Friday, July 6, 2018

MMNS Gone... Options for voting next. View from Sargodha

It has turned ugly, uglier than initially expected, by me. Naïve me? May be, but 2008 and 2013 elections were not so visibly handled as this one. 

The establishment is on throat of the N in the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN). It is hard to imagine if they will even tolerate any remnants of this party even. Political forces stay in contest, one way or the other. Like, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), that hanged around, as PPPP, and various other suffixes. But the case is different, situation is different,players are different, and essentially, the army chief is different too. Will MMNS spend 10 years in prison and come back as a stronger politician? Impossible. Will he wait for a better time to come back to Pakistan and stay in exile? May be. He has at least few options left, fewer than what he had some time back. He lost this case due to sheer incomtence and stupidity.

What are my options?

As a note to myself, the current situation is as follows. The establishment is hell bent on crushing any political role of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in (MMNS) the future. There bet is on the cricketer turned politician Imran Khan who is at the peak of his 22 year political career. The question is whether this is one or two separate things happening at the same time. It is theoretically possible that MMNS got in the bad books of establishment and did things that hurt their stakes in real time. The time was not on his side as a political rival was on the rise, and a German journalist was about to break win a Pulitzer prize. Panama leaks happened and what everyone in political circles knew already, became an accountability issue. Politicians in Pakistan knew that Avenfield Appartments are property of Sharif family. Their denial was taken as a word. Many politicians visited these properties but no one ever questioned. MMNS became the PM in 2013. His main political rival, Imran Khan, did what Cyril Almeida described as “doing what any opposition does, putting a question mark on the legitimacy of the rule”. Initially it looked funny. When Panama Papers were out, it turned serious. Now its turning ugly.

Imran Khan’s political insight can be summarised as under.
  • Establishment is a force in Pakistan. You can fight it but if you want to come into power, you need to work with them.
  • Electables are a mafia but again, if you want to gain power, you need them too.
  • Corruption can be eliminated (or decreased) and progress can be achieved (or started) by changing the route of spending of public money (local governments).
  • Dispensing quick justice is the key to win the hearts of people.
  • Five year term is enough to make a mark on the people (only if it is).

The idealist Imran Khan has stepped into the real politics. And if establishment killing MMNS is not a coincidence, he is their new blue eyed boy. The only difference is that he has struggled for 22 years, and remains free of financial corruption to-date. Should we expect him to stand against establishment (which would equate supporting MMNS & his corruption)? If I were him, I wouldn't do that. But then, being on the side of the rogue hand in order to get power? I safely assume that they have already told him what to do and what not to even think of doing. What can he deliver then?

Lets say Khan is in power for another term. Only a fool will think that it will be a peaceful period. But the fact remains that MMNS and family is not at a stage of politics where they can call for a 128 days sit-in in the capital. Only young, politically young, will do it. Sit-in or no sit-in, , a peaceful term cannot be a given thing. Whatever it may be, it will be a huge test. While he can try to de-politicise the police and improve dispensation of justice to the people, army is a direct stake holder in many of the issues being faced by the public. Sooner or later he will talk about budget, foreign policy, civilian supermacy, audit etc. What will happen then? Who will stand with him when everyone he opposed would be on the other side?

But, do I have a choice?

Should I vote for PMLN this time? If PTI is establishment’s party, then PMLN is the elite’s party. During the current term no one from establishment had stopped PMLN from doing the police reforms, improvement in health & education & delivery of justice let alone the bigger national issues like building dams and planting trees. But what they did was the same what any elite party would do, mega projects & mega corruption. Neither the common man nor his problems were on PMLN agenda. They are a wealthy elite with one priority, protect their wealth. There was a slight look of a statesman in MMNS when he mended his way with Shaheed Mohterma Benazir Bhutto and vowed to protect democracy in any situation. But that slight hint went in the air during PPP government term. When Asif Zardari says that MMNS stabbed him in the back again and again, no one needs another testimony. PMLN is a bunch of corrupt elite who are fooling nation into believing that they are protecting democracy for the people. Democracy begins at home i.e. in the party.

