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My People!

13 February, 2007

By Ahmer Muzammil


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Someone recently said to me that I have nothing but ill things to say about Pakistan, I haven’t lived in Pakistan for almost 12 years, so why do I even care? I find it saddening that some would equate my utmost disgust and anguish with Pakistani military/civil establishment and the manner in which they have looted and plundered my homeland - with treason. In all my writings I have never blamed the People of Pakistan. How can I? When I know for a fact that they have never been at the helm of affairs hence never had the control of the steering to guide the ship in the right direction. If the ship is sinking and God knows it is then the people of Pakistan are merely there for the ride, they can not be liable for the catastrophe that is Pakistan today. I do have a bone to pick with "Influential’s" and the "Shurufa’s"(Nobles) of Pakistan who squandered the golden opportunity that was provided to us by Quaid-e-azam. I care because at the end of the day I am an optimist, my hope lies in the goodness of common pakistani men and women who are in majority but sadly not in authority. I care because it’s my country and I care because it’s my people.

I care because I knew a MaN who wouldn’t sit in his son’s car because he had a suspicion that the money this car was bought from was probably not "Kosher". He was an honest man and worked diligently and honestly at PCB till he retired. He would stand in blistering karachi heat in his old age and wait for the bus but would never step foot in that shiny new Toyota, he was disappointed that his son couldn’t carry on the values of his forefathers.

I care because I met an 8 year old who was selling "Nala’s" (Belts doesn’t really capture the real essence of what "Nala" is but its as close as it can get). As a visiting expat whose "Nala" needs were usually handled by his wife, I wasn’t really the "target market", nor do I wanted to lug around stacks of "Nala’s" while I was out with friends. Anyway, I gave him some money and he tried to give about 20 packs of his merchandise. I said to him brother I don’t really need them so he can just keep the money. He said with tears in his eyes "Sahab, hamarayy abba beemar hein, werna ham school jatayy hein, bhikari naheen hein ham, aapkoo zarooratt hay too loo, reham na khaoo ham parr" (Sir my father is ill today so I am trying to cover his route, if you need these than he’ll sell it to me but he doesn’t need me to pity him). I swear to you that I am not trying to parade my humanity here but I had tears in my eyes and I apologized to him and bought everything he had, regardless to say that my extended family didn’t have to worry about there "Nala" inventory for a long time.

I care because I know a man who had money, fame, respect of his peers, beautiful and healthy family but he put everything on line because he has a dream of making Pakistan a success story that our fathers wished for. He built the first and only state of the Art Cancer hospital in the country and it provides very expensive services free of charge to those who can’t afford it. In this process he alienated his wife because he is trying to save the world and wasn’t able to give her the attention she needed and quite honestly deserved considering the sacrifices she made for him but he has bigger far nobler things on his mind.

I care because I know a man who owns the biggest charity ambulance service in south Asia. It is the only charity that owns it’s airplanes and that man lives a life that would shame a monk.

I care because I knew a software engineer in southern California, not a millionaire by any stretch of imagination, someone who probably made enough money to make ends meet, heard a sermon on Friday and the hardships his brothers and sisters were going thru after the earthquake and donated his entire 6 figure salary.

I care because I saw a documentary on Cambodia and how some parents living in abject poverty are willing to sell their 5-year-olds up for sex-parties. I am not judging because I have no idea what poverty is like but I find it amazing that in contrast my brothers and sisters in Pakistan who are probably in the same situation or even worse are selling their kidneys instead of their girls. Even when the situations are dire most take the pains upon themselves rather than hurting their daughters.

