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3rdAlthough much has been written on why Pakistan continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, there has been a lot to be happy about in 2014. Here are a few nuggets that helped Pakistan shake off its ‘negative headline’ trend to some extent.

  • Pakistan has great balls. No seriously, this goes beyond wordplay. After a long hiatus, Pakistan’s sporting goods industry once again became the supplier of choice for the Adidas Brazuca, the official ball of the FIFA World Cup 2014, ensuring Pakistani representation at every match.

  • The Peshawari clicks on the catwalk. British designer Paul Smith launched a sandal ‘inspired’ by the classical Peshawari chappal. Called the Robert, the sandal costs nearly $600 and received rave reviews worldwide. While Paul Smith was initially not very forthcoming about the connection, social media activism eventually made the company acknowledge the source of their inspiration.
  • The Nobel Peace Prize. The most controversial achievement that divided Pakistan was undoubtedly the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai. Many cried foul, asking: Was the prize worth anything in today’s world? Why didn’t Edhi get it? Or, what was the sinister agenda behind the whole affair? Ultimately, the world at large (including a significant number of Pakistanis) agreed that education, standing up to extremism and supporting women’s rights were worthy causes.

There have been other reasons to celebrate achievements by Pakistanis. We won Laugh Factory’s second Most Funniest Man on Earth Award (Saad Haroon), the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize (Bilal Tanweer for The Scatter Here is Too Great), the Right Livelihood Award (Asma Jahangir) and several sporting awards.

Although some of the above may not represent anything significant for some people, they speak volumes about the talent and resilience of a nation that continues to shine against the odds. Here is hoping 2015 will give us greater cause to celebrate.

– Tariq Ziad Khan

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The Dawn Weekend Advertiser on January 4, 2015.