Sheep, Shepherds, Pakistan, and Social Pollution!

“To be born again, first you have to die. How to ever smile again, if first you won’t cry? How to win the darling’s love mister, without a sigh?”

I will not even dare and explain whose quote I am using. Those who know, do shut up. Pakistan is, I think, in need of this tipping point. Do we continue as we are, and have been, or do we turn a new leaf?

We are not a small number of people—230 million or so of us sheep. Sorry, minus 40 odd million who believe that they live on the largesse of the shepherds. That still leaves 190 million odd sheep. Wow! Some 10,000 odd shepherds, take away our lives and our souls. Our right to life! Who are these people? We know them know, as we knew them always.

These shepherds have their roots in the extractive British colonial system we inherited. Bureaucrats, also formerly known as “brown sahibs,” were the harbingers. They were closely followed by the pseudo-politicians, and on their coattails came the military. Mark my word, this is how it happened. Though I do mix the politicians and the social polluters—the feudal lords and ladies, who lived off their roles in culling the “natives” for the “gora sahib,” aka the British. As time moved on things got interesting and the industrialists and later on the real-estate moguls all became part of the shepherds.

“Ae Watan ke sajeele jawaano; mere naghme tumhaare liye hain; sarfaroshi hai imaan tumhaara; jurraton ke parastaar ho tum; jo hifaazat kare sarhadon ki..” – Sang by our awesome lady-crooner, Malika-e-Tarannum, Nur Jahan.

This is a quote from a favorite song that did the round in 1965 and 1970—the wars. It has history and I have been part of it. The song, literally, makes me want to go and lay down my life at the borders for dear Pakistan! It now, though, also makes me sad.

What is the military doing inside our borders? It has no mandate here. Yes, many will quote this and that part of the constitution and precedent legal judgements. Fact of the matter, my dear Pakistanis, is that we need to get them back into their barracks. Tough, not really, I will explain.

Pakistan is not a corporation rather it is a collective of people with diverse timelines, objectives, and economic and social paths tied together by a national vision—a possible nation. A government’s job especially one which is elected for a limited time is not to create wealth rather to provide the enabling environment to create wealth—particularly by staying out of that business itself! A clear subset of the aforementioned, is to reduce the size and footprint of the government and to reduce (not increase) the resources in the hands of the government—as measure per unit such as capita or square meter.

Pakistan today, is touted as a de-industrialized state. Let me tell you why? When government is in business and all private capital flows to dead real estate—no real appreciation or productivity in global terms—a country dies, and we are. Between the Bahiras and the Defense Housing Societies and the civil and military (yes, military, also public with a pretense of being private) and public state-owned-enterprises, the private sector is doomed. The sheep are being culled, not just being harvested for wool!

Time has come to cut all this nonsense back to size! All civil and military assets not operationally required to provide defense of our borders, deliver social services, provide internal security and justice, should be shed. This is an assailable truth. At the core of all this is the failing of the people, yes, commonly known as sheep, for being labeled as such and evolving into “electing the best wolf they want to be eaten by.”

We are all equal citizens of Pakistan, and all in office are the servants of the common people, who swear an oath to protect our rights to be so—least some have forgotten the ‘servant’ part. Servitude is the last attitude we see in those who serve us—the main problem, it is!

Unfortunately, no one amongst us is ‘imported’. All of us, are a product of our society. So do not play holier than thou with me. Each institution of Pakistan is a microcosm of the family, the community, the village, the union council, the district, in short of us as a society. We are all to blame!

Before you point fingers at anyone, know that you are here because you are a product of the social pollution you have all been a part of over the last century. All the excrement you see and so exuberantly report about in the media is of your own making, so don’t be ‘holier than thou’ and accept your personal blame, for only then will you bring about the Pakistan I dream about. Do you?

Published by #empowerpakistanbyazd

Amer Zafar Durrani is the President of Reenergia and Paidartwanai. He is an acknowledged development expert and entrepreneur with thirty five years of global experience spanning more than twenty four countries—of which almost 18 years were spent with the World Bank Group. His present work keeps him engaged in Pakistan, China, Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya, Philippines, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan amongst others. He is now based in Pakistan and developing Reenergia as first of its’ kind ‘do-tank’—innovating and delivering solutions for improving lives while making a profit. In parallel, he has set up Paidartwanai Private Limited, an energy supply and consulting company with a mission to develop sustainable provision and consumption of energy through increasingly distributed and renewable energy systems. Amer is also a Senior Fellow at Pakistan Institute of Development Economists. He is also the Industry Co-Chair on the Energy Corporate Advisory Council in National University of Sciences and Technology, and a partner to NJHR, Geopolicity and RIZ Consulting. He continues supporting, through Reenergia, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), International Trade Center (ITC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank Group, and the United Nations Office for Project Services, amongst many global organizations. In his personal capacity, he has been lecturing at the National Defense College and University (Islamabad), National School of Public Policy and University of Birmingham. He frequently appears as invited special guest in Media (TV and Radio) on issues relating to public policy and is a regularly speaker on various other international and local forums. Amer speaks Urdu, English, Punjabi, and can has working knowledge of Arabic, Russian and Dari-Persian. He is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin, USA and has trained at the National Defense University, Pakistan and Lahore University of Management Sciences. He can be reached at and

2 thoughts on “Sheep, Shepherds, Pakistan, and Social Pollution!

  1. A well written article.

    I do have a question. When you talk about the assets that need to be shed, and with it mention the exempted categories. Don’t you think that everything that’s being run falls in one category or the other?


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