I care because I knew a crippled man who I saw in neighborhood mosque every time I went to offer prayers while I was growing up. The thing that drew me to him was the fact that he was always smiling and he was trying to earn an honest living by selling combs, sometimes it was prayer beads, skullcaps, pretty much anything and everything. Right next to him would be numerous others with limbs intact begging. Another thing was that he had this smile this look of contentment on his face. I found it odd because he was like a human-ball. All his limbs but one were dysfunctional and he still some how managed to keep a smile on his face. He didn’t have a family, he lived alone in a shack under a bridge that was constructed with sticks and sheet of cloth. He traveled back and forth on a cart that he drove by pushing it with his one good hand. I asked him one day, what keeps him going and why is he so content? He was an UN-lettered pathan, a simple man really so his reply wasn't eloquent or soaked in wisdom but the morale came thru loud and clear. He said his condition is a test from Allah swt and he was sure that if he were honest and patient he would be compensated accordingly in the life, which will be forever.

I care because I had a mathematics professor in college in Karachi who was probably one of the rudest man I have ever met in my life. He stayed late to take extra classes free of charge to prepare his students for the finals, while professors far less experienced and definitely less-talented made literally millions of rupees per year by offering private tutoring, sometimes even during college hours.

I care because I have friends in armed services most of them junior officers and I know that they will defend this country with their life if it ever comes to that. I care because I know these jawans in Pakistan Army who put their lives at stake for mere pennies while their officers live it up in mansions across this vast land of ours.

I care because I know that Pakistan has produced getlemen of the calibre of Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan,Malik Mairaj Khalid, Qudrat-Ullah Shahab, Imran Khan, Abdus sattar Edhi, Ansar Barni and numerous others who despite fame, power and prestige remained humble and honest to their cause.

I care because it gives me hope when total strangers just pick up and leave on a whim just so they can lift a rock or clear a passage or donate blood or setup a camp or help in any shape or form without any expectation of acknowledgement or medals. Just because they feel the pain and because they feel that something needs to be done to make a difference when catastrophe unravels itself. Zara num hoo too yeah mitti barrii zarqayz hay saqi.

No sir, I can not be labelled as a hypocrite just because I reject status-quo. I am not a traitor just because i am not tight with the administration and don’t tow the line of spin-doctors. I complain and I am mad because the rulers of Pakistan are and were thugs and have in the past robbed us in broad daylight and will continue to do so as long as we continue to live in this state of numbness. We have had nothing but opportunistic thieves and self-righteous yes-men as our masters and it needs to stop. I am livid because I want things to change for the better. I am outraged because I care and I care because it’s my country and I care because it’s my people.

End.

Reader Comments:

And you wrote this article in USA, using English, got paid in dollars make money in dollars...I got it..Sure you do care.

Reader, Pakistan - 13 February, 2007

Dr.Abdul khadir khan

How can the writer tells that A.Q.khan is a humble,honest gentleman??? the whole world knows that he is the man who is responsible for the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology all over the world just for money....

Edwin antony, Hungary - 13 February, 2007

what?!

Though going against the general trend of anti america and anti pak government. I have supported the military since it took power in 1999 without a doubt. When it comes to looting, the politicans always did it, they still do it, and everyone will do it for many years to come. The army too does it, but atleast the are patriotic. Sure, they are brainwashed since entering that india is our enemy and they should die with it comes time. this has resulted in numerous plunders, but it does provide with blind nationalists,which is at leasted better then greedy politicans. I have never been a supporter of democracy or capitalims as they are not for everyone, and definately not for pakistan, atleast at this time.
I would rather have a military rule then a democratice. Stats show that whenever the army has been in power, the country has grown. As soon as the politicans take over, a different story. A well educate, respected , honest person never comes into politics, saying that it is dirty work. I can bet the writer would never even think of trying to becoming a good leader for pakistan. When this is the case, i dont think anyone should critize the army for taking some intiative, which the pakistani people were too lazy to do so.

uzair usman, United Arab Emirates - 13 February, 2007

*snifff

*snifff .. thats all that came to my mind. Bravo Sir. if all the reasons that lead you to care are focused and united and more. No one in a waistcoat or a uniform or with stars and stripes can do anything

