Will you go back to Pakistan after graduation?
I am often asked by my family and friends in Toronto about whether or not I would want to go back to Pakistan after completing my degree here. This question stimulates a range of mixed emotions in me; I think of a lot of factors ranging from the prevailing security situation to job security, job progression and of course my parents’ expectations from me. However, at the end of the day, I always tell them that I will go back.
To this, I often hear people saying,
“We will see after two years.”
“Everybody goes through this patriotic phase, you’ll get over it.”
Frankly speaking, I do not know what will happen in two years, after all, two years is a lot of time. But despite everything, I would always want to go back to Pakistan for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Pakistan is my country, I belong there. Don’t get me wrong, Toronto is a beautiful city; from the Tim Hortons coffee shop just besides my house to the busy streets of downtown, everything is very organised and disciplined. The CN tower is magnificent and the Harbourfront looks absolutely mesmerising during the summer nights.
But then again, all this cannot beat the wide, smooth phase 8 road, Doh Darya, Kharaders halwa puri, Javed’s nihari and various pakwans on Burns Road in Karachi. I cannot even explain how terrible the food here is especially for a guy like me who is used to dhaba chai and daal.
Frankly, I believe I was built for Pakistan and there was a reason God chose Pakistan as my birth place. No matter how hard I try, I miss everything I love about my country every day. Karachi, my city, also known as city of lights is one of the dearest places in this world to me. From the perfectly round Tooba Mosque to Quaid’s Mazar, everything about the city makes me fall in love with it even more. All those places my friends and I have hung out at and our days on the streets, everything strengthens the sense of belonging to the city. How could I possibly forget the infamous beaches in Karachi?
Sure, the beaches around here are gorgeous but nothing beats the excitement and sense of adventure at the beaches in Karachi. From the man selling lattoos that light up or man who urges you that ‘this particular camel ride’ will definitely be the best you ever had.
What compels me to return to my country is that since the day I started understanding politics and corruption, I have blamed everyone involved in building my country’s structure; from politicians to businessmen, the army to the religious clerics, from the armed to the poor. But I never looked at what I could do for my country to fix it and alleviate its deplorable condition. That is why I plan on going back to Pakistan. I want to make an honest living in the city I love play my part is pulling my country of the dark hole it seems to have delved into. I want to come back and use my education to bring those who have brought nothing more than corruption, loot and extremism to country’s name, to justice. I want to make them apologise for having set their bad intentions on Pakistan.
My parents are from Pakistan, including my grandparents who have lived most of their lives on Pakistani soil. I have lived in and loved that country all my life. The green and white flag defines me.
I cannot separate myself from my identity and Pakistan is my identity. Despite its imperfections, I would move back to Pakistan in a heartbeat. Pakistan is filled with some of the most talented individuals in the world; just think of where we could take the nation if all of us, all those who studied abroad and locally at top universities, put our heads together. We would be a force to be reckoned with. We can be that force.
Whatever damage is done is done, but the time to make repairs is now. The only way that change can be brought to Pakistan, in the true sense of the word, is us, the people. Yes, change, prosperity and progress will not come easy or fast, but Rome wasn’t built in a day either was it? I am coming back to my country, I am coming back to my Pakistan.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.