Friday, August 1, 2014

The Golden Touch

It was probably the coldest evening of the winter; sun was almost set to disappear in dark mountains. The whole valley was covered with heavy snow; the world around me was quiet but for the wind tickling the ears, and the ice breaking under her feet when she walked towards me for the last time. Cloaked in a maroon warm shawl, she had wrapped her arms around her. Standing in front of me she closed her eyes for a while to let the frigid wind of December play with her shawl to unveil her brown hairs, the tiny invisible crystals stung her rosy cheeks and nose. She breathed calmly and softly, her chilled breathe was creating a cloud under her nose. She was feeling the magical moment as if the chill of winter was descended upon earth only for her. She opened her eyes and gazed at me, her face had softened, she smiled, it was the real smile which I could never feel in those beautiful days together.
We talked to each other for a while; discussing problems, solutions, dreams and emotions. Suddenly she took my hand in her hand and put something wrapped in a piece of cloth in it." It is a gift from me, will make u remember me but please do not see it until we get apart" She asked. We held each other’s hands for a while, here hands were getting colder from warm. I gazed at her, her face had turned pale, her garnet lips were shivering and her eyes were wet. A tear from her eye touched the darkest corner of my heart and lit if forever.
The Sun had set and the darkness had covered the valley, warm glow of candles and the log fire gleaming through the windows was the sign of arrival of a long and dark night. She stepped back and disappeared in darkness.                                
It was a hot evening in rain-less droughty summer, there were few people in the market, but everyone looked in a hurry as if a war was just to begin and they had to buy before market getting out of stock. For a while I stood on the empty corner of market with my hand resting on the reeling to see the people rushing to the counters. When I turned back to go down, my eyes caught her staring me standing in the corner of the market. For a while I just took off my eyes but they caught her again. Clad in a yellow dress she walked towards me. Standing in front of me she gazed me from head to feet, as if she was trying to make her believe that I was standing just close to her. Her dark eyes were glittering like a diamond, her garnet lips had turned crimson, and her brown hairs had turned dark. She looked into my eyes, her face got softer and brighter. She took a long breathe and smiled, the smile which I could never felt when we were together. Time stopped for a while, my heart was about to stop beating, traces of sweat coming out of my forehead in fully air-conditioned market were making me feel confused. Then I gazed at her, she had not changed a little, shy, beautiful and full of excitement like she used to be. We did not talk much as if we had nothing to say after so many years. She accompanied me to the outside and then waved her hands to say me good bye and smiled, the skies had turned crimson.

The sun had almost set, atmosphere was hazy and hot, she called me, “could you please meet me somewhere?" she inquired." sure, why not but when'? I replied. "Right now" she requested.
Sun was playing hide and seek with clouds before setting in darkness, when she reached. Clad in Pink and Black, she was looking like a teen, excited and happy. Her eyes were glowing, her rosy cheeks were about to catch fire, and her hands were shivering with excitement. Standing in front of me, Breeze was playing with her dark hairs across her shoulders and her scarf was fluttering. She peeped into my eyes, her face turned soft, her crimson lips were shivering, and her eyes were full of dreams and excitement. She came closer to me and pulled an envelope out of her bag. "I am going to get married next month, it’s my invitation card. You must come, I will wait for you" She informed me in excitement. "Sure, I will come" I pledged.
Before stepping back she took my hands in her and asked “would you always remember me and love me like you do now"?
"Love happens without reasons but it needs reasons to survive" I replied. I gazed at her, her face had turned pale and her eyes were wet, a tear from her eye touched my hand and disappeared deep into the darkest corner of my heart.
Sun had set, darkness had covered the sea shore, flickering light of nearby restaurants were sign of the approaching night, dark and long. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sharif vs Captain: The Funny Side

Campaigning for the upcoming general elections 2013 is in full flow in the biggest province of Pakistan where
PTI and PML-N are working day and night to gain the clear majority to dictate the terms in other provinces. In other provinces the campaign is yet to start due to self imposed restrictions by the parties who have already completed their term, citing the ongoing terror attacks. Targeted attacks on some parties and their reaction reminds me of the childhood days, when we used to play cricket with borrowed bat and ball and the owner of the ball and bat would get first turn on batting and bowling by default. If he got out early he would take the ball and bat and go home, to avoid this we had to give him the second turn and deploy our worst bowlers to give him some batting and hence to continue the game.

