Reason Before Passion

Sindhi, Pakistani and a Sufi Muslim

Oppa Qadri Style

485908_438168429587669_1659309251_nAs most people in Pakistan know, a long winded drama being played at Islamabad has come to an end with the most amazing anti-climax moments possible. Tahir Ul Qadri, founder of the NGO “Minhaj-Ul-Quran”, led a revolutionary march from Lahore to Islamabad that in itself costed a fortune to host and brought both life and economy of the country to a virtual standstill.

It is true that blaming the economic factor completely on Tahir Ul Qadri is unfair, simply because around the same time sit-ins in support of Shias killed in Quetta had sprung up throughout the country (I was sitting in a train when sit-in on tracks began and thus ended up missing both my chance to visit Lahore as well as the Table Tennis tournament I was suppose to play to represent my institution). But at the same time it did affected businesses in and around Islamabad as the city remained hostage to Tahir Ul Qadri’s sit-in.

Continue reading

January 19, 2013 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , | Leave a comment

I Own Pakistan (And Destroy It Too)

It has been a sad week for Pakistan. The controversy surrounding the cheap and highly distasteful short film Innocence of Muslims has gotten out of hands and not just figuratively but literally. It started with protests over the internet from all over the world and then quickly translated to the physical world where street power was demonstrated in several countries. As a result, many people died during protests, most notable of them being the American Ambassador Chris Stevens who died in Libya.

In Pakistan, the protest that started from social media quickly translated to street power too and small-scale anti-American and anti-Jewish rallies were organized all over the country. Soon Youtube was blocked when movie and its trailer were not removed by Youtube. Pakistani government, in order to appease the sentiments of general public, declared September 21, 2012 as Ishq-E-Rasool (Love for the Prophet) day. The purpose was to honor the Prophet and counter the propaganda shown in the movie, only to see hell breaking loose all over the country. Continue reading

September 21, 2012 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , | 2 Comments

Freemason Conspiracy No Longer Needed in Pakistan

For years we have heard about Freemasons, Illuminati and whatnot conspiring against Pakistan along with Jews and Americans/Israelis and trying to destroy the country. This oft repeated mantra gave us a ‘hidden enemy’ to loathe for all the bad things happening in the country and remain ignorant of many facts that were concealed in plain sight.

In this modern age, the Freemason conspiracy is no longer needed to undermine Pakistan because Pakistan is rapidly becoming self-sufficient in creating its own brand of Freemasons and Illuminati. Continue reading

September 15, 2012 Posted by | Current Affairs, Random | , , | 11 Comments

Prove Yourself – Happy Independence Day

Google doodle on Pakistan’s Independence Day

A couple of days back I went to Tariq Road with my mom an hour after Iftar and faced the traffic of shoppers to this prime area of Karachi. Police was everywhere, some people were shouting on megaphones and people were moving around in droves. One particular announcement caught my attention. I didn’t hear the first part of it but the second part was interesting.

“Apni rai aur tajaweez ka izhar yahan akar kijiye, suggestion box main apni suggestions dalein aur acha shehri honay ka saboot dein” (Give your thoughts and opinions here, put the suggestions in the suggestion box and prove that you are a good citizen).

I found this quite curious. Continue reading

August 14, 2012 Posted by | Current Affairs, Random | , | 2 Comments

Felt Safe This Eid? Thank Rangers For Their Efforts

The volatile situation of Karachi has been somewhat controlled in the past few weeks through Rangers operations. The Karachites experienced terrible days of mindless killings, even during Ramzan. When Rangers were called in, some questioned if they will be effective enough to make a difference, particularly after the Sarfaraz Shah’s incident. Continue reading

November 9, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , | 2 Comments

Curious Case of Mumtaz Qadri and the Blasphemy Law

On an ordinary day an ordinary man rose to extra-ordinary heights of fame after riddling the body of a man of authority with bullets. Mumtaz Qadri killed the then Governor of Pubjab Salman Taseer while acting as his bodyguard from Pubjab’s Elite Police Force.

The reason: Blasphemy Continue reading

October 11, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , | 3 Comments

What’s Happening in Karachi?

I recently saw program “Aapas Ki Baat” on Youtube in which Najam Sethi discussed Karachi’s situation. Because of this program Geo News transmission was suspended by MQM in some parts of Karachi for a short while. The views by Najam Sethi depict accurate picture of Karachi killings and background workings of political parties as well as indigenous criminal gangs that have political support. It also has some bitter realities generally refuted but secretly promoted by politicians. Continue reading

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , | 5 Comments

The Other Side of Kati-Pahari

I usually travel on car in the city ever since I was robbed on a bus back in 2007. In the past four years there have been very few instances where I had to use bus, Rickshaw or taxi for commute. July 30 was such a day when I decided to use public transport so that I don’t get bogged down in the so-called Peace Rally organized by Karachi’s political parties.

