP

This is a rebuttal to Bilal Lakhani’s article titled “Pakistan’s Obituary”, published in The Express Tribune on November 6, 2003. The esteemed author has rendered the verdict that Pakistan had been afflicted with a fatal cancer and has now lost the battle for survival.

Mr Lakhani has masterfully used analogies from the medical field to substantiate the salient premise of his article – which, in a nutshell, is that Pakistan’s lifeline has expired.

Although quite eloquent with his expression, Mr Lakhani has failed to address the issue from a logical perspective. Instead, Mr Lakhani’s article is ripe with speculations and jugglery of adjectives.

The article is also a piece invested with logical fallacies, masqueraded under artistic expression and creative phraseology. His premise is not only surreal but also lacks credibility due to lack of evidence to substantiate his claims.

The article starts off with an historical fallacy when he states that Pakistan’s birth was a miracle.

Excerpt from M Bilal Lakhani’s article ‘Pakistan’s Obituary’

On the contrary, the birth of Pakistan was anything but. It started with a dream by Dr Allama Iqbal in as early as the 1900s and culminated with the efforts of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1947.

It also involved meritorious struggle by other individuals, like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar and Liaquat Ali Khan, to name a few. Talk to a senior citizen in their 80s and they would narrate the tales of the ‘birth pangs’ that still haunt the memory and are afresh. The partition displaced 12 million people.

This is not a birth by miracle – this is birth by planning.

He further states that,

Excerpt from M Bilal Lakhani’s article ‘Pakistan’s Obituary’

I agree that the system does not exist. However, that is what the 180 million people, 59 percent of which are in the age bracket of 15-64 years, are determined and keen to change. The youth of Pakistan have the calibre and the determination to change this country for the better and that is what they have set out to do. Please do not under estimate such a dynamic and zealous group by stereotyping them as “armchair rebels”. Here is a list of youth initiatives in Pakistan.

Mr Lakhani claims that,

Excerpt from M Bilal Lakhani’s article ‘Pakistan’s Obituary’

How can someone be afraid of death and fearful of life simultaneously is the singular fallacy that provoked me to write this rebuttal. Even if we were to take the statement for this rhetorical value, which is more sentimental than factual, Mr Lakhani does not provide any evidence to substantiate his claim. He moves on to state that Pakistan was never decisive despite being bestowed with numerous natural resources and a talented workforce.

Is that not what choice is all about in the first place?

You pick and choose and try the alternatives. There is always a risk as the result is never guaranteed.

Excerpt from M Bilal Lakhani’s article ‘Pakistan’s Obituary’

Pakistan tried its best but got tangled up in religious turbulence and duality of character which landed it in the quagmire it is in today. Nonetheless, it would be extremely hypocritical to cast all blame on Pakistan, for when has Pakistan ever been in total control of its foreign policy – especially at a global scale?

Another preposterous accusation by Mr Lakhani is that,

“The country loved to be at the centre of the world’s attention, even if it was usually for all the wrong reasons.”

Pakistan never ‘loved to be at the centre of the world’s attention, even if it was usually for all the wrong reasons’. Only a truly mad entity would want that.

Pakistan has produced brilliant scientists, athletes, academics and professionals who went on to earn accolades for the country. Dr Abdus Salam is the product of Pakistan and so are numerous others who have graced the international scene under the banner of Pakistaniyat. If Pakistan has always been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, that is the deliberate attempt of the international media to malign the country.

Let us not forget the global resources that are at stake here.

Pakistan has the strongest military capacity of the entire Muslim World. Throw in the nuclear prowess, and that is a lethal match for any enemy to face. Pakistan also lies at the hinterlands of the economies of the future, namely China and India. Pakistan’s friendship with China and India’s less than friendly relations with China all promoted towards generating animosity towards the country. Pakistan has all the rights ingredients; unfortunately, the ingredients were miss-apportioned.

Furthermore, Jinnah departed for the heavenly abode when Pakistan was still in its infancy. Leadership suffered another blow when Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in 1951. With no role models to learn from, a neutral observer would agree that the country did manage to fare quite well. To have survived this long is testament to the resilience of the wonderful people of Pakistan.

The esteemed author does acknowledge that when he says,

“Pakistan accomplished a lot in its brief but eventful existence.”

I thank him for his generous acknowledgement.

However, how come it never occurred to the gentleman that if a country that was resource deprived in 1947 could manage to “accomplish a lot” and that too in a “brief” period? And, brilliant as it was, how was such graceful progress interrupted so disgracefully?

The writer needs to answer this question clearly. Can the respected author quote one example from history where any nation worth its salt transformed into an enlightened and progressive society without passing through a phase of moral, ethical and institutional decline? I can guarantee not a single example, for it is our failures that serve as lessons for future successes. And that is exactly where the country is headed.

The pace may be slow by Columbia University’s standards but the majority of the population prefers a steady approach, rather than a haphazard and adhoc one.

All in all, the article has not provided a single fact, other than reference to first female prime minster and Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi.

Excerpt from M Bilal Lakhani’s article ‘Pakistan’s Obituary’

The article is fancy oratory that is better suited to a speech in a defame-Pakistan campaign.

What about the daily massacre of our troops across the LoC?

This article would de-motivate the talented men and women of the forces foremost. I say this because the words originate from a globally renowned journalist, and hence, would inevitably grace the viewership of countless variety.

