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Category Archives: Election

stop treating Malala as pinata


[Let me clarify here, I don’t have any insider information nor I have long pattern recognizing machine working on some historical data to predict she is puppet of any western country. I am not resident of Swat but I am Pakistani and have spent long many years in Pakistan. So I don’t know the “inner story”  and I will not give any credence to such things. My view is based on what is just infront of me and it changes.}

It has been experience of being stuck between two fighting spouses, they are fighting about something but don’t know what. One is arguing about what happened on Monday party other is shouting about burned toasts in the morning breakfast.

Malala is great, Malala is enemy puppet, Malala deserves all the praise, Malala was never shot ,……  this shouting match has to stop, instead everyday it is on increase. Each day we see Malala being honored by one or other organization, being interviewed by one reputable newspapers or other TV program, and on other side we see more voices from sideline jumping in the ring.

To pro Malala supporters, supporting a person shot due to her ideas and service is something everyone should do. One should stand by that person, if that person is an innocent child one should be ashamed of society where children could be targeted. The question one should ask is are we supporting Malala or are we supporting our desires that could take in shape of Malala? Are we condemning anyone criticizing Malala’s nomination for Nobel peace prize because we feel this huge sympathy wave for her can push committee to give Pakistani citizen second one or we seriously believe she deserves peace prize?  or (which I hope is false) we believe with her we can sell the image of Pakistan that can justify certain non-democratic practices?

Frankly she does not deserve what we are doing with her. She could be great leader in few years, she could be great representative. She is eloquent, she is determined, she has charm and she knows what she wants. In her age that is more than one can ask for.

She has been given a second life, a second chance. There are many shiny steps in her way, why is this hurry of giving everything to her in a single year, without giving her opportunity to earn it. She can go miles ahead of where we are pushing her.

She does not need Nobel prize today. All the honors that have been bestowed on her are more representative of other’s desire than her doing. They are exposing her to the elements she should not be exposed to.

Why a BBC journalist be so clueless to let her make statement “you want to go outside, you must go with a man – if even your five-year-old brother goes with you it’s fine, but you must have someone else, a girl cannot go outside all alone.” and let it be representative of large and diverse country. When I heard this sentence, it appeared to me childish until I remembered it was spoken by a child. A child that, from her sentence could be assumed, has not experienced world outside the realms of male in her household. That appears to have not been to any other city of her country or met people from other parts of her country to know so little of it. (I am not saying women in my country are free and they can go out 1 am in the night alone or huge chunks of their lives are lived under the gaze of male family members)

Assed Baig is right when he calls this situation White Savior complex, although I don’t agree with his arguments. Shazia Ramzan, Kainat Riaz and  Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi are victims of war but they unfortunately are bystanders, they were not attacked because of their views, Malala Yousafzi was.

She is a teenager, a special one but still a teenager. She deserves to say erroneous things and take back. She should be given time, where she form her views, understand the world more deeply and more independently. Why should she have to declare infront of the world she still non-western girl?

To anti Malala, seriously most of you are behaving like kids in the school. I can understand the frustration, it looks like universe has decided to honor someone from among us and reason has been given that she has been our savior; only that many among us don’t agree with that. It is same frustration that one feels, when some foreigner makes tall claims about Benazir Bhutto, making her to be some human right champion. It’s frustration when people among are given projection to be our representative without our consent. But it’s not her mistake.

You are saying she is being used? you say there are other people who deserve it? we can discuss it, but again it’s not her mistake. Who among you (yes all the grown men and women) can say I don’t deserve it when given such honors? And Nobel prize? who among us has enough courage to say “No I have not done enough” when you have been shot for your cause  (few years back a very eloquent person who has never been part of anything consequential just said, he was humbled but still accepted the award).

And is it really bad that she gets Nobel Prize? people less deserving than her have gotten Nobel prize for peace. I might not believe she deserves Nobel prize, but I will be happy if she wins (people with bloodied hands have got that prize) she atleast is only accused of not doing enough.

