Reason Before Passion

Sindhi, Pakistani and a Sufi Muslim

Chronicles of Pakistan: Genesis of Sectarian Strife

The following article appeared in Dawn newspaper today (4/11/2012) and I am sharing it as it is for enlightenment. It provides a brief history of sectarian killings in Pakistan, most notably from Zia’s time when organized Sunni and Shia militant wings were formed and attacks were carried out on each other’s leaders as well as on general population.

by Syed Shoaib Hasan

To understand the genesis and growth of anti-Shia extremism, the claims of both Sunni and Shia leaders must be examined. Shia-Sunni violence in this region precedes Partition but its more recent form has other beginnings. Most analysts are convinced that the present problem is a product of the Pakistan’s security establishment enduring relationship with radical Sunni militancy. Continue reading


November 4, 2012 Posted by | Chronicles of Pakistan, Published Articles | , , , | Leave a comment

Loadshedding and Me

This article was published in the 8th issue of Lafz Magazine.

We are old pals, loadshedding and me. I don’t recall a time, at all, when I did not experience the absence of electricity. It was always there, coming and going, like it owned the country. And it continues to do so after so many years; no wonder my nephew was confused when he asked his American school friend a week after arriving in US “When does the electricity goes out?” and his reply, with equally confusing facial expressions, was “Never”.

Just take yesterday’s example when I was out playing Cricket after quite a long time. The heat was so intense that I needed water break after every couple of overs. We had placed a pedestal fan in the dressing room but behold, it worked for just an hour because of loadshedding. We also brought a watercooler with plain drinking water, hoping to buy ice from nearby shops, but they were out of ice due to loadshedding. Thanks to them, I had blacked out in the 17th over and was lying spread-eagled in the dressing room (which was nothing more than a tented cubicle with broken benches and hard-edged stones to sit on). Continue reading

July 23, 2012 Posted by | Published Articles, Short Stories | , , | Leave a comment

My Interview With “The Pakistani Spectator”

A couple of days back I received an email where I was invited for interview due to my blogging history. It feels nice to be interviewed for a change and I agreed. I filled out the questionnaire that was sent to me and it got published on the website. The whole process took  less than 3 days to accomplish and I believe the questions asked are good even if they are generalized to suit every blogger. Some known bloggers have also been interviewed by this website and it is nice to see my name printed in the same category.

Following is the link to that interview:

June 1, 2012 Posted by | Published Articles, Random | , , | Leave a comment

Law Education In Pakistan

In Economics there is simple demand and supply rule that applies in most situations. When there is a demand, there will be supply. Increased demand will increase cost and supply will rise up to meet it. When the supply increases more than demand, then demand will reduce which will drive the price down. The rule is quite simple to understand and can be applied to most real-life situations as well with some alteration. Continue reading

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Published Articles | , | 1 Comment

Model United Nations

This article was first published in December edition of Circles Magazine


Explaining the role of United Nations to young people has always been a hard task. Young and not much wise, children and young adults often find little or no concern about politics and international affairs. In order to bring awareness regarding United Nations and its functioning, a simulation by the name of Model United Nations (MUN) was introduced that has rapidly gained popularity in Pakistan in the past few years. Continue reading

December 14, 2011 Posted by | Published Articles | , , , | 1 Comment

Marketing Education

This article was originally published in November 2011 issue of Circles Magazine. This is a follow-up article for Business Education.

Business education entails several phases of administrating business and marketing is one of the most vital parts of the business model. A business’s continuous growth is the virtue of good marketing skills and efficient branding by a marketing team or individual. A highly innovative Marketing specialist, on the other hand, sets a company on the track of phenomenal growth using the organization’s own strengths without needing to resort to cheap tactics, lies or marketing gimmicks to catch prospective buyers’ attention. Continue reading

November 20, 2011 Posted by | Published Articles | , | 4 Comments

Realigning Our Roots

As a Pakistani I find myself standing on a platform made of twigs and hoping that this make-shift ferry will survive a tsunami. Why I say this concerns less with my personal opinions and more with the daily death toll that makes headline.

While all other countries are busy making lives of their people heaven, we are confused at what life actually is. Until few years ago Mr. Anwar in my old neighborhood was extremely against his sons going abroad. He was and still is patriotic from head to toe and it took a lot to make him permit his eldest son to take up the excellent job offer from a Dubai based company. Later on Mr. Anwar got transferred to Saudi Arabia and after living there for three months he called me and told me to leave Pakistan soon. Continue reading

November 19, 2011 Posted by | Chronicles of Pakistan, Published Articles | , | 1 Comment

Business Education in Pakistan

This article was published in October 2011 edition of Circles Magazine. It has a follow-up article titled Marketing Education.

