Times are tough, but we are tougher

Published: November 11, 2010

We have all seen grief, terror and bloodshed but we must rise above it all.

We are living in turbulent times where only an excuse is needed to start a killing spree. Be it in the name of religion, national security or revenge. Pakistanis have never felt less secure than they do at present, because anything can happen at any time which can affect their welfare. The terrorists blow themselves up at whim whenever they deem fit with only one ultimate aim to have as many casualties as possible. There is terror and bloodshed at every turn, be it at our own hands or at the hands of external forces.

Although no one doubts that this mass violence is an effort to destabilize the already shaky government, which came into power with a unique mandate of ‘democracy is the best revenge’ the government’s inadequacy is also apparent. The poor man is suffering due to the rise in price of commodities, increase in taxes and also being martyred because of the militancy which is a raging threat that is hanging over our heads like the Sword of Damocles.

Previously the militants waged war non-Muslims (which is forbidden in Islam) by claiming it is a Jihad (holy war), but what kind of Jihad is it if they are killing their own Muslim brothers in Islam. The onslaught of the suicide bomber is not only on foreign franchises but also on mosques and holy shrines. This just goes to show that the ultimate aim of these militants is to kill whoever and wherever they can. The casualty in this war against the world is the innocent women and children who frequent these locales.

It is about time that we took matters in our own hands, with the resolve that we will have a better tomorrow, it is in our hands to demand mid-term elections and it must be made mandatory that everyone above the age of eighteen come out and vote so that they can elect officials that are representative of them. However, who is going to pass such a ruling? Surely not the ones who have been exploiting the masses this whole while, lest they be removed from power, thus, it is a vicious circle.

Should we all abandon Pakistan, because its a lost cause and join the bandwagon of those going to the US or Europe for a more stable life? No, we must face facts and take responsibility for being gullible enough to bring these unscrupulous politicians in a position of power or face the possibility of an impending state of anarchy. It is very easy to point fingers and blame those in power but we must look to ourselves and accept the blame of empowering this particular gang of crooks. It is my suggestion that we use television as an educator since it has the strongest influence on the masses, like our neighbor who launched a campaign with a local tea manufacturing company – that on election day if you are not casting your vote you are sleeping, and that you better wake up.

We should take pride in our country and need to come together to make it such that we do not feel embarrassed of presenting our passport when traveling abroad. We need to get rid of this curse of the negative publicity we have been subjected to for a while now. The nation and its 170 Million people are being subjected to hostile treatment abroad. It’s unfair to judge others by the worst behavior of a few and think that it reflects upon the whole nation.

Here I would like to question our values which consisted of integrity, virtue and above all honesty. Even today people who live in villages rely on verbal commitments not agreements signed on stamp paper. However, one’s word of honor doesn’t mean anything anymore, people even dishonor legal agreements these days, so it’s no wonder people trust no one anymore.  People now take pride in being able to rip people off when they have made a quick buck. A virtuous person is categorized as being naïve and gullible – traits that are synonymous with a simple mind and thus impractical in this day and age of exploitation. The common man is exploited at every turn be it the government or a shopkeeper corruption is at every corner. It is often said that if one wants to survive in Pakistan he has to indulge in some corruption at least. Morals and values can be damned if they are in the way of monetary gain.

Although the situation looks pretty bleak to us these days we can provide solace to ourselves that things can only improve from here on.


Azmatunisa Ashraf

A communications graduate who has worked as a print journalist in Karachi

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

  • parvez

    After painting a really bleak and demoralising picture you ask us to look at the bright side.
    What gives me hope is that there are still some people who do think like this even if its to fill a space on the ET blog site.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/2534/whose-country-is-this-anyway-not-the-tax-payers/ Syed Nadir El-Edroos

    I can completely understand your sentiment. However, your statement that *Should we all abandon Pakistan, because its a lost cause and join the bandwagon of those going to the US or Europe for a more stable life? * Is a gross oversimplification. For the vast majority of overseas Pakistanis, are not the one who even qualify to legally migrate to the US or Europe. The vast majority of Pakistani’s who work and live abroad are labourers who toil away from the families, and whose monthly remittances keep Pakistan afloat, and pay mostly for the ubiquitous luxuries of the local elite.

    You rightly argue that we should take matters in our own hands. No one stops any individual from making small incremental changes in their behaviour to improve their surroundings and local community.

    Your argue that we should work to improve things at the macro level. However, in a society where institutions do not articulate the will of the people, individuals can feel impotent and helpless to bring about change at the national level.

    Instead we should focus on incremental changes at the individual level to our behaviour, which are measurable and have a direct impact on our local communities. People should pay their taxes, stop breaking traffic signals, stop their under age and license less children from driving around, stop making phone calls to their “contacts” to get undue favour, waste as little electricity as possible (when it comes) etc etc. They are small things that we can all do, and should do to improve our society and those around us. It all adds up.Recommend

  • Naeem Siddiqui, Australia


    Things are not as bad as some Pakistanis try to portray; I love those Pakistanis who identify problems and criticizes the behaviour and suggests solution. I hate those Pakistanis who condemn their nation and country by derogatory words and phrases like ‘beggar’, ‘corrupt’, ‘on the brink of disaster’ e.t.c. essentially these are people who are desperate to leave the country by hook or by crook.

    We always look for dark side and never appreciate the successes; here are two most recent examples of success.

    1)Despite supper flood in Jul-Aug that has caused mass scale disaster, there is no major human disaster. Initially there were fears of massive human casualty due to diseases and hunger this never happened and have no sign of happening in future. Things are improving and people are being rehabilitated. Thanks to the resolve and contribution of Pakistanis in the country and abroad
    2)The overall security situation in Pakistan has improved in 2010 as compare to 2009. Here is an excerpt from Asia Time editorial


    From January to November 5 this year, there were 15 major militant attacks in Pakistan, a dramatic drop from 209 incidents in the same period of the previous year. According to the Canadian Press, the chronology of events shows that the first half of the year was marked by a visibly anti-state insurgency, as was the case in previous years. The frequency of attacks and the dynamics of conflict visibly changed after September.

    Only two major attacks have occurred since then. These included suicide bomber strikes against a Sunni mosque in Darra Adam Khel in northwestern Pakistan on November 5, in which at least 67 people were killed during Friday prayers. There was also a Taliban suicide attack on a Shi’ite procession that killed 65 people in the southwestern city of Quetta on September 1, beside two other minor incidents against shrines in Karachi and Pakpattan.

    This indicates that from September the violence become sectarian, or centered on tribal disputes. The attacks by the Taliban and al-Qaeda that played havoc in Pakistan in 2009 have virtually come to a halt.Recommend

  • Shemrez Nauman Afzal

    This is a beautiful and awesome article. Need of the hour.
    I am taking everything positively from this. Of course, there may be questions and different aspects that can be debated, but I wholeheartedly agree with the crux of your article; we must not let the terrorists win, we must NOT let them take over our minds and instill fear in us.
    Thankyou Azmatunisa!Recommend

  • FK

    awesome title!!!Recommend

  • Mahmood Hussain

    Terrorist are more explicit and justify to kill Pakistan Army by declaring “murtad fauj”.
    But sorry to say that our nation is still confuse about terrorist and don’t identify them as enemy of nation and state.Recommend

  • Saud Siddiqui

    Your very last para. “Things can only improve from here on”……How? There is no hope Ms Azmat.Recommend

  • Dr. Nashtar Gardezi


    Sorry to say, your article is just a waste of time.Recommend