Pakistan Will Endure

Pakistan Will Endure
Pakistan is not its elite politicians or its self-serving celebrities - both out for money and fame. Pakistan is the people who flocked to the clarion call of the Quaid-e-Azam. It is a revolt of a people against hegemonic interests. It is a rejection of second-class citizenship. It is a people who lagged on various socioeconomic fronts and whose political and economic interests were sought in a haven of their own. This was witnessed in the elder generation that left behind everything in 1947 for that haven. It is witnessed today in online spaces, where young people want their space to be an island away from the fascist nouveau riche neighbors that remain rabidly obsessed with it to address their deep-rooted inferiority complex.

The country experiences a political and economic crisis exacerbated by the climate crisis and terrorism. It is a place where the ruling elite have usurped the resources of the people to build their dynastic fortunes. This means that the education and healthcare of the people were abysmally served. Yet, despite lacking resources, Pakistan shines again and again. Just witness the Pakistani Olympians from the javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem to the strong man Nooh Dastgir Butt. Witness the diaspora where Pakistani academics, doctors, engineers, and consultants give the best of the best a run for their money. Above all, witness the strength displayed every day by the fruit vendor, house help, and server against the skyrocketing cost of living. Their will to endure is superhuman. And as long as they endure, Pakistan will endure. For Pakistan is not a piece of “moth-eaten” land that was begrudgingly given. It is the people.

To use imagery from the Marvel universe, Odin tells Thor that “Asgard is not a place … Asgard is where our people stand.”. To borrow another image from the Darkest Hour, Churchill states that “the powerful might be able to parley good terms” in juxtaposition to the common people who remain defiant in the face of tyranny. So even if the economic and political crisis utterly overwhelms Pakistan and the elite politicians flee to their chateaus in other countries or the celebrities seek out projects in neighboring India, the everyday Pakistani will push against all odds. For the will to survive is a deeply ingrained universal human trait. And Pakistanis are imbued with their faith to not despair of the mercy of Allah – la taqnatu mir rahmatillah. This is in stark contrast to self-hating individuals, the rent-seeking elite, or self-serving celebrities that are ready to abandon ship at the first sign of distress.

In essence, no matter where Pakistanis find themselves, whether in Pakistan, the West, the Middle East, the Far East, or elsewhere, each one of them will stand on guard with exemplary determination. And as long as they stand, Pakistan will live in their heart. In Nayyara Noor’s immortal rendition:

teri hifazat ka azm lay kar

har aik apnay mahaaz par hai