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.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When I started writing thesis.....

Writing a doctoral thesis, or to put it right, starting to write a scientific doctoral thesis is a difficult job. This is due to several factors. You have to focus, FOCUS on one thing continuously for days, and sometimes for weeks..... Every single line in the whole stuff should be connected from front and behind with its neighbors and so on and so forth.

And to focus becomes difficult when there are so many things happening around. Well, sometimes it seems as they have started to happen only when I started writing mine. I will quote few examples.

As I started to make a plan for writing one, Roger Federer started winning his Wimbledon matches. And he went on to win the Grand Slam, making history. All of it was so exciting that even if I wasn't watching it, I wouldn't have been able to concentrate. So I watched.... live tennis....

And I skyped with my family...... Salaar....

Then, during the same time, we had seminar of our team...... seminar attended....

And I skyped with my family..... Salaar....

Then Roger Federer became world No 1..... reading news....

And I skyped with my family..... Salaar.... 

Then Raja Pervez Ashraf became Pakistan's prime minister....... tv shows....

And I skyped with my family..... Salaar....

Then Pakistan opened supply routes for NATO....... tv shows.....

And I skyped with my family..... Salaar....

With every news happening, all tv channels start talking about that..... tv shows.....

And I skyped with my family..... Salaar....

Then Pakistan cricket team started touring Sri Lanka...... live cricket....

And I skyped with my family..... Salaar....

Then it started summer and summer shopping festival..... shopping....

And I skyped with my family..... Salaar....

Then I received acceptance of my poster from New Orleans and now I have to start applying for visa to go to United States to attend the meeting...... dossier preparation....

And I skyped with my family..... Salaar....

Then I had friends from Marseille..... cooking and eating.....

And I skyped with my family...... Salaar....

Then came 14 July, the national festival of France..... fireworks......

And I skyped with my family...... Salaar....

After shopping I received email that next scholarship is delayed... financial crisis....

And I skyped with my family...... Salaar....

Then I started Ramadan is coming.... fasting... no coffee.....

And I skyped with my family...... Salaar....

Then I heard Aamir Liaqat is back on Geotv.... Ramadan special.... twitterati.....

And I skyped with my family...... Salaar....

Then I heard the breaking news....... That BIGBOSS fame Veena Malik is on HERO TV for Ramadan soecial..... And I saw her promo..... And thats it...... twitterati......

How on earth can one concentrate on thesis when all this is happening around..... All of this at the same time......

And I still can't help skype with my family...... Salaar....

Please please let me concentrate.... Let me concentrate.... TLRs, P2 family..... Depression.... Neuroinflammation.... Cytokines..... IL-1 beta...... pore formation..... I can't concentrate...... Let me write my thesis..... pleeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..................

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

None of the above

None of the above as an option in coming elections

Is putting none of the above going to be an option on the ballot paper in coming elections? What if a large number of people choose it? A constitutional amendment is on its way to give the president the authority to interpret it according to his own terms and conditions

CJ, the joy breaker of political times

CM Gillani was playing a watchful inning. Although he came under more than few threats in course of his time on the pitch, he handles all the variations very negatively and stayed dheet on the pitch. He went on with his score and almost made the history when he crossed the heighest runs days record of a former PM, yet the umpire re-visited one of his previous decisions and declared him out. Rest in peace the not-record-breaking broken innings. A change of bowler is imminent with a new ball, possibly from a by election and other scandals investigation end.

Gillani gone, democracy under threat

Was democracy under no threat under his fateful regime? And by the way, what is the threat now? It is the same situation which the country passes through every time there are elections. They just have to elect a new PM, nothing serious. Do you mean that Gillani was saving the country from a threat which is now running the country?

Mehr Bukhari on Malik Riaz show

uzer gunah badd ter az gunah.

