Archive for the ‘Accidents’ Category

How much must we lose?

The Long March is imminent now; this country knows no peace in any sector. But never will we stop celebrating, will we?

 

I live in a neighborhood that apparently has a lot of people who have these programmes to celebrate every single festival on earth. Plus, they make sure that every house for miles around will hear every singer they put on their stages. No matter what time it is; if these people have a mind to do so, they will not let us sleep till the wee hours of the morning, and will not let us study during the day. No escaping their music or their qawwali, not a chance. And right now, what I’m listening to is someone shouting at the top of his lungs into a microphone ‘Basant Mubarak! Welcome Basant!’, while I’m sitting in my own house.

 

What’s wrong with us? I ponder on his thought every day, and I get so many answers it disturbs me even more. What is sickening us so much that we just don’t care about anything but our own frivolous, impermanent, and dangerous fun?

 

The boards on the Liberty roundabout are not even partially old yet. They still strike a pang to our hearts and we still crane our necks to see the pictures of the men that died in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

The story of the death of one particular guard on that day is still fresh in my mind. He was lying on the road, trying to make the gunmen think that he was dead, and when they were just leaving, he raised his head. And then they came back especially to kill him. How can someone be so cruel and so hard so as to kill a person who never did him any harm? How can someone come back especially to kill that person?

 

But then, how can a government be so cruel as to allow Basant to take place; an event that kills so many innocent children every year? How can they condone the death of so many people in such a horrible manner; by having strings dipped in powdered glass cut them on the neck?

Forget the government. Why do people do it? Why is there no pressure to stop this event?

We cannot deny that hundreds die on Basant every year. No one can deny that people will use powdered glass and even wires to fly their kites.

 

Most of all, we cannot deny that the frivolous pleasure that people get from it is so blatantly disrespectful of the events in this country, in this very city. Bomb blasts. Price hikes. Unemployment. Attacks on the cricket team. The death of seven young security guards who were only doing the best job they could.

 

One last thing. Has anyone noticed the decency displayed by the Sri Lankan cricketers?

I shudder to think what would have happened if (God forbid) an American cricket team had deigned to come to Pakistan for a tour, and the same thing happened. If some eyebrows are raised at the mention of America playing cricket, it may be well to mention here that the States were very interested in cricket at the time of the last World Cup. So it might have been a possibility. But if what the Sri Lankan cricketers went through had been experienced by most other cricket teams of the world, the result would have been much more disastrous in its impact on Pakistan in general.

Take India, for example. I hate doing this, because I’ve got some very close Indian friends of my own, but the way we are being treated by India now, there probably wouldn’t have been a shred of the decency that Sri Lankans have shown about this incident. For India, we’re the ultimate bombers. They have no terrorists of their own; at least not according to the mass media hype we hear and read about. At the least, I speculate that the airspace restrictions would have been put on again. And if any Americans were there, well, a few more drones, perhaps?

It’s not to say that what has happened is not such a huge deal after all; not to say that it is an incident that should be tolerated, but I merely point out the real gentlemen in the game here. Maybe we’re just not used to be treated politely anymore, but I was extremely surprised to hear that the bus driver who survived the attack has been called by the Sri Lankans for a tour with his family. Additionally, as soon as the cricketers landed and were interviewed in their home country, many of the first comments I read were praising the driver who saved their lives. Not one of them uttered a disparaging comment on the security provided, even though they had every right to do so. On the televised interviews, even though the reporters were trying to squeeze such comments out of them, the most these men would do would be to excuse themselves with a polite ‘thank you’.

 

Decency, people. Just simple decency. Something that we call in Urdu sharafat. That’s what is there in these cricketers who suffered so much at the hands of our country, and still do not say anything. Maybe they respect the deaths of the people who were protecting them. Maybe they’re just decent people overall, which comes to the same thing.

 

One thing I know; they’re showing more decency than our own people. For everyone here, a soon as something like Basant rolls around, nothing matters anymore. Not killing someone. Not feeling guilt for what our guests went through when they tried to save one of our biggest sports. Not mourning the mindless deaths of the countrymen who tried to protect them

All that matters, at the end of the day, is flying kites. But I’m going to skip the sarcastic ending for now and I’m going to plead with you. Anyone who is reading this; out of respect, out of decency, out of your own humanity, do not celebrate Basant. We have no excuse for celebrating anything; if we want to cheer ourselves up and not feel anything about what has been happening recently, we have means other than those which kill even more people. Try to convince your families and friends that such a celebration will be disgraceful behavior, to say the least. We owe our guests and our own people at least that much.

A Tribute to the Real Heroes

Remembering the Heroes of Ghakkar Plaza tragedy

Remembering the Heroes of Ghakkar Plaza tragedy

This banner was spotted at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport which was put up by the Union of Civil Aviation Employees. Fellow employees at the Civil Aviation Authority paid honor to the memory of late firefighters Abid Ali and Rizwan-ul-Haq; both of them, along with many other firemen, lost their lives while saving civilians from Rawapindi’s burning Ghakkarr Plaza.