To be very frank, this hue and cry on every Nobel Prize is getting old now, if we are really pissed that West picks less deserving people for the Nobel Prize and reason is some conspiracy, then for god sake start something good yourself. Start some prize where you can pick people on merit.

Back to Ms. Malala.

In the end, I believe she is destined to bigger things, but she needs to go through much more to get there. Being shot for your views and still stand on your ground is a big sacrifice; however it’s much more painful to live and serve. This is not a single act and it’s beginning not end.

 

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4th Nov & 11 May; crossing University Ave.


Yes it is about elections in Pakistan, but it about my experience also….. and it’s invitation to cross the University Ave. so read if you are interested. It is about a day some years ago.

In less than 30 minutes I must have crossed the University Ave. 30 or 40 times; whenever the traffic light turned red and pedestrian light switched on, I crossed the road. I crossed it with my other friend and there might be 100 students doing the same thing, right on the corner of Swamp Restaurant.

Just an hour or so ago,  ABC news has said polls are closed and they were ready to declare Obama President of USA; date was Nov. 4 2008 (yes I had to go back and check date, as people who know me know I don’t remember dates).

And these students excited on the prospect of something new, on promise of something different, a change, these young people just few years in their twenties (some even younger than that)  were on roads of Gainesville. It looked so easy in the end, it looked like all the worry of past so many months of seeing Sarah Palin heart beat away from becoming the most powerful person on earth, was nothing.

I think there were some exams going around and few were told about the results while they were taking tests. And in some cases teachers promised they will not going to look at the results till the end of the class. Now when results were out, as per the boring tradition, no one knew what to do, no one knew if any celebratory party was going around. Gators did what we were accustomed to do, gather at University Ave. (some new kids don’t remember old days of us winning those championships and closing down of University Ave., good old days)

I don’t know how it started, but students started crossing the University Ave. 30, 40 people on each side whenever the pedestrian light switched students will cross the road, high fiving people coming from other direction, shaking hands and talking and enjoying.

It was a monumental moment, even for me who is not American. I who came from the country where every 10 years the army takes over, where the best leaders you get are Bhuttos, I who was sad and angered when I had seen my countrymen cheering for Musharaf; I was happy this change coming in a country which is blamed for many things wrong in my country. I was happy to see the system work.

Might be because this was first time I have seen the election really working and choosing a person which I felt was far better choice than opponent. Might be because there were not cries of rigging and Mc Cain accepted results quite honorably. Might be because I saw the process giving opportunity to people to prob the candidate (unfortunately the 2012 elections were quite a disappointment in that respect)

No, I was not disillusioned like many of my American friends (living in Pakistan makes you too wise and cynical to believe in the oratory skills of a leader), but his ideas were grate. He looked like a leader willing to take charge, willing to defend his position, willing to admit his mistakes.

Yes did I have hope, of course, I had hope, did I had expectation? No I did not had any expectation of him bringing world peace or changing the America in 100 days.  Or he is going to radically change the philosophy with which the big nations run the world.

Today I am hopeful that we are going to see the same thing in Pakistan, an election after 5 years of completion of the Constitutional Assembly. Election, not because someone took 10, 20 thousand people and blocked the constitution avenue or did the train march towards Islamabad (never understood this name, because no trains go to Islamabad) and not because Army general pushed his stick on the chest of PM for announcing elections.

And I am hopeful because an outsider has ruined the party for others, Imran Khan and PTI long time in making have finally got enough muscle to push the old guard a little bit. It is not same comfortable run towards election. Again I have hope, but I have no expectation.

Why I have no expectation, because like Obama, he is new but like Obama he has Old guard around him. Like Obama he has words, courage and vision but no clear path. No expectation because he did not understood beauty of system and cried of fall of government too many times in past five years. No expectation because he and most of his supporters think, matters could be solved by just nomination of one person. I have no expectation because he will have to do on job learning, it is different than coming on television and giving policy speech on prompt.

