Rather than each passing day bringing some relief to a starved nation all essential aspects of Pakistani national life remain in a retrogressive motion with no end to the sufferings of the teeming millions in sight. It is time that Pakistan truly started believing in itself and began to revive itself as a dignified nation with all its national goals clearly defined and pursued in a determined manner.
It is time we stopped living like ostriches hiding our face in the sand and believing that all is well. It is time that we realised that Pakistan today confronts dangers of all sorts. Without a doubt, Pakistan possesses a remarkably patriotic population but it is time to realise that there is a growing discontent amongst this very patriotic population that has been rendered hungry, unemployed, exposed to dangers of lawlessness besides being deprived of the right to self-rule at the local and provincial levels.
It is time to remove our earplugs and listen to the loud and clear voices of dissent emanating from the dry, parched and rugged mountains of Balochistan and find instant remedies. Those of us who have been to inner Balochistan would be forced to agree with the voices of Balochistan that are today crying hoarse over the step-motherly treatment that they have received over the past sixty two years.
It is also time to realise that the Pakhtuns have had to suffer excessive bloodshed over the last thirty years in order to serve the interests of the free world and Pakistan itself. It is time to realise that the Pakhtuns have been denied, for too long, their right to quality education and a general developmental uplift that would give them closer-to-home employment as well as access to other social and health services. The sense of patriotism with which the Pakhtuns have suffered endlessly for the sake of Pakistan should be saluted by all Pakistanis.
Being a Pakhtun myself, I am confident that I would be voicing the sentiments of all Pakhtuns when I say on their behalf to the whole wide world that it is time that everyone started treating the Pakhtuns as a people who are moderate, peaceful, progressive, hospitable and non-violent till they are provoked. On behalf of the Pakhtuns, I invite anyone from anywhere in the world to point out one single terrorist action anywhere in the world in which even one Pakhtun was involved. Yet, the international war on terror has folded itself, almost entirely, into the Pakhtun belt of Afghanistan and Pakistan bringing extreme miseries to the Pakhtuns which includes endless bloodshed.
The war must now be brought to an end, especially so since it is already eight years old, in a manner that brings lasting peace and rapid development to the Pakhtun areas and all present day animosities are finally buried and enemies become friends like it has happened in post-World War II Europe. Prolonged violence will be in no one’s interest. Many military commanders and administrators of western origin and presently in Afghanistan also openly subscribe to a changed strategy aimed at bringing the war in Afghanistan to a peaceful end.
There is no doubt today that it is the Pakistan Army that is keeping the pieces together through its apt handling of a very adverse situation in the NWFP. The patriotic Pakhtuns and the Pakistan Army have together kept things intact. If the Pakhtuns were not patriotic Pakistanis or the Army had been rendered ineffective Pakistan would have suffered a crippling blow to its integrity. Both aspects complement each other so let all of Pakistan stand up and give the Pakistan Army and the Pakhtuns patriotism a standing ovation and pledge to make a self-propelled revival effort.
Digesting all that has been said about the adverse situation being faced by Pakistan today any true Pakistani would realise that although late it is, as yet, not too late to stand up for Pakistan and get counted in these difficult times. The poor Pakistanis who can hardly afford a simple meal in these days of extreme dearness have been vainly looking up towards those who matter to step down from their high pedestals and stand in line with them to sacrifice so that Pakistan can be helped out of the dire straits that it is sailing through.
No amount of conditional or unconditional loans will ever be able to buy us our self respect, dignity and honour. No one in the world is going to ever treat Pakistan with the respect that is due to a sovereign state unless we ourselves decide to come to our own rescue without begging for crutches.
Pakistan is a nation that will literally eat grass and even the poorest of the poor would contribute towards a self-propelled national revival effort if led from the front. Add to this the remittances of the large number of Pakistanis living and earning abroad who are ready to sacrifice, provided they are confident of a genuine self-propelled revival effort, and Pakistan would get back on its feet slowly but surely. Thereafter, there will never be a comeback to this sad impasse which we today face if we bring about a complete political restructuring of the state.