The New World

The new government has been formed and the new setup has begun. A lot has been said and there is soo much going on and so many perspectives and soo many analysis being done everyday that one seems as if a lot will be done soon enough. Though the new government has just talked about the audit of the former government’s development projects, and still a lot of focus on the last government rather than things that will be spectacular like fireworks and wow us all. But maybe, we are expecting too much.

Anyway, what we are looking at right now is a financial crisis and I am not an expert at this; I am a lay man when it comes to financial strategies, audits, budgets and all but whatever I know doesn’t paint a good picture of the near future. I remember when Musharraf came to power and 9/11 happened, the industrialists were adamant into going with the Bush and the US because the other way round would ruin their businesses. The economic policies of Pakistan were marked by this main event too as they threatened to put sanctions if Pakistan didn’t chose a side (everyone knows how Bush said it was either ‘with us or against us’ situation). The reason I am going back to Musharraf is because since then, we have seen a very sharp decline in the industrial sector, specially the textile sector. For example, the dye industry has been eradicated from Pakistan, it has been shifted to either India or China. The garments we see in the international markets are either Indian, Bangladeshi or Chinese. Pakistani products are rarely seen in the big brands’ shop where Pakistan was a leading exporter with quality products. What Musharraf came around with has stuck to Pakistan and is still clinging on to Pakistan.  My point here is; does the new government of Pakistan know what we have lost, where are we standing, what policies the International companies have sworn us into since Mushy and how will we get out of it, where should we invest, which industry will be on the hit list(as in what will be the top priority?) and how will they go about it? These questions were not answered by the newly formed government as I was expecting so I still feel it is just talk and no work. But since the cabinet is similar to that of Mushy, we might see a facade of things being better… just my thoughts.. I might be wrong.

A lot happened during Musharraf’s era. One can not forget the Oct 8th earthquake that brought in havoc in the northern part of Pakistan. A lot of aid started pouring as soon as the rescue aid operations started. USAID and a lot of other International NGOs started working in Pakistan in the name of help to be provided to the vast mountain area that was devastated by the earthquake. A lot of aid went missing, a lot of things went unexplained. Till date we do not know on what conditions were those aid given, what sanctions were put on the economic and political front in the name of those aids. To think that the International community only gave all that money on humanitarian basis will be too naive. These questions have not been answered and have not been dealt with either by the military government nor have they been answered by the civilian governments that followed. Since the new government is plundering itself into auditing the development programs of the previous government, it is necessary to bring forward the issues, the policies, the loopholes, the man holes of the governments preceding it in order to fully know the position this country in the international scenario since US wants to quit Afghanistan as well.

The issue of the missing persons also started in the Musharraf era. Musharraf, himself has shamelessly recorded in his book, that he SOLD Pakistani men,women and children for dollars. Dr. Afia is still in US detention center and has gone through immense mental, physical and sexual abuse. This is just one case. We know Amna Janjua is still fighting to get her husband back and loads and loads of people, who have been standing there in the capital and are waiting for their loved one’s return. The matter of Dr. Afia is under Foreign Ministry but rest are unknown. Since the newly elected Prime Minister has announced that he will keep the Ministry of Internal Affairs under himself, this must be the most important issue since new cases of missing persons have come up in the last couple of months namely of Romana Hussain and Roshan bibi just on the pretext of being affiliated with Hizb-ut-tehreer. These are the cases that have come upfront,but I wonder how many cases are still under the carpet. These raise a question on the power of the government, the military and the intelligence agencies. The question here is; Why not open trials, why not open court sessions?? Why such secrecy if they are criminals??What are these Intelligence agencies so afraid of? The new government should be able to at least give one statement on this issue.

Unfortunately, the list of issues goes on and on and on. The question is, will the new government be able to answer all these questions, these core issues? Will they work on the facades or will they go deeper to tackle the core issues of this country?

Only time will tell…

 

Advertisements

Hajj Essentials

Since Hajj is upon us, I thought of pinning down things that one needs in those 7 days that we spent in the tent city of Mina, or Arafaat and the night we spend in the ground of Muzdalifah.

