Failed state“, terrorism, corruption, killings and oppression are among the terms that define Pakistan around the globe.  Is this all Pakistan is about? I don’t think so.   So what is it about Pakistan that raises hopes, makes us optimistic, and tells us that we’re going to make it out of this temporary rough patch in the road?

Even before finishing the first paragraph of this post I can see the critics rushing to slap me to my senses.  Well, let me clarify! I’m not here to present infallible logical arguments or undeniable empirical proofs that Pakistan is a gem among the nations of the world.  I just want to talk about a few things that warm the hearts of many of us.  I know that there are countless examples of what’s wrong with Pakistan but why must we linger on just that?  There are many good things that can raise our spirits.  I, for one, would rather try and find things to ‘love’ or at least like, than to despair.

These are some of the beacons of hope that keep us Pakistanis going:

The Great People of Pakistan

Just like a house is defined by its occupants, a country is defined by its people.  There’s a lot about Pakistanis that goes against the popular judgment of doom.  We have survived many disasters, wars, exploitation and calamities and showed resilience.  Pakistanis have proven themselves across the globe in all walks of life.

The Bravest nation: Newsweek celebrates Pakistanis as the bravest nation in the wake of earthquake

Why I love Pakistan: Raza Rumi gives his reasons to love Pakistan

People of Pakistan: A beautiful video about the people of Pakistan.

Philanthropy of Pakistanis

Unfortunately, historically our governments have seldom made sincere efforts to improve the conditions of the downtrodden members of the nation.  However, there is no dearth of Pakistanis who are happy to share their wealth with others.  I’m not talking about big name NGOs or famous philanthropists; I can’t forget the piles of donated stuff – aside from cash donations – that lined the streets of our cities and towns after the earthquake a few years ago.  These were ordinary people like you and I who rose to the occasion.

South Asian investor review: Pakistan Ranks High on Philanthropy

Charitable Pakistan: What mainstream media stories about suicide bombings and natural disasters fail to capture is the strong charitable and philanthropic tradition of Pakistani society

Tribune: The amount contributed towards philanthropy in Pakistan has almost doubled over the past decade

Philanthropy in Pakistan: Philanthropy in Pakistan: Moving Beyond Conditional Generosity

Positive Pakistanis: In an age where most people depend on others for help, Major Muhammad Abbas only thought of helping the helpless

Charity Vault: A comprehensive list of charities operating in Pakistan

Pakistan’s Achievements in Sports

Fazal Mehmood, Islahuddin, Samiullah, Imran Khan, Jahangir Khan, Jansher Khan, Wasim Akram, Husain Shah (boxing-bronze medalist in 1988 Olympics), Muhammad Yousuf (Snooker), Sultan Golden (auto stunt professional).  These are only a few of the sports legends from Pakistan.  We have a rich history of making extraordinary feats in many sports.  Sports is one of the very few things that unite this nation like nothing else.

Sports in Pakistan: An informative and interesting blog post about various sports in Pakistan and our achievements

Cicistan: Pakistan’s Major Cricketing Achievements Up Till Now

Sports heroes: Remembering many sports heroes of Pakistan

Sports landmarks: The Financial Daily talks about various sports landmarks of Pakistan

Pakistan and sports: An in-depth Wikipedia article

Sports legends of Pakistan: This video is a humble tribute to all those sports personalities who have served the nation of Pakistan

Pakistan’s Scenic Beauty

gar firdaus bar ru-e-zameen ast/hameen ast, hameen ast, hameen ast”

(If paradise is on the face of earth/ it’s here, it’s here, it’s here)

From majestic mountains to scenic lakes to serene valleys to awe-inspiring deserts filled with amazing wildlife, Pakistan has it all.  With snow-clad mountains, green valleys, slopes covered with colorful flowers, the northern areas of Pakistan are the crown jewel of the Pakistani landscape.  This beauty is in stark contrast to the popular image of Pakistan and once you walk through this beautiful land, the images of doom and gloom would certainly start fading away.

Pakistan pictures: A great collection of pictures about Pakistan

Pakistani Deserts: Deserts-the other natural beauty of Pakistan

This is Pakistan: Awesome collection of pictures showcasing the natural beauty of Pakistan

Best natural places: Description of the natural beauty of the northern areas of Pakistan

Pinnacle of natural beauty: A video about the breath taking natural beauty of Pakistan

Northern areas of Pakistan: The beauty of northern areas in words and pictures

By writing this article, I’m not trying to advocate blind patriotism, sticking head in the sand or being oblivious to all that is wrong with us.  This was just about raising hope.  Let me know what you think!

(Image courtesy of BigStockPhoto)