Pakistan celebrates its 60 years; 60years of broken dreams, of unfulfilled promises, of wasted passions; of quelled voices, of shackled minds; of pretentious religiosity, of “liberated” secularism, of national security, of boots and sherwanis, of the three As (Allah, America and Army), of anything BUT Pakistani (ofcourse considering what it was SUPPOSED to be).
Despite all that, (with JEEWAY PAKISTAN ringing in my background from the master of lies-PTV) I cant help myself swinging with patriotism. Despite PTV forcing me to believe that Musharraf was the best thing that happened to Pakistan, despite being reminded today by Chaudary Nisar that we are still stuck in deciding the role of the army in our country on a TV show today, despite the farcical economic boom being flaunted about, despite my father telling me how he had to pay Rs.10 instead of the regular Rs.5 for a trivial court routine just this very day, despite Mr. Durrani/aka ghalat bayani pretending to be some Paulo Coehlo or the Neitchze of Pakistani politics on a talk show today, despite PTV airing Sadr-e-Pakistan Zindabad as if that’s the most common slogan there is left today in Pakistan, despite the blatant disregard for environmental concerns that I witness everyday and am made to swallow the sight of the eyesore that Islamabad has become at the hands of a bureaucrat, unanswerable to the citizens of Islamabad, despite being reminded of the Lal masjid massacre today as I passed by it, the sorry sight of the debris of Madressah Hafsa with a few policemen enjoying lunch on the back veranda of the mosque, and now despite Musharraf bantering on about the Quaid’s dream and making an utter mockery of his vision of a democratic state, on PTV, I still have hopes.
Wasn’t that us who danced waiting for the caravan of the Chief Justice to catch just one glimpse of him? Why do we forget that some event just a few weeks back caused us all to jump around, distribute sweets as we heard the judgment of the Supreme Court? Afterall, didn’t the judiciary just secure its freedom? Aren’t we, for the first time in the history of Pakistan, hopeful that a military leader will be ousted through legal means? Don’t we believe it now when someone says that emergency and martial law have become orphans in this country?
Today the Pakistani is confident that his voice will finaly be heard; dictatorships will be quashed forever. I am excited because the very first time that I vote, I’ll be voting in a different Pakistan. My very first vote will count. I become legally adult in a rejuvenated Pakistan, in a Pakistan awake with the possibilities that it had set out to achieve. Despite the myriads of problems facing Pakistan, the hope of a democratic future which belongs to all Pakistanis, belies the harbinger in me. Our day is just around the corner. We’ll mend Pakistan. We’ll make it Pakistani.
Happy Independence Day.
(Forgive me for my optimism-probably it has to do with Jeeway Pakistan or the elections or maybe with just the apparent.
Or probably it is proving to be the refuge for the naive in me, desperate for the optimistic note…I like it anyways.)
aur uthay ga anal Haq ka naara,
jo main bi hoon aur tum bi ho.
aur raj karay gi khalq-e-khuda,
jo main bi hoon aur tum bi ho.