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Category Archives: People

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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Will you stop insulting? Will you change?


Will you stop insulting? this question is not for the non-Muslims, but the people living in Muslim societies who call themselves Muslims.

Yes, I am asking Muslims, will you stop insulting? Today Muslims feel they are hurt. Will this realization bring positive change?

When you are done burning (ironically your own buildings), killing your own people, destroying your own economy, have a peek at what Thomas Friedman says in Look In Your Mirror . He, I believe has not being as truthful and as harsh as he should be. We do much worse things that what he is pointing out.

People in Muslim societies constantly insult others, we have latrine-jokes about founder of Ahmedi religious group (that we have declared non-Muslim), we have “names” for the Jews and their leaders (there are youtube videos calling them pig), we call Hindus “paleed” (not-clean), we make fun of how they respect cow.  Our books represent Hindus as plotters and money grabbers, we call Christians “churha” (derogatory  word), our masajid every day call us to be victorious against Kuffars (infidels) without even giving a hint of respect to all the non-Muslims living among us.

After all the hurt you (yes you calling yourself Muslim) will you stop insulting others?

 

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google doodle for Pakistan


Google Doodle For Pakistan Independence

It’s so good, I want a T-shirt for that.

 If you can’t relate to that then you need to google Truck art in Pakistan

 

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Pakistan, People, public awareness

 

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My 4 Moments as Pakistani


4 days to independence day of Pakistan, 4 days to the celebration….

4 moments where being Pakistani was either made one proud or made one really hurt; atleast to me. One can come up with millions of such lists and hundreds of ordering. So I laid down some rules, it has to  be in my lifetime, that is I witnessed it happening, so pretty much past 30 years. Other than that there is no logic to it, no grand philosophical ordering,  and anyone of you can come up with a better list.

For me the difficulty about making such list is that I realize I have done nothing for my country or humanity in general. In any of these moments I was not the part that was making this moment interesting. I was not the one that helped Pakistan win any of the World Cups, I was not the one marching towards court to get Cheif Justice reinstated, I was not the one collecting funds for the Flood Victims. I was there but more of silent observer and passive member.

But then I was not part of people chanting slogans in favor of Army when Musharaf threw-out lawful Prime Minister or was among ones showering flowers on the killer of Salman Taseer……. I was not part of ugly history also.

I was not there in any of them, I was not making any history, I was just silent as the majority is, but who needs such majority if they can’t speak. .

Only one moment I was part of it was Earthquake 2005, I will start from there.

1) Earthquake 2005

It’s difficult to categorize this as best or worst moment of Pakistan, Northern Areas and Kashmir were literally converted into rubles; houses, schools, hospitals, everything was effected. For that moment it felt worst of being Pakistani, because so many people died and it became visible govt. cannot do it’s job.

Suddenly that became best of Pakistan; no one knows how and when, people just started organizing. Were scenes of rubles of Margala Towers and the people trapped in them, that gave the people an initial push or was it news of children dying in schools in Kashmir, I can’t say. It was just sudden….. and it was in grand order. It was huge effort to reach out to the people who needed help. People gathered food, clothes, blankets, tents…. anything they felt that could be used. Then they rented the trucks instead of handing out them to the govt. they took them to the effected areas themselves.  It was extraordinary response to the extraordinary challenge. If in the night you were on the road to Kashmir you can see lines of trucks moving from bottom to the top of the hill.

One day in Bagh area I saw truck load of water-bottles lying on the ground and cardboard boxes peeling off because they have been soaked due to rain. I was amazed to see this amount of water bottles, later I learned that during the early days one of Tv channels ran the story about natural sources of water have been disturbed due to earthquake and in some areas of Kashmir have no water.

I heard one of the guy from Karachi saying that in his area in Karachi people don’t have clean water to drink and here people are doing Wazu with the bottled water. Point is someone heard the story and thought that’s how he can help, he was able to find the resource, he was able to find a person to deliver it…….

