Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

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.
(more…)

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 child with sparkling eyes and rough hair was quite busy playing with mud and creating some fascinating things out of it when a woman’s voice detached him from his playful activity.

‘Come back here, don’t do that! What will people think! They would call you a nasty little thing and no one would play with you anymore!’ the woman was trying to convince the child not to play with mud.
Upon hearing this, the child looked up and around in fear confirming no one was watching him and then got up leaving behind his creations alone.

It was quite a pleasing sight for me until that voice came from nowhere.
And that reminded me of certain experiences in my life where I have been constantly reminded and scared of ‘the people.’ I got to know about the existence of these people at an early stage and sever since then I have been wondering about these people and their whereabouts.

I have always been known as a quiet person in the family who does not like to discuss others nor like to be discussed. But of course this not-so-normal attitude was intolerable for the family and they never forget to remind me:
‘What kind of a girl are you! What will people think of you! At least try to cultivate some habits of talking pleasantly!’
And I could not help but wonder what will people think and why would people be so interested in me!

Writing these lines, my mind is helping me remember certain other incidents where I was reminded of the people:

– ‘Look at your clothes! You want people to make fun of you? No, right? Then go and change come on.’

– ‘You want to go abroad for studies all by yourself? Have you gone crazy? What will the family say? What will people think of us?’

Even some expressions by my friends such as:

– What! Are you out of your mind? You want to be story-writer?
Wait let me first remind you what people think of writers!

– You know what people were talking about you last night…

And the list happily goes on..

I’m pretty sure all of us at some stage of our life (if not daily) must have heard about these amazing, righteous, thoughtful beings that we call ‘the people’.

Who people, you say?
Well I am talking about those very people, the same nameless and faceless beings who have been in the constant practice of observing and discussing our visible parts of life. From buying clothes, to going restaurants, to meeting people or going shopping they are constantly observing my actions whether I like it or not. But I have to confess that whether active or inactive, seen or unseen, heard or unheard but they have been there in our lives like forever.

Below I have tried to come up with some possible answers to the questions that pop into my mind whenever I’m reminded of these people.

– Who are these people?
They are supposedly normal human beings just like me but with an enormous sense of morality and hearts full of concern for others.

– Where are these people found?
Everywhere. Yes, literally everywhere. (They are so powerful that they can even live in your minds.)

– How do they look like?
They come in all sizes, shapes and looks.

– What do they do?
Their lone business is to observe, discuss and comment on your actions, decisions in fact all of your life.

– Why do they exist in my life?
They have been there in my life as long as I can remember. But the main reason these people are there is because I have allowed them to be there in my life. I have let them observe and comment on my actions.

– And most importantly, what is their significance in my life?
Their importance in my life is as much as I assign them. If I never question their authority and let them do what they always do, they will continue to meddle in my thoughts and actions.
But what if one day I decided to set these people free from my mind, from my life, set them free forever! Yes, only then I can separate myself from so-called people. And what if that day is today!

However, at this point, I am trying to grasp the reality in the following lines by Anton Chekhov –

“Oh, the public! There’s no satisfying them! It’s no use working and doing one’s best! . . . . If you do nothing — they’re angry; if you begin doing your duty, they’re angry too. There’s nothing for it but drink!”

  

After years of demands and complains of the Pakhtoons, Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province is officially renamed as Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, when the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PCCR) signed the draft of the 18th Amendment in the first week of April 2010.The British rulers named NWFP- North Western Frontier Province, commonly as Sarhad in Urdu, for convenience after they had brought certain areas in the north-western part of their empire together as a single administrative unit.  

Pro-Pakhtoonkhwa:  

However, the name NWFP has not been acceptable to the Pushto-speaking Pakhtoons — who compose a substantial majority (about 58 per cent) of its population. People of NWFP are demanding to change the name of their province because NWFP is not a name, it is a location.
Pakhtoons demand that, “Punjabis have Punjab, Sindhis have Sindh, Balochis have Balochistan, then why Pakhtoons do not have their province name belonging to them alone!”
Pakhtoons are in the majority in this province so they demand ethnic names such as Pakhtoonkhwa, Pashtoonistan or Afghania, whereas other ethnic factions like Hazarwals and others strongly reject these names. According to statistics by NWFP government, 68% of people in the province speak Pashto. Other languages spoken are Hindko(18%), Seraiki(8%), Urdu & Punjabi(2%). It is clear from the statistics that majority of the people speak Pashto. Hence the argument is not valid that since there are different ethnic groups in the region who speak Hindko, Seraiki, Chitrali, Urdu and Punjabi, the name of the province should not be changed to Pakhtoonkhwa.   


