My Pakistani Person of the Year 2011: Ansar Burney

Source: Pakistan Today

In a country where finding problems is easier than breathing, Pakistan has its supply of useful people who are working for the better of humanity. As 2011 comes to a depressing end and we look forward to what 2012 might hold for us, it would be harsh to overlook the contribution that Ansar Burney made this year. Ansar Burney is my Pakistani of the year for 2011 for rescuing the Pakistani, Indian, Egyptian and Sri Lankan merchant seamen of MV Suez, abandoned by their governments, from Somali pirates by lobbying and privately raising money for their ransom in June 2011.

In a world obsessed with killing, there are people who are obsessed with saving people’s lives. Ansar Burney has proved to be one of those people. He has also been working to release Indian prisoners from Pakistani prisons and sending them back home despite criticism from fundamentalist nationalist circles and has also been advocating the release of Pakistani prisoners from Indian prisons. He apparently has no counterpart anywhere near that approach across the border, at least not one that I know of. We really need to see more of the common sense that he makes use of.

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There are many people who sell hope. There are very few who deal in its deliverance. So as the only highlight of the year 2011, which was full of wars, conflict, terrorist attacks, false hope, pessimism, cynicism and deaths, I simply fail to ignore one instance of life saving. It may seem insignificant compared to the mass murder going on in the region that appears to be more worth-discussing but as the Koran and the Talmud say, saving one life is like saving the entire humanity. Such actions must be acknowledged and, if possible, emulated.

I know how it feels to wait for a loved one in trouble, when you are uncertain about their lives and it can really be a tormenting experience for their families. In a time in which everyone is busy taking lives away, you can find very few people who are actually devoting themselves to giving it back to people.

Let’s hope to see more of that the next year.

Happy New Year.

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