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The NA 250 lollipop

NA 250. A hot national assembly seat; so declared before elections and even further so, after rigged elections. A constituency where stalwarts such as Khushbakht Shujaat, Naimatullah Khan and Arif Alvi were contesting.

Let’s cut to the chase. As most of you know, ECP had called for re-polling in 43 stations of NA 250 on the 19th of May. The polls were conducted and even after a low turnout, Arif Alvi has won the seat. For PTI fans, I suppose this is good news.

I stand against it. I can’t imagine why PTI supporters are pleased at this. From what` I understand from all of this is, they went on the roads asking for the main course, and they are settling for peanuts. I am not so sure a battle based on principles (at least that is what Arif Alvi and Ali Zaidi have reminded us again and again) can be settled for something so substantially less as a single constituency; a far cry from the re-elections demanded in all 20 constituencies of Karachi.

I fear PTI has took the bait. By accepting re-polls in NA 250, you have placed the quest for Karachi re-elections in jeopardy. We have seen how ECP has given scant attention to the demand for re-elections. Do you really think it is likely to give more favors after giving NA 250 a chance? Also, PTI is overestimating its supporters. For how long can their supporters maintain the same enthusiasm and fervour in continuing the re-elections demand in Karachi, when majority of their supporters have voted in NA 250?

Often, the success of a movement depends on the degree of agitation of the people. Till the mob is kept agitated, a movement will live. Grant it a little breathing space, a certain degree of relief, and it is very likely that the small dose of happiness will eradicate the very agitation that led Karachi to come out on the streets. Is PTI sure it can continue its quest for Karachi re-elections when it has already acheived a soul-satisfying victory in NA 250? That is the biggest challenge for PTI, and at such a crucial juncture, when things are in their favour, may be they should have avoided putting this theory to the test.

As it is now, MQM has boycotted the re-polls and already acheived moral high ground. What’s to stop history from recording NA 250 re-polls, if Karachi re-election movement fails, as a protest of the affluent? Does PTI think some months from now, MQM, ECP and the media will not remind them of the fact that the affluent society of Defence and Clifton settled down after getting their desired constituency? Does PTI think the relevant stakeholders will not degrade the Karachi re-elections movement from a matter of principle, to a matter of a single constituency?

Perhaps the coming days will tell better of how PTI’s stance changes. Perhaps the protests will still continue with the same force. Perhaps the ECP, MQM and the media will crucify PTI for choosing NA 250. Perhaps I will be wrong. I certainly hope so.

Why are Muslims so weak ?

I got an email on my office mail today. It was actually a very interesting read, on why Muslims haven’t been able to exercise the degree of influence proportional to their size. I think it makes perfect sense. It sure makes interesting reading… particularly coming from a Pakistani
official (Dr.Farrukh Saleem). The writer is the Pakistani Executive Director of the Center for Research
and Security Studies, a think tank established in 2007, and an Islamabad-based freelance columnist. The article specifically focuses on the reasons behind power held by Jews, which are relatively small in number.

So why are Jews so powerful?

There are only 14 million Jews in the world; seven million in the Americas, five million in Asia, two million in Europe and 100,000 in Africa. For every single Jew in the world there are 100 Muslims. Yet, Jews are more than a hundred times more powerful than all the Muslims put together. Ever wondered why?

Albert Einstein, the most influential scientist of all time and TIME magazine’s ‘Person of the Century’, was born to Jewish parents.

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis was a Jew. So were Karl Marx, Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman.

Here are a few other Jews whose intellectual output has enriched the whole humanity:

Benjamin Rubin gave humanity the vaccinating needle.
Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine.
Albert Sabin developed the improved live polio vaccine.
Gertrude Elion gave us a leukemia fighting drug.
Baruch Blumberg developed the vaccination for Hepatitis B.
Paul Ehrlich discovered a treatment for syphilis.
Elie Metchnikoff won a Nobel Prize in infectious diseases.
Bernard Katz won a Nobel Prize in neuromuscular transmission.
Andrew Schally won a Nobel in endocrinology.
Aaron Beck founded Cognitive Therapy.
Gregory Pincus developed the first oral contraceptive pill.

