Posts Tagged ‘pakistan’

BAY RANG: A Documentary So Hot, No One Dares to Air

Some time back, around 2 or three years, I remember reading few books on suggestion from a very close friend of mine. we were discussing diversity at that time. That dear friend not only gave me a reading list but was kind enough to share two books with me. One was Taboo by Dr. Fouzia Saeed and the other was Between Chaddor and the Market by Jasmin Mirza. Book Review here

My first reaction was shock. yes, shock is the word that almost defines what i felt for days after reading those books. During my 8 years in corporate sector, I had an opportunity to live and work with people from different parts of the world. I attended training and seminars on issue of workplace diversity and gender issues. Even then this was too big a cultural shock for me to absorb.

Can people living in the same city  be so different and isolated in their values? Can all of this still be happening in modern times? Questions, questions and more questions I was left with. The adventure boy inside me wanted me to check out the Mohalla first hand. And I did. not once but three times but in none of those trips, I was able to verify the detailed descriptions of the sub-culture as defined in the books.

First trip was during day time and second one was in Moharram, so the bazaar was not open and all i saw was just the shops and ordinary people. I was impressed with the architecture of inner city though.  In the last trip, I got a glimpse of reality. It was at perfect time. 1 A.M. and I saw the same visuals as described in the books and as you will see in the documentary below. Since, I went alone, I did not dare to enter any of the so called “Office”.  Only few friends know what happened that night.

This documentary came as a surprise. It verified the contents of the books above and contains real truth about the people who frequent these tawaifs. the interview of the police office in charge is really interesting. This documentary was originally made for TV One but they did not dare to air it. so some one published it on internet. It is a real eye opener. It shows a face of our society, no one even wants mention. Download and save this as PTA might ban these URLs too. as it contains some politically radioactive content. Here is the excerpt from the blog where I originally found the links to these Youtube.com videos.

These book can be bought from here or here, both books were published by Oxford University Press and thus they should be available at FerozSons on The MALL.

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Pakistan and India

Sitting here, fogged down and cold, it becomes easy.
But it should not be.
It becomes easy to just let it slide. Wear the ‘so what?’ cap and change the channel.

But not this time.

We are not talking about an open gutter somewhere in the streets of Lahore, we are not talking about the lack of drinking water three blocks down, we are not talking about my and my loved one’s deplorable indifference towards all that is important.

We are talking about the lives of millions. We are talking about war.

During the last three days or so, the situation between Pakistan and India has nothing but worsened. The critic – cynical nonetheless – in me reminds me that Pakistan, with her Zardaris, Gillanis and other cronies has actually played their part well. Too well for comfort, but a well-played innings so far. Consider this:

  • India gets her major city Mumbai taken hostage by a handful of terrorists. Why were they there? Terror in the name of what? We are not told clearly.
  • Then India, as the three day saga is unfolding, goes ahead and blames the Pakistani government. Note, there is a difference between blaming someone ‘from’ Pakistan and blaming the Pakistani establishment in itself. India, it seemed, blamed both.
  • Eventually, India names Jamat-ud-Dawa as the main culprit organization that trained and brainwashed the Mumbai attackers. The UN – based on proof – declares the JuD a terrorist outfit. The JuD is closed down by Pakistan, not because India said so, but because UN says so. Pakistan plays the UN card well, reminding the world that Pakistan listens to world elders (Kashmir being the first point in this case). Pakistan asks for the same proof that India has given to UN. None is presented.
  • The Interpol representative rocks up, tells the world that no proof by India was given. Pakistan plays the ‘jaws dropped’ look well, revealing the other two parties as being rash and silly, namely India and the UN. (I on a personal note, has given proof that the Mumbai attackers were really from Malta).
  • The intelligence outfit of Pakistan is tried in the world media. To no avail. Where as only a slight glance over the RAW of India reveals some glaringly obvious involvements in more incidents than one.

Now, what is all of this?
Pakistan has played the calm, mature ‘uncle’ part well. As in most families, this uncle can be seen as the coward, the one without the ‘heart’ to fight for its right, only later to realize that the uncle was being the most far-sighted. Of course, this uncle can be called the ‘mamoo’ if it turns out that the resolve and calmness was based on cowardice instead of cold logic.
Nonetheless, India knows well enough that the nuclear bombs are not for display only, and much more potently, Muslims would love nothing more than a state-declared Jihad. The centuries old “We hold death more dear than you hold dear your life” line holds true today as far as any Muslim is concerned.
Jihad is struggle, and in the case of war, it becomes an armed struggle. Armed Jihad is valid, as far as pristine Islam is concerned, in self-defense and has to be on a state level. Pakistan has very clearly, very calmly placed herself in a defensive role. And try as some may to portray it differently, Pakistan is still a state. A Muslim state that the world can see has been pushed into a corner by India.
If war does break out, regardless of the result, the world will bear witness to the above perspective being the truth.

Obama From Gujranwala!

