Follow by Email

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Fall of Dhaka and the Self Hating Pakistani's

Once again, another December 16 comes and goes, it serves to remind us of the darkest days in Pakistan's history. Some people in media absolutely love talking about it, so they can get an opportunity to show their anger, hatered and discontent towards the civilian and military establishments of this country, demonizing them as the worst thing to have ever happened to this country and giving people the impression that as long as this country exists, this very same establishment will commit crimes against its own citizens. Such media hoo ha, lead by the likes of Hamid Mir who I see as probably the greatest traitor in popular media today as well as his whole media outlet the GEO network. Such media hoo ha, further fuels the confused sentiments of the Pakistani youth who have developed a love hate relationship with their country as a by product of their disappointment and disarray with the political and civilian military establishment in not being able to do their job properly of running the country, fixing the mess that it is in and for a lacking sense of inequality. Problems are countless, corruption, lack of law and order, terrorism, sectarianism, you name it, its happening in Pakistan, peace and tranquility and equality is the right of every Pakistani and since their very right is not being met  This blog goes out to all those self hating Pakistani youngsters, who like to use the example of the 1971 war and the creation of Bangladesh to demonize their own country. There is more to it, there is more to what happened in 1971, more than what most of our own media or the international media or historians for that matter mention.

There is crystal clear truth in inequality and injustice done by the West Pakistani's with their brothers in the East, this does not mean that there is a need for all out war and a need to break the country apart. Let's not forget Bengal's vote made Pakistan a reality, the people of Bengal wanted to Pakistan, it was something their fore fathers fought hard for, and it was all thrown to waste within a generation.

To simplify let's take a quick look at some of the things, I won't be surprised If I am labeled a delusional fool after this blog, but it is a risk I am more than willing to take.

Pakistan General Elections 1970-1, Sheikh Mujib's Awami Party won a clear majority to form a government in the National Assembly, no denying that, also no denying Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's lust for power that many argue proved to be the decisive factor. But how many people know Sheikh Mujib won that election based on extreme nationalistic rhetoric, even using the term Bangladesh to refer to East Pakistan in his election campaign through out 1970 instead of using a Pakistani nationalist approach. It was the law of simple majority statistics that shaped the election results of 1970.

We all know Yahya Khan delayed the convening of the national assembly, but questions we fail to ask why was the NA session scheduled for Dhaka when the federal capital was Rawalpindi/Islamabad in 1971? More importantly, it is worth observing that why did all of a sudden over night all HELL broke loose in all of East Pakistan's urban centers especially the provincial capital, immediately after the NA session was postponed. The amount of carnage that followed in the weeks could only have been pre planned and the postponement used conveniently as an excuse to do so. And all this was weeks before the infamous operation search light took place at Dhaka University.

Members of the Awami League that won the election and its student wings across universities in East Pakistan were extreme left wing parties with communist ideologies and they took inspirations from treasonsm rebellions and uprisings of the past and guerrilla warfare, the kind that were very popularized in the 50's and 60's by the likes of Marxist revolutionaries such as Che Guvera and Fidel Castro that led the Cuban revolution. Extreme leftists just like Extreme rightest do not understand the concept of patriotism or national loyalty, they only believe in their cause or how they can profit from it. Essentially what they committed was an act of treason. Also none of this happened over night, planning and preparation for the separation of East Pakistan had been on the cards since the 60's. Indian historians have admitted to this that Bengali nationalist leaders from East Pakistan were secretly holding meetings in neighboring Indian states with representatives from New Delhi.

Contrary to popular belief, the Pakistan army was not an occupying army, it was the army going about its own business in what was then a province of their own country, they were asked to intervene on request of the East Pakistan police and civilian administrators as law and order had gone completely out of hand. Such practice is not uncommon even in the developed world where the armed forces are asked to come in and assist the police especially against domestic home grown terrorist organizations. The POW figure of 93,000 included police, civil servants as well as high profile civilians based in East Pakistan at the time, the actual military presence figure was somewhere between 50 to 65 thousand. An army that small in the province could no where commit the genocide or war crimes it keeps getting accused off. They were both trying to protect the border and fight with these domestic terrorists that had started attacking them. This does not even count the mutiny that happened within the army, many senior officers reported for work business as usual, only to be hacked to death by their junior officers. Why were the civilians handed over to the Indian army? The very same Indian establishment is guilty of crimes against their own people and for being a regional bully. It took over and occupied the princely state of Hyderabad, it took over Goa and Sikkim by Force and in the 1980's it launched the brutal Operation Blue Star against its own people that too at the holiest site of the Sikh religion. Not to mention their war crimes against the people of Kashmir through out the late 80's and early 90's, also their brutal suppression of the Eastern insurgency. Below is an image of when the Indian army conducted operation Blue Star.

