Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oo, La, La, Expression... Thank God, Thank Google!

Google art, great art!
Here is  a language, English , and here is a forum, well, a place, a world, a universe almost,  where I can express. So can you and so can all of us who have a computer, an internet connection, well a broadband now. I think having an internet connection, a gateway to the world should now be declared a basic human right. Especially for the women and children of the Third World. Just like food and water and vaccines. World will be  a much better place if men and especially violent, and not so violent, macho, especially Muslim men read what the women felt and expressed. If they would read more poetry,  Shakespeare, well any literature, Pablo Neruda, Arundhati Roy!Listen to more music.Or see more Google videos.
So here I am talking, well, expressing in the English language, thanks to Google. Always wanted to be a journalist, writer, truth finder, vocalising the needs and desires of the poor, oppressed and those that cannot express themselves for various reasons, well like, illiteracy, mute handicap etc., etc.
Thanks to Google, I have my own little publishing house, Meher's Publishing House in 2009! on the World Wide Web!  Here right now anyone can read what I write or express in any language. Well, so many languages, like I enjoy reading an Italian surgeon's blog , through Google Translator. Here, me in Karachi and his world in Italy. So enjoyable, with a great sense of humor, so essential in this wide, serious, uneven world.
Here I am listening to music, watching a good dance, blogging, Googling basically, happy early  at Dawn. Upload a video and express, reach out and communicate. So are fellow bloggers from Pakistan, women bloggers at that.
so thank God and thank Google, well my agnostic friends will only thank the latter. So I do believe in freedom of belief, freedom of expression, definitely!
Lucky me I am Pakistani. I can freely express myself. If I were well in China, how much could I? could I write as a free Uighiur? well not with this new 'War Against Terror bit, any expresiion different would become a terrorist behaviour.
here too we are labelled, well women like me, with a bob, speaking English, uncovered head, as foreign agents! But still in this beloved, passionately, beloved Pakistan, we are free to express, our joys, sorrows, anger, at least on Google! Out to the world.
I am a doctor by profession, a carer and activist by heart and  a writer, a poet by expression. thanks to Google I ahve at least five blogs, and I manage and type and upload two of my intellectual hubby's blogs. He writes for his nation. he writes for Pakistan and thanks to Google  that I ahve managed to put his valuable ideas for Pakistan to see. he is a technical person, a reformist, so Ireally thank Google that I have his input expressed on my little publishing house!
Viva la freedom of expression, viva la English and Urdu (and all the languages people can use), viva la Google!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Karachi Burns Again...On Ashura!

The news rolls in ,through text messages,television images, chaos, mayhem and death. The tragedy of Karbala is there to bleed our hearts eternally and then this mortal injury!
Who are these people? Who are the suicide bombers?
Who are the people who burnt immediately 600 vehicles, 300 shops, banks, buildings, other peoples homes at once. Surely it cannot be the azadaran, as the procession went on towards the Shahe Khorasan. The ones injured ,dead left with their God and the nearby people to be taken care of. Who were these people who immediately started firing to create more chaos?
According to a channel news, the police disappeared for a while. There were no arrangements of police of outstanding proportion. This was eveidenced by almost all reporters. There was no real plan by the administration , no coordinated, resdcue plan. Only edhi and Chippa ambulances were visible. As people were rushed to nearby Civil and distant Jinnah hospital, it was seen that the fire continued burning for quite some time.It seems that the administration is taking these kind of threats ona level that was there previously. No new enhanced disaster aversion and management plan are there. The fire department response is slow. The big buildings are not installing any water sprinkling system to extinguish any fire as in all modern buildings abroad. Everyone is relying on some fire tenders to come. The Chief minister of Sindh came on television and said that we had the best arrangements possible. He seemed out of touch with reality. He started saying on Aaj Tv that this seems a conspiracy to destabilise government. He seemed totally out of sync. The interior minister of Sindh has vehemently denied the presence of Taleban in Karachi. This he makes specially vocal  t whenever Mr Altaf Hussain demands that major cities like Karachi and Hyderabad be flushed off Taleban and their supporters.He thinks this is an ethnic issue. Who gains by chaos and destruction in Karachi. Who gains by destroying the peace of the largest city of Pakistan? Not the MQM, neither the PPP or the ANP. Then who does? Obviously it is the terrorists and militants that Pakistan Army is fighting.
Meanwhile the Shia Ulema have shown much patience and are urging the Shia people not to react. They understand the seriousness of this assault on the ethnic tolerance practiced in Karachi. This tolerance if disturbed can take a very, very ugly situation all  over Pakistan.
The Karachi police and provincial administration should have taken extraordinary measures. People are sure that these measures were inadequate and that is why this disaster was  not averted.
It is high time that all religio-political parties including the Jamaate Islami, who pretend to be so peaceful make a serious effort to bring peace and harmony to this city. Merely appearance of lip service and religious pretensions will not help. The PPP should also not play a double role in Karachi and Hyderabad as these cities also belong to all of Sindh and political jealousies will not get us anywhere. The larger motive of taking Pakistan ahead as envisioned by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, will not be achieved by small ethnic division measures.

Our hearts bleed and we condole with those who took Shahadat. May Allah give peace to all the affected and their families. May Allah bring peace back to Pakistan and all it's beautiful people.