Second, he has haughtily downplayed the achievements of Pakistanis such as Arfa Karim, Malala Yousufzai, Waseem Akram, Javed Miandad, Jahangir Khan and others like them.

Is he familiar with Shabana Akhtar, who was the first Pakistani athlete at the Olympics way back in 1996?

Do the names such as Naseem Hamid, Noor Jehan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ring a bell?

Does he know who Farhan Masood is?

Is he aware of the huge Pakistani diaspora that directly and indirectly contributes to ensure that Pakistan continues to make strides even in the face of the strongest of the animosities?

How come he never acknowledged how the whole country came together, despite our constantly clashing perspectives and differences, during the earthquakes in 2005 and 2008? Did it not strike the author even the tiniest bit that his article would not only demoralise the people but also cut right through their sentiments, pierce their hearts and render wounds that would probably be never healed?

For only the physical wounds can heal, intangible ones such as those inflicted by Mr Lakhani would forever hound these brave men and women of Pakistan.

Excerpt from M Bilal Lakhani’s article ‘Pakistan’s Obituary’

The entire premise of the article is based on an assumption that Pakistan has ceased to exist.

On the contrary, Pakistan has just been reborn.

We witnessed the first democratic transition in the history of our country. We see a constant improvement in the institutional infrastructure. This may be slow but the process has commenced, which should be sufficient evidence to demonstrate that Pakistan continues to rise despite all that the world has against it.

Pakistan continues to shine against all the odds and it continues to inspire millions and billions to carry on amidst all the chaos that the society is in today. The nation has survived and analysts like Mr Lakhani should be more prudent of what they state because their words can ultimately dishearten the nation.

Nations have always undergone extreme volatile conditions before entering into an enlightened and progressive phase.

The period before European renaissance was quite similar to what we witness in Pakistan today. It was only in 1920 that women were officially allowed to vote in the United States and racial segregation was the de facto social custom as recently as the 1950’s.

History is replete with examples where nations learned from experiences and transformed to add value to this world. So, let us not be too swift to render an obituary for a country that has already proven its resilience in the face of the worst crises to have plagued this world since probably World War II.

In the end, I would urge the author to never discount the fact that we are a 180 million strong nation with patriotism that is unmatched. We have risen together as Pakistanis when the situation called for it (such as seen during the earthquakes) and we would continue to do so in the face of the worst of the adversaries.

Rafay Bin Ali

Rafay Bin Ali

A software developer working with financial clients from Toronto. He is currently doing his MBA from IBA, Karachi, and is planning an entrepreneurial set-up in Pakistan. He tweets as @rafayali (twitter.com/rafayali)

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

  • Absar Ahmad

    Well articulated and nicely worded article. I agree to most of the things you have mentioned but not the all the things you said. In the end I would say excellent article. I too believe there is much more to Pakistan than all the negative things that we read and listen on day to day basis.Recommend

  • Lawar

    Great article, slap on the face to those who always show the negative sideRecommend

  • Mubashir

    Beautifully Written. Bravo!Recommend

  • Umer

    A perfect slap on the face of Negativity!
    Proud PakistaniRecommend

  • Parvez

    Great read and you definitely have done an admirable job of countering Bilals articles, there were two of them, on this subject.
    My reading of his articles told me that it was the anguish for his country that made him point out what he pointed out but in the end his heart was in the right place……..and to me that was important.Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    It seems Mr Lakhani is a self hating Pakistani, who lives in a bubble, such op ed material is an insult to the millions of patriots. Recommend

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    Dear Sir, You are spreading fallacies instead. Iqbal categorically denied anything to do with the idea of a separate country. Proof attached, a letter to Times magazine in which he rubbished those who accused him of coming up with an idea of a separate nation state.
    You lost me there, no use going further in your flawed blog.Recommend

  • 123xyz

    lakhani was right. pakistan has no future. religious extremism is at dangerous levels. when a guy who killed your 40,000 people is considered martyr, you know there is something very wrong with the country.Recommend

  • Hassan

    1. If it was birth by planning, it would not have resulted in lacs getting displaced and lacs getting massacred. So, your ‘birth by planning’ argument has gone bust.

    2. The only choice Pak exercised -and still believe in- is the idea that ‘We are not India’. This was the glue that kept the populace together during the euphoric 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, this very fundamental premise has not been passed to the successive generation of Pakistanis. It’s ok if the system doesn’t exist now, but it is disastrous when this glue also goes.

    3. ‘Pakistan has the strongest military capacity of the entire Muslim World.” Is this something you want to be proud about ? The army whose track record is nothing but failure and ignominy?

    4. “Pakistan accomplished a lot in its brief but eventful existence.” The only achievement I can think of is the creation of a group called Friends of Pakistan whom we can touch for a fiver or tenner every now and then.

    5.’History is replete with examples where nations learned from experiences and transformed to add value to this world.” As any holder of green passport would testify, it appears that the world has had enough of Pakistan trying to add value to the world. If the word had a voice, it would say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks!”

    6. ” Pakistan has just been reborn.” I appreciate your optimism bordering on naivete, but hold your horses, mate.