We heard hundreds of stories, story of cart-pusher who was coming everyday to help find survivors from the Margala Building instead of selling the things and earn daily living. There were countless of examples where people giving away their savings. putting their lives at risk sometime. …..

That was best of Pakistan, …………

2) World cup……… leading to Shaukat Khanum Hospital

I was quite young at that time and did not knew much about the cricket, except that Pakistani team was being lead by this thin, tall guy called Imran Khan. (I think I had some memories of Sharjah Cup but nothing much) Then came the World Cup being played in Australia, with the theme song “Who’ll rule the World?” and …. things changed, I remember sitting in school van counting who will loose to whom for us to reach the semi-finals; even when I was not clear about the names of different deliveries.

(Good thing about being Pakistani cricket fan is that they don’t change much, even today they are dependent upon how others will loose rather how we will win. So memory keeps getting refreshed. )

Images of Rameez Raja taking the final catch, Waseem Akram taking two wickets in consecutive balls or Imran Khan with raised arms in joy having a victorious smile; have been plastered in my memory.

Why it is important? if we look at it just as a cricket-moment, it does not look much important in terms of history. We won in the Hockey World Cup, we won Snooker world cup and we were champions in Squash (we ruled squash world for 11 years, we ruled hockey more than that.) then why winning Cricket-World Cup was important?

Because it allowed Imran Khan to build Shaukat Khanum…. it made him legend, a giant, a wizard that can do anything. And we all rallied around him and got something important than a crystal cup… Shaukat Khanum Hospital.

Shaukat Khanum Hospital construction is one of the moments which we should all be proud of. Imran Khan might have played pivotal role but we helped him do it. After so many years it is still as success story. I hope it keeps being one. But it would have been difficult to do without the win in World Cup.

Will add two more in coming days.

 
 

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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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Gay rights, American Muslims and religious laws


American Muslims! do you want American Laws to be based on religion? if not then why all the arguments against gay marriage are coming from religion?

If you have been to Muslim gathering, especially for Jummah namaz, you would have met many concerned muslims and heard ceremons from the pulpits. I did…..

Recent declaration by Obama to end descrimination against Gays marrige rights have stirred quite a bit of uneasynes among religious leadership (if there is something like that in Muslim community of America)

In masajids you might be Imam mentioning gay rights and getting angry on that. You will hear things like they are going to indocternate the children, if we alow gays getting married then next they will going to allow sex with animals, and even you might hear the argument it is slippery slop if we tolerate gays getting married next it might be having sex with kids (yup, for a second i could not believe when I heard such arguments), one Imam pointed out that your child might come home and say dad today my teacher Ms. Jeniffer’s husband came to visit her and her name was Andrea, what you are going to say to them.

I will not go in details about “question of consent” which an animal can’t give. Or Muslim children grow in America where most of the kids are having sex (straight or not) or atleast know that kids around them have boy friends or girl friends. So how traumatic their teacher having gay husband would be?

I will not even go and discuss that in this society people of any inclination are having sex with who ever they want and are open about it, so is big fuss is just giving them legal rights (which as a human they must have) not the physical act itself?

Keep all these aside, and acknowledging that all Ibrahimic religions (Jeudaism, Christianity and Islam) view being gay a sinful act. Question is which one of these wants to have American laws defined according to the religion? Do jews and muslims want America to have Christian laws? If not then why the reasoning they are presenting is coming from the religion?

Why I only hear God has forbiden this act, Allah destroyed a nation for that, ……. where are other detailed reasonings. Because if we start having religious argument here, where it will stop. Why not next have discussion about who could actually be called Christian or Jew or Muslim? Why not go ahead and ban any criticism of any religion? But then who will define religion? Why should Christians accept Islam to be religion? if they do then why not some Spagheti God? Should punishments be also derived from Bible, old and new Testaments?

American Muslims should know better, religious arguments about laws will lead to religions laws and those laws might not be ones that let minorities flourish.

 

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