Give Pakistan a chance

Published: June 29, 2014
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Maybe we can look on to our Khewra salt mines, the second largest salt mines in the world, to realise what potential we have.

There are quite a few times in the day that I find myself in the comfort of my living room hearing people excoriate the way things are running in this country. The source of the criticism is either a guest whining on a talk show on TV or a companion grumbling about the prevalent paucity of gas and electricity in the country.

I come across numerous people around me, analysing and commenting on the many problems of our country. Some would say,

“It is the exigency for a solid leadership.”

Others devise a fancy conspiracy theory about it all being an orchestrated play, scripted by the political leaders, simply to pour oil on their own personal accretions. Then there are some who find catharsis in feeling sorry for themselves and wondering,

“Are these perpetual setbacks on every level a price we have to pay just because we happen to use a green passport as a distinction? Are we ever going to be on a comeback trail or have we simply fallen into abyss and lack the nerve to confess that?”

And of course, how can I forget the statement most of us hear on a daily basis,

Halaat bahut kharab hain

(The situation is extremely bad)

While some of these statements may be true, the constant nagging that makes a mockery of our nation infuriates me. When people point out how ‘impoverished’ our country is, I like to point out that regardless of our flaws, we still manage to hold immense importance in the international arena. It makes you wonder doesn’t it? Are we really that far behind or is it something we are being deluded into believing just so that certain forces can reap benefits whilst banking on these insecurities?

Please do not get me wrong. I am not one of an unsound mind who is implying that our country is free from any predicament and Pakistanis are living in this unblemished land. The prevalent energy crisis, inflation, soaring unemployment rates, terrorism, corruption and illiteracy are just a few of the many problems Pakistan is facing that cannot, in any way, be overlooked. What I am saying, however, is that perhaps by continuously looking into the negatives of our country, we have forgotten to take pride in the actual potential of Pakistan.

It is the same thing with a beautiful flower in your garden. If you go to it every day and tell it how ugly it is, what a burden on the rest of the flowers it is, it won’t be long before that flower wilts and dies. Do you think we are doing the same thing with our own country? Do you think we feel more underprivileged than we actually are?

Let’s dwell into this notion a little more and examine just how deprived our country actually is in terms of its resources.

I do not think that having the world’s seventh largest coal reserves and the fifth largest copper reserves qualifies as inadequate. Or maybe we can look on to our Khewra salt mines, the second largest in the world, to realise what kind of potential we have.

What?

Can’t find anything to complain about just yet?

Maybe we should look towards marble – that must definitely be scarce. But wait, is it not Pakistan’s fine marble that makes many European countries such as Italy dependent on us? We also have the privilege of having the world’s 19th largest shale gas and oil reserves and is the fourth largest producer of cotton.

Did you know that a Pakistani student broke the current world record by securing a total of 47 As in his O Level and A Level examinations. Yes, our education system has its flaws, but this determination to excel and succeed in all forms of life is still prevalent, is it not?

Perhaps it is Pakistan’s lack of cultural diversity that makes us feel dispossessed. The amount of solidarity exhibited by the citizens of our country every time there is a match between Pakistan and India may dupe many into believing that Pakistan is largely monolingual, mono-ethnic and mono-cultural but that is far from the truth. Pakistan comprises of an eclectic pool of ethnic communities that includes the Punjabi, Sindhi, Baloch, Pashtun, Seraiki, Mohair, Makrani, and let’s not forget my very own Kashmiri descent. We have it all, all under the beautiful skies of our own country, yet we stand divided? We applaud other nations that exhibit their diverse cultures, yet don’t see what we have in our backyards? This diversity is something we should be able to take pride in, not use as a tool to wedge disunity amongst us.

Many will find my claims debatable, biased or even overly ‘nationalistic’. But the point of my piece is not to mock but to help us look into what Pakistan does have instead of those things we don’t have or can’t afford. If we were to concentrate more on the things we do have, we would not be so consumed in feeling bad for ourselves and not doing anything to help.

If we can take out a big chunk of our day just to discuss how deplorable the situation in our country is, I think we owe Pakistan 20 minutes of our day thinking of all those things we can do to help our country become great. Start owning the negatives along with the positives and you will feel the difference, not only in the way you see yourself but in the way you see Pakistan. We really aren’t all that bad.

Ammarah Aftab

Ammarah Aftab

The author has completed her bachelors from NUST and is looking to encourage respect and value for all living creatures. She tweets as @ammarah_aftab (twitter.com/ammarah_aftab)

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