They are truly our real heroes!

Three minor explosions at Qaddafi Stadium

Panic has spread among people of the city after three consecutive explosions rocked the Punjab Institute of Languages and Alhamra Cultural Complex located within the Qaddafi Stadium Complex. Fortunately, there were no casualties and only about three people are reported to have received minor injuries.

This time, target of terrorism is Lahore’s premier cultural event, the World Performing Arts Festival which was taking place at Alhamra and was to conclude tomorrow. The iconic festival is one major attraction of the city’s arts & culture scene and brings hundreds of international artistes, singers, musicians and performers to the delight of entertainment-starved Lahoris

Although cafeteria of the Punjab Institute of Languages showed some signs of shattering, the damage done by the miscreants is far more iconic and psychological than physical or material. But, we are neither moved nor afraid of these cowardly acts. We will surely fight back and continue doing so till each one of these elements is eliminated from our society.

Balochistan Earthquake Relief Efforts at LUMS

Students at the Lahore University of Management Sciences have initiated a funds-collection drive for victims of earthquake in Balochistan. So far, some goods including blankets have been purchased and are being despatched to the affected areas through reliable channels.

Further contributions can be made to the fund by:

1. Contacting members of LUMS Student Council at any one of these numbers:

0333-4421930
0300-9135798
0300-2102098
0333-4497950
0333-5327102
0344-4078116

2. Depositing amounts to LUMS designated banks using the regular deposit slips and clearly stating the purpose as “Donation for Earthquake Victims”. The cheques, DD’s and pay orders issued in the name of “Lahore University of Management Sciences” will also be accepted. 

3. Online donations can be made through the following URL: http://pay.lums.edu.pk/default.asp

Please help and donate to any of your local or national charities, organizations or individuals who are actively involved in the relief efforts. Thanks!

Nature’s wrath taints an October in blood again

Severe economic crunch; continuing political instability; rapidly deteriorating security situation; crisis after crisis and now, the nature does not seem to be forgiving of Pakistan’s plight as well. A powerful earthquake of 6.4 magnitude has stricken parts of Baluchistan province killing about 200 people and injuring thousands across the region according to GEO TV.

Earthquake's Devastating After-effects

 Devastating after-effectsImage Source: BBC News

Rescue efforts have been initiated to save as many people trapped under the debris and landslides as possible with Pakistan Army taking the lead. Powerful aftershocks are being felt around Quetta, and the epicentre in Ziarat Valley, which also happens to be the most picturesque of all places in the province.

Epicentre of Baluchistan Earthquake

Epicentre of Baluchistan Earthquake – Source: BBC News

All this reminds me of the same month four years back, in 2005 when Kashmir was devastated by an even stronger earthquake. Again, it is time for us to hold hands in solidarity and extend support, help and relief to our already deprived Balochi brethren.

Please try to reach out to organizations planning or working to get some relief goods to the affected region. We’ll update you with any details that we can possibly collect on rescue efforts.

Further Updates: IMB, Pakistaniat

Lahore in panic after minor explosions

Three consecutive explosions in Garhi Shahu area have occured this evening damaging juice shops and a salon. So far five people, including two children,  have been reported as injured while the police have termed intensity of the explosions as to be low. Garhi Shahu is a busy district especially during the time of the explosions with many people driving through to different parts of the city.

Geo was quoting Rescue 1122 who believe this could have been a gas cylinder explosion, though it does not cool off the threat of terrorism. We’ve seen realization of this threat in Islamabad and Bhakkar more recently where deadly suicide bombings have claimed dozens of precious lives.

Let’s pray that we, the citizens, keep our calm, stay vigilant and stand united against the dirty ambitions of the real enemies of peace, Islam and humanity.

Who’s fighting for what?

Repeatedly, we have been reminded of the mess that our historical policies, weak political leadership, indifference towards sectarian plus extremist ideologies and the international security scenario have so elaborately designed to put Pakistan into.

Yesterday’s attack on Islambabad’s Marriott hotel is just another, add the most significant another, reminder of how nothing is well for our country at the moment. Why our leaders keep calling it the worst terrorist attack in Pakistan’s history? Just because three or four foreigners were killed or that one of Islamabad’s elitist symbols was destroyed totally and completely. A better explanation is the fact that it was just half a kilometer away from centres of political power, the Parliament, the Presidency and the Prime Minister House. And that scared the —- out of our ruling elite.

We are officially on high red-alert right from when suicide bombings no longer remained anything unusual; attacks on civilians, security forces, police, army continued all the way from last year when we almost became used to a bombing or two a week in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, just forget Wana, the Tribal Areas, Balochistan, Swat for a moment.

