Cursed Land

    According to the Western standards, a country, no matter how rich or poor, can not be considered “developed” unless it does not make and/or export technology. And the West promotes this rule by all means to prove its superiority to the world, even at the cost of human rights violations. It helps the West to keep so called “developing” countries at bay from joining as their full-fledged partners. 
    Unfortunately, most of the struggling (I will not call them ‘Third World’ since there is just one world) countries and world societies have taken this rule as their mirage and marked the mile stone of “development” as “westernization”. Consequently, they are embarked on a journey, which is driving them towards the deep quicksand of corruption at the cost of their citizens, their moral values and the shaking of their infrastructures completely to the foundation. 
    MMN is presenting the following thought provoking article which was written from a “bird’s eye view” just before August 14 (Independence Day of Pakistan), by an anonymous fighter pilot who serves in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) as a Squadron Leader. 
    In this article, the author has only addressed Pakistani corruption; however, corruption like this can be found in every corner of the world, at any level. 
    MMN is presenting this true account with good intentions, not with malicious intentions to defame Pakistan.
    Hopefully, this article will be a foundation stone to facilitate an intellectual dialogue of practical and workable solutions provided by MMN contributors towards reformation of struggling countries and world societies.


    The ritual happens every year. No sooner does August 1 arrive
    that my neighbor’s kids, clad in their dirty shorts bought from Lunda
    Bazaar, hoist a large SABZ HILALI PARCHAM (Pakistani Flag
    with Crescent and star with White & Emerald Green colors in the background) atop their roof. I wonder if they really mean to uphold the green flag and live under its shadow. I wonder if they really comprehend what the green flag symbolizes. I wonder if they will continue to do so when they grow up and find that the piece of cloth they held so sacred represents a country that has nothing to offer. No job, no opportunity, no clean drinking water, no respite from the cruelties of powers that matter: police, bureaucracy, military, politicians, IMF, World Bank. Yet, I see their father step out every morning in search of his daily wages with the same optimism
    that I have seen, in black and white photographs, on the faces of
    those who had come to this Land of Pure half a century ago.
    14th August is approaching and so is my yearly self-analysis. I ask
    myself if I am really doing the right thing when I stand Air Defense
    Alert to protect the airspace of a country that is divided as Sindhi,
    Balochi, Pakhtun, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Bhatti, Qureshi, Choudary, Khan,Mian, Deobandi, Brelvi, Sunni, Shia and what not. And the wallsbetween these divisions are higher than the walls between North and South, Occident and Orient.
    Twelve years ago, on the same day, I gave a speech to a group of cadets at the US Air Force Academy who were amazed that Pakistan means Land of Pure.
    What I see today is far from purity and what I am about to say will surely get me in trouble but fight we must until we root out this evil that maims and haunts this Land of Pure.
    I see pictures of children (children of a lesser god perhaps) with
    their twisted legs and limbs. Thanks to the toxic efflux of nearby
    industries. No body will ever figure out what has gone wrong and
    nobody will ever be punished because the people who are supposed to check these things have their own sufficient supply of mineral water and in some cases mineral water brought from Alps.
    I see public transport being blown up by bombs and human limbs and
    flesh scattered around. And Chief Minister / Governor making vehementorders to catch the culprits in 24 hours. Those 24 hours nevermaterialize. And the poor nation also forgets and moves on with its life.
    I see a lady teacher at SPS who has taught and groomed children of
    affluent people to become successful professionals only to see her ownchild of 12 years to be taken away by the mullahs to fight a war. Heprobably does not even know who are his adversaries.
    I see trucks and trolleys full of flag totting and slogan raising
    youth standing by the roadside, in this summer heat, to welcome a leader of a political party. Their poverty, illiteracy and joblessness clearly evident from the quantity and smell of their sweat, only to see their beloved leader arrive in a luxury vehicle worth 5-million rupees. Sitting comfortably as a pharaoh. Makes me feel like throwing up.
    I see an ex-chief Minister, clad in a starched white shalwar-kameez standing next to a Governor, posing for a photograph to be published next morning, only to be taken away for embezzlement in Bait-ul-Maal Funds, for renovating his personal house out of public funds, for allotting public land at throw away prices. Makes me sick even to write about.
    I see the proceedings of Punjab Assembly. Members sitting comfortablyin their powerful seats. Aura of power, arrogance and apathy hanging in the air, only to see that the session last for two hours during which the only point of discussion was, “how come a district food controller was not transferred out despite repeated orders of a local Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA)”. Two hours gone down the drain, of an elected body that represents a province where 70% of the population does not have clean drinking water, where the number of people living below the poverty line is rapidly increasing, where 4 armed vandals takeover a bus and, one after the other, rape each and every girl sitting in the bus.
    I see the Deputy Commissioner of a district. Again clad in a sickening
    starched shalwar-kameez, two mobile phones set on his mahogany desk, his obese body fixed in a reclining chair as if he has been implanted there with the help of a crane. Reminded me of a character from “Gingrich who stole the X-mas”. And swarms of people lurking outside his office with applications in one hand and money in the other.
    I see a Superintendent of Police, with his sleeves rolled up to his
    shoulders to show sickening biceps as if he is the toughest guy aroundand a den of drug pushers conveniently doing business about 50 yardsfrom his office.
    I see a long row of posh houses being constructed, on a prime land,
    for the military brass of a third world country. I see a whole C-130
    aircraft of a third world country’s air force being used to haul
    musicians and other entertainers. I see the military of a this country
    spending public money to maintain golf courses while 90% of the
    population lacks proper sewage and drainage facility.
    I see, every morning, a swarm of people strongly paddling their
    bicycles to work only to be stopped by the traffic sergeant so that
    the cavalcade of a government officer, consisting of a land cruiser and
    mobile police escort, may conveniently cross.
    I see a Customs Superintendent (a BPS-11 or 12 official) agreeing to
    give up Rupees 20 million to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) authorities. 
    I see Customs Inspectors with total salary of Rupees 4400 coming to work in brand new Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas. I see a peon, working at the cargo section of Lahore Airport, daily take away about 1000 rupees by the end of his hard working day.
    I see arrays of loudspeakers, mounted on the minarets of mosques builtin every street, calling the faithful to prayers and yet I see a horde
    of semi-nude youngsters sexually assault and molest foreign lady
    visitors, right in the middle of a public place and cheered by the
    I regularly see this Land of Pure from a bird’s eye view and whatever
    I see from air is nothing less than what I have seen in the world’s only
    super power.
    I see snow capped mountains rich of minerals that we have
    not exploited, I see deserts full of natural gas and oil and deserts
    which turn green in spring (Thal Desert), I see geometrically
    arranged, fertile lands in the plains of Punjab that used to feed the entireBritish empire, I see the world’s most contiguous irrigation network and above all I see a people who have excelled in every nook and corner of this planet as white collar and blue collar professionals. Yet I see a country that is sliding down the drain.
    Somebody please tell me, are we cursed?