Imran Khan advises Julian Assange to take asylum in Acuador

Julien takes refuge in an embassy, asks for asylum after talking to Khan, who told him stories of Pakistani politicians. Reports suggest that Acuador president might refuse the request and Julien's second option will be none other than Waziristan agency, where a sovereign anti-america state is budding and blooming.

Mubashir Lucman found leg before the wicket on replay

ML has been under hawk eye and other watch-dogs and has been found to be guilty of putting his leg before the wicket, unnecessarily though. Replays suggest that he threatened the team management with a be-ghairti-mein-hadd-se-guzer-jana-chahiye-lekin-kabhe-kabhar-sudher-jana-chahiye intent.

Judges vs PPPP 1-1

Good shot. It happens when the match is being played between players and umpires.

Egypt's Mubarak is on artificial ventilation, what for, by the way?

They are keeping him alive so that he can be hanged when he is off the ventilator.

Dr Arsalan looks like a DAWN

Lollywood actress Meera has said that when she first saw Dr Arsalan, she thought he looks like a DAWN.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Young doctors’ strike: Fixing the responsibility

Health services in public sector hospitals in Punjab have recently been disrupted by young doctors’ strikes, called by Young Doctors’ Association (YDA), which has emerged as a representative body of mostly postgraduate trainee doctors. The deliberate health service suspension is aimed to force the government to raise their salaries and approve a job structure. It has allegedly resulted in quite a bit of suffering for the patients. It has given rise to a heated debate in the media and social networks about the fairness of these demands and the actual method of getting them fulfilled. Critics have raised the point that though the doctors’ ‘cause’ is fair and their right to protest cannot be denied, yet it is in no way superior to the harm that can be inflicted to a sick person who is not given adequate and in time medical attention. Medical graduates have shared their part of the story that is unfortunately a matter of great neglect on the part of the state towards health sector.

The health sector has been deprived of financial assistance that it deserves since long. The number of hospitals has not grown in response to great increase in population, which has resulted in overburden on the pre-existing health facilities. Outdoor patients departments of government hospitals are crowded with an overwhelming number of patients waiting to be attended. An average doctor on a daily basis has to examine much more patients than what is internationally recommended. Not only the doctor is unable to spare adequate time to interview, examine and diagnose every patient, he is also prone to stress, fatigue and professional dissatisfaction resulting from overwork. Same is the case with indoor patients. Admissions and discharges sometimes happen without reaching a final diagnosis, only to accommodate new ones. More recently, the increased incidence of violence against duty doctors has added a sense of insecurity to young graduates working particularly in casualty departments. A common visitor of a hospital emergency finds it difficult to attribute lack of services to the percentage of GDP spent on health. In lieu of that, he blames the duty doctors for not working efficiently that quite frequently results in manhandling of physicians and surgeons exposed to public in ER. Although promised a free health service provision in constitution and political slogans, what they get is a mockery of services actually.

Until recently, every such incident used to be followed by a report in the newspaper, an FIR in the neighboring police station against unknown people for disrupting the hospital’s supposedly smooth working environment, an internal inquiry by the department involved, a token protest by colleagues of manhandled staff demanding better security, a warning, a suspension, a penalty and an eventual reinstatement. The latest is the trend where such incidents are not forgotten easily. Every time it happens, it is shared on social networks and strikes are called which bring us to our initial point, the frequently happening discontinuation of health services provision to the public.

No one has denied the urgent need to reform health sector. As a recapitulative of the current situation, let me tell you that doctors inducted in public sector hospitals (grade 17) work many times (literally thrice or even more than that) more than other government servants working in same grades, with no less possibility of national or religious holidays. When compared to neighboring or any other country anywhere in the world, they are low paid. There is virtually no job structure available to them whatsoever. Doctors inducted in grade 17 have to continue in the same grade sometimes 15 years after their inductions whereas people in other departments get promotions regularly. Even worse is the fact that in presence of postgraduate trainees, government stopped inducting fresh doctors a longtime ago and many public sector hospitals are virtually running on the internees. The internees live on stipend and work day and night to make their both ends meet. Their plight can be imagined from the fact that they donot have health insurance not even a proper system of vaccination during outbreaks of contagious diseases. While all this has been happening since many years, what might have led to the recent trend in medical fraternity (strikes and refusal to work) needs to be understood carefully.