What about People’s Party Pakistan? Looking back at 1990s, the way MMNS used his dirty politics against SMBB, I cannot help but recall all the propaganda that reached me and my family living in a far off area of Punjab, it fills my heart with pain and shame. But after murder, PPP is still recovering from the damage and Bilawal Zardari is still learning the dynamics of pakistani politics. He has a long way to go, may be not today. He doesn’t have that grip on his party that one needs to have in order to play good politics. I see him as a potential leader in the making.

But for the moment, I would go with Imran Khan. I tell myself again & again (until it sound true) that its a mere coincidence and MMNS was good enough to destroy himself even if there was no Imran Khan. Because he was corrupt and incompetent and they were watching him since the day they recruited him. Call me a youthiya or whatever, but my mind says that only a newcomer can be given the mandate for change. And if Imran Khan doesn’t, I will never try to be a blind follower of him. May be in next few years, PPP gets back in Punjab and we have a choice. For the moment, its only PTI.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

2017: A dream year for a Federer fan

Somewhere in 2015, Roger Federer tweeted with an Indian Cricket team. This happened before a much-awaited Pakistan India match at world cup in Australia. The tweet set Pakistani fans of RF on fire. Many of them felt hurt and stopped following RF altogether. Others were merely disappointed by his gesture. A star, who lives in our hearts, seems our own. Seeing him taking sides with an enemy came naturally as heartbreaking. Thankfully RF realized that his fans felt hurt and tweeted an explanation. He rather likes the South African cricket team, SA being her mother’s birth place and things felt sorted.

For a fan like me though, nothing of this sort could stop following him on daily basis. In book marked pages on my browser, there is one page which directly leads to Federer search on Google. ATP world tour means Federer to many tennis fans who proclaim no Federer no tennis as their motto. Even in the weeks when he is not playing, keeping in touch with his updates is a daily routine. When I am procrastinating, I am usually reading about Federer on Google, looking for #Federer on Twitter, seeing his best shots compilations on YouTube or following various pages on Facebook that update about RF. This following has run deeper than I initially thought so.

I remember hearing about Martina Hingis and her initial run in tennis. I also remember vaguely remembering the defeat of Pete Sampras at the hands of RF. That was a big news of that time, that virtually heralded the era of RF on tennis, especially the grass court. Time has since been on his side. With all the characteristic ups and downs of any tennis pro, he has had everything that makes a pro a greatest of all times. The most important of these has been the rivals of this golden era of tennis. As rightly put up by an analyst, this has not only been the golden era of tennis but also the best era of any sport that we have ever seen. RF was first joined by Rafael Nadal who took the clay court before even Federer had conquered the great arena of Roland Garros. Nadal virtually proved someone that could hinder his chance of RF winning RG ever. Federer back hand proved a vulnerability that he was unable to overcome on slower surfaces. Although he is not a bad clay court player (REF REC), the rightful heir of the clay throne had already set his foot. Rafa took it to Federer all the way and defeated him in SW19, something that RF couldn’t pay back, never having defeated Nadal at RG.
Later, came long the likes of Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka and Del Potro. Everyone had a fare share of success and Federer insists each one of them contributed to make him what he is today. But somewhere deep down there, there may be a dislike for at least few of them, on some particular moments may be. For example, with Stephan Edberg, RF was in Wimbledon final on two consecutive occasions, 2014 & 2015. Each time it was Djokovic who lifted the trophy and denied RF a chance to rewrite Wimbledon history by winning an 8th crown. In addition to that Rafael who once made it look like an impossibility that RF will ever complete a career slam by winning on French Open. Nadal had, till Swiss Indoors Basel 2016, championed Federer 23-10. From then onwards, Federer seems to have solved one of the greatest mysteries of his career. .

The 2012-2017 slump, where RF didn’t win any majors, must have been difficult for him. But the way he kept believing was amazing. I once read somewhere that 2008 defeat in Wimbledon at the hands of Nadal would have torn him apart. Such defeat would tear anyone apart. RF said Nadal got into his head with the repeated beating and bashing he inflicted on him on clay. But right after Wimbledon ’08, RF was there at Flushing Meadows, lifting the trophy. Such resilience, positivity and faith is what makes him loved. It gives people hope, to believe and to keep believing. He repeated the same in 2017 by winning two majors and 5 other tournaments, defeating Nadal on four consecutive time, in a year when Nadal otherwise finished as world #1. In a way, I feared his #USO17 run would come to end when he will be up against Nadal. Fortunately he lost a round earlier to our very beloved Del Potro.

