Millions of Pakistanis were astonished on the ‘Back to the Future Day’ on 21st October 2015 when they saw a key prediction made by the science fiction trilogy come true in their own country. People reported multiple sightings of a loud, cocky teenager who did not know how to behave in the 21st Century.

These are not the only predictions of the film that have come true solely in Pakistan. In fact, in many ways our country has surpassed what was expected from the future.

Part I – Seven predictions in Back to the Future that came true in Pakistan:

1) A bald old man is in charge of our destiny, despite the fact that he has very little control over what is going on. The Prime Minister’s office could not be reached for comment.

2) The only way left for children of middle class families to improve their lot is to travel back in time and change the past.

3) Arab terrorists roam the streets with guns, killing men of reason with impunity, as and when they want. They do it over and over again, but there is no one to stop them.

4) Historical clock towers in most of the cities of Pakistan haven’t been working since 1955.

5) When young men fight over little things in the middle of the street and damage public and private property, police is nowhere to be seen.

6) There seems to be no plausible way to generate enough electric power to ensure that we will survive in the future.

7) Many old people are still trapped in 1885.

Part II – Seven things in Pakistan that Back to the Future failed to predict:

1) Qing Qi rickshaws: Runnings faster and carrying more load than their makers could predict, these three-wheelers have surprised scientists and engineers alike.

2) Anti-tank obstacles on streets: Made between 1985 and 1990, the films failed to predict a number of security problems that the critics of the American foreign policy had already foretold. It could therefore not even imagine the sheer number of anti-tank obstacles that will be seen in the streets of Pakistan.

3) Computerised National Identity Cards: The film’s writer and director Robert Zemeckis was not smart enough to predict a Kafkaesque database of every citizen that Pakistan has been able to create. George Orwell’s 1949 dystopia 1984, and Terry Gilliam’s critically acclaimed film Brazil – released the same year as the first film in the Back to the Future trilogy – were able to predict this amazing accomplishment.

4) Cars running on water: While he could imagine flying cars running on garbage, Zemeckis was not smart enough to foresee that a brave innovator in Pakistan will create a ‘water kit’ to refit regular cars so they could run on water.

5) A man with the guts to convince a top nuclear scientist that he could refit regular cars to run on water: This was unimaginable in 1985.

6) A top nuclear scientist who believes a man who claims he can refit regular cars to run on water: This was unimaginable until millions of Pakistanis actually saw it happen live on television.

7) A ban on YouTube: The famous director could not foresee that many of the predictions that his Back to the Future movies made subtly in the background would be rendered useless after a ban on YouTube in Pakistan.

Part III – What would happen if

Marty and Doc came to Pakistan?

  • “I have a feeling that if Doc Brown and Marty McFly had come to Pakistan, the young musician would be a supporter of PTI while the old doctor would be a supporter of Noon League. I think they would not have been able to agree on whose poster to put on the rear window of their DeLorean DMC-12.” – Peeno Professor (Lecturer and unpublished columnist, Lahore).
  • - “They’d probably be stopped at a checkpost and their DeLorean would be impounded because they wouldn’t have computerized national identity cards. If they get away with that, they’d definitely be fined for tinted windows.” – Rauf Rooftop (Socialite and part-time bootlegger, Karachi)

    - “They’re more likely to get killed by a Libyan terrorist in Pakistan in 2015.” Zaheer Zehreela (Qing Qi driver and freelance photographer, Peshawar)