Ahmed Sajjad, Pakistan - 13 February, 2007

Extremly well said words

Muzammil bahi,
this was some of the best I have ever read. Is it not very funny or at least strange that we Pakistanis, who are living abroad, care so much about Pakistan? And it's wellbeing. Always wondering> what went? how can it be corrected etc etc? A lot of us are doing, moneywise, things in Pakistan that many even richer than us inside Pakistan never would have dremed about.
Surely Pakistan is ful of very patriot and good Pakistnis. IF not> how could it have survived this long?
The main problem is that we do not have enough good Pakistanis higher up. The kind of other countries have. THE SECRET FOUNDATIONS OR ASSOSITATIONS. Be it in the military, commerce or industry. The so-called STRONG BACKBONE in the country. People or group who normaly stop development far before it is too late. Or that will damage the country very much. Stop leaders who try to go far out of the sircle of the power given to them.
Do you think Bush can do what ever he wants? Even that is not good for USA_ Just by his own? OF COURSE NOT. He would be stopped long before that. By powerful groups. While in Pakistan they can do what ever the want. Either because of the heavy mandate or friendships of the generels. No group will come together and deside enough is enough.
There is no doubt, that Mr. Imran KHAN is the best, at this moment. But in election the powerbandits will do their best to discress him.
The only negativ thing about him is> he has never been or felt poverty on his body. Neither has he worked on the floor abroad.
BUT SURELY, IF I COULD VOTE, I WOULD HAVE GIVEN THE MAN CHANSE THIS TIME. Hopefully no harm will be done to him, by the establishment.

Khan G Farooq, Norway - 14 February, 2007

My People

Writer's title of the article is great. I like it very much. I visit Pakistan very often and have seen lot of it during the partition days and today, in between the governments coming and going in 24 hrs but Pakistan is still there and will remain for centuries. What I see personally there is not much wrong on the top order in the government as the two leaders on top Gen. Musharraf and PM Mr. Aiz are both working hard and honest so far. There is corruption at a level which is lot lower i.e. white collar positions. That need to be addressed and minimized because its not possible to totally eradicate from a system which is say 60 odd years old got from Colonialism. Wherever British were they left the legacy of corruption. Anyway not to blame them all its the morale of the nation and they must be given some of the blame. Overseas Pakistanis love Pakistan as much as those living inside Pakistan but the difference is that some of them are not loyal to their own motherland. That will change when there are more educated people and new generation takes over the jobs then corruption will come down. Girls are catching up and they are honest in many of their performances. They attend their jobs on time and do give their best and hope they will share the burden being half of the nation in numbers. Going back to the visits to Pakistan, I am rather happy with the progress taken place during the tenure of Gen. Musharraf and Mr. Aziz. Economy is good and so are the job opportunities. Leaders make nations and give the guidelines. Law and Order sitution needs to be improved and work is in progress in that direction. Hopefully it will be better in due course. Rome was not built in a day. Comparing with US and other developed countries if we look at the history they had more problems than Pakistan. They had no parliaments. If they had parliaments they never worked and members attacked each other while the meetings were on. Women had no right to vote and no property rights either. It all changed with the passage of time. I think positive and do have a high hope that Pakistan will be a strong and properous country in 10 years time. Today foreign exchange reserves are $13.25 and in 1999 they were only £333m. That shows a progress worth praising. Economy is on right track and work is fast in all sectors as can be seen from so many websites and other information available. Let us all wish for Pakistan to be calm and helpful for all.

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 14 February, 2007

Reflecting the aspirations

The article reflects the true aspirations of common people

Nisar, Pakistan - 15 February, 2007

To Khan G Farooq

Mr.khan,
what will happen to this world if atomic bomb making technology is given to rogue states and terrorists??? western states sell nuclear components to countries who's nuclear power plants are under IAE controls.
If Dr.khans actions are not a crime then why pakistani authorities are keeping him under house arrest????

Edwin Antony, Hungary - 15 February, 2007

He is not to be blamed.