    Let the NATO blockade of Imran Khan get over, then you can say that again.Recommend

  • SAM-117

    Another example of self denial. This might as well have been copied of the propaganda infused Pakistan studies literature. Pakistanis have a habit of disowning what’s good about themselves, case in point Dr. Abdus Salam. Every country has over achieving individuals but in the bigger scheme of things, as a collective, the nation is still consigned to it’s death bed,Recommend

  • Tariq Jameel

    just naive i guess… or in self denialRecommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    1) Planning does not mean that the goal would not have repercussions. It seems you are commenting just for the sake of disagreeing on this blog post. “Lacs got displaced” because the after effects were not calculated properly. It would require at least 1000-2000 words to explain the historical context when the migration took place. What planning refers to is the time frame that it took from the first visions for Pakistan to its eventual inception on the map of this world on August 15th 1947.

    2) I have nothing against India. I believe in open borders between India and Pakistan and trade model similar to NAFTA.

    3) It is neither. It is a fact. If I say Sun rises from the East and sets in the West, does it mean i am proud of it? It means neither. It is just a factual statement that I have presented to further my case – further qualification is unnecessary.It just means that i am reinforcing a fact and reality, which are never without repercussions and consequences.

    4) May be you have not read beyond what you wanted to comment on? I have mentioned numerous Pakistanis and there are countless others who continue to work tirelessly. Please do not undermine their achievements by your naive comment.

    And, that is precisely what I talk about. You have only acknowledged what my rebuttal screams out loud – the only achievement that you can think of is only because you have never been presented with the positive aspects of Pakistan. Or, you prefer to overlook them.

    5) That is an opinion and you have complete right to that. However, in a bid to clarify what i had meant, adding value to the world means contributing positively to improve the conditions of humanity irrespective of race, color, creed, ethnicity, religion (or any other demographic variable). It should be obvious what “value addition” I refer to. Is there any other type?

    6) Thank you for appreciating the optimism. Optimism is what keeps the 180 million of us keep going day in and day out despite all the social problems.

    7) There is a huge gulf between Imran Khan’s actions/statements and his rhetoric (qaul aur fail main tazaad – which unfortunately tilts towards the negative end of the spectrum). Better to avoid references to Mr. Khan.His influence on society would lead to further polarization and radicalization of society as is evident by his statements. However, I do not discuss politics and would keep it at this.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    Thanks for your comments sir.

    There is a difference between idea of a separate country and a dream.

    Iqbal’s poetry and philosophical works are full of motivation and inspiration for the Muslims of that era. His words of that time were enlightening for the people in the sub continent and his philosophy did manage to give the Muslims of the sub continent a direction to their thoughts – whether we like it or not or whether we admit to it or not, Allama Iqbal did contribute significantly to the events that led to the creation of Pakistan.

    He may not have explicitly demanded for Pakistan’s creation because the time period was too early to even fathom that the sub continent could ever be divided – or the British could even vacate the sub continent. Had Iqbal been in the years between Pakistan Resolution and Independence, we can safely bet that he would have been a staunch advocate of the idea.

    Secondly, you must remember that I am countering an obituary. Obituary is a very STRONG statement. Mr. Bilal Lakhani has rendered the verdict that Pakistan as a geo-political entity has ceased to exist. We know this to be not true, don’t we? Or, shall I say don’t you?

    It’s ok for not continuing further with the blog. Because if you are not able to read something within the domain of historical context and realities of the era which preceded partition (which is course not possible to publish in a blog post) then it is better that you not read it at all.

    But, please remember, Allama Iqbal’s works did lay the initial framework that eventually led to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    My hypothesis is further strengthened by this statement in the article (towards the last paragraph) that hints towards the fact that Iqbal was not in opposition to the idea when he says “I am all for a redistribution of Indian into provinces with effective majorities of one community.”

    Second, Iqbal has clarified that he does not forward a demand but rather present an analysis of the realities of that time which hinted that things could get bleaker when he states that “….but only a guess of the possible outcome in the DIM FUTURE of the mighty forces now shaping the destiny of the Indian subcontinent”.

    Iqbal has neither denied his sentiments for a separate homeland neither acknowledged them. He has responded to a criticism on his speech. And, it remains a fact that his work did shape the thought process of that time, and it was his vision that eventually led to the creation of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    That is not the fault of the country. You take the same intolerance and radicalized elements that plague Pakistan and move them over to a developed country result would be the same disaster. Would that mean it would be that country to blame, or the elements that plague the society.

    Look, it is time to stop blaming and fault finding and try to instill values of tolerance, patience, peace. This the need of the hour and this is missing the most in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    It is not self denial. The blog post is rebuttal to an article that has rendered a verdict that Pakistan does not exist – which is completely inaccurate.

    Please read the initial article so that you can understand the context.

    All in all, YES Pakistan has its problems, YES it is a turbulent time, YES there is travesty of justice everyday, YES there is violence, YES the situation is not rosy. But, the general public are adamant to change that. And, this is what I state in the article.Recommend

  • Anooop

    You do realize Pakistan is a physical entity. It cannot go up in smoke – poof – gone!

    All countries can claim to have natural resources – Afghanistan, Somalia. All Nations have a purpose be it Israel or North Korea.

    So what?

    All developing Nations have problems of poverty, illiteracy, governance, etc. But, the kind of problems Pakistan is blessed with and some which it created on its own will ensure Pakistan will stay in a state of flux for the foreseeable future.

