Archive for April, 2008

And Also Telecommuting


Enjoying life is as much necessary as work :)

CDGL’s Operation Cleanup

City District Government Lahore (CDGL) is finally taking an effective step against encroachers on main commercial streets in the city starting with demolition of illegal extensions of gas and fuel stations on Thokar Niaz Baig and removing encroachments on both sides of Multan Road.

CDGL’s Operation Cleanup - 2

CDGL’s Operation Cleanup - 1

This bold step has been undertaken in presence of LDA (Lahore Development Authority), LESCO (Lahore Electric Supply Company) representatives and officials belonging to the related law-enforcing agencies.

Regulation and proper implementation of property laws and strict action against offenders regardless of their status are initiatives that are so very good for the commuters, business owners and ultimately the annoyed residents of the affected localities and their surrounding areas.

A Dog’s Life

WARNING: Not for the faint-hearted!
Dogs on Diet 1

Dogs on Diet – somewhere in a slum

Dogs on Diet 2

In memory of Hashir Munawer…

Hashir Munawer

It was just another day, nothing different, the sun rose to the skies, the weather warming up by the hour, everything going on as usual. Less did anyone know at LUMS that there is a grave happening to unfold before the sun sets on this day.

Hashir Munawer class of 2007, due to graduate a year later than his batch mates was seperated from the program apparently because of an abrupt change in policy. (minimum CGPA increased to 2.8 from an initial 2.2). He killed himself by hanging himself to the fan by an iron wire. Another file closed from the craziness of this world. Period.

What caused this to happen? A happy go lucky kid, who was good at volley ball, done his A levels from a prestigious school in Karachi, who was known for caring for all that came his way, a smiling face. A few things his friends had to say about him. Why didn’t anyone talk to him about it? Who broke the news to him? Why didn’t they sit him down and talk about other options in life? There were a million and one things that could’ve been done, this was NOT inevitable! Where was Nashi Khan (Student Counsellor/ Psychiatrist)? Where were his faculty advisors? Who will answer these questions? Who will finally brush all of this under the carpet?

There have been 4 suicide attempts at LUMS in 2007 (Unconfirmed sources). Changing policies at the drop of a hat and then implementing them on graduating classes and not the next new intake, the insensitivities of a “perfect” world. Does this not happen everywhere? Students get kicked out of schools in their final years for O and A levels only because they are not performing “up to the mark”? Who defines success? Who defines this mark? Have we lost our values and basic regard for humans around us in this vicious cycle? a fourth grader taking as many tuitions as there are subjects. Is “winning” everything and “living” does not measure up?

 How Many Hashirs will it take for the blind, inefficient, cold blooded, policy makers at such universities and those that drive the society? Let’s just get it over with!

 May Allah forgive Hashir’s sins and give the bereaved all the courage in the world to live through this ordeal. Aamiin

The Razdaari of Zardari

What does he really want, no one knows.
What he possibly could want, a lot of us can guess (a higher percentage this time around perhaps?).
What he has gained by losing so much, all of us can see.

His dilly-dallying over the judges issues is not a surprise at all. He could not afford to restore a judge that is going to take away Zardari’s ticket to freedom, namely the NRO. This much should be quite obvious. And this much is the real test of the litmus variety, for our judiciary; will they or won’t they nullify the NRO.

The NRO, in all legal aspects, is considered to be the epitome of legalizing illegality; an insult to the process of lawmaking itself. The beauty of it is that the majority (more than two-third) of the lawmakers (the graduate assembly of President Musharaf) did not approve of it to begin with. Transparency International’s Pakistani chapter, apart from telling us how corrupt we really are, has called the NRO an offense against convention itself! NRO was also designed to ensure that PML-N leadership gets nothing out of it.

Now, Zardari, in all his potential wisdom accumulated over all these years, is playing for the whole package. I have never voted for PPP, before or after Mrs. Benazir Zardari. I find the appearance of MQM in Lahore and subsequent rise in mobile theft, kidnapings and arson to be more than just a coincidence. I really want to meet an MQM supporter in real life, because till now I find it hard to imagine someone actually believing Altaf ‘expat’ Hussain. I want to meet him (or her) and then stay quite, lest ‘they’ shoot me in the leg, or my right eyeball.

I like the way the insanely corrupt bureaucracy is already cringing and returning their ‘accessories’ in fear of a strict administrator in the form of Shahbaz Sharif. Strict is good when even the good is the worst.

Have I completely lost more than just the plot when I link MQM with a higher number of ‘related’ theft here in Lahore? Anyone?

‘mourning delights…?’

Lawyers' Rally

Lahore Bar District Association Seceretary, Latif Sirraw, protesting on Mall Road Lahore (Thursday), with the lawyers community and civil society activists, in the wake of recent clashes in Karachi, which caused the deaths of 15-17 people including the burning to death of 7 lawyers, several injuries and several other losses.

