What do Pakistanis really care about?

Author: Mumtaz Khan

I am here and Pakistan is about 14000 miles away from me, and I have not much else to do with Pakistan except that I had lived a good portion of my wonderful life over there, really!

Then, I think, why do I write about Pakistan so passionately?

While I am not even sure if anyone in Pakistan or Pakistanis living here see or care to read what I write about Pakistan’s current and past history. Then, why do I care so much to write about Pakistan?

It’s a sensible question but I have not come up with a rationale answer yet. I’m still searching.

Also, I am more and more convinced now that Pakistanis in general don’t really care or even bother to think about values such as  ‘democracy’ or  ‘civil rights’ or ‘primacy of rule of law’ in the country as long as they personally approve the guy running the country and he/she remains in power. Though, they are chronic moaner by nature and they do complain a lot about the difficulties they face in their daily life but not in any serious terms. Generally, they enjoy expressing their frustrations through blunt taunts, subtle sarcasm, crude jokes, and funny cartoons etc. and feel to have formed a sense of comradery with strangers by sharing these items with each other, and that’s all about it.

I used to read Dawn regularly, especially the writings of the able column writers on the op-ed page. Most of them are highly educated professionals or former ambassadors or government officials or experts in their specific fields. I noticed, even those able column writers avoid raising specific issues and offering hard choices to their readers or analyzing national issues and presenting plausible solutions. Rather, they would either blame the government in power or praise the people in power or engage in war of words with local governments.

Interestingly though, of late, there appears to have developed a new kind of ‘journalism’; video journalism. That is, a well known or well versed person of public speaking skills is hired to produce video presentations to promote the cause of their clients (government itself or it’s enabler or the groups opposed to the government.) The chosen “independent” man (or the woman) produces a magnificent video armed with apparently convincing facts and figures and with whistles and bells to enhance the image of their client.

Public in general, after watching it, eagerly forwards their favorite videos to the like minded people and feel relieved of their national and civic duties.


Pakistan is perched on a treadmill

Once, I asked a visiting Pakistani official, “How Pakistan is doing these days?”

He smiled with his “Pan” پان afflicted red lips, and said:

صاحب، کیا بتائیں۔ ایسا لگتا ہے کہ پاکستان”

is perched on a treadmill. There are lots of huffs and puffs, but standing on the same spot”

واللہ و عالم


Mumtaz Khan

ممتاز خان، امریکہ میں عرصہ سے مقیم ہیں۔ آئی بی ایم کی نوکری کے بعد سے ۲۰۰۴ سے رٹائر زندگی گزاررہے ہیں

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