Many of you think Indian aggression in East Pakistan is a myth just because it is written in our text books, well I have got news for you buddy, our text books might contain a million lies but this isn't one of them. The Indian army did actually invade a sovereign country's province (East Pakistan) from all sides since its borders were surrounded by the Republic of India. New Delhi did this arguing that it felt sympathy for the Bengalis and felt it had an international moral obligation to help the crises. They might have opened their doors for refugees from East Pakistan, but the they were also training traitors in the art of warfare and very conveniently invaded another country. The Pakistan army did not know what they assumed were otherwise border skirmishes would result in a full fledged invasion and ambush. Even weeks before the war ended, General Niazi who was in C in C in East Pakistan kept begging for political dialogue and asked for a cease fire, the international community did not subscribe to the request. Political dialogue and engagement did take place between Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib behind closed doors in order to reach a power sharing agreement, but power sharing was not good enough for Mujib's supporters, they wanted absolute control by hook or crook. Political injustice is one thing, it is another to actually commit treason and break up the country. Look up on YouTube and you will find interviews with Indian war veterens from the 71 war proudly claiming and admitting how they had been planning for years to dismember Pakistan and give them a crushing humiliating defeat.

The Mukhti Bahini was a terrorist organization, no different from the TTP. They were responsible for terrorist attacks on civilians, on government organizations, mass vandalism and mass murder. Like the TTP, they too rejected the Government of Pakistan, its very constitution and felt no qualms about resorting to murderous activities towards civilians and attacking the armed forces of what was then their own country. Just because they were not hidden behind the wall of big fat bushy beards and turbans like the TTP, this does not make them freedom fighters, makes them cold blooded murderers and traitors, and it was them who started the civil war in East Pakistan through acts of terrorism. And why exactly does no one call it Pakistan's civil war, every book out there, and every arm chair analyst out there calls it the India Pakistan war of 1971 or Bangladesh Liberation War. Bangladesh might have been treated like a colony but it was not occupied. Find me a single nation on earth that tolerates separatist movements that go hand in hand with terrorism. You might like to quote Scotland or Catalonia but their independence leaders are going about it in a peaceful manner. The British army unleashed its full strength against the IRA in Northern Ireland and the Spanish government did not tolerate the Basque movement and its acts of terrorism across the Iberian peninsula. If the TTP and its branches are terrorist organizations for you, so should non religious secular terrorist organizations.

I could go on and on and on about the events of 1971, but some of these points are just food for thought for people like you, for more details, read up a little, you will be surprised and shock to know that there is more to this story than meets the eye.

A Look Back at 1971 Fall of Dhaka, relevance very much even today.

(Above Image from December 16, 1971, when the Pakistan Army Surrendered to the Invading Indian army and the instrument of surrender being signed)

In March of this year, I penned a blog about the events of the 1971 and its significance to the history of Pakistan. For those who have not read my previous blog or are unfamiliar with what events transpired in 1971, it was the year Pakistan split into two with the Eastern half more popularly known as East Pakistan parting ways to become a newly established nation state of Bangladesh. December 16th is the year that most Bangladeshi's celebrate 'Liberation Day', while most people in Pakistan choose to conveniently ignore the date and its historical significance due to very obvious reasons, their are a few who remember it as a day of great shame and a great national tragedy , for those who witnessed the events of 71 before their eyes, the memories of that December are painful and tragic. For those few 'The Fall of Dhaka' is seen as the moment when their world came to an end, in pretty much a similar manner to how some French mourn the loss of Algeria, as like East Pakistan Algeria was part of Greater French Territory and not one of its colonial possessions. Another thing that Algeria had in common with East Pakistan was that it was not a continuous territory of France and was separated from the mainland by the Mediterranean sea. One difference here though was that East Pakistan was surrounded on almost all sides by India, and at the time of the 1971 India Pakistan war, there was a very hostile Anti Pakistan government sitting in New Delhi headed by the then Prime Minister Indra Gandhi.

