Pakistan – No Longer A Living Monument Of The Quaid?

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Yeh Mera Pakistan Hai, Yeh Tera Pakistan Hai
Yeh Mera Pakistan Hai, Yeh Tera Pakistan Hai
Iss Par Dil Qurbaan Iss par Jaan Bhi Qurbaan Hai

Yeh Meray Quaid Ki Jeeti Jagti Tasweer Hai
Hazrat-e-Iqbal Ki Khwabon Ki Taabeer Hai
Yeh Watan Pyaara Watan Sarmaya-e-Iman Hai
Iss Par Dil Qurbaan Iss par Jaan Bhi Qurbaan Hai

The above is a popular Pakistani patriotic anthem (YouTube recording here) which could be (very poorly) translated as:

This is my Pakistan, this is your Pakistan
This is my Pakistan, this is your Pakistan
On it we are ready to sacrifice our hearts and lives

This Land is the living monument of my Quaid
The realization of the dreams of Iqbal
This Land, our Beloved Land is the investment of Faith
On it we are ready to sacrifice our hearts and lives

The First line of the Second Verse talks about Pakistan being the “Living Monument of my Quaid” (Quaid being an Urdu word for Leader) and refers to “Quaid-e-Azam” (The Great Leader) Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan, is the man who was the face of the movement for an independent Pakistan. A statesman who dedicated his life to the cause of obtaining a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Indian Sub-continent, he is to Pakistan what George Washington was to United States (and more).

The photo of the Quaid is seen in every Government office as a mark of respect to our Founding Father. This has been the tradition since the independence of Pakistan and one that is deeply ingrained in our society. Unfortunately, it seems that the days of that respect is over. Far from being a “Living Monument of The Quaid” it seems that even a picture of the The Quaid is no longer deemed necessary.

The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, hosted a dinner at the official residence in honor of the Pakistani Cricket Team for winning the Cricket Twenty 20 World Cup recently. The following photo (provided by Associated Press of Pakistan) was taken at the event.

Where Is The Quaid?

For those who are unable to see it properly in the picture above, the four photos in the background (from left to right) are as follows:

President Asif Ali Zardari (co-Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party)
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party)
Benazir Bhutto (Former Chairperson of Pakistan People’s Party)
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (Founding Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party)

What a deplorable state our nation is: The photo of our beloved Quaid has been replaced by the those of leaders of the ruling political party. I am sure The Quaid is turning over in his grave as I write: to be replaced by a Twenty Year old College Student or a person with the dubious nickname of Mr. 10 Percent. Has our nation fallen to this level? Have we taken the leaders of our political parties to be of importance above and beyond the Father of Our Nation? Why are there photos of PPP’s leaders in President’s house anyway? The right to be up there is not for any political party or dynasty but for the men who struggled to provide us this nation. It should not be Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto up there but Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal. It should not be Benazir Bhutto up there but Madr-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari should not be on the walls but rather Choudhary Rahmat Ali. It is indeed a sad day for Pakistan and its legacy.

The Entire Nation should protest against this travesty.

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Pakistan Take The Twenty 20 Cup and Twitter Too

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BOOM BOOM Afridi - © Associated Press
BOOM BOOM Afridi – © Associated Press

 Seventeen years after Imran Khan and his band of men in Green lifted the Cricket World Cup, history has repeated itself and Pakistan has been crowned the champions of the Twenty 20 World Cup.

Pakistan started with a wonderful bowling attack and managed to demolish the top order of SriLanka. However, a wonderful knock by Sangakkara managed to lift SriLanka to a respectable score of 139 for 6. Pakistan started their batting slow but steady and at one point it looked that we might have become too over-confident and ended up handing the game to our rivals. However, the stability in wickets proved to help and wonderful knock by Kamran Akmal followed by a spectacular knock by BooM BooM Afridi led Pakistan to lift the cup once again.

For the Blogging community of Pakistan (aka Blaagers), it was a double victory. An e-rally started to turn Twitter into a Sea of Green and to trend #PakCricket to the top trends on Twitter succeeded and the majority of Pakistanis on Twitter (and some on Facebook) changed their display picture to some form of the Pakistani flag. moreover, live tweeting and comments on the match using the hashtag #PakCricket managed to scale the trending topics chart on Twitter and fell just short of toppling over Father’s Day and Iran Elections related tags. The ability to trend a topic in face of other more international issues shows that Pakistani digital activism has a lot of potential. This was also seen when Teeth Maestro led a digital campaign (#LongMarch) to accompany the Long March carried out by the Lawyer’s to restore the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Pakistani Fans celebrate their Teams win © AFP
Pakistani Fans celebrate their Teams win © AFP

Congratulations to the people of Pakistan, the Pakistani Cricket team, and the Blaagers for their success today. Live Long and Prosper.