2017 ended as one of his best years. Wishes take us on a journey where he would have ended as world #1 again as we, the fans, fear that with 2018 being the year when many top guns make a come back and younger generation finds their groove, he might never come close to being #1 again. On a second thought, I remind myself that he doesn’t have to do that. For me, he will always be RF the maestro, the artist, the magician, genius, and most of all, Roger Federer. The kind of gentleman that he has been, is much more than the tournaments that he has won. The best statistics that describe him, for me, is that he has never retired during a match. If he feels he is unfit, he chooses not to play. This is, by far, a standalone stat in tennis history. A tennis fan can never be thankful enough for being born in RF’s era. So, what's left for him? Jimmy Conner's 109 trophies? Two more seasons?

As Hector Bolitho wrote in Jinnah’s biography, the sun seems larger than its actual self just before it sets. 2017 has been a phenomenal year of tennis for RF after injury, one for a dream. May it not be the sun that just exaggerates its magnificence before finally setting. But if he hangs up his racket today, we will remember that despite his weak record against Nadal, he defeated him in the last 5 meetings of their career, including AO17, for the savor of my remembering self.

Friday, October 17, 2014

On bearing with a Noble Malala......

We have to bear with Malala whether we like it or not. There are lapses in her story, so are controversies associated with the prize. But the fact is that neither the controversy associated with politicization of noble peace prize can undermine Malala’s heroic deeds nor can the lapses in Malala’s story destroy the prize nor her own internationalized charm. What circumstances actually convinced the jury to choose her, as the rightful recipient needs a deeper insight.
She has got it, and no one else from Pakistan did it this time. Long live Abdus Sattar Edhi and his untiring love for humanity, Imran Khan’s service to cancer patients, Mukhtaran Mai for voicing against Mubashir Luqman or Junaid Jamshed for his line of kurtas, but so did Mahatma Gandhi. The list of omissions is quite long and the selection process itself is potentially not free of biases and errors. So, move on Pakistanis, or live with it, she is the one.
Her father choose to publish her diary by the pen name of Gul Makayi, then chose to disclose her identity which potentially put her life in danger. She suffered an eventual attempted murder and had to undergo surgery, survived but living in exile. She vows to come back and partake in politics, a potential future candidate for the premier slot… Quite a long way to go..
So what projected Malala that high is interesting to dissect. Although there are many similar stories in the war torn region that made highlights, only one of them could be taken to the highest praises. There is a particular psychological reason behind that. The horror stories that describe one person with an identifiable name and identity make greater impact on people/audience when compared to a mass horror story with no names. The reason that such an impact is needed is because it lends legitimacy to the wars and adventures going on in a country. As published elsewhere that no wars are fought to bring peace, democracy or prosperity to a country. Wars are meant to capture resources, widen the area of influence in international politics and impose one’s economic policies. All wars, thus, are said to be bankers’ wars. These goals are, however, not out rightly stated in public. What is told in public is picked up carefully and narrated in a telling way in order to win support for the wars. The definitions are bent, or broken, in order to suit one’s own narrative. In our case it is Malala. In another case, it was Barack Obama.

Next time it may be Narendra Modi, Bashar-al-Assad or Benjamin Netenyahu, depends upon who serves the cause, who serves it better, or perhaps best. For the moment, it is our own Malala Yousufzai, a swati school going child who braved the brutal and oppressive terrorists (don’t mentions anything about their impact on American benefits in the area) who grow beards and hang people in public, eventually meeting the supreme drone justice enforced from another time zone.

