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Category Archives: Pakistan Military

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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Doing more than just sit in


Today saying “I am Shia too” will not do,

today just doing sit-in will not do. Those 100 dead men and their families deserve more than that from us.

We the facebook protesters, who are doing laudable service by spreading information about Quetta sit in, should do something more important. We should start conversation and initiate process of putting in paper solid demands.

We should start conversation about how really to safeguard Quetta and Balochistan, we should help shape what expectation from govt. should be. Instead of just slogans we should put point of actions. Each of us wants justice for the ones who have been killed and targeted. But what is that “justice”? We want the peace and security but “how” is where our politicians and we are failing. We are demanding but our demands are hollow and ambiguous.

There is big blank bag of nothing, whenever I hear demand restructuring of police or swift justice. These are empty, lazy slogans. And we all get engulfed in them, because they are easy to make and in the end these make it easy for us to blame others for the failure.

Some of us wants army to come and take up the govt in Balochistan, but what they going to do? Do they have investigative powers and abilities? What mechanism will keep check and balances? How the ones who are arrested will be prosecuted? don’t we remember news of alleged terrorists being released because prosecution could not  build case or police (or army personnel) made procedural mistakes while arrest and investigations ? Will just putting more men on street will do away with the terrorists? What about the hateful material and attitudes we all are harboring for each other’s sects?

Quetta needs much stronger plan. It needs increase in police force, it needs cameras on the roads, it needs better intelligence operations, it needs better bomb detection equipment., change in the “educational material” to include acceptance of what is different. It needs our help to construct charter of demands, a blue print that we should use for all the cities on Pakistan. Most of all it needs better Civil Local Govt.. not the old ideas of putting Army in-charge.

It needs our help in making us realize once for all that there is no silver bullet, we can’t just ask for messiah to come and relieve our pain. It needs our sit-ins, but it need us also to do our job that is converting slogans into documents of practical plans.

 

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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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When our Bloody Sunday report will come?


I first came to know about the Bloody Sunday about 3 years ago, that day I came to know that it is not only we who have their near past dotted with blood of our people; the list is full with developed nations also. Today they have shown the difference between them and us.

Bloody Sunday and Justice

Thirty eight years after the incident, today the report has come telling us that those who were killed were not carrying guns and soldiers were not under threat. British news papers are saying this has given rise to  chance that soldiers might be prosecuted, who knows they will ever be, but atleast Prime Minister has apologized.

And I am sitting here waiting for my Prime Minister to endorse mistakes committed in East Pakistan. I want an apology of putting our troops in a position that they became responsible of killing the ones they were hired to defend. I want them to apologize for delay and prosecute the killers of this nations democracy.

Well I take back what I said, infact I don’t even want an apology, I just want an investigation and acknowledgment that mistakes were done so that process could be changed.

I want details of how Bugti died and how the Lal Masjid were allowed to bunker up in the Capital. I want to know what happened in Swat and what is going around in Baluchistan. I want reports on Karachi Operation, how many people died and how many people went missing, details of their deaths, details of operations, details of arrests, details of conviction. I want to know who placed containers on the roads during Chief Justice’s visit to Karachi?

And don’t throw at me the supporter comment, does British Prime Minister’s apology means he is siding with terrorism? Does this means he is supporting dismemberment of his country?

I look around the Muslim world and find I am not the only one, be any country which proudly calls itself Muslim, it’s hands are busy in suffocating their own people.  When people talk about Extraordinary Rendition, I mostly ask my countrymen why do they think Muslim countries were chosen as destinations? might be because our governments themselves practice the brutality as the form of everyday business?

Don’t you say no! look at your law enforcement agencies. How many of us are comfortable in dealing with them, even when we know we are aggrieved party how many of us want to go and report the crime?

It might change if we get our Bloody Sunday Reports or will it?

 

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N.Y Bomb; and there comes the news


Update: Guy Named Shahzad Faisal has been arrested (nytimes, dawn)

Yes, there comes the news which I was hoping will never occur. From the day I read in NYtimes about the Bomb in SUV (that thankfully did not exploded, much due to observant street vendor), I was wishing that no Muslim generally and no Pakistani in particularly gets connected to this one.  We have enough bad publicity already, we don’t need any other stupid person messing it more.  But NYtimes is reporting that F.B.I is looking for the Pakistani connected to that S.U.V. , so much for wishing.

Today with this news those hundreds of Pakistani taxi drivers will have question mark hanging on their heads.

Just today someone was telling me that we are discriminated at airports and I was saying yes even our visas take long time (3 to 4 months for student visas are not uncommon, where as my Indian friends get them like in week), but you know our (people from Muslim) reputation is not good. Whether this reputation is based on some solid reason or not is another thing, but baseline is we are seen as terrorists. Everytime we try to tell other countries look we are not terrorists, you cannot generalize it,  some nut-job claiming to be Muslim is caught doing something stupid.  There was shoe-bomber, then there was some under-wear bomber, then there were backpack people in England,  crazy, crazy crazy people.

I know we cannot generalize the terrorists, there was I.R.A blowing the buildings but no one started discriminating Irish people, there were Tamil suicide bombers but not all Tamils are killers, there are crazy people in every culture in every country; just few weeks ago some White Americans were arrested for planning a terrorism activity and who can forget Oklahoma.  But this we can tell to an educated or understanding person, to general population every Muslim will be susceptible.

I still wish that they arrest people responsible for this activity and I wish he/she is not Muslim and not Pakistani.

I wish because whenever such thing happens no one sees that how many Pakistani are dying everyday in terrorists attack and how much govt. is doing in getting rid of these monsters; monsters which were created not only by Pakistan but rest of the world to fight then communists Russia. Monsters that have attacked every city of Pakistan and which are mutating into different shapes; engulfing and dividing our society.

 

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Me, Pakistan and media


Yes,  I am about to block all the websites that can give news about Pakistan. How can you concentrate after reading all this. Bomb blasts, rising prices, electricity not there, and now Shehbaz making stupid remarks.

One good thing is atleast they can’t say or do stupid things and get away with them; remember Zardari & Child Born in Rikshaw both President and PM both had to do something to correct it, electricity theft atPML-N rally and now Shehbar Sharif making this statement. Credit must go to media and some form of working democracy. Few years back during dictatorship of Musharaf clothes were tore away from the bodies of prominent protesters and nothing happened.

I know there are many other cases where our politician’s and their worker’s transgressions are covered up, but then democracy is also work in progress.

You, see that’s what happens, I start thinking about Pakistan, reading about Pakistan and then oh this, oh that keep bubbling in my mind.

Right now I have to concentrate on my work, that’s what Pakistan needs more people doing their job correctly. So bye bye news for sometime

 

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