HOPES IN DESPAIRS

IMTIAZ RAFI BUTT
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Aug 15 - 21, 2011

Pakistan is indeed a unique country in history. It was always meant to be unique, always destined to stand out. From it's very inception, our forefathers knew that the journey they had embarked on was not to create just another realm like so many in history that have come and gone before; Jinnah, Iqbal and so many of the visionaries along with them knew that Pakistan was an experiment never attempted before.

Pakistan by design was a sanctuary, an opportunity, a second chance for the dejected, the down trodden, the ostracized alike to govern themselves, to nurture an infant nation and an infant people, and craft from whatever resources they could, a new commonwealth, fair and equitable in all it's dealings to all it's citizens.

A nation where no man with means would let his neighbor sleep hungry, or a land where the humanitarian principles of Islam and secularism come together in perfect fusion, a realm not just for the Muslim but for all of the dejected minorities of India, whom the Muslims were by far the largest proportion of.

The most astonishing fact about the creation of Pakistan to me appears to be the sheer amount of sacrifices that people were willing to make just to get here.

We all know the horror stories of partition but even with the massacres, people were willing to risk everything, life, limb, family, and fortune, only for a chance to be part of the great experiment of Pakistan.

In those immigrants, there was a spirit, an energy, an enthusiasm so rare nowadays that I fear it might be extinct.

Unfortunately in contemporary times, Pakistan stands out amongst the ranks of nations for all the wrong reasons, associated with all evils that can plague modern society: terrorism, dishonesty, corruption, poverty, injustice, illiteracy, nepotism. It seems like the experiment is failing. The dreams, hopes, ambitions, efforts, and sacrifices of millions, over multiple generations all seem to be fading into the emptiness of oblivion.

However, giving in to despair would be to forget those very sacrifice, to betray that very spirit. We should not forget that our nation has had to face many challenges that went far beyond what was envisioned by our founders.

I feel Jinnah, Iqbal and others like them would be proud of the fact that we kept Pakistan alive and in its own right an important and relevant country. Our generation might not have been able to fulfill their dreams, but at least there is another generation of young ambitious Pakistanis who have the chance to try.