Posted on Jul 17, 2012 |

The views expressed by this author and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Project Unify Team.

We must start by asking you something.

How many countries have perennially snow-capped mountains, sprawling deserts, miles of green fields, un-spoilt beaches, historical buildings and jaw-dropping excavation sites and friendly people, not to speak of wide variety of mouth-watering cuisine?
Pakistan Map

Hey! My name is Asad and I have lived in Pakistan all my sixteen year old life. When someone spends that much time in a particular place then the amount of love for it is huge. I was born in Abbottabad (Yes, you must have heard the name on CNN). It’s a quiet little town in the northern region of my country. Ah, well not so quiet any more. It has been developing at a phenomenal rate. Huge shopping plazas and marts are rapidly replacing the green forests and fields. Do you believe that? You heard about it when Osama Bin Ladin was found and killed in the exact same city. You probably imagine Abbottabad as a desert, right? In fact unless you have done some research you think about Pakistan as a barren war land filled with long bearded people with AK47s. Well today my friend Jehanzeb and I are going to try to change that picture of our country that you have in your mind. Barren war land, you say? Get ready to be surprised! But before we get into that my friend Jehanzeb is going to tell you about the history of our country.

 

My name is Jehanzeb. My father is a bureaucrat. I am a Pakistani and to see my country in this state of despair pierces my heart like anything.
Indo-Pak border

Being born in 1995 in a small town named “Pind Dadan Khan” I have spent 15 years of my life so far in my home town and now from the last two years I have been living in a city called Attock, near the country’s capital. From when I was a child till now when I am nearly 17 I have been listening to the same old thing: “Pakistan is in a very critical stage” So let’s take an overview of Pakistan, from its both historical and cultural point of views.

It is a well-known fact that we have been living as a part of the British Empire for almost 200 years, now it’s been a long time!

Pakistan and India both have the same history and many other common things. We have lived together for 200 years, but no one can
Indo-Pak
really guess this from the present circumstances. Even though we have lived as one country, now we are far apart. The reason being that we have been forced to believe by our worthy leaders that Hindus will always remain our enemies and they too think the same about us. After the movement started by the founder of Pakistan ‘Muhammad Ali Jinnah’ in 1907 we ultimately were accepted as an independent state in 1947.But believe me that the road wasn’t easy, Muslims had to pass through several trials and tribulations.

 

I must also say that this was due to the differences between the Hindus and the Muslims. Religion was the main cause of separation. It was lava boiling inside the hearts of the Muslims and the Hindus and at last there was an outburst. It was quite imminent.

Apart from the martial laws and stuff, another important thing after the creation of Pakistan was the separation of Bangladesh in 1971. Again due to some misconceptions created, Pakistan had to lose a major chunk of its land.
East-Pakistan Then follow the different dictators and also some undeserving leaders, which led us into the dark valley of despair and that is where I was born and since then I have been facing the very things which have tortured every Pakistani, but still we are like the wounded soldiers of emotional suffering hoping for a bright future ahead. This is my fate. Despite these things I still love my country. I am not a pessimist as I may seem but the situation forces me to be one!

Then also there is nothing more sorrowful then to be called a terrorist of a third world nation which the westerns think we are and it is just a mere dreadful thinking. I have been living in
Pakistan and believe me there is no such thing!

Now that you know all that I’ll continue. Well I spent the first two years of my life in Abbottabad. It is and will always remain my hometown and I go there every summer. After Abbottabad my father, who’s a teacher, got a new job in a school called “Chand Bagh” near the city Lahore (Yes, we do have schools and teachers in Pakistan too). “Chand Bagh” was a huge school and my father was one of the people who laid its foundation. We moved to a very small town called Khewra after four years in Chand Bagh. This is where I have spent most of my life.

Before I start telling you about our diverse culture and all the beautiful places I have been to, I must tell you about myself. I am a guy from Pakistan and as I said I am sixteen years old. I am a Muslim (but not a terrorist or extremist). I go to school and study just like you, I play different sports just like you and I even spend too much time on Facebook just like you. I listen to music. I love classical rock, which means bands like Pink Floyd, Eagles, Guns N Roses, and Beatles etc. I would like to grow up to become a software engineer. I like sleeping late, drinking coke and texting. That makes me quite a normal teenager, right?

