Image courtesy Comics By Arsalan 

Why do you always write negative things about Pakistan?

You make Pakistan look bad in front of everyone, especially our neighbors.

Why don’t you talk about Palestine?

Why can’t you just write about the good things in Pakistan?

You really hate Pakistan, don’t you?

These are some of the questions that people routinely throw at me when they read what I write. To answer a few – no. If I write about what is happening in Pakistan, it does not mean I hate Pakistan, it means I am highlighting a problem - Or rather problems as we do have quite a few of them.

Corruption? Aye.

Poor treatment of women? Aye.

Sectarian violence? Aye.

Terrorism? Aye.

Education problem? Aye.

Biased courts and judges? Aye.

No justice for the poor? Aye.

Slavery? Aye.

Child Labor? Aye.

You get the idea. Now, if some choose to sit on their comfortable plush sofas in a nicely chilled room with a little throw around their shoulders, sipping a hot cup of tea; closing their eyes to what is outside of their four walls, sure, I understand. These things are not their concern. But the life they are living is not that of the regular Pakistani. That is not the real Pakistan. The average Pakistani has no access to continuous electricity, clean water, or even basic rights. Some are lucky to just come back home alive at night. Sweeping the problems under one’s Persian carpet will not make them go away.

Charles Bukowski had it right when he said, “I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.” 

“By writing, you make Pakistan look bad in front of its neighbor.” Sure, because it is I who is stealing the country’s money, I who is killing people I don’t like or disagree with, I who is the corrupt face that represents Pakistan in the world, I who throws acid on women, I who marries little kids, I who burns innocent people on the streets, I who hails murderers as heroes – Yes, it is just I, in a population of over 180 million, who makes Pakistan look bad in front of our neighbors, because I write about them.

“Why do you write about Ahmadis? Are you an Ahmadi?” Does one have to be an Ahmadi to write about how they poorly they are treated? Does one have to be a Shia to speak up against their prosecution? Or a Hindu, or Christian for that matter? The very reason that atrocities keep happening in our beloved country is because the majority of us keeps quiet and thinks it is not our concern. It is all just news to us. Something we read about in the papers, something that is happening to someone else. We have become so callous as a nation, that unless a considerable number of people die, we don’t blink or even think it news worth considering.

“Oh, only 6 people dead?” Shukar!

“Why don’t you write about Palestine? Why didn’t you change your profile picture on Facebook to that of Gaza?” I could ask why didn’t they change their picture to that of Thar or of Baluchistan. We are in Pakistan and are Pakistanis, aren’t we? Shouldn’t our concern be first our own land rather than another country? To put it honestly, I think most of the people in Pakistan don’t love Palestinians as much as they hate the Jews. It’s the hate that revs up so much passion when it comes to Palestine, not the love. So much so, our very own, who die every day are forgotten.

Today would be a good example to explain that. Terrorists attacked a school in Peshawar killing over 100 children. This was nothing less than a savage act that ended with the slaughter of the innocent. And yet, it is a shocking and equally devastating reality to see people still talking about Gaza and justifying the terrorism that took place today.

‘It is because of drones. It is because of the policies. It is because of America. It is a reaction.‘

No! They are terrorists, this is what they do. They kill and murder. Everyone is fair game.  It is high time that we Pakistanis took our head out of the sand and accepted the reality around us.

When one acknowledges a problem exists, only then a solution can be found.

To end this rant, I’d like to quote someone hated far more than even murderers in our country, "When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful." – Malala Yusufzai.

Shamila Ghyas is a fantasy fiction author, blogger, freelance writer, satirist, chocoholic and geek. Find her rants on Twitter and Facebook