When Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan asked the nation to step out for 30 minutes every Friday till the UN Assembly address on September 27th, I asked myself, what ELSE can we do in those 30 minutes.
Not to take away from the issue. But the first Friday, PMIK seems to have clean bowled his opponents as Pakistanis from all walks of life, celebs, ordinary citizens, school children, and social media users tweeted images of the jazba, the josh, the unity as a nation came together to stand in solidarity with their Kashmir brethren.
But this jazba and josh are rarely seen in daily life, where we complain about lack of amenities, injustice, poor hygiene, inflated prices, rain in Karachi, corrupt politicians and rights of the poor, the abused, the downtrodden – which takes precedence over all else.
So, coming back to the patriotic frenzy, my mind raced on to a few things we as Pakistanis can do in that half-hour, to channelize the fervor and do something constructive with the time we spend waving flags at the Quaid’s Mazar.
Ways We Can Make Pakistan A Better Place For All
Not that I’m complaining about the flag-waving, we need that too, for our twitter feeds and international pressure, but let’s focus inwards too, and do something for Pakistan.
Here are some ways we can put in a collective effort and make Pakistan a better place for all.
Spend half an hour NOT trolling anyone on social media. Rather, do a google search on positive news in Pakistan and tweet 5 positive news articles that will help show a positive image of your country.
Let’s not throw that piece of paper out of the car window, onto the road. Keep your country clean and don’t add to the trash. It’s easier said than done. But one action creates a ripple effect if you teach your children, domestic staff, everyone to do the same.
Start supporting ONE charity in the country. It could be a student, a school, a green project, a rehab center. Adopt a cause and make these 30 minutes count. Search online and set a goal that that by the 25th. minute, you would have zeroed in on one charity that you can support at a minimal cost on an annual basis and make a difference.
Volunteer your time and effort. It could be Clean Karachi, Robin Hood Army, or a Green Project. Sign up and show up. Bring your friends along and make it count. Nothing like channeling your jazba in the right direction.
If you’re going for lunch with friends on Friday, make sure you feed a needy person. One person will not go hungry for lunch. and if you’re meeting 5 friends, that’s 5 more people who will eat, each friend can feed one person.
Plant a tree. Yes, buy a plant, some seeds, and not just a tree in your own backyard. But out on that island in front of your house where traffic goes by and people sometimes walk in search of shade. Plant a tree, a bush, a sapling and take ownership to water it every day, and watch it grow. Imagine if everyone in the row of houses along your street did that. There would a shade cover on your street very soon – a green initiative that future generations will thank you for.
Keep clean drinking water outside your home for passersby. And refresh it every day. The simplest actions in life can reap the most benefit.
Adopt a small business near your home. The thelay wala, the chai ka dhaaba, the sabzi wala or the local bakery selling cake rusks. Buy something reasonable every week from them. And give them feedback on how to improve their products and up their game. These small retailers are the heartbeat of your city. Help them help themselves.
Last but not least, when was the last time you met your neighbor? had a cup of tea, or sent them some samosas for chai? Good communities are about good neighbors, start one now in your neighborhood today.
Did I just make you forget about Kashmir Hour? That was not my intention. My intention was to make you understand, jiyalay Pakistanis, that you have the power in your josh, jazba, and limitless patriotism, to make that one hour or 30 minutes count.
The question is, will you use it to create a lasting difference in your lives or will you let it fizzle into a 30-minute social media post, that might not stay around for long as followers scroll up their feed? That plant? Well, that plant will stay around for a long time, longer than you perhaps!
Shazia likes to pen her thoughts when she feels passionately about a life experience, a person or an event. She is mother to 3 lively boys and along with her husband, attempts to settle in her new country by taking German lessons so she is able to soak in the culture, language and spirit of the region.
“Wake up in the morning, take a deep breath and exhale! Keep on living with a passion that inspires others! “