All that you know about our country is through sources like CNN, BBC, FOX News and of course the fools-paradise- Hollywood! Probably you have even taken part in military operations conducted in Pakistan in computer games like the SOCOM: US Navy Seals etc. You have formed opinions about us through just these sources. That’s not fair, is it? That’s why we are writing this article. So you can hear it direct from a Pakistani. Now it’s Jehanzeb’s turn to do the talking and he’s going to tell you about our people and some geological facts about our country.

My country is divided in to five states or provinces. Which are:
• Punjab
• Sindh
• Balochistan
• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as NWFP)
• Gilgit Bultistan

The largest state in terms of population is Punjab and the largest state in terms of land is Balochistan, which also astonishingly has the least population. There is a wide range of people with different traditions and customs spread throughout the country. These people collectively form our diverse culture.
The people of my country are really friendly and the bond of brotherhood and unity becomes even stronger when a calamity strikes. Like when a few years back there was a massive Earthquake which destroyed most of northern Pakistan, in that time of difficulty I was thrilled to see my fellow citizens totally devoted towards helping our brothers who suffered. Unlike the west people here have a “family system”. That means families are very close together.

Every province has got its own historical background and shows a rich flavor of their cultural values.
My country has mostly Muslims. That’s the reason it is officially the ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’.
Our Pakistan I must state here that generally even though there is a strong sense of friendship and brotherhood between people, sometimes hatred between the people of different provinces arises because of misconceptions and selfish attitude. This is the main problem which I feel is the major cause of the backwardness of our country. If only we can forget all the cultural differences and also the differences of language, I think we can build together a better future for ourselves. I must also say here that these things might have been said by many people and many organizations but the practical implementation is in some ways lacking. Here is the place where we can actually think of different aspects of our development and also the shortfall of our approach as a nation, not as person but as a country, in general. Only then we can succeed to have a peaceful and loving community. Your turn Asad.

So now that you know that about our people I just want to clear one point: All these people want to live a peaceful life and 99% don’t want to kill people. There are many misconceptions about our nation which we would like to clear. The world thinks Pakistan is a very backward sort of nation. When someone mentions Pakistan, immediately words like “terrorism” and “corruption” spring to mind. Pakistani_soldiers_armyThese have become our identity in front of the world. That’s not the case at all. In all my sixteen year old life I have never met anyone who wants to kill other people! Yes, living in Pakistan I have never met what the media calls a “terrorist”. These are just stereotypes which we need to forget if we want to look forward to a sustainable future and peaceful world. No country as a whole could possibly be a “terrorist country” in my opinion. Yes, I agree, we do have militant groups which are a threat to peace in our region. But that is one of our “problems” rather than our “identity”. We have many issues which we must overcome before we can start spending peaceful lives.

People think that Pakistan is an “Arab” country and situated in the Middle East. That’s not the case. As Jehanzeb told you we are               Beautiful Pakistan

located in the subcontinent with India. Pakistan is not at all a desert! I would go as far as saying that it is the closest you can get to heaven on Earth! Undoubtedly Pakistan is one of the most beautiful countries of the world. Astoundingly beautiful valleys, deep blue sea ports, snowcapped peaks, green forests and of course heavenly be

Lake Saif-al-malook

autiful lakes are all found in our country, the land of the pure. Unfortunately the once flourishing tourism industry has suffered badly during the past decade. The reason is of course the “terrorist” image of Pakistan in the global media. Ten years ago, on the Masehra road in Abbottabad, you would easily find a group of English bikers going to visit the “Saif-ul-Maluq” lake. Things have changed now. Very few foreigners, if any, come
for a visit. But the lucky ones who do come have tales to tell of a beautiful country when they go back. We have so many places you could visit and so many things you could do. I’ll give the stage to Jehanzeb once again who will tell you about all the amazing places you could visit if you actually plan to come here.

My country has a vast number of tourist attractions which contain the beautiful scenery’s of diversified nature and some ancient ruins.
The cities too have some kind of importance of their own. Here I am going to mention some places which you can visit and actually learn a lot from them.
This list cannot possibly contain all the places of tourist attractions but certainly a few of them.