The prime factor that led these young medics to creation of YDA was the absence of an efficient platform to voice their demands. Although Pakistan Medical Association has existed as a unanimous body to represent health professionals in the country, it failed to make room for trainee doctors and their needs. Postgraduate trainees need to work as well as to study so that they can prepare for their exams. Yet their educational establishment as well as their representative bodies failed to protect them from the overwork forced unto them. Regular Medical officer posts remain vacant and FCPS trainees are made to fill the gap, at the cost of their studies and of course proper health delivery to the public. This ‘abuse’ of potentially vulnerable young graduates and postgraduate students has led to a feeling of being disowned in the said group. Like elsewhere in the world, the improved communication and social networking amongst younger generation has resulted in what I would term as doctors’ spring, where the anger and dissatisfaction have caused blunting and refusal to continue their job at the existing terms. The grilling at the hands of television anchors about their morality as well as false promises by the government has made them feel insecure.

Moral questions aside, let us discuss how can we resolve this crisis, and create a win-win situation for doctors as well as patients. From the government’s side, what young doctors need is a sense of security, for their young representatives, for the promises made to them as well as physical security at their workplaces. For a successful and sensible dialogue with the authorities, what needed from young doctors are more realistic demands with an even more moral and ethical retaliation in case of a deadlock. I seriously doubt that they can be tamed by calling names or given threats to transfer and disperse them. The only ray of hope that I see lies with the more sober PMA representative body to mediate between the two. Deadlocks are encountered where institutions fail to respond. And if institutions fail to respond now, jerk responses from the insecure segment of doctors will continue to come. It is responsibility of the PMA to absorb the young blood in their organization and to make room for their just demands.  Blaming one another will only result in more loss of lives as well as suffering. This is the time to act.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

To 27th batch of Rawalians, with love....

Standing tall, the tankey
I remembered the day when, in August 1998, when returning from Khanas Pur Ayubiya trip, we stopped at the then used-to-be bus stop near Moti Mahel cinema. Someone pointed to a water tankey barely visible in heavily pouring rain and said, “Can you see that? That is the campus of RMC”. Although I was in F.Sc. Pre Medical then and was a potential candidate of being a future doctor, I had hardly heard of a medical college in Rawalpindi other than AIMC. And a year later when I got the news of my admission there, the only image of the institution that flashed before my eyes was a tankey lost in the rain. When I finally walked into Rawalpindi Medical College, first time in my life, I came to know that I had seen the most prominent part of the building already, the tankey. I was carrying the loads of happiness of qualifying for admission, and bundles of countryside livelihood habits and styles. I can’t recall what I was putting on that day, but I am sure my dress and my attitude must have highlighted where I had come from. For next few months or perhaps years, I struggled to shed those clothes and complexes and tried to be used to the more urban life style of the twin cities, unsuccessfully though (to be very frank :). And that is exactly what I owe to this institution, that the day I walked out of that building as a medical graduate, I was the none other than the same countryside man with bundles of joy and preserved rather hardened habits and mannerisms of Sargodha, the difference being that I was no more afraid of being myself. I was and am a proud son of a peasant who grew up in orange orchards in the outskirts of Sargodha, drinking buffalo milk and eating saag and parathas.....

Ours (1999-2004) was a time of transition in many ways. Right before the session started, the military overthrew the elected government. The demise of Nawaz Sharif coincided with the retirement of Prof Nawaz of RMC. His long rule ended quite in the beginning of our studies and there was a massive change in administration as well as its attitude. Who can forget the odd disciplinary penalties handed down to many; the forced migrations and suspensions. The college, however, embraced a new era of change, with cultural, sports and literary activities which can now be called as strong literary and sports traditions of the institution. Even the building got some new features.

