Archive for December, 2006

Accident Visuals

For those who have been following the ‘Porsche Accident Story’ and ‘Boycott Nirala’ thread; here’s a visual of the cars that were involved in the accident from The Nation, December 7, 2006:

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The Lack of Morality issue in Pakistani Society

Last week, a friend of mine sent me this email about an embarrassing situation in Swedish universities where the number of Pakistani students involved in cheating cases is alarmingly increasing every year. Frankly, I do not find contents of the email that surprising as I remember well such incidents during my entire student life here in Lahore. It is not just about these students in Sweden but all of us here who start seeing and learn cheating from the primary school and then, perhaps, it becomes part of who we are later on? Consider yourself in an examination room full of students today, say in Punjab University Lahore. If given a chance, tell me honestly, how many of us you think will NOT cheat? May be 10%? What moral values we teach here in our schools to expect anything better?

If you ask your parents or grandparents, they will tell you that things were not as bad 20-30 years ago as they are now. So does it mean Pakistani society lacks morality today or is it just lack of discipline? From breaking traffic rules to breaking lines outside banks when paying our utility bills and even throwing garbage on our streets, isn’t it all cheating one way or other? When a nation is in turmoil, its leaders lack virtue and society lacks morality. Are we really in turmoil as a nation and is there a way out?

My intention of writing this post and sharing the email below is just to raise a few questions in your mind and I hope that you all would share some of the answers with me here. So here goes the email which made me write this post:

Asalam O Alaikum to everyone,

It’s very unfortunate that I am sending you this mail. I had a meeting with one of the Program Coordinators and there were a few concerns raised about the students of Pakistan which he discussed with me openly and requested that I transfer these queries to every student from Pakistan.

It has been brought to the attention of the Management of KTH ((Kungliga Tekniska högskolan [Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)), that a large number of Pakistani students have been involved in cases like cheating. The management is surprised that the ratio as compared to the last year is pretty much high. The issue is so hot that they have even decided to call on a Board Meeting where they will be discussing as “Why do Pakistani Students Cheat?”
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A Marketing approach towards ‘Godly work’

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via LIFE ETC (Link)

Godly? Cool

Normally, people would take Godly work – stuff that you do for God – to be something that is very appreciated and something that you do when you are being really nice.

They are right.

BUT those same people think that this Godly work is always serious – I mean, it is considered ‘work’. And you may or may not enjoy it, just like work. It is God’s mercy if you enjoy doing Godly work. Some examples of the sort of ‘work’ I am talking about may range from:

  1. Praying/offering Salat
  2. Keeping roza
  3. Giving charity

… to the ‘even more serious’ stuff like:

  1. Telling people about God, about religion, about the three things that I just mentioned etc (tableegh)
  2. Attempting to remove misconceptions about Islam such as Dr. Zakir Naik etc – very serious work

Now, this is Godly work alright, and is rightly considered ‘serious stuff’. But there is a big problem here, people. Big problem.

I can’t do any of it!

I can do the ‘individual’ work such as Salat, Fasting and Charity, yes. But ‘spreading the message’ like you mean it, that? Me? But what do I know? Who will listen to me? Why will they listen to me? And there is a reason I am worried that I can’t do it, because I am supposed to do it! It is my duty to spread the word. Word, jigga? Ya’herrr. I am not even sure what I know – it may be conjecture and not knowledge. There is a difference between the two, right? See what I mean?

But then there are people like this guy here who makes it look cool. The way it ALWAYS SHOULD BE; Cool.

(via LIFE ETC) & thank you Sara for the link

Boycott Nirala!??

Just last week I was reading this sad story on All Things Pakistan which suggests that an official government car, reportedly in the use of the Syed Safwanullah, Federal Minister of Housing and Works, reportedly being driven by one of his relatives, crushed to death a 6-year old child, whose mutilated body was found two days later in the same car. Mr. Safwanullah held a press conference yesterday to clarify his position and apparently put all the blame on his driver who took his car without his knowledge. I think victim’s family will get an appropriate compensation amount and there you go, case closed.

Another incident which is even more tragic occured in Lahore and surprisingly got very little media attention initially. According to Daily Times, Waseem Sajjad Malik, a cellular phone-company employee (resident of 292/293-B, Punjab Corporative Society), lost control of his car and hit a tree allegedly because of two racing cars near Masjid Chowk in Defence. One of the two cars (LWJ-700) belonged to Faisal Farooq, son of a prominent confectioner (Nirala Sweets). Waseem’s two-month old baby, born five years after his marriage, went through the screen and fell about 20 feet away. Waseem, his mother and his wife were injured.

Waseem’s baby went into a comma right away. Passers-by caught Faisal Farooq, who fled when he saw that they were calling the police. The victims were admitted to hospital with multiple fractures and the baby died shortly after that. Defence police registered a case against Faisal Farooq.

Faisal Farooq’s family, close to senior police officers, intervened. Allegedly, Faisal Farooq, his uncles Mehmood and Maqsud, and five people carrying weapons went to the National Defence Hospital on November 29, where they threatened Waseem’s brother-in-law Mutahir and asked him to withdraw the case. They locked Mutahir in a room, allegedly, beat him up, and fled.

I am not sure what to say about this. Incidents like this happen every now and then and only just a few become known to us. Waseem and his family have now got media attention and I am sure they have full support form Mobilink which will help them in a painfully slow, complicated and costly legal battle ahead. But in most cases, unfortunately, rich and powerful easily get away with murder and this happens everywhere. An investigation should immediately take place and let the legal process conclude if it was an accident or an act of criminal neglect.