Luckily a Rickshaw just stopped to drop off my neighbor in front of our house and I bargained fare with the driver. I had to attend orientation ceremony at Regent Plaza Hotel and there was still an hour’s time to get there comfortably. Once we decided on the payment I retrieved my documents from the house and climbed in.

The driver was middle-aged Pakhtoon with reddish, well kept beard and soft speaking manner. I struck conversation with him to pass the time and he was a willing to share his views on every topic. The first time he told me he’s from Kati-Pahari area when I asked him if he can stay long enough to take me back home as well. He apologized that he can’t since he’s from the opposite end of the city and have to go back soon. I then asked him about the security situation of his area and that’s where our real conversation started.

In the next 45 minutes we touched upon several topics and talked on a few sensitive issues like ethnic conflicts, Taliban situation, target killings, Qasba Colony incident of the 80s etc. His conversation was like a story of his own life that has shaped his views, giving a glimpse to opinion at the other side of Kati-Pahari and is reconstructed below to the best of my memory. Continue reading

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Weekend Crunch

The past three days have been jam packed as I attended “Mast Morning Show with Maira Khan” show at DAWN News on Friday morning, went for Bloggers Conference on Saturday and attended TEDxMazarEQuaid on Sunday; my weekend has never been this full before. Continue reading

July 18, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pakistan Army is More Anti-American – Stephen Cohen

I respect Dr. Stephen Cohen’s analysis. I find them more accurate than most other analysts and believe his opinions should be taken seriously.

Dr. Stephen Philip Cohen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, Washington DC, is a respected authority on the Pakistani army and the country’s politics. His book The PakistanArmy was published in 1998 and was translated into Urdu and Chinese. In 2004, he published another book The Idea of Pakistan. In an exclusive interview with Dawn.com, Dr. Cohen speaks about the Pakistan-US relationship and the future of South Asia after the Osama bin Laden crisis.

Q: Who do the Americans hold responsible for harbouring Osama bin Laden: The Pakistani civilian government or the army?

A: The US military respects the Pakistan army for its professionalism but they are angry with the Pakistani military for playing both sides against the middle. They are aware that if you’re an American soldier and the Afghan Taliban who are shooting at you are actually the ones being supported and trained in Pakistan. So, there is real anger with the Pakistan army over this double game. I can understand why they are playing this double game as the Taliban are an asset for Pakistan but the Americans do not like this. There is also deep resentment over some of the policies the army has imposed on the civilian government. Continue reading

July 4, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dear USA, Please Stop The Aid

Dear USA,

It’s been over 60 years since the first official contact between Pakistan and USA took place and our founding father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, made a blunder for which our nation is still paying the price.

He asked you for ‘Aid’ !!

The requested amount totaled $2 Billion of which you provided ‘Aid’ amounted to $10 Million, just 0.5% of the requested assistance. It was American money, so you were fully in your right to refuse any more help. It set a precedent that haunts us to this day where our politicians and establishment elements look for more aid, loan and grants from you and refuse to clean up the mess created in our own backyard. Continue reading

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , , | 3 Comments

Karachi Shooting: Rangers Killed A Young Man At Boat Basin (Updated)

(Updated: Included a video at the end of the post with some description)

I do not know what to say or do. It is one thing that barbarism prevails in many parts of the country and daily we hear news of people dying in ethnic clashes, drone attacks, target killings, burglary, street crimes, enmity, blood feuds etc. Seeing this video, however, the brain simply goes blank and is unable to process reality.

Yesterday a short video became public where a young man was being held by Rangers in front of Benazir Bhutto Park at Boat Basin and he tried to plead with them to lower their guns that were pointing right at him at point blank. Within seconds the ranger shot him twice, in lower abdomen and leg, and he fell down. Later, a longer version of the video (embedded below) was made available that showed him bleeding like anything and lay there at the mercy of his captors who simply walked around him with no hurry and didn’t take him to hospital for emergency treatment despite the bleeding young man’s pleadings.

Caution: The video contains violent footage. Viewer discretion is advised. Continue reading

June 9, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , , | 12 Comments

Dear Jon Stewart (Regards, Arsalan Shaikh)

Dear Jon Stewart,

I used to think of you as one of the good guys. It always seemed that you were a one-man rallying cry for peace and understanding in the US media. You had taken it upon yourself to stand up to the right-wing bigots in your midst when it came to the New York Islamic Cultural Centre, Guantanamo, the invasion of Iraq and countless other instances where US citizens and Governments have acted in a reckless and arrogant manner.

