Losing Our Dignity, One Drone At A Time

I still haven’t forgotten a story that my father told me about eight years ago. We were sitting outside one late night, reveling in the midst of family & friends, smoking the traditional hookah and dining the night away. I don’t exactly remember how we reached upon this topic but suddenly I found myself listening to my father reminiscing the days when he first flew to Saudi Arabia in the 60s. He spoke of that time with such admiration and fondness. He recalled how when he first mixed in with the locals, the first question he would be asked was where he was from. The moment the Saudis heard Pakistan; they would follow up with another question, asking him whether he was a doctor or an engineer!

Recently I was sitting in a cab in Dubai. Now I must mention here that I have this habit of always conversing with the cab drivers throughout the trip. I don’t know why I do it but it is something I find very soothing, especially by seeing the joy it brings to the faces of the cab drivers, who long to converse with someone while driving around a foreign city day and night, far far away from their families. These cab drivers always vary in nationality. Sometimes I meet an Egyptian, sometimes an Indian, sometimes an Afghani, sometimes a Yemeni, sometimes a Nigerian and sometimes a Pakistani.

On this particular day, the cab driver was from Pakistan’s region of North Waziristan (FATA). He told me that he had come to the UAE about 4 years ago. I asked him where he lived before, to which he replied by saying Saudi Arabia. At his mere mention of Saudi Arabia, my head flooded with the thoughts of what my father had told me that one night, about eight years ago. As minutes passed by, I found myself retelling that story to the cab driver. Once done, I enquired from him about his own experience of interacting with the Saudis. ‘Terrible’ he said. ‘They don’t respect us. Sure, they respect our leaders when they fly there to do their umrahs but they don’t respect the aam Pakistani (everyday Pakistani). And it’s not just the Saudis; it’s the same with the rest of the Arab World.’

By this time, we had reached the destination of my trip. As I pulled out my wallet to pay the cab fare, I asked him what in his opinion were the reasons behind this change of perception of Pakistan in the mind of the Arabs. ‘Money’ he swiftly replied. ‘In 60s Pakistan was the Asian Tiger. Our entire country was growing like Dubai. Now we don’t have money and the drones don’t help either.’ At that instant I realized that the man I was speaking to was from North Waziristan, the center point to the majority of the US drone attacks that take place in Pakistan. I asked him what connection drone attacks have with Arabs losing respect for Pakistan. ‘Har kuch (everything)’ he said. ‘How can anyone respect a country, the only Muslim nuclear power at that, which gets bombed by a foreign country every few weeks and does nothing about it?’ he enquired. I said nothing. As I placed the money of the cab fare into his hands, he refused to take it. After much difficulty, he accepted the money and I walked out of the cab with more questions than answers.

Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his address to a gathering in the city of Ahmedabad (Gujarat province of India) in 1946, a year before Pakistan’s creation, had said that “Pakistan is destined for greatness. It is a Muslim ideology that must be protected for time to come”. Sadly, today Pakistan is being drowned not by its enemies but by it’s own leaders. Corruption, nepotism and radicalization due to lack of education plus poverty lay at the heart of Pakistan’s ills. From being the country that other Muslim nations looked up to, Pakistan has become a country that other Muslim nations look down at. It is imperative for the country to shrug itself of its ills, lift itself from the shadows of darkness and capture the greatness that it’s founder envisioned for it. Otherwise the country will continue to lose its dignity, one drone at a time.

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4 thoughts on “Losing Our Dignity, One Drone At A Time

  1. Salam Adam,things are not always as they seem…….1….. umm-e -moosa was told to throw her son in the river…….2….HazratYousaf was left to die in a well….3…..Hazrat Maryam delivered a child alone…4…Hazrat Younus was swallowed by a whale……5Hazrat Ibrahim was thrown in the fire .
    Yet look at how it turned out for them in the end .

