Identity Crisis

When Musharraf came to power and the whole 9/11 thing happened, major changes were seen in the political, social and economic scene in Pakistan. When the US said that, ” either you are with us, or against us”, it divided the people of Pakistan. Most of them supported Afghanistan and believed that the US operation was unjust. There were statistics that said that they supported Musharraf… whatever! Anyway, during this whole crisis, his think tanks derived a formula of “sab se pehle Pakistan”, there were songs, concerts, and what not to make sure that this message was embedded in the minds of people so that they would think “Pakistan First”! It was pretty effective as people have this nationalistic mentality in Pakistan where everyone’s either a Punjabi or a Pathan or a Sindhi, or a Balochi or a Muhajir or a Pakhtoon! Proof of it is that NWFP’s name has been changed to Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, the Siraikis want another province for themselves! And it is soo sad! So, back to where I was, Musharraf was pretty much successful in making people think with his media campaigns to think about being  a Pakistani first. And because it was the period when the US coalition attacked Afghanistan, this nationalistic thought overcame all the other provincial identities.

And why am I mentioning all this?! Because we fail to prioritize our identities! There’s been a video that a friend of mine posted on her wall on FB, and the title is, “yea kin logon ki basti hai aey Khuda” by some group called Jagoo Pakistan. The group though criticizes the media responsibilities towards Dr. Afia and too much publicity to Shoaib and Sania wedding and the attitude of the government towards Dr. Afia as compared to that towards Sania Mirza.  I’d agree to the part that yes, the media hasn’t done justice to Dr. Afia but we have to see where we can draw lines. Sania  Mirza maybe Indian but she is a Muslim first. So, when you call her  the “other” or dosre ki beti, you show and you prove that the Musharraf’s “sab se pehle Pakistan” was a success! I’m not saying that I’m not a Patriot or that I don’t love Pakistan, it’s just that if it wasn’t for Islam, there wouldn’t have been a Pakistan.

Pakistan was not made to divide Muslims, but it was made to protect them, to safeguard their rights but somehow the purpose seem to have lost! We fail to realize that we are first and foremost Muslims. When people starting converting to Islam more than 1430 years ago, the Kuffar of Makkah used to say that what kind of religion is this which has put enmity between blood ties and the reply to that is in Quran that Allah has developed love between them (the Muslims) which is far greater and far stronger than that of the blood ties! The Muslim brotherhood didn’t rely on the blood ties or worldly advantages, the brotherhood and the love between them was based on their love for Allah.  They were tied together because they loved Allah and they were Muslims. When we embrace Islam, or when one comes under the fold of Islam, he/she automatically becomes a part of the Muslim community in all parts of the world. That is the beauty of it!

So when we are Muslims first, the Sania Mirza issue shouldn’t be shown like this. The media is responsible for creating such a hype about it and that maybe because the agenda on which the media conglomerates wants the real issues to subside in front of such mundane ones. Always remember, “Nothing is what it seems” specially on television. This so-called free media (I’m calling it a so-called free media because the strings are held somewhere and I know it’s not as free as they project it to be) has undermined the value of Dr. Afia’s case soo much so that the people of Pakistan don’t even know what is happening except for a few! And if this is “awareness” that they are spreading, I wonder what’s the opposite of it!

Anyway, the only thing that I want to highlight here is think of being Muslims first! These national identities were gievn to us by Allah Ta’ala so that we could recognize one another. Not because we can divide and fight. Learn from Ansars from the occasion when they gave half of EVERYTHING to their brothers from Makkah! This is our tradition. Sania Mirza married Shoaib Malik, fine, it’s a marriage! Let it go! There are far more important issues at hand that should be looked into. There are far more difficult times ahead of us, which should be thought about! How to get out of the crises that we are facing as Muslims, as Pakistanis, inside our country and outside in the international community! Look beyond the mere walls of your houses. We are Muslims, and all Muslims all over the world are tied together. Look Muslims everywhere are suffering, and we as their brothers, what can we do??? Think outside the box! Think!

