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Letter to Pakistan – by Arshad Kazmi



Dear Pakistan,

Late last year when I was told that I would have to leave you, I was heartbroken. I had tried hard and wished with all my heart that I could have a few more years with you….despite your troubled state. I felt then that I wanted to be by your side, to see you through it, to offer some kind of help or just to not abandon you in your most difficult time. But it seems, destiny had paved a different path for me, a road that would lead me to watch and observe you from a very different perspective. As I packed up the pieces of our time together Pakistan, I smiled at our many memories but cried at the possibilities that never saw the light of day.

You had so much potential to become a strong independent nation, so many talented and highly intelligent people to support you but, somehow you seem to have drifted from the dream your forefathers had for you, fallen into bad company and collected a group of rather nasty and selfish friends. You trusted the wrong people who promised to take you and your people to great heights, only to push you down every time. Your step was bigger than they wanted it. Like many others, I too am guilty of watching you fall, silently, frustrated, with the anger only burning me inside but making no difference to what was going on.

I remember when I was a young girl, my father told me how he had left his home and family in the coconut covered hills to come and be with you, as you were a fledgling young country learning to walk, needing all the help you could get. My father told me how thousands of other young lads like him, got on a ship and headed to Karachi all looking forward to a bright future with you. My father told me how your father Jinnah had dreams and visions for you, and had invited minorities from across India to share his dream. But dear dear Pakistan, I’m deeply sorry that you lost your father when you had barely even learnt to crawl, followed by a tormented adolescence and then an intensely aggressive puberty with greedy feudal and military foster parents. Looking back, we thought then that this was the darkest period of your life where you were brainwashed into believing that the sole purpose of your existence was to defend and protect your faith…. and faith became your identity.

You turned away from all the people who supported you as a toddler, you spat hatred towards anyone who disagreed with you. You became violent, cruel and egotistical with the illusion of power you were shown, and instead of becoming a beacon of light and prosperity for the region, you became a source of darkness. No one could get through to you anymore. And those who could, thought it might be better to observe silently from the comfort of their living rooms. While your good side kept silent, your bad dared to come up to the surface and be heard, not just within your boundaries, but across the globe.

Suddenly your bad side brought you into the limelight, the negative publicity matched the large ego you had by now developed, nurtured carefully by your evil step father Zia.

Many of the young minorities who left India to be by your side when you most needed them, realized they were not needed anymore and uprooted themselves and their families and quietly made their way to whichever country would accept them with tolerant arms as India had closed its doors on them and they could never return home. You didn’t notice of course, you were too caught up in your own self- righteousness and pig headedness to realize that it was NOT them that betrayed you but vice versa. As the decades passed, more and more communities left as you were blinded by your own beliefs and bigotry. Thousands of educated muslim families too decided to get going with the wave of exodus, willing to deny you as their loved one, desperately seeking new nationalities where ever they could. I watched this….

I watched the entire Goan community leave. 98% of the Christian, Parsi and Chinese friends in school with me, had migrated by the time we got to college. Their parents sold everything they had, left stable corporate jobs to once again start from scratch either filling gas at petrol stations in Canada or making subway sandwiches, they obviously felt anything was better than being around you. Those who had chosen to stay with you, would realize later that they chose the devil instead of the deep blue sea. At least the deep blue sea is a much more tolerant environment. As the years went by, we patiently hoped you would change. Yes, many of us still had our hopes on you….Many still believed your good side would get the better of your bad…. We loved you….We wanted to see you successful and prosperous.

But you let us down, each and every one of us with that ray of hope. You became increasingly darker and aggressive. You became a shelter for the wicked instead of the weak. Thieves, Murderers, liars and killers walked your lands rampantly with your constitution in their back pockets. Justice was made blind and honesty became an endangered species. Yet, you publicly proclaimed your righteousness. You publicly kill the weaker sex in the name of honor, you publicly burn churches and temples, you publicly defend your faith by burning anything that came your way including villages with innocent women and children. And as if that wasn’t enough, you turned to killing people who even shared the same faith, if they dared to follow a different sect or doctrine.

Somehow you felt that if people were different from you, they didn’t deserve to live. Your hatred became so ingrained into your subconscious that parts and provinces within you, began to hate and kill each other. Your own physical body at war with itself. If one’s arms and legs start fighting amongst themselves, the body soon becomes useless and ceases any productive function. I have to be brutally honest here, Pakistan: what you have become today, is the darkest, most vile nation that exists in the world with numerous enemies and even more fair weather friends. The friends who will chew you and spit you out while they pat you on the back. They will use and abuse your every resource and potential until you are left worthless and crippled with a cancer that will slowly consume every part of you.

Your birth was a bloody one and it seems that to this day, your soils thirst for blood. Everyday, dozens of innocent people who love and believe in you, die needlessly. Bomb blasts and target killings are your new social norms. Even those who share your faith are threatened by your version of misinterpreted faith that gets a kick out of falsely convicting a mentally retarded minor on blasphemy charges. I wonder what nefarious activities we will hear of next. I am now glad that the Universe and God conspired to take me far far away from you. You are not good for anyone’s health or sanity….

I have come to hate you for all that you have become, but will still love you always for all that you could have been.

About the author

Shahram Ali


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