Never Forget
Dec29

Never Forget

  16th December has to be one of the blackest days in Pakistan’s recent history. I remember sitting in a classroom at University the morning (around 10:00 am) of that day, chatting with some of my friends as we waited for our class to begin. My best friend was sitting next to me. He was checking out messages on his cell phone when he received the news, via sms, that terrorists had entered a branch of Army Public School in Peshawar. The look on my friend’s face changed from shock to concern as he read out the horrible news to us. The sms didn’t provide much detail of the incident. We knew, however, that this was a developing story and one we all hoped would end happily. This was not to be the case. In the afternoon, we received news that the terrorists had killed close to 30 children and a couple of people from the school staff. The army had begun its operation against the terrorists and was having some success. I had left my university around 3:30 pm and by the time I had reached home an hour or so later, the death toll had risen to over a 100. The most heartbreaking part of it was, of course, the killing of innocent children. After I had gotten home, i had turned on the TV to watch the media coverage of the incident. What I saw on the TV were scenes of chaos as concerned relatives were running around secured areas looking for their children among those who had been evacuated as soon as the terrorists had started their despicable activities. I moved on to another channel and there I saw relatives crying their eyes out over dead bodies and coffins. I clearly remember fighting back a flood of tears as I was watching this.   A scene from the media coverage of the incident. This is just one of many coffins over which parents were seen mourning.       The emotions at this time were in stark contrast to what they were when I had first heard the news. The shock and concern wasn’t as huge as it should have been, when I had first come to learn of the incident. It’s probably because we have become used to the constant flood of bad news and to scenes of injustice, cruelty and suffering, living in Pakistan. We have become desensitized to violence, especially, in cases where we aren’t directly affected by it. The suffering caused by the killing of sweet, innocent and joyful children or even the thought of it is enough, however, to cause...

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Those Green Sweaters…
Dec18

Those Green Sweaters…

I too wore those green sweaters with yellow lining once. Every morning was a hustle – the niggling race against time to catch the bus. As soon as the chacha rang the assembly bell, we all use to linearly arrange ourselves for the assembly and sang the national anthem at the top of our lungs. Keeping those ‘Bata’ shoes shiny and lustered till the end of assembly was another mighty struggle of our lives. As soon as the first class started, the wait for the recess began. The geography class never seemed to end, while the games period used to just quickly slip away. The silence of the library was lingering while the shouts in the Khokha were never enough. Ahhh! How convenient was my time, how trivial were my issues! Never once did I fight the terror of gunshots, never once did I not survive. Now let me share the tale of some different faces in those same green sweaters with yellow lining. They too left home today in the usual hustle of race against time. Bata shoes still were sparkly clean and the national anthem was still sung from the top of the lungs. But then the script changed and some coward men with big guns decided to fight these small warriors armed with bite marked pencils. The gunshots were way louder than the Khokha frenzy, whereas the lingering silence of the library was nothing compared to the haunting stillness while being crouched in horror underneath the rusty table. Time never froze like this in geography class while the blood of the wounded friend was oozing out faster than the ticking clock of games period. With only one stain of ink, I was moved out of assembly line; while they were drenched with buckets of blood, and nobody moved them away from line of fire. Today they went to school and saw another day.  Today they faced the radicals and stood stern against the terror. But today they didn’t survive. Ahh! How convenient was my time, how trivial were my issues! Dear gallant friends of today, we are proud of you! You will forever survive in the hustle of our mornings and in struggles of our days. I promise you one thing that in those green sweaters with yellow lining, we will rise and shine… Again! For you and for the pride of the anthem you sang today!...

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The Day Pakistan Stood Still
Sep08

The Day Pakistan Stood Still

There come many days in the calendar around the year we hail as holidays, one of them being the Defense day on 6th of September. The common trend celebrating the defense day nowadays include changing your Facebook profile picture ,tweeting up a defense day tweet and spending the whole day at home doing nothing productive. Only a few dig around and really read about one of the most important days in our history or make enough effort to ask their parents, their grandparents about the day, the events, the people we own our lives to. Let us have a glimpse of the day Pakistan stood still as told by our elders and history. It was a calm and quiet morning, the people slumbered in their beds had not a slightest clue of what awaited them. The “Zinda dilan e Lahore” were busy making their traditional breakfasts when suddenly a familiar voice was heard over the wire. “Mere Aziz Hamawano”, it was the president, “We are under attack”, the people silenced  he continued, “The enemy has attacked the frontier border of Lahore”. The sun of 6th September shone with a dreadful news of a vicious war awaited to test the spirits of a nation. But this news did not cause any panic or mayhem rather instilled a sense of responsibility in the hearts of the people to protect the motherland from the ungodly plans of the nemesis. The role that Pakistani defense forces played that day is quiet well known to all of us but something rather amazing happened on 6th September, It was not only the military that is to be accredited alone for the victory that day but the unsung civil warriors, the teenage girls, the enthusiastic boys, the men, the women every individual gave his best that day. Everyone just wanted to contribute to the struggle somehow. My Nana Abu used to tell  that there were air crafts flying all over the sky, they were in  a battle with the enemy crafts and people stood on their rooftops, in the streets chanting slogans in the support of their Air force, People calling out “ O pichion Marr,Side te side te marr” not a wise thing,  one might say to do in the times of war but people were so emotional at the time that rather a common feel prevailed in the streets that not the country but our very home is under attack and our brothers from the Army,the Navy,the Air force are trying to push back the adversaries.People volunteered to gather funds, donated money, blood, food, medicines and sent letters of support to their “Fauji bhai”...