We are Muslims first! Can’t we make a small contribution to the Muslim world even if it is by praying for our Muslim brothers who are in pain! We are Muslims, we are tied together for our love for Allah and His Messenger(pbuh), so stop prioritizing your national identity! We are Muslims First!

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Accountability

There is a race in Pakistani media scene. Everyone wants to break the news first and channels go to the extent of claiming that it was them who broke the news first! Isn’t it strange that the media warfare has left the people of this country handicapped and mentally ill. Rather than making them more aware, they are more unaware of the situation even then consider themselves to be well informed! I’m talking about the “fake” Swat flogging video! I remember the day when the video was aired, it was Friday and since it was Friday and I had to pray after coming from university and then I went to sleep after lunch only to be awaken by an sms that said a lot of bad stuff about the flogging and the Swat administration and the people being inhumane who were doing that! Fortunately or unfortunately, I didn’t see the video till after sometime. Back at university, when N.A. and Salwa and I were sitting together, we were thinking the same thing, how can it be that no investigation had been done before the video was aired by all the TV channels. The video was repeated shown again and again and again! Anyhow, I remember posting something here regarding the video being fake! Now there are reports that it was actually fake!

Now have the tv channels, who aired the video soo much as to make the world believe that whatever that they are showing is true, repeatedly apologized to the people of this country again, and again and again for not verifying the video before airing it! “sach ki lagan”, “har khabar per nazar”, “geo aur geene do”, don’t they feel any accountability or responsibility of airing the video with so much rush as to avoid one of the most basic principles of media where one has to investigate and verify the authenticity of a news item before airing it! The leaders, political administrators and the military, everyone just jumped to conclusions without thinking for once if this is duly investigated! If there was such an incident or not?! This is what you call spreading AWARENESS or is this what you call brainwashing the people and running propaganda factories?

Propaganda factories are working yet effectively to dismantle the thinking abilities of the nation once again! Since the stupid Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik thing has been going on, all the news channels just show that, the ministers are talking about it, the youth is taking about it. Not having a TV, my husband watches news on internet and for two weeks all we heard was about Sania and Shoaib as if there has been no other news out there. Millions of people are suffering in Pakistan, operation Raah-e-Raast, drone attacks, suicide bombs and Dr. Afia’s upcoming hearing and the final verdict, and all this so-called awareness-spreading-media could highlight was two people getting married?

This is what we have come to! No one’s going to say anything to anyone, do whatever you do and you’d go free until or unless it is in the best interest of “some” agencies or “some” people and “some” countries.  This is just like Orwell’s 1984, the masses are fed so much of this propaganda that they seem to have lost their own insight into things and they believe whatever that media wants them to believe! hadd hai!

The Fort

I have been busy with other things lately and didn’t get a chance to either dwell into the politics of Pakistan for some time. But something happened last night which has forced me to write something down here. And the very image burns in my mind and has an unsettling effect on me. The future seems… BLEAK!

A lot has been written about it I am sure but surely I would want to add my contribution to it or rather have a catharsis over it here and now. Last night, we planned to go for a drive. So, landing on the other side of the Lyari Expressway, then towards Boat Basin, we came across The Fort. Well lit area, well built fort, luxury apartments, high walls… you know what I’m talking about… The New US Embassy in Karachi! There’s something really disturbing about it the very presence of this city within a city. It is not just a land grabbed by the US, it’s more than that. The high walls, the fort, the security measures, everything about it is a question that the government fails to answer. The ordinary people, do they even know what is going to happen when they actually start operating on a full scale?! Why is there a need to build a fort when they have an embassy in Islamabad and in Karachi too (near Frere Hall). Maybe the bombing near it was a sham so that they can get a better, much bigger place. Are they planning something on a bigger scale, I mean blackwater’s head office in Peshawar, right? Then an embassy in Islamabad (I’m sure they have a network of balckwater there too.) Then MQM’s own police in Karachi working with the blackwater network in Karachi. The target killings of Professors in Baluchistan. Universities being closed down. School children having ID cards which are to be checked at entrance. Suicide bombings one after another killing hundreds of people. Media and the Government has put on a perfect show of embedding in the minds of people that Taliban are terrorists. And a more perfect job at disillusioning the whole idea of Jihad. People have doubts about it now. Astaghfirullah!