Quaid- i- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah....Remembered 2009.

Quaid- i- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah…Remembered 2009.

I have been reading the Dawn newspaper  since childhood and formed a clear, balanced image of the founder of Pakistan . Thanks to eminent Jinnah scholars like professor Shariful Mujahid and others. This year as I read his article, entitled’ return to Jinnah’s Pakistan’ I saw with dismay and pessimism , a picture so grey and small. Gone were the beautiful bright colours of the people of Sindh, Baluchistan , Frontier and Punjab. Gone were the dreams and promises. The style in which he has addressed the readers shows how hopeless and petty have our issues become. How we as a people and a nation failed completely to govern, guide and prosper. How our ship of nationhood has entered the tossing, destroying, stormy waters of disintegration and destruction. And all thanks to the demons and despots , who only for their petty gains, their bird-brained thoughts, imposed on such a vibrant, tolerant, dynamic people over the last 60 years. No wonder India is still trying to shake our foundations. No wonder we are labeled as a failed state. Through consistent destruction of institutions and syncophant promotion our whole paradigm of healthy progress is destroyed.
Jinnah stood for Faith, Unity and Discipline. We  stand for hatred, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry. He stood for ‘let all people worship freely in churches, masjids and temples.We stand for let not even religious sects, pray peacefully in their mosques. He stood for honesty and hard work, of which he himself was a shining, blazing picture. We stand for sheer parasitic, nepotism, communal promotion, physical and moral corruption.he stood for democracy and say of the masses. We stand for maneuvering, cheating, colluding . He stood for integrity of character.We stand for deluge, trickery, bribery and sheer baseness!
Ah, this very wintery 25th December as I read the articles on the Birth anniversary supplement  of Dawn as I have been doing for the last 45 years, I cry, my heart is in intense pain. I grieve for the lost ideal, I grieve for the lost Truth.
Do not you think it is time for us all to discard the mantle of untruth and bigotry. Do not you think it is time to reread and repledge our vows for a revived Jinnah’s Pakistan, honestly? Otherwise we may lose this beautiful country, the soul of our existence, forever! We may never be able to justify the reason for creation of Pakistan again!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Political Circus! Julius Caesar!

Peshawar Press Club Mourning Salute to Those killed!

" The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars But in ourselves, that we are underlings".
                            Julius Caesar
"Beware the Ides of March"
                            Julius Caesar

The post  NRO debate continues in the Pakistani political scene, almost in Shakesperean proprtions, on television, newspapers and thank God not on streets as yet. As one twitterite tweeted that there was  no violence post judgement although all of Sindh was waiting. Mr Mujeeb Pirzada , an eminent lawyer from Sindh, aired his views on KTN news , a channel in Sindhi language. This session with Mr. Manzoor on KTN News was very eyeopening and insightful. As you will see in my previous post on this topic, I was perplexed by the intentions of Dr Mubashar Hassan, and Mr Hafeez Pirzada, although he was representative lawyer. Mr Mujeeb Pirzada made clear his stance on this judgement especially against Asif Zardari. He was of the view that those responsible for Murtaza Bhutto's murder case went out of  country to escape the wrath of law.He also said that he always sided with the nationalists in Sindh as they were true to the welfare of Sindh. He said that Pakistan Peoples Party politicians did corruption and why was the people of Sindh left to bear the brunt of punishment! Was there an element of truth in this?
Meanwhile Ms. Fouzia Wahab says that we are preparing a list of corrupt businessmen etc and the nation will see of whose bank loans in millions were cleaned.She is defending the president as Mr.Shafi who says this targetted blame game stinks!
Meanwhile Kamran Khan of Geo tv lists the many scandals and scams unfolded by them for the nation to see which they say we will continue to do so in public interest.
The real dilemma is the behaviour of PML -N 2nd teir. they are accusing the NRO beneficiaries of avoiding trial while Mr. Nawaz Sharif is quiet.The 17th amendment is in place and the circus of musical chairs continues.
Who is the real hero but the policeman at the gate of the Peshawar press club, who valiantly gave his life in stopping the suicide bomber at the gate.
The country fights the terrorists, the ordinary folks and security personnel give their lives but this leadership bickering goes on. And who is trying to take the attention of the government away from the fight against the militants? Not the courts?Or is it the guys who did not even fight the elections and have no mandate.
Pakistan has come of age, good.Now there will be healthy discussion, there will be hurdles to gulping down millions of tax payer's money. There will be stopping of scandals. Meanwhile the terrorists will target journalists, thinking that truth can be silenced. Little do they know that the media and press in Pakistan has also faced dictators and come of age.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Poisn'd Chalice ....This NRO!

"Bloody instructions, which, bieng taught return.
to plague the inventor, this even-handed justice
comments the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
to our own lips.
He's here in double trust."  Macbeth, Shakespeare.

