By Adnan Ahmed
Pakistan, the fifth-largest nation in the world in terms of population, 33rd largest in terms of area, and ranks 42nd in terms of GDP, came into being on August 14, 1947. The nascent state inherited myriad problems ranging from domestic, provincial, national, regional, and international issues, covering every dimension. Nonetheless, our astute founders left no stone unturned in making Pakistan a prosperous nation, and in the early days of her birth, Pakistan progressed by leaps and bounds. The founding fathers not only came to the fore to squarely face the challenges of the time with far-sightedness, unique zeal, adroitness, and statesmanship but also showed fortitude, patience, and self-sacrifice to make Pakistan global power.
After 70 years, Pakistan still has a bad governorship style, poor management, and malpractices in each and every field which can possibly be imagined, yet, there are always two sides to a story; and one must see the sunny side of the road. There are numerous aspects in which Pakistanis ought to take pride. The geography of Pakistan is of utmost strategic importance in the contemporary world. The state religion of Pakistan is Islam, which is the peaceful most and second-largest religion in the world. This very region, i.e. land of Pakistan is considered to be the land of ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Intellectuals’; undoubtedly many famous names have arisen from the land of Pakistan in every field. The culture of Pakistan is sophisticated and diverse; Arts and literature are historic; architecture and heritage are antique. Pakistan Army is one of the most well-trained armies in the world. In Agriculture, the canal system of Pakistan is the largest in the world. The industry and technology of Pakistan have no parallel in the world. In short, Pakistan, apart from bad aspects, has all the potential which could make it truly an “Asian Tiger.”
Pakistan lies on the map of the world at 73° 5′ 4.1568” E longitude and 33° 44′ 16.9620” N latitude, which orients the very country in such a way that all all-four seasons- spring, summer, winter, and autumn- are available here. A variety of crops can be bowed in Pakistan which also has vast deserts like Thar and Cholistan; ports on the kilometers-long coastline like Karachi, Bin-Qasim, Gawadar, and Pasni, Hills like K-2 and Nagaparbat, dales like Quetta and Ziarat, and other geographic entities. From the panorama of a chain of mountains and clump of trees to the tantalizing sensation of the aroma, from the mesmerizing splendor of snowy peaks to the appealing scenery of natural lakes, from the sweet sound of birds to the nipping of water- all these miracles of the nature is present in the land of Pakistan. Minerals and metals of worthy quantity and reliable quality are found in our land, ranging from abundant gas to copious oil deposits, from copper and gold mines of Balochistan to the mammoth coal resources of Sindh, from salt-mine Khaiwra of Punjab to the marble of KPK- these all are but the blessings of God to Pakistan.
The geographic alignments of Pakistan make this country so much important to the world that none of the super-powers and policy-makers from the international political arena could design a policy to rule the world, without considering the strategic importance of Pakistan.
Pakistan shares borders with four neighboring countries; the Arabian Sea is on the south. India on the east, Iran on the west, Afghanistan on the northwest, and China on the north- all these four countries are in the limelight in the contemporary world. Strategically, Pakistan is a gateway to Central Asian gas-rich countries.
Pakistan’s Gwadar port lies on the neck of the ‘Strait of Hormuz, from which not less than half of world oil trafficking passes. Pakistan, although the 33rd largest country in the world in terms of total area, yet, has been playing a noteworthy role in the decision-making and policy-making of the world along with the superpowers due to its strong strategic position on the map of the world. It is undoubtedly the geography of Pakistan, which could make the people of Pakistan prosperous and which made it relevant yesterday, which makes it relevant today; and which would make it relevant tomorrow for the big powers of the world.
Pakistan was founded in the name of ‘Islam’ which later on became the state religion of Pakistan constitutionally. According to a report, emanating from the ‘PEW research agency, Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world. Not only does Islam abhor and repudiate terrorism but also derogates any sort of imputation, innuendo, or insinuation in terms of compelling someone towards forcefully embracing Islam. Islam not only talks about harmony and brotherhood between Muslims but also invites non-Muslims to live in peace and harmony with Muslims through verse 64 of Surah Al-Imran, which says;
“O, people of Book come to the common terms as between us and you” The Quran, the holy book of Muslims, has instructions and injunctions which cover each and every aspect of our existence as humans. From an individual to the populace, from the populace to the community, from community to ecosystem, from ecosystem to biome, and from biome to biosphere- none of the “Ecosystem Organization” is outside its scope. Below are the two diagrams or cartograms really- one explaining the ecosystem organization as suggested by scientists and the second showing the aspects of human life covering Islam. After having seen both diagrams, both a layman and an intellect could construe that Islam covers every aspect of our existence.
