We, the post-Pakistan generation, who have lived through the '65 and '71wars, lived through the degeneration of all our values and who have been unhealthily fed on a steady diet of clichs, need a serious review of how the country has been led and managed so far. There can be no way forward without an intelligent analysis and a determined effort to learn from our failures. Clich #1: We need to spend a lot on our defence because we have an enemy next door. That one was exploded good and proper by Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan during his speech at Imran Khans book launch in Islamabad. The Air Marshal, with his scrupulous reputation for honesty and truthfulness, disclosed that in the last 60 years India has never attacked Pakistan as it cant afford it. It has been made into our problem and we have been led to believe that India will invade us one day. Hence, all the spending on defence budget with just 1 percent for education. The defence budget, in turn, has spawned a huge military, who have made developing housing societies and many other businesses into an art-form because they need to sustain themselves comfortably, which is quite apart from their official work that they undisputedly do well too. Clich #2: We are the undisputed leaders of the Muslim Ummah because we have the bomb. The truth is that we may well have nuclear capabilities, but, in actual fact, do we practise even one habit that is supposed to be part and parcel of the definition of a momin? While on a visit to Scandinavian countries this summer and observing the genuine care for all citizens by their governments, the general standards of law abidingness in society and so on, I was convinced in my mind that had our Prophet (peace be upon him) descended in todays world, he would have owned the Scandinavians as his Ummah far more readily than he would own us because as a society we have not heeded a single direction that he gave as a personal role model. Clich #3: We are invincible. For this, we have brought up several generations on the tarana syndrome like chou lain gai aasman. We continue to churn out these taranas every August 14 and March 23, despite the break-away of East Pakistan. These national songs also feed into the ego of the fighting forces, but, unfortunately, take the country and the common man nowhere at all - and definitely not near any sky, as the words in the song go. Clich #4: We love Allama Iqbal, the countrys philosopher and poet. In actual fact, Iqbals philosophy and approach is miles above the practised dogmas and prevailing divisions against sectarian and ethnic lines. All and sundry pay a lot of lip service to Iqbal, but none has the fearlessness, the shining light or the vision of his concept of the ideal Muslim. If Allama Iqbal has a sect, then I want to belong to it too. Clich #5: Honour killing is kosher because women have to be controlled. The amount of cold-blooded murderers, who get away because they cite centuries old customs and traditions of dealing with women who show independence of mind, with a particular reference to choices in marriage, is unbelievable in todays Pakistan. It is still so common place to hear of panchyat settlements that hand over women (albeit in marriage) to appease an issue. All the ghairat and all the honour of the Pakistani male is related to his female relatives, instead of doing the right thing by himself and his country. Clich #6: India is our enemy and it can do no right by us. For 64 years, we have indoctrinated our school children with this concept. Nothing but hate against a neighbouring country. They are schemers, stabbers, deceitful and venomous. So much so, that those fed on such consistent poisonous vitriol are amazed at the camaraderie they develop with the very same Indians when they get the chance to live abroad and are free to mingle with them. People on both sides accept each others countries as permanent realities and want to move forward and up in the world with prosperity for their teeming millions. They realise that, like everywhere else, there are good and bad influences in both their countries. Clich #7: America is our enemy. If America is concerned about furthering its own national interest even at the expense of other countries, isnt it about time that we willingly disengaged ourselves from its financial grip and decided to eat grass as it were, in the worst case scenario. The zealots among us want us to be able to dictate to America what it should and should not do, which is equivalent to somebody saying dream on We need to have cordial and independent relations with all countries of the world, including America, given the global village environment of the world in the present century. We need to be in a new 'Regional Bloc in South Asia to intelligently resolve and face our problems, with a benefit to the people of the entire region. Postscript: It is true that we are among the most resilient people in the world. We do our taubas, repent heartily, ask the Almighty for forgiveness and go back to exactly the same vile habits when the bad times recede. It is also very strange to be reminded that Pakistan has the dichotomy of being among the lowest taxpayers as a society, but the highest givers of charity in the world. Imran Khan said at his book launch while talking about getting donations for his hospital that the poorest of the poor wanted to give because they said it was for their place in the next world. The nation needs to understand that we have to shape up in this world because: Jaza saza sub yahin pai ho gi, Yahin pai roz-e-hisaab ho ga. The writer is a public relations and event management professional based in Islamabad. Email: tallatazim@yahoo.com