ISLAMABAD, December 18, 2011 ― Be it a natural catastrophe, man-made brutality, an economic nose-dive or fatal epidemics, Pakistan has been falling prey to the contamination of time, trauma and transition.
Just when we thought we had started rehabilitating after the disastrous floods of 2010, another torrent for Sindh (a province in southern Pakistan) was waiting around the corner. In spite of its magnitude, it did not frighten us as much as the one before it did. One may think that we as a nation have come out of the past devastation so strong that no calamity like this one can crush us. As a matter of fact, the reason for our stoicism is slightly different this time around. Without tagging our attitudes with expressions like “heartless” or “inhumane,” one needs to underscore other angles to this dilemma.
The fact that hardships do not scare us any longer is itself quite frightening. Now the question arises, “what is keeping us so preoccupied that we seem unconcerned about the natural disasters besieging us?” Though the question seems rhetorical, answers are not hard to stumble on.
First, let us imagine a Pashtun or Muhajir in Karachi, or someone who is not a Balochi or Pashtun in Quetta, living in the areas highly vulnerable to targeted killing; a dengue patient in Lahore constantly having a check on his blood platelets count; someone who is jobless and bothered only about earning the next meal to feed his family; a small entrepreneur waiting for a few hours of electricity; a troubled textile mill owner thinking of shifting outside Pakistan, or a think-tank wondering about the FDI prospects in the midst of turbulent law and order situation of the country.
Keeping in mind all these images of a Pakistani, how can one expect a jaw-dropping reaction to the floods in Sindh? Ironic as it seems, this is what is keeping us so distant from each other and it is not due to the cliched divide between the rich and the poor.
However, that is only one side of the picture, and there is still a lot around us to take pride in. This piece of land is still sprouting gems and jewels. To name a few of our treasures, the fastest woman in South Asia, Naseem Hameed, has been sprinting nowhere else but in the grounds of Korangi, Karachi and Grand Slam 2010’s finalist, Aisam-ul-Haq grew up playing tennis in Lahore. One of the World’s Top 35 Young Innovators, Dr. Umar Saif, is a professor at Lahore University of Management Scineces (LUMS), and the world record holder for passing 23 A-Levels with 21 A’s, Ali Moeen Nawazish, was born and bred in Rawalpindi.
Each of them belongs to the same epoch and faces as many challenges as an average Pakistani does. Each is a phoenix rising from the ashes, symbolizing triumph over adversity. Since we are going through the worst crises of our times, it is only going to get better. No matter how gloomy it is tonight, we certainly have a brighter tomorrow. Come rain or shine, we have to bounce back and take up again.
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