With the New Year’s arrival, I have seen around me yet again a round of resolutions- promises that are made each year to be broken. I see people vowing to eat clean and quit smoking. I see people promising to call up their friends more often. I see people promising to travel the world. I see people hoping 2017 will be better than 2016, failing to understand that time is what man makes it. While we all wish for new things for ourselves, we seldom wish for new things for our country. While criticism is good since it challenges existing systems, sometimes one needs to sit back and wish for the best.

May 2017 be the year when Pakistan becomes tolerant- when differences in ideology fail to divide the people of my country any further. My deepest wish is for my countrymen to learn that the most common factor present within each individual is the fact that each individual is different. May we stop spilling blood over religion, politics and wealth and be united as one nation. I wish for the new year to be the year in which we love God with such intensity that we see a reflection of him in every creation of his; may we finally stop killing in his name.

May 2017 be the year when the liberal people in my country truly become liberal and not just carry around the label to attain an elevated status within society. May they stop discriminating amongst individuals on the basis of wealth and social status. Can we make this year the year when we stop considering a girl covered in a burqa as someone inferior? Can we stop discriminating amongst individuals on the basis of how fluently they speak in English? May we actually be liberal enough to accept the differences in other people’s lifestyles and may we stop imposing our own standards on everyone else.

May 2017 be the year when the conservative individuals start accepting change. May this be the year that no girl is forced to cover her hair and when no girl is married without her consent. I wish with all my heart for this year to be the year when education is prioritized over marriages. May this be the year when no girl has to drop out of school only to be forced to start a family.

May 2017 be the year when a Shia boy can marry a Sunni girl without any difficulty. May this year be a year when people from different social classes accept and celebrate the differences between them instead of maintaining the existing divides. May we learn to accept that love knows no boundaries; may this be the year when nothing stands in the way of love. May 2017 be a year when all taboos revolving around love actually diminish. May the term ‘love marriage’ finally get the respect it deserves. May this year be the year when we open our minds and our hearts and learn the true essence of the words ‘live and let live’.

May 2017 be the year we stop running greedily after money. May this be the year when parents come home and spend time with their children. May we understand that the best things our children can get from us cannot be bought, that our children need us more than they need the latest iPads and Play Stations. May we finally understand that wearing designer clothes won’t make us happy if we don’t have time for meaningful relationships, that luxurious cars won’t mean anything if they’re only used for our daily commute and that bank balances aren’t worth anything if we have no time to spend all that money. May this year be a year when we embrace a slow paced life so that we enjoy the things that we’ve missed for so long.

While everything I have said so far sounds utopian, may this year be the year when nothing stops us from dreaming, even if we dream of the unthinkable. May the hope stay alive that better days will come and that all our dreams for our country will eventually come true.