  2. Dear Adam, I really appreciate how you captured the essence of this blog from the start till the end. However, I feel that I must add that though Pakistan was created as a state for the Muslims of British India. But, it was also formed as a secular state for all the men and women of any caste/creed or religion to live amongst the other fellow Muslim Pakistanis peacefully but it failed. Not only are the minorities are harassed in this country. So are the people from different ethnicities who have taken upon themselves to indulge in irrelevant riots. Politicians are just opportunists in this scenario. The problem lies within us, and as soon as we dealt with it the better it is for all of us.

    • This is very aptly said comment, Even as Pakistan and INDIA were formed from Majority Muslim and Hindu provinces of princely states, wise prominent leaders on both sides like Gandhi, Nehru, Ali Jinnah advocated about secularism as co-existing and religious tolerance is base for Indian society from ancient times (Please allow me to call your ancestors Indians as that name came itself from the name of great Indus river the life line of Pakistan). Being born a new nation in a struggle for identity Pakistan tried to get away with everything remotely related to India and the most basic religious tolerance is first among them…Manipulation of History is next, talking like Mughal period is only glorious time in whole history of INDIA(which consists of only three kings in lineage Akbar, Shah Jhahan, Aurangjeb considered to be rulers of INDIA and even among them Aurangjeb is only hardliner and that brought end to Islamic rule in INDIA) and encouraging Hard line terrorist organizations which have agendas like establishing that great mogul rule again all over INDIA…How hostile state policy may be and how much it try to erase similarities there are still of similarities between INDIA and Pakistan, for example the family system in society is similar on both sides of the most(2nd i guess 1st No-Su korea) hostile border in world, Sufi tradition,etc. There is no reason to forget your past or change History to create an Identity as aptly mentioned in article Pakistan used to be like Asian tiger economies in 1960’s… That is creating an identity…What’s gone wrong? The intolerance, skepticism. distrust. Pakistan considers every move of INDIA like aggression,why? Ever INDIA attacked Pakistan…?? All four war’s fought 3 in defending the Indian territory of Pak aggression and one in Bangladesh INDIA intervened to protect people from onslaught of Pak armed forces on protesters for separate state…3 million people were missing(not Indian accounts UN account only)…Pakistan state policy being military dominated became more and more intolerant to any protest as it is even now happening in Baluchistan where separatist leaders are executed their families abducted(oh worse..using Pakistan Air force against own people!!). Everything INDIA develops to protect itself from China Pakistan think its aggression against small nation of Pakistan and so hell bent on staying on par in military power with a nation of 100 billion population and 10 times its size. Some military heads in INDIA who don’t have much to do anything in their time (they don’t run any business’s or administrate like in Pakistan) creates doctrines like “Cold Start” and leak it to Pakistan and panic start in all military HQ of Pak(who other wise are busy wid administration and other business activities which may include developing strategies like “Bleed with thousand cuts” too )…INDIA is going to attack tmrw…day after…come on…we may eat grass may be but we ll prepare more nuclear arsenal…LETS NUKE ‘EM UP IF THEY CROSS INCH OF OUR BORDER, SURE IT WILL BE A MUTUAL DESTRUCTION..BUT NOT AN INCH!! (I meant it in serious tone only that INDIA is always a friend and never enemy of Pakistan as perceived to cover up the historical ties by state policies of Military rulers and military favored state policy) Actually military needs a perceived enemy to hold control on state affairs and economics, who is better than brother to the one separated from family after differences, as an perceived enemy. Only education is answer to all problems of Pakistan and scenario doesn’t look any promising with lot many new madarsa educated children in villages as govt. schools can’t provide education to all…Education must be taken up at war scale effort for development of Pakistan.

  3. A heartrending and beautiful account Adam.
    This post may be concise but it speaks a thousand words.

    I’m usually against the concept of ‘Ghairat’ perpetuated by the ‘Ghairat Brigade’ here but I, like every other concerned Pakistan, stand for this retrieving of our lost prosperity, stand in the global sphere and sovereignity.

    It is strange, really, how things were so much better and different in the first few decades of Pakistan’s birth – and how we’ve plunged into this pit of tumult and despair.

    Please do keep writing, looking forward to more!

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