There is nothing to celebrate on 23rd March anymore. The termination of the Pakistan Day parade has stripped this day of its glory and it has now become just another public holiday. No more soldiers march smartly on Constitution Avenue, saluting the President, followed by armoured vehicles and tanks. There are no F-16 fighter jets in the sky breaking sound barriers (or so it seemed to me when I attended the parade as a little girl) as the crowd cheered and clapped below. Everything is gone. The colourful provincial floats are now history and the present is littered with police, rangers, barbed wire and road blocks. Since 9/11, we are paying the price of the, so called, War on Terror and it seems the stakes are getting higher each year.
But today we celebrate. A nation plagued by inflation, recession, corrupt rulers, taxes, minimal facilities, lawlessness, killings and fear found solace through our cricket team. Today’s victory has made us forget, momentarily, the madness that surrounds us. Hopes have filled our hearts. We are dancing with joy because we want to tell the world: you may shun us, bomb us, label us but we have the capability to rise against all the odds and achieve the impossible.
Or am I being too optimistic, too soon?