Richard Levin, President of Yale University, is a Jew. So are Henry Kissinger (American secretary of state), Alan Greenspan (Fed chairman under Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush), Joseph Lieberman (US Senator), Casper Weinberger (American Secretary of Defense), Maxim Litvinov ( USSR foreign Minister), Issac Isaacs (governor-general of Australia ), Benjamin Disraeli (British statesman and author), Yevgeny Primakov (Russian PM), Barry Goldwater (US Senator), Jorge Sampaio (president of Portugal ), John Deutsch (CIA director), Herb Gray (Canadian deputy PM), Pierre Mendes (French PM), Michael Howard (British home secretary), Bruno Kreisky (chancellor of Austria ) and Robert Rubin (American secretary of treasury).

George Wald won a Nobel for our understanding of the human eye.
Stanley Cohen won a Nobel in embryology.
Willem Kolff came up with the kidney dialysis machine.

Over the past 105 years, Jews have won about a 15-dozen Nobel Prizes while only three Nobel Prizes have been won by 1.4 billion Muslims (other than Peace Prizes!!)

Why are Jews so powerful?

Stanley Mezor invented the first micro-processing chip.
Leo Szilard developed the first nuclear chain reactor.
Peter Schultz, optical fibre cable.
Charles Adler, traffic lights.
Benno Strauss, Stainless steel.
Isador Kisee, sound movies.
Emile Berliner, telephone microphone.
Charles Ginsburg, videotape recorder.

Famous financiers in the business world who belong to Jewish faith include
Ralph Lauren (Polo),
Levis Strauss (Levi’s Jeans),
Howard Schultz (Starbuck’s) ,
Sergey Brin (Google),
Michael Dell (Dell Computers),
Larry Ellison (Oracle),
Donna Karan (DKNY),
Irv Robbins (Baskins & Robbins) and
Bill Rosenberg (Dunkin Donuts).

In the media, famous Jews include Wolf Blitzer (CNN), Barbara Walters (ABC News), Eugene Meyer (Washington Post), Henry Grunwald (editor-in-chief Time), Katherine Graham (publisher of The Washington Post), Joseph Lelyveld (Executive editor, The New York Times), and Max Frankel (New York Times).

One of the most beneficent philanthropist in the history of the world is George Soros, a Jew, who has so far donated a colossal $4 billion most of which has gone as aid to scientists and universities around the world. Second to George Soros is Walter Annenberg, another Jew, who has built a hundred libraries by donating an estimated $2 billion.

Did you know that Harrison Ford, George Burns, Tony Curtis, Charles Bronson, Sandra Bullock, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen, Paul Newman, Peter Sellers, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Kirk Douglas, Goldie Hawn, Cary Grant, William Shatner, Jerry Lewis and Peter Falk are all Jewish.
As a matter of fact, Hollywood itself was founded by a Jew. Among directors and producers,
Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Oliver Stone, Aaron Spelling ( Beverly Hills 90210), Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), Andrew Vaina (Rambo 1/2/3), Michael Man (Starsky andHutch), Milos Forman (One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Douglas Fairbanks (The Thief of Baghdad ) and Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) are all Jewish.

So, why are Jews so powerful?
Answer : EDUCATION

There are an estimated 1,476,233,470 Muslims on the face of the planet: one billion in Asia, 400 million in Africa, 44 million in Europe and six million in the Americas . Every fifth human being is a Muslim; for every single Hindu there are two Muslims, for every Buddhist there are two Muslims and for every Jew there are one hundred Muslims.

Ever wondered why Muslims are so powerless?

Here is why: There are 57 member-countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), and all of them put together have around 500 universities; one university for every three million Muslims. The United States has 5,758 universities and India has 8,407.

In 2004, Shanghai Jiao Tong University compiled an ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities’ , and intriguingly, not one university from Muslim-majority states was in the top-500.

As per data collected by the UNDP, literacy in the Christian world stands at nearly 90 per cent and 15 Christian-majority states have a literacy rate of 100 per cent. A Muslim-majority state, as a sharp contrast, has an average literacy rate of around 40 per cent and there is no Muslim-majority state with a literacy rate of 100 per cent. Some 98 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Christian world had completed primary school, while less than 50 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Muslim world did the same. Around 40 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Christian world attended university while no more than two per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Muslim world did the same.

Muslim-majority countries have 230 scientists per one million Muslims The US has 4,000 scientists per million and Japan has 5,000 per million. In the entire Arab world, the total number of full-time researchers is 35,000 and there are only 50 technicians per one million Arabs. (in the Christian world there are up to 1,000 technicians per one million).

Furthermore, the Muslim world spends 0.2 per cent of its GDP on research and development, while the Christian world spends around five per cent of its GDP.

Conclusion: The Muslim world lacks the capacity to produce knowledge!

Daily newspapers per 1,000 people and number of book titles per million are two indicators of whether knowledge is being diffused in a society. In Pakistan, there are 23 daily newspapers per 1,000 Pakistanis while the same ratio in Singapore is 360. In the UK , the number of book
titles per million stands at 2,000 while the same in Egypt is 20.

Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to diffuse knowledge.

Exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports are an important indicator of knowledge application. Pakistan ‘s export of high technology products as a percentage of total exports stands at one per cent. The same for Saudi Arabia is 0.3 per cent; Kuwait, Morocco, and Algeria are all at 0.3 per cent, while Singapore is at 58 per cent.

Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to apply knowledge.

Why are Muslims powerless?
Because we aren’t producing knowledge,..

And, the future belongs to knowledge-based societies.

Interestingly, the combined annual GDP of 57 OIC-countries is under $2 trillion. America, just by herself, produces goods and services worth $12 trillion; China $8 trillion, Japan $3.8 trillion and
Germany $2.4 trillion (purchasing power parity basis).

Oil rich Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar collectively produce goods and services (mostly oil) worth $500 billion; Spain alone produces goods and services worth over $1 trillion, Catholic Poland $489 billion and Buddhist Thailand $545 billion.

So, why are Muslims so powerless? Answer: Lack of education.

All we do is blame everyone else for our multiple failures and kill each other in the name of ISLAM!!!!!

I concede that I have not been able to personally verify every figure presented by Dr.Farrukh Saleem. But I think the overall idea of the article is to highlight why Muslims have not been able to wield power which they should have. I think the above mentioned stats present it beautifully.

What’s in Wasim and Ramiz?

The 2 people who are positive up-shots to the Indian ego

The 2 people who find it difficult to be Pakistani

What’s in Wasim Akram and Ramiz Raja?

No seriously, what’s so special these two Pakistani commentators that allows them to remain untainted from India’s recent efforts to humiliate every Pakistani on every political front?

To start with, there was, and still is, the brouhaha over Pakistan’s participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The extension of T20 franchise system on a global level, in the form of Champions Trophy, was next. Last competition was the first time a Pakistani franchise ‘Sialkot Stallions’ was allowed to participate, and even that through a qualifier system which was wretchedly unfair.

There has been serious political protests and concerns over Pakistan’s cricket team visiting India, and it was only affected after considerable political humiliation of Pakistan.

For the Women’s World Cup, the women cricket team of Pakistan was relocated from Mumbai to Cuttack, after threats to the team. Moreover, they faced the humiliation not being allowed accomodation in hotels. The team was confined to the stadiums, which was utter humiliation in a global tournament.

To add more to the atrocities against our visiting teams in India, our blind cricket team captain was poisoned, after Pakistan had beat India in a group fixture.

And finally, India released all Pakistani hockey players that it had invited for the Hockey India League (HIL), after serious political protests and pressure.

Hence my question: What’s in Wasim and Ramiz? I have observed their commentary and how cosy they have become with Indian sports broadcasters. All of Pakistan have witnessed their incessant sucking up to other Indian commentators on the panel, the Indian cricket team and the Indian cricket board. One also wonders why these two are well accepted in Indian media circles when everything else associated with Pakistan is shunned by the Indian auathorities.

Ofcourse the cricketing community knows their commentary skills are mediocre at best. If it’s excellence in commentary they seek, they need not look farther than Waqar Younis, a genuinely good spokesman in every aspect. Are they accepted only because of their tendency to be dominated by Indian contemporaries in the media box? Are Wasim and Ramiz much needed up-shots to the Indian ego? Does their presence in the midst of Indian celebration of its nation’s greatness makes the celebration that much sweeter?

So why Wasim Akram and Ramiz Raja? And why have these two not made any effort to uphold some semblance of pride in their own nation’s position and its treatment at the hands of the Indian authorities? Sunil Gavaskar for instance, publicly communicated his displeasure at revival of Indo-Pak cricket ties when the perpetrators of Mumbai attack were still unpunished then. Surely there must come a time when an individual takes a stand? Unfortunately, for Wasim and Ramiz, The question is not ‘when‘, the question is ‘will it ever?

Chaudhary Nisar Ali tops the 2012 Hall of Shame!

Proud nominees of the Hall of Shame 2012

Proud nominees of the Hall of Shame 2012

Without qualification, being so close to elections, 2012 has been a testing year for every political party in Pakistan. With conspiracies, inter-party clashes and the rising corruption cases, the can of worms has truly been opened. Under this enhanced pressure, every party has had a slip-up or two and have uttered some laughable, some ridiculous, and some downright slanderous statements on the media front. On the forefront has once again been Rehman Malik; he simply loves the media. There’s no denying that Rehman Malik was born for this; he loves attention and attention loves him. Here’s a collection in ascending order of laugh-ability from top to bottom, of the 10 statements that have topped the charts for the 2012 Hall of Shame:

10. President Asif Ali Zardari’s on President Obama’s new term in office: He stated that he was confident that the leadership of the two countries would be able to further deepen and broaden bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interests.

Yes we certainly are respectful of each other. The frequent instances of US and Pakistani officials taking jibes at each other’s policies are in jest; you know, to keep the blood pumping. The U.S has been more respectful in particular, from Salala to Malala; it has had nothing but words of affection for us. Sadar sahab, is baar to aapnay had hi kardi !

9. Rehman Malik on Muharram terror activities – ‘More terror activities are expected in the upcoming days across Pakistan’.
Why Mr Senator, you may as well be reading weather forecasts on TV. Weather presenters are known for their nonchalance in presenting the most extreme of weather news. I think PTV’s found a new guy! Our dear senator oozes nonchalance, be it weather, be it terror.

8. Sirajul Haq, Jamaat-e-Islami said the US and the West were creating an atmosphere of the World War-III through making of blasphemous film. The blasphemous film is being produced to hurt the sentiments of Muslims.
No, the film was produced to show the world what headless chickens we can be in violence and anger. The producers of the film must have had a good laugh at the resultant death count. It transcends understanding of how WW III is being constructed through this film, but only Mr. Sirajul Haq can explain.

7. ‘There’s no movement in Pakistan by the name of Taliban’ – Maulana Fazlur Rehman

Really Maulana sahab? It’s one thing to question the integrity of the source of information, where someone is always taking responsibility or is mysteriously identified by ‘khufia idaaray’. However, one must be completely off their rockers to deny the existence of Taliban in the first place. Sir aisa na farmaayen liberals ka tou heart fail hojayega! Good Taliban kehlayn Bad Taliban kehlayn magar Taliban tou kehlayn!

6. Below are 2 statements by different political figures that are so similar in nature that I must club them into one:

Senator Shahi Syed from ANP, has said his party is against “all mafias, including bhatta mafia, weapons mafia and land mafia”, calling for a “transparent operation” against all extortionists

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the Sindh Unity Conference at Mehran Arts Council, Farooq Sattar said people were fed up with the “bhatta mafia” (extortionists), asserting that the MQM had a right to speak out against this evil.

I’m sure most people have read something similar to what I’m going to say here: Salman Butt speaks out against match-fixers, Amir Liaqat speaks out against religious manipulation, Meher Bukhari against compromised TV hosts and Veena Malik against vulgarity.

5. Government would provide arms licenses to political and religious parties in Karachi to secure their offices from terrorism’ – Rehman Malik

Great idea Malik saab. Karachi is in serious need of weaponisation. All this peace is killing me. I got a better idea, why don’t you train them in melee combat too?
I am more reminded of the starting dialogue delivered by Nicholas Cage in one of the most brilliant movies I’ve ever seen ‘Lord of War’ – “There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That’s one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?’ You’re getting there Mr.Senator.

4. ‘I announce today that this blasphemer who has abused the Holy Prophet, if somebody will kill him, I will give that person a prize of $100,000,” Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said Saturday, adding that he’s ready to face the consequences of his actions.

Of course it’s much easier doing that in Pakistan where you know there are no consequences. So what next for the defenders of Islam? Hired mercenaries? Maybe the minister is in dire need of publicity. Nothing increases your visibility to the voting public better than a controversy with a righteous tinge to it.

3. Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while terming Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan a “western agent,” claimed that Khan wants to destroy our society by injecting his ‘western thoughts’ in it.

Oh the western thoughts, those dastardly beings are at it again! Imran Khan must be wondering how to make himself endearing to any political party. The leftists call him a Taliban apologist, and the rightists call him a Western agent. Perhaps both sides feel threatened. There has to be some defined ethic codes in defamation and slander for all parties to follow!