Northern Pakistan

You must have heard the beauty which the north of Pakistan contains, pure, peaceful and a true picture of the beautiful Earth. The one name that comes to mind is “Kashmir”. Yes you got me right! That Kashmir on the beauty of which a famous rock band “Led zeppelin” has written a song. Not only this foreign rock band but also many other Beautiful Pakistanpoets and painters have visited the area and have seen one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I must also state here that most of the area is being damaged because of a “War” still going on between the two countries “India & Pakistan”.

Other than Kashmir there are the likes of Gilgit, Sakardu, Sawat, Naran, Kaghan, Kalaam, Chitral, Muree and many other beautiful places.

But my country is facing a lot of problems to keep these places safe for the visitors. Many army men have laid down their lives just for the sake of keeping law and order in these places. Many problems are solved but still some remain which hopefully will be solved soon.

Karachi

Karachi is the ex-capital of Pakistan and also its largest city. It is famous for its culture and there are people of many diverse races which live in harmony and peace. It contains a large sea port, which provides an important place of trade with other countries. Our great leader “Muhammad Ali Jinnah” has been buried in this city. There was a time in the 60’s when people used to say that “If Pakistan continues to prosper in the same manner as it is doing now than there will be three leading cities of the world which will be serving as role models ‘London, New York and Karachi’.
The city of lights

When I think of the statement now, my heart starts to weep. What has gone wrong with us? The same Karachi is now one of the most dangerous places in Pakistan!
But hopefully things will change for a better.

Lahore

Lahore is the city famous for its people and colors of life. It is one of my favorite cities. There was a time when the streets of Lahore were full of foreigners, gathered there for spending their holidays but times have long since changed. With all these problems of law and order, we can only hope for a better future.Beautiful Lahore

“Lahore Lahore hai” (Lahore is Lahore)

Islamabad

IslamabadThe capital city of Pakistan is Islamabad, It is considered as a business sector of the country, It is the most developed area of Pakistan. I think it is the only city which is planned. I may be wrong in this account but I think it is the only one which is planned.

 

Rawalpindi

Rawalpindi and Islamabad are two joined cities; there is no specific boundary between the two cities. It is also a business sector. It is also an industrial area and highly polluted area too, Because of all the industries.
Pharwala-Fort, Rawalpindi

 

Peshawar
This city is considered as one of the oldest cities in the world today, you might also have heard about it on some news channel. This Handicrafts of Pakistancity is famous for its unique culture and historic background. Most of its heritage is destroyed, But still I can guarantee you one thing that if you make a plan to visit this city you will not be disappointed at all. It still has got some really beautiful things, ranging from the legendary crafts work to the ancient architectures. I will not hide anything from you today, this city is affected by terrorism but not to an extent that one cannot enjoy the pure and the beautiful culture.

FATA& Waziristan

North-WaziristanThis is a small part of Pakistan in which war is going on between the Army of Pakistan and the rebels or one should say the different tribal organizations, which are destroying the law and order of the area. But hopefully our army will take control of the things shortly and then the people would be a lot happier. This is the part where you would actually see a lot of long bearded people and this is the part you see on TV.

 

Sialkot & Faisalabad

Sialkot and Faisalabad are regarded as the biggest industrial areas of Pakistan. Sialkot is famous for its manufacturing of sports and Sialkot - Clock Towersurgical equipment and Faisalabad is famous for its cloth manufacturing and is considered as the “Manchester of Pakistan”.

 

Khewra and P.D.Khan

Khewra and P.D.Khan are two small towns which are both pretty very much famous. Khewra is famous for its salt mine, Which is the second largest in the world, I have my high school in this town too. P.D.Khan has a college named as “Al-beruni Degree College”. It is thought that the circumference of Earth was being calculated by a famous Muslim scientist “Alberuni” in this town. That is why the college has been named after him. So this place has an historical background too.

Mohenjodaro & Harapa

Mohenjodaro and Harapa are places of historical importance. Mohenjodaro is situated in Sindh and Harapa in Punjab. These are theThe ruins of Harapa ruins of ancient cities which have long since vanished. It is a place of attraction for tourists and historians.

And others:

Yes one more thing you people have a right to know that “8 out of 10 highest peaks” in the world are in Pakistan!

The second highest peak in the world K-2I have mentioned many places above but many have been left, but one must agree that it is not possible to write about all the places having different importance. So I could only select a few. I assure you that my country can offer you a lot of places to visit and you will surely not be disappointed if you make a plan to spend your holidays here.