Taking about cricket, the game is getting much attention and notable mention during the political campaigning with the entry of Imran Khan. Every day Imran Khan is making claims that he would take two or three wickets on one ball. In turn Nawaz Sharif a passionate fan of cricket also reminds him that he had also played cricket and he would dispatch his bouncers to boundary. It is interesting that Nawaz Sharif is a passionate cricket lover, he used to play club cricket in Lahore and also played one First class game against PIA in 1973. Here I want to narrate an incident to show his love for cricket, the incident was mentioned by Imran Khan in his book Pakistan: A Personal History.

On the morning of 04th October, 1987 before a warm-up match of cricket world cup 1987 against WI , team management got a call from chief minister house that Mian Nawaz Sharif, then chief minister of Punjab would be leading the team against West Indies. Imran Khan writes that he was astonished but thought that his role in the match would be more like a spectator watching from dressing room. But before the start of the match Mian Nawaz Sharif appeared in the dressing room in white kit. More shocking news was yet to come as Mian Nawaz Sharif accompanied great Vivian Richard to the ground and tossed the coin, for a while Richard himself was himself shocked when he got to know that it was chief minister. For making the thing more funny and shocking he turned back to pavilion put his pads on, took a floppy hat and smiled to Mudassar Nazar and said “are you ready to start the innings”? Imran Khan writes

“None of us could believe what we were seeing; he (Nawaz) was going to open the innings with Mudassar Nazar against the West Indies, one of the greatest fast-bowling attacks in cricket history. Nazar wore batting pads, a thigh pad, chest pad, an arm guard, a helmet and reinforced batting gloves, while Sharif simply had his batting pads, a floppy hat – and a smile… I quickly inquired if there was an ambulance ready”

West Indies had a fearsome bowling attack those days and were famous for breaking jaws and crushing toes, it was fortunate that Nawaz Sharif got out first ball duck. He did not stop there and played another warm-up match against England and fortunately got out after facing just 5 balls. After 30 years Imran Khan is desperate to do what Mian Nawaz Sharif did , lets hope he could stand up against more dangerous and deadly demons waiting for him.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The castles of love

They were the oldest living couple in our Muhalla, probably in late 80’s or 90’s. We used to call them Nani, Nana. Nani would sit on roof of her house since early morning and talk to every passerby, mostly about her health, Nana would tell children the stories from his glorious past. As children we always enjoyed the interaction with Nani, Nana. Sometimes we used to tease Nani by asking her about her romance and love marriage with Nana, She would get a little shy and look like a beautiful woman even in 80’s while discussing about her beautiful life.

Despite of their lively and loving attitude they never looked really happy or peaceful. I always asked my mother why Nani, Nana looked so lonely and restless even if they had children and grandchildren? She never told me. Mother often used to send dinner for Nani and always advised us to be there until she had finished the dinner. I could never understand why mother used to do that as their family was quite well-off.

Days passed, Nani, Nana both died in a short period and after their death started the disastrous days for their family. Nana’s son-in-law developed a fatal heart problem and left his job thus they were deprived of the only source of income. Suddenly two of their children got serious diseases and the left over saving was looted by the doctors. As if it was not enough, earthquake put their house to debris and all the signs of their past glory were buried under mud. Life never stops and it did not, their problems got bigger and bitter, one of their younger daughters died of disease leaving behind a cute little daughter. One of their sons’s been declared incurable for a fatal disease and is on the death bed. And the saddest part of this story Nana’s son-in-law died of heart condition he developed earlier.

The family's disastrous life afterwards may or may not be linked with the death of their parents but there was definitely a link between the prosperity, happiness and them. If a father finds the love of his children as the purest and dearest gift of God, every mother starts a new life with the birth of her child. The love of our parents and grandparents are the castles built around us against the evils and ills of the tough life. No matter how big we grow up, how much education we get, how strong and successful we become we need these castles built firmly. No one can claim he/she made any achievement without the support and love of the parents and grandparents, their love and pray brings the success and happiness. But In the race of better future we forget that those weak hands and wrinkled faces need a loving touch nothing more than that.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Who Won At Sher e Bangla Stadium?

A K Fazlul Haq with Quaid e Azam
Exactly 72 year ago on this day in an historic session of Muslim League, a seasoned politician from Bengal presented the Resolution, later named as Lahore resolution or Pakistan Resolution. It is believed to be the most significant resolution in the history of Islamic Republic Pakistan, the only country in the world founded in the name of Islam.