Mr. Edwin
I was sure that u were smarter than that. That u knew it was all big politics:
1.Who is supplaying the atomic tech. to the iranians TODAY?
2. WHO supplied all kind of WMD-material to Iraq?
3. Those there exicist some pocketsize kind of atomic bombmaking plants? That every terrorist organization can set up in their backgarden? Man this kind of things needs to bee gigantics. That only national states can set up. What u are reffering to is much dangerous not because Dr. Qadeer, but the black maret in the old Soviet.NOW why he is under house arrest? May be he needs rest? May be thats is the only way musshy could stay on with power, alloowd by his masters?
The main thing is the iranians are making the bomb without his help, are not they? Wheter that is good or bad, is another thing.


Khan G Farooq, Norway - 15 February, 2007

My People

My answer to Edwin Antony of India Dr. Khan is under house arrest not because of if he has passed on nuclear technology to other countries. It is for his life and safety as there are countries after his life. As he is a hero of Pakistan and its the duty of the goverment to provide him protection.


mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 15 February, 2007

Edwin antony, so what?????

Mr. Edwin,
So what??> What is wrong with that? Why shall it be always other people who make money based on their, hard achived, knowledge?
Why only big western states, companies or person are the only one to make profit?
Is this not typical western thing to get angry when somebody else open the shop next to them? Even if the shop is a tiny one compared to theirs?

Khan G Farooq, Norway - 15 February, 2007

patriotic emotions

Well, pointed out. This suggest that the author has expressed nothing but only patriotic emtions.

shub, Pakistan - 15 February, 2007

Truth and good writing

This is a wonderful article. Written with the heart and written in truth.

The article says a lot. Being an American I can only admire Pakistan, from afar, yet from "My People," I felt I was given a glimpse into the heart of Pakistan and isn't that a writer's job? To convey a message? To inform?

There is sadness here, but no sense of hopelessness.

I'm not a writer, but may I say, well done, Mr. Muzammil...



Ayasha, United Kingdom - 16 February, 2007

what?!

Thats what pak government shows the world...he gave technology to iran and north korea coz he can and if he gets money for it he should. As i said in another thread, yesterday russia and china were blamed for all the wars in the world,today iran and korea ...its just prespectives.
BUsh said in a speech that he doesnt know why iran needs nuclear power plants, as they have all the oil to generate it? isnt that stupid...america would never want iran to have any technology at all, let alone nuclear...just like they didnt want china to have it, 3 decades ago...its a political game and obviously u understand that too...
And seriously, i can't believe that khan gave the techoology without ISI knowing it, its not possible.. i think ;)

uzair usman, United Arab Emirates - 16 February, 2007

Re-to khan G farooq

Dear khan,
I know these are all big politics invoved .I also accept the fact that A.Q khan is a national hero for pakistan.Any way i need to comment on your questions.
1.Iran got the basic centrifuge technology to process uranium from pakistan supplied by A.Q khan and co.so iranian nuclear programme is based on pak technology.At the moment they are doing it alone because the technology has been already transfered by A.Q khan.so now it is easy for iranians to develop a bomb without any outside help.
2.Iraq doesnt have any WMD. It was bush and blairs idea to destroy a strong arab nation and loot its oil wealh.
3.I doesnt mean that any terrorist can set up an atomic power plant.I know that is not possible.but mr. A.Q khan can supply a complete atomic bomb which may weights may be not more than a ton for a price to terrorist organisations like al-queda or taliban.
4. Dr.kahn is under house arrest just because general musharuff dont want his american masters know that the total pakistani establishment is involved in this trading.he just make him scapegoat and escape from the wrath of america.

I can conclude that patriotism is good but one should support people who are doing good to humanity this is applicable to all countries

Edwin Antony, Hungary - 17 February, 2007

All of your anguish will go away

All of your anguish will go away if you accept the fact the Pakistan is essentially an army with a country rather than the other way round. The country exists to feed the army. Once you accept that you will be at peace.

Prani, Anguilla - 17 February, 2007

To Mr. Edwin Antony

Dear Mr. Edwin Antony,
You surely made some good points here. I only wish the world was that simple. As you or I want it to be.

