I love being a Pakistani; it is the most exciting existence ever! I laugh in the face of blue (yes, you read right – ‘blue’), red or even yellow (is there one???) passports, for I have my cherished green one. Like Gollum I clasp it to my bosom, during all security checks at most airports, when I’m stripping halfway in the name of safe passage to anywhere of any consequence, while I throw furtive glances all around, protecting ‘my precious’ from the awe it inspires in all those around; and yes I stick my nose up and peer benevolently at the officers who in the name of random checks take me aside to question me some more. I see through their facade clearly, they are enthralled by the enigma that I am - someone beyond their comprehension (doesn’t say much for their comprehension, still much must be forgiven of mere mortals) for I am a Pakistani.
Despite all the hoopla of match-fixing scandals and cowardly covert slandering of our cricket spirit, we showed the jealous goras what it means to be the world’s best spinners and are firmly on our way to be the world’s best cricket team (even if I’m the only one saying it). Here a word of thanks to the IPL without whose bigoted discrimination, we would never have been spared the boredom of playing inferior cricket. You will find us speculating on how Bilawal can be a Bhutto when his father is not, whether Nawaz got a hair transplant or not, or whether a particular TV host is a nut or just a bigot. All this while we try to decipher what our esteemed head of government was saying, when he was not saying what he said he meant to say, while he said what he did not say! Combine this with rumours of impending coups and threats of civil disobedience and Christopher Nolan could not have given the world a better thriller - no wonder, the Americans show such meddling interest in our business when it is none of theirs.
You know the thing, that makes everyone so frustratingly mystified with us, is I think our resilience, and our stubborn refusal to sink into oblivion. I mean look at us, political turmoil, sectarian violence, crumbling economy to no end. So, how is it that we continue to survive, considering almost 60 percent of our population lives below the international poverty line? There is this suspicion that it might be due to sheer force of numbers, after all a 55 percent population growth rate in the last decade alone, is no laughing matter. At this rate, we just might take over the entire world - literally.
Considering how many ups and downs (rare ups and rampant downs) we’ve endured, it is small wonder we’ve evolved into a nation where we can endure traumatic experiences, such as horrific murders, suicide bombers and natural disasters, with at least a semblance of equanimity if not outright apathy. Not to say, we’ve lost any of our compassion, mind you, if any proof is required, just look at us watching Humsafar and bawling our hearts out.
Just as tired as we are with the mantra of ‘do more’ from our so-called allies, we are tired of explaining our position to the world. If sacrificing our blood and our peace for their wars is not enough, I don’t know what will ever be. So, let them bring on their prejudices and their fear, their questions and their scrutiny, their awe and their bewilderment, I will remain most adamantly a proud Pakistani!
The writer is a freelance columnist based in the US.