Celebrating Ten Awesome Years In Pakistan

9167664-business-man-showing-pakistan-flag-shirtIt has been ten awesome years since I started working and living in Karachi, Pakistan. It’s a strange realization that I have never lived longer in any other place my whole life.

I arrived in March of 2003. It was the start of the Iraq war and one can only imagine the concern my parents felt when I told them I was moving to Pakistan. Their apprehension has not faded (they get daily reminders of the horrors that Pakistan is exposed to) but they have now accepted that this is my home. Obviously I was also quite uneasy at first, and to make matters worse in June 2003 Time Magazine ran a front cover story with the headline: “Karachi: the worlds most dangerous city”. The interview inside quoted one of Karachi’s most infamous hit-men. Surprisingly, it was not the interview or the murder statistics that blew me away, it was the fact that even Karachi’s most notorious hit man had a number of body guards for his own protection.

When I first moved here, driving on M.T. Khan road was a short and excruciating version of the Paris – Dakar race. The city would get completely swamped and immobile for days following a refreshing summer rainstorms, and there was just McDonalds at Park Towers for entertainment.

Ten years is a long time and Karachi is a different city now. Despite all our complaints, the infrastructure of the city has completely transformed and life in Karachi has moved on. It remains a city of extremes, with the newest and most expensive imported cars trading places with camel carts. With high-flying socialites enjoying coffee at the newest hot spot in town and millions of people living from day to day, if not hour to hour, fighting for survival.

However, as a Dutch man I strongly believe in an equitable society where people have similar opportunities and chances, and where success is based on merit. We live in a country where 100 million people are under the age of 25, all who dream to acquire a branded life style. Sadly, only a small percentage of them have the abilities to do so (50% of the population under 25 can’t read or write). It is a wonder that this social time bomb has not gone off yet.

Ten years living here and I have learned to love this country. Pakistan is an absolutely amazing place with amazing people No other country in the world would be able to get back on its feet after the numerous mortal blows it has received. An example that will always stay in my heart was the reaction to the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. In a time of great need, it was humbling to witness the compassion and commitment to help fellow citizens.

I am very optimistic about our future. With our resources, our resourcefulness, the desire to build a better life for our families, our compassion and our love for the country, we will get it right and prosper. We will elect the right leaders that will sort out our governance issues. We will come together and unite, showing the world how magical Pakistan can be, the place that I so dearly call home.

Happy Pakistan Day – Pakistan Zindabad!

– Paul Keijzer

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33 Responses to “Celebrating Ten Awesome Years In Pakistan”

  1. Tariq Mohiuddin

    A great article and thanks for highlighting positives of Pakistan.
    “Pakistan is an absolutely amazing place with amazing people No other country in the world would be able to get back on its feet after the numerous mortal blows it has received”

    Love it…….. Pakistan Zindah Bad

  2. Afaq SHakoor

    I wish that more Pakistanis think through similar lines as you have elegantly outlined in your article.

  3. Shoaib Khan

    You are right Paul this country is a living example of a miracle as the kind of mortal blows after blows this nation has faced not other country on the planet earth can with stand to this much long suffering. Yet people have not lost the hope of a better future which is the fueling our will to move ahead.

  4. Khurram

    Thanks For Sharing Paul Keijzer…You are now oficially Pakistani…Wellcome on Board..God Bless you : )

  5. Sonia K

    just read your article in tribune- and followed you back to your blog :)

    It as just great to read something like that coming from a foreigner- i hope more foreigners will get inspired to come and visit and see what the place looks like and also the current foreigners will also share their experiences!

    Happy Pakistan Day to u!!!! :)

  6. M. Arif

    Your article is really a breather for us Pakistanis because on different social forums we are tired by keep telling people that we are literate, social and peace loving people and we know how to strive and thrive while keeping our pace with the modern world.

  7. MJ

    The author has more faith in the country than I do. Pakistan, for sure, is an amazing country, but the combination of religious bigotry, poverty, sectarianism, and intolerance makes it a toxic cauldron, prone to implode at slightest hint of a spark.

