61 Years of Independent Pakistan

When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing – then we truly live Life.

Greg Anderson.

It is ordinary people, like you and I, who make a difference in the world. It is these, ordinary, people who dare to dream and are not afraid to work hard in order to realise those dreams.

It is such hard working people who have the ability to change the course of events, master the tides of time and make their mark in the pages of history. Nothing great is ever achieved without a vision and a dedicated group of individuals who are ready to serve its cause, in any way possible. One should never underestimate the power of dreams to motivate the human mind and action, and their ability to unite a people under one cause, till those dreams are realised. One such dream was the creation of my homeland – Pakistan.

Pakistan emerged as a sovereign state on the world’s map 61 years ago, on August 14. That day closed a long chapter in the history of the sub-continent, only to open yet another – one that described the journey of two different countries on the same path, to prosperity and development. Pakistan and its neighbour India were created by separating the sub-continent along religious line, thus, giving Muslim majority areas under the control of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The long struggle and sacrifices of the Muslims of the sub-continent had proved to be fruitful, and they finally had a separate piece of land to call their own. A dream had been realised and a goal achieved. The endeavours of people and leaders alike had, finally, paid off. It was now, time for the Muslims to develop a republic they had longed for all these years and to create the homeland they had always wanted.

In 61 years, Pakistan is still not very far away from where it started from. The pages of its history are marred with illegitimate military rule, incompetent democratic governments, unfaithful leaders, low standards of living and a lack of economic stability. However, despite all its shortcomings I still love my country. I don’t like Pakistan because I was born here and I am supposed to. On the contrary I have never felt any patriotic callings, whatsoever. But I love Pakistan, and I have many reasons to do so. I love Pakistan for its lands, its culture, its people, its heritage, its poets, its artists, its songs, its traditions and its location.

The people of Pakistan come from various ethnic backgrounds. They constitute a society full of a multitude of traditions and practices. I love Pakistan for its social diversity. It contains within its boundaries people so different, languages so contrasting, traditions so separate, yet they all live together, beautifully complementing each other. The people may have ethnic differences, but when time arises they stand united as Pakistanis, ready to serve their country! From the yellows of the spring festival to the reds of a wedding, the culture of Pakistan is as colourful as the rainbow. It is an amazing fusion of the traditions of the past, additions of the contemporary times, with just the right flavour of Islamic practices. It is this ability of the Pakistani culture, to absorb within itself the beauty of various civilizations that makes me a proud Pakistani.

Like most Pakistanis I love this land for its cuisine. From its yummy curries to its spicy barbeques, the food of Pakistan is a delicacy all over the globe! The people of Pakistan take pride in their tasteful creations and various ventures by government, like the ‘food streets’ in major cities of the country, help promote the Pakistani cookery.

I love Pakistan for its languages and its literature. Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, while many regional languages like Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, Balochi and Brahui are spoken across the country. During the Pakistan movement the literature of the area served greatly the cause of independence. In fact, it was a poet who formally wove the idea of a separate homeland in one of the simplest poems of the Urdu language. To this very day, literature continues to inspire, exhort, and revolutionise the people. I love Pakistan for its famous poets, like the visionary Faiz, and its writers, like the spiritual Ashfaq Ahmed.

The art of Pakistan is a completely separate chapter. I love my country for its art, be it in the form of buildings, paintings, films or music. I love my country for its singers, its directors, its playwrights, its painters, its architects and its fashion designers. All these are the visionaries of the future who have contributed and continue to do so towards making Pakistan a globally recognised name. I love my country for its melodies, its art pieces and its boutiques. I think it is worth mentioning here that I love my country for its capital. As I read in an article by Yoginder Sikand, just a few days ago, Islamabad is one of the most well organised and picturesque city in all of South Asia. With the lush green Margalla Hills in the background and the artistic architecture of the ‘blue area’ in the foreground, Islamabad looks like a pretty postcard.

In the end, I must mention a friend’s reason of why she loves Pakistan. Due to its unique location Pakistan thrives between the modern West and the somewhat conservative Central Asia. It provides us a window into both these civilizations and two contrasting styles of living. The beauty lies in the fact that Pakistan allows us to take a middle course. It is not set at any extremes and provides a moderate environment to its citizens. They are free to choose the way they want to live and practice a certain life style in temperate settings. One can not help, but agree to this beautiful observation.

Hence, despite all the drawbacks and its negative portrayal by the international media, I still am a proud Pakistani. I still have my own reasons to love my country. I don’t have to be a patriot to feel an association for it, but my reasons make me want to admire it, celebrate my backgrounds and take pride in my roots.

Kulsoom Khwaja

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