This article is a Guest post. Views expressed in this article are those of the author and may or may not be the views of From The Pulpit and DiscoMaulvi. To submit content for From The Pulpit, please email FromThePulpit [at] MuhammadAly [dot] Com.
Free medicine at Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) becomes a death sentence. 130 plus deaths. Political mud-slinging. Conspiracy theories. Spurious accusations. Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry in trouble. Catch up on the news first then read on.
Now that you are up-to-date on this bizarre story here’s a new twist! (Forward to around the 27 second mark)
What’s that now? Mubashir Luqman is on Dunya TV saying Efroze Chemical’s ISOTAB, the alleged killer drug, was not even prescribed to most of the PIC patients who died? Yes read that again. ISOTAB may not have been prescribed to those who died. Wait wasn’t the anti-malarial inadvertently added to ISOTAB conclusively responsible as the cause of death? Talha bin Ayub wrote a few days back in a guest blog on Teeth Maestro that things don’t add up medically and that a overdose from the anti-malarial can be reversed also.
We need to step back and really investigate this whole incident properly without political circuses or lynch mobs baying for blood. For the sake of the 130 plus who passed away. For the sake of the thousands that may die in the future if this entire episode is not used to structure the pharmaceutical industry, to build in safeguards, to strengthen our institutions, and to protect our people.
What do you think of this entire episode and these new developments?
In May of last year (2011), I was invited by Tammy to be a guest on her show “24×7 with Ayesha Tammy Haq” to speak on the topic of Internet and Social Media in Pakistan, particularly in the light of the recurrent Facebook ban case that was being contested in the Lahore High Court.
The program went very well and we decided to do a follow-up on the same topic which was aired on May 20, 2011.
Cure Rayan – A 3-yr old child suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia needs a Bone Marrow transplant and they are looking for donors – all you need to do is volunteer for a cotton swab test to see if you can donate
KARACHI – Wednesday Feb 16th at 112 Khayaban-e-Bahria Phase 5 DHA, (12pm to 8pm)
HELP SAVE A LIFE!!
Received the following via Facebook from a friend. Please help in any way you can by posting this on Facebook, Twitter, email, or to organize drives at educational institutions, clubs, offices, etc. Go and visit the Cure Rayan Facebook page. Alhamdulillah they have done a great job organizing drives in the USA and we should help them in achieving the same here. Oh and above all pitch in with your duas for the little kid. May Allah give him Shifa-e-Kamil and give his family the best in this life and the hereafter.
Yaar, I need your help.
My nephew (Farhan’s son) Rayan was diagnosed with leukemia in December and we need to find a bone marrow donor for him VERY urgently. Marrow matches are very ethnicity dependent, and therefore the highest chance of finding a match is in India/Pakistan.
We’ve been running marrow donor recruitments drives in the USA (see www.curerayan.org) and the plan is now to widen the net to educational insitutuions, clubs etc in Pakistan.
Can you please tell me if you have contacts in colleges/universities/any other venue (for instance, we’ looking at holding something at Karachi Gymkhana) that we can leverage to setup donor recruitment drives at?, schools are out, as donors need to be at least 18 (this is purely for legal consent reasons, close family even 4 year old children can donate!!) There is a lot of information on what this involves on Rayan’s website at www.curerayan.org. If you have any questions, feel free to email me back, or send me your phone number and I’ll call you right back. We only have 2 weeks to find a suitable donor for Rayan, so I would beg your quickest response. Please forward this message to your anyone you know who maybe able to help. We want to reach out and get as large a volunteer base as possible so we can figure out the best venues to hold donor drives at.
Tell anyone wishing to volunteer in any capacity to email Pakistan@CureRayan.org and someone from the team will contact them, I’m also attaching an email we’ve sent out to LUMS giving more details on the initiative.
We’re in the process of getting test kits sorted out to be sent to Karachi – can you please let me know if there is anything you can do to help in this initiative?