ANP stance on the issue:
  

 Awami National Party (ANP) have long campaigned for the change to Pakhtoonkhwa and put forward the demand that since all other provinces in Pakistan have ethnolinguistic names, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan; so it is very fair for NWFP to change its name to Pakhtoonkhwa.
The issue was raised by ANP leader, late Bacha Khan with former President General Ziaul Haq, who had offered to give a name to the nameless province, but later on Zia did not accept any of the names proposed because the names were being politicized by Afghanistan. Hence the issue became controversial which compelled ANP to abandon negotiations with then martial law administrator.ANP which currently rules the NWFP province is supporting government of PPP in center on all issues on the condition that PPP would support them to change the name of NWFP to Pakhtoonkhwa.

The present government raised this issue in the parliament and opposition was faced by one of the major political party in the country, PML (N) who claimed that the new title could marginalize other ethnic groups in the province and they could lose their identity.  
Anti-Pakhtoonkhwa: 

However, renaming a province is not an easy procedure as it might seem to be since the renaming is not acceptable to the non-pashtoon population. Ever since the province has been renamed, a number of protests have been witnessed across the Hazara region, where Hindko speakers are dominant as compared to the Pashto speakers. The protests have led to death and casualties in the region which has added fuel to the fire.
Local population has condemned the renaming of the province as Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa as it wiped out the identity of the people of Hazara and demanded of the government to declare Hazara as a province.   

 

  

   

Backdrop of Hazara region:

NWFP now known as Khyber Pakhtooonkhwa province has total 7 districts and Hazara is one of its seven divisions. Five districts make up Hazara; these are Abbottabad, Battagram, Haripur, Kohistan and Mansehra.

Hazara Division is located along the famous Karakoram Highway and is bordered by the Indus River in the West, and Azad Jammu Kashmir in the East. Until the year 2000, the region was an administrative subdivision of the province known as Hazara Division, headquartered at the city of Abbottabad and Hazara Division was the biggest division of N.W.F.P. until the divisions were abolished in 2000 as part of an administrative shake up.

Hazara has the major industry of NWFP, including Telephone Industries of Pakistan, Hattar Industrial state. This region is famous for Tarbela Dam Haripur, Kakul military academy Abbottabad, tea plantation and best grade tobacco of Pakistan, in Mansehra. Karakoram highway also passes through Hazara, while not through rest of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

It is evident that this division is definitely an asset of the Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa region and both the pakhtoon and non-pakhtoon realize this fact. This is the main reason that Hazara people are struggling for their rights and demanding a separate province so that they can prove their worth.  

Hazara people believe that the way ANP has persuade it way to the name Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa has triggered massive protests throughout the Hazara division and even the majority Pashtun population is acknowledging that Hazara should also get the identification.
Some people are of the view that since the past of Awami National Party was anti-Pakistan, this is the reason they are planning to divide the country and people. 

Some locals argue that he name of Sindh province is because river Sindh flows through it and its civilization generated from it. Punjab is named because of five rivers flowing through the province. Hence Punabi or Sindhi is not a nation as ANP is lying to the nation.
The local leaders believe that Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa is not a fair name and it should be changed immediately and the new name should be above the ethnic differences. 

Common Solution:

Two simple solutions to this serious issue could be to change back the name of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa to NWFP or to accept the demands of non-pakhtoons and claim Hazara division as a separate province. However the creation of a new province can trigger new debates in the country as the other divisions of the country can also initiate demands of new provinces. Therefore, our attention should be focused on real issues such as water, power and gas crisis rather than getting into the controversy of claiming new provinces.

This issue calls for an immediate discussion by the politicians. A referendum most probably would be the best option in this regard so that the local people would feel their importance under a democratic government and would calm down slowly.
 

