The Other Side of Pakistan|Story no. 17/101

Today’s story is an extract from TED talk of Jacqueline Novogratz titled “Inspiring a life of immersion” 

Talk is for 20 minutes.  I would definitely recommend that you watch the entire talk. This story is a small part of her talk (Time 11:20 to 13:39 minutes)

Last May I had this extraordinary 24 hour period where I saw two visions of the world living side by side. One based on violence and the other based on transcendence. I happened to be in Lahore, Pakistan on the day that two mosques were attacked by suicide bombers. And the reason these mosques were attacked is because the people praying inside were from a particular sect of Islam who fundamentalists don’t believe are fully Muslim. And not only did those suicide bombers take a hundred lives, but they did more, because they created more hatred, more rage, more fear, and certainly despair.

But less than 24 hours, I was 13 miles away from those mosques, visiting one our Acumen investor and incredible man, Jawad Aslam, who dares to live a life of immersion. Born and raised in Baltimore, he studied real estate, worked in commercial real estate, and after 9/11 decided he was going to Pakistan to make a difference.

For two years, he hardly made any money, a tiny stipend, but he apprenticed with this incredible housing developer named Tasneem Saddiqui. And he had a dream that he would build a housing community on this barren piece of land using patient capital, but he continued to pay a price.

He stood on moral ground and refused to pay bribes. It took almost two years just to register the land. But I saw how the level of moral standard can rise from one person’s action. Today, 2,000 people live in 300 houses in this beautiful community. And there’s schools and clinics and shops, but there’s only one mosque.

And so I asked Jawad, how do you guys navigate, this is a really diverse community? Who gets to use the mosque on Fridays? He said, long story. It was hard, it was a difficult road. But ultimately the leaders of the community came together realizing we only have each other.

And we decided that we would elect the three most respected imams, and those imams would take turns, they would rotate who would say Friday prayer. But the whole community, all of the different sects, including Shia and Sunni, would sit together and pray.

We need that kind of moral leadership and courage in our world.


De-briefing of this story

Due to media’s focus only on terrorist’s activities – we think it’s a terrorist country. But that’s not true. There are many people like Jawad in that country too. His story is a perfect example that world peace is possible reality. When he can create this kind of peaceful atmosphere inside Pakistan then we can definitely do it on our country too.


This story can be used to share the importance of

1- World Peace

2- Leadership

3- Other side of Pakistan


Story Source

TED talk of Jacqueline Novogratz titled “Inspiring a life of immersion”

(Visited 162 times, 1 visits today)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *