Faisal Qureshi What may sound like a rhetorical question, is actually a statement made every time the United States of America turns up the heat against Pakistan. American politicians start with, we should cut Pakistans aid, which is followed by .do you really think we can afford to live without America? by their Pakistani counterparts. The truth is that not even a fraction of this aid has benefited the average Pakistani, and yet every one of us, even the unborn, are under a debt that is impossible to pay. We need to start by looking at what we actually get from being with America. We sacrifice thousands of civilians and soldiers fighting a war we didnt start. We are juggled between incompetent and corrupt regimes, which are provided support by America, as experiments in governance. Our growth opportunities are restricted and our reputation hostage to careless statements by insignificant politicians and journalists in the West. No matter how hard Pakistans armed forces fight the war on terror, their efforts are disregarded and all we hear is do more or face the consequences. Being an ally of America only ensures an economy in nosedive, with no visible possibility of recovery. We are ruled by dictatorial democracies, or democratic dictators, who keep breaking their own records of corruption. This alliance has engaged the whole nation in an unwinnable war. Yet, Pakistan is being forced to wage war on a people who are not our enemies, and could even be of benefit to us as an ally. At the same time, America herself is opening doors for talks with the very same people, i.e. the Haqqanis. Today we are governed, or misgoverned, by an assembly of so-called peoples representatives with fake degrees and charges of atrocious corruption, pretending to understand complex documents like the Kerry-Lugar Bill. An assembly of gutless politicians who take hours to pass multiple resolutions against drone attacks on our soil, but dont have an iota of courage or any intention to actually do something about it. We have leaders who have amassed unimaginable wealth illegally, and placed most of it abroad. Their children go to school there; their businesses and properties are in the swankiest areas of Manhattan and London. They buy mansions in Spain and palaces in Surrey. They live on properties spread over thousands of acres and speak of the poor mans plight. Pakistanis have been pushed into a state of turmoil, divided into factions, and drowned in hopelessness. An environment which keeps pushing our best brains out of the country; leaving behind a population that is dependent not only on its failed leaders, but also their foreign masters who help engineer their entry and exit from power. In addition, this exodus provides a highly capable, yet cheap workforce to countries like America, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. Eventually our own brains, our assets, are used against us in more ways than one. Truly Machiavellian. Pakistan was a nation poised for greatness. An agricultural country capable of not just feeding itself, but a few others as well. A country with great natural resources. Pakistans sportsmen dazzled the world of Cricket, Hockey, and Squash for decades, and are capable of much more. This soil has produced philosophers, scholars, artists, poets, painters, physicians, and even nuclear scientists. A people with more than average intelligence by any standard. Even today, the worlds record setting students are Pakistanis. Pakistan is the only country whose armed forces defend their land and people for a belief, a faith, and a purpose. If Pakistans American-influenced governments had not made blatantly bad choices, we could have been seeing China and India face to face in matters of economy and international importance. We could have been standing shoulder to shoulder with the worlds most productive nations. It is still possible. Pakistan had and has the potential to be a buoyant nation with no lack of opportunity, resource, or manpower. Good or bad, Pakistans majority population is young and vibrant; an asset that could very easily be turned into a great force for development. If we could only remove the hurdles of incompetence and corruption from our systems, this young force could be launched in the direction of unmatched growth. Pakistanis can prosper only if they break away from being allies of America. Pakistani youth will be educated and employed if and only if their fate is not in the hands of leaders whose children go to school in Oxford, and have businesses worth billions all over the world. Pakistans foreign policy will be in Pakistans interest, and not that of a Foreign Minister who carries a handbag worth tens of thousands of dollars to meetings. Pakistans security and defence will be ensured only if her ambassador to the United States of America doesnt issue hundreds of visas to paid mercenaries in one night, after office hours. If anything, American warmongers would be left without a supply route to their forces in Afghanistan and without the 180 million Pakistanis fighting and paying the price for the war on a terror America began, but has not itself paid as dearly for. So, can Pakistan survive without America? I would conclude that Pakistan can survive ONLY without America. I wish I could say the same about Pakistans self-proclaimed saviours and leaders. The writer is a well-known TV anchor. He can be contacted via email (fq@faisalqureshi.com), through Twitter (@FaisalQureshi) and Facebook (http://facebook.com/Qureshi.Faisal)