 – by Sana Jamal. (Written on 14th April 2010) 

 

It is assumed that Pakistan army and Pakistan government are inter-related or as if army works as one of the government institutions. The main reason behind this assumption is that much of Pakistan’s history has been marked with dictatorship. From self-proclaimed Field Marshall, General Ayub Khan to the so called Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharaf, the total span of military rule in Pakistan is more than 30 years.

Such long military rules in Pakistan have left a deep impact on the minds of the common people who now they have started to look upon army for hope, whenever something goes wrong with the civilian government. There is now a common perception among people who the civilian government cannot work properly without the intervention of the army in government affairs. This is why most of the people consider Chief of Army Staff as the most dominant personality in Pakistan rather than the President or Prime Minister who is the head of the state.

Part of the reason of this perception of the people is that have lost faith in the politicians and their unfulfilled promises. Whenever a new government is elected, people are made to believe by their elected representatives that things are going to change now and they will witness a brilliant future but all in vain. As soon as the new government takes an oath in the parliament, they turn into corrupt and self-serving officials who can no longer hear the hue and cry of the people.
Ever since the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the civilian government has failed to live up to the expectations of its people and the public outcry for democracy, accountability, and social justice is simply ignored by the government.

However, the government argues that democracy has never been given a fair chance to take root in the country’s political soil because of army interference in politics, but it is up to the politicians to act responsibly in order to win back the trust of the people.

But the solution certainly does not lie in army takeover of the government every now and then, besides it has been observed that years of military rule have not made the system any better in Pakistan. In fact people are so tired of the situation that when they want army rule, it is only because they want an escape from the indifferent elected government and as soon as the army takes over people want their own elected representatives.

What we need to do is to draw a clear line and re-define the powers and responsibilities of the government organizations and armed forces. Both government and army should act sensibly, respect each other’s rights and should regard the constitution as the highest authority of the state. One easier way to find our way out of this multidimensional crisis is to place the interest of the state on top priority instead of our personal interests.

Foreword

Last two days I have been reading about Shia-Sunni tension, the origin, the base, the rationale on the suggestion of a friend and there are tons of stories available online. It seems like every other person has a new and interesting story to tell.
The shia literature and stories are quite inspiring and this lead me into the world of noha, marsiya and lectures which I thoroughly like to listen and felt serene. However this new fondness was not much appreciated in my circle and they posed questions such as, ‘Are you shia?’ ‘You never told that before.’
And it left me totally dumbfounded. I could not come up with an answer but saying I am a Muslim.

But this question that continued to trouble me inside was, what does it mean to be a Shia or a Sunni, why should it matter?
Although I was born and raised into a Sunni family, but we never had any Shia-Sunni arguments in our family and this was the reason I did not know of many differences between the two sects.
My family has always respected Hazrat Ali, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain and their families and have been participating in ceremonies marking the anniversary of martyrdom of Imam Hussain (the 10th of Muharram which is called Ashura) and have fasted on the ninth and tenth of Muharram.


Similarities:

The word ‘Shia’ means ‘followers; members of party’, more commonly known as “Shia-t-Ali,” or “the Party of Ali.”
The word “Sunni” in Arabic comes from a word meaning “one who follows the traditions of the Prophet.”

But the question remains what is it that makes you a Sunni Muslim or a Shia Muslim?
And why there are so many differences?

– Do they believe in different Creator? No, both believe in Allah – the One and Only God.

– Do they believe in different Prophets? No, both believe in Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) – as the last prophet and messenger of Allah.

– Do they believe in different holy books? No, both believe in the same Quran.

Both believe in the basic fundamentals of Islam – such as
– Tawhíd (The Oneness of Alláh)
– Risalat (The Prophethood)
– Aakhrat (The Day of Judgement)

Both sects are also similar in other branches of religion such as, Namaaz (Prayers), Saum (Fasting), Hajj (Pilgrimage), Zakat (Poor Rate), Jehad (Striving), Amr-Bil-Ma’roof (Enjoin what is good) and Nahi-Anil-Munkar (Forbid what is wrong).