Apart from teachings regarding phases of ecosystem organization, In Islam is a spiritual system, and a concept of “Life Hereafter”, which ignites in us the dogma of ‘vice and virtue.’ The concept of punishments and regards energizes the otherwise avaricious human being to do good deeds, and men also find vicarious excitement to do well and abhor doing bad. The concept of life hereafter inspires patience that high ideals and aspirations of men which are not fully realized in this life on earth, would be fulfilled in the life to come. The very concept vanishes the seeds of greed from us in a notable way. Muslims being more than 97% of the total population of Pakistan, feels proud in following the faith which is the most elaborated and peaceful religion of the world.
In every age and in every land, there are some who reach the pinnacle of glory by their sheer intellect. The people of Pakistan are considered to be the most talented in the world. From this very region has emerged a galaxy of shining stars almost in every field. As Allama Iqbal, long before, said in his characteristically optimistic verse of a poem from Bab-e-Jabril;
نہیں ہے نا امید اقبال اپنی کشتِ ویراں سے
ذرا نم ہو تو, یہ مٹی بہت زرخیز ہے ساقی
But of these barren acres Iqbal will not despair;
A little rain and harvests shall wave at last, Oh’saqi!
Pakistan takes pride in producing much-celebrated talents across the world- be it in it the field of education, be it in sports, be it in arts, be it in entertainment, or be it any other. Dr. Abdus Salam, who won the Noble Prize in Physics; Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, who developed the Human Development Index, which is a widely used index of the world to measure human development; Dr. Ata-ur-Rahman, who is a renowned scientist of the world, who is also a member of the group of Royal Scientist; Arfa Karim, who became the youngest Microsoft Certified professional. In sports, like, Jahangir Khan (who remained unbeaten for consistent five years in squash); Shoaib Akhtar (who is the fastest bowler in the world); Sohail Abbas (who has the highest number of goals in hockey); Abdul Khaliq Aka (a runner, formerly known as Flying Bird of Asia).
Pakistani Culture is sophisticated and diverse; sophisticated in that the cultural norms and values are so refined that aesthetic and ethical values cannot be seen apart from each other, they blend and harmonize into one perfect whole, diverse in that there are many communities with their own historical norm, values, and culture. The Sindhi Ajrak, the Punjabi Pagg, the Balochi Bugti dress, the Pashtun Atann Dance– all these are the mark of a diverse culture. Apart from these, the festivals and traditions of every community have a touch of will to survive by maintaining their unique identity. The historical Sibi Mela of Balochistan, the Basant event of Punjab, the Shandur Polo Festival of Gilgit Baltistan, Clash Culture, which UNESCO recently approves as intangible culture, and the Chilam Joshi Festival of Kalash valley are some of the festivals and events which are celebrated as a part of our diverse culture.
In arts & Literature, Pakistanis bear the palm- be it the revolutionary poetry of poet Habib Jalib or be it the piquant poetry of comic poet Anwar Masood-Pakistani Art & Literature has no parallel. In entertainment actors like Waheed Murad and singers like Nusrat Fateh Ali, khan shines like a star in the galaxy of the great artist ever produced in the world. To cut the long story short, it is quite evident that this land; this Mother Land has produced numerous heroes who made their mark in their respective fields and are admired and appreciated not only in Pakistan but also internationally.
In arts, Sadequain is an extraordinary painter and calligrapher whose work depicts the broad Islamic art movement with the reflection of Pakistan’s cultural heritage. Among the others are renowned around the world are Truck Art and Blue Pottery. Truck Art, a homegrown art format, is now internationally recognized for its intricate floral patterns, vibrant colors, and distinct poetic calligraphy; Blue pottery, an ancient art passed down through generations in Multan. The blue pottery is characterized by its distinct blue and turquoise hues filling traditional designs.
In embroidery, Baluchistan’s Kutch embroidery, Cross stitch of North and South Baluchistan, Ralli of the coastal Region of Baluchistan, Baluchi Laanka, and historic Baluch embroidery on Leather bags are renowned; Punjab’s Chunri, Phulkari, Shadow work, and designs on wood in Chiniot are predominant; Sindh’s Ralli, Sindhi Tankaa and Ajrak work are unprecedented; KPK’s and Northern Areas Beadwork, Zanjir Tankaa and Swati embroidery are fabulous. Last but not the least, Kashmir’s Daindii Taanka is marvelous on its own.