Another evidence that we are living in strange times. Barack Hussain Obama has become the first American President who’s skin is not white. Obama made a clean sweep by taking 338 against McCain’s 159 electoral votes.

McCain conceded defeat and Obama delivered his acceptance speech. Whole world watched as the man spoke to a crowd of one million. It was almost mass hysteria, a very emotionally charged scene, people crying, having trouble finishing their sentences. It was indeed a moment that America should be proud about. It is something they can cherish.

Where else  can an immigrant family can rise to such riches… A true personification of “American Dream”. As I watched the speach, I was trying to find similarities and differences between Pakistan and America.

The way Obama Interacted with the crowed reminded me of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Only one leader in know history of pakistan had such a charisma… Also I do see some sparks of such charisma in Lawyers Moment.

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,”” Obama said.

Los Angles Times Reports

“Barack Obama, the son of a father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, was elected the nation’s 44th president Tuesday, breaking the ultimate racial barrier to become the first African American to claim the country’s highest office.

A nation founded by slave owners and seared by civil war and generations of racial strife delivered a smashing electoral college victory to the 47-year-old first-term senator from Illinois, who forged a broad, multiracial, multiethnic coalition. His victory was a leap in the march toward equality: When Obama was born, people with his skin color could not even vote in parts of America, and many were killed for trying.”

What This will mean for Pakistan

Obama winning election is not seen as good omen for Pakistan.  India being a bigger and better democracy, Democrats Govt. tend to have more inclination toward india.

It also means and end of what is called an American love affair with Pakistan. American Dollars that poured over the countries elite will stop. Pakistan might face sanctions of economic nature.

Theater of “War or Terror” will most likely to be shifted from Iraq and Afghanistan to Our North Western Province and some parts of Baluchistan.

Zardari might get a call from Obama in middle of night informing that US will pursue terrorists in setteled areas of Pakistan.

The Gujranwala Connection

Obama’s mother is reported to have lived in Pakistan for 5 years in Gujranwala.  Little is know about how Obama Spent his 3 weeks in pakistan when he visited her mother here.. May be he came to lahore too..

More here

Even CIA is worried "no money, no energy, no government"

McClatchy reports on an upcoming U.S. intelligence assessment on Pakistan:

“A U.S. official who participated in drafting the top secret National Intelligence Estimate said it portrays the situation in Pakistan as “very bad.” Another official called the draft “very bleak,” and said it describes Pakistan as being “on the edge.” The first official summarized the estimate’s conclusions about the state of Pakistan as: “no money, no energy, no government.”

I am in bahawalpur at the moment, Power only comes for half hour after every 4 hours. Its torture…

Still, Dil yeh kehta hay “We will survive this” but “Dil to pagal hay”

Fertilizer for the vegetables

We are vegetables. Give us our food and we will be green, some of the colorful amongst us being red and pink to add variety. There may be some people who are as sophisticated as, say, an onion with their layers of insulation, indifference, intellect or some other induced protection. Some, the real gems, may even be fruits. But all in all, we as countrymen are no more than plants that have accepted their fate of either withering out with time, or being really luck and be served on a ‘china’ platter to the highest bidder (pun definitely intended).

Our country really has a great threshold for pain. We should be proud of that. No, really we should. Not physical pain, but extreme mental torture to our collective intelligence (remember, we are vegetables). The dollar is at its highest ever to the rupee. Zardari, now a teenager without the pimples, thinks that India was never a threat. The biggest money-makers for us, the farmers, are the lowest in the food chain. We essentially now do not have a food chain as such. Inflation has put balloons to shame and our government is perhaps making the animal kingdom proud.

Did you know that the farmer was to be paid Rs 950 per maund for his wheat crop? This was rightly hailed as a sensible decision to first, produce surplus wheat and secondly, to inject billions to the rural economy. A great sign, some would think. No, not really. I have been a farmer for the last three years. The input costs in the form of fertilizers and diesel has grown not linearly, but exponentially. The seemingly large increase from the Rs 650 to Rs 950 per maund does not bring the percentages at par. No one seemed to care about that, of course. We were, being lettuces and onions, overjoyed at the increase in support price. No one cared that the international rate is somewhere at Rs 1200, no one cared that the smuggling will not be stopped, no one cared. Lettuces and pea-pods are not supposed to think about things like that. So, the animals that rule the plant kingdom, hit us with an absurdly crude weapon; they increased the fertilizer prices from Rs 3,100 to Rs 5,500. So, you get 350 per maund increase in wheat price. National average of wheat production is dismal 20 something maund per acre. Let us make that 29 mnd/acre. With 350/mnd increase, the farmer stood a chance of making an extra 350*29= Rs 10,150 per acre from his anticipated wheat crop. The vegetables rejoiced at this higher mathematics. The animals, cool as a cucumber (ha!), saw the anticipated surplus, so they increased the input fertilizer prices. Who cares about the sky-high diesel rate? And water, who needs water for crops? Let our friendly India have some, they are hardly a threat of course. What, you have electricity to take water from wells? Double the electricity rate so your threshold for mental torture stays exercised. ‘Give me some of that 10 thousand now, why don’t you. Although you will be making that in April next year, why don’t you just give some of that cash to me now?’

