I completely agree that optimisim and forward thinking is critical to societal and cultural progress, however, we *must* first establish where we are as a nation (people) and a country (state) before we start talking about where we want to go and where we want to be.
I think the most significant problem Pakistan has is that, we never really thought (collectively, individually) about who we are as a people, what are aspirations and most perhaps most importantly, where we are today (then and now).
You can plot a path to success or lay the ground work for progress without taking inventory of ourselves, today. We *must* realize that as great as the trappings of modernity are (and we do all enjoy them), that the majority of country is still starving and struggling. It is not progress for Pakistan for 10-20% of its citizens to open more malls, drive better cars, enjoy better food and become more learned while the majority struggle and starve. If anything, what we define as "progress" is social regression in the form class polarization.
I am not a dyed in the wool Pakistani, in fact, the past two years is the only real time I have spent in Pakistan so I may be come across as preaching and naive, but I think there is something fundamentally wrong with how the progress is taking place in this country. Until, we, and by we I mean Pakistanis, all build some consensus on who we are and where we need to go, this angst will continue and only result in violent acts like those we witnessed today.
Does it not blow your minds to realize that we have *every* possible fruit of modernity available in this country yet we cannot walk the streets without constant fear of muggings, kidnappings, bombings etc..? At what cost is this progress coming? The poor are getting poorer, the middle classes are spending themselves into debt and rich are getting richer.
Some times, in between black outs, bombings, assassinations and strikes, I ask myself, "Raza, how would you start fixing this country?" and for all my ideas I have no idea where to start. So criticize as I might the politicians and drudgery of the regimes past and present, I have no answers to the questions I pose.
Roosevelt said we have nothing to fear but fear itself and this is perhaps the mind set we need to achieve. I know for one, I, have yet to reach it.
Edit: I hate the fact I have taken this entire topic completely off its intended course. Let me say this, I live in Karachi and although I live hundreds of kilometers away from Lahore, every time I hear of such atrocities, the windows and walls of my mind shake in unison with your fears and hearts. My condolences go out to the victims of yet another unnecessary tragedy.
Edward R Murrow said "No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices." Take it to heart, first shed your tears for those who are no longer with us, then rouse your anger against who perpetrate these inhumane acts. This is anger justified. This is national pride.