Everyday I wake up to news of a bomb blast somewhere or a tragic act of violence in some nook of my country. This morning, the attacks in Quetta, made me wonder, was my country always like this? Let me tell you, no it was not!
I grew up in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. Those were times when the city was not much developed, there were scores of untouched green-belts, the winters were chilly but comfortable for there was a sense of safety. We had never heard of suicide bombers. The news was simple and we despised it because it was such a drone. TV was just PTV(the national TV channel) and NTM (the only private TV channel available at the time). Now, we hate the news because it just raises the blood pressure and outright scares us! Now, we have to think twice before going over to Constitution Avenue to celebrate independence day on the night of 14th August for fear of being blown to bits. Now, when we exit or enter the city we are welcomed by a police barricade at which constables are peeking into each and every vehicle as if they’d be able to identify a prospective terrorist merely by looking at them.
What has happened to us? Well, actually if we think over it long enough, this was bound to happen. When you don’t work on strengthening your institutions you expose your vulnerabilities for others to exploit. That’s what’s happening to Pakistan. Our law and order is in shambles. We have failed to set examples and hence have emboldened the violent elements in the society who pillage and plunder because they have no fear of getting caught and being punished.
It’s fairly simple to understand because their are several analogies that relate to this in our everyday lives. For e.g. when we look at the traffic conditions, it’s clear for all to see how vehemently we are breaking the basic rules of the road. Often, there’s only one traffic sergeant manning a crowded intersection and a large number of vehicles break the rules right in front of him. But, what can a single sergeant do? The solution? Technology offers very simple solutions, but for Pakistan, it’s a vicious cycle of mismanagement, corruption and wrong priorities. And those who do have good ideas to offer, sadly lack the projection to promote them.
I know that the home page of my blog preaches to promote a positive outlook of Pakistan, so I’d like to put what I’ve written above in a positive light.
I have the privilege of working in the company of extremely talented people. I’m also lucky to have resources available to me that enlighten me about bright minds and energetic individuals who can make a difference in our country. Unfortunately, we lack the platforms through which we can project these people and their ideas. Through proper career counseling at high-school and university level, we can help young people in paving their way to a bright, clear future. We can promote an entrepreneurial culture by establishing start-up incubators and crowd funding platforms. I also know that there are others like me who also have access to this information so if we choose to make a coordinated effort, we can actually make things better. Definitely, we can come up with ideas that can reinforce our institutions and make them more efficient.
I know that a small faction of society can’t overhaul the entire system but we need to start somewhere. Let’s take it one day at a time.