    Pakistan would have defaulted on its debt payments had IMF not been goaded into helping Pakistan by the US. Once that crutch is withdrawn next year, we’ll see a wholly different Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ali

    Focus on developing computer software. Understanding social and political ‘software’ is slightly more complicated. You will thank me for this advice a few years later.Recommend

  • Lalit

    Pakistan(original) has already given way once in in 1971.how impossible is it to occur again?still the only problem with Pak is that it is going downhill without any hope of undoing her previous faults.how many people today are protesting on roads or in public life against the malaises eating up their motherland ? nil,nada sifar… atleast to our naked eyes.before undertaking a recovery ,you have to arrest the fall,which sadly is missing in Pakistan’s case.nonetheless all the best for a speedy recovery to author..Recommend

  • Rizwan Haider

    Rafay you are correct. We are zombie nation. The nation that is dead but thinks it is alive. A more intelligent nation would have realized long ago that we were dead and moved to new order.Recommend

  • muhammed

    Great article . But u completely forgot the best part . The role Pakistan has played in strengthening Islam , Pakistan’s leads the way in having the top institutions for all fields of deen I.e. ilm, jihad , tabhleeg and tasawwuf. the people who r lost in dunya do not see this but Muslims who Allah has given hidayat know this. this is the reason the world is wary of Pakistan , the reason why David Ben gurion warned Israelis in 1948 . Once a significant portion of our ummat at becomes practicing Muslims Allah will help us. revival of Islam is not far. From 1924 till today we have seen nothing but destruction. The night is darkest before the sun rises n we r living in the darkest time…Recommend

  • Pakistani1

    Likes of this comment from :
    Jagnathan
    Anoop
    Alan
    Nand

    Its obvious these people are here just to spread negativity and demotivate pakistanis. Hatred levels are running high across the border. Sometimes Wish there were closed borders in the internet to save from these peopleRecommend

  • SAM-117

    The original piece was dark satire that discussed how the country got into this mess in the first place.
    Anyway, this debate is pointless. Focusing on glories of men from days long past while the country burns is self denial and reminding us again and again our problem is religious extremism doesn’t help either. Articles of both these sorts are a favorite among commentators.
    It would nice if we could get some solutions once in a while.Recommend

  • http://www.thetrueperspective.com/ Hamza

    You wrote:

    How can someone be afraid of death and fearful of life simultaneously is the singular fallacy that provoked me to write this rebuttal.

    However you misread what Bilal Lakhani had written and hence, I would have to point out that your blog is based on a whim. What Bilal Lakhani wrote instead was:

    Pakistan was NEVER TRULY AFRAID OF DEATH. Meaning that Pakistan wasn’t afraid of dying. Further he wrote that it was life that Pakistan feared, meaning that living was what scared Pakistan.

    You somehow understood Lakhani’s words to mean that Pakistan was afraid of dying and was also afraid of living, which he didn’t mean at all.

    It’s good to have a positive outlook on life and the future of Pakistan. That is the only way we’ll survive. And while I agree with you that Lakhani’s prose was fanciful, I will have to disagree with you on its content. He hit the nail on the head. Pakistan’s young generation is confused, misguided and unable to think critically (and constantly worsening due to the likes of Imran Khan and his ilk). That’s not how nation states survive. That’s how they die.Recommend

  • ZeBogarter

    Mr. Rafay : Kudos for your positive and ‘can do’ attitude regarding all the problems this nation faces. Surely we can’t get out of this quagmire without a little bit of enthusiasm. I’d just like to bring to your attention a few things in your article.

    A) “Pakistan tried its best but got tangled up in religious turbulence and duality of character which landed it in the quagmire it is in today. Nonetheless, it would be extremely hypocritical to cast all blame on Pakistan, for when has Pakistan ever been in total control of its foreign policy – especially at a global scale?”

    1 Pakistan did not get ‘tangled’ up in religious turbulence, rather imposing religion at the level of the state (which eventually flows down to society) was an informed and deliberate policy decision (to promote homogeneity in a diverse populace) which various leaders have stood by in our history. Long story short, this has given rise to sectarianism and one of the major reasons why armed forces want to overthrow the state in the name of religion.

    2 Why would it be hypocritical to hold Pakistan accountable for decisions regarding its foreign policy? I agree with you that we are not independent when it comes to formulating our foreign policy for the last decade or so but very few countries in the world are. In today’s world, and in IR generally, the hands of small and weaker nations like ours will always be tied to a certain extent. That does not excuse policy decisions taken from the 50s to the 80s when there was room for maneuvering. For e.g. We could’ve easily cozied up to the Soviet bloc or maintained neutrality but instead we chose to side with the US (rightly or wrongly, i’ll let you decide),

    B) “Pakistan has produced brilliant scientists, athletes, academics and professionals who went on to earn accolades for the country. Dr Abdus Salam is the product of Pakistan and so are numerous others who have graced the international scene under the banner of Pakistaniyat.”

    3) We have produced a number of quality athletes and professionals renowned in their fields but sorely lack on the “academic and scientist” front. Dr Salam’s case has been pointed out repeatedly and the treatment meted out to Dr Salam is a microcosm of the hate that reverberates in our society. His grave was desecrated while Mumtaz Qadri got garlands. Changing that equation will require more than just ‘patriotism’, ‘resilience’, ‘positivity’ etc. It will require fresh ideas incorporating tolerance amongst other things and people buying into those ideologies . Sadly nothing positive has been achieved on that front.

    C) “Pakistan has the strongest military capacity of the entire Muslim World. Throw in the nuclear prowess, and that is a lethal match for any enemy to face. Pakistan also lies at the hinterlands of the economies of the future, namely China and India.”