  8. Zubair Ali

    Paul, ….and no doubt Pakistan also loves you… :)

  9. Waqas M.

    I appreciate Pal :-) this is how i think too..
    Losers will always keep complaining and finally they will ran out in order to server for Petrol pumps and departmental stores of USA, UK etc…
    Long Live Pakistan

  10. Q

    YEs, we are indeed a resilient nation, no other country has as much courage as we have. Despite of all the problems and hardships, we continue to believe in our country. Thank you Mr Paul. I am happy that you Pakistan :)

  11. Sonia K

    I don’t know why Pakistanis are so unsure about themselves- they cannot even take good comments about their country, how selfish is that!! But they will read and see movies where a foreigner will love India and call it his/her home and feel cozy there. Nothing against India here-
    Many foreigners keep returning to Pakistan for trips and vacations!
    Thanks Paul btw, for sharing your experience and also encouraging others to visit the country. If others who live in and around Karachi can post such positive experiences it would really boost tourism and a positive image- despite the current image few people of Pakistan try to portray, which is a sad thing :(

  12. Iftikhar Munir

    Thank you Paul
    My situation is more or less is same but i am son of this soil. I came back in 1998 from London after completion my higher studies. At that time Canadian immigration was in full swing and many of my friends were going there. Though my qualification and experience was appropriate but i declined and chosen to stay here forever. I really appreciate your gesture and I also have the same expressions.
    Jiya Pakistan!

  13. Nauman

    Thank you Paul. We appreciate your kind and optimistic views about Pakistan. You are most welcome here. One comment to some of my countrymen who are complaining and cribbing as usual, “He who does not love his country can love Nothing”

  14. Naureen Zaheer

    A country which has gone through such turmoils but still managed to survive for more than 60 odd years is most definitely a resilient one. Every country has its own set of problems. We are going through a bad patch right now but it’s destined to change because nothing lasts forever.

  15. Babur Sohail

    Heart touching comments Paul !!!! absolute pleasure. I’m a serious lover of this country and strongly believe in rise of our nation, and great to hear something different out of the stereotype. God bless you…

  16. Farooq

    Thanks for this article Paul. Makes me think I should move back to Pakistan. Great country and Amazing people. Pakistan Zindabad

  17. Nojeba

    Its so good to see a foreigner write something like this about Pakistan. There is a lot of good in the country, we ourselves have destroyed our country and given it a bad image. Awesome piece. May God bless you Paul.

  18. Deedar Hussain

    thank you Paul for writing such an amazing article. You have made many people fell that Pakistan has also positive points.

  19. Pouru Sidhwa

    Hey – You have more faith in the country than I do! If we could only resolve these governance issues, the rest would suddenly fall in place. Great piece!

  20. Jolanda

    Hi Paul, Nice article.. We are ten years in our house in De Lier now so I share this feeling of home with you.. I’m just back from my trip to Salt Lake City and it’s awsome to travel around the world. Let’s make it one of my dreams to visit Pakistan in the future.

    wish you nice Eastern days.. and see you this summer in Holland.

  21. Rifaat Jafari

    Admire your courage for settling in Karachi. Delighted that u recognize the qualities we possess. Living in Karachi is both challenging and rewarding. Wish u all the best.

  22. Salam Akhtar

    Thanks Paul for sharing your positive opinion about Pakistan,which is rare now a days even from Pakistan origin people. Wish you all the best :)
    Salam

  23. Ali us Sajjad Khan

    Congrats Paul, remember the 1st day you came to UPL. Your contribution to HR development in Pakistan has been tremendous over all this time. While most of us (including myself), search for greener pastures and challanges in foreign land, you have made Pakistan your home in every sense of the word. The path you have chosen is even more difficult and yet you are a success story of a “Professional Entrepreneur”. Wishing you all the success ! Enjoyed the write-up !

  24. Atique Waghani

    My Home Town is Karachi and I can fully understand the highs and lows of living there. Unfortunately, we are still struggling in making Pakistan a class free society and that is why people like myself have to migrate for better opportunities abroad. Nevertheless, your efforts in the HR Sector in Pakistan speak for themselves and are worthy of commendation. You will soon see Pakistan emerging from the challenges it faces now and becoming a prosperous country it once was, with the efforts of Pakistanis and friends of Pakistan like you.

    All the best in your future endeavours.

    Pakistan Zindabad !

  25. Munzir Ishaq

    Thanks Paul for sharing your awesome experience about a country where unfortunately many of its natives seems to have lost hope about its future!! you are absolutely right about the resilience this country and especially Karachi has shown in last ten years…..nowhere in the world you can match this. Your views about Pakistan are truly inspiring and give all of us even a further strong reason to believe in our GREAT country and nation!

    Keep emiting this positive energy and optimism in our environment….we badly need it.

    God bless you!!

  26. Adnan A. Siddiqui

    Thank you Paul for making us believe on ourselves….I had just one training session with you and since then I try to follow you whenever possible….your commitment to Pakistan and its people can not be compensated with any words….hats off to you….just don’t leave us….Cheers!

  27. Ghulam Abbas

    Great comments and respect this man shown for our beloved country,
    great and positive persons always talking for positive things/ ideas ,
    Pakistan is ok but there is more need of betterment, and In sha Allah soon it will be.

  28. Adnan Butt

    Respect for the man.. this i think coming from the heart. God Bless!