Though my reading is very limited and my understanding way too limited… but everything that is happening around, nothing seems to be going in the right direction. Last Sunday or a Sunday before that, a person wrote in favour of Kerry Lugar Bill. And the points that he raised were soo childish, I doubted his mental condition. Here is the link to that letter to the editor. The person is a former Ambassador. I doubt his critical thinking ability. I even doubt his qualifications. I mean how can you even think these to be solid pointers to actually endorse it! OH! GOD! This country is in the hands of people who have such slavish mentality and thinking that they cannot even think for themselves, they not only use the language of the “colonials”, they even say what they feed to them. Are we back to the times when subcontinent was being colonized by the English?

How can one be so blind to all this. Or maybe the general public is soo engrossed in the day to day earning of bread and butter, but the representatives of these people seem to be so slavish that they fail to realise their responsibilities towards their nation, their people, to their own very soul. Those high officials themselves have sold themselves to the benefits of the West that they turn a blind eye to their own very soil and let it slowly bleed to death. It’s high time that we should wake up and not put our trust in those leaders who have not failed us just once but everytime they came to power. This is the limit. We cannot just let them drag us to hell, the limbo of being governed by the US. And I highly doubt that there’s any difference between Hitler and Obama or any other leader or a person who supports US policies.

 

A Joke…

Let me quote a joke here that was quite famous when we were kids. So here it goes…

There’s this very beautiful African deer and then it gets lost. So the policeforce of every country is called out to help. So the every police force brings forward a deer and the authorities say that it’s not the one. Then Pakistani police force brings with them a badly beaten elephant and as soon as he sees the authroities, he cries out, “mein hi woh hiran hoon.. mein hi woh hiran hoon.” (I’m that deer.. I’m that deer)

Anyway, today when I watched news on TV, it reminded me of this joke. Suddenly out of nowhere this new group emerged, a person without a face appeared with a kind of speech which appeared to be.. ahem.. I don’t know forced down his throat maybe. I don’t know, I never trusted media… nor my police force and now when agents are all over, should I be trusting a paki pakai khichri?! I don’t know.. there’s so much out there. Should I ever trust those numbers of militants and the military officers being killed that are being released by the ISPR? Give me one good reason why I should… Do they think I would believe that they are actually killing militants and not innocent people? Hell.. No!

To them our lives have become a joke. Lives of Muslims and ordinary human beings have become a joke. For them the lives of people in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and now Pakistan is nothing more than litter. They are not human anymore. But the problem in  Pakistan is that they have pulled a few strings and it’s our army against our people. Media has made a crucial role since Musharraf has given them lisence and they have, since then, played a more destructive role than a constructive one. They have twisted alot of things, just use some of the words with some of the people and hey… there you go.. one stereotype is created! So, now we have thousands of them. So… now we have moderate and extremists and liberals and whatnot. So if I wear a veil, I must be liberated! Oh for God’s Sake! wake up! what are you thinking? I’m some mastermind created because of Zia’s era?! Give me a break!

But food for thought: The person stood before camera’s today having his face covered, didn’t he seem a bit too well versed in whatever he said?!

Time to Wake Up…

“Aziz admits energy policy was flawed”

http://dawn.com/2008/04/06/top12.htm

“Ministry sees new taxes as only way out of crises”

http://dawn.com/2008/04/06/top7.htm

I wonder what happened to the foreign reserves that the Mush and Shauki government used to brag about. When the economy is booming and country is progressing that by day, why over tax the already overtaxed population?! I wonder how much they’ll lie and how much they’d bleed us so that the fire of their tummies can be extinguished.