    4) Having the strongest ‘military capacity in the Muslim World’ means very little. Firstly the muslim world hardly has any military power that the world is in awe of so this isn’t a big deal, but thats not the point. While we continued to amass weapons and polish our fighter jets, other countries have been busy building the economies REQUIRED to sustain significant militaries. Pakistan might have a very strong military, but it accounts for very little when you don’t have the economy to go with it. And in the current capitalist setup, a powerful economy gives a country far more leverage when dealing with other nations than a conventional military weapons does. What good is an F-16 if you don’t have the money to put jet fuel in it?

    5) We are indeed placed closed to the rising economies of the world, but we’ve done very little in the last 3 decades to use that to our advantage. We have only pestered and angered our many neighbors instead of building up trade and market linkages with them. We have a long way to go before our neighbors start taking us as serious economic partners. We don’t have the infrastructure, the state institutions etc required for becoming economic players with the big boys like China and India.

    D) “Pakistan continues to shine against all the odds”

    5) Well i’m hard pressed to find any field where we as a nation “shine”. Even good form in T20 cricket alludes us.

    On an ending note, I’d like to say that hope and positive attitudes are definitely ingredients that Pakistan needs to bounce back, but a heavy dose of realism is just as important.Recommend

  • Aziz Shahid

    I have read it from start to an end each and single word of you proved obituary of Pakistan is not possible .Mr Rafay well done you have written an excellent blog.Iqbal has truly said for the guys like you (Afrad ke hathoon mein hai akwam ki taqdeer har fard hai millat ke muqadar ka sitara). You have stolen my words (www.rebrandingpakistan.com) . I am Sorry to interrupt you in one point as you said “This is not a birth by miracle – this is birth by planning”. Lot of nations in the world are fighting to have their separate country like tamils in Srilanka however their planning would not have any repercussions for them.Yes i am agree with you if you fail to plan than you have plan to fail . You must have a plan to achieve your goal. However you couldn’t plan to birth a babyboy or babygirl . There is a supreme Power God when he says kun fayakun (ho ga) to wo cheez ho gati hai. So here i am not denial your statement of birth by planning but amending it that Pakistan came into being on 27th of Ramazan this is not an ordinary thing. so the correct statement is birth of Pakistan is by dream of Iqbal + planning + effort + miracle. Hopefully it will clear my point.Recommend

  • Zed

    Sir, I admire your optimism but i think its far too late for it. As a nation…rather a crowd we are going no where, we are the laughing stock of the world and we have proved that on numerous occasions from the OBL scenario to the match fixing scandal. How many things will you sweep under the carpet.

    Open your eyes the world is exploring mars and we are stuck on if polio drops are a western sterilization conspiracyRecommend

  • Rafat Mehdi

    I just read through the comments section in the British newspapers about the corruption scandal regarding UK Pakistanis. I felt dismayed that our image is in the gutter. It is not purely racisim. The British fought a bloody war with Japan yet the Japanese enjoy the respect of British.Recommend

  • Well written

    Well written. Please continue to motivate and present the positive side of Pakistan.Recommend

  • hassan

    Solution is simple:

    Merge with Iran (Afghanistan and India are ruled out)Recommend

  • Afroz

    A good doctor never discourages a cancer patient by saying to the patient that his
    days are numbered but M Bilal Lakhani in its article has done it by predicting that
    god forbid Pakistan is going to go up in smoke in near future. Another cliché of doom days commentators.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    Thanks for your valuable comments.

    In an effort to keep my comments as concise as possible because a lot of what you have pointed out can be debated/discussed further. However, I would just comment on point D and respond to point 5 because that is what I am most interested in – to explore the positive points about Pakistan.

    If people are “…hard pressed to find any field where we as a nation “shine”.”, that means people are only looking at what they want to see. This phenomenon is called “confirmation bias”.

    If you go over the article, I have mentioned several names that are contributing positively to Pakistan’s image both in Pakistan as well as abroad.

    Recently, a Pakistani tech based startup called Convo won $5 million USD in funding. What this means for Pakistan is an increased positive exposure globally as well as potential to bring in more tech based foreign investment into the country. Over the long run, significant economic benefits can be had as well. This is just one example – a Google search would yield numerous others.

    The point of the blog post is 2 fold:

    1) to downplay the whole note of negative sentiment that was expressed by Mr. Bilal Lakhani

    2) present the positives to counter the initial argument that Pakistan, as an entity, has ceased to exist.Recommend

  • Aizah

    From all the heroes you have named above like Arfa Karim, Malala Yousufzai, Waseem Akram, Javed Miandad, Jahangir Khan name a political hero at present. Pakistan doesn’t need sports heroes or singing sensations, we need a leader who can cure what has happened to the country politically.Recommend

  • Anshuman Tripathy

    1.”On the contrary, the birth of Pakistan was anything but. It started with a dream by Dr Allama Iqbal in as early as the 1900s and culminated with the efforts of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1947.” – You make it sound like a Disney Fairytale when reality is it was anything but. Jinnah was adamant on partition, and did not agree to any other alternatives given by Mountbatten or Nehru. To show everyone how serious he was he initiated Direct Action Day which claimed the lives of 5000 people in Calcutta. This was the turning point in the sub-continents history as this created a chain reaction of riots from Bengal all the way north to Punjab. Nehru had to finally give in to Jinnah’s demand of partition. The eventual exodus of people claimed another million lives. This was “Death By Planning”. The irony is that the majority of muslims chose to stay behind even with the riots going on.