In my previous blog, I highlighted briefly that there are other sides to the story of what happened in 1971 and touched upon some elements such as the international media propaganda against Pakistan such as the concert in New York and I also high lighted on the massive genocide committed against Non Bengali's in the province. I will be continuing where I left off in my previous blog and I could not think of a better timing to pen this one then this December, as the events of 1971 have been very heavily in the news on international media and social media, courtesy of the hanging of a veteran politician from Jamat e Islami Bangladesh. I do not have the highest level of regard or respect for the Jamat e Islami, be it in Pakistan or their brethren in Bangladesh, nor do I know the individual sentenced recently was actually guilty of War Crimes or not, but with the Bangladeshi elections around the corner one can't help but think this is a political stunt in an attempt by the ruling Awami League to obtain re election, now that they have managed to dissolve the concept of a caretaker government, it seems ever more likely. It has also reflected and exposed the deep polarization and divide both politically, socially and culturally that exists within Bangladeshi society, especially between the socially and politically active secularists and the religious conservative which in a Muslim majority country still make up a sizable figure.

Pakistan has managed to keep itself in the news with respect to Bangladesh once again, by passing a resolution in the National Assembly condemning the execution of the Jammat leader for which even the foreign office of Bangladesh protested, and Bangladeshi journalists have resumed calls for an official Pakistani apology even accusing Pakistan of cowardly behavior. I would say it is unfortunate that we in Pakistan on the other hand have a Very Anti State media that keeps insisting on demonizing their own state apparatus unlike media outlets in other countries that do not compromise on nationalism and national interests. This is also relevance in the coverage that some media channels give to mark the Fall of Dhaka every year on December 16th. The narrative that they keep trying to communicate to the people of Pakistan is that their military and political establishment is inherently unconditionally evil, it is the worst thing to ever happen to Pakistan and it is the biggest enemy of the citizens of this state, and it is very obvious from the apparent war crimes they committed in 1971.

Not for a moment am I discounting or dismissing that war crimes were not committed by the Pakistan armed forces, what I am questioning is why is only the Pakistan army accused of committing War Crimes and acts of genocide in the 1971 war? The Bengali nationalists and their militant wing the Mukhti Bahini is guilty of treason and of committing massive war crimes against people in the then province of East Pakistan, they were responsible for not only attacks on an army which was their army, and their police, but also the tens of thousands of Non Bengali's they butchered, and if one is to believe the methods used mentioned by Sarmila Bose in her book, a Nazi style industrial mass killing mechanism was adopted by these nationalist militants. Not to mention the thousands killed by the 'Invading' Indian army that invaded by crossing the border from all sides after pretending to give a shit about what is happening in Muslim Bengal. Contrary to popular belief the Pakistani army was not an occupying army, it was the people's army going about its business in what was a province of their own country, even they were caught unprepared for what was about to unleash upon them, for the hell that was about the break loose on the streets and villages of East Pakistan, they as well as people in Pakistan did not know what was coming their way, something that would pull the earth beneath their feet and forever change history. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fatima Bhutto, One More Self Hating Pakistani Intellectual, Truly what a Waste.

Among the literary circles of Pakistan, among the intellectuals and the reading minority among the educated urban middle classes of Pakistan both home and away, Fatima Bhutto's new book is the talk of town among Pakistani's. From her book unveiling event last week at the London School of Economics to young adults wandering through the book shop or their book club in the city of Karachi too many people are eager to get their hands on this book titled The Shadow of the Crescent Moon. Many will be even glad to know that the book shop franchise chain Liberty books is selling a limited supply of hard back copies of the book autographed by FB (Miss Bhutto) herself. I was one of the fortunate one's who was able to pre-order the book on Amazon and it was automatically delivered my Kindle device on the day the book was released by Amazon UK. Like many I too was eager to read it, get my hands on it the first opportunity. Though I managed to finish the book in a couple of days time, I was extremely disappointed with the reading experience, and after only finishing a quarter of the book, I wanted to claim a refund from Amazon. Though I had not read her memoirs i.e. her previous publication this was a book I truly looked forward to.