As a Pakistani progressive, I find it increasingly more difficult to rally against the right-wing bigots that are increasingly taking over the agenda in my country. I would say to them that as a practicing Muslim I have more in common with someone like Jon Stewart, an American Jew who believes in equality, tolerance and understanding between different faiths then a jihadi who wants to kill people simply because they disagree with them. Continue reading

May 25, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , , , | 8 Comments

Osama Syndrome cured?

The month of May 2011 started off with a bang as people all over the world were startled with the news of great success …

The death of the infamous Osama Bin Laden.

As the information trickled in, we found that US Navy Seals conducted a secret operation during the night at a city called Abbottabad which is very close to the capital city of Pakistan. The night raid left Osama and his comrades dead, his sons and wives captured. The news further said that the dead body was offered to Saudi Arabia for burial, but they refused and the body was buried at the sea.

It was celebratory atmosphere in America as I watched on TV plenty of people waving hands and cheering at news, hoisting flags and claiming the end of evil. The biggest manhunt of modern times came to an end.

But what now? Continue reading

May 3, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , | 1 Comment

Getting Back To Karachi Amidst PIA Fiasco

I was finally frustrated. The constant bad news, regular killings, frequent thefts and infurating talkshows caused me to snap and i decided to go out of Karachi. I have an exam coming up and couldn’t study for it in all the mayhem. I took advantage of this and left for Lahore to meet my sister and her family.
I stayed in Lahore for nearly two weeks, studying for the exam, enjoying the weather, going out with Lahori friends and enjoying the peace of Askari 10. I had a few deadlines to meet so it was my plan to return back by February 8. I went with an old buddy to get Airline ticket, my preference being PIA while my friend insisted on AirBlue due to better service and economical fair. Turns out PIA’s fair was cheaper so I purchased my return ticket and prepared to enjoy the remaining days in Lahore, not realizing that an ordeal was headed my way. Continue reading

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , | 7 Comments

A Case of Exploding Cricket

Spot-fixing wasn’t yet a distant memory when Pakistan faced South Africa in UAE for all three formats of the game. Loss of Aamir, Asif and Salman had unsettled the Pakistani team and their performance was already shaken due to spot fixing controversy that practically shook the world. Every new update batch on CricInfo had at least one new Spot-fixing related news and the whole affair became a nightmare for Pakistan and England in particular and Cricketing world in general. Continue reading

November 8, 2010 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , | 4 Comments

Pakistan’s First Twitter Prime Minister

After heated election campaigns, fiery tweets, anxious pleas and rigging complaints the first elections for Pakistan Twitter Parliament concluded. No member got a clear majority to win the elections, a time of 24 hours was awarded to announce coalitions and gain maximum number of votes to form government.

After much making and breaking, confusion, queries and questions the coalitions were announced. Tweeple Scorpioyas was declared the first ever Prime Minister of Pakistan Twitter parliament with coalition partners AbidBeli, NaeemShamim, Omair_Khalid and Rectified_guy with total vote count of 595 votes. The other coalition is now in opposition with BonBonDude as Leader of Opposition and members Kursed and Guppu, a total vote count of 370. This is Pakistan’s first virtual Prime Minister after the more successful Musharraf’s Facebook President episode, effectively forming the virtual leadership of the country.

With a Prime Minister in place the process of appointing Ministers began as interested Tweeples were contacted and word was spread to file nominations for ministries. One Tweeple, IrfanQazi2010, was interested in the ministry of Nepotism, Corruption, Misgovernance, Misinformation and Injustice. He was conveniently ignored.

Tweeple AadilPitafi formed Facebook page for Pakistan Twitter Parliament and in short time it was liked by more than 100 people, showing effective Twitter and Facebook marketing and general audience interest in this unique twitter phenomenon. The first issue Parliament faced was the use of non-Parliamentary language which was effectively explained as “too tarakh” language and banning its use during session. It simply means if you are using #PKTP in your tweet, don’t be frank as “chaddi friends” because while parliament is in session, no one wants to be in his “Chaddi”.

Self-proclaimed President abidifactor ended up arguing in every which direction with the opposition leader who questioned everything, from neutrality to presidential voting and finally an offer of vote of confidence in return for a week of neutrality along with general reminder that they’re not friendly opposition; meanwhile Prime Minster kept banging his head in choosing Chief Justice, COAS and ministers and the first appointment came in the form of Deputy Speaker and Tweeple ShaikhRafia was awarded with this position.