A well lit Rawalian's reunion ;)
The mobile and Internet revolution also happened in parallel to our session. Its amazing that in first year “mobile guy” was a title whereas in last year, mobile was as common as anything. The Internet experience was special in terms of internet cafes in Commercial Market, the mIRC chats that used to happen are a feast to remember. So if I compare January 2000 with March 2005, I can appreciate a sea of changes at personal, educational, national, regional and international level. The only thing that happened late was facebook. Can you imagine how would it feel to have facebook at that time, with profile pictures, likes and dislikes as well as relationship statuses of everyone known publicly, we could have saved hell of a time for our professional studies.

Out of all those activities started at that time, I feel proud to remember the massive contribution of our class, which came up as a proof of extraordinary talent in various co-curricular activities. The evergreen variety show, the movies of 007, the spiritual musical nights, the sports opening and closing ceremonies, the fun fair, the all Pakistan debates, mushaera and revival of SHIFA magazine are only few of the jewels in RMC’s crown, added and ameliorated by none other than 27th batch of Rawalians. The other major transition was the establishment of University of Health Sciences. Although there has been a revolution in the field of medical education ever since its establishment, the politics played at the very beginning was quite unhealthy. The current students are enjoying the fruits of its policies yet we had been dragged in lot of dirty stuff, like our strikes and stay orders in Supreme Court against our forced registration etc.

A banner of a mushaira nazm-o-ghazal
Widespread in the city like pieces of puzzle, RMC was in no way an easy place to be in. I must say that the bus ride on a daily basis was a tough ask, especially boarders who used to play cards till late at night and then had to catch the bus at 7:35 a.m. Guess what made catching the bus the most important task, the fair charged by taxi-drivers from National Market hostel to Tipu Road campus. Same was the quality of housing in National Market hostel.  The building was surrounded by the motor mechanic workshops and to add insult to the injury, it was situated exactly under the wrath of the taking off and landing airplanes. How can boarders forget the midnight flight that used to shake window pans like hell, making some to cry and remember the Day of Judgment initially. There was virtually nowhere to play and access to library and hospital was impractical. But these problems never stood in our way when we wanted fun although we thought they were good excuses not to indulge in any curricular activities. So people played and amused themselves in whatever possible ways. Hostel life is a blessing at this time of life, where one learns to move on oneself, adding to the stress coping skills as well as shedding some spoon-feeding habits.

As our session ran through the rule of Pervez Musharraf and 9/11 followed by war on terror, the sittings in the hostel were always warm. Political discussions and differences of opinion kept us awake at nights and weekends, usually ending up in parathas on Murree Road and a couple of times on the Mall, Murree too.

I can feel proud of my session for several reasons. The 27th batch of Rawalians is pioneer of so many sports and other activities in the college. We are perhaps the only batch whom our teachers gave a farewell in the college. The beauty of diversity was unique in our class. We had so many genius students, some in academics, others in sports, still other in still other activities. I acknowledge the accommodating ambiance in our batch, so much so that anyone who happened to be a 27th batch Rawalian once, stayed with the batch no matter what happened academically.

Hidden behind the red flag..
I believe we were lucky to have good teachers too. From basics to clinical departments, our teachers were very helpful to us. I am grateful to all those people in the class and in college administration who organized various events, to all class representatives and office bearers of all organizations and every single 27th batch Rawalian for making it a memorable session to be in.