For those who do not know who Miss Fatima Bhutto is, she is the niece of former late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, grand daughter of the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who was head of state in the 70's, and the daughter of late Murtaza Bhutto who was gunned down outside his Karachi residence in the 90's. She was educated at the Karachi American School, Columbia University in New York and The School of Oriental and African studies in London. There is no shortage of blood that has been shed by her family in the decades that this dynasty has been a prominent part of Pakistani politics and society. Many would call the Bhutto's a cursed family, a political dynasty forever marked onto the political arena and coming hand to hand with tragic consequences as their fate.

Many in Pakistan's urban middle classes admired Miss Bhutto, especially those with a dislike for the Pakistan People's party or the legacy of her paternal aunt and her grand father. Many saw her as a true patriot, some one really sincere to Pakistan, some even saw her as a beacon of hope for the revivalism of Zulfiqar Bhutto's legacy onto Pakistani politics, many saw her as the future of Pakistan's dynastic politics and the rightful heir to her grandfather. After reading her debut fictional novel I am starting to suspect otherwise and I am beginning to wonder if she is very disconnected from what it means to be a Pakistani and embrace this soil or is she trying to position a certain propaganda through her literature, or is she just simply another self hating Pakistani intellectual like the thousands more like her who think hating their country is one that will gain them popular appeal, and as such they justify their extreme criticism by saying they love this country hence their right to criticize, however that would vary on the level and nature of the actual criticism meted out would it not?

Her book it seems is nothing short of an Anti Pakistan propaganda aimed at maligning the state and its apparatus as being a monster that is always and always an evil demon off sorts down the throats of ordinary citizens of this nation. Not to mention the mediocre quality of writing that has gone into this book, a huge contrast from the debut novels of other Pakistani fictional writers such as Mohsin and Kamila. The book is set in a very small remote FATA or KPK province town called Mir Ali (There is an actual town by the name of Mir Ali in FATA). One can make an assumption that the town depicted in the book is a fictional one as opposed to basing it on the real Mir Ali, based on how the town is described and other locations in proximity to it, such as a town of it's small size and that also one in the FATA region having a large university campu with an extensive arts, political science and mass comm departments. The university depicted in the book is also seen as a hot bed of Anti State secessionist political activity led by the far left students and the youth of the town. This forms the back drop of the book, a fictionalized secessionist movement brewing in a remote FATA/KPK town which is also under heavy military presence, where the military establishment is responsible for strange disappearances of young men.

Sounds quite similar to allegations made by BSO Azad in Balochistan province, does it not? The real life town of Mir Ali in Pakistan lies in the South Waziristan region of FATA, and it is a town that was brutually plagued by Taliban presence, which were cleared out by the intervention of the Pakistan armed forces. For those that don't believe this statement, look up the Battle of Mir Ali on Wikipedia, and for those even more curious about this random insurgency, Google it, you won't find a damn thing. Though it is also a reality of the KPK/FATA region that there are many politicians and some political parties based on the province that are Anti State, the party whose founding fathers did not a extreme left wing politicians who did not accept the partition of India and the establishment of Pakistan. To this very day they continue to maintain their links with those on the other side of the Durand line to the West or those sitting East of the Radcliffe line in present day Northern India. Do not be surprised if we meet people from KPK who are apathetic towards Pakistan and have strong ties with people living in New Delhi.

As far as Miss Bhutto is concerned, as a patriotic Pakistani who truly admired her over all these years, I am truly disappointed and I genuinely expected not just far more balanced objectivity in her political angle but also quality of creative fictional writing. For a debut novel disappointing effort even though the second half is far more reader friendly than the first half, and as far as her attempt at spreading Anti Pakistan sentiment among the influential affluent educated urban middle classes, it was distasteful. We can only hope Miss Bhutto steps out of her luxurious Old Clifton Bungalow and communicates, engages and understands the millions among the Pakistani youth for whom this country  is more than just a mark of citizenship and a passport. Last thing we need is another Self Hating Pakistani among our educated intellectual lot, such gifted individuals with their attitude are a great loss to this nation.

