160 Million Nelson Mandelas
Newsweek called Pakistan “the most dangerous nation in the world.” Western media calls Pakistan “a power-keg waiting to explode,” while their military describes us as “being in a fight for our national existence.” The world that we all claw and fight to get visas to visit, live and study in believe that Pakistanis are “barbarians,” “terrorists sympathizers,” and “too illiterate to expect better of.” This is our Pakistan to the world. This not our Pakistan to us.
61 years ago, when Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Quaid-e-Azam stood before a thunderous crowd in Lahore, he showed us our destiny:
We have achieved our cherished goal of freedom and have established Pakistan as an independent, sovereign State, fifth largest in the world. That freedom can never be attained by a nation without suffering and sacrifice has been amply borne out by the recent tragic happenings in this subcontient. We are in the midst of unparalleled difficulties and untold sufferings; we have been through dark days of apprehension and anguish; but I can say with confidence that with courage and self-reliance and by the Grace of God, we shall emerge triumphant.
Our Pakistan, today, faces threats to its stability and existence from both internal and external forces. Through co-ordinated campaigns, the world opinion is being turned against our Pakistan as “a terrorist state,” “failed state,” and “a haven for terrorists.”
Internally, foreigners to our soil have made it a battleground for their own “quasi-religious” battles with the West and made us feel unsafe in our own homes and office. This is not our Pakistan.
Our Pakistan is a proud, independent, sovereign State whose borders are non-negotiable. But our nation has been used and abused by numerous pretenders to the throne and jackals masked as friends, while true allies and leaders where pushed aside for personal gain. These abuses have made Pakistani turn against Pakistani for personal and political gain damaging our national unity. These abuses have made our Pakistan a victim of terrorism and violence that has caused our proud nation’s reputation to be damaged.
The words of the Quaid give us inspiration:
Do not for a moment imagine that your enemies can ever succeed in their designs. But at the same time do not make light of the situation facing you. Search your hearts and whether you have done your part in the construction of this new and mighty State.
Do not be over whelmed by the enormity of the task. There is many an example in history of young nations building themselves up by sheer determination and force of character. You are made of sterling material and are second to none. Why should you also not succeed like many others, like your own forefathers. You have only to develop the spirit of the “Mujahids”. You are a nation whose history is replete with people of wonderful grit, character and heroism. Live up to your traditions and add to it another chapter of glory.
Our Pakistan’s history is full of examples when the people were called upon to save the nation from internal and external threats. Independence in 1947. The 1965 War with India. The 1971 war with India. 1988 and the March to Democracy with Benazir Bhutto. October 2005 when Pakistan shook and crumbled under nature’s fury. These years mark historic times in Pakistan when the nation banded together with one vision, one call, one mission: Save Pakistan.
Our internal fights can be solved if we as a nation can stand together and accept that we have done each other harm and that 160 million people deserve apologies for the injustices, operations, and suffering that has been meted out in the name of national progress. But we can not allow this to stop this nation from coming together today, Pakistan most important time of need. “We are made of sterling material and are second to none,” said the Quaid, “You are a nation whose history is replete with people of wonderful grit, character and heroism. Live up to your traditions and add to it another chapter of glory.”
Can we heal your pain and help you believe in a united Pakistan again? As an individual, no one can. As a nation together, we can heal each other’s pain.
But, many say that individuals can not make a difference in the course of a nation unless they have power. Yet, the greatest social change has been brought by one person refusing to continue the status quo. From Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavezand Martin Luther King Jr. to Mohandas Gandi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Nelson Mandela, one person ignited the social change.
Pakistan does not need a Nelson Mandela; we need 160 million Nelson Mandelas.
People that have the ability to lead by example, not by words. Individuals that are unashamed to stand up in the court of public opinion and say no to the status quo. Individuals that are able to demonstrate that Pakistan is a nation of good, hard working, peaceful people; not what the international media would like the world to think of us.
A year ago, we started Take Back Pakistan with the vision to not only be one of the individuals that says no to the status quo, but to invest time and effort into changing ourselves and informing the people around us that the we could not continue like this anymore and helping communities to change.
Taking the words of the Quaid to heart, we started building a network of people that shared the vision that we have for Pakistan and believed that they could affect change through their own actions. Our network is about communities or people that work together where they live to make a difference in people’s lives, without boundary of wealth or class, but because of humanity and recipricosity.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Take Back Pakistan is about citizens and our responsibility to this nation that we call Pakistan. A nation that has been our home when we have treated it with disrespect. A nation that has been abused and polluted by its own people with both mental and physical rubbish that has damaged our national fabric and unity. A nation that can only depend on its people in its hardest times, never in the best of times. This should not be our Pakistan.
Today, we ask you to join hands with Pakistan to save it from itself. We, the citizens, must stand together as one force, one voice and with one mission as we have in the past when Pakistan has been tested by those who wish to destroy it.
- We will not allow anyone to challenge the sovereignty of Pakistan’s borders. This is our home and we will not tolerate intruders in it.
- We will not allow Pakistan to be held hostage by people who pervert the name of Islam to achieve their social and political goals. We are proud Muslims, not terrorists.
- We will not allow Pakistanis to continue to abuse and pollute Pakistan with mental and physical rubbish. We are a great nation made of sterling material, second to none.
- We will save our Pakistan because it is our Pakistan.
All I require of you now is that everyone of us to whom this message reaches must vow to himself and be prepared to sacrifice his all, if necessary, in building up Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam and as one of the greatest nations whose ideal is peace within and peace. Your immediate task is the rehabilitation of millions of our distressed and unfortunate brethren …. bereft of all they possessed or had in this world. The least we now can do for them is to receive them as our own brethren. No decent or sane person should consider that they are unwelcome burden thrust on us. Save all you can and give towards the relief of these victims … who have suffered all this for the sole reason that they are Muslims.