I have hope because unlike the two parties that have their roots in being raised by the Dictators this one does not (atleast not directly). To refresh memories both Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif were part of Dictatorship. Unlike the two other parties, this party does not appear to have roots in one area or province, unlike other parties it does not have the family members nominated or “elected” to main party posts. Unlike other parties it worked for last 15 years to reach here. Unlike other parties it does have “ideas” about the situation and are willing to come out and say them. Even when this lets supported of other “silent” parties claim title of “secular parties” (interesting to see PPP do that when PPP elected President of Pakistan was absent for air waves on the killing of the Governor of Punjab or of the Minister of Minority affairs).

I have hope because hundreds of thousands of youngsters that had nothing to do with this system few years back are putting their hearts in it. I know many will have their hearts broken within few months of election.

I have hope because I am up for long run and long fight, I don’t believe in miracles that change nations (I have seen too many of those) or in revolutions that claim to burn down old cancers. I believe is long, tiring battles where grounds are won inch by inch.

So yes I have hope, and I wish my people will vote (whoever you try to vote to, it’s up to you);

So yes I will, when the elections will be over and results come in, go to the University Ave. right in front of parking lot of the Chemistry department and will cross the road. I know it is totally unrelated and non-consequential action, benefiting no one. But I will be there for myself and for my hope of Pakistan’s future.  You are welcome to join.

 

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Pakistan’s PM to be arrested.


Interesting and serious situation has developed in Pakistan. One of the province is now being run by governor with provincial govt. resigned. Hundreds of protesters are being led in capital Islamabad by “suddenly appearing” cleric demanding assemblies be dissolved. And now the Supreme Court has ordered that PM be arrested and presented in front of court.

I have been little away from the situation so don’t know why is he being arrested. I know in what case he is being arrested, but “why” is big question. Has he being charged? if yes, then by whom? Attorney General of his own govt.? Or the court is just asking him for the appearance? Is he being arrested for the questioning and investigation?

With it the KSE has plunged 500 points, things are going from serious to worse quite quickly. With the court time already ended (or near the end) getting a pre-arrest bail will be impossible. So how the police handles this situation? Will PM has to be arrested? or he can just present himself to the court in the morning?

To me question is What was court thinking????? Without indictment  you are arresting PM??? under what rule and for what purpose? just for questioning? He is PM, he is there, he could be ordered to appear for the questioning.

 

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Goodbye to “Zalmo Qazi A raha hea”


If you have lived 90’s in Pakistan you will always remember Zalmo Qazi Aa raha hea and associate it with a fiery white bearded guy Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Jamat-e-Islami. It was time when Jamat was riding on the street power. It’s call could be fetch tens of thousands of protesters and cities could be jammed within few days of their call.

With all the geo political situation and Islamicized political atmosphere of Pakistan (in addition to false sense of pride that we defeated Russia) one of the reason Jammat was strong was because of Qazi Hussain Ahmed. Now he is no more there. It’s sad because he was one of the main power brokers of the time when Pakistan came out of the dictatorship and was reason of the upheaval Pakistan went through in 90’s.  We will not be able to record history in his terms, now we will know the version of his history through others.

He was always quite interesting character for me because unlike his many party members and workers his views remained somewhere near the middle. He did not appear to share sentiment of some religious right about converting Pakistan into one-other Arab state and appeared more near to Pakistanis. He like many Pakistanis held two near contrasting views (or views that appear to be contrasting to anyone outside Pakistan). He was for the women rights but defined equality with men in different terms than most of us will (something in the line of they are equal but no same). Recently his views on the Malala showed how much near he is to views of most of Pakistanis, he protested against the attack on 14 year old  girl but at the same time said she was being used by someone. After talking to many Pakistanis that’s what you will find many Pakistani’s believe; they are with Malala but believe she was being used.

This ability of his articulate views of many Pakistanis made him important leader but he was not able to change the views of Pakistan’s public towards better. He was not able to steer Jamiat (student wing of Jamat-e-Islami) away hooligan, bullying and criminal mindset. He was not able to make Jamat-e-Islami independent of the establishment. Later when public sentiment went against establishment this establishment’s B-team stamp made people move away from the Jamat-e-Islami.  Things did not help much when JI became ally of the PML-N and anti-PPP sentiment made people vote for any party that was PPP, thus voting for PML-N since they represented more chance of winning than JI.