Friends?!

Pakistanis have recently started showing overwhelming interest in forming bonds of friendship with India. They have been struggling in every possible way to be a part of their circles. We have seen co-productions of movies and soaps as a gesture to confirm my above statement. Not only that, the recent event of setting Iqbal Singh free when he’d been acquitted to be the spy from India is a huge leap in that affair. Ansar Burney was in the media spot light for setting him free. (It’s another thing that he posed before media a lot to show I don’t know what.)

But what about the Indian side?! Have they forgotten that Pakistan and Bangladesh have been the part of their “motherland” which Muslims brutally amputated?! Have their prejudices against Muslims died?! Have they extended their hand of friendship as well?! These questions are far from being responded to lately. Whenever the Pakistani media talks about the whole India-Pakistan relationship, it ends up showing that we are being so great as to forget all the past differences and are making progress in forming a bond. But is it true?!

The Gujrat pogrom has been exposed and the minister has been caught on tape as to ordering the holocaust of Muslims. He’s still in the ministry and I wonder where are the international Human Rights’ activists?! Where is U.S. Army who has taken the job of “liberating” Muslims from the atrocities of the not just the “religion” but also from the “oppressive” leaders?! The recent news of Khalid Mehmood, who went to watch a match in India was torutred to death in an Indian cell is overwhelmingly inhumane. Oh! but doesn’t it remind of us Muslims being torutred in Abu Ghraib prison or Gauntanamo Bay. So, where is Ansar Burney, the human rights’ activists or U.S. again. One might wonder why I bring in U.S. so much. It’s because they have taken up the responsibilty of making this world a better place, for liberating Muslims or other people from oppression and inhumane laws and practices.

Back to square one. How many of the Pakistanis have been corrupted by the Indian media whereas, India has boycotted all the Pakistani channels. Why are Muslims dying to be near them one still wonders. The fantasy of India shown on T.V. might be all charming but how can one turn a blind eye to all the atrocities committed by their government delibrately. There’s a saying by the Prophet (S.A.W) that a Momin is never bitten by the same hole again. And we have to look into ourselves and be conscious of every step we take, every nation we befriend and every deed we commit not just as  a nation but also as individuals.

Maintaining the Standards

I stopped reading the papers after huge incidences that happened after Eid-ul-Fitr and the great Emergency. I guess I was trying to shut out the ramblings of the politicians and the army-men. Anyway, during my exams while I was having breakfast one fine Monday morning and was not in the mood of studying, I took up the newspaper wondering if something “interesting” was there. And to my surprise the whole newspaper had changed.

I took up Dawn’s Sunday Magazine because it was supposed to be the best part about the newspaper. But articles by Farid Paracha, the Swot articles and not to mention Aunty Agni thing shoved me to an early grave. I was appalled, flabbergasted and highly offended. What are these articles trying to imply?! OR better… What are these articles trying to propagate?!

I remember reading F.R. Leavis’ essay for the exam. The essay suggested that the literature and newspapers have sub-standardised in order to meet the mass civilisation’s demands rather keeping it’s standards for the few who actually have a good taste and higher intellect. So, the so-called elite or rather the western-ised minds of Pakistan has taken its lead in the same thing. Now they’re writing what they think is “light”,”interesting” and “funny” not realising that they are giving the youth a direction that would lead this country into chaos. We don’t want writers who can lull us to sleep. We don’t want writers who think “enjoying” life should be everything. We need writers like Naseem Hijazi, who can shake us up, who can wake us up from the deep slumber.

The English Speaking Class of Pakistan, which believes in the superiority of the Western Civilization and thought, have forgotten their own roots. English might be the need of time, but to rip ourselves from our own language, culture and roots have driven us into the labyrinth without a sense of direction. It’s a life where you follow the shadows, where you run after the crowd who are in the same state of hopelessness.