We all wait anxiously for the judgement, on the National Reconciliation Ordinance,almost as if our life hangs by a thread , in the hands, nay , the words of the seventeen ,honorable justices of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. These were the same people who were so unjudiciously confined to a  home , not allowed to attend court by a president , a military dictator, a self centered character, almost the Man, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's amazing characterizing story, looking inside his head, always at himself! he promulgated the NRO, an ordinance of sorts, some say on US insistence whereby a medley of motley individuals, beaurauecrats, politicians, government officials and others gained some advantage by having the cases against them neatly folded and put away. Cases that were some say made up, some say were true, almost eight thousand persons in all four provinces of Pakistan.
The petitioners were also a strange mix, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, who after passing and favoring the horrible seventeenth amendment, which legitimized general Musharraf's rule, turned 'verbally' around , clean and innocent, pretending to be  newborn right out of his mother's sterile womb, sterlilised, almost non-sexualized, dettolled! what was his axe to grind with NRO, or Musharraf or mr Zardari? As usual doghla!
. Then there was a former 'Uncle' of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, who could almost appear for a toothpaste ad, after the verdict was announced, gleeful as if in 'revenge'? Sadistic smile on his face!
The best part was the extremely loud and almost obnoxious coverage by Geo tv's Kamran Khan , who made it look like a 'B' grade cinema entry almost  ! Almost everyone, all anchors, all commentrators, all journalists have missed the main point! Intentionally or unintentionally Mr Zardari , is not affected. Both Mr. Zardari and Mr Musharraf have escaped  the 'wrath'.
As the Swiss administration have said that his cases cannot be opened until he has them opened by the government in Pakistan.The excercise of punishing or atleast 'scaring' Mr Malik Qayyum is an excercise in vain as he is not to blame.
So the judiciary has finally said it's say. No call to evidence of the creator and executor of NRO, General Musharraf.
Asma Jehangir is apprehensive. She says that she fears for the powers of the executive and the parliament. This she said in a tv interview with Dunya and also Dawn News tv. She sees the judiciary as almost more powerful than the parliament. She also questioned  as to why there was no Ehtesab of the army generals.Only she can voice this.
This tirade and some sort of 'movement against president Zardari has finally come to a dead end. What was the idea of NRO in Benazir's mind if not reconciliation.She had to come back. She opened the door for Mr Nawaz Sharif's return and participation in politics. The issue of national reconciliation was always there, but of course it was the ordinance which became "the poison'd chalice'!
Mr Zardari always carried the baggage of  disrepute. Asma Jehangir said on her Dunya tv phone in that he should not have become the president in the first place and now he should resign. Many people think so. They say that Mr Zardari should have let the Peoples Party be on it's own. It had enough strength, organisation, passion to survive and find it's leadership. they say that he almost wrested power away from the older and more ingrained guard as a fuedal fight. He made the decision too quicly, almost with vengeance and cunning of Hamlet.
Mr. Shahbaz Sharif almost in shadow of Nawaz Sharif,  wants the power back I guess to run government. If the 17th amendment problem was tackled earlier, this built up would not have happened. There was also a understated pleasure on the face  of Mr Aitzaz Ahsan, who perhaps remebered the mayhem of 18 th May in Karachi, and the dance of horses with dholak in Islamabad, with Punjabi Bhangra, while 58 people were dead in Karachi. A strange joyous celebration in Islamabad, by general Musharraf and his supporters in Pakistan Muslim League (Q).
So the comedy of errors continues in Pakistan, oblivious to the fact that the ordinary citizen is least bothered about 'the Tragedies and Comedies' of Shakespearean proportions  ,it is only concerned with the day to day realities of Oliver Twist's Charles Dickenian  measurements!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What It Takes To Win A Nobel Prize!


Elinor Olstrom

Carol Greider


The best part of bieng a human is to reach greatness and fulfill one's dream facing adversity, standing up to  challenges ,due to nature or man -made and find the stars!
As all ten Nobel Laureates gathered in The Royal Library, Stolkholm for a talk with Zeinab Badawi , of the BBC, I was greatly impressed by how some of them , mostly females, overcame strange and difficult circumstances and  difficulties and found the ultimate in worldly recognition for one's ability, the award of the Nobel Prize.This award is the world's most prestigious award given to people in recognition of their discoveries, work, inventions in the fields of Science such as medicine, physics, physiology, chemistry, genetics and of course peace in the world.
Ada E. Yonath,who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, shared with the viewers how she overcame the poverty , her hurdles of overcrowding in dwelling as a child, her father's illness and her mother's illiteracy, and yet found herself a path, an true calling, her intellectual persuit  to fulfilment.she is the embodiment of the resilience of human biengs , to overcome all hurdles, like, disadvantages in economics , residence, immigration  and achieve the highest acknowledgement in one's field.
Carol W. Greider is a woman of substance and determination who inspite her dyslexia in school found herself a way to learn and achieve her learning objective by 'memorising ' the dyslexically difficult areas. She also through ingenuity, human resilience and innovation, overcame a natural hurdle to achieve the finest, celestial goal of doing what one dreams of!
Elinor Ostrom, the winner of shared prize in economics, showed how the gender discrimination,of not bieng allowed to read maths in college in her times, did not stop her from becoming a Nobel Laureate in Economics.She also did not recieve formal school training and was very poor. Her thougts on how humans have great abilities  and perceptions to solve their own problems also are impressive and a lesson of hope to the teeming millions of the world  who are poor and disadvantaged. Perhaps her economic theory will perhaps one day change the problem solvin approach so fashionable these days about ' Elite' solutions and economic endeavours.
George Smith, the winner of Nobel prize in Physics, for his most revolutionising CCD conductor discovery or invention almost 40 years ago shows the immaculate brilliance of his person and of human innovation.It shows the importance of scientific inquiry, the need to create in experiment, how  a basic research helps revolutionise future scientific frontiers.
Venkaratnam is another example of a complete human bieng, balanced in his persuits and endeavours, achieving the highest award in Chemistry, inspite of the un-levelled field that initially is offered to many Asians at the begining in their home countries. He is the epitome of what truely is fulfilment of modern, lifestyle dream, a great intellectual recognition, music, cycling and his other enjoyable hobbies.
for many young people who want to do something in this world , for others and for the world to be  abetter place for all humans must see the lives and works of these and other Nobel Laureates. (
There is a world, a universe out there and  each should find their own path no matter how small, it may one day be big for the whole mankind.Dream big, you may find a new star!
George Smith