    2.” He moves on to state that Pakistan was never decisive despite being bestowed with numerous natural resources and a talented workforce”. – Say that to the Govt of the 60’s & 70’s Pakistan which embezzled gazillions of $’s provided by the US for military funds and used them for state infrastructure. As the funds have decreased now, you guys have shifted your begging bowl to the IMF & World Bank.

    3.”What about the daily massacre of our troops across the LoC?” – What about the daily massacre of civilians your state assets & Mujahideen have been causing all these years? Not just in Pakistan but the entire south asian region.

    4.” If Pakistan has always been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, that is the deliberate attempt of the international media to malign the country.” – This brings a whole new meaning to Chronic Denial Syndrome. Tell that to your “best-friends” in the region China and even they will laugh on your face.

    5.”The entire premise of the article is based on an assumption that Pakistan has ceased to exist.On the contrary, Pakistan has just been reborn.We witnessed the first democratic transition in the history of our country” – The Irony is that this new Democratic nation has seen more deaths, riots, religious discrimination, bans and dharnas than it ever did when it was ruled by dictators.
    Instead of bragging about your delusional achievements (which only you think are achievements) from the past , a little realism,unbiased analysis and acceptance of the real problems that plague your society that present moment will do you a lot of Good. Only then can you strive towards solving those problems permanently.Recommend

  • Proletarian

    Extremely stupid blogpost. Desperately clutching at straws.

    “The period before European renaissance was quite similar to what we witness in Pakistan today.”
    And it was people like you that were burning heretics at the stake, denouncing the godless liberals and opposing anyone who spoke against the divine right of kings to rule.Recommend

  • vickram

    How can you forget Nazia Hassan ?Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Why cannot Indians agree with Hassan?? This is an open discussion. Should they take permission from you?

    *Sometimes Wish there were closed borders in the internet to save from these people*
    If the borders for internet were closed then Pakistan would not have internet connection. Pakistan’s network backbone is provided by FLAG owned by India’s Reliance Globalcom.Recommend

  • Anshuman Tripathy

    1.”On the contrary, the birth of Pakistan was anything but. It started with a dream by Dr Allama Iqbal in as early as the 1900s and culminated with the efforts of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1947.” – You make it sound like a Disney Fairytale when reality is it was anything but. Jinnah was adamant on partition, and did not agree to any other alternatives given by Mountbatten or Nehru. To show everyone how serious he was he initiated Direct Action Day which claimed the lives of 5000 people in Calcutta. This was the turning point in the sub-continents history as this created a chain reaction of riots from Bengal all the way north to Punjab. Nehru had to finally give in to Jinnah’s demand of partition. The eventual exodus of people claimed another million lives. This was “Death By Planning”. The irony is that the majority of muslims chose to stay behind even with the riots going on.

    2.” He moves on to state that Pakistan was never decisive despite being bestowed with numerous natural resources and a talented workforce”. – Say that to the Govt of the 60’s & 70’s Pakistan which embezzled gazillions of $’s provided by the US for military funds and used them for state infrastructure. As the funds have decreased now, you guys have shifted your begging bowl to the IMF & World Bank.

    3.”What about the daily massacre of our troops across the LoC?” – What about the daily massacre of civilians your state assets & Mujahideen have been causing all these years? Not just in Pakistan but the entire south asian region.

    4.” If Pakistan has always been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, that is the deliberate attempt of the international media to malign the country.” – This brings a whole new meaning to Chronic Denial Syndrome. Tell that to your “best-friends” in the region China and even they will laugh on your face.

    5.”The entire premise of the article is based on an assumption that Pakistan has ceased to exist.On the contrary, Pakistan has just been reborn.We witnessed the first democratic transition in the history of our country” – The Irony is that this new Democratic nation has seen more deaths, riots, religious discrimination, bans and dharnas than it ever did when it was ruled by dictators.

    Instead of bragging about your delusional achievements (which only you think are achievements) from the past , a little realism,unbiased analysis and acceptance of the real problems that plague your society at the present moment will do you a lot of Good. Only then can you strive towards solving those problems permanently.Recommend

  • Patriotic Pakistani

    Mr Rafay Bin Ali, hats off to you for writing this amazing blog! Take a bow.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    Thank you for your comments.

    However, please do read the lines right after where I state that the reasoning has a purely sentimental or rhetorical value to denote the very fact that you are hinting at. Nonetheless, the reasoning itself is devoid of any
    objective or critical reasoning corroborated with evidence and that is the point that I try to raise. Because the statement by Mr. Lakhani is more sentimental rather than objective – meant to evoke an emotional response whereas the situation that he has discussed in the article
    requires a more objective and evidence backed approach.