After 72 years of that historical meeting at Lahore an entirely different meeting was taking place at Sher e Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur where Pakistan and Bangladesh were fighting for the title of Asian Champion in the final of Asia cup cricket tournament 2012. Before this match Bengalis have defeated India and Sri Lanka to force both out of tournament. But this match was a special match for them. This was the biggest moment for 160 million Bengalis, signified by the presence of two bitter rivals in Bengalis politics Prime Minister Sheikh Haseena Wajid and former Prime Minister Khalida Zia together in the stadium.  Bangladeshi president Zillur Rahman and former president HM Ershad were also in the stadium to cheer the tigers. In the end Pakistan won the tense match by two runs leaving 160 million people heartbroken. Bangladeshi players were so upset that some of them started weeping after the defeat.

The final match was played on Sher e Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur the ground which was named after the great Bengali politician Abul Kasem Fazlul Huq. A K Fazlul Huq was the man who moved the historic Pakistan Resolution in the meeting of Muslim league in 1940. He later became the chief minister of Bengal, interior minister of undivided Pakistan and governor of East Pakistan. When army took over the political and administrative control of Islamic republic of Pakistan in late 50’s Bengali politicians were seen as a threat. A K Fazlul Huq with many others was labeled as a traitor by our military establishment. What happened later is a bitter chapter of our history.

Today nation is celebrating the 72nd anniversary of Pakistan Resolution 1940 which was moved by A K Fazlul Huq. The scenes in Sher e Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur after Bangladesh defeat were telling the different story of that resolution. Bangladesh has lost the highest number of matches by a test playing nation in recent times but I have never seen Bengali players so upset after losing a match. What made those scenes more painful was the fact that they were upset on losing again to West Pakistan. Who won and who lost is a question which will keep haunting our generations for long no matter how much we exaggerate the history.

I wonder whether there is any significance of celebrating Pakistan day if Pakistan Resolution was moved by a traitor.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Media of Minority

Media portrayal of minorities, how media presents actions, aspirations, and problems of minorities in a particular country had been a highly sought after subject of research throughout the world for many decades. Most of the researches on media and minority reveal that media does not represent minorities positively and they are often negatively stereotyped , causing exploitation of their rights. Some researchers proved that minorities had been presented as criminals, thugs and rebels.

In Pakistan situation is contrary to the world, here minority is victimizing and exploiting the majority. Pakistani media especially the electronic media is now the most feared institution of country often termed as the thanedar or prosecutor. Here a minority has hijacked this powerful institution. This minority is totally alien to our masses, they don’t know the norms and values of our society, they do not respect the privacy of common man, they do not even believe in the basic rights of the poor people of Pakistan. They believe in only one thing how to get a better rating of their program, a better cost of their show; no matter how embarrassing is it? Mostly these people belong to upper classes or influential backgrounds, often to a specific ethnic minority. Most of these anchors and hosts have no proper training or education and have no or very limited prior exposure and experience of media. They are intentionally or unintentionally victimizing the majority of Pakistan.

While I was writing these lines I watched a headline on a channel “Meri Izzat pe haath kyun dala, Bhabhi ne dewar ko mar dala”. This small news item tells us that how they bluntly declare anyone as culprit without taking into consideration the drastic repercussions for others attached to him/her. They intentionally harass, exploit and disgrace us and make us think the way they want us to. The worst case of media victimization in past was the Lal Masjid tragedy, most of the media channels and newspapers pressurized the sitting government to kill the thousands of student and just when the government started the operation media changed its previous stance and started opposing it.

The other tragic incident was the killing of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, media was the main source of inciting people by airing programs on blasphemy issue thus resulting in these killing. Some channels quoted him saying blasphemy as black law but no one ever managed to produce the proof. A woman anchor went to such an extent that she openly prosecuted Salman Taseer in her show and declared him as the sinner, later she was sacked but she is selling the same manjan on another channel.

Another example of media victimization was the news and analysis on flogging of a girl by Taliban in Swat. It was a hot issue for many days giving our media a lot of fun and they enjoyed it by portraying the majority as the people who loves to see young girls openly disgraced and flogged. Later it was revealed that it was a fake video made by an NGO to support the operation rah-e-rast.

