Remembering 2014
Jan03

Remembering 2014

Alas 2014 comes to an end and with it we bury everything we’ve been through in the past year, under the rug. As 2015 begins we look forward to new beginnings, new opportunities, possibilities and some of us, to more disappointments. Every year we look forward to New Year as a second chance at life but why is it so? Why do we wait for a “New Year” for a new beginning and why is it that we push last year’s mess under the rug, out of sight? 2014 may have ended but its ramifications remain. 2015 may have begun but we’re still the same. Let’s take a look back at what 2014 had in store for Pakistan. January 1 A bomb blasted on the Qambrani road in Akhtarabad, Quetta near a bus, which was carrying at least 50 pilgrims from Iran to Pakistan. Police confirmed that three of the passengers were killed and at least twenty-four injured. January 6 A bomb detonated in a tribal elder’s home in Khyber Agency, killing 10 people and injuring another 9. January 9 14-year-old Aitizaz Hassan in northern Pakistan was killed stopping a suicide bomber at the main gate of his school but saved the lives of all of his schoolmates gathered for their morning assembly. The Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack   Chaudhry Aslam Khan, police chief and SSP of the Crime Investigation Department in Sindh Police, was killed in a bomb blast March 31 Musharraf was charged in treason case April 8 Blast struck Pakistan market April 19 Hamid Mir was wounded in a gun attack May 7 Joel Cox (FBI agent) was arrested with 15 9mm bullets, three small knives and a     wrench after he attempted to board a domestic flight between Karachi and Islamabad   Malala pled over Nigerian schoolgirls May 27 30-year old Farzana Bibi was been stoned to death by her relatives outside Lahore High Court for marrying against their wishes June 3 MQM leader Altaf Hussain was held in London June 6 Altaf Hussain was released by police June 8 Gunmen attacked Karachi international Airport, killing at least 10 people June 9 Pakistani Taliban claim responsibility behind the airport attack Karachi airport reopens after raid June 13 6.0 earthquake hit northwest Pakistan June 14 Airstrikes killed as many as 100 militants in Pakistan June 15 Operation Zarb-e-Azb is launched by PAF against various militant groups, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jundallah, al-Qaeda, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Haqqani network. June 17 The Model Town clash ensued between the Punjab Police and Pakistan...

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How I Met Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Dec05

How I Met Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

I never knew Nelson Mandela. Not personally though. All I knew was one, he was famous; two, he was the ex-president of South Africa; three, he worked hard for “something” and four, he was in a wheelchair due to “something”. Then last year out of the blue, Nelson Mandela died on December, 5th. I wasn’t shocked, nor saddened. How could I feel for someone I knew very less of? The social media was flooded that day with mourners across the globe, posting their condolences online, putting up covers of his pictures. I wondered how much they knew of the man. Did they talk about him often? Was he a friend? A role-model? Were they following up on his health? Were they praying in his last moments? I’d like to see one who did. So, still not knowing what to feel (and I still wonder if it’s necessary to actually feel something), I fired up my laptop and googled him. Trying to avoid the long, cumbersome text on Wikipedia, I came across his timeline just published by DAWN (thank heavens!). Year by year they stated Mandela’s activities from birth till death. Mandela turned out to be quite a man. He was a hero, known to many as Madiba, his Xhosa clan name. Nelson was the name given to him by his teacher at age 7. He had worked hard for the black community in South Africa, spoke against the Apartheid laws and had spent most of his time in jail. The longest being twenty-seven years in prison at which time his followers cried out to the government and it was a cry the authorities eventually bowed down to. Madiba was successful in all his efforts for the people and such racist laws were abolished once and for all. He was elected president in 1994, of course. I read through the whole article and all that came to my mind was as to how one man can go through so many hardships for the sake of the people. He was a hero among heroes. He had a voice and he made it his point in life to make himself heard. Throughout his imprisonment, he had rejected at least three conditional offers of release.[1] He was the right man at the right place at the right time. You might find it funny if I told you that I went about, “I could’ve worked to abolish Apartheid laws. Mandela you beat me to it.” However reality must be faced, that was a lot of jail time for me. So what happened next to him? He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He...

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Bachpan Ka December- A Review
Dec05

