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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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Suicide of Luminite and responsibility of University?


I received this really sad news on the email list. A student of Lahore University of Management Sciences has committed suicide . The little information I was able to grasp from the group (before everyone started the analysis of the LUMS, its system, fees and everything) was that the student was deeply disturbed because his GPA went below the required threshold.

I will not talk about whether such threshold is valid or what other causes were there for that student’s death.

I do not want to say whether the University was responsible or not. I have too few information to do that, I have too much bias to discuss that.

What I want to say is to University is that: Even if I am not responsible it does not mean I should not try to resolve it.

Academia is a stressful place. Unlike what outside people think, being student is not easy. It’s full time job. Your day does not end at 5:00 pm and it does not start at 9:00 am.

Students around the globe commit suicides in universities and it is not new Phenomena. Most of the time its stress of the course, sometime its stress of the environment, other time its just too much to handle the explosion of new-ideas and new-themes of the life.

LUMS is more stressful place than other Institutions of Pakistan not only because of paradoxical culture they have, because they are in too much hurry to become best university in Asia , because their systems are not so mature, because some teachers feel that they should not be giving ‘Good Grades’, because some teachers consider themselves “Khudai Faujdar” (God’s Crusader’s) of cleaning out the LUMS from ‘un-intelligent’ students, because some of the faculty member are too ……

Also because LUMS is one of very few academic places where they really allow you to talk what every you want. Discuss what ever you want. It’s a real academic place rather than just great expansive building.

Teachers are allowed to sell their ideas and they have huge faculty that have really opposite theologies; there is God, there is no God, is-there or not-there I do not care, Pakistan is at false, we should be more moderate, less moderate, this or that.

This becomes lot to handle comparing to the world outside that gives you very little opportunity to have your own thinking. (well even at LUMS the so called “MODERATES” are in power and most of the things go there way; but its another issue;). Where you might be joked out but will not be man-handled by Jamiat-students.

Crux is, there is stress; not only due to University itself and its management policies, But might even be what it is offering. University might not be in control of many of these things. But this does not mean that they should not do anything about it.

This is one of the thing I have seen in American Society (or at least what ever American Society I have seen). They deal with matters and do not let them go because by Law they were not required to deal with that. It’s of social obligation, even if not for the moral purpose but just for the survival of the society.

In extreme selfish manner you protect each other for at least benefit of protecting yourself .

For example how can we know that next time if someone in LUMS decides to commit suicide will not decide to take few others with him? Next time the student might say ok, that teacher screwed me so why should I go alone? So Management of LUMS should do it not for themselves if not for others. {Again I do not have information that they didnot tired,}

Whatever be the reason, the stress exists in the students and University is (morally) obligated to help students out of that. Its one thing we should provide to them in the University Environment before we throw them to the vultures of outer-world.

Many Universities around the world are thinking about the proactive way of dealing with this issue. Current student-shootings in the US Universities has kicked started the new discussion about how to stop people before they hurt themselves and others.

LUMS has been very good to me, I learned a lot there; it opened the opportunities for me which my Punjab University degree would not have opened. This does not mean that they should remain silent. LUMS should atleast think that by taking few other step if it can avoid this situation, it should do that. It’s worth it.

LUMS management has always handled these situations much better than other universities, I hope they are able to do that this time also.

I feel sorry for that student, his family.

May Allah Help us all.

World might be horrible place to live in, but life is too wonderful to loose

But then these are just Stranger’s Words

 
 

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More Student Protests in Pakistan


I have come to know that many protests have been held and more protests have been arranged in universities of Pakistan.

The latest updates are being posted on the blog

http://pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com/

Most important news to me is that the Punjab University of Information Technology (PUCIT) might be having a protest arranged on 9th of November.

PUCIT, FAST and LUMS have huge student body. Where LUMS ‘s students belong to many influential families of Pakistan, PUCIT have students from masses. And they have to face more pressure not only from Administration but also from their families, which dont have enough resources to get them out of jail. Their participation means that resentment against Mr. Musharaf is so deep that even the families with mediocre resources are allowing their children become part of ant-marital-law movement.

The hidden gem is that Punjab University student has a most vocal Political vocal body Islamic Jamiat-e-Taliba, which in some years has been more active in finding the students with bad morals and protesting on meaningless things. Due to alliance of Maulana’s and Govt. this political body might not move an inch.

But if students of PUCIT start protesting and they face some police action, IJT might be forced to come out, because many of these students live in the hostels, where they have close ties with students of IJT. Please note that IJT, is most structured student body spread all around Pakistan. They can play vital role if they are willing for it.

But with all this euphoria, I have sense of sadness, because I feel Benazir and Maulana’s will remain part of silent deal, they will protest for the Restoration of Constitution, but will not talk for the Restoration of Judiciary. So these student protests will end with nothing but becoming bargaining chip on the table of Political poker players

 

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Protesting Against Martial Law: Students Of Elite University


I have just received an email telling how the protest was arranged by the LUMS students, the students of University considered to be serving the elites, with mumy-papa kind of boys and girls. They also went to observe (and/or participate) in the Lawyer’s protest.

http://anna.typepad.com/herstory/2007/11/in-complete-uni.html
I am impressed by these people and their faculty.

There were some Punjab University (PU) students also, but I dont know whether they were let go or are behind bars.

These students will live with these joyful scars, which might shine like stupidity of youth or medal of their honor depending upon what path life takes them to, but sure this one day will be a one of the ‘Big Days‘ in their life.

 

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