2. Pakistan’s PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf addressed the nation in Islamabad: “People of Pakistan should not worry because of the increasing population. It has some positive affects too” He further said that Pakistan is a country of limitless resources with atomic power in its possession.

Here you go folks. Our Prime Minister has given the official license to go forth and multiply! A family of 14? No fear, atomic power is here! Perhaps he needs reminding that our nuclear power generation is not even close to global standards. Perhaps his optimism on growing population will be understandable when the government unearths those limitless resources, including the projects they’re currently holding up.

1. In a statement, Chaudhry Nisar from PML-N said that PPP should stop dreaming of unity with PML-N.

I wonder what else has kept the two parties so cosy. PPP should not dream? They are living the dream these past 5 years! This has got to be the most ridiculous statement of 2012 and worthy of the No.1 Ranking! The elder Sharif has agreed to be a PM under the presidency of Zardari and Qamar Zaman Kaira has expressed similar adoring sentiments. A fantastic example of the great lies that are spoken to the public: foes on the front, alliances at the back.

This is my list of the top 10 statements of 2012, that deserve a place in my Hall of Shame. I may have missed out on some statements, for which I hope I can be excused for not having a news research agency at my disposal. Anyone who reads is welcome to share any statement that they believe warranted a position on the TOP 10 HALLF OF SHAME STATEMENTS OF 2012.

I plan on releasing another post at the end of 2013, or at the start of 2014. Without doubt, Mr. Dr. Allama. PhD Shaayirana Falsifaana Tahir-ul-Qadri must dominate that list. Till then, best of luck for a blood-free election!

The anarchy of peaceful protests – a classic oxymoron

Could they have done anything different? Could the protests have been any other way? I mean, we all know by now that almost none of the prominent religious scholars can be trusted to raise an unconditional voice against the madness that comes automatically programmed into an average Pakistani protestor. It also remains undisputed that the large-scale protests were nothing, if not political. All religious groups and parties have proven beyond all doubt that presently, the religious scholars of this country are not fit to lead anyone.

So who can?

It may be fair to conclude that most of them did not want what ensued a month ago. However, none of them have displayed the courage of going against the popular norm. None of them publicly denounced with conviction the chaos that was taking place. No, their tone, their stance against the angry mob was how one friend might talk to another close yet misguided friend; ‘Yes I understand what you are doing and why you’re doing it, I know , I am hurt too, but please don’t do it.’

  

It’s come to a point where you’ve got to ask, ‘Who are they kidding?”. I mean, we have a long and colorful history of mass protests in which we have repeatedly exposed our distasteful disposition to violent behavior. Are our religious leaders really that naïve? Is their shock and surprise at the destructive nature of the mob really genuine? I don’t believe it, but if they expected something different, it would only go on to confirm the level of their disillusionment with reality!

As much as it saddens me to say it, for I have been a firm believer in the mantle of leadership being borne by our religious scholars, this is a combined failure of the whole religious organizational and political structure. The notion that we can be led and guided by them in these testing times has come crashing around our feet. Their wisdom and their politics both have disappointed me. The idea of religious leadership is dead.

This is what @tazeen had tweeted about them, and to which I fully agree:

Why is the protesters’ leadership called Ulma-e-Karaam by all the TV channels, surely we all know that they are hooligans.

Mufti Naeem on TV the other day, publicly denounced these acts and yet he had the audacity to talk about them in a polite and understanding manner, asking protestors to please go home and that God will reward them for their emotions and actions.

   

Does that not confuse you about the message they are trying to convey? Are our religious scholars not aware that an unruly faction is always waiting for such mass protests to create havoc, burn and loot valuables and public property? Do they not themselves recognize these events as an opportunity to promote their own agendas and display their hypnotic power over the masses, and do the protests not waiver strictly from the original purpose to everything deemed un-islamic? Why were banks and cinemas attacked and American flags trodden on and burned if that’s not the case? Their leadership and mandate has no direction; their political statements are more or less garbled insults at everything American (they are well aware of how much an average Pakistani likes to hear that).

   

On Saturday at Jauhar Chowrangi, a religious party had laid down an American flag on the road and took pictures as cars drove over it. I am greatly saddened for currently, there is no future for this country if such religious leaders continue to hold power over the masses. A peaceful protest in Pakistan is just a myth.