Malala, a young and aspiring kid, needs all our love and affection. She is our pride and a national asset. Her international persona will inspire many parents to take brave decisions to send their daughters to schools. Her friends will always feel good for having her company. She rises, and touches glory. May the acknowledgement that she received be translated to the real change and conspiracies hatched under the shadow of distraction caused by her prize never materialize.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Visit to IDPs camp, Bannu, KPK

A human crisis, or one of the several human crises born on this unfortunate land, displacement of North Waziristan residents on account of military operation has taken a heavy toll on over all wellbeing of the residents. It has been decades since people of this and adjoining areas had sustainable peace. The law and order situation has been frail since the invasions and wars started off many years ago and generations have passed without an end to the misery. The latest in this story have been the internal displacements to enforce writ of the state, and in this particular case, writ of Pakistani state. Few years back it was Sawat and Buner where military operation had to be launched, this time it is North Waziristan, allegedly a safe heaven for terrorist for long time. The people are asked to vacate their houses and move to another safer place where camps are established to house them and provide them with necessary modalities of life. Being a far-flung area, education and health facilities are not sufficient in the first place, and such displacements destroy the existing social structure, stress coping skills and monetary savings of the people if they had any. By all means life never comes to the normal after such large-scale movements.

Dr. Asma Humayun has taken the camp initiative. She has been doing unprecedented things in practice and academics in Pakistan. The drugs selection and the preparation of data collection questionnaire were done through discussion on a very active group of psychiatrists, through social media. It is worth mentioning that no financial benefit was taken from any pharmaceutical company, with zero sponsorships and advertisements. The provincial government of KPK has recognized Dr. Asma's tireless efforts. Pakistan Army hosted the camp for visiting team of psychiatrists in the Khalifa Gul Nawaz Teaching Hospital Bannu. They also organized our stay in circuit house Bannu. It was 2nd in the series of camps for psychological help for IDPs, 1st one for myself. Psychiatrists from Islamabad and Peshawar were invited to participate in the camp. This camp was a particular success as over 170 patients were seen on one day. The information w1as spread on radio and banners in the area. People were informed about the arrival of expert psychiatrists and psychologists from Islamabad and Peshawar. Many of them showed up for consultation regarding their issues. Children in particular have been affected by the adversity in the worst manner.

Patients at Khalifa Gulnawaz Teaching Hospital presented with psychiatric problems that were precipitated or worsened by the displacement in addition to those which were pre-existing. It was a blessing that a child psychiatrist, Dr. Ambreen and a psychologist Miss Ruhi also accompanied the team. Children got specialist’s advice and prescription as did the adults. Psychiatrists from Peshawar made their presence felt and contributed in terms of exchange of ideas as well as handling major turn out of great number of patients in the limited time slot. 

Unfortunately the political thermometer in our country has gone up at a time when military operation is in full swing and displaced persons are left in vulnerable situation. The mainstream media has been busy covering sit-ins in Islamabad and a very little time has been devoted to the human tragedy taking place not far from the capital itself. Although the situation in the hospital where the camp was hosted looked good, we couldn’t actually visit the campsite so the exact situation couldn’t be seen.

Army is doing a great job in the war-hit area. By virtue of their presence as an organized and resourceful institution, they have handled the displaced people efficiently. Their treatment of civilians as we saw by the way a whistling lead car escorted us, however, needs some humanizing.

Overall, it was a fine two day break from the routine days at NUST. It was my first visit that deep in KPK, Bannu, discussed political and social issues with the team, passed by KUST, Kohat, bought some guavas from vendors by the roadside, took tea at roadside chhapper hotels, quite an impressive scenery all the way and a hospitable night stay at circuit house rest house locked from outside. The human side of the travel was priceless.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What Imran Khan is made up of...!

Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy where the sitting prime minister is taking a third term. His past two terms as prime minister failed to complete. Once he was over run by his political rivals and the other one was overthrown by the military. Punjab, the most-populated province, however, has been under his party's rule during 5 of last six political changeovers. He heads a faction of Muslim League named after him (Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz The major opposition party, the Pakistan people's Party (PPP), has largely softened towards PMLN owing to their mutual realization that fighting only leads military interventions and weakening of democracy. During last five years, PMLN played a friendly opposition to PPP regime which led to first ever democratic transition in the history of this country, a political party completing its term and handing over government to another political party. PPP being the 2nd largest party in the country has their leader of the opposition in the parliament and they vow to stand by the PMLN government in all foreseeable crises. Quite a rosy situation to rule, until we realize the dark horse of Pakistani politics, the infamous bad boy of glamour and cricket, the philanthropist turned politician, Imran Khan, abbreviated as IK and his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI).