Higher education in Pakistan has had an unfortunate history of myopic view of what future of Pakistan holds and how a particular degree will bring glory to the family. There was a time when anything less than doctor or engineer was akin to insult for the family. Then came the ‘IT Boom’ and ‘Computer Wizard’ became the new trend that lasted for a while. In the previous decade the economy saw a lot of activities and MBA turned into the new star in parents’ eyes.

Universities, like Pan Shops, began to open all over the urban centers of Pakistan offering business education and throwing run-of-the-mill business graduates in the market. Similarly new engineering departments began to emerge in existing as well as new institutions despite lack of proper faculty and market demand. Continue reading

October 15, 2011 Posted by | Published Articles | , | 2 Comments

The Journey to Break the Record

The blog is also published at Express Tribune and is in much better shape than original. Kudos to the ET team for editing.

When the idea to break the Guinness Book of World Record for Most People Singing National Anthem was presented to me first, I felt intrigued. With all the factors of division creating havoc in the society, it presented an excellent way to unite the Pakistanis once more and for that I joined Abid Beli and Waqas Pai to achieve this goal. Continue reading

August 15, 2011 Posted by | Published Articles | , | 6 Comments

Never Force Left-Handed Child to be Right-Handed

Update: An edited form of this article was published in October 2011 edition of Circles Magazine.

I have used my right hand to perform major activities all my life. Even though my performance has remained average in most cases like quality of handwriting, sports and sketching, I considered it normal. Some time back at a family gathering my mother discussed with someone the complexities of bringing up children and I was surprised to learn that I was born left-handed.

She said she discovered I was left-handed due to the amount of pressure I exerted on her finger with each hand when two months old. At such a tender age she made sure my left hand remained immobile most of the time (though not uncomfortably) and was forced to use right hand freely that eventually became my dominant hand. Continue reading

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Published Articles | , , , , | 289 Comments

Terrorist Still Means Muslim to Western Media

This was originally published at Geo Blogs.

The bomb blast and killing spree in Oslo, Norway on July 22, 2011 set the western media in frenzy where within hours the blame of tragedy was laid upon Islamic extremists. It was headed by Will McCants, an expert on counter-terrorism, adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University and member of many counter-terrorism programs in US.

The blame was laid on Islamic extremists based on vague speculations Will McCants came across on a password protected Arabic forum ‘Shmukh’ (known for its members being vocally supportive of Global Jihad) that was thirstily gulped down by media and soon BBC, New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post and others were propagating this speculation as news even before police in Norway managed to gain control of the situation. Continue reading

August 6, 2011 Posted by | Published Articles | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Preparing for GMAT, a nightmare for the unwary

Published here on Express Tribune.

I will give huge credit to my previous university for teaching me one great skill … passing exam by just studying a couple of hours before the paper. I don’t know if it ruined me or blessed me but after nearly two years since graduating from university I find it hard to get back down and study with the same focus and zeal I had as a student.

GMAT, as it turned out, is not your run-of-the-mill exam and it can never be attempted successfully by rattafying (rote learning) the book. If you have a good memory, you might be able to do well in one or two segments of the exam, for the rest you’ll be out of luck. I cannot help but admire the examiners who constantly design and develop pitfalls for students using the simplest of tools. Many of the hardest questions can be solved through common sense while others with little bit of careful reading. Continue reading

February 4, 2011 Posted by | Published Articles | , | 1 Comment

The Woes of Business Education

Published here on Express Tribune.


It came as a shock to me when I read somewhere that Tokyo city alone had over 200 universities. If we check the list of most populace cities in the world, Karachi is included in the top 5 while Tokyo not even in top 10. Considering the huge difference in the population and education facilities, no wonder we have so many fake graduates ruling us.