Bachpan Ka December- A Review

I have come to a conclusion. While English novels give a broader view into life, and (I must confess) make you an attractive nerd, the impact of lessons in Urdu novels is more deeply felt. Its like if your mom gave you a lifelong advice in English, it wouldn’t be as effective as in Urdu. Sarcasms are sharper and humor is more ridiculous. Hence everything that needs to be felt is more penetrating and decent in our native dialect. Sticking to the theme of this Blog of promoting what belongs to Pakistan, I decided to review a novel that I began reading in a hospital lounge with utter disinterest but by the time I finished it, a pile of unattended tasks awaited me. Never misconstrue seemingly odd books in a doctor’s waiting lounge. I must have read around 5 pages but they had me grasped so strongly that on my way back after the appointment, I stopped by a book store and bought it. Bachpan Ka December by Hashim Nadeem sets the story in Quetta where Decembers were thought to be very beautiful once upon a time, with conifers covered in snow and moonlight peaking through the clear frosted ice. The impersonal aspect of the book covers late 70’s through a little boys point of view and then late 80’s through a mature man’s. Its about Ebad, a kid who belongs to a mediocre background, his best friend “Raja” who was always thought to be a bad influence to him (we all have that one best friend who our parents don’t approve of) and “Wajjo” a crush bound to stay a crush forever. The writer’s choice of words is so illustrative that (if I was a painter) I could have painted down every page and If a drama is made on it, there would have been less input at recreating scenes from the book. The word-sketch is so definite and clear. Unlike most romantic novels, this one is pretty humorous. I was amazed to see how the speaker connected so well with his childhood memories and remembered every meticulous detail of his perception. There are immature sarcasms which make you laugh spontaneously over Addi’s innocence. The book talks about parental control, family politics and nosy neighbors. It then slowly evolves to the point where Addi wants to cling purposely to these irritating things, but finally its time for him to grow up and go to a cadet college. That’s where the second phase of his life starts. He shares with readers the reminiscence of this crucial chapter of his life. From the discouraging behavior of seniors to that one...

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The Tragedy that is You and I
Nov03

The Tragedy that is You and I

Often when we meet people for the very first time, especially in school, we tend to inquire about a person’s background. Name, occupation, father’s occupation and in some cases, one’s relationship status (cheesy right?). One trend in Pakistan or perhaps the entire Muslim world is asking about someone’s faith. Actually if I rephrase that, we blatantly ask about the particular sect the person belongs to. In most cases even that is fine except when the person in question belongs to a sect different than that of the “interviewer.” Both parties maintain their cool for a while, exchange a few glances and then slowly move away and that was their last civilized conversation ever. Sectarian differences lie in almost every religion. Since it is the month of Muharram, I’d like to bring your attention towards two particular Muslim sects. You guessed that right-Shias and Sunnis. Both of them are in such deep conflict that it is a US and THEM situation between both parties. Both remain adamant on THEIR beliefs and practices. Both believe in one God and the last Prophet (P.B.U.H.). Both pray five times a day. Both observe a fast in Ramadan. Both perform Hajj (the holy pilgrimage). Both pay Zakat (charity). Both grieve on 9th and 10th Muharram. Then why? Why are they not at peace with each other? Why are they so different? Why are these differences irreconcilable? The US and Them situation is that US Shias/Sunnis are right and THEM Sunnis/Shias are not. Both parties have forgotten that there is a WE as well. WE MUSLIMS. WE the people of the faith, which was brought to us by Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.), are united under one banner, under the word of ALLAH, the Quran. WE are all part of the Ummah. WE are one unit, one faith, one brotherhood. Then why is there so much disunity amongst us? Yes the way we practice our religion is different but why can’t we learn to accept those differences and cooperate as a brotherhood should. Why are we so discontented with each other? Why is it that every year at the time of Muharram, reports of Sunni-Shia conflicts flood the news channels? Why is their bloodshed on the days we mourn bloodshed? “A perfect Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands his fellow brothers and sisters are safe.” -Sahih Muslim “Believers are like the different parts of a building, each one supporting the other.” -Agreed Upon The conflict between Sunnis and Shias goes way back and every generation has suffered from it. Sectarian intolerance is so dangerous that no one is safe from it. People have failed...

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Inspiration
Oct18

Inspiration

Let’s just sit back and think about ourselves for a while. We’re all unique personalities and special in our own way. We contribute to this society with our good and bad demeanors. We spend our lives doing whatever gets us going because that is just how we function. We see, we feel, we hear, we touch the world around us. So what was it that made us who we are? That gets us through the day and stimulates our senses? I, for one, would like to believe its inspiration. Inspiration being the act or power of exercising an elevating or stimulating influence upon the intellect or emotions. Think about it! We’ve experienced so much in our lives. We’ve met different people, we’ve seen different people. We’ve been to places. We’ve had our moments both good and bad ones. The accumulative result of all these wonderful things happening around us have actually inspired a personality to develop-that is us! Our surroundings have influenced our being and provide us with inspiration in every walk of our lives. Every individual has his own inspiration. For some it’s a person. One’s parents, teachers, friends or famous personalities. While others have themselves to serve as role models with all the exposure they’ve received of the world and its dwellings. It’s how we take in to something we feel so close, is what shapes the way we lead our lives. Here a chain reaction starts. What inspires us makes us who we are and we ourselves serve as an inspiration for those around us. We in turn influence their lives and on it goes. One being inspires another. Now I’ll let you ponder as to whether you’re a good inspiration or a bad one. I suppose this one little statement might inspire a sense of responsibility among us because one way or another we’re all role models and it’ll be a great help if we conduct ourselves with this in...

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