I am a Pakistani. Yes, I live in Pakistan. The same Pakistan that is notorious for having training camps for the terrorists. The same Pakistan where the Time Square bomb-plot suspect Faisal Shehzad came from. The same Pakistan that is making headlines all over the world for its sinister face of Islamofasicism. The same Pakistan where suicide bombs are now a part of “normal everyday routine.” The same Pakistan that has now been listed in one of the many failed states of the world. The same Pakistan where women are killed and young girls are sold in the name of family’s honor. The same Pakistan where the religious clerics made storm when a female was sworn in as the country’s prime minister.
The same Pakistan where dishonesty, corruption, and lawlessness is prevalent in every part of the country. The same Pakistan that is currently facing the worst power crisis and where electricity is available for only few hours of the day. The same Pakistan where a terrifying number of people are committing suicide because of the poverty. The same Pakistan where hospitals are perhaps the filthiest places and where a large number of students are attending schools with no chairs (and sometimes no roofs or walls). Yes, my country has many problems and very serious ones. And yes, my poor country is being run by some real crooks. After listing all those problems I might sound ridiculous if I say that I love my country.
Frankly, sometimes I do feel like giving up and taking the next plane to a country that doesn’t have all these problems—one that offers an easier life, gives more liberties and freedom of choice to enjoy, and where lunatics don’t ask you to kill someone in the name of their religion. It’s would be easy for me to leave Pakistan and get settled somewhere else. I am highly skilled. I am hardworking. I have a postgraduate degree. I can get a decent job anywhere in the world. A lot of my friends have migrated to US of A, UK, Australia, Cananda, and other wealthier, peaceful countries. So what is it which is keeping me from leaving Pakistan? Why do I feel patriotic? Why do I love my country when it doesn’t let me live the life I really want to? Well, honestly, there are plenty of reasons. I love Pakistan for:
Its Beauty and Diversity: Pakistan is a small but very beautiful country. Its area is 796,096 sq-km (approximately one and a half times the geographical area of Alaska) yet it has one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. Pakistan has two deserts, several beautiful beaches (it has a 1,046 km-long coastline), some of the largest and most beautiful mountain ranges, one of the largest glaciers of the world, countless lakes and plateaus. Travel through its vast lands and I bet you’ll be amazed by its exotic beauty—the Fairy Meadows and the sunset, which melts gold on the icy peaks of Nanga Parbat. Pakistan is not just a recent discovery. It’s a continuation of 5000 years of history. Pakistan was home to one of the oldest and greatest civilizations of the world—the Indus Valley civilization. The second highest peak of the world, K2, is in Pakistan. It has five seasons; autumn, winter, spring, summer, and monsoon. Its rich soil produces great quality of rice, sugarcane, and mangoes. Yes, great chances are that the white rice you’re cooking for your lunch today are imported from Pakistan and the ripe, yellow mangoes you just bought from that Mexican from the fruit market are also imported from Pakistan.
Its People: Pakistan is one of the bravest nations of the world. Pakistan’s mothers have given birth to some of the greatest brains of the world. Dr. Abdus Salam—the great scientist and a Nobel Laureate, Shazia Sikandar—a renowned miniaturist of international fame, and Ali Moeen Nawazish—a young boy who has recently made a world record by scoring the most number of As in Cambridge University’ A-level exams. This Land of the Pure has given birth to many brave sons and daughters who have unmatchable courage and motivation for their goals. Abdul Sattar Edhi—a man from a small village who has established the largest rescue network of the country single-handedly (and could be called one of the greatest philanthropists of the world), Mussarrat Misbah—a beautician cum philanthropist running country’s largest free clinic for female victims of acid burns, Mukhtaran Maii—a village woman who was once raped but instead of turning herself away from life she’s now using her voice and energy to provide education to her village girls and is speaking up against the forces of oppression and has recently received an honorary PhD degree from a Canadian University in an honor of her courage. A large number of Pakistanis are contributing in great way to their new countries of residence too. Dr. Mohammad Jawad—a reconstruction surgeon living in UK, who gave a new life to Katie Piper, a British television presenter whose face was burnt by acid. Above all, Pakistanis are one of the most hospitable people of the world. Come visit us, you’ll be welcomed by warm smiles, sincere greetings, and generous meals.
Its Cuisines: I love Mexican and Italian cuisines but there’s no other cuisine than the desi (a slang word for local cuisine). They say that hot spices boost your metabolism so what’s the better way to become slim than eating the hot Sindhi Biryani (chicken and rice with all the hues and aromas of various spices) or the Sajji - a beef steak made in Balochi style by cooking it in steam in an earthenware until all the juices dry up to give the steak a unique aroma and flavor. The many varieties of rice dishes, chicken dishes, and vegetable stews which Pakistani cuisine offers cannot be found in any other cuisine. No meal can be compared to Naan Pakorey orSaag Paratha.
Its Uniqueness: Pakistan has many things that can only be found in this Land of the Pure and nowhere else. The northern areas of Pakistan have the largest glaciers of the world outside the North and South Poles. The people of Hunza Valley, Pakistan speak Burushaski, a language that is not related to any other language of the world. It’s one of the rare language isolates of the world. Korean and Basque are two other language isolates in the world. Pakistan is also home to the most mysterious tribe of the world. The Kalaash tribe is the most mysterious tribe of the world. Though their physical features are very much like Europeans but nothing could be found about their origins yet. Pakistan also features the greatest linguistic diversity in one area. Chitral district, a small district in northern Pakistan, has thirteen languages being spoken by its inhabitants. No other area in the world features such a great linguistic diversity. Pakistan is hosting the biggest refugee population. Since 1979, Pakistan has hosted 5 million refugees from Afghanistan—the greatest refugee population in the world. The highest border crossing point could be found in Pakistan only. The Khunjarab Pass connecting Pakistan and China on Karakoram Highway is the world’s highest border crossing point. Pakistan has also the largest irrigation system of the world. The Canal-based irrigation system of Pakistan is still the world’s largest.
With all these blessings how can I not love my country? A famous poet expressed his love for Pakistan in these words:
“Mera Imaan Pakistan”
Mera Pegham Pakistan
Muhabbat Aman hey
Aur iska hey naam Pakistan
My faith is Pakistan, the Land of the Pure.
My Message is Pakistan, the Land of the Pure.
Love is Peace;
And Peace is Pakistan, the Land of the Pure.
I have faith in my country, in my people, in this Land of the Pure. Sure, my country has MANY problems but it still offers countless blessings to make us feel proud of it. I pray and wish we overcome our problems very soon and make this land a peaceful place where our younger generations could live happily. Long live Pakistan!