Archive for August, 2010

Stories and pictures of human suffering, killing and displacement of millions of people on newspapers; scenes of mass misery, towns and people submerged in water on TV screens are constantly reminding us that the worst disaster of the century is not over yet. Media is also informing that this massive flooding in Pakistan is even worse than Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004), Kashmir earthquake (2005) and Haiti earthquake (2010).

And I also conformed to this belief of media until the same media informed that how all the preparations of 14th August have been called off because of this worst disaster.

So it’s that time of the year again which is associated with celebrations all across the country, flag hoisting at every building and house, firecrackers in all the alleys, national songs being played on TV & radio and of course those same old debates that ‘what have we achieved in the last this many years!’

It is 14th August, our 63rd independence day. A grand day for every Pakistani, a day to cherish with full fervor but with half of the country submerged in water, it is hard and somewhat cruel to even imagine celebrating.

Hundreds of people dead, millions displaced, waterborne diseases, affected economy, bad governance, mismanagement, disappointing leaders; there is so much to mourn over that it’s actually hard to choose anyone.
One common thing among all these issues is the factor of distress, disappointment, distrust.
Politics has been termed a dirty business, our economy faces the threat of huge collapse, our society is in the depths of miseries, in short political, economic, social all corners of the country appear bleak.
We are moving ahead in this darkness aimlessly wishing that our hands may get hold of that switch which would turn on the light and eventually eat away the darkness.

And amidst this darkness, this Independence Day, 14th August 2010 appears like a symbol to me signalling the way to light.
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This video caught my attention on our local media channels who translated this for Pakistan’s 63rd independence day to bring back the element of Faith in our nation.

Here is the Pakistani version of the message of Hope:

While I looked over the internet and found this about the original video:

Jonathan Reed won second place in AARP’s U@50 video contest launched in 2007. Contestants were asked to create 2-minute video describing their vision of the future; what life would be like by the time they turned 50.
Reed was inspired by the Argentinian political advertisement “The Truth” (which is worth watching as well).

Here is the video:


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Here is a collection of some rare pictures of the time of partition 1947.
Posted by Shiraz Hassan.

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Few heart-breaking pictures of Pakistan’s worst flood disaster.


A Pakistani volunteer uses a small boat to evacuate locals in a flood-hit area of Nowshera.


Pakistan army soldiers pass a baby across a channel in the flood water as they help people flee from their flooded village following heavy monsoon rains in Taunsa, Pakistan.


A family takes refuge on top of a mosque while awaiting rescue from flood waters in Sanawa, a town located in the Muzaffar Gar district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

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During the last few days, the country has been through almost all kinds of man-made and natural disasters.

As if target killing on the streets of Karachi in the name of ethnic, political or personal rivalries and the military operation in the northern areas to wipe off the militants form the land of pure was not enough for the nation, nature unleashed at its worst upon the nation.

On Wednesday 28th July, a Pakistani Airbus passenger plane of Airblue crashed in densely wooded Margalla hills of the capital Islamabad, killing up to 152 people on board, making it one of the country’s worst air crashes ever.

On Thursday 29th July, Pakistani government declared a day of mourning and on that very day when the nation was offering silent prayers to the 152 ill-fated passengers of the Airblue flight ABQ-202, nature played havoc upon us, heavy rain and floods.

The death toll from flash floods and landslides triggered by torrential monsoon rains in Pakistan rose to nearly 1600 on as officials reported thousands more displaced.
Hundreds of homes and thousands of hectares (acres) of cultivated land have been destroyed in the northwest region. Entire villages have been wiped out and infrastructure severely damaged in different parts of the country. Rising water flow in rivers has broken the more than 100-year old record as the flood wave moves towards Sindh.
Malakand Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been worst affected, closely followed by the districts of southern Punjab. In just five days, more than 1,300 people have lost their lives and the number is rapidly rising.

Amidst all this crisis scene, Mr. President went ahead with his scheduled visit to France and UK in spite of widespread anger among country’s leadership about remarks by David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, accusing Pakistan of “looking both ways” on exporting terror.

And while the rest of the citizens of the country are struggling to cope with the country’s worst flooding in 80 years, the Karachi city is literally burning. The murder of MQM leader and member of Sindh Assembly, Raza Haider, on Monday triggered violent tensions across Karachi claiming 73 lives till date and leaving around 150 people wounded. The Karachi city was already going through a dilemma named as ‘target killing’ and it seems that the death of Mr. Raza only proved to be the push of a finger on a weaken wall.

With plane crash, floods, runaway leadership, ethnic clashes & killing, the thought of what awaits us next is something that disturbs my mind.

“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is statistic.”

Here are the statistics:

Cost to Agriculture:
US$1,000,000,000
(US$ 1 Billion in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa only)

Pakistanis Affected:
2,500,000
(including incidents of disease and displacement and with rising threats of epidemics)

Households needing help:
100,000
(Mostly in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa)

People still waiting to be evacuated:
27,000
(Including 1500 tourists)

International Relief Pledged so far:
US$30,000,000+
(Including US$10 million from the United States, another US$10 million from the United Nations and US$8 million from United Kingdom)

Death Toll:
1650+
(Estimate of 1500+ in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa only)

A Pakistani villager with his daughter moves wades to safety.

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Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Posted: August 2, 2010 in Persian, Poetry

Poet: Omar Ibn Ibrahim KhayyamThe Astronomer- Mathematician- Poet of Persia

Literal English translation in quatrain form by: Shahriar Shahriari


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