Allah Almighty created humans as the highest of all creatures in the creation. We must certainly respect that rank and do our utmost to honor it – in Pakistan and everywhere else. Sometimes, I wonder if we do that well enough. In Pakistan, it is the responsibility of the young souls to improve and change the world around us. It is true that Pakistan is facing many hitches, such as unemployment, low quality of education, corruption, and currently the Covid-19 pandemic. We have a lot of work to do.
The basic principle is that people respect one another. Disrespecting lower classes, if we belong to a higher class, is easy to do, usually out of arrogance or simply out of ignorance. Often, men and women don’t think of each others as equals; urban dwellers may consider themselves better than rural folks. Sadly, some surveys have shown that many, up to 70% of well-educated people consider themselves above others.
Corruption is the major issue in Pakistan, as it is in other developing countries, and other countries, too. Everywhere, it is a great hurdle to development and prosperity. Not only do we find corrupt officials, but corruption and dishonesty are in all of us. For example, a vendor may colour his fruit to make it look fresh and at the same time he may criticizes the government for corruption. This is an irony. However, I would say that the corruption in politics and civil service is the most serious problem, not so much what ordinary people do. We need better rules and laws and then implement them.
Sometimes, people in power, including members of the government and opposition alike, use offensive language in debates on the media. They may say one thing publicly and do something different when the media lights have been switched off. Many people use social media and it is true that there is a lot of insult and bad language swirled to people who have different opinions. Instead we should try to understand each other and listen to people with different opinions, not just express our opposite opinions.
It is probably true that when things are difficult, the soul of humanism becomes less visible. We all look after ourselves and argue for own interests and needs, even at the expense of others who are less well off. The ‘flight of the soul of humanism’ is a problem in our motherland, and I feel this is truer now than at other times. In addition, the current pandemic has made us think more about existential issues. We are willing to share each others’ sorrows, and that is certainly good, but we seem less willing to act as we speak, rather the opposite. During the ongoing pandemic, prices have gone up on food and other things, even on face masks and hand sanitizers. Also, when the government imposes lock down, people criticize and don’t follow it well enough, and when the lock down is lifted, we may again criticize that. We should at least try to do our best ourselves.
Pakistan is made up of people from many ethnic groups, and we are sometimes dived and work against each other, not trying to see needs and interests of others. Different religious groups often speak against each other. I often wonder if they really are so different, and then there is no need to exaggerate differences either, and we must ask ourselves what good it brings. I believe cooperation brings more good than division.
Pakistan is our homeland and it has given us our identity. We should love our country and be patriotic about it. Yes, there are many things to improve, but there are also many things to be proud of. I believe that the only way ahead is to begin with ourselves, to correct and improve ourselves as human beings. At least that is the foundation. Then we must move from individual and small group level to the collective levels. We should take part in organizations, parties, unions, and so on. We have the freedom to think, speak and organize. We have no excuse not to do what we can, and all of us can do something. Together we can do a lot. We should show that we appreciate our freedoms by do more together.
We should be thankful to Allah Almighty and we have to respect everyone’s ideas, norms and values at every level either it is individual or collective. We have to do our best to make Pakistan rise and shine. As the title of my article indicates, I believe that with positive mindsets and optimism, we can do more than if we only criticize what is wrong.
The writer recently completed his BS in International Relations at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad.