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