If there is one thing that holds true is that Pakistanis never experience a dull moment. The year 2015 had its fair share of highs and lows, and we bid farewell to this eventful year with a sigh of relief. The country and its people stayed true to form and displayed optimism and patience in times of hardships and resilience in the face of adversity.

Nature played havoc on Pakistan, killing 2000 people in heat waves in Karachi, and leaving anther 300 dead and 2,000 injured in an earthquake that hit northern Pakistan. These events reminded us once again that despite the 2005 Kashmir earthquake that killed over 80,000 people, and severe floods that have affected the country in the past years, we have not learnt to be any more prepared for natural disasters than before. When nature gave respite the country was gripped in horror of the child abuse scandal of Kasur, whose victims await justice still. We failed to protect our children and this incident brought shame on the entire country. Another mammoth scam that delivered a body blow to Pakistan’s already-beleaguered global image, was the Axact Scandal which targeted vulnerable customers across the world, featured at least 370 websites of bogus educational institutions, and netted tens of millions of dollars in annual revenues.

Yet, there are things to be proud of. The security situation improved in the country and we have much to thank the brave soldiers of the Armed Forces for. Cricket came back to Pakistan after six years, with Zimbabwe showing initiative and playing series of T20 and ODIs despite security warnings. The Pakistan Day Parade came back after seven years of security threats, and the military prowess displayed left Pakistanis in awe. Political and military leaders came together to celebrate better times. It was also a year of shifting diplomatic relations with both long-term allies and foes. For the first time in Saudi-Pak relations, Pakistan opted to stay out of the Saudi-Yemen conflict and stay committed to protecting its sovereignty and affairs at home.

On the other hand a tumultuous year with neighbours India and Afghanistan has come to a close, with both sides agreeing to dialogue for long lasting peace in the region. Another big win was witnessed for democracy after the successful completion of local government polls across Pakistan with citizens coming out in huge numbers to display unprecedented political participation. The nation seems to be on the path to progress and, for better or worse, we are hopeful that the coming year will be kinder to Pakistan than the one we bid adieu to.