Imran Khan led the Pakistani cricket team to their famous world cup victory in 1992, in Australia. He immediately retired from cricket and focused on construction of a charity based cancer hospital following his mother's lost battle against the deadly disease, naming it after her, Shaukat Khanam Memorial Trust (SKMT). Few years later, he established his own political party. Continuing with his philanthropist work, he established Naml college (associated with Bradford University) and trying to establish more branches of SKMT cancer hospital. He won a National Assembly seat in 2002 election but resigned, and boycotted 2008 election. Finally in 2013, his party appeared to have broken the stereotype of one seat and came up as 2nd most popular party in the country. But that was not part of the plan, wasn't it?

Tired of their rival politics benefiting the military, PPP and PMLN decided to sign a charter of understanding promising each other not to destabilize their governments in future. Popular name of the charter is "Charter of democracy" and it is known as a charter of taking turns, 5 years each. The plan, of course, was based on the fact that no other party will be able to challenge the two working for strengthening of democracy. What has come out in reality is that they are working together to promote democracy as well as their own family politics and scratching each other's back in corruption as well.

So, the dark horse rose out of nowhere. Many blame establishment for forwarding their pawn, others believe it is more to the bad governance of both PPP and PMLN that has given IK the political mileage that he possesses. So far, IK has been an impulsive, emotional and somewhat misinformed person about his perception of Pakistani public's political discourse. But so are others... so what makes IK special?

IK was the dark horse of Pakistani politics which was not accounted in signing of charter of democracy, or say the bigger parties didn't foresee his rise. The miltablishment (term coined by Najam Sethi for military establishment) might have played its role but it is more likely to be attributed to bad governance in the country than the conspiracy theories. The extent of running a country like a family business have been evident in the ongoing and the concluded political terms. As investigated by Rauf Klasra, as many as 84 people of Nawaz Sharif family are posted on important political and administrative seats across the country, many other lying vacant probably due to the unavailability of talented family men and women. Far from the public interest, the government is spending billions of rupees on mega projects overlooking the plight of health education and availability of household modalities for people. The infamous metrobus project has been alleged on using iron products of the industry run by PM's family. His indifference to state of affaires of the country speaks for itself. During his parliamentary year, he has been to the senate only once. Not even a single bill has passed both houses of the parliament in the first year. The ruling party never holds intra-party elections and even their own MPs have to wait to wait to shake hands with PM.

Imran Khan, on the other hand, has come forward as a man who has spent a glamourous life of his own. With the persona of a sports icon, he has had a life as glamourous, enriched and accomplished that many politicians of the country can only wish. With the same, he is educated (Chancellor of Bradford) and have been given honorary fellowship by Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh for his services and running of the cancer hospital. Major component of his political strategy has been to involve youth into the political process. It was co-incidental that the age to vote has been reduced from 21 to 18 in Pakistan. With no political background and no business or other potential conflicts of interest, he has been critical of other political personalities of running the affaires of state like a family business. Major target of his campaigning has been Punjab where he has been utterly vocal against the sitting CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, younger brother of the current PM. He has highlighted their business conflicts with the government policies and the allegedly abnormally fast growth rate of their enterprises. He has been somewhat impulsive and taking extreme positions in politics, uncompromising and solo flyer, things that don't make a seasoned politician, but that he is actually, an angry young man, a bad boy of Pakistani politics, a rebel. More than everything, he hasn't sold himself for any petty benefit. No one has ever pointed a finger at him for any financial corruption so far. For general public, he has presented himself as a third option. His politics is based on middle class dynamics of the country with an opinion on international affaires. He has got the attention of right wing, young, middle class, educated class, women and students alike. Recent siege on the capital against the alleged corruption has been his latest political adventure. He has blamed the outwent and sitting governments to have rigged the election in their favor, as they signed a memo years back. He has demanded an overhauling of electoral process, re-designing of election commission and an end to family politics. The sitting PM, due to many of the allegations being true, feels succumbed under pressure. While IK might not actually opt to start a civil disobedience movement as he threatened, he has actually brought the government on back foot all alone. From here onwards, if he can achieve the target of an independent election commission and then concentrates on the development process in Khyber Pakhtunkha province where his party heads the provincial government, he can positively look forward to next election as a potential upsetter.

