Is there anything beautiful about this country?
[By Saeeda Diep, a Lahore-based peace activist; cartoon by Abro.]
This is the first article in the Proud, Powerful and Pak series.
I was asked by the Pakistan Paindabad website to share five aspects that, according to me, shows my country Pakistan in best light. I was given ample choices. It could have been anything – people, history, religion, or culture. However, after some major analysis and introspection, I have come to the conclusion that it would be very difficult for me to list 5 good things about this nation.
A country whose people have not been able to get rid of the military dictatorship, a culture which is severely ridden with religious intolerance, a justice system which turns a blind eye to the harassment of minorities, a flawed society which has its fabric torn by an unequal distribution of wealth, could have nothing beautiful about it.
I believe it will be extremely unfair on my part to write about something I do not believe in. Perhaps, the one and the only thing that makes me a proud Pakistani is that we are the best in hospitality.
Please accept my apologies.
[Pakistanis from all walks of life are invited to share what they believe are the five best things about their country. You too must be a part of this. Send your favourites to firstname.lastname@example.org.]