    The blog post was not based on a whim. On the contrary I have presented numerous facts to rebut the initial article with. Interestingly, the original article has formulated a hypothesis and rendered a conclusion without
    presenting any fact at all.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    Merging is not the solution. National sovereignty is just as important. A better way to achieve peace and sanity is to have open trade across the Subcontinent – open borders with India and a trade pact.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    I agree. Nazia Hassan should have been there. My apologies.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    No where have I touched on the political dimension of it all other than present a macro picture of why Pakistan has strategic importance in the world – a topic which has been extensively debated and discussed and agreed upon by all across the board.Recommend

  • HARRIS

    You give counter arguments like a small kid…Thats what I have for your whole article less this line… Pakistan produced Abdus Salam ? HAHA.. Look what they did to him later.Recommend

  • Nero

    All nations are fundamentally shared conceptions of social belonging. They are more than a piece of land. My take away from Mr. Lakhani’s opinion was that the current/predominant conception of Pakistan is dying. The answer is creating a new conception and adapting. What worked in 1947 is not going to work now. Pakistan indeed has a future, even a bright one, but not in its current state.Recommend

  • Finly
  • gp65

    “This was the glue that kept the populace together during the euphoric 60s and 70s”

    Not much euphoria in the 70s when majority of the population disowned Pakistan in 1971Recommend

  • gp65

    I can understand your patriotism and respect it. IF you say that Allama Iqbal wanted a separate state for Muslim from early 1900s – you are just flat out wrong. In 1904 he wrote ‘Saare Jahaan se accha, Hindostaan hamara’. In that he also says ‘mazhab naheen sikhata, aapas mein bair rakhna, Hindi hain ham watan hai, Hindostaan hamara’. This is directly opposite to the Two nation theory.

    Please know that I do not support reunification of Pakistan with India and nor would most Indians. But you do not have to make stuff up to justify Pakistan. There is no need whatsoever to justify Pakistan. You have your country. Focus on making it the best it can be.Recommend

  • gp65

    If Pakistan leads the way in Islam, then please tell me who is following the Pakistan’s leadership. Bangladeshis who chose to separate from Pakistan? Indian Muslims who chose never to migrate to PAkistan? Indonesians? Saudis? Who exactly?

    You have your country and your faith. BE proud of both without trying to impose your ways on others who may not share your nationality and/or religion.Recommend

  • gp65

    “present the positives to counter the initial argument that Pakistan, as an entity, has ceased to exist.”

    Why do you need this argument. To prove what and to whom?

    You are probably aware that as late as 1946, Muslim League had won elections only in Bengal and Sind. Bengali Muslims were in fact leaders of the Pakistan movement. Today, Bangladesh is secular. So? It still has a right to exist as a sovereign country.

    I have not heard of Indians saying that India and Bangladesh should merge because Bangladesh is now secular. Nor have I heard that from any Bangladeshis.

    A lot of your ‘justifications’ are based on lies that keep the hatred alive. Don’t try to justify. Be proud of what you have and focus on making it the best you can.Recommend

  • Bilal Ahmad

    Rafay, What a wonderful piece. Trust me the more there is a trouble, the more we believe in this land. Very well written. Congrats. The only question to the lakhani why you returned from US to this doomed state & why your family is investing in this failed state ? Because the opportunities are endless & profits are un-imaginable.Recommend

  • Karim Lokhandwala

    Brother two things….one…you truly don’t get satire (which the original article was)…and two…you have not written anything which I haven’t already read from my Pakistan studies books…learn to read between the lines and stop trying to buy second hand fame by just criticizing other people…

    Sincerely,
    Your conscience Recommend

  • Kevin Khan

    wow..so any non-muslim sounding name is somehow connected in this conspiracy to demotivate our nation ? Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    I think we must relax. It is evident how intolerance we are just by reading the comments.

    If I were to sum up my blog post, it would be that Pakistan may have its problems but the people are aware of the problems and the majority want to rectify and amend the deteriorating social and economic infrastructure. Hence, it would be unwise to render an obituary – obituary is only rendered when all hope is lost.

    That is all. I don’t think it is much rocket science neither does it warrant lengthy comments dissecting each and every argument to the detail. Please stop nitpicking and try to understand the main point that I try to present. Thank you.Recommend

  • Khattab Bhatti

    Great rebuttal. I agree 100% with you. Unfortunately, Pakistanis are the first to be pessimistic about their country, but the original article by Lakhani was dangerous. At a time such as this, we should not abandon our country, no matter the cost. Our enemies wish to see Pakistan fall, but 190 million hands will not let it happen. Pakistan lives in the heart of every common Pakistani working hard for his family and children. This is the same nation which fought against a Soviet invasion and won, which repulsed 3 fullscale foreign invasions by India, and has survived an American invasion of its neighbor. As the Pakistani saying goes, “Only God can undue Pakistan, because He created Pakistan.”Recommend

  • Alex

    Not sure which is worse, the original article or the rebuttal. I think by using the term “nuclear prowess” to argue why Pakistan rocks, the rebuttal takes the prize for most retarded blog on the tribune. Also, the writer clearly cannot read english correctly, as someone already pointed out. If what drove you to write this rebuttal was something you misread, you should be doing something else with your free time.Recommend

  • RNS

    I am curious as to how much of Iqbal do you know – and I mean outside school text books, common anecdotes and what we have been made to believe about our history. For my research, spanning over 4 years, showed a very different side to Iqbal AND Jinnah – contrary to the common belief. Just curious if you are backing your Iqbal stances after credible research. :)Recommend

  • Charlie Chapatti

    If you’ve ever watched a zombie movie you’ll realise that Pakistan isn’t dying. It’s the walking dead of nation states.Recommend

  • Umar

    This is what happens when you don’t pick on satire/passive emotion.
    You – dear author – totally missed the entire point of his article.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    Thanks for your informed comment. Yes, my references to Iqbal are not based on textbook study in primary school – it is just not possible and people who know me would vouch for this as a fact that there is no way that what I have stated is because of “what we have been made to believe” about Pakistan :)

    Nonetheless, a complete answer to your question would entail a lengthy answer. For the sake of brevity, we do not need to read a textbook to understand that Iqbal (through his academic works) does figure prominently in shaping the direction during the era in which he was active – the vision is quite clear.

