I am a Pakistani
By Mansoor Ali Khan
28, Nov 2012
Hi, I am a Pakistani. I am a Muslim first (because I have been told this since the day I was born and my teachers also told me that this is the reason I got this country) and then I am a Pakistani. Until I reached college, I had no idea what a Sunni or a Shia was until I saw some of my friends in college say the prayers differently. I was also informed that my country considers Ahmedis as ‘Kafirs’, I found it quite strange as they looked just like me because Kafirs in my opinion were always supposed to be white skinned. When I turned 18 I was told that now I am eligible to get a NIC card and subsequently a driving license also, I found this quite strange because I had been driving the car for the last 2 years without any one stopping me. Then the elections came, I kept hearing from the streets the slogans of ‘Jiye Bhutto’, I asked my parents who was Bhutto and they said he was a great leader and his daughter is now contesting the elections and we will all vote for her.
When I asked if she would turn out to be as good as Bhutto, I was silenced. Then came Kargil, my friends told me that any moment now Pakistan would turn out to be the victor against the enemy called ‘India’. After some time I heard that an Army general had taken over the government, I thought maybe this was because we won the war? 9/11 happened and I was told that either I am with the US or against it. I had heard that people always wanted to go to this country and live the rest of their lives there but if I was against or with it, I didn’t know as I had never been there. Then I saw people getting killed on the streets through bombs and terrorist activities. When I asked who they are, some said they are extremist who are angry at the US occupation of Afghanistan (but why are they targeting me?) then some said they are US conspirators (I asked again, why target me?) then someone said they are the secret agencies (I said if they are the secret agencies then they aren’t any good in keeping it a secret).
Then one day, I heard Bhutto’s daughter had been killed in an attack and I saw people crying and condemning it. I also saw many who had been her staunch opponents when she was alive, they were also terrified. They started praising her; I was surprised at how people can be so passionate about someone who has passed away. Then someone told me that her son will now be head of the party and he has also taken the name ‘Bhutto’, the same question came in my mind if he would be as good as his mother. I wanted to talk to him but I was told he only talks to foreign press and party meetings. I started waiting for the day when he will rule me.
Then I saw my cricket hero, Imran Khan in Lahore. He had such huge fan following. He used the word ‘Tsunami’ again and again. He said all are welcome to join in. I was surprised at the direction of Tsunami because the influx of politicians seemed like a Tsunami indeed. Imran said no to drones – talks with Taliban. I asked who will punish the killers who destroyed my home, I was abused and threatened and told I am an American agent. Yeah the same America, which had threatened me with ‘with us or against us’ question.
Someone then told me to think about nothing else and vote for the party which created Pakistan – Pakistan Muslim League, but I had only one problem even though I checked the history books I could not find the word Nawaz in 1947. May be I was looking in the wrong era. I saw this party distributing laptops among youngsters, I liked it but when I asked about the lady who was distributing these laptops, they told me she is Nawaz’s daughter. I asked is she a minister, they said no, I asked is she a MNA or MPA?, they said no, then I asked who is she? They said she is Nawaz’s daughter. I kept quite.
Today, I feel like I am in a room full of slogans, accusations, counter-accusations. I just want all this noise to stop. I want to put both my hands on my ears and shout ‘SHUT UP’.
I am a Pakistani, I am no one else. I am only a Pakistani.