From Other Blaagers …

Pakistan are the World T20 Champions!!
“You are a twit”, says Twitter
Pakistan wins T20 World Cup 2009, Hail Greens
The Enthusiasm of T20 World Cup win
Pakistan – T20 Champions!
Pak wins 20 20 World Cup
A Triumph Against The Odds — And Against The Cricketing Establishment Too
T20 Cricket: Pakistan is the World Champion
Pictures of Pakistan T20 World Cup Victory Celebrations
We are the Twenty20 World Cup Champions !!!
We can change our fortunes, The way we won the final

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Sea of Green – #PakCricket takes over Twitter

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I come from a family of Cricket fanatics; watching every cricket match; hosting a regular Sunday game in our Garage; night matches in Ramadan in the lane outside the house; a cousin of mine even played in the Singapore national team once upon a time.

I am an exception to the rule. I mean I’m fond of cricket just like most average Pakistani boys, I was even part of the Saint Patrick’s cricket team (representing the A-Levels) back when no one outside the school circuit had heard of my team mates Danish Kaneria and Faisal Iqbal. I still play occasionally for a team on Sundays (though less than what it used to be). I just am not much of a fan of watching matches. In fact I could technically claim not to have watched a complete match ever in my life. For me the excitement really builds up in the last overs when the game is a nail biting, thumb chewing kind, with everyone on the edge of their seats, jumping up with joy at every run or wicket (depending on which side you are supporting).

I am very excited about one particular match though: The Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Twenty 20 final being played at Lords stadium in England today. In fact i am so excited that it just might be the first cricket match I watch fully in my life.

In March this year, both teams were struck with tragedy when the Sri Lanka team was attacked by some anti-Pakistan elements on their way to a match in Lahore. Having graciously consented to play in Pakistan, despite the spate of terrorist attacks recently, Sri Lanka had showed its friendship to the Pakistani nation. Unfortunately, a dastardly attack left seven of the Sri Lankan players injured and five valiant Pakistani police officers dead. It was only the actions of one brave man, the bus driver Khalil Ahmed, that saved the team from what would have been an unbearable loss for the two nations and the world of cricketing. This match will not only be about dominance in the cricket field. It will be a signal to the barbarians who attacked in March that the Pakistani and Sri Lankan people are opposed to their actions. It will be a call for peace and the elimination of bigotry. It will be a match for unifying these two countries again in a friendly environment to put a salve over the wounds caused by the terrorists.

Rival Captains on the eve of the match - © Getty Images
Rival Captains on the eve of the match - © Getty Images

The other reason why I am so excited about this match is that the digital activists of Pakistan, the blogging community and the Tweeters of Pakistan have come up with a campaign to promote Pakistan and support our team in this important match. All over the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter , countless have changed their display pics to show the Pakistan flag. My twitter stream has turned into a “Sea Of Green” as friend after friend raises up the Pakistan flag to support our boys in their bid to beat the yet unbeaten Sri Lankan side.

We have also attempted on twitter to gain some recognition nternationally by tweeting with the #Pakcricket hashtag, so that we can grab a spot on the top trending topics of Twitter.

PakCricket on trending Topics
PakCricket on Twitter Trending Topics - Courtesy TeensPk

 

Twitter recently shot to internation fame when the #IranElections tag became the best source of information out of Iran following the unrest of the elections (it is still the top topic on Twitter). In addition, countless changed their display pics to show a Green overlay, a move being called the “Wave of Green” for supporters of the Iranian opposition. The “Sea of Green” is our version of the same, albeit on a very non-controversial and free of propaganda cause.

We, the blogging community of Pakistan (or the Blaagers as we call ourselves), are on a campaign to bring a smile to the face of every Pakistani, by supporting our team in what will Insha’Allah be a historic win for them.

Teeth Maestro, one of Pakistan’s top bloggers and digital activists, has a very good post on the specifics of our e-Rally. It has very clear instructions on the steps you need to take to support our campaign.