> —– Original Message —–
> From: Sohail Khan
> To: Ali
> Sent: Sun Feb 06 20:46:15 2011
> Subject: Message for Students and Alum – Please wait for my phone call before you send out
> Rayan, a three year old boy, was diagnosed a few weeks ago with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a form of blood cancer. He is now in URGENT need of a bone marrow transplant. The global registry of bone marrow donors has 14 million people on it, of which less than 1% are South Asian. Unfortunately, as a result of this gross under-representation Rayan has not been able to find a suitable match. At this point we have two weeks to conduct drives to find Rayan a donor.
> Since learning of Rayan’s plight last Friday, we began rallying ourselves around the curerayan.org banner (see Facebook) with the objective of finding a donor. Thanks to the power of social media and the ceaseless effort of many, in a little over a week we’ve been able to host 56 donor drives across the US in mosques, schools, homes and offices and have tested 2,000+ potential donors. There has been an outpouring of love and support for Rayan that has been humbling for all of us.
> We now need to broaden the drive to Pakistan and need your help. You can make a difference by:
> – volunteering to help conduct bone marrow compatibility drives at universities, corporations, homes etc
> – spreading the word through tagging curerayan.org on Facebook, emailing the link to friends etc
> – donating at the bone marrow drives later in the week
> Please contact us at email@example.com to join in our efforts
> The bone marrow compatibility is conducted through a simple cheek swab test – it is free (we will cover all costs), painless and takes 30 seconds. Gender is not relevant, but South Asian ethnicity is critical. By creating a large pool of donors we will not only help Rayan, but also others that, over time, may find themselves in his unfortunate situation. There are many myths about bone marrow transplants, in most cases its as simple as a blood transfusion (see http://www.marrow.org/JOIN/Myths_%26_Facts_about_Marrow_Don/index.html).
> Rayan’s life depends upon the kindness of strangers. I know LUMS, its students and alum are not new to kindness. I also know as an institution we seek to instill in our community a sense of social purpose, of acting as a moral compass. I hope the student body embraces this opportunity to do something for Rayan and the countless other Pakistani’s that will fall prey to this heartless disease.
> I’m attaching herewith a letter from Rayan’s parent. You can make a difference.
> Sohail Khan – MBA ’96
Someone forwarded me a video on Facebook today and it was heart-breaking to look at this video. It shows a team going into various public schools of Karachi’s lower income areas such as Lyari and asking the children various questions. The children didn’t manage to answer the questions and couldn’t even write “I am a Pakistani” in Urdu (Mein Pakistani Hoon)!
Education is a fundamental part of Islam and in fact the first revelation that was sent to Muhammad (SAW) was:
Read! In the name of your Lord who created. Created man from a clot. Read! And thy Lord is the Most Generous. He Who taught by the pen; taught man that which he knew not." (Quran, 96:1-5)
and the Prophet (SAW) said:
"The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim, whether male or female."
(On a side note the often quoted “Seek knowledge even if it be in China” is not an authentic hadith and should not be used).
If one was to look through the Quran and the hadith (sayings of the Prophet (SAW)), we would find numerous references to knowledge. This knowledge is both the knowledge of your religion as well as the knowledge of worldly affairs.
Are you an avid reader of From The Pulpit? Do you sit around waiting for a new sermon? Do you idolize DiscoMaulvi and follow him on twitter but have never really managed to interact with him? If the answer to any of the above is yes you should seriously consider consulting a psychiatrist! 🙂
Jokes aside, it has been a great journey these last 2-3 years to be on Twitter and to be part of the Pakistani Twitterati and the Blaagers. Over this time I have become friends with some people and interacted with some great people. Unfortunately, I have not been very sincere to my blog and not given it the time it deserves. While I doubt I will ever gain the following and readership commanded by Awab Alvi (Teeth Maestro), Faisal Kapadia (Deadpan Thoughts), or Kalsoom Lakhani (CHUP!), or ever manage to get as passionate about things as Sana Saleem (Mystified Justice), I hope that over 2011 I will be able to dedicate more time to blogging and improve From The Pulpit.
While at the moment there is no plan to shift from wordpress.com to my own domain, I hope that someday in the future I will be doing that (although one of my blogging mentors Awab Alvi has been after me to take the leap).
