By Mian Muhammad Alim
Do you know which country has the largest youth to adult ratio, placing young people at almost 60 percent of its total population? Which country has the world’s best agricultural canal system? Which country contains the world’s second tallest mountain and five of the world’s 14 mountains taller than 8,000 meters? The country often called “paradise on Earth” or “the roof of the world”? The country which contains the largest salt mine? The country with the world’s most hospitable people? With the largest glacier?
Has anybody told you which country is a gateway to the Middle East, Central Asia, China and rest of South Asia? Which is one of the few countries in the world where you’ll find the majority of people can speak more than one language? A country where you’ll find people of all different colors, shapes, religions and beliefs living happily with each other?
Which country has the world’s third largest gas reserves, the second largest coal reserves and fifth largest copper and gold reserves? Which country is the world’s fifth largest milk producer, 11th largest wheat producer, 12th largest rice producer and fourth largest cotton producer?
This is just a small list of what we have — yes, I am talking about the incredible, stunning and dazzling majesty of Pakistan.
The country is often connected with stereotypes and negative connotations, but I wanted to make clear that Pakistan is the land to visit, travel and explore. It is the place where tourists come and fall in love. In it, you will see all kinds of landscapes and weather, from the majestic mountains of the North-West Frontier Province, Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir, to the lush plains of Punjab to the deserts and beaches of Sindh and Baluchistan. The University of Taxila is one of the oldest known universities dating back to the fifth century. Students of history can find ruins of civilizations almost as old as 7,000 B.C. There is something for every person wishing to visit.
Pakistani people are talented and work hard wherever they go. They are loyal, responsible and professional. Our people often go to other countries to work. One of the big markets for our artists is the Indian film industry Bollywood; Pakistani singers rule over there. Pakistani doctors, engineers and architects often go to other countries to earn revenue for their country.
Pakistani people are enthusiastic, fun loving and enjoy helping each other. We love collectivism; our family gatherings celebrate each other’s successes. Our marriage ceremonies are big festivals involving hundreds of family members, neighbors and friends. We have unique regional and national dresses. We have religious festivals like Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, Miraj-un-Nabi, Laylat-ul-Qadar, Chaand Raat, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Uzha. We have other national celebrations like Pakistan’s flower show, Jashn-e-Baharaan, Pakistan Day, Youm-e-Takbeer, Independence Day and Defence Day. Our nation always remembers and recalls its history by celebrating our heroes on days like Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam Day.
Pakistan has almost every kind of sport. It’s been the world champion in cricket, field hockey, billiards, snooker and squash. We have won regional championships in boxing, polo, football, athletics, badminton, ball badminton, baseball, basketball, canoeing and kayaking, ice hockey, karate, motorsport, mountaineering, swimming, taekwondo and table tennis.
Our army is often blamed without listening or understanding their point of view. Pakistan has been actively involved in most of the UN peacekeeping missions; today it is the country with the most troops serving for those missions. Some of the major contributions were in Somalia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Congo and Liberia.
We are a nation who is currently building itself on the way to progress. Last week Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated Pakistan’s first solar power park, which will start generating 100 megawatts of energy by the end of the year and a total of 1,000 megawatts by 2016. The Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park project has 400,000 solar panels, with a total cost of around $131 million. When complete, the plant will produce about two and a half times the power coming from the 392 megawatt Ivanpah solar thermal plant in California’s Mojave Desert, making it one of the largest solar parks in the world. We are building highways, railway tracks and infrastructure.
I have just given you a glimpse of the real Pakistan to help eradicate the stereotypes. Do not judge on single experience, news or sources that are not real Pakistani representatives.
Your Pakistani friend wishes you every success ahead. Have a nice time, and keep smiling.