  • If you will be staying there for 7 days, take 7 pairs of clothes with you. and a couple of extra jammies or shalwars. Pack extra abaya and the head scarves. It gets too hot and sweaty that you can not keep yourself from taking a bath. And yes you can take bath during the first three days of hajj too, Ehram is a ‘state of being’ not your clothes. When you are going to Arafat, and Muzdalifah, take extra jammies with you because roads tend to get dirty and walking in there might soil your shalwars or abayas, so better be prepared.
  • Wear comfortable shoes/sandles. I wore filpflops, because sketchers would make my head boil and I wanted to wear something that would dry off easily and is easy to walk in. Choose your footwear very carefully. Remember you will have to walk A LOT even if you will be travelling by train to Arafat and Muzdalifah.
  • DRINK LOADS and loads of water. Whenever you are heading out from Mina to Arafaat, or Arafaat to Muzdalifah, put water bottles and juice packets in your backpack. I remember waiting in lines at the station, and sweating profusely feeling dizzy and those tetra pack juice packs saved me from collapsing. I saw women and men collapsing all over the stations. And don’t worry, no matter how much you drink, you wont need to go to the loo as much, heat will dehydrate you in no time. Keep water with you always and refill at every water point.
  •  Socks, keep a pair of no show socks for Umrah in the Haram, if you have sensitive or sore feet.
  • Spray Bottles : they are a saviour. Keep a couple at all times in you bag during movements. Spray water on yourself, your spouse, whoever is standing behind you, ahead of you, beside you, trust me, they will love you and give you duas for it. I used to fill mine with cold water, though it used to get all normal but even that helps. I remember people walking by asking me to spray some on them.
  • There are special kinds of towels that you can use to keep yourself cool, but they are not easily available so whatever you can take with you and is lightweight.
  • Phones and chargers. take your charger with you or even powerbank. Do not use your phone a lot, refrain from extra activities on the phone. The sockets will be all taken up with everyone desperately wanting to charge their phone, so make sure you charge it and not drain it completely. Remember, you are there to worship Allah, so Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook,and twitter shouldn’t distract you from your purpose. Make out the most of your time, you might not get this chance ever again.
  • Don’t forget to pack your tooth brushes, unscented shampoo, soaps and toothpaste and a comb. Oh! Oh! and the scissors.
  • Take a small lock with you, so if you go for a bath or Makkah for Umrah or wherever, lock your bags that you are leaving at the camp.
  • Take a small copy of Quran with you, and a Tasbeeh, and try not to indulge in talks a lot. It is just 7 days, and you will regret missing every moment that you could have prayed but you indulged in idle talk.
  • Umbrellas are a must. It is hot and humid and you need to take cover from the sun. Do not take the weather easy.
  • Make a medicine box; Panadol, anti-allergies, medicine for diarrhea and vomiting. And be on  a safe side, ask a doctor to prescribe you a broad spectrum antibiotic. Last year, I saw people running from one clinic to another for those. And if you are taking kids with you, PLEASE PLEASE, take all kinds of medicine with you. The kids in my camp fell sick, and they couldn’t find antibiotics in Arafaat and it was tormenting to see the little kid suffering from fever and his helpless mother was not able to help him.
  • And please last but no the least, wear breathable clothes. worn out clothes are preferable. Because you will be wearing abayas over your clothes soo keep them light as light as possible.

I hope these pointers help you out. And may Allah make this journey easy for you and may you make the most out of this Hajj. Ameen. Wish you Hajj Mabroor inshaAllah. And do pray for me too in these blessed days of Hajj. May Allah take me there again soon inshaAllah.

An Observer of Elections 2018

It has been a  week now since the elections 2018. There are soo many things that happened during and are still happening after the elections but there are some things that make you wonder where are you going as a society, and as a nation. You are bound to ask yourself if means justify the end and everyone has a ‘relative’ answer. There are no proper answers for things, there are no rights and wrongs, there is no tolerance for ‘other’ perspectives. I will not dwell on whatever happened on the day of the elections here but what I observed in the attitude of people I came across.

  • I have been talking in my blog about the hero worshiping, this time around we saw the same but the hero is different. There are so many qualities attached to the hero that one cannot question his mistakes, his errors or his decisions. The people of Sindh revered the Bhuttos and still do, the Muhajirs revered Altaf Hussein so much so that they used to put flowers on his pictures in their homes, and in Punjab there is a huge following of Nawaz as if he could never go wrong. The same blind following is seen in the people who follow Imran Khan. He is the new god of the educated mass of this country. The only example I need give is that they voted for Amir Liaquat, a con artist, just because he belongs to his party, PTI, even when they did not want to.
  • The concept of ‘haya” has changed since Musharraf. The profession of fashion industry, specially when it comes to modelling, was not considered a very respectable profession, because the religion does not approve of it. In this election, the model was not only elected but people were so happy that the model will now be a part of the governing class. The words like sins, moral corruption, lies, deceit are no longer considered anything if you can prove that your assets are not more than your income.

Whatever the propaganda factories are churning and letting out makes one think that Imran Khan is a hero, the real saviour while others are villains, so much so that if you even pin point a finger at something wrong, you automatically are labelled a ‘traitor’ of this country. There was a mass campaigning in the country where PTI and the armed forces stood arm in arm and anyone questioning anything regarding it was an Indian agent. The presence of army in the courtrooms, and the dictated, rushed-up verdicts were not allowed to be questioned. Either you are pro-PTI or anti-Pakistan, there are no in betweens! Same is the case with the most prestigious institution of Pakistan.

The real tragedy is that the people who wanted to break free from the system are again bound into the same system with a beautiful wrapping paper on it. The system of Sajjadah Nasheens; starting from the Prime Minister’s House to Punjab (Shah Mehmood Quraishi) to Sindh (Pir Pagaara). Other things remain the same as well. The team of the Prime Minister is the same that was with the last General who ruled Pakistan. The formula seems minus Mushy; replace it with a new face.

We hope for a better future for Pakistan with our hopes attached only to Allah because men have failed us these past 70 years.

‘I am not Afraid’

This is a famous line spkoen by one of the former President of Pakistan. The General was not afraid of anyone. He was a lion, a tiger and every metaphor personified of bravery, courage and valor!

He stood up in face of the super powers of the world, he could never have stooped so low as to sell his neighbouring country to the super power of the world. He was not afraid of anyone saying that they will bomb his country and send it to the stone age instead he made that super power kneel before him.

He was sooo brave that no one ever dared to kill the innocent civillians via drones in his country. He never allowed armed political group of the biggest city to take it a hostage on his behalf while he danced in the capital calling it a power show.

The General was very polite and very humane. He never bombed any figure. He never burnt anyone with white phosphorous and put their remains in the gutters of the city. He showed the utmost tolerance to everyone who questioned everything he did.

He is still not afraid and will face false accusations and court trial and the verdict without any fear.

The Controversial Election!!!

We live in a strange world where you are not allowed to question the institutions, and the leaders of political parties. And if you, by any chance, question the role of the army/establishment, you automatically become a traitor.

The recent events leading to the Elections that are to be held on 25th July, are very shady and murky. Some of the things that have happened are questionable. The recent bomb attacks make one wonder that how come we have not seen them in previous years and suddenly the intelligence agencies are limp and can’t prevent them. How can they let it happen or is it part of a larger design?!

We have seen at least 6 to 7 statements from the most prestigious institution of our country, saying that they will not interfere in the elections. Why is there a need of soo many reconfirmations that they will only provide security and not anyyhing else. Last time during elections, the institution in question assisted the rigging in poling stations in Karachi which made one of the political party to boycott the elections while one asked for re-poling in one station(as they have always been shortsighted). It was not long ago that we might forget that easily.

There are so many instances where the television shows have been blocked and were not allowed to air their programs, the banners of political parties removed, and police firing at political party offices that one wonders if this is not engineered already. One wonders if this really is a free and fair elections or not.

The latest verdicts of courts also seems to be a part of larger designs. Rao Anwar is set free!!! What , in the name of God, are they doing. Justice Shauket Siddiqui claiming army’s interference in judicial system. One wonders if whatever he is saying is true. But then when Hanif Abbasi’s verdict came, the courtroom had at least 7 fauji jawans inside it. What were they doing there??

It is like how Musharraf made some impulsive decisions and landed in a pit. It feels as if some kind of desperation is working behind all those events that are leading us to question each and every move. Elections have always been a big affair in Pakistan but this time around, it is getting dirtier by the day!

Last but not the least; if you question judiciary, you are pro-Nawaz, if you question army, you are a traitor, if you question PTI, you have blasphemed! And if you support any religious party, you are a hypocrit bound to burn in the deepest pit of hell. You are not allowed to have a perspective, a different view… May be you do are satisfied with any narrative that is available. Things are not just me and against me… There are more things in life that one needs to think about.

