16 December goes by again. My unqualified attempt at prose.
When we yearn for high office yet lack the capacity to hold it, when we willingly embrace responsibility knowing we are not worthy of it, when our success is measured by surviving the tenure we must survive, when our achievements are weighed by invented fables and clashing cymbals of artificial celebrations, when the government is more important than the State, when institutions are sacrificed for self and family, when constitutions hold nations hostage, when democracy is just an end by any means, when justice is trampled under fear of reprisal or the glitter of gold, where mediocrity is subsidised, where there is no difference between sin and crime, where one is respected more for breaking the law rather than following it, where religion is an obsession but God summarily forgotten, where ideology remains the refuge of a rascal and belief excludes all others, then my friend you have discovered my country, the land of the pure, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Here substance is conspicuous in its absence while slogans rule the roost, love is professed with passion but hatred practiced with venom, where peace is promised to all but intolerance and extremism remain what is left of any social contract, where corruption is the form and merit defeated at the alter of nepotism and jobbery, where who you are matters more than what you do, where people hear you yet no one listens, where all can see yet no one looks and when you find yourself so surrounded in a sea of people but yet you stand anonymous, then you, my friend, have found my people, the Muslims of Pakistan.
Lt Gen Tariq Khan (Retd)