Both Sunni and Shia Muslims, though share the most fundamental Islamic beliefs and articles of faith, and it seems that the differences between the two initially stemmed not from spiritual differences, but political ones which over the centuries, have spawned a number of varying practices and positions that have come to carry a spiritual significance.

Difference:

Where does the difference lies?
The difference mainly lies in the manner of fulfillment of the religious duties.
On a practical daily level, Shias have a different call to prayer, they perform salat differently including placing the forehead onto a piece of hardened clay from Karbala, not directly onto the prayer mat when prostrating. They also tend to combine prayers, sometimes worshipping three times per day instead of five. The Shias also have some different hadith and prefer those narrated by Ali and Fatima to those related by other companions of the Prophet (pbuh).

But does the disparity in the manner of adopting religious obligations really matter?

A passage from the speech of Sheikh Ahmad Deedat (March 3, 1982),

“An example is that the Shia brothers when they make salat, they have a piece of clay (turbah) that they do sajjdah on. And he( Sunni cleric) says, “see what they are doing here. This is shirk. They are worshipping a piece of clay.”
I said why don’t you ask them why they place their foreheads on a piece of clay and learn the logic behind this. I asked them. Why do you carry this clay tablet everywhere you go in your pocket? They said “we are supposed to do sujood on Allah’s earth with our foreheads touching the earth. We say “subhanna rabia Allah” three times with our foreheads touching the earth.” So the Shia want to actually touch the earth with their foreheads and not a manmade carpet. They want to be true to the expression of praying with the forehead actually touching Allah’s earth. You see they don’t worship the clay tablet as many wrongly think. And this is always something that we Sunnis are always making fun of and mock the Shia.”

Origin of the division – A Question of Leadership

The division between Shia and Sunni dates back to the death of the Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) and the question of who was to take over the leadership of the Muslim nation. Sunni Muslims agree with the position taken by many of the Prophet’s companions, elected from among those capable of the job. This is what was done, and the Prophet Muhammad’s close friend and advisor, Abu Bakr, became the first Caliph of the Islamic nation.
On the other hand, some Muslims share the belief that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet’s own family, among those specifically appointed by him, or among Imams appointed by God Himself.
The Shia Muslims believe that following the Prophet Muhammad’s death, leadership should have passed directly to his cousin/son-in-law, Ali.

Difference on Religious Leadership

The Shia believe in the concept of Imamate and that the Imam is the spiritual leader of the ummah and the first Imam according to the school of Imamate is Hazrat Ali (RA). Then comes Imam Hassan who is the second Imam, Imam Hussein the third Imam all the way until the twelve Imam, Imam Mohammad who disappeared at the age of 5 and they are expecting his return.
Shia Muslims believe that the Imam is sinless by nature, and that his authority is infallible as it comes directly from God.
However Sunni Muslims counter that there is no basis in Islam for a hereditary privileged class of spiritual leaders. Sunni Muslims contend that leadership of the community is not a birthright, but a trust that is earned and which may be given or taken away by the people themselves.

Some Common Misconceptions about Shi’ism by Shahid Athar M.D.

Misconception #1: Shias have a different Quran. They add another 10 chapters to the original Quran.
Response: Not true. I have checked many times Quran kept in Shia homes and mosques. I still find it the same as the original Quran. More recently, I took care of an Iranian lady patient hospitalized here. I saw a copy of the Quran by her side. I borrowed it from her and browsed through cover to cover. In Arabic it was the same as our Quran. It is a sin to even say that the Quran can be changed or added to by Shia when it is protected by God.

Misconception #2: Some Shia consider Ali as God.
Response: Not true. It is disbelief to even think of such a thing. During the time of Ali, some pagan groups called Gholat did consider Ali as Lord. When he found out, they were burned to death.

Misconception #3: Shias have different declarations of faith and they add to the call to prescribed prayer.
Response: The declaration to become a Muslim, as administered to non-Muslims, is the same. Some Shia add to themselves, “Ali is a friend of God (PBUH) or Ali is a spiritual leader of God,” after the call to prescribed prayer, but not as part of the call to prescribed prayer.

Misconception #4: Shias do not perform sunnah prayers. Sunnah prayers are non obligatory prayers performed by Prophet Muhammad.
Response: Shias do perform non-obligatory prayers, 36 cycles per day in total, but call it nawafil and not sunnah.