All for what? Fighting someone else’s war on something that they themselves are a physical and psychological persona of. And who cares for that matter? You? or Me? or any other ordinary Pakistani? Isn’t the President or the Prime Minister from Pakistan? Then, how are they so insensitive to such a gruesome incidence that both the highest seats lie vacant even before 24 hours passed after the bombings?

Who are we fighting? For whom are we fighting? For what are we fighting? How is it going to end and till how long can we last??

Huh?

It’s Ramdhaan.
Mubaarik ho.

And yeah, God bless us all and our country.
Wonder what actual action feels like, no? We as a nation, naah, we as individuals would be totally clueless in the face of action, no?

There was action, yes there was. Long marches, protests and what not. But that is the drama. The center stage. All dramas have a villain and a hero. All villains and all heroes take action. What these dramas don’t show are the people who just sit and watch. Why? Because they make for a very boring subject.

Are you boring? Do you plan to be boring? Stay boring perhaps?
How about some action this time around? Some solid, well-directed effort to change yourself and the ones around you to a better state than now?

But wait, we need someone to tell us what to do, what solid, well-directed effort to undertake. We need a leader, that’s right, a leader.

Ladies & gentlemen, in the red corner, weighing in at fifty million pounds (or was it euros?), the smiling crusader, man of his word, king of the castle, chairman of the party, the one and only, ZarrrDaaaaarreeeeeeeeee.

Go ahead. We deserve nothing else.

P.S. I also hear it’s highly cool to pray in this month. Praying qualifies as action, but only in this month, if you catch my drift.

Wish for no more – Lahore targeted again

Today’s blasts in Lahore are just the latest deadly attacks in Pakistan. At about 9.30am, the whole city was literally shaken by the sound of two explosions. They were so intense that people reported hearing them and feeling the windows shake as far as five kilometres away. At least 25 people are dead and another 150 or so have been injured.

Whether you blame it on the post-9/11 world, Pakistan’s internal political instability or its rulers’ decades-old policy of supporting the agenda of foreign powers at the expense of Pakistanis, things have gone from bad to worse over the past two years. The bombers have spread from tribal areas in the north-west and Baluchistan to target major cities, mainly in the form of suicide attacks on government and army targets.

One of the targets was the headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Temple Road, near major businesses and government offices. The first suicide bomber cleared the way for his associate by bringing the entrance gate down, while the second blew up his car inside the complex.

The second blast, unlike earlier incidents, happened in the upmarket residential area of Model Town, in front of the offices of an advertising agency. While the first attack could be attributed to the sensitive nature of the agency, the Model Town attack had no understandable motive – apart from the fact that it took place just round the corner from Bilawal House, home of the late ex-PM Benazir Bhutto and her party‘s Lahore headquarters.

Lahore is Pakistan’s cultural capital, and during he bloody months of last year it remained largely peaceful compared to Karachi. But 2008 brought a deadly attack on city policemen guarding the Lahore High Court during a lawyers’ rally in January, followed by an attack on the prestigious Navy War College earlier this month.

Read more at The Guardian Blog

Precautions with Fireworks

Shaadi (wedding) season in Lahore is in full swing these days for which winter months of November, December, January and February are considered as ideal. And in traditional Pakistani weddings, aatish-baazi (fireworks display) is an essential component for Baraats (groom’s arrival at the bride’s home). Crackers and Shurlees are fired as an expression of celebration and happiness for the two families tying the knot while children can’t resist playing with crackers, and bang-pranks of every kind.

Fireworks depict merry moments, however, if played with carelessness, can turn celebration into tragedy. Many a times we hear about things going wrong when some mischief related to fireworks causes fire and results in loss of property, in some cases, even precious lives.

Everyone is advised to practice caution and play it safe with fireworks. Keep children away from firing crackers alone, without an adult’s supervision and store the material in a safe and proper way. Just zooming through DT’s website and I found these useful tips to keep one safe from fire hazards:

* Plan your firework display in advance to make it safe and enjoyable

* Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time

* Read the instructions on each firework carefully

* Keep flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks except when ready to set them off

* Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back

* Never go back to a firework once it has been lit, even if it doesn’t go off

* Don’t put fireworks in your pockets and never throw them

* Point all rocket fireworks well away from spectators

* Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire

* Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving

In Pakistan, and specifically in Lahore, most of the fireworks are either imported or smuggled in from India and China while many in this business operate without adopting any safety measures threatening safety of the people at the facility as well as to those using these.

Government, on and off takes a tough stand against illegal manufacturers of unsafe fireworks related products just like today the City District Government of Lahore is cracking down on such elements through-out the city.

If you have such illegal businesses operating in your neighbourhood, report them immediately to the police or to the City District Government officials.

Live and let live safely!

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