Dr Farrukh Saleem: The News, August 12, 2007
Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Pakistan. Alas, deep inside a sizzling hellhole. All our chestnuts on fire, all these stark contradictions. All these dark closets. All these suicide bombers. Seriously troubled, deeply flawed. Every time I think, I get such a fearful fright.
O' Pakistan, 'Islamic Emergency of Pakistan'. We call you 'Islamic' and we call you 'Republic'. O' Pakistan, you are neither divinely guided nor ruled by your people. O' Pakistan, you are neither 'Islamic' nor a 'Republic'. O' Pakistan, you are sixty but what are you? A nomad with neither a name nor an aim. A country without ideology. O' Pakistan who should rule Pakistan. Gun or law, mind or matter, Talibanised shariah or constitution. O' Pakistan we have neither a clue nor a sign.
O' Pakistan, your president wears a uniform. Your parliament a mere stamp of rubber. O' Pakistan, leaders leading you nowhere. Your Shujaat wants to kill. Kill anyone who says anything against thy army. O' Pakistan, your Shujaat, judge, jury and executioner all in one. Your Afzal also wants to kill. Kill all blasphemers. A speaker to kill blasphemers with his bare hands. Vow! O' Pakistan, your Afzal, judge, jury and executioner all in one. O' Pakistan, your leaders thirsty. Thirsty for blood. Red blood, human blood.
O' Pakistan, America's favourite whipping boy. O' America, we can live neither with you nor without. O' America, you buy all our exports. O' America, no one gives us export surplus but you. O' America, no one sends us tens of billions but you. O' America, you love no one but our generals. Ike loved Ayub, Tricky Dick adored Yahya. And, Bonzo found Zia irresistible.
O' Pakistan, your thirteen thousand madressahs. Some teach hate other self-immolation. Your two hundred fifty thousand schools. Some teach literature most preach hate literature. O' Pakistan, your classrooms full of death worshippers. Streets with deadly missiles, Muslims killing Muslims. Every time I think, I get such a fearful fright.
O' Pakistan, my home has fallen on bad days. I can't save a thing by telling lies. Truth is bitter, may do some good though. Devoid of logic, my home has fallen on bad days. Devoid of reason, my home has fallen on bad days. Bad days because we didn't listen to Bullhe Shah: "Let the prayers go to dust and fasts to the mud. Bullhe found the Beloved in the heart."
Fallen on bad days, listen to Sultan Bahu: "I peeped in to the heart and found Him there. I found him even nearer than the vein. We are in Him and He is in us. So near was He, but Bahu remained ignorant."
Fallen on bad days, don't hide behind veils. Open thy minds to Bullhe Shah: "Oh sisters, I removed the veil and danced. Wither I glance I see Him. I say in Thy name, there is no one else." Pakistan at sixty, at war with herself. At war with her past. Pakistan at sixty got no friends. A hundred and ninety-two to choose from. Got no friends. Four neighbours to choose from. Pakistan at sixty, got foes as neighbours, got no friends. Friendless and clueless we sleep alone, I cry alone.
Bad days will be over. Over soon, turn around we shall. Blackcoats danced in wajad (ecstasy) and blackcoats danced in qabd (despondency). Blackcoats danced for four long months. O' Pakistan, batons have lost bhangara has won. Pakistan danced in bast (happiness) and Pakistan danced in sahu (awakening).
Bad days will be over. Over soon, turn around we shall. Pakistan at sixty, chief justice has finally gotten justice. Pakistan my home, my home with a heart of gold. Punjab my home, home to Ravi, Chenab, Sutlej, Jhelum and Beus. Sindh my home, home to Sachal Sarmast, Mian Mir, Shah Inayat and Lakhino Latif. Frontier my home, Khushal Khan Khattak's home. Balochistan my home, Iftikhar Chaudhry's home. Every time I dream, I dream a turn around. Happy birthday Pakistan.
The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org