Friday, January 21, 2011

The Pakistan I Remember

In my last post I took quite a bit of flak from a few friends for being overly optimistic and not being quite in touch with reality. In hindsight perhaps I was a bit over the top, but that was the point. One point that drew particular wrath from a friend of mine was where I said 'Our Generation' was a cause of hope for the future. Maybe I wasn't quite clear about what I meant, all I was trying to get at was that Pakistan 10 years ago was on average a better live for Pakistanis then it is today. My younger brother who is 9 years younger then me does not have all the same privileges that I did while growing up. Anyway, I recently came across this wonderful piece by Manal Khan, and expresses what I am trying to say a lot better. Now the direction of the article is a little different, my top 10 was about things to look forward to whereas Manal is comparing the glory of her childhood to the current state of affairs. However the part that I really enjoyed is where Manal described the Pakistan where she grew up, and it is a Pakistan that I can relate to but my younger brother can't. Enjoy!


  1. The brazen disconnect between upper middle/upper class Pakistanis and those belonging to the lower strata of society is all too evident in the article that you speak of.While well written, I don't think the Pakistan of yesteryears is as divorced from the Pakistan that we see today.If anything, I think the article only demonstrates how the dichotomy between the lives of different segments of society has led to the elite life-or bubble- that many on the blogosphere were probably part of.This is not a complaint against those who do a brilliant job writing, it's just that those in Pakistan best able to write about it in English are also those who are probably most disconnected from it.

    I don't mean to diss on those who had a privileged background (I had a slightly less pronounced but nevertheless privileged upbringing myself).I'm merely highlighting how pronounced those bubbles are, to the extent that the Pakistan that some people grew up in is far too divorced from the reality that they probably never came across.

  2. Saim I absolutely agree with this sentiment, and to be quite honest I am in no position to comment on how Pakistan has changed for the average individual over the last decade or so. However, this past summer as part of my internship I conducted a number of interviews around Islamabad in katchi abadi's and local markets, and the general feeling that I got was growing discontent with inflation and the same reference to how things were much better before. Of course as a person who has taking Econometrics I will be the first to point out many sampling errors in my attempts to gauge the poorer perspective if you will. My point is simply this: I believe things generally were better a decade ago then they are today, and people who grew up in that era have a higher likelihood of doing something. Maybe I am wrong, time will tell.

  3. Shazil I would probably agree with your reading of the situation, even if it may not be the most robust sample (coming from me-a person who struggled through quant and is barely literate in regression analysis-that is rich)

    I can certainly agree that the generation that went through their teens in the 2002-2006 era were better off in quite a lot of ways.Similarly, my hunch is that the 90's generation may have felt relatively free compared to the Zia generation.

    The article that you posted (and I am not criticizing you for posting it, just me being my usual self aka an armchair pundit)looks at the difference in societal attitudes and the general tilt to the right as a sudden onslaught.The only sudden thing is how quickly the bubble has burst.No longer is to so easy to down a few at the end of the day without having to fear about the Haji Sahib Guard turning his rifle on you.

  4. we shall overcome some day.. i have peace in my heart.. we shall over come some day!!!

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