Khurshid Akhtar Khan The introduction of an open media policy nearly a decade ago provided private entrepreneurs to develop television into a powerful vehicle to bring awareness, expose the sacrosanct high and mighty to the grassroot pubic and to influence the public opinion, besides providing entertainment. The various political talk shows with well informed anchor persons leading fiery verbal diatribes among political rivals have become an addictive pastime for those interested in matters of state. The emphasis of these programmes is mostly on fuelling controversies that have become an embodiment of unending acrimonious criticism and self-degradation. This sensationalism generates higher viewer interest that makes their channels commercially viable. The mundane success stories and accomplishments (though few and far between these days) fail to get extended coverage only to fade away quickly from our memories. The viewers are thus left in a perpetual state of doom and gloom brooding over its misfortunes, many of them imaginary or trumpeted. Since we have little penchant for history, we do not reminisce on the significant progress made during the last six decades, despite numerous bumps and shocks along the way. We have ceased to reflect where we would be if the Muslims of the subcontinent had not been divinely gifted with a distinct identity and a separate independent homeland in 1947. The discrimination, humiliation and lack of opportunities confronted by the Muslim population that stayed back in India (larger in number than ours) should be sufficient evidence and a reminder to cherish the land we still possess and count our blessings. Some of our ancestors, religious and political groups were indifferent or opposed to the creation of Pakistan. The predominantly Hindu Congress party resisted the division of India as much as giving autonomy to the Muslims in their majority regions. The British masters were not particularly fond of conservative Muslims and preferred the relatively liberal, adaptable and docile Hindus. Were it not the single minded pursuit, iron will and persistence of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, inspired by Allama Iqbal and supported by an overwhelming majority of Muslims, we could be inhabiting the Hindu dominated united India as a second or third rate inferior citizens. Our political immaturity, conflicting interests and unfamiliarity with democratic principles caused the division of our young country into two nations in less than 25 years. It is ironic that the Bengali Muslims that were most active in the struggle for Pakistan chose to separate in such a short span of time. The geographically alliance of two different regions separated by 1000 miles of ocean proved difficult to manage with meagre resources and deviations from ideology. We are still left with a sizeable country covering an area of 881,641 square kilometres equalling the combined areas of France and UK. We have fertile agricultural lands with a remarkable irrigation system, vast deserts and picturesque mountainous terrains, famous peaks like the 8,611 meter high K2, more than 50 peaks that are 6,500 meters high and about 50 that are 4,500 meters high. We have 1,046km of coastline along the Arabian Sea, plenty of sunshine with a temperate climate, four distinct seasons, the mighty Indus river, oil and natural gas reserves, large deposits of salt, coal, gypsum, copper, iron, silver, gems, marble and hydro power potential. We have grown into a 170 million strong pool of talented, intelligent and industrious human resource (more than 60 percent in their teens) that we underrate and treat as a liability. The remittances from the overseas earnings of our ordinary workers that have now reached $8 billion per annum have propped our foreign reserves for several decades. If properly solicited and utilised, this single source has the potential to rid us of foreign dependence. Our scientists acquired nuclear deterrent defying the entire world when given the opportunity, challenge and political determination, providing a formidable defence for the nation. Our engineers have designed and constructed large dams and are considered authority on earthen dams. Our universities have produced doctors that are among the best in the world, serving the humanity domestically and overseas. We are self-sufficient in food and have a thriving cotton textile industry, large cement, sugar, fertiliser and engineering complexes, ports, shipping, airlines, refineries, cottage industry and a powerful media. It is nothing short of a miracle that we have developed from humble beginnings at the time of partition without any cash reserves, industry, economic, defence, administrative or educational structures, into a functioning and resilient nation capable of sustaining various domestic shocks and hostility of neighbours. Yet, we feel consternation in granting due recognition to our achievements and usually belittle or demolish our heroes. We need to build confidence in the public to express pride in our nation and not be apologetic or be on the defensive. We need to cultivate appreciation of the significance of preserving the sanctity of our constitution and various institutions. We need to shed complacency in grooming and channellising our individual excellence into collective strength, to rely and promote our indigenous resources and expertise and stop looking outside for assistance. Divine interference has once again provided us with an opportunity. A slow revolution is in the making as we have been coerced into making immense human and financial sacrifices. Today our nation is seeking reforms after open debates, as it stands for an independent judiciary with great expectations for justice for all and the revival of undiluted democracy as the only acceptable form of governance. Pakistan is a federation where the identity and constitutional rights of each member of the federation must not be grudged. Some of our generals have tried adventurism compromising sovereignty and introducing militancy, a few judges have racked the judicial system by submission to brute force, while the politicians and establishment have been accused of corruption. But a democrat gave a voice to our downtrodden people and preferred the gallows than to be intimidated by a military dictator, a democrat defied the West by exploding a nuclear device and another sacrificed her life struggling to revive democracy for her nation. One judge stood steadfast against the military might and brought a silent revolution, awakening the public that rallied around him for the independence of judiciary. The media may go overboard in competition in their quest for advertisements to run their channels but their motives to present facts are beyond any doubt. The public has at last defined a direction where it wishes to traverse that will not be allowed to be derailed. It is now up to Asif Ali Zardari and Muhammed Nawaz Sharif to stay on course for democratic aspirations of the people to be fulfilled or leave the space for someone else who will. The writer is an engineer and an entrepreneur Email: k.a.k786@hotmail.com