With no other job options left in the country’s crumbling economy, a left-leaning development professional has decided to save Pakistan. The passionate activist spoke to this scribe as part of an awareness campaign against disease, poverty, and aggressive behaviour exhibited by traffic police.
This scribe: The number of Pakistani people living below the poverty line is at its highest in decades. What do you think is the reason?

Development professional: We’re a nation that can’t even stop people from crossing the Durand Line to Kashmir. How can we stop people from living below the poverty line? Certainly not by putting more pressure on them to change their condition overnight. They are already under a lot of social pressure because they do not have any money. In order to relieve that pressure, we recently held a summer camp in which we gave Yoga and cooking classes to homeless children who cannot afford to live with their parents. At the end of the camp, we supervised an art project in which poor children made greeting cards for rich children. Such activities help bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. We had to make the children aware of how miserable their conditions were, because if you look at it, it is not so much a problem of poverty, it is a problem of awareness.

This Scribe: It is a problem of poverty.
Development professional: More than poverty, it is the fact that you cannot buy anything if you don’t have money. That is why we see so many people begging on the traffic signals. Do you know how much money it costs in change to drive up and down the main boulevard in Gulberg Lahore? You don’t. Because there is no data. We need data.
This Scribe: Data from Star Trek? Do you think food synthesizers will help?
Development professional: We don’t need robots. Look at our population. We have human food synthesizers in every home, and they are even biodegradable. When you go home, Google ‘sustainability’. We need to eat as much as we grow. If we lay all the grains that we produce on the main boulevard in Gulberg Lahore, you can go to Hafeez Center and back 4 million times.
This Scribe: So what is the solution?
Development professional: Seriously? Set up a Google alert on genetically modified food. It tastes like regular food but without oil and spices. Chicken for example. Have you seen how chickens are brought up? No other species fries and eats other animals and their eggs. And in Pakistan, humans are killing humans.
This Scribe: You mean terrorism?
Development professional: That’s just a label. We are a peaceful nation. We have to see the root cause of terrorism. This is what Karl Marx had warned against. If you give it a thought, terrorism is not such a bad thing if it did not involve killing people. And the West is not in any position to give us moral lessons. They must fund indigenous awareness campaigns. Ultimately, people will come out and there will be a revolution.
This Scribe: But a lot of people get killed in Marxist revolutions
Development professional: You have to look at it in a broader context. Those people are not expendable. They die for a cause, and we must avenge their death. If we look at the positive aspect of it all, it helps awareness. In our next project, we will celebrate a peace campaign in which young Taliban fighters captured by the army will draw paintings, which will be sold in an exhibition in New York. The money will be used to buy greeting cards for the people who lost their loved ones due to terrorism. After all, we’re all Muslims.
This Scribe: As a matter of fact we’re not all Muslims. What about Pakistanis who belong to other faiths?
Development professional: We need minorities to become a majority. We were always a peaceful society, if you exclude the million odd people killed here and there during partition. A recent project we have started is to collect stories of the people who lost their loved ones on either side, and then send each other greeting cards. Only art can bridge the gap between people. That is why we need more women to work in the development sector.
This Scribe: Oh so women make better artists and men make better warriors?
Development professional: Have you ever heard of gender equalitarianism? Tell Siri to send you a reminder when its 2015 in your world. Even if women are only as good as men in arts, then how do you explain that their paintings sell for 70 percent the price of paintings made by men?
This Scribe: I’m afraid I don’t have an answer
Development professional: I bet you don’t. There is only one answer. Hilary Clinton.