So the current is not a crisis in itself. Its a challenge to the family politics, feudal lords' oriented and favored parties and a society where corruption is used as a tool to perpetuate one's dominance, typical of third world countries. Khan's gains are people's gains. Last year Supreme Court ordered to remove a heft 44% percent of the votes registered with the election commission for being bogus. An electoral reform this time may well mean a 360 degree change in political spectrum of Pakistan. It is a show of integrity and perseverance that he stands there not selling himself for cheap benefits where everything has been offered from a backdoor. And don't think that the number of people he has gathered in the D-square is little, there are silent admirers of him, sitting somewhere else, but their hearts beat for him.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A sad generation of Palestinians

Be it people of any given faith, habitants of Palestine are particularly unfortunate that their sufferings have come at a time of history when no body is interested to support their cause. For a globally connected social world, it is a very saddening sequel of a tragedy which is awfully one-sided and terribly terrible in its description. Confined in an open prison by a ruthless and run amoke military might, they have very limited options including breathing, which is at the mercy of their forceful occupant. Sometimes, they are allowed, other times they are suffocated.

Lets not debate the dispute of whom the land actually belongs to. Lets not get ourselves lost in the history books to find out whether christians or muslims or jews are the rightful masters of the country. Lets not discuss its geographical aspects. Lets just consider that the people living on the Gaza strip are humans. They have been forced out of their homes and prisoned in what is referred to as the biggest open jain in the world. There might have been disputes about their forefathers' times but the children of the current generation found themselves living on that soil.
An artist's imagination of creation of Israel in France

The strong military force of Israel and its tactical hit-back-hard policy has left them virtually at the mercy of death. The humanly modalities even the medicine are scarce in that place. International laws and practices are violated frankly yet no one can dare challenge the oppressor. The UN acts like a castrated body with no real impulse to force the ethics and war-laws or war-crime laws against the occupant.

When I say that this is a sad and unfortunate generation of Palestinians, I mean to say that it is perhaps the wrongest time of history for them to be in this hapless situation. The middle east, despite being of the same religion and faith as theirs, doesn't give a damn about them. The UN under influence of USA hasn't been able to pass any resolution against Israel in rememberable past. The geographical location of Gaza of Palestine doesn't interest any other super power. The journalists world over and their editors have their own priorities. The social media and micro-blogging websites are full of content that cannot be independently verified, and even if it is verified, no one cares. The current episode of ethnic cleansing and genocide has so far taken more than 1500 lives, with an awful proportion of almost 50 Palestinians for 1 Israeli (80% of Palestinians being civilians while all Israeli military men).
So much for the change Mr President

Instead of any support, USA has openly stated that Israel has full right of self defense. I mean, what kind of self defense is it? Bombarding schools, shelters, civilians, rehabilitation centers and other such facilities, killing children and women, in a people who have been prisoned for years, whose land has been confiscated, who don't have any military, weapons or power to inflict any significant wounds, what laws do justify this kind of self defense? In a more pathetic and cowardly way, President Obama invited Israeli ambassador to the annual iftar dinner at white house where all invitees were Muslim leaders, and there, he, the President of USA, reiterated Israel's right to self defense. Real bad joke.. And then, despite all the reporting of genocide and war-crimes, USA gave its billions of dollars worth ammunition to Israel, to continue its self defense... Bravo.. The presidency that began with an aim to "put day light between American and Israeli interests" is ending biting the dust....

The Arab-spring didn't bring any good news for them. The regime that came in power in Egypt seemed to have something on their mind but the overpowering Saudi Arabia USA and Israel planned to overthrow it before it did anything relevant. Even the rebels everywhere are motivated by their vested interests but no one cares for Palestine.

The genocide continues, with the whole world outside Palestine sharing the war crimes, some for aiding the killing, some for endorsing it and others for keeping silence. The sad generation of Palestinians is a witness on us all.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A nightmare year 2013 for Roger Federer and ME

Roger Federer and I have one thing in common, we both had a terrible year 2013. Although I can include PTI Chairman Imran Khan to this list as well for his performance in 2013 general elections in Pakistan yet I have questions about his “form” in 2012 when I compare him to Roger Federer or me. FEDERER qualifying for ATP World Tour Finals and getting back to form, looks like we both are going to have a better time next year.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Response to provocations: similarities between then and now

In view of recent provocations of sentiments of muslims and its violent expression, I am sharing one of my older post that I wrote for ecriteaux when Facebook was involved in such a controversy. I really don't think a person of such low mental state and caliber doesn't deserve any attention save such impulsive reaction. Read and respond about this all....