When deciding to apply for graduate and post graduate programs, the youth find themselves extremely limited with the available choices. If we consider the business schools only, the top business school in Karachi doesn’t really live up to its name as the top, however the environment provided and the competitive nature of class tends to keep their students sharp. Having a 50 year history of producing business graduates who now dominate the market also greatly impacts with recruitment drives from known and respectable brands.
If you fail to get in due to competitive test, there is still a college and an institute that have developed reputable standing over the past couple of decades in business studies. They have their own specialties to offer and some of the program structures are not found in any other institute. There has been a growing number of people who actually target these institutions for admission rather than going for the best due to cost, location, environment, studies and various other factors.
Practically all other business schools position themselves after them, to catch those who fail to get into the top 3 of Karachi. Many might offer some argument in defense of their institutions but being a graduate from a “Navy” university myself and having a wide social network that spreads in all business schools of Karachi, I say with sadness that number of business schools can be counted on fingers irrespective of their quality level.
With such a low ratio of institution to students, no wonder business schools fail to take market studies and updating coursework seriously. Majority of them have teachers who had long ago memorized the text books to pass their exams and now follow the pattern to teach their classes, ever improving the art of “rattafication”. Some institutes are hell-bent on hiring those who recently graduated from that very institute, effectively killing the possibility of including fresh perspective and experienced faculty staff. The students are now so thoroughly trained in memorizing that even slight deviation becomes a nightmare, especially critical analysis. Teachers favoring free thought, open ended discussions and questions in the tests and exams end up receiving negative feedback from the class, nailing the coffin of ‘creativity’.
The institutions still have course books written by American, Canadian and British authors that are focused on business markets of their respective countries. Pakistani market, being an amalgamation of East-meets-West on many fronts (or simply compare Clifton with North Karachi), requires market understanding at an entirely different level. With the western coursework we are trying to imitate western market philosophy which does not properly apply to our business needs.
No local author has come up with satisfactory work in any sector of business which could be used as course book by local institutions. The business schools fail to take in market experts and leading companies as focus groups to understand market demands, improving quality of graduates, increasing depth of their major courses, draft conclusions, take in recommendations, implement them, perform follow-up meetings, check progress and call upon new focus group to understand the current market trends, gauge the effectiveness of previous focus group and asses the need for future.
There is a greater need to increase the number of higher education institutions in the country, let alone in a single city, but that is something which requires time and risk management. We still have current problems to face and resolve them somehow. Until the institutions take it seriously to improve their curriculum with the help of market experts and greatly enhance their graduates abilities, the students will always find a great disconnect between what they were prepared for and what they ended up facing in job market. If the talented students want to study and work abroad and immigrate to western nations on first chance, who can blame them when we ourselves are responsible for ongoing ‘brain drain’?

October 23, 2010 Posted by | Published Articles | , | 3 Comments

Politics: “Personality Based” or “Party Based”?



Published here on Express Tribune.


Politics in Pakistan is a well known tangle of confusion, lies, deception, favoritism and broken promises. Anything that goes wrong, be it your boss really angry at you when a colleague revealed your secret or you’re next in line for team’s captaincy and someone ‘less worthy’ is favored over you, politics is to blame.

In my experience of both urban Karachi and rural Sindh I came across two distinct forms of commercial politics (politicians are contractual employees, aren’t they?). The personality based politics has strong roots in the countryside where, in a given area, a certain landlord will hold most influence. No matter which party he chooses or even decides to stand as an independent candidate, the votes in his locality will go to him (debatable if it’s by love or by force). This gives the candidate bargaining power and he chooses party that benefits him the most or to whom he’s most loyal.

In similar fashion the party based politics has strong base in Karachi and maybe urban centers like Lahore as well. The party chooses its candidates and probably the seats as well on which they fight during elections. How much the people have their say or how much the candidates have the bargaining power, it is debatable since every party has its own rules and policies. Whether in your locality an unknown person rises up to participate in elections or a personality you know very well and respect, it is up to the party to nominate the candidates.

We have seen effects of both political styles on local, national and international level and have examples to show who people vote and who they would not when given the choice. We have seen ‘Jamshed Dasti’ winning election from Southern Punjab again after resigning despite having fake degree, and we have seen an unknown figure ‘Syed Mustafa Kamal’ rising out towards fame when MQM nominated him against the veteran politician ‘Naimatullah Khan’. Despite having no distinguished record of politics and Naimatullah’s recent completion of term as Mayor Karachi, Mustafa Kamal became second mayor of Karachi in an era of construction blitzkrieg which he further sped up, resulting in a change of face for several areas of the largest city of Pakistan.

Both politicians were supported by their respective people that prove the distinct forms of political practices prevalent in their respective constituencies. Comparing to other countries we often find some similarities and many differences to the way politicians are recognized. Very few people must have missed ‘Barak Obama’s’ rise to presidency where he had charmed the American people so much that he earned victory against ‘Hillary Clinton’ to become lead nominee for ‘Democratic Party’ and faced the ‘Republican Party’ nominee ‘John McCain’ in the final showdown. From his early days as community organizer and civil rights attorney to state senator and then President, a clear line of political ascendance can be traced down to its roots. The U.S political system comprising of Senators might be slow but has the clarity to rip the politician down to his/her bare essence.

In Pakistan however, our Presidents are military usurpers, backdoor entrants, puppets and ceremonial figureheads chosen to smile and nod to show ‘aal iz vell’ in the country. Can there be a possibility for evolution of Pakistani politics where politicians are ripped to their essence and their worth is judged by 180 million (and counting) Pakistanis? If so, will it be the urban ‘Party based’ or rural ‘Personality based’ that will dominate the field?

October 20, 2010 Posted by | Published Articles | , , , | Leave a comment


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