Every morning, when I sit on my computer to read the newspaper, I went through a deep grief and anger which always leave me with numerous stinging questions about myself and my homeland. I usually open the newspapers of two countries: Pakistan as it is my homeland and South Korea where I currently live for my studies.
When I compare the headlines of Pakistani and Korean newspapers, I came across the feelings of whether I should be optimistic or realistic and what does it mean to be optimistic or realistic?
The Korean newspapers read the news of latest technology, the spikes of their booming economy and their action-based will to become the Asian Tigers whilst the newspapers of Pakistan are full of news about the huge scale killings of innocent human beings through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, drone attacks and other inhuman activities ; people crying of the extreme hunger with no drinking water, clothes, shelter, jobs and basic human needs; unreachable rise in the prices of everyday commodities; politicians at their throat of one another to grab more and more opportunities for corruption; violation of basic human rights; mismanagement and chaos at each and every level across the board.
Whenever our politicians, political analysts and scholars are asked for their comments, they ended the discussion either by blaming others or give us the future fantasies that everything would become better in future.
The intellectuals in their debates always emphasis the bright side of the picture and give us the lessons of optimism. It is beyond the shadows of doubt that optimism acts as a backbone in the progress of a nation but only that optimism which is based on reality.
We, the Pakistani, as a nation do nothing and hope for a broad level change to be happened automatically. If someone tries to point out our weaknesses, we stop him by exaggerating our qualities and ask him to be optimistic. Now my question arises from this point, should this general behavior be named optimism or we as a nation have addicted to day dreaming so that we could close our eyes to the ground realities.
If one checks the performance of the current government, it is not different from the previous civil as well military eras: The scale of corruption is growing by leaps and bounds; the judiciary itself fights for the justice so the justice for a common man is out of question; the highly soaring prices of everyday commodities are out of reach even of a middle class family; in political arena the ever-red blame game continues; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer; there is no planning to cope with the future whether it’s the in the form of war against terror or devastation of natural disasters; the media is banned if it dares to show the real image of the government in the same way as was done by the dictators: Pervaiz Musharraf and Zia ul Haq; there is no one to follow the Quid’s philosophy of faith, unity, and discipline.The story is the same; only the characters are changing.
Being an individual, the behavior of most of the people is not much different from the government: There is no unity, discipline, and political awareness amongst the people. Most of the people living in Pakistan don’t know their basic human rights. We talk a lot about the change and when it comes to practical grounds, by and large we just sit on our hands. For the most part, the educated people in Pakistan don’t cast their vote at first or otherwise go with the flow of religion, creep, family or cultural waves.
We do not believe in the power of individual. We hesitate to believe in truth, honesty, cleanliness, and basic moral deeds both at individual as well as collective levels. We are trained from the very childhood to think as Suni, Shia, or Ahmedi; Pukhtoon, Punjabi, Sindhi or Baloch. Where from the thinking of Pakistani would arise then? Why we have forgotten the struggles of our forefathers for making Pakistan?
Today, Pakistan is under the clouds of troubles and we are facing enormous challenges….
Now is the time to rethink our thoughts and actions. We have to accept that we are not on the road that will lead us to the prosperous Pakistan which Allama Muhammad Iqbal dreamed of and Quad-e-Azam struggled for. We have to change our behaviors as well our actions. We have to come out of the day dreaming of fantasy-based optimism and rethink our thoughts and deeds in accordance with the demands of ground realities. As a bottom line, we should first be realistic and then optimistic.