Pakistan Zindabad

Friday, November 8, 2013

Islamabad innit!!!!!

Islamabad more popularly known by the locals as Isloo, is the national capital of Pakistan. Located about a four drive north of Lahore, Islamabad along with its neighboring twin city of Rawalpindi form Pakistan's fourth largest city. The twin cities as the locals like to call it, for a new visitor if it were not for the sign boards it would be very hard to tell when one Islamabad ends and when Rawalpindi begins. Both cities are quite different from one another one, Rawalpindi is an old pre-partition era urban center, which since partition has been home to the Pakistan armed forces and before partition it served a HQ for the British Indian army, the locals are proud to hail from Pindi, while people from Islamabad are even prouder of their city. Islamabad is a purpose built well planned city commissioned by the then president of Pakistan Ayub Khan to serve as the future capital of the nation. At the time the nation's largest city Karachi had served as the capital of the newly formed nation since its inception in 1947.

My recent trip to Islamabad carried with it a lot of excitement, as though I was not a first timer to Islamabad I had never gotten the opportunity to actually explore the city and its laid back vibe. My previous trip in 2010 to the twin cities featured a wedding in Rawalpindi which did not leave time for exploring Isloo, and the trips before that were either express visa trips into the diplomatic enclave or transit stops for journey onto hill stations like Muree, Bhurban or Nathiagali.  I can not even describe how excited I was to explore our nation's capital and the best part about it was going to be that for the duration of my stay, I would not have to worry about the state of safety and security which is a natural cause of concern for all those who hail from the city by the sea Karachi, which has a ridiculously high crime rate.

I am usually not the one to believe in the envious eye but my trip to Islamabad did not exactly kick off to such a great start. To get to Islamabad I hopped on the afternoon Daewoo Bus Service from Lahore to Rawalpindi (which is where the Daewoo stop is)  and half way through shortly after the mid point rest stop, the engine fan caught fire and our bus had to make an emergency stop around Kalar Kahar near the Salt Ranges of the Punjab province. We got on a replacement bus an hour or so later and made our way to the twin cities. I arrived in the twin cities a few hours but just in time for dinner. We had dinner reservations at this lovely outdoor-ish Italian restaurant by the name of Tuscany Courtyard, which as the name suggests had a nice spacious courtyard. The food was absolutely brilliant and worth every penny, considering we had a 4 course meal for 2K pp, so all in all good value for money. It wasn't long before we spotted our first parliamentarian. As we stepped out, speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq walked in with his family and surprisingly no security escorts, maybe its just a surprising thing for us Karachi City folks to see politicians with security left right and center.

Then began the touristy trail the following morning, I had already made a list of To Do Things and Must visit Places in Islamabad for my short trip. Due to the constraint length of the whole trip, I did not get the opportunity to visit Saidpur Village or the new Centauras shopping mall. We started Saturday with a visit to Lake View park located alongside  Rawal lake. The picturesque lake side park is not only a vast spread of green but also features a bird park for bird brains and bird lovers, paddle boating, hiking trails as well as a Go Karting for the the adrenaline junkies. All that fresh air was intoxicating.

Followed by Lake View park, we made our way to Shakarpariyan and the Pakistan monument, the latter being a monument made during the era of president Parvez Musharaf. The stunning monument in its impressive pillars carry equally impressive carving which are a reflection and testimony to national symbols and national pride. The impressive compound of the monument also offers spectacular views of the city, by far this has been my favorite stop in Islamabad. A quick lunch later, we proceeded to visit Serena hotel, which is by far the most luxurious and priciest of fancy hotels in Pakistan and a popular choice for foreigners as well as they can commonly be spotted around the hotel premises, in any case all over Islamabad foreigners can be easily spotted, be it convenient stores or luxury hotels. Something we Karachi folk don't get to see much off.