The most unfortunate part of this story is that the baby is dead. Whatever we say or do now is useless in a way and nobody can bring him/her back. It also makes me wonder whats the logic of blessing someone a child after so many years and then take away in split second? Only Allah knows the best. We can only offer our prayers to the victim’s family.

Lets hope that all of us in Lahore will keep the pressure on, even if it means Boycotting Nirala. Lets exercise our basic right to protest against injustice which we have long forgotten as a nation. I know most of us feel powerless to prevent injustice but lets not fail to protest atleast.

Check out here, here and here for more details.

Lahore’s 5th Gift to the World: Virus Threat Realization

“In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world. Lahore comes up with its 5th Gift to the World.”

Lahore not only just generated the world’s first computer virus, in fact, it gifted world the realization of threats posed by Piracy and Viruses.

First detected in January 1986, (c)Brain, is the oldest PC virus known.

As Wikipedia reports it:

(c)Brain (the industry standard name being Brain) is a 1986 computer virus that infects the boot sector of storage media formatted with the DOS File Allocation Table (FAT) file system.

It was written by two brothers, Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi, who lived in Chahmiran, Lahore, Pakistan. The brothers told TIME magazine they had written it to protect their medical software from piracy and was supposed to target copyright infringers only.

The virus is also known as Lahore, Pakistani, Pakistani Brain, and UIUC. Businessweek magazine at the time called the virus the Pakistani flu.

(c)Brain affects the computer by replacing the boot sector with a copy of the virus. The real boot sector is moved to another sector and marked as bad and infected disks usually have three kilobytes of bad sectors. The disk label is changed to (c)Brain.
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Responsible?

You have an internet connection. You can read English. That places you comfortably in the ‘haves’ of our society. The “have-nots” are not expected to give attention to topics like global warming, recycling, car-pooling and solar energy; food and warmth are needed first.

So you, yeah you, ought to ‘at least’ be thinking about it and perhaps plan on a course of action.

To the best of my limited knowledge, the plan to cut trees along the canal by the government was put on hold mainly because of ‘concerned citizens’ showing collective opposition. It feels good that there are people with their surroundings in mind; in the governement AND in the general society.

So how can you, living right here in third-world Lahore, contribute to your environment? And no, talking and caring about the environment is not gay.

Google and this some school did this great project about coming up with ideas; the initial interest I had was that the project involved Google, it invovled the Internet and it involved community. Environment shinvironment as well. :) peace and look out!

Freudian Slip

“Doctor, last night I think I made a Freudian slip.”
“You did?” asks the doctor, “what were you trying to say and what did you end up saying?”
“I was having dinner with my mother-in-law,” says the nervous patient, “and wanted to say: ‘Could you please pass the butter?’ But instead I said: ‘You freakin stupid cow, you have completely ruined my gawddamned life.‘”

people, is this joke lame?

via my evolution

Lahore’s 4th Gift to the World: ‘Nobel’ Scholars

“In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world throughout the week of NOV 26th – DEC 2. Lahore comes up with its 4th Gift to the World.”

Many are not aware of the contributions that some of the most prominent Lahorites have made towards various fields of learning including science, mathematics, philosophy, arts, and literature.

Lahore proudly gifts to the world, four Nobel laureates:

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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling (Nobel Prize in Literature 1907) – Born in Bombay and later lived in Lahore for a few years, Mr. Kipling was a literary genius, with such classics as Jungle Book, Kim and many more under his belt.

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Har Gobind Khorana

Har Gobind Khorana (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1968) – Mr Khorana did his Msc from University of the Punjab, Lahore and then proceded for PhD at University of Liverpool. He later became a Professor of Biology and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Lahore’s 3rd Gift to the World: Anarkali Bazaar

“In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world throughout the week of NOV 26th – DEC 2. Lahore comes up with its 3rd Gift to the World.”

Anarkali Bazar, named after the famous courtesan of Emperor Akbar’s court, Anarkali, is one of the most enchanting places in Lahore.

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Anarkali Bazaar, Lahore

Founded by Emperor Jahangir some 400 years back, Anarkali Bazar is one of the oldest surviving markets in South Asia. Originating from the Mall near Lahore Museum, it’s just like a maze of narrow alleys and lanes stretching northwards towards Old Lahore.

It has a captivating history related to the character after which it is named. According to the legend Mughal Emperor Akbar’s son Prince Salim fell in love with Anarkali, Emperor Akbar’s coutesan who was given the title of Anarkali; ‘Pomegranate Blossom’ due to her charm and beauty by the Emperor himself.

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Anarkali’s Tomb, Lahore

When exposed, their relationship was disapproved by Emperor Akbar as Anarkali was a dancing girl and was of no noble birth. When the lovers rebelled against the Emperor, Anarkali was buried alive in a wall which is said to be located within the bazaar. Her tomb is still there housed in the Punjab Secretariat near Anarkali Bazaar. Engraved on Anarkali’s grave is a couplet in Persion by Prince Salim a.k.a Emperor Jahangir:

“Ah! could I behold the face of my beloved once more, I would give thanks to my God until the day of resurrection.”

While strolling through its narrow paths, one can imagine the legend to be true and go back in time to the era of Anarkali. Hundreds of years old buildings, dazzling shops and buzzing streets make this bazaar so unique in its charm and character.

Anarkali Bazar is a shopper’s heaven selling virtually everything from handicrafts to soveniers; antiques to artifacts; electronics to every sorts of cloth, ready made garments and woven clothing. Prices are quite affordable and much lesser than other commercial areas of the city. Plus, while in Anarkali, you must bargain hard, for chances are you may succeed in getting things on as much as 50% of their listed price.
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