Since the onset of Pakistan’s engagement in the War on Terror, the country nosedived in its entirety; politically, socially and economically. Not only was this unfortunate plunge a harbinger of possibly, the worst of times for it but heralded the introduction of a gamut of negative stereotypes in relation to Pakistan and its citizens.
Largely owing to the almost-routinely involvement of Pakistan or any individual with even a faint connection to it in incidents or reports of terrorism, the spread of these stereotypes and a fixed image of ‘The most dangerous place on Earth’ has completely buried the Pakistan that existed before and still exists for the world to witness.
Despite a tumultuous 64-year old journey and contrary to the belief that Pakistan ‘ a land virtually barren of achievements’ – it has had its fair share of achievements, pride and glory in every field.
Pakistan has played a significant role on the international stage.
Hardly two months after its creation in 1947, Sir Zafrullah represented Pakistan in United Nations General Assembly as the head of its delegation and soon emerged as the most excellent of a spokesperson for the causes of the Muslim World and other countries.
Perhaps, the greatest of the countless incomparable services he rendered was his exemplary advocacy of the cause of Palestine and Kashmir. Him being a champion of the former cause garnered enormous appreciation, acknowledgement and reverence from almost all Muslim countries and leaders at that time.
[ Quoting from another blog on him ] :
‘His speech on Kashmir Issue on January 15, 1948 in the UN Security Council is considered as the most comprehensive presentation of the Kashmir Issue ever on international stage, his speech continued for 7 straight hours and resulted in materialization of UN resolutions on Kashmir.’
Through his stupendous championship of such causes, he also became an evident proponent of the advance of universal values, peace, human rights, democracy and justice as from 1948 to 1954 he represented Pakistan at the Security Council (UN) and outstandingly spoke for the liberation of Libya, Northern Ireland, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia and occupied Kashmir.
To date, none have come into sight that could rival the towering statesman, who was honored in his lifetime by numerous countries by bestowing highest of civil awards or a deserved deluge of praises, in prowess or services.
Pakistan’s Eeqbal Ahmed was a distinguished intellectual, ‘prolific writer and journalist, he was widely consulted by revolutionaries, journalists, activist leaders and policymakers around the world. ‘
He had joined Algeria’s National Liberation Front and was offered an opportunity to join the first independent Algerian government and refused in favor of life as an independent intellectual.
In the words of Edward Said, who penned a moving obituary on him in the Guardian in 1999, Eqbal Ahmad brought wisdom and integrity to the cause of oppressed peoples.
In a ‘Factfile’ for Islamabad Policy Research Institute titled ‘UN Peacekeeping Missions and Pakistan’, it is stated:
‘Pakistan is contributing to UN peacekeeping since 1960 and is the single largest contributor of UN peacekeeping forces, with more than 11,000 Pakistani military personnel serving in UN peacekeeping operations worldwide.
As of June 2013, the Ranking of Military and Police Contributions to UN Operations, states 114 countries contributing a total 91,216 military observers, police, and troops to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations; and Pakistan forms the single-largest contributor with the highest number of troops (military and law enforcement) to various UN Peacekeeping Operations worldwide.
Pakistan’s contingent for the UN Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone in 1999-2005 is also said to be cited by the UN Peacekeeping Headquarters as a ‘Role Model for all UN Missions’.
Pakistan also has a history of hosting several communities of disparate peoples’ from around the world [ Either fleeing from violence or other reasons ] and refugees. It received about six million Afghan refugees from 1979 to 2001.
Along with hosting about 200,000 Burmese people who are largely based in Karachi [ To be precise, they are Rohingya Muslims from Western Burma who claim to have fled their homeland of Arakan State under the persecution of Muslim citizens by the Burmese Junta ]. A considerable number of Kurds from many countries also came to reside in the country and some still do.
There was also a time, in the ’70s, ’80’s and 90’s and even just before the fateful year of 2001, when students from other countries, would come to Pakistan in pursuit of education; from Palestine, Iraq, Iran and other Middle Eastern Countries.
