What Pakistan Needs Now

The TEDx conference in Karachi asked the question, “What does Pakistan need now.” There’s been a great conversation about this over at Teeth Maestro, including a very good post by Fatima Ajmal about mental health policies. Actually, it was Fatima’s post that inspired me to write this post of my own. Rather than comment on her excellent points (which I do encourage you to read), I want to make some comment on the title of her post – What Pakistan Needs Now: Sanity.

I agree 100%. What Pakistan needs now is a healthy dose of sanity. But I am actually thinking of a different kind of sanity than Fatima. There is no doubt in my mind that the stresses and hardships of life are weighing heavily on the mental health of our nation. But there is another place where we need a return to sanity, and that is in the way that we approach our hardships.

As an example of what I’m talking about, first think about the recent meeting of religious parties to blame Ahmadis for the attacks on their own people. There are actual killers out there, and yet people who claim to be political leaders are choosing to blame the victims. Is this not a form of insanity?

Or how about the fact that our courts are taking all their time to chase some 15-year-old political revenge cases, but aren’t able to convict any terrorists.

The Nation today writes about “the recent spate of mass casualty attacks in Lahore and elsewhere in the country,” but what is their solution?


“A firm line must be taken on the US covert operatives running amuck in our cities and found involved in activities detrimental to the security of Pakistan.”

You can dislike the drone attacks in FATA, but let’s be honest, please. The mass casualty attacks in Lahore and elsewhere in the country were not carried out by ‘US covert operatives.’ They were carried out by religious fanatics. And, unfortunately, we don’t have to import religious extremism – we are manufacturing enough at home.

If you have a cancer in your heart, you do not have a lung operation. That would be insanity. And yet, when we look at the hardships facing our country, we want to blame anyone but those actually responsible. We are operating on the lungs, while the cancer is eating our heart.

Annie, writing for Dawn, does a good job of really examining the responsibility for the attacks on Ahmadis.

It is this sort of rational and reasoned discussion – sanity – that will move Pakistan forward. Until we can return some sense of sanity to the country, who is to blame for all the violence? Every one of us.


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