Good News from Pakistan: IDPs Bring Out Our Pakistaniat

Posted on May 29, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, About ATP, Disasters, Society
33 Comments
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Adil Najam

When you write and think deeply about Pakistan every day – and, really, every minute – you become sensitive not only to the great trends of our time but also to the subtle changes in those trends. Sometimes, although never often enough, such change is not only perceptible but positive.

The last few week have witnessed such a change. One cannot be certain yet whether this change is momentary or permanent – indeed, there are many reasons why it could be easily reversed – but it is clear that the combined effect of the displacement of 2.5 million Pakistanis from their homes, the growing immediacy and coming out of the shadows of the threat from extremism, and the forceful military action against militant forces, have had the combined effect of galvanizing Pakistanis. Our criticism of and cynicism for the government, for politics, for international affairs, for anyone and everyone with any power, has not subsided – nor should it – but our Pakistaniness, our Pakistaniat, is much more vividly, more unambiguously, more unconditionally on display.

This Pakistaniat has been on display right here in the generosity of our readers in response to our appeal for relief efforts for IDPs. But it has been even more profoundly on display everywhere else. It has been on display by my friend and fellow-blogger Dr. Awab Alvi (TeethMaestro) and his amazing effort to take truckloads of relief goods directly to those in greatest need. It has been on display in the calls to action made by relief organizations, by development organizations, by telethons, by newspaper appeals, by facebook appeals, by bloggers, by Pakistanis everywhere. It has been on display in our personal, institutional, national empathy for our displaced fellow Pakistanis. But most of all this heightened sense of Pakistaniat has been evident in the perceptible change in the tone of our conversations – conversations where we speak of ‘Pakistan’ not as if it was a group of powerful individuals who control the country, but as if it is us all. Each one of us. It is this new sense of taking on national as well as personal responsibility that is the best news coming out of Pakistan today.

We will need to hold steadfast to this spirit. Because things never change overnight. Attacks on Lahore and Peshawar by the enemies of Pakistan in the last few days have shown that those who are out to kill Pakistanis are relentless. The crisis of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) is going to be long-drawn. Not just because they may be stuck in camps for long, but because they will need much help even when they go back and try to rebuild all that has been destroyed. And the seeds of division and disdain that have been sown deep into our society at every level will continue to haunt us. These demons will not depart overnight.

For our part, we at All Things Pakistan (ATP) will continue to do what we can. In whatever little way we can. For now, we continue our drive for relief. Till now a total of US$6000+ has been raised ($4000+ directly from readers and $2000 added to that from ATP Ads). We hope that the amount collected from readers will reach US$5000 by June 1. At that point we will decide whether to keep the collection widget live or not. In either case, our commitment to Pakistan is forever. Our commitment to whatever we can do for IDPs must also be long-term. We know that our reader’s committment to Pakistan and Pakistanis is eqully deep.

This blog came out of the view that Pakistaniat come from the recognition that you can be against the government, against the establishment, against all that is patently wrong, but you have to stand with Pakistan, with Pakistanis, with Pakistaniat. Indeed, the purpose of our criticism of that which is wrong is to make Pakistani stronger. As we approach our third anniversary, the importance of this idea is again made evident to us. Pakistan’s future, we firmly believe, lies not in the hands of those who control government, or the military or civil establishment, nor of outside actors, nor internal enemies. Pakistan’s future lies in the strength of our own Pakistaniat. If that survives, so do we.

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33 responses to “Good News from Pakistan: IDPs Bring Out Our Pakistaniat”

  1. SAJAD ali says:

    i have a vias for uk free.

  2. Pakistani says:

    Pakistaniat Zindabad.

  3. Imran Alam says:

    I very good piece of writing which is very appropriate at this point in time when i see so many (so called) educated people fueling up the fire of ethnic prejudice . I my self am a Muhajir but its very sad to hear so much hatred for pashtun .Those who have always served us with great loyalty and bravery.Those we prefer to guard us. I request Karachites to open there eyes and stop supporting this political propaganda to keep pashtuns underprevileged class. If they live and do business in Karachi ,they deserve it after so much hard work as we Mahajir of India living in Karachi. Be Pakistani ,and think Pakistaniat !

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