It was one of those evenings when I did not feel like doing much with all what was going on in my mind. Life brings a new pressure every day which is fine. But what perturbed me the most was that the situation in my country was going from bad to worse day by day. The last dozen days saw variety of incidents which would make you think in a 360 degree manner and you would get your head spinning as well in the same degree.
From the rape of a small 5 year girl in Lahore followed by several in the last few days without stop. Made me search the stats and found out to my dismay that every day for the last 5 years 3 women/girls were raped in Punjab alone placing the number at roughly around 5,000. If this was not enough just learned the story of the horrendous rape and murder of a 13 year old girl in Karachi coming out of school. In fact the body was found in the same uniform.
Church bombing in Peshawar where bulk of the casualties were that of women and children few days after the murder of one Maj General Niazi in the same province. And that too at the time when your Prime Minister is supposed to speak in the United Nation to present Pakistan’s case in his own manner. The rupee climbing to PKR 111 against a dollar and may be more . With all of this going in my head. I just kept thinking as when would come that opportune moment where I would get a chance to go back to my dear Pakistan and especially my beloved Karachi. The conversation with my wife echoed in my head as we discussed that I wish that I could back to Pakistan where my daughters could go peacefully and contribute to the building of the nation.
I decided to just stop by at a watch smith to get my watch fixed firstly to get the favorite watch fixed & then to kill time. The shop when I entered was smelling incense and played Qawali at a high tone. Trust me this is a rare commodity in Dubai. A city which fast becomes the fashion capital of the world. It just took me almost 8 years ago when I left my beloved city of Karachi and which I now rarely visit due to commitments here. I just closed my eyes and as I heard the watch smith go at my watch; the Qawali , the smell and for a change a ceiling fan made me nostalgiac. For a moment a I felt like to cry as I missed my city. I started to observe the watch smith repair my watch and asked him from where he was from though I was sure that he looked Pakistani . It turned out that he was also from Karachi who left the city in the 90’s once the conditions worsened to start living here .
The next few minutes were mind changing. As he remembered the good times in his Ranchore Line area where his father settled after migration with a single bag losing all of his belongings in India and where he started with a small shop. He recalled that how the shop keepers in the whole area used to have Nihari alternately at each other’s home once a week and paya on Sunday mornings. It was the first time I heard that one day old bread is the best to have with Nihari. As he told me this his eyes simmered with tears. He told me that he left Karachi in difficult circumstances and since then go there occasionally but is hoping that he ends up building a decent home to go back to one day since he is now abroad for almost 23 years. But then he said in the same breath he wished that the condition of the city improves for him to go back to. I smiled as he said all this. As I strongly feel that the current direction to pursue peace in my opinion is nothing short of a failure. Sorry for being pessimistic or may be the bearer of the bad news.
As he finished repairing my watch. He told me a story that when deputies of Tipu Sultan who incidentally were from Hindu community and his viziers connived with the East India company to topple a Muslim ruler on them were to be killed once East India company took over. He said and said very truly that they forgot that if they could not defeat someone like Tipu Sultan . How could they forget that they could defeat a stronger enemy like British Empire? Result remained the same just the rulers changed hands. Putting that in our context as a nation ; it would make sense. Now it is needless to say who is the immediate threat and who comes later.
Anyways, when I left I just wished that I could just take a flight and go back. As I wanted to eat the same Nihari at Sabri or Javed like in my years of youth or Halwa Puri at Dil Pasand or Boat Basin and visit the Baba Ghazi Shah’s Mazar every Thursday to feed the poor. But then whilst my heart was persuading me. My mind told me to be realistic and tells me to correct the situation before I or let’s say we go back.
Attending a Pakistan community ceremony where people barely got themselves out of their seats to stand up in respect of Pakistan’s National Anthem and one individual who kept speaking on the phone boasting to be there instead of being shut up in respect shows that the patriotism of the nation is severely under pressure. If that remains the same. How come the spiral stop? As the biggest strive right now is ethnic or religious divide and the biggest issue is the unequal distribution of power and resources. I just hope that instead of mudslinging on each other in the media in the evening. We as a nation put moratorium on ourselves for at least a few months and unite the nation first to get things and confidence back on track. Otherwise, we would all start losing faith in the national institutions which would be more fatal.
Well I hope, that the watch smith’s dream to retire in Pakistan becomes true. And my dream to go back to Pakistan to rebuild it becomes true where I can provide food , shelter and most importantly security to my daughters and millions of daughters of the nation . Security of their life and honor.
I have said this in the past and would say this again that everyone in this country is partially responsible and none and I say none are angels. We should hold a truth and reconciliation commission and device a mechanism which gives ownership to all stakeholders to trigger rebuilding and unity of our nation.
I am sure the millions of Pakistanis who live abroad would agree with me and pray the same as your own motherland is yours and I personally would like to get buried in my own soil when my time comes. Till that time. I would strive to do my part to get us there and hope the rest of us would do the same. We all need to take tough decisions in national interest instead of our personal views . Well one day I am sure we would be there. I have not lost hope and intend not to for the foreseeable future. Pakistan Zindabad!