Besides bringing people closer, helping initiate a dialogue between religions and civilizations and other contributions to world peace, internet has also become a source of spreading conspiracies and misleading stories about issues and non issues and committing crimes of all kinds. While it would be useless to criticize the minority of people who take advantage of this great human invention to spread hate and intolerance, the attitude of the great majority of people who render themselves hostages to such propaganda, however, deserves criticism. In another way it is the only side of the picture where we have better chances to expect an improvement.

People from Europe and America started benefiting from electronic globalization before rest of the world. So they were first to fell a prey to capitalist propaganda for waging war all over the world. And although the lies that they were spoken to, have started to surface, yet the public opinion doesn’t seem to wake up from the dream. On the other hand, a handful of individuals from Middle East, who dedicated their lives to the solve their problems by some unpopular means a few decades ago, find themselves in real peace by attracting sympathies of people from all over the world to their (no more unpopular) strategies.

Drawing images of Holy Prophet PBUH has been one such issue in recent years. People of Muslim faith have been hurt by this offensive, without any distinction between those who have extremist ideas and those who don’t. But the sentiments haven't been acknowledged accordingly. It has been repeated again and again yet no effort has been made to stop it from happening. This apathy in the name of freedom of expression from the western world has only helped the extremist party win more popular opinion on the subject that west is particularly targeting their faith and there is nothing wrong about their extremist modus operandi. Facebook has been part of latest controversy about drawing similar images. Someone from across the globe has been so persistent in his bid to spread hate that he has gone on to holding a competition to draw such images. Thousands of entries on Facebook, twitter, blogs and emails are being made to protest against it. People are campaigning to boycott the forum on certain dates, others are choosing to deactivate or even delete their accounts. But there is no listening to it. Offensively titled group have been there already but no effort has ever been made to correct this. Ban on minarets and veil, discrimination at workplaces and airports and indiscrimination between terrorists and innocents in war zones have only helped the extremist party win more hearts than they could ever do. The prevalent opinion is that rather than being a minority of people in west who have hatred against Islam, it is the majority who is responsible for electing those who implement such agenda of hate and discrimination.

For us, the question is, is it the majority in west only that has been behaving irresponsibly? Let’s have a look at this. A criminal mind, a negative thinker, an evil genius, a racist, an advocate of hate, a malicious disrespectful man or whoever we think he is, does he deserve this much attention that we are paying? Had it been overlooked at the first place and not been reacted to at all, would he ever dare to repeat it?  What impact would it make on the person involving this act if someone deletes his or her account on Facebook? Would it stop it from happening? Would holding out manifestations and agitation help solve this issue? Would imposing a ban on Facebook or issuing a verdict against its use improve the situation? In my opinion, it wouldn’t help at all as it hasn’t been helping in the past. We must define our circle of influence out of our circle of concern and react intelligently to such inflammatory stimuli. I would rather say, let’s ignore it. There are countless other ways to show that we love Hazrat Muhammad PBUH. We can save our time, adrenaline and energy by refusing to act the way they want us to. Let’s not fell a prey to conspiracies. Let’s not render ourselves hostages to either of them. Let’s give it a try.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Judicial vs Political Activism

Current politicians vs judiciary crisis of Pakistan has attracted extensive coverage in the local media. The decisions of the superior judiciary also make headlines in some foreign outlets too owing to their far reaching consequences. What I want to discuss is the validity of the criticism the apex court is being hurled at for issuing show cause notice to the nascent prime minister. While the court has made its position clear by passing the verdict in Mr Gillani's case, that a failure to abide by its previous orders will be deemed as crime, it is totally baseless to expect them to take a different line on the very issue in a space of few weeks. How can they forgive the current PM for not doing something that they punished the ex-PM for. It seems as the politicians are themselves showing the red cape to the judges in order to fix the blame of their failure on other institutions. This is similar to the fact that a bill for legislation against terrorism lies forgotten in the government's pocket while it continues to blame courts for setting the terrorists free. The contempt of court amendment and the dual nationality amendments are hurried through the process but little attention is paid to the most wanted affaires. 