Personally I am a bit unfortunate not to have too many cherish-able memories with my class fellows, perhaps due to my bad sense of humor. Even though I lived in hostel, which is a place of immense communication and interaction, I failed many a times to break the shell. The main reason for all that was myself, the persona of me who was struggling to get rid of my shortcomings and to keep pace with the loads of education and stress. It took its toll; I struggled to get out of the vicious image of a bad student and perhaps a worse fellow to my class.  Although I met some of the best people in my life during all this time (and have never let them slip away from my friends’ list) the limitation (and even the quality) of my interaction with rest of the class (particularly the fairer gender) speaks for itself. But, as Omer Mukhtar of Libya once put it that the burden that doesn’t break your spine strengthens it, so did it to me. I struggled through all these stereotypes and came out to be a stronger person, with better control on emotional outbursts and traumas of failures. I realize that RMC gave me much more than just a medical degree. It means lot more than an alma mater to me. 

Despite all this fun, I have a lot to regret too. I regret the moments when I fell short of being supportive to my fellows, when I let myself down before others as well as myself, when I shouted at others, when I insulted them (deliberately or by mistake), when I stretched political differences to personal problems, when I discriminated or even when I fell short of expectations of others. I regret all those moments when I caused any hurt or pain to anyone and want to go back and undo it, to apologize, to make them smile and to return them the moment of happiness that they deserved instead of the moment of anger. To all Rawalians of 27th batch, thanks for being around. You all mean a lot to me........

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Confessions of a confused Pakistani youth

Sudden rise of Pakistan’s cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf has been acknowledged worldwide. Although he himself calls it a tsunami of an awakened youth, many having the political know-how are still divided in their opinion. Some say that it is a continuation of Arab spring, where social and electronic media has made people aware of the wrongdoings of the seasoned politicians and establishment, by virtue of which they have turned to IK’s PTI. Others believe the refusal of mainstream political parties to play in the hands of military establishment to weaken the system has led the establishment to invest on Khan. While Khan remains a throbbing sensation for the youth even at his 60, for a person like me it is still difficult to decide which way to go. The problem is choice. Although Imran Khan is gathering points day by day, it is still not clear whether he is going to be a real agent of change, the one that will really be up to our expectations or not. A struggle between hope and fear is tearing me apart.

Suspicions of being a brainchild of cornered establishment have been raised and not without reason. Imran who failed to establish his party in last sixteen years has suddenly rose to fame, beautifully coinciding with the weakening of the strength of the invisible hands on national politics, allegedly because they ran out of options. On the contrary it is also clear that current is one of the worst times regarding national economics, electricity and energy crises and inflation which has added to people’s frustration, pushing them to look elsewhere. Difficulty is to decide whether crowds are being pulled or pushed towards him.
His party has pulled the largely dejected politicians from the mainstream parties, people who have been known for changing loyalties on the wishes of their godfathers. Yet they are the same people who lost in their negotiations with other parties and had no choice other than to join Imran, either for a future in politics (read Mian Azhar) or to improve their bargaining positions (read Marvi Memon) whether they were told to do so or not. Even some of them might have joined him with the hope to have their feet with those of the elephant.
A great critic has been raised about his allegedly fundamentalist approach and a soft corner for militancy. He can have the same respect for the bad guys as that of Aabpara people which will result in continuation of previous policies and future will not be much different. An important point here is, is it possible to ignore the religious factor when addressing the national politics in this country at this moment? I believe it is not. And the way he refused to comment on Salman Taseer’s killing, stating that he doesn’t want to hurt people’s sentiments, his line becomes clearer here. His stance on the war on terror has been unchanged over the last decade and is a considerably a realistic one when he talks about the collateral damage and rise of Pakistani Taliban. Right or wrong?
Many blame him for his double standards, dictatorial approach within the party, lack of awareness of the political situation, problems with his nomination and ticketing policies and many more faults. They are all potential mistakes which can lead to a disaster if he gets to the hot seat one day, without correcting them. Many of his political plans are too idealistic and far from reality to be implemented across the country. Our politics has a signature of nepotism which we can hardly ignore, and no plan will be viable without a change in brothery oriented people’s attitude. Take for example, his claim to free peasants from patwaris by computerizing the land data. But he forgets that while implementation of stuff like this needs to take on a whole mafia, which will oppose it to limit. Despite good intentions, some nice initiatives of the current and previous regimes have met such fate, which include computerized system for matriculation examination and results, NADRA records and free books for school going children. I, once, came across a private school providing free books to its students from Punjab government by secretly putting their names in a nearby government school, and charging them fees equal to other private schools. On the opposite, we don’t know if the ongoing Noora Kushti between PMLN and PPPP for next five years will bring any improvement? The obvious answer is NO. The politics of family hierarchy will not but strengthen itself, bringing the next generation of Zardaris, Chaudhris and Sharifs into power.
Continuation of a political process is healthiest thing one can imagine. It will lead voters to believe that they can bring a change with their vote. Once the voter has his belief in the system, he will start rejecting people with false promises and a better leadership will emerge. Continuation will lead to economic stability, solutions for the ongoing crises will be sought and implemented and institutions will be strengthened. Sticking to the mainstream parties becomes a definite and healthy choice. But here again, is voting for Imran Khan’s PTI not the continuation of the same political evolution that we think of? Why trying Mr. Clean instead of dirty politicians is a taboo? Should we, at least, try him as an opposition first and see what he is really capable of? I am confused whether by voting IK into power I will be strengthening the hands of those who don’t want democracy to prosper, or not voting for IK will strengthen those who don’t want a prosperous Pakistan at all. The troublesome point is that he may be the cleanest politician in Pakistan, but what if he is playing in the invisible hands unaware?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thanks and goodbye Mr Tendulkar