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hope And Change, Obama Wins Peace Prize.

The US president gave a very well phrased acceptance speech in the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony . He recieves a cash prize of $ 1 million along with the prestigious award.
He accepted  many unavoidable truths and swallowed the bitter pill of many ground realities in Afghanistan . As the debate and disappointment in many a liberal US circles over the troop surge in Afghanistan rage, he is smart  and bold enough to face the ugly reality. He had no choice but to heed the advice and commit to more troops by General Stanley Mc Chrystal. Afghanistan is a rocky, rough truth that the US has to stare at!
As Mr Bush's rushed war on terror landed the US people in both Iraq and Afghanistan in quick succession, the American taxpayer was almost not consulted in both the bad decisions. so many years later the questions are still affecting the US taxpayer directly but this time the new US president has no choice to pull out the troops fast. Who ever thinks that they can do that with ease are mistaken. nobody can leave Afghanistan to the mercy of the Taleban as they will again takeover and destroy the remaining vestiges of civilised society left in Kabul. Rebuilding Afghanistan will take a long time , but the presence of US and allied troops will ensure the achievement of this goal.
Wars are never good. they should never be started in the first place. The 'fight and punish them' strategy of Mr. Bush has put the US and rest of the western world in a strange situation. It is now the new US president's job to clean up the mess. As he asked the question' when is violence justified? The answer is never!
Violence is never justified . Mr. Obama should strive for a no war world and leave a legacy of 'Hope ' and 'Change' as the Nobel Prize committee asked him to .  

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Practices of Love & Forgiveness

Practices of Love & Forgiveness
Man, heal thyself through Love and Forgiveness!
In this world of death, hatred and destruction, find time to heal your spirit and soul!

Punjab Scared? Talks Of Negotiation Start!