Misconception #5: Some Shia believe the Angel Gabriel made a mistake and prophethood was meant for Ali and not Muhammad (PBUH).
Response: Not true. No Shia thinks of such false claims. “Only demented minds think of such questions.”

Misconception #6: Shias slander and ridicule the first three caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman) and Prophet Muhammad’s wife, Aysha.
Response: Shia consider the first three caliphs as great companions and good Muslim administrators, but not spiritual leaders (imams). Imam Jafar Sadiq, whose mother and grand mother came from the line of Abu Bakr, said of Abu Bakr, “He gave me birth twice.” Aysha is respected by Shias as the”Mother of Believers,” as Ali respected her when he sent her back from Basra to Madinah after the Battle of the Camel. If some Shia do slander the three caliphs and Aysha, they do it out of ignorance and should ask God’s forgiveness.

Misconception # 7: Shias combine all five prayers into one prayer in the evening.
Response: Not true. In Shia mosques, whether in Iran or the USA, all five daily prayers are performed. Some working Shia do combine noon and afternoon and evening and night, but Shia scholars recommend performing them separately. Such combinations may not be ideal, but better than not praying at all. How can a Sunni who does not pray at all be better than a Shia who combines prayers?

Misconception # 8: Shias do not pay zakat (poor-due).
Response: Not true. They not only pay 2.5% left over from savings as zakat, but also an additional 20% as khums or general charity. However, they prefer to pay directly to the needy rather than corrupt Sunni government.

Misconception #9: Shias practice temporary marriages (mutah).
Response: Mutah (temporary marriages) was allowed during the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and he himself practiced it. Ibn Zubayr was born out of the temporary marriage. Later on Caliph Umar prohibited it due to social reasons as the Islamic world was rapidly expanding. Shias discourage mutah but do not consider it prohibited. Some do abuse this. As a temporary privilege during travel, it is better than adultery.

Misconception #10: They consider Imams infallible and above the prophets.
Response: Not true. All prophets are born Prophet but as mentioned in Quran about Abraham that after passing the test, a prophet becomes a leader (Imam). Imams are carriers of the message of Islam. Shias consider Ali only as an Imam, but Muhammad is the Prophet, Messenger (rasul) and leader (imam).
With the little knowledge I have, I have tried to do my best as a Sunni in defending my Shia brothers in Islam with the hope and prayer to God Almighty that He will “instill love in the heart of the believers” and bring us closer to each other so that we jointly can fight our common enemy, Satan and his followers.


Bridging the differences – ‘Shia-Sunni unity’

It is important to remember that despite these differences in opinion and practice, Shia and Sunni Muslims share the main articles of Islamic belief and are considered by most to be brethren in faith. In fact, most Muslims do not distinguish themselves by claiming membership in any particular group, but prefer to call themselves simply, “Muslims.”

While searching over the internet I was surprised that there was a whole lot material available on Shia-Sunni conflict but so little information available on the subject of ‘Shia-Sunni unity’ or anything which brings out the similarities and reduces the differences between the two sects.
Why? The simplest answer would be – divide and rule – which is one of the oldest way of controlling the masses by dividing them into certain class or sect.

One thing that we need to remember is there is no shia, there is no sunni, there is only one things that is, Muslim. Islam calls for unity and solidarity. Both Sunnis and Shias are required to work together and try to overcome their points of difference or forget about them, simply because the Ummah is facing a plight and both parties are targeted by one enemy.

Excerpt from the lecture given in Iran on March 3, 1982 by Sheikh Ahmad Deedat on the subject of Shia/Sunni.

“And I found types and types and types of sick people, a mental sickness that is. I came across an aalim who thought that there was something wrong with our Shia brothers. You see in Iran when the name Khomeini is mentioned people stop and everyone says durood on the Prophet(S.A.W.) three times. But when the name Mohammad is mentioned they send durood once. And this aalim says, “look at these people just look at them. What kind of Muslims are these people. When the name Mohammad is mentioned they send durood on the Prophet once but when the name Khomeini is mentioned they send Durood on Khomeini three times.” I said “What do they say in this so called ‘durood on Khomeini.’ “He said: Peace be upon Mohammad and the family of Mohammad. I said, “Their durood is on Prophet Mohammad(s) and you say it is on Khomeini.” You know it’s a sickness. There are many learned men but their minds are so prejudiced. They are just looking for faults.”

