Open letter to Pakistan

Dearest Pakistan,

I apologise for forgetting to wish you a happy birthday. Imagine just another year before you hit retirement but I digress let’s dwell on the now.

I don’t really know where to start; I think of you often enough but as you know I don’t like to visit. Its not that you’re dirty, messy or poor, I could live with that. Or even that you’re experimenting with religion in a pretty radical way. Or that you simply don’t consider me really as one of the family but insist I troop along anyway.

Truth be told while it hurts I’ve learnt to look past all that with a stiff upper lip like any English gentlemen. But what’s unforgivable and why I never visit is because frankly you’re quite boring. You’re never making enough to pay your way in the world and even worse when everybody wants to have just a bit of fun; you and your self-styled student mate (which 64yr old pals up with a student in the first place) basically poo poo any pleasurable activity (sometimes you bam bam it but that’s another story).
I want to talk about happier things; try as I might we’re still related and as a good Asian boy I respect my elders. Now that you’re edging to retirement have you figured out your pension scheme?
Why… why is it ticking?

I hear the demolition crew may finally calll it quits soon? You were milking a fair bit for them renting out part of the backyard while they were hunt the student. It was pretty funny when you were trying to help them find the student- the student was running a nursery in your basement. Good times! It wasn’t so funny when your backyard crew gadgets would accidentally harm one of the house.

Anyway I hope you saved a fair bit from what I hear the demolition may not have the cash to burn so soon; their last oil dig couple of mohallas away burnt them pretty badly and their CEO wants out before he is out.

I’m being morose I’m sure you’ve invested their money wisely and clothed and fed (and immunised or do we still need to discuss that?) your horde of kids that you insist on having throughout old age. I hope you haven’t spent all of it on those nasty little dwarves and gnomes figures you have out silently patrolling your line of the fence with the neighbouring estate?

Before I do take my leave on a more serious note do you think you can keep the house together? I hear the controlled explosions by both your gnomes and the demolition crew at the student lodge and the neighbouring estate are now actually rumbling the foundations of your house. Also it seems that your children are deciding whether they want to stay together in your heavily parochial and patriarchical family home. Separated by their mother from a 60 year old fence who will soothe and nurture them, can an old man keep his warring children at bay?

I know your kids are thinking whether religion or culture is the bigger deal. I’ve heard whispers that the largest room in the house is soon going to have a partition wall towards its south side because its “ergonomic” but strangely enough the business centre is still stuck in an antiquated arrangement with the kitchen and garden because that was how it was 64 years ago. I also heard that amongst the children those that follow the family faith are bullying the sliver that don’t. Also within the family faith the kids are divided into two factions; the larger traditionalists and the small faction of following the party. Even within the traditionalists there are those that welcome this strange new stallion that lingers in your garden with guns and gold while exercising a hypnotic feel over your more fanatically inclined children.

This stallion needs to be kept in check but he seems to now grow stronger day and day and the children are abandoning their happy go luck and happy ways to be more disciplined and on the straight and narrow; the fervour of the young is always intense. The larger faction of traditionalists are almost at war after defeating the smaller party, who were similarly entranced by the richly furred and golden cat. These two creatures the cat and the stallion, both decked in gold, seem to be playing a little game in your house and the student digs; money talks and they seem to have lots of it.
Probably cause of those sweet record deals.
These are dark times for you Pakistan, how can an old man deal with such luxurious and enigmatic enchantments and defend against mystical creatures, a trigger-happy demolition crew, overeager students, angry gnomes & lodgers, suspicious dwarves, a wary estate and keep peace in the family before the house comes crumbling down. You know your children abroad are quite loyal and send money and travel as much as we can but as you imagine we are growing rather anxious for all of you; stay strong while you can hopefully these clouds shall pass.

Ill write soon I promise. I’m quite popular here but because we’re related and you’re quite notorious I end up explaining for you half the time. There’s a part of me that could disown you but a stronger part of me knows you can’t go back on family. On that note Pakistan do take the opportunity to write a will. You are much loved but let’s mourn if you croak rather than fret and fight how will the house be divied up.

Happy 64th if the estate next door suggest a firework display over each other houses please say no for all our sakes.

Your humble confidante but faithful servant.

Zachary Latif is an investment banker based in London who blogs at www.brownpundits.com

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Categories: The World I Know

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  1. { Brown Pundits } » Dear Pakistan - August 26, 2011

    […] Our last discussion on Manto’s letter to Nehru (since we are on the topic of Urdu poets) drew me to write up a similar letter to Pakistan. Open Letter to Pakistan […]

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