Later on rumors spread that Prime Minister has already set out on his first Virtual Foreign tour (to Pakistan it seemed, since he physically resides outside the country), probably wasting much of new Parliament’s virtual money on Swiss accounts, buying castles and hotels, gambling in Casinos and acquiring personal jumbo jets … all virtual (obviously). It is yet to determine the extent of accuracy of these rumors and possible virtual expenditure; meanwhile self-proclaimed President, Bureaucrat, Intelligence Agency, Media and Establishment abidifactor continued to facilitate the curious visitors and agitating opposition.

Twitter Parliament faced its first crisis when member abidbeli threatened to leave coalition and join the opposition. After much hyper tweeting by concerned members and constant poking, it was announced that the coalition is still intact and abidbeli decided to stay with the government. Then Prime Minister showed up and announced that any problem should be directly discussed with him and not left to speculations.

As of yet the ministries are not complete and preparations for Presidential elections are underway which will be held in coming days. The #PKTP daily has some interesting insights that would give general information regarding Twitter Parliament updates every 24 hours.

October 27, 2010 Posted by | Current Affairs | , | 7 Comments

Twitter Government of Pakistan

An unusual amount of activity on Twitter caught my attention. A constant stream of tweets regarding parliament made me think some new drama unfolding in Pakistan’s already disastrous political scenario. A quick check on news channels, blogs and news tab on Google did not reveal anything significant, so I checked the tweets more closely.

There was no news about the current parliament of Pakistan but it was a discussion amongst very active Twitter users of Pakistan on forming a Twitter parliament. Ideas were flying, heated discussions with each other, sharing of concepts and philosophies, method and rules for voting and countless other topics were under debate. Finally a new hastag (#pktp) was used for Pakistan Twitter Parliament which became an active part of Parliament formation. Parties were formed, manifestos written and I believe I saw a tweet that might have included election banner (if that was even possible).

In less than 24 hours, #pktp has thousands of tweets about everything regarding Twitter Parliament election and polling started after a member (@abidifactor) became President to oversee the voting. 11 tweeters stood for Prime Minister election, only one being “Independent Candidate” while remaining associated with virtual parties that seem to have little or no resemblance with real political parties of Pakistan.

The whole affair has generated strong interest as random comments appeared at regular intervals from Pakistani as well as non-Pakistani tweeters. Some considered it as a joke, some applauded, some confused over the whole thing while some asked for party manifestos from the contestants. Some seemed in dilemma to call it a “Brainless Activity to Kill Time” or “Cyber Revolution from Farigh Tareen Pakistanis”. All in all there has been great display of vigor by a large number of tweeters and the activity keeps on increasing. A twist in story came when during voting on twtpoll for Prime Minister, the Independent Candidate was accused of “Rigging” as large number of IPs from various different countries were observed voting in a very short span of time. No story of election is ever free of politicians favorite “Rigging” activity that has become symbolic representation of polling in Pakistan (including cyber world it seems).

With Twitter President and soon-to-be-Prime Minister, we would be moving on to forming of Twitter Parliament, write and enforce “Twitter Constitution of (Probably Islamic) Pakistan”, design suitable Ministries and then appoint Ministers, Ambassadors, hire Civil Servants, bureaucrats, Policemen, Military, form committees, enforce land reforms, resolve Kashmir issue, end war in Afghanistan, liberate Waziristan, eliminate Taliban, increase water supply in River Indus, give autonomy to all provinces, launch space shuttles, bring scientific revolution … the list goes on and on and on.
When students all over the world can act as representatives of different countries in Model United Nations then why not die-hard Twitter fans kill time by forming Cyber Government of Pakistan. After all, everyone deserves the chance to lead the country, one way or the other. I wonder what twitter addicted politicians like Salman Taseer and Rahman Malik would have to say as their very power is being hijacked through Twitter revolution.

October 24, 2010 Posted by | Current Affairs | , | Leave a comment

People of Pakistan: Anyway to Satisfy?


Recently a friend asked me:



 

“waka, bhai mere tell me ONE way Pakistan can run and people wud be satisfied. I don’t say happy or delighted just satisfied”


The question put me in a difficult position. Most of the literate and educated youth are, sadly, ignorant of ground realities of Pakistan. They might be well versed with Democratic definitions, latest fashion trends, technology changes, industrial development, government corruption and situation of corporate market. Most of these youth probably spent 500 to 5000 rupees a week and their awareness radar operates as far as limits of their urban centers allow.