I am an ordinary fan of cricket and not an expert at all. Being honest with myself, I dislike Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar (SRT) as a cricketer. The reasons are many, and being an Indian hero is not one of them at all. I don’t deny that I have adrenaline rush much higher when I see Pakistan vs. India as compared to Ashes, yet I never hate a sportsman for his nationality only. The reasons are quite diverse, but I feel better to realize that it is time finally to say good bye to the selfish cricketer and move forward.
Sachin has stayed in international cricket far more than he actually should have had. His career started sometime when I don’t even remember but after few initial years when I enjoyed watching him, I started getting bored with his presence. The range of shots, the foot work and the ever piling up of records, even the commentary started feeling sick in his presence. There used to be a fresh feeling on the other end, a new face, learning process, mistakes, new shots, and new milestones being achieved, cheered and cherished while there was nothing new on Tendulkar’s end, same aging face which was collecting getting more and more experience and other maladies of monotony.
Another reason for disliking him was his overshadowing of some of the greatest players of the era, for example, Rahul Dravid. Dravid has always lived up to the expectations, handled pressure situations far better than anyone else in the equipe and earned more wins to his country than Sachin, so rightly called the great wall of Indian cricket. Yet his presence has been over shadowed by the so called little master. A golden career came to an end, and the respect and honor that he deserved was lost in the wait of 100th 100 of SRT. His presence affected the persona of Sehwag, as he was always being compared to SRT.
SRT’s curse of centuries has also pushed me to his disapproval. Even his historical ton couldn’t bring India a win which meant that his percentage of match winning innings remain far less than other players of his time, both in tests and ODI’s. Take for example Inzimam-ul-Haq whose percentage of second inning centuries leading to a test win is 66%, Ricky Ponting has a percentage of 83 while Tendulkar has just 30%.
He accumulated so many runs that in the current era of domestic and first class cricket, no player will be able to beat it unless they make a debut at 16 and continue to play till 40. It is sickening as we will not see a player celebrating most number of centuries and runs in tests or ODI’s in a long time.
His greed for records has made the game look ridiculous. I mean, after scoring ton of tons, he will be expected to score his 50th century in ODI’s. I wish him luck but just look at what team India has got after replacing senior players, Virat Kohli, who has won them two difficult games single handedly.  The same can always happen if we let the new talent take over, at the right moment.
To me, the Tendulkar era has been that of a dictatorship, a monotonous period of cheap talent which only served to fill his personal bag of records and credentials, like a general of Pakistan Army on self-approved extensions, denying other talented officers their right to lead and forcing them to take retirement instead. He has damaged Indian and international cricket more than he served. What a lonely man in the dressing room he must be, it is time to bid him a good bye as I don’t see any reason for his selection after Asia cup. Good riddance Mr. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Visit to the dead "Les Catacombes de Paris"