After a short rest, we proceeded towards the magnificent Shah Faisal Mosque which is not only a symbol of Islamabad but also one of the architectural symbols of modern Pakistan. With its enormous courtyard and massive worship capacity, it is easily among the largest mosques in the world this combined with its stunning and mesmerising modern architecture. As dusk kicked in, we proceeded to a popular Islamabad hang out among the youths of the city 'Chaye Khana'. Initially I was curious what the big hype was, why was it Islamabad's popular to go place, once there, felt like home, felt like I was in just the right kind of cafe. Definitely worth a visit on a trip to Islamabad, and they do pretty decent Peshwari Kahva and Doodh Pati. For dinner time in Islamabad, Monal located on top of the hills is a Must Visit for not only spectacular scenic views of Islamabad but also for its incredible Pakistani food. Unfortunately time constraints I could not get the opportunity to visit this restaurant during day hours and had to settle for illuminated night light night time views, which though not as breath taking as they would be during the day are still fairly impressive. Good food, good company and a good view, best of all peace of mind and safety.

As my trip came to its conclusion I wondered when I would be back in our beautiful and stunning national capital. I am not certain whether it will happen any time soon, but I do hope to return, finish my tourist trail and spoil myself with all that fresh air, for the time being I am going to see where my travels take me next.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Self Hating Pakistanis among us, who are they ?

The word 'Self Hating Pakistani' has been on the air online recently on social media, some attribute me as having come up with it, but I am pretty certain I am definitely not the first person to propose this idea or expression that their exist among us many Self Hating Pakistani's. Those who think I came up with the concept or the word 'Self Hating Pakistani' i was rather asked to clarify and elaborate on what it means, so I figured out why not throw in a quick blog to elaborate a little bit on this. I am still debating in the process of this blog, should I go about highlighting in bullet points the attributes of the so called self hating Pakistani's or behaviors that they display publicly, or should I just simply define who or what is a self hating Pakistani?

Let's begin with how do we define a 'self hating Pakistani', there are many definitions, some call even today's so called liberals of Pakistani society also liberals, but in simple lay man's terms a self hating Pakistani is simply one who not only does not feel a sense of pride in their national identity, but feels a sense of repulsion towards their country and its symbols of nationalism. At the same time they do not waste any time in attacking or criticizing their country. However we must not end defining this expression at this subtle definition, to elaborate we must list out some traits, attributes and publicly displayed behaviors by such people to get a clearer idea of who a self hating Pakistani.

Let's start with Pakistan's liberal intellectual lot that one finds among the urban middle classes in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. I am not going to say all of them, but a fair few of them are very cynical, I am guessing some of them have even grown up to reading NFP's Smoker's corner, and they consider it their national duty or God given national right to criticize their country arguing 'they criticize because they care'. Sure it's one thing to let's say for example criticize and rightfully bash your country for failing to protect it's minorities, it is another to label your country as one that is some demonic being hell bent on bringing misery and pain on its citizens. A lot of off on the ground movement and social media movement by the so called liberals has kind of reflected the 'our state is a monster' vibe.

My personal favorite among the self hating Pakistani lot are those still attached to their distant ancestral homelands that are not a part of this country and have failed in fully adopting and embracing their identity as Pakistani's even after generations of migration. To identify them is fairly simple, watch and observe their apathy and silence towards insults thrown at Pakistan and keep rambling about the land of their ancestors, along with the culture and traditions of those lands that lie in a foreign country now. It was that very foreign country their fore fathers left over 6 decades ago, yet they also associate themselves with the immigrant stamp card. It requires just common sense to know you are not a immigrant after three or so generations. You will also hear them make remarks by that this country is not theirs, it got hi jacked by others, even though in reality their ancestors made this country. You  will also hear them make derogatory remarks about other communities found in the country through their delusional sense of cultural superiority.

There are also those who only see Pakistan and its status quo through the eyes and ears of their political associations or political parties they associate themselves with. The resentment and and lack of attachment towards the Pakistani state and establishment usually comes from Left Wing or secularist Political parties that do not advocate nationalism, nationalism doesn't necessarily have to be tool of the right wing, even the left can say Pakistan first. In countries where people are loyal to their land, regardless of their left or right political orientation, when it comes to nationalism there is compromise. Such individuals with associations with left wing parties are also very strongly critical and resentful of the armed forces, its not rocket science to know what hatred for ones own defense force does not only to the morale of the soldiers but also to national unity and cohesion.