If you go on a social media round, as I’m sure most of you have already done, you might go on to question who the heck is on the roads when most of us seem to be in agreement on not resorting to violent discourse and adopting peaceful and more beneficial means of countering such anti-islamic propaganda. But then we all know that the majority does not have access to the internet for a start; a large majority of those who do, have not yet embraced social media. Add to that our unfortunate language barrier. As a result, we, the bloggers and the writers, only seem to be talking and discussing and expressing horror among ourselves! We may occur as intellectuals, but practically, what are we doing other than showing how sharply we can think and how eloquently we can write?

Maybe we need to ask ourselves if our efforts, with all our best intentions, are even sufficient to make a tangible difference. We debate, we argue, we discuss and exchange views. Yet this exchange and development of thoughts is not trickling down to the masses, most of which cannot even read. It’s just a theory, but there’s got to be something wrong in what we are doing. Are there any avenues for us to reach the masses? We know Pakistan does not have a vibrant reading culture. Can we reach out to the masses in a better way? Can large communities be educated through seminars and schools?

I am stumped to be honest. The only way I see to improve the situation is to break through the barrier between the intellectuals and the mere followers. How can we do that? Let’s generate ideas and share our thoughts. I am sure that when all of us start to think in these terms; we will come up with great ideas to expand the information flow from a trickle to a river.

The majority of our people only get to listen to the perpetually inflammatory media and the sermons of the self-appointed representatives of religion that are well aware that they are their only source of knowledge.

We must challenge that source. 

2009 – An account of the night when we won the World Cup!

I have reproduced what I had written back then when we won the World Cup in 2009 …. oh what a magical night it was. It was what pure happiness could mean. It was all that happiness could give. Let’s hope we see something like that again ? : ) Let’s hope we get a chance to be so naive about hope and patriotism as I was, when I wrote this : )

A Khan brought the trophy home again. Infact Younus Khan, Umar Gul and Shahid Khan Afridi carried the fortunes of the team. This country’s fortunes are sewn with Pathans; would somebody please stop driving them away ??

It’s ironic that the ethnic group most tormented by our Government has brought this nation the most happiness. The country is bathed in ecstasy; I myself have been delirious since the winning leg-bye was scored. Cricket means to me more than anything. I say this without drama, that nothing moves me as much as cricket does.

It’s a sport that stretches beyond the realms of a mere sporting victory. This victory has given this nation renewed hope. This victory has perhaps woken us all from the deep slumber we’ve bin entrenched in and instilled in us a reinforced pride and passion for our country. Suddenly you see people being outrageously patriotic and happy for living in Pakistan.

The night of the World Cup Final will forever be etched in my mind. I was part of the wild celebrations that went on and on throughout the night and I will never forget the ecstatic face of the nation. I had personally never seen such a huge crowd gathered in one place for any reason other than political affiliations. But on that night, there were hundreds of Pakistani flags on the head of bikers, on the windscreen of cars, hung across streets, hung across the backs of guys and painted on the faces. Admittedly, there were some political flags seen too and while some idiots still continue to value that flag more than the national flag, the masses were there for Pakistan.

I can’t remember myself ever being so happy and content; why wouldn’t you be? How often do you hear nationalist slogans across Karachi? You don’t. But on THAT fateful night, as I hung outside from a friend’s car’s window, on every Pakistani’s face was a brutal expression of joy and freedom – the slogans of JEEVAY JEEVAY PAKISTAN echoed through the night! People had gone absolutely crazy. They would stop at every signal, get off from their bikes and cars and dance wildly and then move on to the next stop.
It was like every bike and car was heading for pilgrimage, in this case being SeaView! Those were just unbelievable scenes where every car was being stopped at SeaView McDonalds and people would dance and sing and clap; they’d ask the car inhabitants to come out and celebrate too. Some of them were game, but we encountered a fair number of spoilsports too! You moved on ahead and you saw roads completely blocked by people. I can safely say there were at least 15000 people there that night. Container trucks were stopped, guys were dancing on top of the containers, on the bumpers, and all the time accompanied by the rhythmic clapping on JEEVAY JEEVAY PAKISTAN.

It was a time when the public dared kid around with the Police and Rangers. The ecstasy was just infectious, intoxicating. You couldn’t help but be absorbed in it. It was a night you could do just about anything and get away with it. You could shout yourself hoarse on streets at 3pm in the night, you could hug policemen, you could talk to girls you have seen for the first time in front of their families without any ramifications! That’s how infectious this WorldCup victory was.

