On the Eve of Eid

On the eve of Eid, Pakistan is –
20 million souls, their hopes washed away
1.8 million homes damaged or destroyed
A humanitarian crisis that does not move the world

It is, a few plazas decked with lights
A line of humans at traffic crossings, their palms outstretched
A man taking his wife out to shop
As she holds his waist in the motorcycle-balancing act

It is a gathering of urban, coffee-drinking, sheesha-puffing youth
A flash of black shoes, t-shirts, jeans, and hand bags
In plain sight of their shalwar-kameez clad brethren
Answering the call to the evening prayer

It is Dave Mathews Band and Lady Gaga on 89
Naats on 101
A relief goods laden Army truck
A pseudo-leader’s security convoy

It is one man’s dream
Struggling to survive
A nation lost in a labyrinth
With foes at every turn

It is Edhi and Imran Khan still fighting –
To stem the tides of injustice
Thousands of youngsters delivering food and medicine –
Around the clock to those they have never known

It is a class of girls and  boys
In blue school uniforms, neatly pressed
The mighty Hindukush high in the background
Their teachers beaming with pride

It is an old man standing tall
Still living for what he believes in
A young man making the long drive home
Fighting to change the status quo

Pakistan is Jinnah’s toil
Pakistan is Madam’s Naghmay
Pakistan is for all of us
Pakistan is not giving up


4 thoughts on “On the Eve of Eid

  1. This is beautiful Arsalan! Seriously. Reminds me of a poem I wrote about Dar a long time ago, but it captures everything that Pakistan is so succinctly.

  2. Hi- I want to post this poem on FB and maybe circulate it as well. I wanted to get your permission and full name before I did that so you can get credited for your work. thanks!

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