With all the bad and good things one can associate with him, he was still on of the main political characters that formed the present state of Pakistan. His era saw JI playing some hard balls, a force that was taken by government quite seriously, a party who was recognized of being quite disciplined and that had street power, even when they could not win many parliament seats.  He was much better than many cartoon characters we are seeing nowadays on the political scene, so Qazi sahab Allah Hafiz. …….

we will always remember Zalmo Qazi A-raha hea

 

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Egypt, Morsi and dictatorship (some words from Pakistan)


Let me start by saying I blame Morsi,….

What Egypt is going through is exactly what happens when dictatorships fall. One feels like after years of stability we are entering a destructive era. Tensions and temperatures increase, every system appears to be crumbling and people are ready to fight each other. Suddenly ones who never thought of speaking, because they were not allowed to speak, start shouting. They want to tell what they think, …….

it’s ugly but that’s what happens when a prisoner after spending years in dark cell comes out, he feels he got blind. Freedom is weird, angry beast, but it is most beautiful one also.

So I am not too disappointed from Egypt’s situation, because unlike Iran where people just resistance against theocracy in name of revolution never took root, here we can see that people are eager to protect it.

What Egyptian people are going through is what nations go through when rebuilding, everyone has it’s own dream how new house should look like. Unfortunately instead of having these discussions  in the rooms, coffee houses they are having these discussions on streets. Because their experience tells them that unless roads are not blocked no one listens. (like in Pakistan, where unless tires, sometimes with car on them, are not burned  no one takes notice). Again it is unfortunate byproduct of the dictatorship.

Now why I blame Morsi, well simply because his actions are unlawful (as per my knowledge of Egyptian law). Whatever be the hindsight, whatever be the good end and good intentions be. He is wrong, He should not have done that. When I first heard of it, I felt ok he is trying to protect the constitution. But then one has to ask protect the constitutional assembly by unlawful act? One can ask what unlawful act? He has only declared himself above the reproach of Egyptian Court for just for small amount of time. Question is what stops him extending it? and What stops him from declaring something similar in future? Even if he is a good person with good intentions, he will be setting precedent. That’s what is scary.

Morsi says he wanted to protect the results of revolution, then he should have let the courts do what they thought was lawful. Their decision even if lawful, if had been against the popular feeling, would have resulted in more united resistance of people. Now he has taken away the right of people to argue for him. Now their arguments are based on rhetoric that he has good intentions, he had to protect revolution instead of some solid logic. And as Pakistani how many time I have not heard these logic  I cannot forget the day Gen. Musharraf unlawfully overtook government, I saw same arguments by my fellow countrymen, then when he removed judges first time, then when he did the referendum and then when removed judges second time sighting terrorism and danger to country.

What Morsi did is the modus operandi of dictators, which he does not want to be or atleast I wish he does not want to be. He should take a step back allowing judges do what they think is lawful, challenge their rulings, instead of assuming what they will do and setup precedent which future dictators will use.

 

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Celebrate by digitizing Pakistan


As 14th of Aug is coming, you will see huge number of messages, facebook pages and websites about being proud Pakistani, there will be pictures of faces covered by flag paint, there will huge flags themselves. And as usual like anyother year we will keep liking them, forwarding them or commenting on them.

I invite you to do something different, that is write about Pakistan and increase Pakistan’s presence on electronic map.

There is extreme deficiency of information regarding Pakistan. Try searching any urdu poem, you will not find any reliable source and most probably you will not find the poem or ghazal if it is not famous. Try googling  some Pakistani authors and search result will be useless, even Wikipedia will not be able to provide you any information e.g. search Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi and the Wikipedia page is quite pathetic for it. Bano Qudsia wikipage has less information than some semi famous English song, same is true for other authors.

Search some Pakistani song and you will not find it’s lyrics or information about who wrote it, who is musician, when it was recorded, etc…. Same is true about the Films and actors (Wahid Murad appears to be exception, whose Wikipedia page is quite detailed).

Try searching about 12 Oct. Army overtake by Musharaf, there is no information about timeline of events, look at Kashmir Earthquake you will not find about the huge effort done by people all around Pakistan.