Recently a female anchor of a channel crossed all boundaries of ethics and law and chased people in parks investigating them; international media coined the term moral policing for this. The channel had no one with a brain to decide what havoc would that program bring in the lives of those young couples and their families? It’s good to see public reaction on that stupid show which proved that we are not a radical or conservative society as portrayed by our media.

Since early 2000’s, Pakistani television has evolved rapidly and exploded from a single state owned television to more than 80 private owned channels now. Facing stiff competition from other channels hosts always rely on populist measure. The morning shows exploiting the privacy of people often disgracing them; the political drama shows, dramatized crime shows and self defined investigative shows are some examples how media people try to increase their ratings. No doubt electronic media has totally transformed our society since the start of 2000 decade; they have made some very positive changes in common man’s life. But on the other hand they have given them the self defined right to play with the lives of people by exploiting house hold issues and family matters. They have misused their power more than often on issues of national interest.

With increasing instances of media exploitation of public rights, it is now a need of time to press for media consumer rights movement. We need to regulate our media, although we have a regulatory body like PEMRA to have a check on media but unfortunately it is totally government driven authority. If we gave the right of regulating the media to government it would cast us the freedom of speech. Media giants should themselves chalk a code of ethics and conduct for them to avoid the incidents of harassing people and declaring them as culprits. Internationally the media laws are very effective and strong and their media abide by them. Here in Pakistan we also have some media laws and PEMRA ordinance which to some extent prevent electronic media from jeopardizing the social values and public rights. The need is to create enough awareness among public that they can defend themselves against any exploitation. If we did not pay heed then we they will get into our bedrooms and would ask “Do you have the nikahnama”?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Imran Khan in the wonderland

Pakistan was facing the early exit from world cup 1992 after being bowled out for 74 against England, when God answered the prays and rain came to rescue them. After sharing the points with England and winning 3 of their remaining 4 matches, nation was again praying for Australian victory against West Indies. Again God responded and Pakistan progressed to semi final and won the highest sporting event, the World Cup for the first time in history.

 At the final presentation ceremony captain Imran Khan spoke his mind in these words,

 I want to give my commiserations to the English team but I want them to know that my winning this world cup, personally it means that one of my greatest obsessions in life which is to build a cancer hospital, I am sure that this world cup will go a long way towards completion of this obsession, I would also like to say that I feel very proud that at the twilight of my career finally I managed to win the world cup" 

No doubt, Imran Khan was the man who united a team, lifted their spirits and led them to achieve that feat. But it is a reality that despite of his brave effort with the bat, his personal performance in the world cup was poor. On the other hand Wasim Akram was man of the match in final, Mushtaq and Aquib were brilliant, Javed Miandad and Inzamam were the outstanding performers, and Rameez, Sohail and Moin made crucial contribution. But the leader, Imran Khan forgot all of them and even forgot to thank almighty who helped them all the way. For the annoyance of mates he did not forget to tell the world that he was building a cancer hospital, and WC win would help him. Some players allege that he donated all money and prizes which were given to them on WC win, to his cancer hospital and deprived his team mates of their share.

His speech after winning final itself speaks a lot about ideas, attitude and approach of great Imran Khan. People who know him would know about his tussle with other players, the most disgusting of which was his disagreement with Miandad. For some it was a rivalry between Lahore and Karachi as both represented two separate ethnic entities. Yet when Miandad joined Imran Khan in the 92 final on 24/2 both put aside the differences and built 139 runs partnership without taking in perspective, who will be benefited most with the win.  

Imran Khan is arguably the most famous cricketer of Pakistan. He is to cricket as Waheed Murad was to film industry, both are highly respected and loved by people especially the youth. Media gives him extra-ordinary coverage wherever he goes. Ironically, he decided to join the dirty pool of politics in Pakistan and overwhelmed by the desire of making him more popular created a political party.

On the political front his position had been miserable and unexplainable. In his early days he joined hand with Political Maulana’s and raised the slogan of death for USA.  In 2002 elections he managed to win only one seat throughout Pakistan. Then under the influence of Maulana’s Brigade and non-political actors he boycotted the 2008 elections where he could have done some goods for Pakistan if he had wanted.He also fought some personal battles with Altaf Hussain, Asif Zardari and Sharif brothers before taking a u-turn.

Recently his public rallies have attracted millions of people, and suddenly he has been seen as a next big thing in Pakistani politics. Realizing the opportunity many Mir Jaffers of Pakistani politics joined hands with him and made him proud. His team members, who supported and followed him during the struggling times, are one by one leaving him and they are replaced by these feudal. For me it was the picture of the century, Imran Khan sitting on the stage with two arch-rival Hashmi and Qureshi on either side.

