Standing alone as a Pakistani

-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro

I am in the news everyday. I appear separate from rest of the world. If they made me stand amongst thousands, I would still appear separate from the others. This is why whichever land I step on, I am asked to stand alone and wait for my turn, which always comes in the very end. I often wonder why the eyes of the whole world are so focused on me, always assuming me to be the risk factor. No matter what happens, in any corner of the world, it all somehow eventually leads to me, in one way or another.

I am just a simple, illiterate person who doesn’t even have access to schools and colleges, the universities are for the big shots anyway. Forget my previous generations, even my following generations can not hope to access those universities. But now, people are starting to take notice of my abilities. Oh, let them come to me and just ask, I can turn an entire city into a mound in a matter of moments. In fact, there is no one who can possibly be as “honourable” as me, as good and true a Muslim as I am. No, he cannot be found in any corner of the world, not even in Saudi Arabia. And it doesn’t even matter if I cannot understand Arabic; despite that my knowledge of the “true” faith surpasses anybody else’s.

It is the age of Internet. Our madrassas offer the latest facilities. We also rule over the media, and the social media; one is changing statuses and the other cover photos. Golden words are constantly being copied off the Internet, everyone’s faith is being rekindled on Facebook. Faith is also now being spread through the English language. Those places that you call the “elite schools” are gradually experiencing a change. Soon enough, all remaining differences between the madrassas and these so-called English-medium schools will disappear. KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and all the other chains such as these are only flourishing because of us. Wherever you look, you will only see niqabs and topis.

We have always been great supporters of freedom of speech. We like to have the same facilities everywhere in the world that are given to the native citizens of other countries. But as you see in Pakistan, those very facilities are not provided to us. How can then we give it to anyone else? The world makes a fuss for nothing. How can we provide people of other faiths the freedom of speech, if we do not have it ourselves? If they want to attain freedom of speech that badly, they are welcome to go somewhere else. We ourselves would move out with our families at the first chance.

If America gives us a visa, none of us would hesitate. Who wants to live in this country? What kind of place is this to raise a family in anyway? At least, education is freely available to everyone abroad. The governments are responsible for providing livelihoods to their citizens. Most of all, the menace of load shedding is not present there, at least one can sleep soundly at night. You do agree, though, that we are hardworking people. We can manage to get on with just washing dirty dishes. And about Islam? Well, it is a universal religion. There are mosques in every corner of the world, no one stops us from practicing our faith.

-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro

And why worry about Saudi Arabia? Whenever there is a call, we will go and get our sins forgiven. Apart from that, may be its a good thing that Saudi Arabia refuses to give its nationality to us Pakistanis. Those who were somehow mistakenly granted Saudi nationality are getting beheaded anyway; if its not the head that’s being chopped off, its either a hand or a foot. So what if we don’t know Arabic, we know English and so our desired destinations are no lower than America, Canada, etc. You do know that we do not let anyone infringe upon our rights. If they do, we know how to obtain our rights, no matter where we are in the world.

Millennium Goals? What are those? See, if anything with that name does exist, it is up to the government to implement them, is it not? And since our government is in the hands of corrupt politicians, always just “eating” and “drinking” when in power. And any goals that need their attention can only be focused upon during breaks from this  “eating” and “drinking”.

Please do not say anything about our army though. The country is up and running entirely because of them. They are the only ones who are actually looking after the country. See, when anything happens in the country, be it a flood or an earthquake, or even a breakdown of law and order, do we not always look towards the army to save us from these troubles? Our army is counted amongst the best armies of the world. No one can hurt a single hair on our heads while we have our army to protect us. Pakistan ArmyZindabad!

You probably also know how merciful we are; feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, lending a hand to the poor is all a part of our nature. I wonder why the world ignores our goodness and insists on focusing on our evils, associating the mistakes of a few people with 180 million innocent people. All these terrorists that keep blowing up places with bombs are just a small group of people. I am sure that our enemies are the ones really behind these malicious groups of people. Our enemies just cannot see this country prosper. Why give us all a bad name just because a small group of people  insist on destroying our image?

We are simple, devout, righteous folk. We do not even dare to look at others in the eyes. But we cannot bear it if someone exposes themselves through their clothes. No, that cannot be forgiven. No matter where we are in the world, we will never permit our mothers and daughters to take up the wayward ways of the West. We cannot sacrifice our ghairat for the foreigners, even if they give us their nationality. Instead, what we can do is, murder our daughters and daughters-in-law. If not, then there’s always a nephew or some other relative to marry them off to. That would solve all our problems, as well as put our nephews on the path to prosperity as they will get the nationality too.

Does any other country have a judiciary like ours? Even the prime minister is a frequent visitor of their courts. If he wants to go for a tour, he cannot do so unless the chief justice himself allows him to. Did you see what happened with the previous prime minister? This will happen to all of them. Just wait until the “tsunami” comes and then watch all our trials come to an end! Chaudhry Sahab will become the President and Khan Sahab the Prime Minister.

It takes a smart, dashing young man like him who speaks fluent English to show the entire world that we are an educated, modern nation. Indeed, it is time to show the world the modern, educated Pakistani side. Maulana Fazlur Rahman has been waiting to become prime minister for so long but he lost out on the PM seat just because he lacked the crucial quality of being modern. Otherwise in this era of reconciliation, he could have very easily become the prime minister.

But we must think of the rest of the world while making decisions. The business of the country is run with the help of funds that come from abroad so we have to take care of our relations with them. This game of hide and seek must continue.

On this end, we close the city for a day and burn all the cinemas down while on that end, the Congress approves our aid application. The TV channels too must have already received advertisements at least worth US$ 70 million to be watched alongside the footage of the flag burnings. This, is what you call getting two rides on one ticket.

The author has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. He is currently working for DAWN as an illustrator.


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