This is how everything turns political: Someone says, no politics and religion in this room please; other agrees, I am apolitical and don’t believe in religion; the third one adds his voice, I hate politicians and religious leaders.
All three are making political statements, without meaning to. And so is the fourth one who gets up to point out that two Muslims have publicly admitted to losing faith and therefore the audience should be allowed half an hour to go out and gather enough stones to dispatch the mardoods to hell, right here, right now.
This blog was never meant to be political. But then some smart techie added ‘thumb up’ and ‘thumb down’ buttons next to the readers’ comments, and the politics begins. ‘I don’t agree with this. Why you always see the dark side can’t you see the achievement of Pakistanis? There is just a long list no need to me notion just open your eyes and see the other side’. This is Imran and he gets three ‘likes’.
‘With the situation being such, I am surprised you managed to write this column. You must be really exhausted by now. Poor fellow’. This is Raika 45 and she gets 13 likes. Johnny steals the show with his tongue-in-cheek: ‘Good. Now how about writing an article on another attribute of Pakistani, being critical of everything and never delivering. Having an answer for everything but just talk and no action …’ and he gets a whopping 25 likes.
Compare this with Asif Ansari’s: ‘Good, your every words tell the story of TRUTH,’ that won him zero likes and Mohsin Sayeed’s unabashed praise: ‘Kudos for writing it as we experience it. I am so glad that someone else on this planet shares my opinion about Pakistanis and gareebs …’ earned him a minus two.
See the politics? A majority likes the comments that are critical of the writer for being … critical. But let it be as it may. I have to respect readers’ opinion and respond to it politically, and so giving in to the popular demand, this piece will strive not to see the dark side or to be critical of anything, and instead will look at and admire the many achievements of Pakistanis.
On second thoughts, and after googling ‘Pakistanis’ achievements’ many times, I am afraid I have only one, but a worthy achievement to talk about: the world exclusive, the invention of the millennium, the ‘water kit’ that frees up automobiles from the stranglehold of hydrocarbons. The perfect fuel is here, and it is good old water. How much energy is required for a car to travel from Hyderabad to Karachi? The energy needed to draw two jugs of water from the hand pump, is the new correct answer.
Almost every country on the planet has claimed this particular invention at some point within the last half century but Waqar Ahmed Agha is the man because he not only invented something that has been invented many times before, but also because he is our man, a Pakistani. He is B.Tech from the world renowned Government College of Technology, Khairpur. The college is not recognised by the world wide web today – you google college’s name and the only entry that comes up is a tender notice for some civil work in the said institution – but riding on the possibility of one of its graduates earning an international patent for something the world’s best brains and laboratories haven’t been able to produce, it is expecting its name to come up in the top ten, next time someone searches for Ivy League Centres of Scientific Excellence in northern Sindh.
What Mr. Agha, who is fondly introduced as a mechanical engineer and an inventor par excellence, has done is beyond engineering, beyond alchemy, Quantum theory and Mendel’s laws: He has given the thriving but subdued community of closeted scientists a sense of achievement, obligation and direction. He has shown to the whole world that intellectual inferiority, academic poverty and lack of technical skills and aptitude are no hindrance when one commits oneself to running a motorbike, a truck, and eventually a power generation plant, on water. He has shown the stuff Pakistanis are made of. He has made us all proud and unleashed the creative scientist among us.
You could literally count the number of hours that elapsed between the Sindhi genius’ announcement and the unveiling of a similar system in Lahore by another brilliant water-kit inventor called Dr. Chaudhry Ghulam Sarwar. Dr. Sarwar has done only two things in life: studying and teaching commerce, and studying and propagating Islam. A scientific breakthrough is the obvious outcome a believer expects of the two occupations. ‘This car,’ Dr. Sarwar says brimming with the confidence of a non-resident Pakistani from Britain (though, to make things complicated he was born and educated in East Pakistan and Bangladesh respectively) while pointing to a car behind him, in his famous TV appearance ‘can be runned on water’ and its exhaust pipe emits pure oxygen, not the lowly carbon. God be praised.
Imagine the possibilities: Both petrol and CNG stations are closed and your car is running low on fuel. You could still take a very sick person to hospital on a couple of glasses of water, with a rubber pipe connected with the exhaust, providing oxygen into the patient’s breathing mask. Or running the engine on idle in the street so children can lie down next to the exhaust and take in all the oxygen their lungs need, for free. Or setting up huge power generators in every locality that turn water into electricity. Load shedding? That already sounds so last century.
What makes Pakistanis special is the way we have embraced and celebrated both our heroes (and those who may have cropped up by the time this piece is published), regardless of their ethnicity, facial hair, and their grasp of spoken English. From common people to TV anchorpersons, politicians, and luminaries in the most scientific of human quests – eliminating the largest number of living beings in the shortest time – who also happen to be the father and paternal uncles to our science, technology and the bomb, have all joined in to welcome the breakthrough that has placed Pakistan on par with Western countries in terms of scientific study and innovation.
Pakistan wasn’t always this lucky with the brilliance and abundance of its scientists. There have been impostors like Dr. Abdul Salam who dazzled the whole world with their pretend genius but couldn’t fool us into believing their claptrap. I can’t criticise him more as I am bound by my own vow, so let’s just say we don’t need to hear about this sham Noble laureate any more than the once-after-every-few-years news item about the desecration of his grave in Rabwah, renamed Chenab Nagar against the wish of the thankless people of this central Punjab city.
This is no time to look back though. It’s time to usher in a shining bright future that will be fuelled by water, and our collective belief that Allah can turn water into a combustible material if we pray and wish enough. In the words of a TV reporter’s piece to camera: ‘In this age of knowledge-based economy, if innovators like Dr. Sarwar are encouraged, there’s every reason we can overcome our many economic crises including the en