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I want to know, please. Are we there yet or are we still struggling somewhere on the way? I mean as a country have we arrived at our goal, our destination or are we still somewhere lost in the woods…?

Since High school we have been taught the “different” slogans of the government of the day – each slogan was a promise in and of itself, it was a piece of heaven shown to us poor mendicants by our deceitful leaders to lure us on a path to self-destruction euphemistically called “development.” I remember memorizing the government’s much touted 5 year development plans which were inspired by the Russian projects. At the end of each 5 years the country was supposed to have achieved a milestone or two towards becoming a self-reliant and self-supporting institution. All through my ninth and 10th grades I learnt by heart the stupidities committed by our stupid leaders that did nothing for the country and were a major waste of time, (of course my time consumed in rote memorization of these wretched 5 year jail sentences is a personal loss.) After, the lapse of every 5 years the country and its development took a dip – but, then by that time no one cared!

Then we had the first political leader of the country (supposedly) Mr, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who has the dubious honor of presiding over the division of the country. He came with another slogan that promised the down trodden, which makes up most of the population of the country, three basic things with the catchy phrase of “ROTI, KAPRA, aur MAKAN” translated as bread, clothes and housing for the common man. This went to the heart of the uneducated masses, and they foolishly believed a megalomaniac. Years went by, I grew up, but the country stayed poor, and the poor never got any roti, kapra or anything else. All they got was unemployment, inflation, loss of half a country that had brought us huge foreign exchange and the scorn of its own people.

After that we had 11 years of Islamization! UFFF, the forced implementaton of the sharia laws (half-understood) we had leaders don the national dress publicly, hell we then had a national dress declared! the white shalwar kameez with a black waistcoat for men, and sherwanis for more formal occasions. There was an effort to hark back in time. Somehow, it was felt going back to our non-existent roots would gain us some credibility in the international community, which of course never happened. In fact, we became the lackeys of the Americans for fighting the Russians in Afghanistan and we saw another kind of slogan raise here that was not vocal but visual – a culture of guns and drugs, and of CIA agents swarming the country like insects.

After a decade of misery, repression and regression we came back to DEMOCRACY, and the time of the First Woman Prime Minister of A Muslim country was heard ad-nauseam! Did it get us anywhere? to hell perhaps but no where higher. There was always this inner hope of Pakistan becoming the next “Asian Tiger”, instead, it couldn’t even become an Asian kitten of sorts! The 90’s saw a decade of see-sawing between two leaders of the country, one’s government thrown off for the other and so on. We heard crazy slogans like “BREAK THE BEGGING BOWL” by Nawaz Sharif all at a time when we couldn’t really do without the aid. Mere hypocrisy of the lowest kind. Come 98 – the testing of a nuclear bomb made Pakistan the first Islamic country to have The BOMB! as if it made any difference at all! as IF THERE IS A COMMITY OF NATIONS amongst the Muslim countries! We had people dancing on the streets celebrating the detonation of the bomb, barely knowing that they were giving away their bread and butter with this very monstrosity.

Then we had another golden era with the advent of general Musharraf and his “enlightened Pakistan” cry? Pakistan was to become the next most developing country what with massive foreign investment in telecom sector and other food franchises. After years of military rule and mayhem in the country, we again had democracy and we were told that now “DEMOCRACY IS THE BEST REVENGE” errrr… on whom? the people of this poor sordid and unfortunate country?

I have completed quite a few cycles of my life, from being a student, I am a woman and a mother now, and years later since the first 5 year lessons, I have been hearing this kind of slogan-mongering from floozies who pose as leaders of the country. I am tired to the bone of hearing this nonsense over and over again. When will this journey finish? when will we arrive at the spot our leaders have been telling us is after the next turn? WHEN?

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