Raza Abbas and Hina Safdar throw in their two cents on the topic as well while Bites85 posts on TeensPk about #PakCricket being a trending topic on twitter.

Well the games about to begin so catch it live at Lords. You can also catch a live coverage of the #PakCricket tweets through TeaBreak.pk.

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Main Adakara Banu Gi

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KATHA, a group dedicated to promotion of theatre at mass level, founded by Shahid Shafaat in 1992, came out of a multi-year hiatus to present a new production “Main Adakara Banu Gi”. The play is loosely inspired by British Playwright Willy Russel’s play “Educating Rita”.

mainadakaraposter

The play is being performed June 6-9, 2009 at Art’s Council, Karachi. KATHA has joined hands with The Rotary Club of Karachi to raise funds for a noble cause; The Jaipur Limb Project: a project to provide artificial limbs to amputees based on the Jaipur foot technology, which is an extremely cheap prosthetic costing less than USD 50.

Last night, I and a group of friends, headed off to Art’s Council, Karachi to catch this show. Due to a traffic snarl (caused by a road closure due to a VIP movement?), my wife and I missed the first 10 minutes. The play’s cast comprises of just two people: Sania Saeed and Mohammed Ehteshamuddin. From the minute we sat down, we were laughing at the witty lines and the antics of Sania Saeed.

During the next 2 hours or so, we were thoroughly entertained as the play unfolded (to avoid spoiling it for you I will not provide any details). The acting by both actors was brilliant and Sania especially showed an extremely versatile talent fully capturing the evolution of her character over the course of the play. Ehteshamuddin, portrayed a strong figure and his voice projection was excellent.

Despite the entertaining show put on, there were some faults to be highlighted. The play seemed to be a bit longer than necessary as towards the end, some people were looking at their watches. In defense of the playwright, the play did call for the pace it was, but for the public seated in the theatre shaving off 15 minutes would have been better. In addition, after a while the voice of Ehteshamuddin started becoming a bit monotonous.

Overall, the play was a delightful alternate to the usual choice of entertainment available to the citizens of Karachi. The ticket at first felt steep, at Rs. 700 per person, but given the wonderful cause that was being catered to, it was more than reasonable.

Sania Saeed took some time out last week to meet some of Karachi’s bloggers on CIO Pakistan’s Web Studio. You can catch the episode here. You can also read Sana Saleem’s Rambling on this meetup. You can also catch a video excerpt of the play and a better review by Rabia Garib at Karachi Metblogs.

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Osama Bin Laden – Dead Man Talking?

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 Osama Bin Laden, the 25th son of Mohammed Bin Laden, a Saudi billionaire of Yemeni origins, carries a USD 25 Million price tag on his head. Among his alleged claim to fame are being Number One on the FBI Top 10 Most Wanted list, wanted for the bombing of US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya (1998), creating a gaping hole in the skyline of New York City (what is commonly referred to as 9/11), and finding a way to speak from the grave.

Around the end of 2001, OBL was thought to be dead by several governments around the world, including that of George W. Bush. His video released in December 2001 prompted the following comments from CNN Terrorism analyst Peter Bergen:

“This is a man who was clearly not well. I mean, as you see from these pictures here, he’s really, by December he’s looking pretty terrible. But by December, of course, that tape that was aired then, he’s barely moving the left side of his body. So he’s clearly got diabetes. He has low blood pressure. He’s got a wound in his foot. He’s apparently got dialysis … for kidney problems.

I mean, this is a man who has a number of health problems, apart from the fact that anybody running around the Afghan mountains is not going to be in great shape.”

A wounded, almost dying OBL in 2001 revived miraculously and was in the best of health in 2004 (must be that great hospital in Tora Bora or a real life Benjamin Button). Following this, over the years, several people have voiced their belief that OBL was no longer amongst us. Hamid Karzai, Benazir Bhutto, Pervez Musharraf, FBI, and Isaraeli Intelligence all have publicly stated that OBL is dead.

laden2001decbinwho3
2001 and 2004 – Miraculous cure?

Based on the intelligence and the statements of the above mentioned, it can only be that OBL was conveniently replaced by an actor. Since then he (and his boy Ayman Al-Zawahiri) have a knack of appearing with a new production conveniently coinciding with major events on the US Political calendar. Just last week, a group of friends were discussing how OBL, Mullah Omar, and Zawahiri were missing in action. And this week to coincide with Obama’s maiden trip to the Middle East and Richard Holbrooke’s visit to Pakistan, we see OBL speak up from the dead. How convenient.