As the gory and heart wrenching details of moon market attack victims are seen by public, a clear move has started amongst politicians to start some sort of negotiation with the ? militants. A programme aired on PTV by Khushnood Ali Khan showed a former law minister asking the concerned authorities to start some sort of informal talks with the other party. He said those who are moderate people. Dr Farzana Raja, a minister of the Pakistan Peoples Party was of the opinion that no dialogue or negotiations can be started with those who are anti- Pakistan, killing innocents and are giving a very bad name to Islam. The anchor asked the former law minister as to who should be called on the talking table. He replied that the moderate people.
The questions that arise are many. Who are the people who bombed the Peshawar market where innocent people were killed. Are they the same group who has bombed the Moon market, Lahore? The coordinated, trained suicide attackers in previous military area mosque in Rawalpindi was accepted by the Tehrike Taleban , Pakistan. Are TTP responsible for the two market attacks where several innocent, including women and children killed? If these are the same people, groups then where is the 'moderate' element in this criminal, non-pardonable , anti Pakistan group? Even if the terrorists of Waziristan, Bajaur and Malakand are waging a war against the army, they should die fighting in battlefield and not attack mosques, funerals and people in non-battle ground. This is forbidden by the prophet of Islam(peace be upon him).Islam came for all the peoples of the world . Nowhere is it written that it is only for Muslims. Nowhere Allah says in his book that He is the God, the Nurturer of Muslims only. Everywhere it is written that He is the Rabb(Nurturer) of all world, Illah(The God) of all mankind. Nowhere is His benovelance confined to Muslims. Everywhere He extends it to all humanity. Whosoever is doing this criminal murders and 'Fasad ' is not doing any service whatsoever to Islam. If the Islamic extremists are doing this then they have gone mad.Why did they kill mothers , sisters and children. These were all non- combatants. In modern day there is a clear cut differentiation between civilians and those in combatant, military uniform. Even retired military personnel come in non-combatant status according to Islam.The use of bombs, any explosives in non-war areas such as cities, fields where crops, and waterways are is strictly forbidden in Islam.The destruction in Buner and Swat and use of the Green Chowk to hang dead people so as to scare the civilians in the area to instill a reign of terror is strictly forbidden in Islam. The prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) made it sure that his behaviour to women including those in his house was kind and caring. Nowhere did he instill any fear and used haterd for the females. His kindness to his daughters and his wives and Bibi Ayesha(God is Happy with her) was an example of his way (Sunnat) for people and especially Muslims to follow.
 How can we negotiate with terrorists who are killing Pakistani women and children? If we do then what are we going to give them in return? What spaces, the same that our valiant army jawans and officers have given their lives to restore to Pakistan?
These are some of the difficult questions we need to confront and answer.
A professor who comes on tv representing the Jamaat e Islami always answers in double meaning way when asked about these attacks and deaths of innocent civilians.He was again justifying these attacks on Dawn News tv Newsnight programme with Saima Mohsin, that if  the US withdraws these attacks will stop. This shows the cheekiness and the raw shamelessness of these people who are almost accepting that the Taleban are doing these attacks and that the Afghan Taleban are in league with TTP as US is present in Afghanistan and not in Pakistan. If Jamaat e Islami knows this and all it's leaders accept this and vocalise this demand then why is the government and all the major political parties including Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) not confronting them? In Sindh the PPP plays a friendly siding up with the Jamaat to oppose and exasperate the MQM with whom it is in coalition in government. I simply am amazed at the bravado and shamelessness of all these parties and rulers.
Mr. Ayaz Amir , an MNA for PML(N) , a reasonable man and respected journalist has also vocalised this negotiation demand today and linked it with leaving the US camp. It seems that the terrorists are achieving their objective in spreading fear and  mayhem . What will be the new paradigm of terror in Pakistan? If we bow down to one form , then what will be the next head of the terror Hydra?
Where does the 'foreign ' element stand on in this. If we negotiate then are we giving into these 'foreign ' forces?
If one 'foreign ' player is India as even the interior minister is  saying now,  then are we giving into India? And what are we giving to India? This is getting out of bounds, incomprehensible, most confusing!
What does the Pakistan army say on this? I heard the army spoksman maj., general Athar Abbas a few days back where he reiterated a strong will to defeat the Taleban , reclaim territory for Pakistan and not allow the terrorists to regroup and rearm. How can this stance be reversed so soon, without completeing the job.
The questions keep on increasing. The hurt and pain increases for the innocent civilians and for the ordinary Pakistani.
 What is this 'Islamic" problem with Pakistan? I keep on asking myself, even after 60 years of existence Pakistan is not at peace with it's idenity, that of an independant Islamic state. Was it meant to be so? I keep on asking myself?
Looking at the 'Pathan" 'Taleban' nexus  I am completely confused..
Looking at Jamaat e Islami , I am reminded of the opposition to the creation of Pakistan by Maulana Maudoodi.I a m thinking as to his concept of the Islamic Caliphate and Ummah ,wasn't it really in effect anti- Pakistan state?
Then why does the establishment use this party for it's own designs? What does the establishment want?Who is the establishment?
Questions,dilemmas, puzzles, meanwhile Pakistan burns and news item of Lahore bombing is flashed on 'Chatpatta' news website of India. What is Man Mohan Singh and his ministers upto, defaecating their constipated bowels in the shining toilets of India?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Moon Market ,Lahore Mayhem!

Yesterday we had not recovered from the gory scenes of death and destruction from Peshawar bomb blasts and Quetta bomb blasts that our tv screens were pasted with the fire and destruction at the twin blasts that killed 43 and injured more than 100 innocent people shocking  us and making our nights nightmarish. The fires were burning in the markets, reaching dangerously close to a petrol pump nearby. There were reports of the fire engulfing the many houses in the vicinity. The sad part was that the fire extinguishing water tankers were insufficient to deal with this kind of tragedy. By the time the meager amount was put on fire, the water would finish and it took time to fill the next bowser. All markets in Pakistan have no fire extinguishing equipment in place. There is no sprinkling system,no fire alarm. There is no evacuation plan in crowded often, fully packed markets. There are no exit points, no exhaust fans and routs for smoke. The market is administered on adhoc basis. For a market that caters to millions of people, only one Chowkidar, or watchman is present in two shifts, night and day. The manager is not designated. Often there is no manager. The owner just  is responsible for the rent collection. In case there are several owners or shops and they do not care about either a disaster management program or fire hazard. there is no sense of responsibility or feel for human life in case of accident or hazard. They are only concerned with their prayer timing, keeping chanda(donation) boxes of some militant or pseudo -religious organisations in their shops. All spaces whether entrances, footpaths,open verandas are encroached with goods and hurdles by the shopkeepers. The parking areas especially in front of shops are hurdled by sticks and boards and stones as resreved car parking. In case of emergency , there would be no space to go out or reach inwards by emergency workers or staff. There are no shutes for evacuation in multistoried buildings. In North Nazimabad, Karachi, there are now massive shopping plazas, with no windows and ventilators. All front is sealed. In case of fire or emergency, most people will die of suffocatoion.The front panels are used for large advertising spaces. When the shoppers will die, who cares for advertising.
This kind of mentality is rampant all over Pakistan. It is so sad that the terrorists bombings are opening our eyes to the need for a proper disaster management plan for large buildings and markets. Even the Margalla Towers tragedy in earthquake did not really make the people of these large markets and buildings aware enough to take these measures seriously.
How the fire engulfed and destroyed the whole area is a tragedy and even the news reporters do not follow this story and it is left behind. All disaster handling is done to avert human tragedy. The newsreportes should follow this aspect so that there is enough information and emphasis on advocacy.