Pakistan’s literary tradition reflects the distinctiveness and versatility of its profound culture. The legacy of Pakistani literature has also been passed down over seventy-one years to new generations of authors who have impressed the world with their literary feats. From the ‘Sufi kalam’ of Bulleh Shah to the subtle humor of Mushtaq Ahmed; from the inspiring work of Bano Qudsia and Ashfaq Ahmed to the award-winning novels of Kamils Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid– all are versatile in their own. Among others is, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, an urdu-writer and poet whose inspiring work transcended borders, winning him international recognition and the Lennon Peace Prize. Saadat Hassan Manto, a renowned Urdu author, and playwright produced twenty-two classic collections, short stories, five radio plays generic, one novel, and three essay collections. After all, Pakistani arts and literature take the imprints of seventy-one years of innovation and evolution.
The strength of any country is measured by the strength of its army. Also. Pakistan Army is considered the sixth-largest in the world. Not only quantity, but Pakistan Army is also a well-trained army of the world, who made its mark and sent shivers to the enemy in the battles- be it battles with the Indian army or be it a war against terrorism. On all fronts- be it inside operations, be it border wars, or be it missions of the United Nations- the Pakistan army reached the acme of glory by their sheer military tactics. Not to talk about the whole organizational structure of the Pak army, the commandos of SSG (special services group) of the Pak army bear the palm and stand out as number one in many of the exercises and military competitions held around the world. Spying and information gathering is considered to be the most important part of today’s warfare. Pakistan’s security agency ISI has no parallel. ISI stands at number one among the security agencies of the world.
Pakistan’s economy mainly depends upon agriculture which accounts for more the 20% of our GDP, and more the 40% of the labor force. There are two types of seasonal crops in Pakistan, i.e. Khareef and Hareef. The most important crops are wheat, sugarcane, cotton, and rice which together account for more than 75% of the value of total crop output. Pakistan, in 2017, produced 25,750,000 tons of wheat. Pakistan is Asia’s largest camel market, second-largest apricot and ghee market, and third-largest cotton, onion, and milk market.
For better yield, the most important thing is of watering the crops. Pakistan has the largest irrigation system in the world; the Indus Basin Irrigation System. The Indus Basin Irrigation system consists of 3 large dams, 85 small dams, 19 barrages, 12 inter-river link canals, 45 canal commands, and 0.7 million tube wells- all this makes it the world’s largest contiguous irrigation system. It is however a point of great regard that our country has the biggest irrigation system in the world.
It is a general and known point of view among us that Pakistan’s industry and technology have nothing worth celebrating; but there are in reality many industrial products and technologies which made their way toward the markets of middle-east, Europe, and America. Gujrat, Sialkot, and Gujranwala are known as the Golden Triangle of Pakistan. Fans of Gujrat, clothes of Faisalabad, and most importantly the surgical instrument and sports goods of Sialkot are at the top of the tree. Pakistan exports different industrial products to the world. The demand for such products is on the rise, pointing to the reasonability, credibility, and sustainability of Pakistani products.
Pakistan-manufactured weapons and military products are on-demand both regionally and internationally. Currently, the defense industry is actively participating in many joint production projects, such as Al Khalid-2, advanced trainer aircraft, combat Aircraft JF-17 Thunder, navy ships, and submarines. Pakistan is not only manufacturing these for indigenous use but also selling weapons to more than forty countries of the world, bringing in $20 million annually. Defense expenditure of the countries of the world is on the rise; manufacturing military equipment, weapons, and other defense goods is a source of noteworthy income for the state of Pakistan.
The IT companies in Pakistan are increasing on a grand scale day by day, and the total estimated size of the IT industry is $2.8 billion. There are millions of IT professionals, whose performance in the international market speaks volumes for them. According to rough estimates, more than 1 million freelancers and IT specialists offer their services to well-known multinational companies. Broadband subscribers in Pakistan surpassed 49 million and Pakistan ranks at number four in terms of broadband internet growth in the world. There are more than 153 million mobile users in Pakistan; making it one of the few most technology-aware countries in the world.
Conclusively, bearing in mind the adage that one must see the sunny side of the road; Pakistan, in spite of myriad vulnerabilities and hydra-headed malpractices, is one of the greatest nations of the world.
From the peaceful most state religion Islam, to the gregarious, generous, philanthropist, warm, hospitable and talented people of the world, from the land of beauty to the strategical invulnerability, from the culturally rich and diverse values to the refined and sophisticated art and literature, from the strongest army of the world to largest irrigation system of the world, from industrial goods manufacturer to the technologically advanced weapon producer, from fourth largest broadband subscriber to the wily IT professionals- all the perquisites for a prosperous nation are available in Pakistan. However, there is always a dire need for good management of all the resources and mindful utilization of potential Pakistan is fraught. There is no gainsaying the fact Pakistan holds a position of great honor in the comity of nations, yet there still remain vast areas to be annexed. And, we must do all, we can, to try to make this very Nation ‘Asian Tiger.’