“ When it comes to the Shafei, Hanbali, Hanafi and Maliki we are tolerant but when it comes to the Shia you see he is not in the formula that we are taught as a child, so whatever little idiosyncrasies there exists between us and them we can’t tolerate and reject we say that he is out because we are programmed to believe in only the four. But we accept the idiosyncrasies between the four. I say why can’t you accept the Shia brothers as a fifth mazhab. And the astonishing thing is that he is telling you that he wants to be one with you. He is not talking about being Shia. He is shouting “there is no Sunni nor Shia there is one thing, Islam.” But we say to them “no you are different you are Shia.” This attitude is a sickness of the devil. He wants to divide us. Can you imagine we Sunnis are 90% of the Muslim world and the ten percent who are Shias want to be partners and brothers with you in faith and the 90% are terrified? I can’t understand why should you the 90% be so terrified.”

O ye who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful.
(Qur’an: Chapter 9, Verse 119)

Is the party over?

Posted: November 3, 2009 in Articles, Pakistan
Tags: ,

News of the day:

– MQM to oppose NRO, advises President to step down
Chief Mutahidda Quomi Movement (MQM) Altaf Hussain while talking to Private TV Channel has said that he has directed his party members’ national assembly to oppose NRO in the Parliament.
MQM Rabta Committee Member Mohammad Anwar while talking to Private TV Channel has confirmed that his Party Chief Altaf Hussain has advised President to step down in better interest of country. The President neither should take test of his coalition partners nor his own Party in the Parliament, he said.
“I appeal to the president, his friends and loyalists not to derail democracy, and produce themselves before the people to save the system, and tell them that they are not presenting the NRO in the assembly,” he advised.

 

No matter how complex it may seem, but Pakistani politics is surely hard to resist.
With its changing scenarios every day, thrilling dialogues, comments and ever-changing manifestos of political parties, the politics of Pakistan has become more or less a form of entertainment for the people of Pakistan.
And today has been the day of MQM, which was all over the screens of Pakistani news channels because of its volatile move of going against the flow.

This unpredictable move by MQM of opposing National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in the Parliament which was known as marriage of PPP and MQM is sure to hit the government sooner or later.

This sudden act of MQM of opposing NRO and pointing fingers at Mr. President has disturbed the political scene for the ruling party for a while which seemed to be ruling without facing any opposition or having an inch of concern for the citizens. Whether or not this proves to be a good change for the people of Pakistan but hopefully this might bring a little change in the attitude of the ruling elites.

The way the MQM chief Altaf Hussain advised President Zardari to give sacrifice and face the courts in order to save the country from chaos and turn its direction towards betterment was quite impressive. It reminded me of the Festival of Sacrifice (Eid ul Adha) or more commonly known as eid e qurbaan which is just around the corner. It seemed like an indication that the time has come when Mr. President and his party should be ready to sacrifice positions/ranks for the betterment of the country and for the people.

Is the party really over for the PPP and its supporters? Only time will tell but it seems perhaps the time has come when the ruling party of Pakistan should decide their fate or it will be written over by the people of Pakistan,<!– –> as it is said that,

“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Time

Posted: October 20, 2009 in Articles, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

‘Kia Time hua hai?’ – ‘Time nahi mila yaar’ – ‘Kis time aao gey?’ – ‘chalo time to go!’

Don’t we say and listen to such lines so many times in a day? In fact we utter the word Time with such frequency that we undermine its actual meaning and its worth.
What is Time actually?? and why should we give importance to it anyway?

11072-Wood-Wall-Clock

What is Time?
The dictionary defines Time as:
1. the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
2. An interval separating two points and is measured by numbers as of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years.

I like the second definition, easy and compact.
Hence you see that thing on your wall or on your wrist which you look up to every now and then, is what life is actually made of.. Time.. but we rarely think about it. Do we?

