Dear Pakistan,

Hi. You are all probably familiar with me. I am pretty famous. These days you see me everywhere. In the smallest of incidents to the largest of calamities, you’ll find me somewhere for sure. But I won’t tell you who I am yet. Let’s keep things a bit mysterious for now.

I decided to write this letter to get my presence officially noticed by you. You might have some mixed feelings about me taking over a majority of your aspects. Trust me, if I could’ve stop myself, I would’ve. By now you might be wondering who I am. Let me give some clues and see if you can figure my identity out.

You can find me on the streets after a brainwashed radical takes innocent lives so that he’d get his seventy virgins in heaven. I was there when the classrooms were littered with slaughtered bodies of innocent dreams. I was there when the believers who bowed before God never rose up again. You can find me in hospital rooms where dirty, smelly people lie on the floors groaning in agony to deaf ears. You can search for me in schools as well, but usually in those alleys where the teacher can’t see and a child curls up to shield his frail body from the blows. I am a common sight in those slums ‘good’ people don’t visit because the streets are boorish and the inhabitants boor.

When the owner raises his whip and pockets the money the child has roamed the streets for, I am often found. I used to be the harbinger of joy but now when I find myself with a sobbing bride, I feel myself to be a symbol of oppression. I am often a part of the taboos a woman carries on her shoulders. I am ashamed to play a part in being the measure of her purity and the reason of her being untouchable every month. The dot on the forehead of the Hindu woman, whose faith was scoffed at by some of your ‘pious’ children, is one of my residence.  I found myself on the face of the transgender who fought to make me a part of his identity, but was mocked, harassed and abused to do so. You can find me in the punishments the child fears he will get if he opened his mouth.

You can find me on the noose with which a ‘blasphemous’ rascal hangs. Much to my own disbelief you can find me in warm and pretty houses when a woman bites her sobs and the husband preys on her beauty without her choice. In those bus stations at night where an innocent boy loses his light, often I am found there as well. You can find me on the other end of the pistol an angry father has aimed at his daughter. I am a common visitor in plights of those who open their mouths to speak for their rights as well. Perhaps I only showed you the grim side of where I am found. Perhaps I am biased and no longer sound. But dear Pakistan I wish I was on those sheets on her wedding night so she had lived and smiled. I wish I was the joyous tint on the cheeks of parents when their children understood their plight.

I wish I was with the roses showered on honest leaders for their hard work of days and nights. I wish you found me with the books little children held not the knives. By now you might have guessed who I am. I, my dear Pakistan, am your people’s new favourite color. I am the new identity of the land of the pure. I am the color you find on the sign saying “high voltage” outside a politician’s house. My name is Red.

From heralding love in a rose to being the blood stains on the child beaten by his teacher for asking a question, I’m not proud of my journey nor should you. It’s your 70th birthday and you must be quite proud. You survived this long despite the onslaught by enemies who sought your end. I am proud of you for that as well so you will find me in the flowers on your father’s grave. You are as old as a wise elderly man now. Call me suicidal but this letter is a plea for you to find me and do me right. I no longer wish to be the adornment of your children’s graves. It might take you another seventy years to rein me in, but it is an urgent matter you must attend to. Find me in the smaller agony, cure me and then find me in a larger one. I hope one day we meet only in jubilant circumstances.

Just another color of the rainbow,

Red