Criticism should be aimed at the political activism that is testing court's patience by flouting its orders. Pro-democracy institutions and personalities showing their dissatisfaction with the current proceedings must remember that the apex court has unchallengable authority to interpret the institution as well as to revisit any legislation passed by the parliment worldwide. The danger associated the inevitable judgement is not that democracy will be derailed. Rather, it will only bring a political change and will strengthen the rule of law in the country if it is follwed in letter and spirit. Government has to abide by the court's orders and interpretations given whatever the situation. And if someone is going to challenge that, it is him who is endangering the system and not court. The CJ has openly voiced his stance on Bangladesh model or army intervention. Let us now stand by the constitution and voice to bring an end to the political activism which is bringing real danger to the country's stability.

Let us make our voice heard and our concern noted about the potential dangers of defying court's orders by the politicians. As Thomas Paine put it, "It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government". We need to act before its too late.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Redefine the collateral damage

According to latest statistics released by US agency New America Foundation, drone strikes have killed 150 supposed militants in Pakistan this year with zero civilian casualities so far. The stated precision of intelligence and strike technology seems incredibly good. In contrast to previous years, the strikes have been hitting bull's eye this time around. Or perhaps the definition of those being killed has changed. According to Russian Tv the criteria on which  the Obama administration decides whether an individual is classified as a terrorist or otherwise. As ironical as it can be, this pain is taken only after killing the suspects. And the definition itself speaks volumes about the accuracy of strikes as well as figures. It states "All military age males in a strike zone count as militant unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving their innocence i.e. they have to prove their innocence after death". In other words, any male, who is in the age of serving in military, is a terrorist and should be killed. However, if strong intelligence reports suggest that he "was" innocent, he will be declared as "innocent". From United States of America, a certificate of innocence' albeit posthumous, must not be considered less than an honor. In addition, what is not stated but should also be understood is that same is true for the females present killed as their presence is meant to support terrorism, and as for as children are concerned they would surely become terrorist if kept alive brought up in such environment. Kudos to noble peace laureate, the proud chief commander as his forces are spreading peace with a great dedication and spirit.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Of #VeenaMalik #AamirLiaqat and #Ramazan 2012

This time in Pakistan, Ramazan moon was sighted at the same time, which is a rare thing in itself. Although not starting to observe Ramazan or celebrating Eid on the same day doesn't hurt as a nation yet we are running desperately out of option to symbolize our nationhood. God may have mercy on us and the same national consensus be seen on next moon sighting too.

Yet the land never runs out of controversies. Veena Malik hosting a religious show during the holy month of Ramazan was the latest one. A 30 second promo of that programme which most of people must have seen, emerged on youtube and as soon as it did so, there was a hue n cry everywhere about that programme. People talked about her character, her controversy from BIG BROTHER and the famous ISI tattoo. Then her next venture, the south Indian remake of The Dirty Picture came under discussion and so on and so forth. Conservatives as well as some liberals criticized Hero TV for coming up with such a publicity stunt. I myself was taken aback by the idea. An entertainer should do what he or she knows best to do and must not indulge in everything around. There exist exceptions but that was my general feeling. I personally didn't, but few people went on to sign a petition against this and finally the news came up that the idea has been dropped. If it was just to let everyone know that Hero TV is a TV channel in Pakistan, they made their point.

Next surprising thing was the return of Amir Liaqat to Geo TV and the announcement to host a TV show during Ramazan, much like before. This was disturbing. As some of us might remember a video that surfaced few months back in which backstage video clips were compiled showing Amir Liaqat using all kinds of vulgar language and making fun of invited scholars and female callers together. This is the same guy whose masters and doctorate degrees are allegedly fake as well.

The question is: why did we not speak against his programme as we did against Veena Malik. What is the difference between two of them? To anyone if difference between what we are and what we pose ourself to be, Veena does have an edge because she is what she is and she stands by herself.