Poles Apart | Haider Rifaat

After witnessing the current situation in Pakistan, I have come across many individuals who assess other nations based on stereotypical beliefs. There are numerous factors which make Pakistan and the U.S. entirely different. However, one of the most vital factors which has created a rift between the two countries is the cultural difference. Pakistan and the U.S. have not been able to get along well on account of the distinct cultures.

Several conservatives who mainly dwell in the rural regions of Pakistan do not approve of western clothing. In contrast, the U.S. supports diverse cultures and people from different religious affiliations. Moreover, modernization has become a trend in Pakistan, yet people who belong from traditional backgrounds oppose western customs, particularly the openness in the society.

Keeping the culture aspect aside, there is another important factor which makes Pakistan and the U.S. complete opposites. The education system in the U.S. is no match to that of Pakistan. Majority of youngsters living in Pakistan are encouraged to pursue their education from abroad as the standard of education in Pakistan is awfully low.

I recently interviewed a person from Baluchistan. He believes that receiving education from a country like the U.S. is meaningless.

The statement he claimed was, “Why should I go abroad for studying, especially to a country like the U.S. when I can receive similar education from Pakistan? Besides, I have a motive in life and that is to serve my nation.”


The rage I saw in his eyes for the U.S. left me speechless for a while. Receiving a degree from the U.S. is a privilege and few people are able to utilize such opportunities. Perhaps our youngsters should opt more for foreign education in order for them to understand how the education system works in other countries, especially in the U.S.

I myself was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia and found a major difference between the education systems of the two countries. Receiving higher education from abroad is a benefit, not a loss. If a person has a desire of serving his or her nation, it can always be fulfilled by receiving better education from a country like the U.S. One can always swing back to his home country anytime.

In addition, the gender and racial inequalities in some workplace environments in Pakistan have created fissures between the employers and employees relationship. Some individuals have claimed that managers and executives are given more prestige than the employees working under them. Furthermore, there have been cases where some foreign degree holders are given jobs of lower standards in Pakistan.

These major differences make the two nations entirely different and that is why a country like Pakistan is not progressing in today’s world. The reason why the United States of America is a global superpower is on the account of providing excellent education and rights to its citizens. Sometimes I wish Pakistan could be a nation superior to any other country in the world. Sadly, I cannot see that happening.


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