Thursday, April 5, 2012


A man and his brother killed and a woman injured. They were attacked by armed gunmen who wanted them dead because of a difference in political belief.  Is human life worth so little that it can be snuffed out over a difference of political opinion. Do we hate each other so much that we can justify murder?   

What happened to us? We fought for our freedom against insurmountable odds. We stood up against the British Empire and we won. At that time when countries were being carved out of the world on ethnicities, we stood together, shoulder to shoulder. Sindhis, Baluchis, Pathans, Muhajirs, and Punjabis and fought hard to demand a nation on the basis of our beliefs, as Muslims.  Why, now, are we fighting just as hard to break our country apart?

Is each group so dissatisfied with the state of affairs that they are willing to pull apart from what they fought so hard for, a mere 60 years ago? The separatists in Baluchistan want their own nation because the army has laid siege to their villages and cut off their supplies. According to a report by UNICEF, the Bugti and Marri children are among the most malnourished in the world. The Sindhi separatists want their own nation because their resources are being looted, they are denied growth and development. FATA has always been out of the range of the Constitution. Muhajirs want to preserve the integrity of the country, but they yearn for a province of their own as they feel that they need to fight for their rights. The Punjabis seem to be biding their time. Under these circumstances, who wouldn’t feel powerless and marginalized?

But tearing our country apart is not the answer. What we seem to forget is that we -- the common people -- have all the power. During these hard times, we have seen leaders emerge who hold the confidence of their people. If there are people that the Baluchis, Sindhis or Pathans consider competent enough to lead them out of disaster, then elect them to positions of power. Take a lesson from the Muhajir playbook. Elect your representative to power and then hold them accountable.  Don’t do away with the federal government, but make your provincial governments stronger. If they fail you, find new leaders.

We are a strong and proud people. We are passionate about what we want. We have leaders among us. How long are we going to keep making the same mistakes, electing the same heartless souls to power again and again,only to push us further into misery? We should all rise up and stand together once again, and fight the corruption and hatred that is eating us from the inside. We should vote according to who will work for us. We make the mistake of voting for political parties because of a warped sense of loyalty.That is where we go wrong.  Let them compete for our vote rather than us competing for their handouts. If the party you have been voting for through generations is not fulfilling its promises, don’t vote for them. Vote for a person who is sincere, even if he belongs to a different party. Then we will have a progressive society where the voters are empowered.

One strong country. A country where the voters have the power and the government is the public servant. This is the goal towards which we should strive. The people who make decisions that affect the life of the common man on the street should be from the streets. What do the privileged elite know of our pain? Have they ever gone hungry? Have they ever looked for a job? Have they ever worried about where the next meal will come from?

Let us come together as a nation and not as the tattered fragments of one. Let us burn our old animosities and prejudices and rise together as one, stronger than ever. Then, and only then, will we be noticed. It is time we stop being the victims and become game-changers and king-makers.

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