So this was my Pakistan from my point of view. I don’t know what you think, but certainly it is not an all-out terrorist stricken area. There are places, yes, but just a small little part of Pakistan. That’s it from my side. It’s Asad’s turn now to tell you how we are not what you think we are! Keep reading.

People think that Pakistan is a very backward country where everyone lives in poor conditions and slums. Well sorry to disappoint you but we live in a very different environment. And we actually contribute to the world in many forms. Pakistan has the world’s fastest growing telecom industry. You’ll be surprised to know that Pakistan contributes a lot in the world of science and technology. These are just some of the achievements Pakistanis have made in the world of tech:

  1. Pakistan is the most connected country in South Asia, with the highest teledensity.
  2. Pakistan’s communications costs are lower than any other country in the region.
  3. Pakistan has the world’s largest Biometric database (NADRA); this system (not the data) is now being provided to allied countries.
  4. Pakistan has the world’s largest WiMAX network.
  5. Pakistan has one of the world’s most aggressive Fibre-to-the- Home (FTTH) rollouts.
  6. Pakistan has one of the highest rates of cellular connectivity growth in the world (According to PTA 2007’s report the rate of growth in Pakistan’s mobile sector is fourth highest in the world).
  7. Pakistan was the winner of the 2007 GSM industry association award
  8. The US is importing UAVs designed and built in Pakistan to protect America’s borders.
  9. With WLL (CDMA), WiMAX, GSM and FTTH, Pakistan is pretty much leading the pack in terms of diversity and breadth of connectivity.
  10. According to Gartner, Pakistan is a “first category” offshoring location; this ranking has grown by leaps and bounds.
  11. Pakistani companies won several awards at Asia’s APICTA startup/innovation conference and were considered the most “interesting” and cutting edge in Asia.
  12. The world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional is a Pakistani and so is the world’s youngest Cisco CCNA professional.
  13. Pakistani students excelled in MIT’s global software talent competition.
  14. Citations of Pakistani scientific publications are rising sharply.
  15. Over two dozen Pakistani scientists are working on the Large Hadron Collider; the grandest experiment in the history of Physics.

What do you think now? I am sure you are changing your mind about us. Well it’s not just the IT industry we are proud of. Pakistan has produced some legendary sportsmen over the years. Do you know that Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan are considered squash legends? Pakistani players have won the Squash World Open 17 times, and British Open 12 times, the highest by any nation. Wow! We have produced legendary cricketers like Imran Khan,Wasim Akram, Shahid Afridi, Shoiab Akhtar and many more!
Pakistani Cricket teamPakistan has the world’s highest polo ground and we have shown the world our talents in sports like hockey, cricket, yachting and sailing, kayaking, gulli danda, weightlifting, volleyball, tennis, table tennis, taekwondo, swimming, climbing, skiing, shooting, caving, mountaineering, motor sports, martial arts, kurash, ice hockey, karate, handball, chess, boxing, snooker, badminton, polo, squash and on and on and on.
Pakistan Hockey Team

Ever heard of The “Great” Gama? He is the only wrestler in history who has remained undefeated his entire life! And he’s from Pakistan!

I can give you so many achievements from so many fields but we don’t have that much time. I would like to tell you one really cool fact which would probably surprise you: the national language of our country is Urdu but our “official” language is English! So don’t be surprised when you see a Pakistani speaking in English. People think everyone in Pakistan rides bull carts and donkeys. We have BMWs, Mercedes, Toyotas and Hondas just like other more developed countries. In fact our family has a Honda Civic! And no we are not even from the elite class. As I said my father’s a teacher.

People also think that women in our part of the world are treated very badly. They are “forced” to wear burkas and head scarfs. No, the majority of Pakistani women does not wear burkas or head scarfs. Those who do are not “forced” to do it. They wear them only because of personal choice. Overall we have a very liberal society and women are actually taking part in all the advancements. We have women as ministers and CEOs. We have even had a women prime minister.

It’s very sad that there is a general hatred in the public for America, India and Israel. All of this is because of the misconceptions spread by the biased media. The purpose of this website is to remove these misconceptions and make the world a better place to live. I hope people from other countries will be inspired to write about their countries too so we can know how great they are! I hope we managed to paint a better picture of our country in your mind. Peace!

This article is written by Asad Jamal & Jehanzeb Mirza who are also founders of PU. Read more about them and other Ambassadors here

Peace

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