I am a journalism student at Leeds Beckett University. Hailing from a family of doctors, I chose to break tradition and step into the world of creative industries.
I came to the UK over a year ago, for my studies and am now in my final year of studies.
For as long as I can remember, Pakistan has been involved in some kind of political mayhem. It was during my adolescence days that news about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination came out. It took the country into terror. I was around nine years old, but I still remember the day – clear as day. News channels blasting with live coverage. People crowding the streets. Police forces lining up on the side of the road.
It was rebellious. I thought her extermination would invoke some sense of humanity in people. But things only ever went south. As per my memory, Asif Ali Zardari was the president. He had the power. I vaguely remember Pervaiz Musharraf being appointed prior to him. I had little knowledge about how government worked. The way people from cabinet were selected and what kind of data influenced those decisions. It was only after we had to stay home from school for several weeks after the assassination, when I realised that things were getting serious. Even now, 16 years later, political injustice remains the same. Worse maybe! Pakistan might be known to be a democratic country, but trust me, what the public has to say is of least significance.
I came to United Kingdom in 2022. When I think about it, I left the country when it was in absolute turmoil. People were divided. Opinions were extreme. The government was split into several political parties, each one having ulterior motives for their own sake. People, even children had enough knowledge to pick sides. I was terrified. About moving away to a new country. But deep in my heart, I knew I was more agitated about what I was leaving behind. My family. My parents and my sister. I did not know what to expect. If things were ever going to get better, or just downhill from there. My fear has only been getting more rapid.
My country and people are in a state of absolute frenzy. Quiet recently, Imran Khan, the preliminary Prime Minister of Pakistan was arrested and dragged away by the police. It wasn’t the fact that our former Prime Minister was getting arrested that shook me. It was the realisation about how facile the whole process was. In a country where arresting a cardinal figure was done just by a matter of hours, really makes you ponder about the security and morale of it.
My concern for my family started to border into fear. Since my sister is married and living independently, it was more worrying for me to imagine how tough life was for my parents. My dad works in his privately-owned clinic from 8pm-1am. I have always admired how committed he was to his profession as a doctor, at the same time, I always tried to make him change his hours of work. It was his quote that made me give up.
He said, ‘Everyone goes to big hospitals and pricey clinics during the day. It is during this time of night that people who are helpless, seek refuge. I have transgenders and financially unstable people coming to me who have no where else to go for well-being. They are discriminated. How can I not help them?’.
But every good deed comes with a price. While my dad is out trying to make the world a better place, my mom is alone at home, waiting for his safe return. The whole chaos surrounding Imran Khan and his political views, opposing parties and their hunger for power, has driven the whole country into havoc. It is the public who ultimately suffers. With inflation, law and order and general uncertainty of what to anticipate, it’s causing people like me to leave their hometown and settle abroad. Maybe being here is better in terms of security and opportunities.
But sometimes, in the wave of the moment, my mind travels back to my beloved country. How much sacrifices did our founder, Quaid-e-Azam have to make to turn his dream into reality, only for it to suffer at the hands of political rivalry. The fear does not go away. I constantly overthink about my family’s safety. It always lingers within me. I hope every day that the days change for Pakistan.
That we can go back in time when we were young and did not have to fixate upon things like political competence. When we could celebrate Independence Day and be proud of being a citizen of the country.
My thoughts and prayers for a better, more prosperous and peaceful Pakistan