So, back to where I was. The Dawn newspaper has lost its vigour, life and decency. I’m not saying that I’ve a better taste. All I’m trying to say is we are a better nation. And we can do so much more than immitating the West in the most degraded things. We have better examples like Iqbal and Faiz. We need to set our standards high and help our mass civilisation to come upto that standard not the otherway round. The writers have a huge responsibilty and they should take the lead of guiding people in a better direction. This is the need of our times.

1984 and the Contemporary World

We did 1984 by George Orwell this Semester. And since exams are around the corner, me and my friends were trying to discuss some of it’s aspects. And since we have it in our Literature and Society Course, the teacher gave us the whole historical perspective of World Wars and the Communist Russia, Lenin, Stalin, Italy’s Mussolini and the Nazi Germany.

The whole Idea of the secret police,”Cheka” in Russia when Lenin was there, and then the spy police in Germany of SS and SD. The same allusions are made by George Orwell in his book when he mentions the Thought Police. How there are spies everywhere.

Then the Trade Unions were abolished in Germany and “Nazi Labour Front” was formed. And they had to give certain percentage of their wages to The Party. The whole idea of the Nazi Youth movements were formed where the kids were trained to spy on their family members. The kids were trained to be the ardent supporters of Hitler’s Germany, “working for the German Superior Race”. And we see the reflection of all this in the book. How The Party works in 1984. The Inner Party members, then the Outer Party Members, the Anti-Sex League and the kids who are spying around their parents turning them in.

And there were other allusions as well.

The Writer, George Orwell himself said the book is about the Future. And if we are to look at it from that perspective that how well was he able to give the picture of the future, we have to draw connections of 1984 with the contemporary world. And we were shocked that how well and how far was Orwell able to see beyond his times. How he was able to write such a masterpiece three years after the second world war which gave such insight to the future world.

So, drawing allusions from the contemporary world; First, The Thought Police. And the whole Idea of “big brother is watching you”. If we look at the contemporary world, it’s SO OBVIOUS that our movements are watched really closely. The satellites are there to track you down with your mobile devices or otherwise. The “Google Earth” thing was scary as we could actually locate our own home, the city and everything from there. And something like that is on Internet, just imagine how sophisticated their devices would be which are “not for the public” use. And not just that, the phone lines being tapped, the emails intercepted, and I strongly think that this post is going to be read and I’ll be watched rather more closely and if I get “vaporized”, it won’t come as a surprise!  Anyway, not only that the new things on Internet to tag you, for example, orkut, facebook, blogs and your e-mail accounts. Everything is under scrutiny. Everything’s being watched over. And the thought is pretty scary. Thought Police is more like CIA, ISI, or others.

Secondly, The Propaganda. How in 1984, there’s a whole propaganda, that we’re at war and we’ve prospered this year. We are in better conditions then the last years. And this brings us back to the whole idea of how in Pakistan, Mr. Shaukat Aziz and President Musharraf always brag about the fact that the GNP and GDP are going up. We have more foreign assets now, and people are prospering day by day! The newspapers and the media seems to be “FREE” but they are under restrictions. The media follows govt’s policies or whoever-is-in-power’s policies. Not only that, the text books in Pakistan were recently changed with the intervention of US. One of the teachers, in an interview, were heard to say that from old text books you got the impression the Pakistan was made on the ideology of Islam! And the new text books donot hold the same ideas. Not only that the picture CNN and BBC and the FOX NEWS present is not objective. They are presenting a very biased, subjective point of view to the world (Don’t feel agitated! it’s True!).

Then the allusion of the Room 101. The whole idea of people  being vaporized and tortured to their bones. And Musharraf has mentioned in his book that he has sold people to CIA. People were vaporized by our very government. Plus the horrifying discovery of the AbuGhriab prison in Iraq and Gauntanamo Bay and others that we don’t know of.

Well… though the list goes on and on, I’d like everyone to read the book and see for themselves how the “totalitarianism” of the West is killing the “proles” of the world.