Why is Time so important?
Time is passing non-stop, and we try to follow it with clocks and calendars. It is passing on this very moment while i am writing this but i can not catch it or hold it back, because time once passed will not come back again.
And you thought money is the all that matter in life? It may buy you many things but try buying time next time you go shopping. Yes, be my guest try to buy time but you won’t try as you know the answer already.

It is said, ‘time and tide wait for none’ and true it is. You can keep waiting long enough for a certain time to arrive but time will not wait for you a second. It will come and go by on it own and you won’t know it has left if you are not ready to welcome it at the right time.

Time – a great healer
There are as many quotes available on Time but the most famous is the Italian proverb –
Il tempo è un gran medico -(Time is a great healer.)

I remember how time healed my knee injury when i fell from bicycle long  time ago. Yes time did heal my wound but that scary scar is always there to remind me of the incident.

Time heals every wound. Time will make it better. I usually heard such saying on funerals but it is relevant for anyone who has ever lost something/someone they loved like anything. This again shows the importance of time that how it plays the role of a healer, a companion for the lonesome and how time eventually brings the wretched souls to life and to love.

Time is money
Another Italian proverb – Il tempo è denaro. (Time is money.)

yes yes the same paper money, that we all love so dearly that to make it and to double it we are ready to give in our health and our lives.

So Time if perfectly utilized can do wonders for you and bring you a lot of money with which you can buy happiness and all other things.

Types of Time

1. Past – This period of Time is already lost, which is no more with you. So there is no need or reason to ponder over it and regret it.

2. Future – This period of Time is yet to come, it is unseen. So there is no need to worry about it again, all you can do is hope and wish for the best of times to come to you.

3. Present – And that leaves us to the final type of Time – the Present – that you are living in right this very moment. This is the only period of time which you should worry about actually. See it’s so easy, isn’t? God knew that we humans cannot handle so much of time all together so your present time is all you have to care about so that you won’t regret it when it becomes the past of your life.

It is rightly said that there s a time for everything and you just have to wait for the right time to come.
And when it comes you will know it for sure.

clock

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

[Ecclesiastes 3:1-8]

 

‘Do you know why these suicide attacks are suddenly one the rise again?’ asked my friend. ‘No, but I guess you have a reason to justify them’ I replied in a cold manner, wondering when did the attacks actually slowed down. 

‘Yes I know it is because of the Kerry Lugar bill. You know, these people (read: agents) are attacking our institutions and people to prove that we are in such poor condition that we cannot survive without aid’. 

No doubt this Kerry-Lugar bill aka Killer-bill has become quite the talk of the town and people are now blaming the bill for our basic problems such as the electricity issue without realizing what the bill actually aims at. 

On Sept 24, the US Senate unanimously passed the revised version of the Kerry-Lugar Bill, titled the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act 2009. 

On Oct. 15th President Barack Obama signed the bill into law which will triple non-military US aid to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over the next five years and hence leaving no choice for Pakistan government to request for any amendments in the bill. The only choice before us is to either fully accept it or reject it on the whole. 

Despite the efforts of the Pakistan government to prove that the act would not harm Pakistan’s sovereignty but the fact remains that US government has rejected the concerns of Pakistan and sent back our Foreign Minister with an explanatory note, attached with the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009.
 

Surprisingly, our Foreign Minister Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi called the explanatory statement “historic” and assured the Parliament on October 16 that no Pakistani authority had been conceded to benefit from the Kerry-Lugar bill. He extensively quoted from an explanatory statement that ‘there are no conditions on Pakistan attached to the authorisation of $7.5 billion in non-military aid’. 

Critics say that while using harsh and loud words to get the support of the fellow parliamentarians, what our foreign minister failed to realize is that action speaks louder than words and the people are well aware that he had returned empty-handed from US and thus had to put up this show to save his neck. According to Mr. Anwar Baig (former senator and senior PPP member) the much publicised speech of Mr. Qureshi in the Parliament is ‘nothing but a brilliant piece of acting for which he should be nominated for Oscars.’ 

Apart from the government appraisal of the act, the main concern of the concerned ones still remain unanswered that why the controversial sections of the act are unaddressed by the Pakistan government. 