Beyond that, these youth are dependent on whatever news is brought to them through internet and media. It is good to see youth getting vocal on national issues which is the macro vision of Pakistan, however majority of the youth fail to understand the micro level when asked about tribes, villages, towns, peasants, farmers, landlords and countryside bureaucracy. The latter constitute above 60% of Pakistan geographically, a huge reality that cannot be ignored yet the cage of their cities don’t allow them to properly explore what majority of their country offers to them.

Therefor, with a heavy heart, I gave him the following answer.

People will NEVER be satisfied. Rural side wants traditional PPP and PML governments, they want to have government jobs, they want development work and agricultural friendly policies. Last but not the least, they want Education even though it’s their least priority.

Cities want diverse groups in government, they want more opportunities, private sector seeks growth, industrial expansion, business safety, urban center development, investment friendly policies, fair market practices, law and order safety and more privatisation of government assets.

Human rights groups want more emphasis on basic rights, provision of water and electricity to furthest corners of Pakistan, reduction in human rights abuses including household “zulm” on wives and daughters in our male dominant society, improve police attitude and cooperation, abolition of laws violating or hurting humans in anyway and public awareness campaigns from the government.

The Expats want our currency to remain devalued enough so that they can send sufficient money to their families in Pakistan. The exporters also want the same so that they can export more to foreign countries.

The importers want increased value of money so that they can import more.

The west, quite frankly, wants us to remain beggars with their constant support of military dictators which hurts Pakistan in the long run.

The Indians wants us to forget Kashmir and be happy buddies forever.

The Chinese wants us to stay supportive all time and help us with everything from small needle to Nuclear reactors. US, Japan and India do not like China and that’s a fact hard to miss.

The average urbanite in Pakistan wants beer, booz and every ‘Haram’ thing to enjoy the adult life.

The Mullahs want Shariah and complete Nakaab culture.

The Taliban wants beheading of every person they deem un-Islamic.

The non-Muslims want a greater share in governance, possibility of having a non-Muslim President, safety of life, freedom to practice their religion and equality on all fronts.

Shia Muslims want their fair share in religious practices.

Sunni sect itself has various sub-sects as contenders to dominant Sunni faction.

Punjabi wants greater availability of water for better agriculture.

Sindhi wants more water in River Indus for the crops of Sindh.


and the list goes on and on and on …
————————————————————

Tell me, can ANYONE even possibly satisfy half of them?


It is a sad reality, one that we cannot ignore. No matter what we do, there is no way to satisfy everyone. However, we can compromise for national interest and compromise comes through consensus. Dictators do not compromise. They either bow or crush, there is no middle ground to track on and this is the result of their life long military training.


Our political parties, even if corrupt, at least represent the far flung areas of Pakistan where few, if any, urbanites have ventured. Unless people and youth of urban centers venture out of their concrete cages, spend some time with nature, speak with people in regional languages of Pakistan (Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto, Hindko, Balochi, Saraiki etc), understand them and their plight and work accordingly to educate them and their children, Pakistan cannot progress and will remain in suspended animation of a wounded falcon that can neither fly, hop or crawl and wait for a slow death.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Current Affairs | | Leave a comment

Jinnah’s Pakistan

You know, it is always a pleasure to talk good about my country. Of all the good things we did, the best one has just happened. You know, the reason Jinnah worked so hard for the Muslims of subcontinent to have a separate homeland was that we would never feel the need of an enemy. We had an enemy in the form of Hindus; by giving us Pakistan, Jinnah made sure he gave the Hindus the best possible independence they could have asked for and they could be safe from harmful psychotic effects of the Muslims that opt for Pakistan.

One thinks that Africa is a poor continent, that is why several of its countries are torn due to war and famine and African is killing an African on the basis of clan and personal gains. Here, this is a shame. We are killing each other just being in the different party. We are being killed just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. We are being killed just for being a Pakistani … and by whom? Not by the filthy Hindus, not by the deceiving Goras but by our own people. Muslim is killing Muslim, Pakistani is killing Pakistani. With friends like these, who certainly needs an enemy?

Did Jinnah really wanted to see its beloved city to be blossomed with blood that way? Not just on 12th May 2007, but ever in the history of Pakistan? Why is it that we got our country after so many sacrifices and bloodshed, and we are still shedding blood after 60 years of Independence? If we would have been illiterates, uneducated and hateful against our own country, such cases might have been justified … but these people are all sane, educated and

many from good families. What the hell are we thinking? We love our country yet we kill our own countrymen, and for what reason? No reason at all. Just a couple of people who are in limelight say the word go and we start the butchering.

Where is our dignity?

Where is our Independence?

Where is our

sanity?

Where is our patriotism?

Where is our motivation?

Where is our sense of justice?

Where is our freedom?

Where are we?

May 14, 2007 Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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