As regards the Punjab govt., I hope they realize that Local government is not just about General Musharraf, but about a good grass root level community participation including firefighting, disaster management, hospitals and clinics, community policing etc.such tragedies can be prevented and their aftermath handled .If Citizen Community Boards are there in place to guide and steer the needs of the citizens on all local issues. Emergency and rescue, firefighting and disaster handling are all such issues which need infrastructure and human resource at the local level. I do hope that the Chief Minister of Punjab realizes that we just cannot do a one man show and every one has to participate in saving the most beautiful city of Punjab, the beautiful, Alive Lahore! A great Heritage City deserves All our Attention, love and care. Commit to Lahore, Commit to Save Lahore. Our sincere condolences to all the people who lost their loved ones and support and Duas to all who are injured.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cultural Identity Of Sindh....History.A Sindh Tv Dialogue Initiated Some Ideas.

A good program was aired today on Sindh Tv about the cultural identity of Sindh. Part two will be aired next monday morning. The question was Is there a clash of civilisations as Sameul Huntington wrote in his book. Dr Chandio an eminent scholar told the audience that the economic and technological advancements will take any nation forward. Any language that has the base in this will move forward too. There was a query by a student as to who will be the next leader in civilisation and this was part answer to that. The idea of different civilisations occuring now and existing in a globally communicating world is debateable. Are we not all not part of one great civilisation now? In the historical sense ther were many civilisations, Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greco- Roman, but contemporary world has only one modern civilisation. Cultures, traditions and religions maybe different but there is no clash and no variety. Even the Roman views have amalgated into 'Western' thought and we in East have also absorbed and imbibed it. There is no homogenous 'Eastern ' civilisation.
The debate on Sindh Tv was the kind of knowledgeable programs that should be given to Pakistani public. If translation in both English and Urdu is run with the program , this will be helpful to a wider audience.
The other very important point that the enlightened Dr. Chandio made was that the promotion of Sindhi language should be seen in the context of how much it fulfils the needs to access modern technological and competitive knowledge like mathematics, science and technology in order to develop and make the students or people using Sindhi as a medium of education in order to enter the mainstream.He discouraged the use of demands to make Sindhi as medium of instruction only because it is spoken by a people and said that there is real need to work  to make this language  as a language to build human resource. This point is very valid for any language , however regional , to develop and survive in the modern world. It has been seen that the languages which have more data in technology and other fields of human development are increasingly bieng adopted by any people to gain economic advantage. English is one such language as the UK and US have used this language and they have been in the forefront of education and technology in the modern world.
There is a dire need in Pakistan for educationists , policy planners, other leaders to understand that there is urgent need to develop more information base in all regional languages as the child first learns the mother tongue and his development is based on good , healthy use of language. He will then additionally learn a second language where the needs for his further education will increase.
In present day Pakistan the people are at a disadvantage in that they have no proper educational institutions and their curricula are not geared to cope with the challenges  of modern educational requirements which are becoming highly competitive and specialised day by day.
It is high time that all stakeholders in Pakistan's education took a proactive role and started a strategic approach to develop data and content in regional languages and integrate this with the national education program.All schools should offer matriculation board curricula with any mother tongue and English and Urdu as compulsory other languages. If a large content base is build in regional laanguages, the problem of lack of teachers and illiteracy and school drop out will be squarely addressed and resolved.
Right now the children drop out also because they find it difficult to study non mother tongue languages earlier. We really need this mother tongue language education dvelopment approach for Pakistan.
The 'O' and 'A' level board exams are a burden in our meager educational and economic resources. I have seen that almost all students in these schools are suffering because neither good trained teachers are available, nor the educational system is geared towards this kind of education. It is high time that the government improve the matric educational system and offer students more variety and choice and made government run schools more competitive all over Pakistan. We have done matric and are at par with any foreign college university eduacted person, why? Because our educational syllabus and teachers were good at that time. This was 1972 when I did my matric. My husband is also a leading writer, engineer, scholar. He also did matric from a Karachi school. So only by making matric syllabus more stronger, training more teachers and bringing a uniform, universal education system with strong use of mother tongue and regional languages will we be able to offer a future to the young ones in Pakistan. This kind of approach will also bring the people together as they will feel more  empowered, more recognised, more fulfilled. It will definitely bring more social cohesion and economic prosperity.
A very important point another distinguished speaker made was that  all peoples like Baluch,others from Iran and even Turkey etc., when they came to Sindh, integrated especially in the use of language and all culture but the only peoples who have not are the 'Urdu' speaking from India. He is right to some extent in that these 'Urdu' speaking largely settled in 'Urban'  Sindh . Here they particularly did not feel the need to use Sindhi as medium to communicate. As in those days the burauecracy and other office people were mostly fron India, some English was also used. Over the years due to lack of use of Sindhi as medium in any government department and documentation really lessened the need for it's use by the Urdu speaking population.
Meanwhile as Dr Chandio pointed out  , no development approach to Sindhi language was taken in order for it to become the 'Lingua Franca'. I find that in my 51 years in Sindh, the only learning I had of Sindhi language and culture and literature was becuase of my own interest and fascination with culture and peoples.I bieng born, bred and raised in Karachi of a mother , a lady educationist who is a poet in Urdu but teaches English and a father who because of bieng a Madras/ Bangalore birth combination could speak English and Tamil. The little conversational Urdu he learned was from my mother.I saw my mother recite her Urdu language poems in Karachi with big contemporary poets and masters like Himayet Ali Shaer , Faiz Ahmed Faiz and John Aliya.During years of English teaching at the PACC, she faced and tried to educate the youth especially from Sindh and Baluchistan, who had special 'hatred' for Urdu, to learn and communicate in all languages that one may come accross.This distinguished guest said that it is nationalists sentiments that define and make culture flourish. I do not know , but practically in Sindh and Baluchistan I have seen that the so -called 'Nationalists' have damaged the promotion of their culture and languages due to a kind of 'Ghettoising' their identity and using it as a legitimising tool for the realisation of their demands whether political or even economic. This has damaged the integrity and cohesional existence both in Sindh and Baluchistan to the detriment and cost of development and economic progress also. See what is this 'Urban' /'Rural' divide in Sindh?. In terms of Pakistan Peoples Party perspective it expresses as nationalist sentiment and face.Recently some Sindhi speaking MPAs question vociferously as to why is rest of Sindh other than Karachi bieng called 'Interior'?  The question is valid upto a point. It is high time that the PPP took a clear stand on it;s policy of promoting the Sindhi culture. Just by wearing the Ajrak and Sindhi topi will not solve the problems that I have pointed out in my post. Just by using the Sindh card in times of need will not make anyone a better Sindhi.
It is the need of the times that we integrated all regional languages  in a mainstraem, matriculation based educational board all over Pakistan. Long live the beuatiful, tolerant , sweet Sufi culture of Sindh, Long live our beloved Pakistan and it's multilingual, beautiful people of all faiths and religions!

