Suspended Between the Two Worlds: The Case for Pakistani Diaspora

Ten months into graduate studies and the sudden toppling of our dear leader has led me to a wide array of thoughts. An event that occurred thousands of kilometers away in a city of merely 2 million people has had a far-reaching impact from Amsterdam to Copenhagen and across the English Channel to the United Kingdom. Ironically, the event was nothing ordinary as per English standards. The house leader loses the majority and bids farewell to the premiership, while another MP takes over. If I recount correctly, David Cameron, Theresa May, and even Boris might face the same if the party gate gets any headway.

As a young Pakistani, and as unfortunate as it sounds, it was not my first political crisis. I was two when General Musharaff executed a bloodless coup from 40,000 km above sea level, ten when Benazir Bhutto was sent to her deceased brothers and father by a suicide bomber, and 20 when three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted on not declaring an account recievable. When that happened, I was standing right in front of the Supreme Court, courtroom number one.

Although I was not in Pakistan this time around, as they say, one cannot hide their identity. However, I did see scores of ‘Overseas Pakistanis’ coming out in solidarity with Imran Khan, who had failed to deliver his utopia of ‘Riyasat-e-Madinah.’ I failed to understand these Pakistanis who live in a secular, western, liberal democracy. Why would they want an Islamic welfare state back home? And if they do, when are they moving around?

From that day onwards, I have had a lot of thinking to do, what happens to these Pakistanis who move abroad? Do they genuinely want to become Dutch, American, Spanish, Swedish, or Irish, or is it just the passport and the added socio-economic benefits?

When they swore allegiance to the United States of America or the Queen of England, do they mean that? Or is it to get a passport for their generations to come? As someone who still is abroad but has Pakistani access, this might get me canceled, but I am eager for answers. Because if I take the oath of allegiance to the Queen of England, I shall respect my oath, hitherto the English value system. At least that’s what my family taught me, to respect your promises to an individual, an entity, or a country.

I have lived in Pakistan and have no relatives abroad, except for a few. But my time in Pakistan was of privilege and gratitude from dominant social circles. So I can understand that those who leave may leave out of misery, seeking a better life, but at what cost? Would they have to listen to a drunk guy walking back home? Would they send their kids to frats and sororities? They risk losing the so-called ‘South Asian’ family system if they do. If they don’t, their kids risk ostracisation? So what do they do then?

I don’t know the answer to that. I am still a 24-year-old media scholar with no plans of having kids anytime soon. But I would love to find that perfect balance between the East, and the West, because if Imran Khan can find that balance, why can’t the half a million Pakistani diaspora in the West?

But then again, isn’t that why they follow Imran Khan, because he offers them the best of both worlds. Someone who dated the heiresses and the actresses to someone who rediscovered his faith and the significance of spirituality. Perhaps they want to do the same, but not everyone is as lucky as Imran Khan.

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