Then there are simpler defining characteristics of self hating Pakistani's, they include those who have lived abroad at some point or the other or have gotten some exposure to what life might be on the other side, seeing grass as greener on the other side, and are continuously in this aspiration of running away, you might even hear them  say something like 'Pakistan se Zinda Bhaag' while laughing. Other examples include those idiot bafoons who can't keep their mouth shut at a cricket match. Colours Green and White and support for our national cricket team is a small part of Pakistani nationalism, a self hating Pakistani would celebrate on watching their national team's defeat especially at the hands of those rich fat cat arch rivals across the border. They will atleast show a fair deal of apathy at the hands of defeat and maybe even mock those who feel a sense of frustration at watching their national team taste defeat. Speaking of the big bully next door, some of your self hating Pakistani lot has had exposure or experience of interaction with those from across the border and would go to any lengths to develop or adhere to opinions that are politically correct or those meeting approval of those next door.

 I would also classify those as Self Hating Pakistani's who have a disliking for their fellow Pakistani's because of their ethnicity, cultural back ground or even their adopted way of life or even their outlook on life. Mocking of diversity which makes any society beautiful is a recipe for breakdown of harmony. Believe it or not it is actually very fashionable among many Pakistani's to stereo type other communities from an orientalist style perspective, if you ask me it is pretty distasteful. This includes showing apathy or even joy at the misery off one at the expense off the other. You also know you have a Self hating Pakistani around you, when they would blindly without keeping an open mind just outrightly label anything that touches on nationalism or patriotism as propaganda.

Lets throw in one more catagory to the label of self hating Pakistanis, those Pakistani's who have lived overseas on relatively greener pastures. For them moving back to Pakistan is an extremely difficult choice one that they would only make when their forced against their will. In their case I am not sure if its the creature comforts of life in a developed world that makes them fall in love with these greener pastures, the ability of fully exercise their individuality or the illussion of freedom? In the case of the latter it usually applies to those who have spent university years abroad and have not fully experienced the perils of the rat race working life abroad, even as off now I know off university students abroad who are terrified of returning home as days come to an end. Or they really jusy think its cool to say hey man I live in London or New York or California?

So how many self hating Pakistani's do u know ? Well I have managed to list or jot down a few things from the top of my head, others who might come up with alternative attributes of self hating Pakistani's, feel free to jot them down in the comments. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Handbag Walee & The Self Hating Pakistanis

Photo: Saba Gul had done both her undergraduate and graduate studies from MIT, which is considered one of the greatest universities in the World. She is an Engineer by profession, and was working in the Silicon Valley with a potentially great career lying ahead of her, when she decided to come back to her home country, Pakistan and start doing something for her people. She is the CEO and founder of BLISS (Now Known as Popinjay), which is an NGO which works for the welfare of under privileged School Girls who are taught the skills embroidery and needle work, which are later finished into handbags and sold in the Global Markets. Apart from the Human Capital, which involves incorporating skills in these girls, the proceeds from the sales of handbags enable them to continue with their education.

Saba Gul has also worked in Sri Lanka and Ethiopia, and is a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper, as well as a fellow of The Unreasonable Institute. Her work has been recognized by the US State Department, and featured in the MIT Technology Review, Vogue Magazine, NBC News and Fast Company, to name a few. 

Saba indeed is a very patriotic Pakistani, leaving behind an illustrious career at Silicon Valley to work for the welfare of the Pakistani nation. Pakistan needs more people like her.

Very recently an acquaintance of mine shared some information with me about a young Pakistani entrepreneur based in Lahore. The name of the young entrepreneur is Saba Gul and she is the brains behind the venture Bags for Bliss. The project itself now known as Popinjay manufactures highly quality designer hand bangs which are made through the employment of under privileged young girls and trains them with the skills related to embroidery making and needle work. Later on the proceeds from these very hand bags are used to facilitate these girls in continuing their education and take necessary steps towards empowerment and economic independence. Now how many people know that the founder of Popinjay/Bags for bliss is actually a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States of America and had a successful career in California's Silicon Valley which she left behind to return to her native Pakistan. For those not familiar with the school, it is the top tech school in the world and their graduates the most sought after ones by tech and engineering companies. Now how many of us know foreign graduates, especially those with great careers overseas who leave behind everything and feel a sense of national duty and obligation to give back to their country in some way or the other. I personally do not know that many and for me some one like Saba Gul is a source of inspiration, those foreign graduates I know personally still living in Pakistan actually hate being dream and are still dreaming of returning to foreign shores.

