4 days to independence day of Pakistan, 4 days to the celebration….
4 moments where being Pakistani was either made one proud or made one really hurt; atleast to me. One can come up with millions of such lists and hundreds of ordering. So I laid down some rules, it has to be in my lifetime, that is I witnessed it happening, so pretty much past 30 years. Other than that there is no logic to it, no grand philosophical ordering, and anyone of you can come up with a better list.
For me the difficulty about making such list is that I realize I have done nothing for my country or humanity in general. In any of these moments I was not the part that was making this moment interesting. I was not the one that helped Pakistan win any of the World Cups, I was not the one marching towards court to get Cheif Justice reinstated, I was not the one collecting funds for the Flood Victims. I was there but more of silent observer and passive member.
But then I was not part of people chanting slogans in favor of Army when Musharaf threw-out lawful Prime Minister or was among ones showering flowers on the killer of Salman Taseer……. I was not part of ugly history also.
I was not there in any of them, I was not making any history, I was just silent as the majority is, but who needs such majority if they can’t speak. .
Only one moment I was part of it was Earthquake 2005, I will start from there.
1) Earthquake 2005
It’s difficult to categorize this as best or worst moment of Pakistan, Northern Areas and Kashmir were literally converted into rubles; houses, schools, hospitals, everything was effected. For that moment it felt worst of being Pakistani, because so many people died and it became visible govt. cannot do it’s job.
Suddenly that became best of Pakistan; no one knows how and when, people just started organizing. Were scenes of rubles of Margala Towers and the people trapped in them, that gave the people an initial push or was it news of children dying in schools in Kashmir, I can’t say. It was just sudden….. and it was in grand order. It was huge effort to reach out to the people who needed help. People gathered food, clothes, blankets, tents…. anything they felt that could be used. Then they rented the trucks instead of handing out them to the govt. they took them to the effected areas themselves. It was extraordinary response to the extraordinary challenge. If in the night you were on the road to Kashmir you can see lines of trucks moving from bottom to the top of the hill.
One day in Bagh area I saw truck load of water-bottles lying on the ground and cardboard boxes peeling off because they have been soaked due to rain. I was amazed to see this amount of water bottles, later I learned that during the early days one of Tv channels ran the story about natural sources of water have been disturbed due to earthquake and in some areas of Kashmir have no water.
I heard one of the guy from Karachi saying that in his area in Karachi people don’t have clean water to drink and here people are doing Wazu with the bottled water. Point is someone heard the story and thought that’s how he can help, he was able to find the resource, he was able to find a person to deliver it…….
We heard hundreds of stories, story of cart-pusher who was coming everyday to help find survivors from the Margala Building instead of selling the things and earn daily living. There were countless of examples where people giving away their savings. putting their lives at risk sometime. …..
That was best of Pakistan, …………
2) World cup……… leading to Shaukat Khanum Hospital
I was quite young at that time and did not knew much about the cricket, except that Pakistani team was being lead by this thin, tall guy called Imran Khan. (I think I had some memories of Sharjah Cup but nothing much) Then came the World Cup being played in Australia, with the theme song “Who’ll rule the World?” and …. things changed, I remember sitting in school van counting who will loose to whom for us to reach the semi-finals; even when I was not clear about the names of different deliveries.
(Good thing about being Pakistani cricket fan is that they don’t change much, even today they are dependent upon how others will loose rather how we will win. So memory keeps getting refreshed. )
Images of Rameez Raja taking the final catch, Waseem Akram taking two wickets in consecutive balls or Imran Khan with raised arms in joy having a victorious smile; have been plastered in my memory.
Why it is important? if we look at it just as a cricket-moment, it does not look much important in terms of history. We won in the Hockey World Cup, we won Snooker world cup and we were champions in Squash (we ruled squash world for 11 years, we ruled hockey more than that.) then why winning Cricket-World Cup was important?
Because it allowed Imran Khan to build Shaukat Khanum…. it made him legend, a giant, a wizard that can do anything. And we all rallied around him and got something important than a crystal cup… Shaukat Khanum Hospital.
Shaukat Khanum Hospital construction is one of the moments which we should all be proud of. Imran Khan might have played pivotal role but we helped him do it. After so many years it is still as success story. I hope it keeps being one. But it would have been difficult to do without the win in World Cup.
Will add two more in coming days.