August 12, 2010

Why Help Will Not Come to Pakistan

While we moan the loss of innumerable lives lost, and millions more ravaged due to the fury of mother nature, it is futile to expect the same level of aid to come to Pakistan's rescue as was seen in other natural disasters such as the 2005 earthquake, the Tsunami and more recently the Haiti earthquake. True we do not have as many casualties as the aforementioned disasters did, but the scope and intensity of devastation is mind boggling. Consider the fact that all four provinces have been damaged from this excess of Mother Nature's ferociousness.

So why do I say that help will not come to Pakistan? There are mainly two reasons, aptly summarized by Mr David Hughes, the famous British political commentator in his blog post for the Daily Telegraph. Mr Hughes has pointed out that the reason why the British public is taking its time in coming to the rescue of the Pakistani population is because:

  1. The Pakistani President was gliding over the sights of Europe instead of overlooking relief efforts back home and,
  2. The British public has associated Pakistan with extremism (religious or social) and it simply does not care for the country or its people anymore.

They'll wait. And then they'll stop waiting.
This might be a bitter pill for most PPP/Zardari supporters to swallow, and in all probability they won't even bother swallowing it, but the true extent of Zardari's exuberant foreign shenanigans has been put to the fore not by any Pakistani, but by a foreign veteran journalist. Irreparable harm has been done to the image of Pakistan by Zardari's untimely foreign trips and he has made the country a laughing stock in the international comity of nations. Under such circumstances it would be sheer imprudence to expect any sort of help from any quarters; thus any aid that the GoP is getting, it should treat it as a gift from the heavens. Maybe this will make the hardliners amongst us shut up with their on going vehement discourses against the US which has stepped forward with the most amount of aid for our ailing country.

The second reason is easy to understand. The Pakistani population has been fine tuned to churn out hard line stances (completely ridiculous at times) which are never easy for the other citizens of the world to understand (indeed this is a perfect time for some self introspection on our part). It is no secret that Muslims have demanded that Sharia be enforced in the UK and that has only isolated the Muslims from their British counterparts. More importantly, Pakistanis living the UK have denounced its culture, values, heritage and way of life, called it un-Islamic and therefore unacceptable and yet they have taken advantage of its fairness and just values at every turn (double standards?). The average Pakistani in the UK thinks that he knows what is best for his country back at home, and he knows exactly how he/she can correct the terrible ills plaguing Pakistan, yet day after day these very "patriotic" Pakistanis are found enjoying their British way of life. This has led to a sort of image problem where the general British population has started associating Pakistanis to everything that is wrong with the world. And the fact that almost all terror plots somehow end up having some sort of linkage to Pakistan has completely ruined the credibility of Pakistan and Pakistanis. Consequently the image perception of the native British population vis-a-vis the Pakistanis has deteriorated to a great extent, and now Pakistanis and Muslims in general are equal to extremists, fundamentalists and terrorists; and quite clearly, this notion will be very hard to dispel. In such circumstances, you really cannot blame the Brits for not helping us. 

Double standards? (Source:
But there is a third reason, that you only get to understand when you start reading the comments beneath that blog post by Mr Hughes. Once you start reading them, you find out just how much venom is being spewed against the Pakistanis and just how much respect we afford in the modern world. Our leaders, from Nawaz Sharif to Musharraf to Zardari have literally ruined the whole image of Pakistan in front of the international community. How then can we expect them to be aware of our plight? When slurs are made against ISI, and when comments such as "the country should sell its army, lol" are posted beneath a post about the need for humanitarian assistance, you can well imagine what the people think of us, and our country in particular. It doesn't help matters when you realize that your government is spineless and really not interested in good PR at all anyway.

If only our people were educated to realize that the only way out of this vicious circle of enslavement by the same people is by NOT voting them to power, we might change for the better. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it but the fact is that only through education will this nation be able to make a difference. For now, we need to realize that the only help that is going to come is going to come from us. We need to take cognizance of the plight of the poor and the miserable and the displaced because let's face it, all that they've got left is us.