His political strategy is as poor as his decisions; it always makes me smile when in TV appearances while answering the questions about his manifesto, he always quotes the example of Cancer Hospital and Namal University, as if he thinks running a country is as simple as running a hospital.

No doubt he is a hero for our younger generation, and people love to see him, hear him making all those idealistic claims, he is making these days. It may be good for a nation who dreams with open eyes, who are obsessed with the slogans of revolution and promises of change. But in reality Imran Khan is the wrong person to attach our hopes with.People should realize that Ruling a country is not as simple as marshaling a team to victory, or running a hospital or a university. A man who is such a self-centered and egoistic, who believes in "Me" instead of 'US", who represents a certain class instead of masses, who is an idealist, who changes his goalposts every fortnight, may be a charismatic hero but not a savior.

Mujhe chhor de mere haal par tera kya bharosa hai charagar
Teri yeh nawazish e mushtasir mera dard aur barha na de

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The King of Kings: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi

Hanging of Saddam Hussain on the day of Eid ul Azha was a sad scene to watch on TV for most of the Muslims, but the killing and disgrace of the dead body of Colonel Gaddafi by rebels was far more disturbing. Whatever happened is a sad episode carrying a lesson for the rulers who rob the wealth of their people for centuries and consider themselves as the owners of their people's lives and fate.

Colonel Muammar Gaddfi became the master of Libyan people's destiny through a military coup in 1969 by throwing out the King Idris.The era in which Gaddafi took over was an era of dissent, hopelessness and disappointment for most of the oil rich Muslim countries in Arab as whole Arab were not able to defeat Israel. Arabs and African Muslims welcomed the leaders who raised the slogans against USA, Britain or Israel; Muammar Gaddafi was one of them. He received overwhelming support from people in Africa; therefore he assumed himself as the leader of whole Africa and started a campaign against each and every small country in his neighborhood which did not comply with his leadership. I recall a quote from some great personality "Authority does not make us cruel but exposes our cruelty" the same was the case of Gaddafi. In quest of king of kings title he started a brutal war with every one whom he considered as an enemy, attacked neighboring countries, killed opponents and banned any opposition in country.

Libya has a very large area with a relatively small population of nearly 6.6 million (a mere 150% of Azad Kashmir's population), population density is 50 person per Sq KM; its oil reserves are largest in Africa and 9th largest in the world. Moreover it is a beautiful country situated on the bank of Mediterranean sea attracting millions of tourists yearly boosting the economy to a good extent but Gaddafi's rule almost shut the doors for tourists. Having so much treasure, if it had been ruled and managed properly by a sincere leader then Libya would have been a leader of the world’s economy and its people would have been enjoying the highest life standards, but it’s an irony that in enmity of USA and Israel Muslims always supported wrong rulers and faced more humiliation. People will blame US and allies as always for all the ills faced by Libyans and other Muslims throughout the world, but it is the time to accept that our own people are more responsible for our miseries.

Gaddafi and Pakistan

I don’t know how many people in Libya would know about Pakistan or its leaders but in Pakistan there is a lot of debate on Gaddafi after his killing. On facebook, twitter, blogs and some newspapers people are trying their best to portray him as a hero and true leader of Muslims. Many people argue that he was a great supporter of Pakistan and gave the money required for our nuclear program. It is strange that we never let our poor dictators to rule for more than 12 years but still we enjoy the luxury of supporting the dictator who was thrown out of power by his people after 42 years.

Colonel Gaddafi might have supported Pakistan when Bhutto was a ruler as he had personal relations with Bhutto, he also visited Pakistan in 1974 and we named a stadium for his honor. During those days he was planning to acquire latest available weapons, for this he had some expensive deals. From Pakistan he was expecting a nuclear weapon as he knew that Bhutto was planning one. Unfortunately Bhutto was arrested and killed by Zia's operation fair play in 1979 and his plan failed. The same year Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan made Zia a darling for USA and a villain for Gaddafi. According to some sources he actively supported Al-Zulfiqar against Zia, latter he enjoyed good relations with Benazir Bhutto's governments.

I wonder what would have been the condition of Pakistan if Gaddafi had ruled it for 42 years with all his female bodyguards? a thought for Gaddafi lovers.