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Happy birthday, Pakistan

See How Much You Know About Pakistan | Council on Foreign Relations
Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Happy birthday, Pakistan.

Sometimes you’re like a parent to me, and I’d mess up anyone who badmouths you.

And sometimes you’re like my child, and I demand that you do better.

I hold you accountable. I grab your lapel and shake you, demanding that you be true to your promises, protect the vulnerable – children, women, minorities, underrepresented ethnic and language groups, – and the poor. I wrestle with the politicians who hold you hostage, my beloved. I rage at the generals, the ISI, the wealthy, the 1%.

My heart prays for the people, the poor, the working class, the paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make lives.

Yet I also struggle to persuade others that Pakistanis yearn for life, health, safety, prosperity, happiness, just like they do. That Pakistani people are not cartoon villains but loving, passionate people trying to make do, trying to make better.

I love you through it all, my homeland, my people, and pray that happiness, prosperity, honesty, equality, and freedom will be yours – a brighter, more beautiful, more peaceful, kinder future for these children.

Members of a Pakistani nomad family in Rawalpindi.  (Image: BK Bangash / AP (August 25, 2015))

Enjoy the Pakistani national anthem in sign language.

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