    This was not a typical class 3/4/5/6 question “Pakistan ka founder kaun tha, Pakistan kis ka khwab tha?” :) lol. I hope I am clear. Please let me know if anything needs further clarification. Thanks.Recommend

  • abhi

    While claiming that Pakistan is fruit of imagination from Iqbal, Sir Sayyad Ahmed etc, I wonder why did you leave Bin Qasim out.Recommend

  • Nadir Hasan

    If Pakistan is such a great place, why is the author of this so-called rebuttal holed up in Canada?
    Come home my friend!
    NHRecommend

  • S A J Shirazi

    Rafay, well done. Well done for for writing this and more than that reposing hope in our survival, our future.

    I am not optimist like you but still I believe that we need to do more for our country by doing the obvious (removing all hindrances like terrorism, poor governance, corruption). I also believe that it is not country’s fault if we cant steer her clear to safe future but ours.

    I have learnt one more about you.Recommend

  • Proletarian

    Pakistan needs to reject it’s current path and take a new path. Declare that the past was noting except aristocrats using superstition to lead the gullible. That it was nothing but a house of cards, a false narrative, false pride and false glories, trivial achievements blown out of proportion, a social order where the common man was always swindled and cheated and left in poverty by a parasitic elite that peddled superstition and false glory. Thats what Ataturk did. Thats what the Bolshveks did.Recommend

  • Proletarian

    Iran or India or Afghanistan would never want to merge with a bankrupt country anyway. Even Americans dont like paying our bills. You wonder why I dislike your statements Mr. Rafay? Because they reek of nationalism, the love of a country, not the people living it. People misguided by falsehoods like nationalism that need to be convinced of the truth so that they can take their destiny into their own hand and stop their own exploitation. Natioanlism is tool used by elites to keep themselves in power over masses improsoned by borders.Recommend

  • Proletarian

    Javed Miandand’s only achiement outside of cricket was to marry his children into Dawood Ibrahim’s family. Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    Thank you.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    Thanks for your insightful comments. I agree with the approach that you have outlined; that is undo everything that we have been taught and start afresh. Yes, that is how it should be. However, this is not what has been suggested in the article. – you say “is dying”, original article said “is dead”.

    That’s the different that most people reading the article have overlooked.Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    Thanks for your comments, sir.

    Sure, say whatever is on the mind and then claim it as satire when the going gets tough.

    It is always best to state that the piece is a satire if publishing it in space that is otherwise designated to news and factual information. We are humans; we cannot judge intentions.

    No where was it claimed that the piece was a satirical piece – which I am sure it was not.Recommend

  • Lindsay Jenney

    Ummmmm Pakistan is losing this internal battle. You guys may never rebound. =(Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    Dear Author Excellent attitude.

    Yes Pakistan has problems but giving up is the lamest idea. Pakistan changed itself negatively in the last 8 years. The truth is, Pakistan suffered the most in this war of terrorists. We had to choose between two devils, which obviously confused the whole nation and made Pakistan unsafe country.
    The Biggest problem in Pakistan is the negative attitude of the people. To be honest since the last 15 years, I am listening that Pakistan will be divided in to 3 countries. And also that the maps are already made….etc etc.
    Yes we have lost alot of Blood and power in the last 8 years but we are still standing and we will move forward….Recommend

  • Sad but true….

    Let him do wht he wants to do with his free time…I thought its a free world…why dont you do some thing “Important” in your free time rRecommend

  • Satti

    I like the way you gave the opinion with respect and reasoning..but a simple question if Iqbal didnt give this idea…and Jinnah also didnt want to have a new Pakistan..than who made Pakistan…????????
    Like most of the people here are defending Iqbal dream…Recommend

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    You’re a good blogger Rafay, you reply and clear your position. Not a snob like many.
    Though I maintain my difference in opinionRecommend

  • Karim Lokhandwala

    Rafay, if you write in the article that “this is a satirical piece” then it wont be one ! its like me telling you that I am going to be sarcastic with you (what would be the purpose of the sarcasm be then ??)…satire is a great tool to spark debate among intelligent people (which the author has accomplished if it made you write an entire article about it)…

    p.s. The last part was Sarcasm.Recommend

  • raj

    read his profile carefully manRecommend

  • Mehdi

    Can you please provide concrete proof, how God/Allah created Pakistan. Sir, this is the reason why Mr Bilal wrote an article bordering obituary shrouded in satire. I don’t like people who are uber patriotic or religious. Because both these ingredients are combustible mix, which can make a nation implode/explode depending on the ratio of the mix :) I believe in separation of state and religion. Author seems to be a rational person but his flaw lies being over optimistic about his Nation called Pakistan. Pakistanis can cure their country of this cancerous menace of intolerance by starting to respect minority faiths and shedding their holier than thou attitude to prevent intersect violence. As a Shia myself the blame lies with orthodox Sunni extremist for the mess Pakistan is in. Soviet didn’t invade Pakistan, it was Afghanistan. Get your facts in order. It was US which repelled Soviets by making Pakistan a client state. A country’s future does not bode well if it is doing the bidding for other countries interest. US is an exceptional country because its citizen protect their own Economic interest all around the world. Blaming USA for Pakistan’s shortcoming won’t extricate Pakistan from its mess because it is their making. Learn from your neighbor India, they pursue independent economic and foreign policies and for this reason, they are respected globally. Recommend