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Just Hold on to Us
Sep04

Just Hold on to Us

Once upon a time in a land far far away, a stranger got lost amidst the snow caped mountains and exotic waterfalls. On his trek to find his way out, he entered a small village of dwarfs. He found a small little house at one far end and walked till there. The stranger shyly knocked the door. A dwarf man came out and the stranger introduced himself and explained that he lost his way till here. The man instantly invited him in and prepared to a cup of hot tea to combat the bone-chilling cold outside. The man insisted that the stranger stay the night in the village and asked him if the stranger would like to accompany him to what he called the ‘villager’s congress’. The stranger was touched by the hospitality, and very humbly agreed. The whole village had gathered in there. The old, young, sick – all of them. An old man stood up and began with a prayer. He then started gibberish which the stranger could hardly figure out. All of a sudden there were disputes and disagreements all around. Nobody was willing to listen to anybody; it was as if they were in a battle with themselves. It was chaos. It was turmoil. The stranger silently sat in a corner and just witnessed the anger, the frustration and the raging disagreements. He had started to doubt even if this small kingdom of dwarfs would ever last midst this flouting conflict. What happened next, the stranger will never forget. A young dwarf wearing a turtle shell tied with bamboo ropes came running in and interrupted the session. After catching his breath, he announced that a battalion of archers has attacked the small village. All of a sudden the disputes evaporated, the frustration vanished and the anger was redirected. The young were already on their feet to get their weapons. The old all huddled together and in harmony were designing a strategy. The kids, as if were already prepared, were taking the sick to the nearby houses. The stranger silently accompanied them too. As soon as he reached the nearest house, the women were rushing in grabbing the turtle shells and were tying the bamboo ropes to them. They all seemed prepared and well fitted for their tasks. There was a unique music of passion in the air, none that the stranger has heard before! In the face of calamity, they were all one! It was a tough night for the villagers, but they survived it together. They passionately said they always have, and they always will – for their village, for their villagers. The next...

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Tribute To Men On Guard
Sep02

Tribute To Men On Guard

Honestly, I believed that Defense day was a celebration of Pakistan winning an armed battle against India. Knowing this was such a happy place for me. I am sure most of us believed this because we were only taught about 6th September in school and Pakistan Studies seemed so boring that none of us wanted to actually find out what happened prior, during or after the war. Neither did I and so the bubble bursted when I did actually surf through the internet. I will never understand the so called allies of Pakistan who often disappear when it’s time to show moral support. While I was browsing information to write on Defense day report, it struck me, that every time I opened a source page, there was never a general or unbiased statement on Indo-Pak war of 1965. India and its allies who shared a mutual point of view while Pakistan had had its own . I will never understand the so called allies of Pakistan who often disappear when it’s time to show moral support. If I go into the military version of the story it would probably get boring and in-comprehensive with all the statistical analysis and strategical scenarios. So i will try to be precise and unbiased so that the readers decide which of the two countries’ act seemed more noble? The issue of Kashmir has always been an aggression factor between the two countries. The simplest solution was to hold an unrigged referendum so that the people of the state could decide for themselves since democracy is the order of the day. But apparently Pakistan had more chances of winning it; hence the idea was not approved. I asked my friend why we never took the matter to International Court of Justice, as we had all the evidences to convict India but he just said that if they were capable of being just, we would have reached to some conclusion on Palestinian issue. To sum up the significance of Defense day in just a few words; Pakistan was able to defend an unethical and an unanticipated attack on its land. The best part is that after two weeks of battling, India went to UN for ceasefire. Incidentally, Pakistan’s defense forces were misjudged. We might not have the best political status or infrastructure but our pride and our strength is seen in the well integrated troops and men on borders and line of control. As seen at the back of a car; “Pakistan Army never sleeps” This was almost thirty five years ago and with time it is a natural phenomenon that celebrations fade because the...

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