By Sarwat Hossein
INCREDIBLE personal and professional journey started in January 2017, when I moved to Lahore and decided to join one of the leading newspapers as a free-lance investigative journalist.
I was thrilled and very enthusiastic, eager to help the super suppressed community in this country. I suppose many people would be in same boat like myself when they move from a developed to a developing country, and they like to offer their assistance towards their area of expertise. But unfortunately, it does not work most of the time, according to one’s plan despite one’s benevolent feelings.
Certainly, I had many barriers to cross, such as the culture shock, my less than perfect grip on our national language and the poor understanding of the mindset of the people.
My tenuous understanding of the system under which country was running didn’t help, but I was aware of my fighting spirit and told myself that it would be an interesting challenge to hang on here. Although, my colleagues laughed at me most of the time, they did encourage me towards what I wanted to achieve.
They invariably said that there is nothing in this country and that I should go back to London. It was clear to me that people were helpless, seeking for a guiding light and corruption was at its highest level.
I often remembered an article I read entitled “We are a crowd, not a nation”. I wondered If that was true. Ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was the leader of the country and people had had enough of his regime but generally, they were very optimistic that a change in the leadership would yield favorable fruits, and that change was Imran Khan, at least so they thought at the time!
Along with all my learning and observations, I carried on with my investigations into different social issues such as street children, the existence of gypsies, traffic in Lahore, fake medicines and terrorism in Pakistan etc. I suppose I can say that I truly practice journalism here as I was out on the road, meeting ordinary Pakistanis, spending time with them and getting to know their general problems.
The political and financial challenges have worsened in the country under Mr. Khan’s government. All the big promises Mr. Khan use to make during his political campaign have not come to anything tangible.
The prices of most things have rocketed and the middle and labour classes are the most effected ones as they struggle to afford even food. The intellectuals are calling Pakistan a “Banana Republic”, unable to protect its own societal and political fibers.
It is always debatable how our basic human instincts changes when we travel to foreign countries. We all tend to be respectful towards the rules and regulations as soon as our feet touch any foreign territory. Cues are followed, there’s no swearing and hooting on the roads. One might wonder why we cannot apply the same behavior in our own country.
Despite all the criticism, we cannot be in denial that our Pakistani nation was not strong enough to survive our many ups and downs, such as financial crunches, terrorism and natural disaster and lets not be harsh to say ” We are a crowd, not a nation” as someone once said.
Anyway, I shall continue my journey and keep exploring what I believe to be the true Pakistan, I shall remain optimistic, in anticipation of a brighter future. Pak Destiny