The past looks glorious, the present shameful and the future actually does not exist anymore

Talk to any Pakistani about our achievements in different walks of life, the answer will certainly be in the Past tense with the narration of our “unmatchable” attainment of excellence in conceivably every walk of life. The delusion of looking at the past and ignoring what our pathetic present depicts is one cause of our floating in a stagnant stream of idleness.

Starting from Sports, Hockey is our National Sport. Its demise resembles the same fate as that of our country. Our team was ranked among the top teams of the world. It won 4 World Cup’s in the years 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994. For the last 19 years, with an exception of few insignificant titles, our decline has been consistent. The “Darkest” day of mourning in Pakistan's sporting history of field hockey came when our team failed to qualify for the World Cup when beaten by South Koreans in the Asia Cup semi-final in Malaysia. As we say in Punjabi, loosely translated into English as; are you satisfied (content) now?

Another sport dominating our national scene is Cricket. “Cricket by Chance” idiom must have been coined after observing the performance of our team for the last six decades. “Fluke” in Oxford dictionary is defined as an “unlikely chance occurrence or a surprising piece of luck”. We have fluked with consistency over the years. Our team won the last World Cupin 1992, almost 21 years back. The 2009 ICC World Twenty20 win was another ball game. Punjabi language again comes handy to define our “excellence” owing to “tullay bazi” (total fluke). With no backup structures in place, the demise of this sport is imminent for how long will God shower us with few rare street boys exhibiting unmatched talent. The only problem with this kind of luck is that it runs out one day.

Once upon a time, we had sports called Squash (not to be confused with beveragesorange, lime or lemonSquash). Pakistani players won the Squash World Open 17 times, and British Open 12 times. This owes to the legends Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan belonging to the Hashim Khan, Torsam Khan and Qamar Zaman family clan. They are all long gone leaving behind only a “family” legacy.

Bridge, Snooker, Athletics, Tennis, Boxing etc. are sports in which solitary isolated individual achievements can be counted on fingers. These are typical examples of lack of any institutionalized setups, hence based entirely on personal efforts and inherent individual capabilities.

Development of any country depends on its scientific developments and new discoveries. Dr. Abdus Salam, a theoretical physicist, shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to electroweak unification and became the first (and probably the last) and the only Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize and the first Muslim to win a Nobel Prize in science. The only other scientific discovery seems to be the invention by “Proud Pakistani” (read quack) who claimed to have invented something called a ‘water car kit’. This was the last nail in the coffin of insult to the discipline of Science.

The only astonishing scientific feast achieved since our independence is by our Government Servants. The speed of light equals 299,792,458 meters per second at which a particle can travel. However our Government Servants (particles) have exceeded this maximum limit for the official office closing timings are 5 PM but they reach their homes fifteen minutes before the closing time, thus surpassing the speed of light.

Abu Abdullah al-Khawarizmi, Abu Raihan Al-Biruni, Abu Ali ibn Sina, Abu Bakr Al-Razi and many more just left this planet long time back. The verbal talk of cherishing their past achievements to hide our own failures will lead us nowhere. In a span of 65 years of our turbulent history, we have systematically ensured the destruction of each and every institution. The past looks glorious, the present shameful and the future actually does not exist anymore. The only remedy seems to be to first change our mind-set and get out of our Self-Induced Delusions. No harm in having a hope; even if it’s the faintest.

n    The writer is a PhD in Information Technology, alumni of King’s College London and a social activist. He is life member of the Pakistan Engineering Council and senior international editor for IT Insight Magazine. He has authored two books titled Understanding Telecommunications and Living In The Grave and several research papers.