Sameer Khosa The problem with Pakistan has to be in serious reckoning for being the phrase with the fastest increasing usage in the international media. There has been a slow-burning sense of foreboding for months now - like an extended lit fuse slowly being eaten away by a flame - inching slowly, but inevitably closer to the explosive attached at the end; a sense of siege; of being hounded; of being pushed into a corner. There has been a cacophony of voices, both learned and ignorant, both intimately familiar and inexcusably delusional, both sane and insane that have lent their authority to a chorus of opinion developing the world over about this crazy, unstable, vulnerable, nuclear armed epicentre of global jihadism that we call home: Pakistan. It is this sense of being bullied and maligned as well as a confluence of ignorant and malicious criticism with the justified that prompts this defence of my home today. It is not that we are unaware of our imperfections, our shortcomings or our contradictions. It is not that we are ignorant of a corrupt civilian government, or of the explosions that rip apart our families everyday and the threat they pose to us, or for that matter of unaccountable, ambitious institutions that can subvert the constitution and pursue their own agenda. What hurts, in fact, is that this is all our country is reduced to, that its imperfections are displayed and critiqued in isolation of that which is perfect within it. What hurts is that problems that are not at all peculiar to Pakistan are presented as being peculiar to it. But what scares us is that from the ashes of this ignorant understanding will emerge a policy that will be dangerous to all concerned in this region and beyond. The problem with Pakistan, said Mike Rogers, the Michigan Republican, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, is that they still differentiate between 'good terrorists and 'bad terrorists. This one has to be in contention for the most self-righteously hypocritical statement that has been offered in recent months. In fact, the US recently removed three high-ranking members of the Taliban movement from the UN list of terrorists, thereby freeing up their assets (in order to incentivise them to join talks). One has to wonder what Mr Rogers would make of that. Apparently, it is okay for the US to identify which sections of the enemy want to fight and which do not, but not okay for Pakistan to identify which sections of the enemy wants to kill Pakistanis and which do not. This is presented as being peculiar to Pakistan when it is anything but. If this makes us crazy, what does it make you? Pakistan is presented as duplicitous with a weak civilian government, as if only if the government could rein in the army all would be well. Yet, nobody will mention that our present Chief of Army Staff is only still in his position thanks to the graces of a visit by a certain Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is an open secret in Pakistan that the gentleman received his extension promptly following a visit by the US Secretary of State. Why did the US government interfere so deeply in the affairs of Pakistani State? Will anyone ask her that? You picked the man, but you blame us. Need we mention that the most corrupt in our country receive welcomes and asylum in your countries, their (our) wealth is stashed in your banks protected by your bank secrecy laws and their lives (after their brief stints at the helm) are spent in your countries. Your countries harbour and protect the individuals that drive us into this abyss and then your countries look at us aghast, as if we are responsible for their survival in our politics. It is, in fact, our people, who have rid ourselves of military rule and restored democracy twice in our country in its young history. While the democracy next door is deservedly praised, the restoration of a democracy in a country through indigenous popular movements is a testament to the spirit of these people. It might not have made the news as much, but we beat the Arab Spring. Yet, our people are merely crazy, weird jihadist types. There is a generosity in our people, a willingness to lose materially in order to fight for a principal. There is warmth and hospitality; there is happiness, despite poverty. You would only know this if you ever came here; if you viewed this country without the self-righteous ignorance that permeates through the op-ed pieces of the world. We have lost 10,000 of our children in this bloody war in the last decade. It is not acceptable to avenge 3,000 innocent lives by sacrificing three times that amount; they were people too and they were innocent too. This war stands to claim more and more of them. Our country is denied an effective say in how this war should be fought, despite the fact our people stand to pay the price of it. It is neither crazy, nor irrational to factor the risk to Pakistani civilians into the convenient demands of further military operations. For 10 years, Pakistanis have put their lives at risk to make the lives of other citizens of the world more secure. The real problem with Pakistan is one that nobody talks about and it is this: We are sick of burying our dead. The writer is a barrister-at-law based in Lahore. Email: sk3389@columbia.edu Twitter: @sameerkhosa