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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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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Gratifying Moments of a Proud Pakistani
Aug15

Gratifying Moments of a Proud Pakistani

On one of the most sophisticated aftaar parties this Ramzan, I got to hear this statement from one of my close family members, “Pakistan bana kar Quaid ney sirf Fasaad hi phailaya” Not new to my ears, not new for my mind to process! Yet as painful as it was, when I heard it for the first time. Words were different, but were said with the same antithetic, rude and selfish tone. “Pakistan Quaid ney sirf apney mafaad ki khaatir banaya tha” Too much for me to digest, too harsh for me to tolerate & too complicated for me to process. Ironic it is, for us to say this. My graceful, honorable and inspirational image of Quaid-e-Azam breaks, its left shattered. I think, re-think, re-re-think… I decided to read more about Quaid, about life in sub-continent, about two nation theory and about everything that can make me see the real picture. Even books like ‘Jinnah of Pakistan’ wouldn’t do enough justice to the young generation who does not know of him or the idea behind his efforts. And I am left with one option alone, lets try gathering the first hand knowledge! Yes, talk to my grandparents, question about the theme of Independence, the basic idea of separation and two nation theory.. what it was like to live together with them, share everything with Hindus and Sikhs. They are those whose hearts beat for Pakistan, whose eyes have seen Pakistan come into being What difficulties they had to overcome during migration and what was the Jazba behind all this? and after having talked to them, I have to say this with teary eyes and a broken heart that we can’t even TRY to empathize what they have gone through… we can’t even try to THINK how they have suffered, we can’t even summon up all our courage and bring that Jazba in our dead hearts now! They are those whose hearts beat for Pakistan, whose eyes have seen Pakistan come into being, whose throats were soar after shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ for hours, days and months… It was not some selfish need that gathered all Muslims together, it was vision for a better tomorrow, love for a piece of land that they would own, honor for their mosques which they would fearlessly visit and above all, the feeling of not being ruled and be an independent, sovereign free nation! Freedom, that we can’t even sense now.. This led them go through all the countless sufferings of history… This gave them the courage to throw their loved ones’ dead bodies in Rivers and Wells, this made their women jump into wells,...

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Hope Against Hope
Aug13

Hope Against Hope

It was a fine Sunday morning. I was in high spirits as I had just got done with my exams and had the whole Sunday entirely tomyself. I switched on the TV and was flipping through channels as I poured myself freshly brewed coffee. The channel search cameto a halt as I came across a famous news channel. My heart started pounding as my breath hitched. The TV screen filled with gruesome images of blood and dead bodies and high pitched screams emitted from the speakers. I did not have to read the tickers to associate this oh-so-very similar scene to the pandemonium of a bomb attack, my mind automatically did it for me. Horrified, I gazed at the screen, only to find out that a terrorist attack had taken place at the populated place of Qissa Khwani Bazar, Peshawar. Had it been only a week, when a similar attack took place at All Saints Church, a local church of Peshawar blasting off about 80 people? Has the vicious series of attacks started once again? A terrorist attack every Sunday, will that become a bloody ritual? My head swam with these questions as I switched off the TV and placed a hand around my now cold cup of coffee. The day was ruined anyway. One of my teachers once said that Pakistanis, as a nation, have become accustomed to violence . We have seen so much bloodshed around us that it has made us prone to it. Now any number of deaths fails to make an impact on us unless they come in the form of three digits. Other than that, our response to causalities has now become a mere ‘meh’. We have suffered so much as a nation. When I look at my country, I do not see a single part of it that has not been injured. Together we have suffered at the hands of terrorism, foreign encroachment, natural disasters, self-induced disasters. Together we have died and cried. They have killed us despite religion, caste, creed and color. No discrimination there. But, oh the irony of it! None of the tragedies have brought us together and merged us as one. We fight on the basis of color, caste, creed, religion and unbelievably petty things. None of the sufferings have brought us together. Instead we continue to fight and disagree. Albeit the times are bad and the crisis doesn’t seem to end, I hope against hope that there would be an end to it. I look forward to the times when we’ll emerge as one and will get over our futile issues for the sake of a greater...

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