“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
Let’s start by taking a look at some of Pakistan’s biggest crises.
Corruption in Pakistan is thriving and intensifying. From political corruption to corruption in regular jobs, almost everyone in Pakistan is living a lie. From 1947, when Liaquat Ali Khan was elected as Prime Minister, to now, not a single Prime Minister in Pakistan has completed a full five-year term in office. They’re either assassinated, replaced by a military coup, or ruled out by Supreme Court for corruption.
38.8% of Pakistanis live in serious poverty. And most of the ones that don’t, aren’t in very good conditions either. Out of all the areas in Pakistan, Balochistan has the highest poverty rate (71.2%) followed by Khyber-Pakhtun-Khwa (49.2%). Most people in Balochistan don’t have proper houses and live in shacks. I went to the northern parts of Khyber-Pakhtun-Khwa this summer and noticed that majority of the houses were just small rooms somewhere on a mountain. They don’t have clean water to drink or proper clothes to wear.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, so I won’t go into detail. (If you want to know more about the way women are treated in Pakistan, and around the world, you can check my previous articles out.) We need to take into account gender bias as a whole. Women hold the heavy weight of cultural norms passed on from generation to generation, and men hold the weight of being ‘masculine.’ There’s a specific requirement of the way men should behave in Pakistan. They can’t express their emotions, they always have to be tough, and they can’t ever wear pink. Because, you know, only girls wear pink. As a matter of fact, men get killed in the name of honor (less than women do, but they still do). Last year, 88 men in Pakistan were killed in the name of honor. When people get educated, they will learn tolerance, and they will become more accommodating. When our nation is more accepting, we will know less crime and more peace.
Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s most recent Prime Minister, became Prime Minister three times. But he hasn’t completed a single term in office. He served as Prime Minister first from 1990-1993, and then from 1997-1999. During his second term, not-so-sharif Nawaz Sharif was accused of corruption and was allegedly banned from politics for the rest of his life. He was kicked out of the country, and remained outside the borders for 10 years. But then 2007 arrived, and he was back. Elections occurred and yet again, he won. The question is, why? Why did he win again?
A little bit of corruption in the voting and the electoral system, and correspondingly because people actually voted for him. After serving as PM for two terms and not helping Pakistan in any way or form, he won the third term as well. People still voted for him. Because majority of the people that go out and vote in Pakistan are people who aren’t educated, and the ones that are rich and educated don’t bother to vote because it won’t affect them personally. It is so sad to see that we, as a nation, only care about ourselves and not about the individuals around us. Now, after Nawaz Sharif served his last (hopefully) term in office, with the help of his younger brother and Chief Minister of Punjab, he facilitated public buses, also known as ‘metro’, available in cities like Lahore and Multan. It’s the only thing – other than the network of motorways – Nawaz Sharif supporters have to say in defense when he is being attacked. “Okay, but he created the metro and motorways!” Okay, but did Pakistan really need the metro and motorways? In a country where people don’t have food to eat, where boys the age of 6 will be found working in shops due to poverty, where education is not available everywhere, do people really need a fancy way of transportation? Public schools in Pakistan are in very poor condition. They lack basic facilities such as furniture, water, books, and teachers. The education sector should be one of the government’s top priorities. If Nawaz Sharif really wanted to help Pakistan, he would have done something that benefited the majority of the people, which are poor people, not middle-class Pakistanis.
Previously, I mentioned that Balochistan has the highest poverty rate (71.2%). Let’s follow this up with the rates of out-of-school children in different areas of Pakistan. The region with the highest out-of-school children is – you guessed it – Balochistan (66%). The correlation is right so visible that it’s difficult not to notice it, yet people all over Pakistan haven’t. A region where the parents don’t send their kids to school because a) they’re worried about their child’s safety b) they can’t afford school or c) they think their daughters don’t ‘need’ to go to school, will obviously suffer.
When girls make up more than half of the population and aren’t sent to school, how will the nation ever prosper? When little boys are told that they can’t go to school because they have to help the family make money, how will the nation ever prosper? Out of all these kids, the few that do get the chance to go to elementary school suddenly disappear before middle school starts. And the very last ones who make it to graduation end up studying the same thing: doctors, engineers, and, well, more doctors. Every country only needs a specific number of doctors; heck, every country only needs a specific number of people in every profession. That’s why different careers exist. Thus there is a balance.
So everyone does something different and unique and everyone gets a job and the economy grows. When will Pakistanis understand this? If 200 people sign up to become a doctor and only 30 get the job, what happens to the other 170? They end up jobless, and they spend the rest of their lives in poverty until their kids grow up and they force their kids to become doctors too. It’s like banging your head into the same wall again and again, hoping for an answer when there isn’t one.
Pakistan is a country full of riches. From the magical lakes and rivers of Naran to the historic mosques and forts of Lahore, from the food to the culture, from seas to the oceans, from mountains to the land, from agriculture to irrigation, we have everything it takes to be a prosperous and peaceful nation. We need to use our resources wisely and educate our future generations in a proper manner. We need to think of ourselves as one nation. We need to be more accepting and religiously tolerant, and hopefully that will lead to a change in the country.