What’s right with Pakistan



Let’s start with security. Just a few years back, extremists were slaughtering Pakistani children and holding us hostage at the barrel of their gun. Unlike Syria, Egypt, Iraq or other Muslim countries which have had their back broken by extremism and varying degrees of civil war, Pakistan has broken the back of terrorists in the country. The battle isn’t over as we see quite well in the headlines every day. But the trend lines couldn’t be clearer: Pakistan may be the first country in the world to physically and forcefully turn back the reign of terror unleashed on its people in the aftermath of 9/11.

Onwards to the economy, or the little engine of growth that keeps chugging along. Pakistan is a food surplus country, marching towards becoming an energy surplus country. CPEC, the equivalent of the Marshall Plan for Europe when the US was rising as a global superpower, is removing long-standing infrastructure bottlenecks that have suffocated our potential. This, coupled with one of the most robust informal economies in the world and consumers who love spending, packs a powerful punch that puts us on the right side of benefiting from the demographic dividend of a young population.

Moving on to what makes Pakistan, Pakistan ie politics. An elected government will soon complete its tenure, two terms in a row, a first in the country’s history. Following this, we, the Pakistani people, will determine this country’s future at the ballot box, an opportunity which we have only had a few times since the country was founded. All this is happening in a country which was considered an almost failed state just a few years ago.

Yes, we are at loggerheads as a nation between supporting Imran or Nawaz. But take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The Pakistani people are deciding their future by voting, instead of foreign powers or dictators determining our future. One leader is fighting for justice, education and police reform as his core policy platform. The other is visibly building infrastructure and fighting for all institutions to respect the mandate of the Pakistani voter. Yes, it’s true, the 2018 elections are rigged. No matter which political party loses, the Pakistani people will win!

On that note, let’s talk about the Pakistani people. What a remarkable case study on the power of the human spirit. Pakistanis have been through so much together, while having the audacity to live their lives to the fullest and helping others. Take the example of Tahera Hasan, one of the most extraordinary woman I’ve met in life. Her safe space for kids in Machhar Colony, called Khel, is an oasis of life for Karachi’s invisible children.

Hundred-and-fifty children come to live, learn and play at Khel. The experience transforms the way they view the world and their own lives. This is why I decided to feature Tahera as an extraordinary Pakistani, in a documentary called Khel: A playground for Karachi’s invisible children.

Her story, like over two dozen extraordinary Pakistanis I’ve covered over the last five years, shines a spotlight on the heroes quietly making a difference in Pakistan. For every negative story that is amplified non-stop on TV, there are 10 positive stories that don’t get coverage, which is frustrating and disappointing. Even during the PSL season, sometimes it feels like our national sport is to criticise and complain about what’s wrong with the country.

The time has come for Pakistan to celebrate its heroes, instead of being consumed by our villains. Sharing the story behind positive role models like Tahera, lit a fire within our hearts, to share more Extraordinary Pakistani stories. But the Extraordinary Pakistani team can’t do this alone. If you would like to help or donate to this cause, please visit launchgood.com/extraordinarypakistani. Our purpose is to serve as a social media platform, which shares extraordinary Pakistani stories, connecting doers and donors in the process. If we don’t share these stories, no one else will.

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