OBL & Zawahiri (in 2001)
OBL & Zawahiri (in 2001)

What lends credence to the beliefs of many, of OBL now inhabiting a Tora Bora on the other side of the mortality divide, is that the last video of OBL was seen in October 2004 (OBL’s messages) and all subsequent messages from OBL have been audio tapes or videos with a voice over. Thus, it is theorized that the man we now believe to be OBL is in fact an actor. More on this can be found here.

But whether this OBL is the real man, or whether he is a better and more improved version (OBL 2.0 or Osama Bin Elvis as Angelo M. Codevilla refers to him), the question that one should ask is this. Why is it that a man whose head carries a tag of more than USD 25 million has not been found yet? Surely someone out there would be so tempted by that figure. And why can’t the US (or any other country’s intelligence agencies) find OBL? In an era where you can see someone on the street of New York using Google Earth from Antartica, is it really that hard to find this guy? Or is it just that everyone’s looking in the wrong place? Instead of the mountains of Afghanistan (or even Pakistan as some speculation goes), maybe the US Intelligensia should be looking for OBL 2.0 in a desert 83 miles from Las Vegas.

Some Suggested Links

 Is Obama Really Osama?
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? – Documentary
OBL 2.0 – A Terrorist Resurrected

OBL Dead – President Zardari

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To Blog or not to Blog….

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I missed the start of the Blog era. Following graduation in 2001 and my return to the Land of the Pure, I went into shock. First there was the shock caused by loss of freedom having returned to live under my parent’s roof and the requirement to once again be part of a family and its routines and nuances. Then there was the shock of joining the workplace (albeit as an IBD – In Daddy’s Business). But above all there was the shock of losing my super fast always-on backed by T3s and OC-12s dormitory network connection and being forced to dial-up on phone lines that showed connections at 56 Kbps but barely functioned above 12 Kbps. This slowly suffocated the Internet enthusiast in me to the point that internet usage beyond email and the basic necessary IM usage seemed like an exercise in futility. And thus I became a proverbial Internet Rip van Winkle, sleeping away while the world changed around them.

I woke up to find that Pakistan had a vibrant blogging community, there were people with their own domain names, people were being quoted on international media, and we were covering live events (Long March 2009) thru Twitter and CoverItLive. During this time I admit, I did manage to hop onto the Orkut and Facebook wagons (so I guess I was sleeping with one eye open). I was never a good writer; at least not if you compared me to my father, my sister, or some of my cousins. But i still managed to embarrass plenty of my fellow university students during peer reviews in the English classes and became the teacher’s poster boy for great writing skills. I also managed to con my way onto the Opinion staff of the college paper and stay there for three years, mainly airing my views on international topics or campus issues.

Upon graduation and my return to the homeland in 2001 (a couple of months before OBL allegedly blew a hole in NYCs skyline), I found myself unable to write due to my parents’ request to steer clear of politics, religion and confrontation. To their defence they knew my tendency to (for lack of a better phrase) call a spade a spade. Thus, I packed my writing utensils up and for the past 8 years or so have not written anything.

The digital coverage of Long March 2009 introduced me to the world of Twitter and introduced me to the world of Pakistani bloggers. Discovering that so many of my fellow countrymen were utilizing the web to air their opinions on all and sundry, the thought crept in my head: “if that guy can write so can you”. Somewhere end of April I took the first step and made accounts on both WordPress and Blogger. It took me an entire month to brush off the cobwebs, grease the appropriate part of my brain, and find the time to do the necessary. Along the way I was pushed and encouraged by a prominent Pakistani blogger Faisal.K, author of Deadpan Thoughts, who happens to be extended-extended family in a chain formed through marriages and what-nots. (Thank you Faisal for the help and advice).

By now atleast 50% of you have switched off their browsers and the remaining 50% are thinking of doing it. So I will sign off with a small list of reasons I should Blog.

  1. Most of my old articles are slowly disappearing from the internet.
  2. Everyone and his uncle seems to be doing it.
  3. Need a URL to put on my Twitter & Facebook profiles.
  4. Its cheaper than visits to a shrink.
  5. If Faisal.K can blog so can I. :p

Until next time……..

Bak Raha Hoon Junoon Mein Kya Kya Kuch
Kuch Na Samjhe Khuda Kare Koi
[Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib]

 

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