The Economist had carried a "Survey of Pakistan" in its 8 July 2006 issue. When I read that, I realised that if I had been a thinking Pakistani citizen with a sense of self-dignity, I would have been angered and offended by much of what had been written. In short, the analysis is clichéd and superficial, and does not really present what the people of Pakistan are thinking or doing.
Thanks to the seeds of dissension and strife sown by the British in India – on a soil already fecund with the divisions of caste, class, power and ethnicity – the anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, popular, pluralist, secular, democratic and pro-poor struggle and legacy of the subcontinent was ruptured. Though people in today’s Pakistan and Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) had actively fought for freedom from colonial rule, yet, because of the Hindu-Muslim conflict, power-politics, partition and the resulting riots - this legacy was overshadowed and forgotten.
This evening I was reading the 12 August 2006 issue of The Economist. Right at the beginning, in the "Letters" page, I saw six rejoinders to the Survey. Two were from Pakistan and four from Europe, presumably by persons of Pakistani origin. Reading these really warmed my heart. They have expressed the kinds of things I wanted to hear. They have stood up for, and done their people proud.
Today is Pakistan’s Independence Day. I really felt like shouting out: Salaam Pakistan! (I salute you, Pakistan!)
My heartiest greetings to my brothers and sisters in Pakistan.