Apart from such matters, Pakistan has produced many notable personalities and individuals in other fields.
In the sports circuit, Jahangir Khan surfaced as the World’s No.1 player.
‘Pakistani control over the British Open and the World Open was created in 1976. The names of such great maestros such as Azam Khan, Roshan Khan, Mo Khan, Qamar Zaman, Jahangir Khan, and Jansher Khan have dominated the sport.
Moreover, Jahangir Khan is considered by many to be the greatest player ever to grace a squash court.
During his career he won the World Open six times and the British Open a record ten times.
Between 1981 and 1986, he was unbeaten in competitive play for five years. During that time he won 555 matches consecutively. This was not only the longest winning streak in squash history, but also one of the longest unbeaten runs by any athlete in top-level professional sports.’
Sultan Mohammed Khan Golden ‘a motorcar and motorcycle stuntman and jumping specialist, who introduced the sport of reverse motorcar jumping - set the world record by reverse jumping 150 feet over 15 cars.’
Sultan holds his self-set world record of jumping over 22 cars covering 249 feet distance, under his belt, among other things.
Hockey is the country’s national sport, in which it has thrice won the gold in 1960, 1968 and 1984 Olympics. Pakistan hockey team also won the Hockey world cup four times in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994. And the last major event: Champions trophy was won in 1978, 1980 and 1994.
Latif ur Rehman, Habib ur Rehman, Abdul Rasheed Jr and Dr. Atif Bashir are among Hockey legends from Pakistan.
It is said, that there are only two major religions in Pakistan; Islam and Cricket.
Not only does the nation have utmost madness for it but Pakistan’s Cricket Team has shone since it ventured into the game. They won the World Cup in 1992, the T20 Cup in 2009 and since then, many Pakistani cricket players have made records and earned great wins, including that of the Blind Cricket Team and Pakistan’s Women Cricket Team.
70% of the world’s footballs are made in the city of Sialkot. In the 1980s, Sialkot gained international recognition when it produced the Tango ball used in the 1982 FIFA World Cup and now, with the Brazuca of FIFA 2014.
Pakistan International Airlines was the first airline in the world to operate scheduled helicopter services. One of PIA’s Boeing 720s broke a world record that year, when it flew from London to Karachi non-stop in 6 hours and 43 minutes and 51 seconds during its delivery flight from Seattle, a record unbroken to this day. Also in 1978 the airline provided help to Somali Airlines, Air Malta and Yemen.
Pakistan boasts of internationally acclaimed musician, late legend and maestro, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who is said to be one of the most celebrated artists to have ever been born. Many famous artists like Peter Gabriel, A. R Rahman and the late Jeff Buckley admired and were influenced by him. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan made it to TIME magazine’s list of ‘Asian Hereos’ in 2006.
A renowned painter and master of the Chughtai Art, who was admired by the likes of Picasso and Queen Elizabeth II, the late Abdur Rehman Chughtai’s works are at the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Peace Palace Hague, United Nations Headquarters, New York, Kennedy Memorial Boston, US State Department Washington DC, President’s House Bonn, Nizam of Hyderabad’s Palace, Queen Julianna’s Palace in the Netherlands, Emperor’s Palace Bangkok.
Pakistan’s Ismail Gulgee was also globally known for his outstanding work as an artist.
Abdul Sattar Edhi, the illustrious philanthropist and a truly inspiring ‘living saint’ runs the the world’s largest ambulance help service and charity.
Coming to the sphere of science, Pakistan has the distinction of being the homeland of Nobel Laureate Dr. Abdus Salam who, although tragically shunned by the state, was a man beyond brilliance. He helped lay the groundwork for the discovery of Higgs Boson.
Rahman Anwar Syed, on whom the Malaysian exalted title of Datuk was bestowed for his contribution to the social and economic well-being of Malaysia is best known for his discovery of the biological method of oil palm pollination.
To name one, in the literary domain Pakistan’s Bapsi Sidhwa is admired by many. Pakistan’s writers and novelists are also winning acclaim and the country’s literature festivals continue to attract thousands each year.
