Happy Birthday Pakistan.Aug 07, 2022
I left Pakistan 15 (almost 16) years ago when I was 22. I got married and moved to a new country. A country I have come to love in many ways. 🇺🇸
But Pakistan will always be my home. When I first used to say this, I used to get a host of reactions ranging from surprise to disgust to disbelief to laughter to.. on the rare occasion, “gentle counseling” (pyaar sai samjhana). All of this from, oddly enough, expatriate Pakistanis. My American friends, on the other hand, never questioned my loyalty and in fact, deeply understood it.
From my own community though, I have been attacked and belittled for having such a fondness for the country that raised me. It used to surprise me at first and then it started to anger me. I would get into arguments with people at parties. Haha. And to be fair, I knew then and I know now where they were coming from- I just wish they could see where I was coming from. But alhamdulilah, I have no hard feelings anymore because I get it. I really do.
At the time though, it was hard.
“What’s Pakistan going to give you?” I’d repeatedly get asked.
This question shocked me so much and never stopped shocking me.
You see, I never ever wondered what Pakistan could give me... always what I could give Pakistan.
My dad raised me with the belief that people like us can help Pakistan. And serve Pakistan. And not just that we CAN but that we should.
When the load shedding would happen in Pakistan (only 30 minutes or so per day back when), he wouldn’t buy a generator and tell us that this is a moment for us to relate to the rest of Pakistan that doesn’t have the luxuries we do. And that stuck with me. (For context, my dad was in the Air Force... we weren’t wealthy by any means).
“The Pakistan that doesn’t have what I do” and so I grew up always feeling privileged and blessed. To me, I was special because Pakistan gave me something it didn’t give just anyone.
And so I dreamed of opening a women’s shelter. I dreamed of opening an orphanage. I dreamed of becoming a journalist that would expose the corrupt politicians. I dreamed of becoming a writer who would write glorious stories about strong Pakistani women and make Pakistan famous. I was so eager to give.
And then fate decided that I should move here instead. That’s a story for another time and I have no regrets. I firmly believe that Allah Ta’la brought me here for a reason. (And for what it’s worth, I’ve been volunteering and giving back here too.)
Another argument I’d get a lot is, “Do you know what horrible things are happening in Pakistan?” And a long list would follow. And again I was shocked. “I’m not denying that things there are wrong.. I’m saying, what are you doing to make a difference? I want to make a difference!” I’d say passionately, “A country like Pakistan NEEDS people like me.”
I feel so so validated to know that I was right. In all those years that I longed to make a difference in my country, I wasn’t fantasizing. The calling was in my heart and today, so many of you allow me to make it come true. So thank you! 🙏
More than half of my clients are located IN Pakistan (who get a special 50% off discount btw;)). I get to help parents located all over Pakistan raise our next generation to be amazing human beings. I’ve supported and helped so many victims of domestic abuse. I get so many prayers from my beloved homeland. And I’ve only just started. Now I have the courage to believe that I truly WILL make a big difference for Pakistan and it’s people in shaa’Allah.
And if anyone is reading this and saying, “You’re saying this now, Maryam. Wait till you move to Pakistan,” and I’d say, I get why you say that. I really do AND no one knows better than me, what I’m capable of 😊
I was right and everyone else was wrong once. Now I have no reason not to believe in my dreams. I love the lesson my life thus far has taught me, it doesn’t matter if the whole world invalidates you, all you need is yourself (and some support:)) and unshakable faith in Allah’s mercy. Pakistan zindabad. 🇵🇰