I traveled all over Karachi hanging out of the car, shouting slogans at every bike and car we passed with the omnipresence of the victory sign. Infact that is the way everyone was that day. Nobody knows how many years it’ll take for a moment like this to come again where the streets would be flooded with Pakistanis and not Muhajirs or Sindhis or Pathans.
All I can say is that whoever stayed in their homes that night deprived themselves of a phenomenon, unwittingly alienated themselves from the mercurial nation that Pakistan is and perhaps slept through the happiest night in Pakistan in years.

Now you better Stand Up for The Champions !

Racism, and the disease within

There’s a famous Chris Rock (one of my favorite comedians) question: ‘Who’s more racist, Black people or White people? BLACK PEOPLE! Why? Cuz they hate black people too! Anything white people don’t like about a nigger, black people REALLLYY don’t like about a nigger!’

 

You’ve often heard of the word racism – and its automatic connection with the whites and the Asians/Africans/Blacks/Pakistanis. On too many occasions, we see people bleating about how our nation is a victim of racism from the outside world, specially the West. Too many times, you see people frothing spit in anger at how we are looked down at, treated with disdain.

I’ve been observing this for a fair bit of time and I can’t help being disgusted by the hypocrisy of it all. When was the last time we did not think about the racial background of a person while dealing with them? Punjabi, Bengali, Pakhtun, Sindhi, isn’t this how we categorise each other? Shia, Sunni, Bohri, Parsi isn’t that how we are divided? Isn’t it just absolute fun to snigger at a peculiar accent? We might get away with claiming all of that to be in good fun, but in reality, every mockery is borne from some background of prejudice. Why is the term Bengali such a gaali now? Why is the Pushto community the brunt of all jokes? The prejudice and scorn has reached an unprecedented level of sickness.  

Let’s face it; we all are racists of the highest degree. In our minds, racism only exists between the West and us! It doesn’t occur to us that when we laugh at the way someone talks or cringe at someone’s looks or their skin colour, we ARE being racists. We have a tendency to listen with open ears to a person who’s speaking good English. There’s a general unconscious assumption that speaking fluent English automatically grants you a 160 + I.Q! We tend to be intimidated and over-awed when confronting a local who’s jabbering away in rapid English. Our accents, our dialect: changes. Turning our faces into dismissive walnuts, we suddenly start waving hands to look more impressive.

Now let’s look at the role the media plays. We wake and sleep with ideas that our media feeds us. If you’re a girl, you BETTER be Snow White if you wanna get married. If you’re a guy, having a clean shave would give you the best chicks. The resultant is the metrosexual craze among men, adopting standards set by showbiz and media. White and ONLY White is the acceptable colour. Does it occur to us how racist a nation we are? We ridicule our own people, our own colour, our own clothes, and our own ethnicity – in short a nation overwhelmed by an acute inferiority complex; a nation desperately trying to act, sound and live like the West! 

The accent issue is something which concerns the youth the most. I’ve never understood why it is embarrassing or funny if someone speaks in a different accent. The day we realise that an accent is not a fault, but a representation of a part of our country, a symbol of the diversity of our culture and simply….natural, we would stop being condescending towards them. There’s nothing cool about me if I can communicate in good English. Sure it helps me in my career, but how does that make me superior? What’s the big deal if my accent sounds acceptable when I blurt out some English words? Why shouldn’t a person having a Punjabi, Sindhi or let’s say a Memon accent be respected for the idea they have? The problem: we have grown far too ignorant and intolerant to think seriously about these issues. A large reason of these prejudices and mockeries should be credited to the grand schemes of politicians that need this hatred to drive their vote bank and to keep the communities away; for distrust leads to insecurity which leads to fear that leads to clutching at straws of hope. For the masses, those straws of hope are the politicians that claim to represent their ethnic identity!

Each one of us takes pride in the community we represent. We want to belong. Somewhere or the other, we just want to be part of a club. There was ample evidence of that in the last elections. We are more patriotic about our preferred parties than about Pakistan. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen Pakistani flags adorned with the same passion that I saw people adorning their respective party flags, shouting Siraiki, Muhajir, Sindhi and Pushto slogans. Outrageous slogans telling our own people that OUR SPECIFIC community is different and SO MUCH BETTER than yours. Isn’t this racism?