And one can forget about any information regarding Pakistani politicians (except few top leaders) or finding about their voting record, career, political leanings, etc……

Just saying that people should know about Pakistan will not take us anywhere,.. most importantly we have to register this information for ourselves and our people.

So if you want to do something about Pakistan, pick your pen or you just pick your keyboard, write about your experience as Pakistani,

  • Write about any Pakistani author you like or any book you have read
  • if you can, pick a you-tube clip of some Pakistani drama and give it’s English subtitles
  • Go to Wikipedia an write about the episodes of Sona-Chandi, Un-Kahi, ….. any drama you like.
  • Make Wikipedia page about your school, your city, your street or shrine that exists on the corner
  • Get information about who is your MNA, MPA, put it on Wikipedia.
  • You are singing any Pakistani song or any ghazal, put it on the web, even if it is single verse
  • You commonly read Ashfaq Ahmed‘s zavia, translate it into English, even if it single sentence.
  • You like going to some cafe in Lahore, or visit some place in Karachi or Queta or some other small or big city, …… put it on Wikipedia. Get information and put it there.
  • Blog about your experience of event in Pakistan
    • write how you felt about earth quake and how Pakistani’s put their efforts together to help their citizens
    • write how you felt when Musharaf took over the govt., write about timeline, whatever you remember, put it there. Or were you there when in Lahore high court, when Lahore was under siege during Lawyer movement, chronicle your experience.  Or were you part of LUMS and FAST student protests against sacking of Chief Justice? give your day an e-life.
    • What happened when floods engulfed huge chunk of Pakistan? put your thoughts in.

There is not much patriotic zeal in it as it might look, but what you are doing is making your country searchable. You are recording your history, your culture; in small little steps. These small not so important appearing information what makes culture. People write stories, dramas and make movies around these mundane appearing details. You are chipping away ignorance about Pakistan with your small electronic saber.

So pick up a week, lets say a 7th to 14th of Aug. and celebrate Write About Pakistan Week? we write about whether our writing is of good quality is not is another question but we write to take first step and then clean it up as we go.

 

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Kashmir; students ask for Azadi


In Pakistan the media is not giving much heed to what is going around in Indian Held Kashmir, might be they want to distance themselves from the events. Reading news articles, both by Indian and non-Indian, it seems everyone is in conclusion that they are largely based on anger of local people, more on the basis of how govt. is treating them.  Have a look at BBC’s Soutik Biswas Deja vu in Kashmir and Wall Street Journal The New Kashmir Anger.  Indian Army is marching in the streets of Kashmir and Media restrictions have been placed. Due to media restrictions no newspaper was published yesterday.

One of the Interesting news was about the Film Lamhaa. IBN CNN reported Kunal Kapoor’s tryst with danger in Kashmir and what was danger? He was performing Lamhaa’s scene in front of 400 schools students and some students start objecting to what he was saying.

Kunal says, “I was saying my lines when suddenly some students said that you are not making sense and everybody joined them. However, there was another group of students who were supporting what I said. This small argument led to a big argument where both groups started arguing with each other.”

He further elaborates, “In the midst of this big argument, I didn’t know what to do and I was simply standing. Then suddenly from nowhere a student came and shouted, ‘Kashmir ko kya chahiye?’ (What does Kashmir want?), and the rest answered in one voice ‘Azadi’ (freedom).

These are not words from some Pakistani or any other non-Indian personality, we can’t say that he is twisting it to make it against India. So when I listen and read many Indian commentator saying whatever is happening in Kashmir is Pakistan’s doing or they have been manipulated by few, I want them to listen and observe Kashmir. Try to understand what the people of Kashmir want. One of the excellent interview is what Mehbooba Mufti gave to IBN CNN on 8th of July 2010 http://ibnlive.in.com/news/mehbooba-blames-government-for-kashmir-violence/126260-37.html?from=search . She truly said that the said alleged tapes regarding the so called Separatist Leaders can’t be used as an excuses of State sponsored violence Kahmiri people are facing.

 

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