Socialist Lawyer 1

Photo Credit: Umer Sharif, Daily Pakistan

In this crucial stage of struggle for the restoration of judiciary, such irresponsible behavior can affect their efforts adversely.

What do you say?

Unfair or just competition in another LIGHT!??

The Cavalary crossing that leads to Cantt on one side and Defence Housing Authority on the other flaunts few of the largest sites available for outdoor advertising. No brownie points for guessing that two of the leading telcos have captured these sites and using them for their advantage to its max. However on a regular basis for at least the past few weeks (if not months for sure) Every evening, the Warid billboard is dark as the night itself whereas the Mobilink one is shining like a golden sun.

 daytime     night time

Is this a deliberate move by the golden sun or is night descending on the brand team of the other player? (Comments are welcome, what do you think?)

All Pakistan Music Conference

At the time of the history’s greatest migration, along with geographical disorientation, the infant Pakistan was also psychologically lost and depressed. These were dire times when simple survival as a seperate nation was the only priority and arts at such time could not be given much heed. This led to further gloom of the art lovers as well as artists themselves. Apart from radio Pakistan there was no more music in the air. Music lovers reminisced the live music concerts whereas maestros in the field of music started to crumble. At such a difficult time for music in Pakistan it was cocncerned citizens that collectively volunteered to initiate the All Pakistan Music Conference in 1959. Their main objective was to rejuvenate and relive the glory of classical music and arrange seminars, conferences and concerts. (courtesy:

Today, 49 years later the All Pakistan Music Conference maintains its poise and is held every year without fail reminding us of the art that breathes in the same ambience as we do. Classical music and dance is in the air of the subcontinent. We can choose to ignore it but not eradicate it.

The remaining APMC Festival 2008 has been postponed but the last of the few events was last month when Hajrah Khan, a Social Sciences Major from Lahore University of Management Sciences read an academic paper on “Urdu Ghazal & English Sonnet” very intricately interlacing the two and reminding us , art has no boundaries, geographical or demographic. The esteemed presence of Shaista Sirajuddin to read out the English Sonnets selected by Hajrah and Dr Arfa Syeda Zehra to recite Urdu Ghazals added to the magic.

English Sonnet and Urdu Ghazal

The research paper was followed by Tabla maestro Shahbaz Hussain from Manchester, who gave a talk on different components of Tabla(solo) playing again resembling those of an English Sonnet and and Urdu Ghazal. Shahbaz Hussain is a student of Ustaad Allah Rakha’s son, Ustaad Shaukat Hussain and Ustaad Fayyaz Khan. He has also performed with Ustaad Valayat Khan on his last concert in London. Shahbaz Hussain teaches at NewCastle University which happens to be the first university in the world to have introduced a degree in Tabla. Himself being born in the UK, his parents hail from Lahore and so here’s a son of the soil making us all proud of the fact that we share his roots. This event was by far the best account of playing any classical instrument and the accompanying talk (given in English) was surprisingly free of any (greek!) jargon  and completely comprehendable by the common man.

Tabla Talk

The best part was where he told how long ago a girl from Lahore was married into a musical “gharana”(family) in Delhi and her father gave her 500 “gats” as her dowry. Shahbaz also played one of those Lahori Gats in the end.

Tabla performance

All Pakistan Music Conference is an association which is truly (and quietly) conserving our heritage and not letting it wash away with the graffiti of all things new.

Chauburji – the forgotten monument

Radio channels were airing a traffic report all yesterday evening about the massive traffic jam at Chowk Chauburji and the resulting chaos in and around the area. Diversions were being recommended to alternative arteries by the Lahore Traffic Police Department.

Chowk Chauburji Lahore 

Photo by Khalid Babur at Wikipedia

For every Lahori, this beautiful monument is a familiar structure and now lies in the middle of a thriving commercial area. Shops, restaurants and offices circle the intersection where Chauburji stands reminiscent of Princess Zeb-un-Nissa’s once grand and extensive gardens.

Built around 1646 AD by Zebinda Begum or Princess Zeb-un-Nissa, daughter of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir, Chauburji’s current dilapidated state is not a new sight. Go to the Shalimar Gardens; Emperor Jahangir’s Tomb; Queen Noor Jahan’s Tomb, all these places were once crown jewels among the ‘City of Gardens’ i.e. Lahore‘s green heavens and now there hardly is anything left in color there.

Our general respect for our heritage and particularly regarding such architectural wonders is as low as for the traffic rules inscribed for us by the ‘goras’ and which are considered to be followed only by the really dumb.

A visit to Chauburji gives you a glimpse into Lahore’s magnificent past and, somehow makes you sad when thinking of its unsure future.

Malang Mistari!

Malang Mistari

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