I know these are all big politics invoved .I also accept the fact that A.Q khan is a national hero for pakistan.
...It is good to read that you understand why we Pakistanis love the man so much.The fact is, which I am sure also you will agree, he has saved not only a lot of Pakistani lives, but also Indian. Because a war between our coutries is not any option any more. Otherwise, the things had been just like before> And we had just finished our 6th war at this time. So it should not be that bad as it seems. Also if seen from the Indian side.

Any way i need to comment on your questions.
1.Iran got the basic centrifuge technology to process uranium from pakistan supplied by A.Q khan and co.so iranian nuclear programme is based on pak technology.At the moment they are doing it alone because the technology has been already transfered by A.Q khan.so now it is easy for iranians to develop a bomb without any outside help.
... The Iranian bomb thing is very stupid adventure. Ok, Pakistan had an unfreiendly India next door. But who is treathning Iran? Pakistan? Afghanistan? Turkey? Iraq? Or any arab country? Why could it not use the money together with Pakistan and explore the space, for example? Put some muslim made satelitte up there? For mutual benefit? Or develop other sector in Iran, like education? Everybody knows that Iran will never nuke Israel, simply because doing that it will harm more muslims than the Israelis. AND THE WORLD WILL NOT ALOW IT.

2.Iraq doesnt have any WMD. It was bush and blairs idea to destroy a strong arab nation and loot its oil wealh.
... That is for sure. But my point was that if the Iraqis had WMD, how would have supplied those, if not the west themselves? So when THEY do the bad things AND MAKE MONEY, it is ok. Only NOT IF WE DO the same. THE usal doublemoral/standard.

3.I doesnt mean that any terrorist can set up an atomic power plant.I know that is not possible.but mr. A.Q khan can supply a complete atomic bomb which may weights may be not more than a ton for a price to terrorist organisations like al-queda or taliban.
... I do not, at all, agree with you here>
a. the man is simlpy not THAT stupid NOR GREEDY OR WITHOUT ANY MORAL. ON the contrary.
b. where would he make that "tiny" bomb? at his home in his garage? is it really that simple?
c. would he steal a bomb from the Pakistani arsnal? Is it also just that simple? Take the bomb under his arm, wraped in some newspaper, or have it in his pocket? And walk away?

4. Dr.kahn is under house arrest just because general musharuff dont want his american masters know that the total pakistani establishment is involved in this trading.he just make him scapegoat and escape from the wrath of america.
...This make little bit more sense. I do not think a person like him left Pakistan without their knowlgde. The establishment did it because>
1. there was a lot of money to be made
2. they were helping another muslim country.
I can not see anything wrong in any of them. Have not the american helped other western countries in this foeld?

I can conclude that patriotism is good but one should support people who are doing good to humanity this is applicable to all countries
...Of course I agree with you on this. But we must also be aware that this this the real world. Not the ideal one.


Khan G Farooq, Norway - 17 February, 2007

a typical spin to a serious questions...

, Pakistan - 17 February, 2007

I am as optimistic as you are but I also acknowledge that this govt. is better then past regimes.

Problem with Pakistan is that people don't want to appreciate any govt. Corruption in govt. is reflective of corruption in our society.

Faults of many decades can't be corrected in seven years. I support the present govt. because they are far better then the elected predecessors.

I have serious grievances towards the present education policy etc but on the other hand our nation is becoming strong both financially and militarily.

No one has brought foreign investment in Pakistan at this level. No one has ever looked at increasing the number of tax payers in Pakistan.

Corruption is also present in the Western govt. but they do work for their people. Musharraf's govt. is working for the people of Pakistan although it is corrupt as well. As long as people are becoming financially strong, Pakistan will prosper insha-Allah.

Imran Siddiqui, Canada - 18 February, 2007

Honesty speaks from heart

You smell honesty, patriotism. seflessness and love for the country and muslims and humanity in this article.

It deserves thanks and liberal applause for the writer.

Anwar Mahmood, Canada - 18 February, 2007

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