For instance, Section 203 of the US law considers that Pakistan is involved in the proliferation of nuclear weapons-related materials although it has never been proven in a court of law. The section also presumes that Pakistan is somehow involved in sponsoring terrorism, and that Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies are involved in aiding terrorist groups, including those groups engaged in attacks against the United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan, and against the territory or the people of neighbouring countries.
 

The act specifically mentions organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed and makes it clear that Pakistan is prohibited from letting them operate in its territory, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighbouring countries. The law further requires the closure of terrorist camps in Fata and dismantling terrorist bases in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke. 

Then the message for the security forces of Pakistan is that it must not ‘materially’ and ‘substantially’ subvert the political or judicial processes of Pakistan.
 

Some other important concerns are, placing limitations on arms transfers; requiring that all assistance can only be provided to civilian authorities of a civilian government of Pakistan; (Sec. 205). 

Other concern is regarding the submission of a Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report within 45 days of the date of enactment of the act; development of a comprehensive inter-agency regional security strategy to eliminate terrorist threats and close terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, including by working with the Government of Pakistan and other relevant governments and organisations in the region and elsewhere to implement effective counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts in and near the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including Fata, the NWFP, parts of Balochistan and parts of Punjab(Sec. 301. Strategy Reports) and the submission of monitoring reports with description of all amounts made available for assistance to Pakistan during fiscal year 2009, including a description of each program, project, and activity for which funds were made available (Sec. 302. Monitoring Reports). 

Although the above stated law may seem like a country’s internal matter but this all has been stated in the US law as if the US is dictating and teaching us the laws to run a terrorist-free country. It appears that this does not like an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty to our government.
 

In the end we must realize that it is all a game of interest and of course nobody is willing to help you for free. The US law-makers have clearly stated their policy regarding Pakistan and have laid down their interests in the form of Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act 2009. It is time now that we decide and point out our national interests loud and clear.

Aey watan Pak watan

Posted: August 14, 2009 in Articles, Pakistan, Random thoughts


With my eyes closed I find myself slowly humming to the song ‘Aey merey piyare watan’ by Ustaad Amanat Ali Khan, being played on television in the next room. I heard my mother praising the voice and claiming it a timeless song in the history of Pakistan.
No doubt, the song has an unusual effect every time I hear it; it gives me shivers and reminds me all over again of my responsibility towards my homeland.

While the song still is playing on, suddenly I feel being dragged towards my past, my school days in 1998 when I along with my friends was busy decorating the classroom with our paintings and other decorative items. After that I was in the computer lab rehearsing to my speech dedicated to this special day i.e. 14th of August- our independence day. Finally I see myself on the stage and the speech finished off with the usual note –Pakistan Zindabad

Tujh se hai meri tamannaa’on ki duniya pur-nuur
Azam mera kabhi merey iradey hain ghayyuur

With these lines playing I regain my consciousness and realize that it is the same day but the year 2009, almost 10 years later my memory is playing tricks with me reminding me of my golden years when I was full of vigor and desire to play my part obediently towards the betterment of my land; to act in all possible ways to make this place a little better and peaceful place for me, my people and my surroundings; to make Pakistan a corruption-free state and above all I really want to see Pakistan as the fort of Islam.

But little did I know then that it is always easier said than done.
For now when I look around myself, I find miserable people in need of common necessities of life and in search of that little piece of happiness which seem to have vanished somewhere.

But who is to be blamed for the depressing condition of the country?
The Government? The Leaders? The Opposition? Media? Judiciary?

For a change, today on the 62nd Independence Day of Pakistan, I’d like to put the blame on myself, for I am the one who has been unable to realize my dreams of making my home a happy place. Just like in the fairy tales there are happy endings, I wanted the same for my land but in fact I never worked hard and achieved what it needs to make a happy ending. For I was so much obsessed with the idea and dream that I almost forgot that the most essential part that is the reality factor was missing from my dream.

Merey mehboob Watan tujh pe agar jaan ho nisaar
Main ye samjhun ga thikaney laga sarmaya-o-dhan

However as they say, every end has a new beginning. So I’ll take that quote as an inspiration today and will try hard to achieve a little part of my dream, if not whole.
Although it has been 62 years, but it is never too late to make a change, or is it?