Tallat Azim Dearest Allah, The All merciful, the All compassionate, The idea of writing a letter to You has stayed with me ever since I once heard the late Ashfaq Ahmed say that this is one of the most direct methods of Dua; and that instead of grovelling before our human superiors, we should ask for what we want from the biggest superpower Himself. Mushahid Hussain's opinion, that he expressed a long time ago in an article, in which he said that Pakistan is run by the three A's - namely Army, America and Allah, also remains deeply embedded in my subconscious. Out of a choice of writing open letters to General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, President Barack Obama or You, I decided I had the best chance of being heard by You because, and I quote from Your Book: "I comply with the call of the caller when he calls me." And also, and again I quote from the Holy Book: "He loves his creation 70 times more than a mother loves her child." You have taught us that we can change our fate with the power of prayer. As a country we are in such a bind. Depression surrounds us as we fight an enemy that we cannot even see. We fight an enemy that has unclear reasons for doing what they are doing. We are stuck with a leadership who, for the foreseeable future and even if it changes face, will always put themselves first. Their own security, their perks and privileges, their wealth and acquisitions. They constitute a club which we, the ordinary citizens, cannot break. They will change their positioning with whatever is suiting them to perpetuate their hold on power. Like an insider revealed to me about the recent elections in Gilgit-Baltistan. Every one heard the politicians from different parties make the most damaging allegations against one another during the election campaign. However, in the evenings and because most of them were staying at the lone good hotel in Gilgit, all the leading politicians from different parties enjoyed complete camaraderie in the hail-fellow well-met spirit Rid us of hypocrisy dear Lord and grant us courage to mean what we say. Grant this country leaders who are visionary and progressive and in step with the rest of the world. Leaders who don't want to please both sides of the divide and to whom it is important that they leave a good name in history, instead of ill-gotten wealth for their coming generations. Ever since You gave us a beautiful, independent country 62 years ago, this is probably the most desolate winter. The people have no respite from struggling to keep their bodies and souls together. Poverty is rampant and so is hopelessness. Nothing seems to divert attention from the insecurity and uncertainty of our existence. Dear God, even if it is not possible to go back to starting point again, give us the collective wisdom and strength to overcome our problems. Give us another Muhammad Ali Jinnah, someone with the same undaunted iron will and the same incorruptible principles. It feels dreadful when we read of our place among the corrupt nations of the world and see the bulky Cabinet which needs a sound system installed for one end to be audible to the other. From among those we have elected, give us a lean, dedicated bunch of ministers who don't care so much for their perks as they do for doing the right thing. Give them the will to guard and protect their areas of responsibilities. Give us a judiciary that is beyond reproach. Give us a media that is an unbiased watchdog and, most of all, give us a civilian and military bureaucracy that does not overstep the boundaries drawn up for it. We are approaching Eid-ul-Adha, or the Festival of Sacrifice, celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to You. The flower of our youth is sacrificing their lives on the battlefield every day. Our cities and innocent people are targets of terrorism so frequently and our hospitals full of the wounded. Yet, we remain steadfast because we believe. In the space of just 29 months, we have seen 2,540 innocent people die. Dear God, please arrest this mayhem. Restore calm, peace and prosperity to this land. Give us the confidence that when we step out for our every daily chores, we will return unharmed to our homes. Give us back the promise that was Pakistan. Amen. Postscript: Two good things happened in the last week. Eve Ensler, the Obie (a theatrical award) award-winner and a prominent anti-women violence activist was here. She came on the invitation of Nighat Rizvi who organised a reading of A memory, a monologue, a rant and a prayer put together by Eve Ensler who was also the star of the evening herself. She has devoted her life to stopping violence and envisioning a planet in which women and girls are free to thrive rather than merely survive. About a dozen volunteers read moving pieces which were heard with rapt attention by the full-house audience at the Pakistan National Gallery. It was an unusual evening and left people wanting many more of such events. Eve's piece, Fur is Back, was extremely witty, proving yet again that the most sensitive issues do not lose their importance or poignancy despite being wrapped in humour. The second was the chief ministers of all the provinces meeting in Karachi. It was nice to see them pay collective homage at Quaid-i-Azam's mausoleum. I wonder what thoughts crossed their minds when they were writing their impressions in the visitor's book. The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: tallatazim@yahoo.com