Photoblog is a different category of sharing which Clinical Hammer was never intended to be the one. Yet I decided to take an exception and share here my visit into the belly of the city of Paris, "les Catacombes de Paris". It is a tunnel museum thing with a huge collections of human bones, roughly estimated to be holding remains of six million people. The bones are bare to touch (although prohibited) and are not behind any kind of glass or other protection.

Due to inadequacy of burial place in and around the city of Paris in 17th century, a decision was made to relocate the bones of those who died long ago in a tunnel system originally related to stone mines. More can be found from wikipedia's link to The Catacombs of Paris.

Place Denfert-Rochereau, Paris

First entry to the dark inside

Better with camera

A building miniature

Stairs, probably leading nowhere

It was a cloudy Saturday when I got out of the subway station of Denfert-Rochereau. I was relying on my smart phone maps so it took me few minutes to find the obvious queue of people waiting to visit city's bone yard. And it took another 90 minutes and a couple of Paul's black coffees before I got my turn. I jumped a couple of times when it finally came though.

Stop, The empire of death starts here

Some historical details

No touching (of bones, obviously and probably other visitors as well) and no smoking
In the start, it felt like we have been cheated as there was an endless number of stairs going down to almost nowhere, and that nowhere was another system of poorly lit tunnels with no signs of the bones. Or perhaps I was impatient to get there so it felt a bit longer than usual. But it was surely scary, so much so that when my shoulder bag scratched on a nearby wall, the noise was enough to cause a little scream from a fellow visitor. Spiced by a couple of sculptures of some buildings, the tunnels finally lost their dullness and monotone and I finally came to stop at an entrance, told to be that of the empire of the dead. Few instructions of not touching stuff and not using flash were put up. And I entered the empire.

Struggling to fight the dark to fix the parameters of photography on my camera, I took some out of focus pictures. And then finally, I got a bit of solitude which tempted me to take photos with flash.

The one taken with flash (guilt???)

The state of bones varies. I spotted some skulls with holes, possibly from injuries or decay while others were in good state. Long bones of limbs were the most frequent finding. I remembered my initial days of medical school when I came across such stuff for the first time. I felt myself different from a layman visitor of this place as I had enough knowledge of bones already, and I didn't get any feelings of dead people getting up and attacking me either.

An HDR failure :)

Flash again

Quotations about the dead, the death and the hereafter were also placed matching to time and place. Different walls and corners of bone collections were stated to the graveyard they belonged to. Apart from the walls and corners built with bones, there was a great piller type place where you can make a round trip of the piller made with bones.

Reference to a graveyard where the bones belong to

Silence becomes deadly (my own translation skills)

Too long to translate

Corner decoration idea, for a drawing room :))

God keeps open his eyes to the just and ears to their prayers

The central decoration

Towards the exit, I saw a high curve and a better maintained tunnel although I frequently saw water tipping through the roof during this 2km long visit, which lasts on an average for 45 minutes. I was searched thoroughly for suspicion of stealing bones, like every other visitor. I wasn't given any special treatment though. A nice gift shop at the exit of the catacombs hosts quite some funny toys and miniatures for remembrance.

As a final note, it is not a horrific place at all, a nice contrast to the romantic image of Paris though. I wouldn't recommend it for honeymooners neither for babymooners. People who visit Paris for the sake of its historical richness and comprehensivity of its attaction will find this place a beauty.

An academic visit of human anatomical interest will be of lesser use as compared to an academic visit of history of parisien graveyards.
Towards exit

wet floor

Thanks for visiting. Don't hesitate to leave a comment if you want.