Allan Faqeer Singing Paan To Paida Kayo - Free videos are just a click away

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shrine of Usman Marvandhi (Lal Shabaz Qalandar)

The Shrine Of Sindh's most reverered Sufi Saint.

The Rawalpindi Mosque Attack,Other Thoughts.

It is a ghastly tragedy that struck the worshippers in Rawalpindi today. We had not recovered from the sad suicide bomb attack on Naval College gates yesterday in which two died and eleven injured, that this massive crazy attack took the precious lives of 17 children, 30 officers and ten civilians. Many were injured. As described by witnesses it was a well planned attack in which the terrorists achieved their targets. I was reminded of the tactics in Mumbai attack. This also used grenades, cold blooded revolver or gun killing , and even suicide bombing although this is not confirmed. What I fail to understand is why  were the Islamic university bombers allowed to come inside the canteen building and a principals' office building. There was a lapse of security there also.Why does not the security includes sharpshooters. These bombers should be killed before they enter or reach the destination. In yesterdays' Naval College bombing , a highest officer was inside. Also where are the surviellance cameras and hurdles?
According to a witness who is trained,  the terrorists enterd the mosque by scaling the peripheral wall and then killed all present inside with guns, hurling hand grenades and even one suicide bomber.Some of them ran outside spraying everyone with bullets and throwing grenades. A  major general and brigadiere each and many other officers were killed. Many parents lost their sons. A grandmother sitting outside wept for her young grandchild.
Some 17 children were killed. The Tehrik e Taleban Pakistan is accepting the responsibility for the attack. The Jamaat e Islami Pakistan is siding up with TTP and asking US to leave . The US is in Afghanistan , not Pakistan. Not one person of the Jamaat has condemned these heinous attacks where not only army but innocent civilians are killed. Whenever a tv anchor asks for their opinion , they start discussing the US presence in Afghanistan and demand withdrawal of foreign troops. It seems they are in league with Afghan terrorists. The Pakistan Peoples Party representatives in Karachi and Sindh behave extra lovingly towards Jamaate Islami people and side up with them against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Here their value of fighting the terrorists is put behind.They are in coalition with MQM but behave in a hostile manner towards them. This politics of duplicity will continue , meanwhile innocent children and civilians will pay the price with their lives in blood.Pakistan has become  a state of foul, double standards. Here people compromise shamelesly to stay in power. Here all sorts of heinous crimes and injustices are allowed to occur and violence is increasing. No need for justice, no need for rule of law. Use any party for any popose as long as you get benefit.

Meanwhile the Zardari ajrak and Sindhi topi controvery continues. The MQM and ANP now becomes  accepting of his attire and endorse his dressing. He is now playing the Sindh card sort of post NRO and let's see if the establishment and the Punjabi factor lets him be. Meanwhile the army is doing a good job in South Waziristan, taking out the strongholds and getting territory back.The Swat bridges that were blown up by the militants are also bieng rebuilt. Let us hope this time the army and other rulers of the state do not let the terrorists return and take hold of our villages and towns, working with the religious parties insidously.

