Women’s Day has come and gone, honoring a gender without which, the world as we know it would have been incomplete. While the females of the human species are honored and given equal opportunities in all walks of life all over the world, there is a vast majority of my country men, to whom the opposite sex is simply a machine for begetting male heirs.

I make frequent trips into rural Pakistan and am galled to see a wife, daughter, sister or even a mother walking deferentially a few paces behind the male head of the family. Harassment, from mere looks to perverse attempts at establishing a relationship, continue to occur in male dominated work places - albeit on a declining scale.

To me women such as Pakistan’s first female Prime Minister, first Federal Secretary, First Airline Pilot, First Fighter Pilot or Aviation Engineer, First Nobel Prize Winner and so on, are individuals who should be raised to the status of national heroes and remembered as such for all times to come.

And now to things political. The most rotten segment of our society – politicians, can’t get through a simple exercise such as the Senate Elections, without showcasing their corrupt nature to a world that mocks us. The ‘buying and selling’ of parliamentarians in the recently concluded Upper House balloting has created a stink that can be discerned as far away as the United States. I have been deluged with mails from friends and relatives in that far away land, urging me to write as much as I can on the ‘sightless obstinacy’ of the Pakistani nation to continue supporting the current political players. I am an outspoken critic of the PTI leadership, but I must admit that positive changes in governance are now becoming visible in the province. I am not saying this based on hearsay, but through personal observation. I found that while negative criticism continues to snap at their heels, the Provincial Government has instituted many bold and critical reforms. The two most critical changes visible to any visitor that visits KPK is the reformation of the ‘Patwari’ and the Police. While more needs to be done as far as the former is concerned, the common man can now obtain efficient police services in an effective manner. The taming of the two most corrupt departments is not so much due to an honest hierarchy, but to an intelligent decision involving induction of technology – for machines are incorruptible, more efficient and fast.

The education system in the ‘Land of the Pure’ is as rotten as can be imagined. The other day some friends and I were reminiscing about the early nineteen fifties. As is wont to happen, our discussion meandered to our school teachers and their unflinching dedication to education. We were unanimous in acknowledging that the center point of this attitude was the abhorrence of tuition, as each one of them considered the practice an indication of their own failure. I remember my boyhood mathematics classes conducted by a gentleman called Mr. P Sohotra and in later years by Mrs. Azhar (mother of the celebrated Aslam Azhar). While algebra by the late P. Sohotra is still part of many syllabi, Mrs. Azhar was noted for her individual attention to errant students like me. With our Senior Cambridge exams looming on the horizon, she ordered me to be at her home in Gulberg in the evenings and spent hours making me understand the intricacies of algebra – free of charge. In stark contrast, the pedantic community of today have developed private tuition as a money making industry. In this, these individuals are supported by school owners, who have no idea what is happening in their institutions as long as money continues rolling in.

I went through a recent HR recruitment exercise for my work place and was disappointed to see the standard of applicants hailing from non-elite schools. My reaction stemmed from the fact that these young men and women would be unable to secure jobs, when in competition with a batch from LUMS or centers of the same equivalence. Questions about the future of this youth troubled me to no end because unemployment always breeds social ills – something we can’t afford.