I have walked around my campus; I move in different circles. And … I see naked revulsion and contempt in the eyes of students, for people who are either dark or greasy, or lack the Tom Cruise/Kournikova looks, or are simply un-cool by their standards. The term maila is what they use for anyone they do not think belongs to their class. Accept it or not, inside every one of us knows that even if to a minor extent, shades of racism exist in our own self. The media of the sub-continent is rife with open and un-censured mockery of fat and black people. Fat and Black looks so offensive the way I blurted the words out, doesn’t it? Isn’t it sad that it doesn’t look a bit offensive when films are shown where these people are openly ridiculed to make other people laugh? There’s a fine line between humour and humiliation, and we do not seem to know the difference between the two. 

We judge people by a criterion that should be the most irrelevant. THIS is racism. Our battle for supremacy over each other has drifted us apart and I fear, if not resolved sooner … we’ll be diving headfirst into a deep abyss. I think it’s high time we learn to differentiate between what’s natural and what’s fake. What is ‘us’ and what is ‘them’. What we ill ‘ALWAYS’ be and what we can ‘NEVER’ be. Most of all, we must embrace our culture and respect what we are. Only then, can we rise as a proud nation. Only THEN, do we hold the right to complain against racism from the west, only then.

 

 

 

Resigned Acceptance of Class Difference

This is also something that I wrote around 2 – 3 years back, but it still applies …. our resigned acceptance of class difference : )

It was a hot afternoon and I was in the market looking for a cold Coke ( which is not easy to find cuz of the blessed KESC ).

I finally found one that kept Coca Cola and had it chilled too. That is when I heard a crash to the left, towards the main road. A guy was standing with his thela upturned on the road and all his possessions were lying scattered across the road. It looked hilarious from a distance; however when I was crossing the road I saw him calling out to other thela men to help him pick up his things. It was a pretty big mess and dint look like two weak guys could have handled it easily in that heat.

This is when I felt ashamed of 2 things, one after the other. There were cars all around, horns blaring, people shouting obscenities at the guys for blocking up the road. It pissed me off cuz everybody could see they were having trouble managing it by themselves. I offered to help them and asked what things needed to be picked and set on their thela again. Here is when I felt hesitancy for the first time. What was I doing stopping on the street in the middle of a crowded market to help some poor guys with their thela equipment? Though it was only a slight hesitancy, I felt shame at myself for even hesitating for a second.

I joined in their help and bent down to help them pick up the heavy stuff that had fallen off. The guys did not let me help them. They both stood their ground looking embarassed, ‘ saahab, app chordo, hum karlain gay’ (Translation :  Sir you leave it, we will do it). I asked em why not ? It would clear up the road quicker and it looked like those two could use some help. He says, ” App chordo, appkay kapray kharab hojaayeingay …. hum hayn na ye kaam karnay k liye, app ganda mat karo apnay appko” (Translation: You leave it, your clothes will get dirty. We are here to do this work, it is our job, you don’t dirty yourself) .

It was one of those rare occasions where you feel ashamed and embarrassed of being slightly more privileged than the average guy in your country. I certainly felt very uncomfortable wearing a clean shirt and jeans at that time. But what worried and saddened me more is that people seem to have accepted their roles defined by the unruly governance that governs this part of the world. What I saw in his eyes was surprise, then disbelief and then a resignation of one’s position in a society that treats you like vermin once you are under them.

People seem to have accepted that everyone has a prescribed class of job to do here. One cannot stoop below a certain level and one cannot rise above a prescribed glass canopy. This approach has led us to stagnation in social and moral development of people in Pakistan. People have resigned themselves to the fact that they will not get the same equal rights and recognition as a person sitting on a fluffy chair in a stuffy setup.

Every single one of us has this responsibility to make people like these feel as equal as everybody else. Pakistanis are accepting the tradition of the rich man being in control. Although this has been true for decades, acceptance of it is when the system is brought to its knees. And I suspect it is already saying it’s last rites in this case. If we hope to revive society, to instill justice …. we must interact with the commoners; people who struggle for survival when inflation rises by a mere percentage points.

It is upto every one of us to ensure that when the next thela overturns, we do not have ignorant pigs shouting at the poor man, and to ensure that thelay walay call out to people boldly to help’em. You can start by helping someone yourself. It does not have to be an overturned thela necessarily.

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