One of the biggest challenges I face as a writer is that I am too harsh a critic of my own writing. Thus, most of my stuff is buried before I even complete it. Another problem is the lack of time I am able to give to writing. I hope I can learn to better manage my time and start cranking out some quality stuff in 2011.
The most important aspect with being a writer is the feedback you receive for what you write. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get much comments on my writing or other stuff I post. This is a setback as it is only discussion which can lead to further ideas to be generated and get the rust off my brain. Thus, in order to make it easier, here are some ways that the reader can interact with me:
Facebook Fan Page
While the Fan page of From The Pulpit has been there for time, I have decided to slowly shift to another fan page for DiscoMaulvi. I think that this fan page will be a great forum and offer discussion to take place not only on the content I post but also be a breeding ground for new ideas for me to write on. Thus, all readers are encouraged to head over to the fan page and start the interaction!
Twitter has served as a great place to interact with people but the likelihood of people being on FaceBook vs Twitter is much higher. In addition, Twitter being limited to 140 characters sometimes limits the comments greatly. However, since DiscoMaulvi has been and will stay on Twitter (as it is where I met all these wonderful people I know), head over to Twitter and start following DiscoMaulvi on Twitter.
RSS Feed & Email Updates
While I am pushing all of you to do this and that, keeping updated on when I post to From The Pulpit is necessary for a timely interaction. Thus, you need to be subscribed via RSS or email updates to be alerted when there is a new sermon. You can see the links for RSS and the form for email signup in the right hand column (I have no clue how to put them in the body of this post!).
All in all, it would be great to hear from my readers and get feedback on my posts.
Ever get the feeling that you’re slipping down a slippery slope, and there is not a handhold or a foothold in sight?
I remember that billboard for Jazz, put up at the intersection of KalaPul and Shahrah-e-Faisal many years ago, with a lady talking suggestively on the phone. Every time I would pass by it, I would wish that someone would do something about it. I did nothing about it. One day, I heard that it caught fire. Stories went around that some disgruntled fundos did it. And I wished I was one of them.
For some time, the ads became a little more decent. And then the deluge began. With cell phone companies leading the way, mattress peddlers, soft drink makers and just about everyone else began TV ads, billboards etc with women giving the come hither look to the poor unsuspecting men, just to sell some airtime minutes.
Soon to follow, Indian movies moved out of drawing room VCRs to our cinema halls. And women anchors on TV talk shows wearing T-Shirts. And then, women in tight clothes were all around, going to schools selling Red Bull, approaching you in shopping malls selling shampoo, and so on….
I thought the women’s liberation movement was all about liberating women from the exploitation of men. But I look around me in the year 2010 and I see beautiful women being used to sell wares. This selling is not through intelligent persuasion but through subliminal targeting and manipulation. So this is liberation?
This probably sounds like a tempest in a teacup to those who don’t remember the days before that Jazz ad. Indecency does not shock us anymore, because it is everywhere. Much less than stopping it with our hands, or speaking out against it, we often neglect to even think of these as bad in our hearts.
If things are to change, we need to be that change.
There is an ad campaign on TV these days selling Omore ice-cream, in which young men and women in tight clothes do gymnastic dance moves, to sell ICE-CREAM cones! I find it distasteful (the ad – haven’t tried the ice-cream). Yet, I was complacent. Then I received an email from a friend, informing me of a kind soul who started an email campaign to urge Engro Foods to pull that commercial. And I did the same. And I felt like it was the first blow I struck, insignificant as it was.
If we are to stop this exploitation of our sisters and daughters, we must speak out against it wherever we see it. And to back up those words with actions such as choosing a competing product in protest.
If you share my view, kindly write a polite email to Engro Foods, asking them to pull the ads because they offend our religious and cultural sensibilities. You may send these to Mr. Rehan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please remember to be polite but firm. Kindly send a Bcc to email@example.com, so that he can monitor how much pressure we are exerting. And spread the word to your circle of family and friends, so that they may speak up too.