The prestigious Harvard Medal of Freedom award has only been given to a total of three people, including Nelson Mandela and Pakistan’s former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Ali Moeen Nawazish is a record-holder for 22 A’s in A-levels. 17-year old Ibrahim Shahid set the record recently by 23 A’s in O-levels.
The late prodigy Arfa Karim, was surpassed by compatriot Babar Iqbal, who at 12 of age, became the Youngest Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and she, at the age 9 had became the Youngest Microsoft Certified Professional.
He also set up three other world records Youngest Certified Wireless Network Administrator at the same age, Youngest Certified Web Professional Associate at age 10 years and in 2009, the feather of the Youngest Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist was added to his hat.
11-year-old Sitara Akbar, became the youngest student in the world to have passed the British Ordinary Level (O’Level) examination – passing six O’level subjects including Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
In addition to this, she also attained seven bands out of nine, in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) , scoring 7.5 in the testing system.
Nazir Sabir and Hassan Sadpara are two Pakistanis who achieved the feat of climbing Mount Everest.
Visual-effects specialist and artist Mir Zafar Ali was part of the team that won the Oscar award for best visual effects in 2007 for The Golden Compass; he has a plethora of hugely successful films to his credits, including Frozen which earned him his latest Academy Award. Other movies to his credit are: The Cabin in the Woods (2011), X-Men: First Class (2011), Hop (2011), Yogi Bear (2011), Aliens in the Attic (2009), Island of the Lost (2009), The Mummy (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), The Golden Compass (2007), Surf’s Up (2007), Spider-Man 3 (2007), Ghost Rider (2007), Open Season (2006), Monster House (2006), Stealth (2005), and The Day After Tomorrow (2004).
The second and more-famed Pakistani to win an Oscar was Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for her documentary ‘Saving Face’.
To mention a historic event in its history, the Muslim World’s first female Prime Minister, the late Benazir Bhutto was elected twice in Pakistan as was the Speaker of the Parliament Fahmida Mirza in 2008. Today, from ministers, political parties’ members, journalists, human rights activists, social entrepreneurs to teachers, singers, actresses to doctors, police officials to fighter pilots – Pakistani women are leaving no field behind in their participation.
Pakistan’s fascinating ‘lost children of Alexander’, the pagan Kalash tribe are relatively well-known but lesser known are the indigenous Africans of Pakistan called the ‘Sheedis’; both of which only add to the cultural vibrancy in the country.
With looming mountains and paradisaical scenery in the northern areas, green fields in Punjab, desert areas in Balochistan and meandering rivers in Sindh, all four seasons that are followed by different natural delicacies and festivities of the people, sumptuous food and scrumptious desserts [ Be it the spicy biryani of Sindh, the delectable ’siri paey’ of Punjab, savory Balochi ’sajji’ or the mouth-watering ‘namak mandi’ of the northern areas] while possessing a string of fascinating monuments, forts and remains of the different civilizations; Moenjodaro, Harrapa, Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Sheesh Mahal, Rawat Fort, Rohtas Fort, Derawar Fort etc – Pakistan is a land with its fair share of problems, but a vivacious historical and cultural landscape.
Above all and everything else, Pakistan is the country that has stood against all odds gallantly as their lives became dispersed into a cycle of terrorism that has, till now, consumed 50,000.
As the terrorists blew their mosques, schools, buildings, shrines, hospitals and the bodies and limbs of their loved ones were strewn on streets, and nature shook its geography loose by earthquakes and the most devastating floods in recent history – Pakistan held together, braved through all with resilience.
This single fact stands tall on its existence and is a feat itself.
Pakistan isn’t a land virtually barren of achievements; it is just, among all other descriptions and harsh facts, of mettle and and lioneheartedness an emobidement.
~ Hafsa Khawaja
* This is a site that was created solely for the purpose of cataloging and informing people of all the positive news related to Pakistan these days. The achievements and other seldom- good news.