I'm Like A Bird Video by Nelly Furtado - MySpace Video

I'm Like A Bird Video by Nelly Furtado - MySpace Video

Friday, December 4, 2009



Ghulam Rasool is no more with us. He died yesterday and leaves the lovers of Pakistani art and of the landscape art around the whole world in loss and grief. My first encounter with his ‘engulfing’ paintings of the Pakistani Punjab were quite some years ago.. The gallery I forget but I was simply struck by the sheer profoundness of the landscape expression, the real feel of the grass, trees, the humans, the buffalos in his paintings. Bieng a child at that time , I could only feel the novelty of the feeling and could neither categorise or explain the finesse of the painting. This experience is perhaps what gives the uniqueness to the ‘seeing’ of his painting for me.
Marcella Naom Sirhindi, a Ph.D in Asian Art history, writes in her book, Contemporary Painting In Pakistan (Ferozsons ) that Ghulam Rasool is a landscape artist of the Punjab School. ‘ Gulam Rasul’s landscapes firmly rooted in the Punjab landscape school, add dimension of human habitation in nature .In the early eighties, Ghulam Rasool’s landscapes changed from the flat, design oriented abstractions  of neatly divided glowing in the Punjabi sunlight to more detailed realistic visions of the local landscape. His Panorama Of Buffalos  is very much part of the Punjab landscape tradition and a reminder  of his realistic student day landscape under the tutelage of Khalid Iqbal at Punjab University.’ ( Khalid Iqbal , the great landscape painter is considered the founder of  this school).
She says ‘ here again is evidence of a recurring concern for veracity in imagery and colour.’ Ghulam Rasool moved from Lahore to Islamabad in 1974. Perhaps it was here that I saw his paintings first. Dr. Sarhindi says’ Ghulam’s paintings have responded to the particular moods and atmospheres that distinguish these cities.
He was at the Atelier 17 in Paris in 1984 for an year , after which he returned to Islamabad. ‘His style grew more expressive, and he became interested in relationship between man and nature .He began to to concentrate  more on  intimate village scenes, particularly at Saidpur near Islamabad.(Saidpur is a picturesque ancient village in the foothills of Margalla). In his painting ‘ Midday Rest’  ‘his brushstrokes are bolder ,…the focus is on human activity instead of trees , bushes or verdant growth.’ She further asserts that his paintings later show more individuality, freer interpretation of nature, and his human depiction in scenes of villages.
I find his transition into a more individualistic style reminiscint  of the paintings of  Degas in later years, where a play of light and shade, people, flora .foliage creates an almost surreal , eternal quality to the painting. Almost as if passing into Eternity, subtly!
You can have detail information on him at

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Swiss Mentality, Oh How Has It Changed?Has Racism Left Europe Really?

My earliest encounter and mentality of the Swiss people was that when I was about 10 or 11 years old. My mother's friend and whose children she used to tutor was a Swiss lady named Mariam married  to a Pakistani.I was always so impressed by the soft spoken, sweet lady, who would make sure that we had cookies whenever I visited her house. She was kind to my mother whom she would give coffee and buiscuits whenever she would reach her home to teach. My mother was teaching privately , would go to many homes to give tuitions, often in Rickshaw , a very noisy transport, when their cars wouldn't come. Marium aunty made it sure that she would be comfortable before starting her lessons. My mother is one of those rare breed who always worked with honesty ,dedication, without any expectation for reward and acknowledgment. She bore adversity with courage and fortitutde, educating her own girls, cultivating solid values of respect for humanity, tolerance and honesty in all aspects of life  and even to those she taught. Throughout her life whether as a powerful public representative, a socio -political worker, or a private or language tutor she lived  a good life in the sense of contribution and character building of those who were her pupils. Till the time she was in Pakistan, I remember her never short of company from kids to musicians, to poets and intellectuals.

So Marium aunty would also visit us girls to give us fruit and chocolates to keep us happy when our mom was in hospital for a short time. She made it sure that we would be happy.I often sifted through her German magazines, although I did not know German.Her parents who were in Switzerland with her brother, Hanzi who played some musical instrument, I can't remember now would send us home made Christmas chocolates, for which both my sister and I would wait. These were often beautiful dolls or figurines whom we would find difficulty to eat as what should we eat first the beautiful head? As the delicious chocolates melted in our mouths we dreamed of the beautiful valleys and grasslands of Switzerland and her parents in their little home, like magic story from th lands of Hansel and Gretel. Our reality till to this day of The Swiss was that, beauty, chocolates and soft spoken, fine and kind people.
As I read about the 'controversial' vote of the Swiss to vote against the building of minarets in mosques in Switzerland, my heart broke..What has happened to the beauty of tolerance. As someone said that we do not want the skyline to be spoiled by minarets , a symbol of power for Muslims, I think the world has become so intolerant that it has permeated and poisoned even the spirit of the Swiss whom I took as one of the most tolerant. where will this polarisation take us the humanity? What are the limits of 'Us' and 'Them'?
What is racism? Has Europe really come out of the 'racist' divisions that were there before World War 2?
What is the 'new' definition of Swiss? Are Muslims in Switzerland second rate citizens, the 'other' people?
What is democracy really in the minds of the Swiss?
Is this the same phenomenon of anti - hijab  in Belgium and anti- burka in France?
There are so many issues that need urgent attention and debate in Europe. So does Europe believes that 'preserving' white race is the priority then what are the values and limits?
Was Hitler wrong in his ideology, minus the violence he used?
Is al Qaeda a reaction, another voice in Europe, the world. I shudder and am in agony at the prospect of  'violent people getting what they want as the only means of communication!

oh ,how sad, minarets are not the symbols of 'power', they are just a beautiful architectural part of a mosque, Alas!