I waited, but in vain. President Trump mentioned pretty much every country under the sun. He even mentioned Afghanistan, but no Pakistan. This was an obvious snub and a pathetic one. The country has been involved in the fight against terrorism whether Trump wants to admit it or not. Besides, he’s not the smartest one under the sun so, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.  And yet, still, it hurt.

Maybe it is good that we are no more the center of this terrible universe. Years after years Pakistan has been the forefront to this war on terror. It has both been the breeding ground for the activities and indeed been the most impacted one along with its neighbor Afghanistan. Syria and its civil war has taken the attention away from Pakistan; attention of the world and the terrorist groups. ISIS has made Al-Qaeda busy and we are left with only a fractured Taliban to worry about. This gives the country its share of well-deserved breather. Maybe Pakistan should take that with open arms. But, no.

Our heroes of heroes, the Sharif everyone wants to thank, is now the face of the Muslim NATO. He has promised not to isolate Iran, when the whole purpose of the Muslim NATO seems just that. His aspirations would be short-lived and I’m sure deep down inside, the General knows that as well. We may all be made to think otherwise, we are acquiescing to being a puppet with strings that are held tightly by the Saudis.

But, we could have let it be had it not been for General Sharif’s decision. But, no. Our problem is that we have to push ourselves to the very center of attention, basking in it, even if it burns us. Now, yet again, the narrative is that Pakistan is involved in this organisation of killers (after all, is this not the only purpose of the $103bn worth of weaponry?) and it is proud of it. Moreover, it wants to be a key player in the decision-making process and hence, is offended that Trump failed to mention it in his boring speech.

Maybe stepping back would be good. Taking deep breaths, one after another. Cleaning up the mess that we ourselves have made in our own homes. Take care of the many, many faces that are disdaining the state for its utter lack of competence. Stop praising ex-terrorists and seeing to it that our children do not become future Noreens. Maybe invite the era of liberal education and give the future generations the opportunity to become more than the box-careered engineers and doctors. Let’s have artists, poets, writers, singers, magicians penetrate our dense society and mindset and liberate us from our addictions for dogmas and conspiracies. But, as always, it seems to be asking too much from the community of extreme nationalists who insist that waging wars is the only way to survive.

Let’s be honest though, it isn’t just Pakistan. If the Trump led America drowns India and Afghanistan with money and armory, and provides the governments with political wins, it will change the dynamics of the environment Pakistan is bound to wade through. In this new situation, the country will have no other option but to seek help from the other demi-gods of the region; the Chinese or the Saudis. And this will, eventually, come back to bite it back. Had it not been in constant wars against its neighbors, maybe things would have been different. But, the constant wars too can be dealt with if Pakistan would sincerely want to. For example, the country can devote all its resources to protect its borders and push its neighbors to mind their own business as it focuses a on its internal problems.

Let’s see how Pakistan plays this game, a game with a new key player, Trump. As is its routine, it will make the worst decisions for itself. It will yet again get involved in fights it shouldn’t and then would hurt itself with its own blades. Pakistan would happily spend its time, money and resources on useless adventures and fail to meet its obligations to its people. Or, it could step back and rethink its priorities. It might just let go of its demons of the past and move towards a future where the country deems the welfare of its local dynamics more important than its position in the international scene. Maybe it will. Most probably it wont.