And as farmers go, they will complain, they will complain some more. You and I will not hear about it, but they will complain. It will not fall on deaf ears, only trained ones. Lahore will have its food on the table. It will a little less, but who cares. Who notices? How many of us know how much lentils cost? Heck, how many know the difference between masur and channa?

Remember, farmers are more than 70 percent of Pakistan. Out of the other 30 percent, a whopping 90 percent or so have their income directly tied to this wonderful sector. Who in his right mind say that Pakistan’s economy is dependent on Agriculture, on wheat, milk and rice? Pakistan is a country of vegetables.

Take the power back, why don’t you.

Strings in Concert @ Gymkhana

strummingaway

Strumming some Strings

The duo from Strings put on a fantastic show at the Lahore Gymkhana last Saturday!

We , as in the concert goers, had to be real patient throughout the night. Reason being that the band, in keeping with rock-star tradition came on stage about 2 hours after the slated time. Uncle, the violinist who looked like one, kept us from falling asleep. Yes, that is all that can be said in the positive about that act. Next up were Nexus, a local punjabi-pop band that I have heard frequent local universities and colleges. Lets just say they are better as a cover band and they did a commendable job pumping up the crowd; their original song was a unenthusiastic bhangra song praising rotund eyes (ankhian gol gol …). 

 After what seemed like ages the band members themselves graced the stage, as they say, the rest was history!

Here is a (super-duper short) teaser from the concert itself… Enjoy!

11 Second Teaser

Lahoris on the move…

… Standing united with rest of Pakistan

FAST Rising, the student activist group of National University (FAST), Lahore who are supporting Lawyers, Imran Khan and Aitezaz’s stance are moving ahead with the flood of believers. The floodgates are wide opened: massive rallies in Karachi and Sakkar, huge receptions in Multan and Lahore, panic-stricken politicians trying to figure the odds to ensure that they end up on the winning side whatever the outcome, it’s all happening this week in Pakistan. The Long March is sweeping through the country, filtering out the living from the dead, FAST Rising reports.

– as they say: Hum Mulk Bachanay niklay hain…

They’re on the move – and they’re not stopping until their objectives are met!

On a somewhat less spectacular note, there has been support, guidance and participation of respected professors of Lahore, Mr. Liaquat Majeed Sheikh (universally known as LMS) and Dr. Qaiser Durrani.

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: www.apmc.info)

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.

Two bombs safely defused

Shadbagh police on Monday seized two homemade bombs from Tajpura Road Lahore and handed them over to the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS).

Shadbagh police Supervisory Police Officer Shahid Mehmood said that the police had spotted two bombs on the road. He said that all shops were closed and traffic was diverted to other roads to avert any untoward situation and officials of the BDS were called in.
And that the BDS officials had defused one active bomb on the spot and declared the other one inactive. He said that the bombs weighed between 1.5 kg and 2 kg.

Bombs out in the open? On a road? Dear God! Where is this country headed? Will we ever find a way out of this deep crisis?

God help Pakistan!

Source: Daily Times

March 8th,2oo8

Did that ring any bells, huh? A wild guess? On well, March 8th is celebIWO logorated across the globe as an International Women’s day. Now the question arises why there was a need to mark a whole day to revise and educate others and women themselves of their rights. Well here are a few of ’em. Now let us know a little about how it all started and all that jazz. This is where wikipedia doesn’t have a close rival (atleast in my oh-so-humble -opinion).

This year’s theme for the IWD is ‘Investing in Women and Girls’, as announced by the United Nations. The celebrations across the globe will focus on financing for gender equality, calling for a change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played extraordinary roles in the history of their countries and communities. Keep reading >>>

Apart from other countries in the world, in Pakistan women’s day was celebrated with zeal.  Events were planned through out Pakistan, activists joined a conference on eliminating discrimination and violence against women, a rally and even a women’s rock-climbing competition. Last year’s competition resulted in a great success and is again expected to attract many people.

IWD banner

In Lahore IWD was celebrated in  full spirit by the civil society. Seminars were held, there were conferences, walks, candle light vigils and symposiums throughout the day to commemorate the struggle of women all across the globe. Read more >>>

The Pakistan Peoples Party Women Wing (PPPWW) Sindh has marked International Women’s Day, March 8, in honour of the late Benazir Bhutto, as the only female leader of a political party and the first female Prime Minister of the Muslim world. It also said 2008 is “The Year of Benazir Bhutto”. Here’s more>>>

In most countries around the world women do not have proper rights in society. And here’s when Islam accepted and protected women’s rights, that they should not be treated as slaves or animals. Here is a brief visit to  Women’s Rights in Isalm >>>
In the end March 8th is the day to talk about women, their rights and their problems.

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