 One doesn't have to sink into wonderful ventures immediately upon arrival back into this country, just returning under a sense of patriotism or national obligation is a good starting point  to reduce the effects of the brain drain damaging this country. It is not by any means an easy journey back into this country, especially if one has lived abroad, life here is very difficult and demanding and can take a great many years to get used to how things are and how they work here. The best way to go about it is to have an open mind and be accepting to the challenges of every day life here. Some cities have a high crime rate, some cities have a problem with running water and electricity, but then again these things are part and parcel of living in the developing world. Such patriotic Pakistani's returning back from foreign shores out of love for their fellow Pakistani's and the land that may or may not have given them much will always be a source of inspiration and their efforts are worthy of ever lasting praise.

At the same time, our country has no shortage of self hating Pakistani's, regardless of whether they have had a foreign education or not, have lived abroad for some time or have never set foot on foreign shores, there is no shortage of Self Hating Pakistani's especially among our youth. Those that have lived or studied abroad at some point, especially the recent graduates or those that stepped out for the very first time desperately yearn for the day they will hop on a plane out of Pakistan. I am not sure what it is they miss, I will treat this as a no fixed rule approach. Some might miss a loved one abroad, some might miss their real life social network that they have left behind, some might miss the creature comforts and state of the art facilities of a developed nation or some are just missing the uncontrolled freedom that life abroad seems to offer. The freedom bit I would say is a relative thing, freedom is but an illusion, we are never really truly free, there are degrees of relative freedoms some places offer and some do not. Even in the West you are not fully free, you have laws of even those countries to adhere too as well as social norms.

You also have the lot among the Pakistani youth that does not feel a sense of ownership or belonging to their country even when life has been good to them with or without ever setting foot on foreign shores. They show signs of apathy when their country is ridiculed or mocked, it could be because they have been conditioned by their surrounding environment i.e. they have been brought up in an environment where their made to believe they do not owe Pakistan anything. In some cases, it is considered trendy and mainstream to be extremely critical and devoid of attachment, i.e. it is considered cool to dislike your country and see it from a judgmental angle. Some young Pakistani's are only able to associate themselves with their own ethnic group or community going with the identity of ethnocentrism versus broader national thinking. In some cases the broader perception is that their ethnic group is the superior of the lot and all others around them are non deserving of what this country has given them. Nationalistic feelings tend to become surface level visible for Pakistani's during a cricket match especially if it is against India, that is no surprise, observe the apathetic and unmoved attitude of some of your fellow Pakistani's, or even joy at the failure of our national cricket team or its star players. This would probably be the easiest way to identify a self hating Pakistani. Not to generalise but I am quoting this just purely as an example.

In some cases, some young Pakistani's take it to the next level and only identify with the identity advocated by their political party of choice, and it is no secret that some political parties in Pakistan do not advocate a national stance or attitude among their followers, and play the ethnic or region centric card limiting the self adopted identity of their followers to a particular region or linguistic community. Some even keep obsessing about where their ancestors came from instead of accepting the reality that this country was founded over six decades ago, they have no realistic ties to land lying in another country, their fore fathers migrated to Pakistan because of their belief in the idea of Pakistan and political shifts do not change their national identity.  Realistically in the short term nothing can be really done about the attitude of such self hating Pakistani's, the same way nothing can be done about very judgmental and narrow minded people, for now we can continue praising the efforts of young entrepreneurs like Saba Gul and see her as a sense of inspiration especially for those young Pakistani's that feel a sense of pride in their Pakistani national identity.

Saba Gul, wherever you are, I hope you come across this blog, cause your story truly inspired me and I hope one day you can inspire millions more who like you also willingly took the decision to return to my native soil.

Pakistan Zindabad