Aur haan dams charity se nahin bantay!

Election 2018

I thought things would never go worse during the last elections but I guess I was wrong. This is by far the worst ever election that I have come across in my entire life. I wonder how could one sink soo low just to get in power. We have broken all the records of dirty politics this time.

I have not been able to sleep well for the past month. This politics is actually getting on my nerves; good thing I am abroad or I would have lost it completely. Political campaigning has been reduced to name-calling, and cursing and slandering. It has become a norm for people to give bad names to the opposing party members and leaders and almost kill one another over it. Recent events of torturing animals is a new low. It just raises questions on our mental stability.

Elections have always been a bloody event in Pakistan. Recent bomb blasts have left us all baffled. What is going on. The Mastung bomb blast was the biggest one since the APS event. This raises a lot of questions on the ‘best institutions’ of Pakistan. How can they call themselves world’s best when they couldn’t stop it. A lot can be said about the way media is projecting the whole situation and how there still are censorship policies from the upper end.

A lot have been said about all other things that have been happening too… Some are just unfathomable and leave you dumbstruck as to what are the leaders thinking and where are we heading towards. There are a couple of things that can give you an insight as to what to expect from the people;

1. I have talked about it over and over again that, we, as a nation are suffering from personality cult syndrome. We think our leaders are like gods, who cannot err. If you question any of their decisions or acts, you come under heavy bombardment from their followers and you are left without any rational answer. The questioning makes you an enemy, some rival or person of some other political party who is disrupting the calm and sleek flow of things. We see our leaders as flawless human beings, we can not tolerate a single word that questions their decisions or actions.

2. Like Sarte’s book ‘Colonialism and neocolonialism’ points out that this colonialism is a system where the colonist and the colonized can not break from the system because they fear that they will not be able to run things without this capitalistic way of running things. The colonized are given things like a begger is given some alms, while the colonist have taken over all his land and capital. After 70 years of Independence, these leaders actually act like colonists and have made people into believing that they will starve and will be nowhere if these leaders are gone. The politics of fear- of losing this colonial system, still grips the central poltical merry-go-round of the country. The colonist really never left as these leaders still go the colonial father whenever they are in trouble.

3. It aches my heart to say this but the root cause of every problem that we are facing today is because we have left our Book. In the Quran it says that Enter in your religion and submit ‘completely’. We have been following into the footsteps of the BaniIsrael as they only accepted whatever part of Torah that suited them and left whatever that did not. We, as a nation, have become the same. We follow the Quran only where it suits us and leave the teachings that are not convenient for us. We have created a line in our religion where we think that it is only a personal affair and not something as a whole, as a society, as a nation. We have stopped saying whatever that is bad,bad and whatever that is wrong, wrong and whatever that is good as good. And we have left each other alone as to let them do whatever they want to do… So much for live and let live policy.

In the end I will leave with one last note. When casting your vote do not just look at the person. A person who should lead your country must be Sadiq and Ameen which doesn’t only mean that he is not financially corrupt but also not morally corrupt. Because Sadiq and Ameen means, according to the Quran, someone who is not morally corrupt also. Hazrat Yousuf (a.s) wanted Aziz to know before going to the King of Egypt (and the whole of Egypt, though he says that Allah knows but still this was the way things should be done) that he was not a Khaa’in.

Relationship

Recently there had been a march around Pakistan for the rights of women, which were boasted around, made fun of and what not. And as this was still hot on the stove, my husband sent me a text asking my opinion about it.

What kind of fight have we plunged ourselves in. Allah has made us into man and woman. The roles that are assigned to us are different as a man and a woman. Allah has made the relationship between a husband a wife a beautiful one. He calls them ‘libas‘ (clothing) for each other. And I don’t think there can be any other beautiful word for describing it. Libas ;something we wear to cover ourselves, something we wear to beautify ourselves with, something we wear to protect ourselves with like an armor. SubhanAllah such a pretty definition of what our spouses are for us.

Allah has assigned different duties onto men and women in this world. For fulfillment of those duties we are not answeable to our other half as much as we are to Allah. The flaw of our society is that we have not completely shunned the colonial mindset nor that of Hindus whom we lived with for hundreds of years… We need to get out of that and completely submit to Allah to be able to free ourselves from the petty issues of who will warm up the food and who will cook it.