Why would the International Community trust us again?

The 2005 earthquake was a devastating blow to Pakistan. The rehabilitation was estimated to take many years to come, and the cost of which was estimated in billions of dollars. The response of the international community at the time was over whelming. While the initial extent for us regarding the disaster was limited to Margalla Towers, it was the international community that truly understand the scale of the devastation and reached the areas of Balakot and Bagh.

This time around, however the response has been slow and limited. It doesn’t even come close to what we saw the last time around, and that is understandable. A news item published today in Dawn might be able to put some light on to this issue. The funds and the aid received during the crisis was conveniently diverted to other projects. The amount, estimated to be around 300 billion pounds, was never seen by the victims, and were left to sought their own fate.

This incident occurred during the regime of a military ruler, but thanks to Selective Amnesia that our media seems to be a patient of, no hype has been created of this event. And with the way things run in this country, it is not surprising that it would never come up.

The distrust of the International community is also reflected by the fact that this time around instead of trusting the Government with the Relief they are taking it upon themselves to come and monitor the aid work. David Toole, UNICEF’s regional director for South Asia will be coming to Pakistan for a week-long official visit to monitor the relief work himself. Continue reading

The Floods that wouldn’t stop!

We have yet to see the end of the recent floodings that have hit Pakistan quite unexpectedly. Described as one of the worst disasters that the world has ever seen, worst than the Tsunami, worst than the Haiti Earthquake.

Two weeks in to the disaster and already 3 million people have been effected and more rains are expected soon, which could just mean more hardships for the people. The floods and the rains was more than anyone could have imagined, and was is one of the major reasons why the relief efforts could not be as quick as was the need of the hour.

The flood is of a massive scale, and tackling with it also requires a massive scale effort, and the institutions and organizations are just not in place to make that possible.

The media is all over the place. they have been having a heyday with this disaster, where they can play their blame games, and have Opposition Leaders over that could discredit the Government. More so, the emphasis on the role of the Great Armed Forces and the way our “Jawans” rose for the occasion is almost delirious.

The Pakistan Army being called to assist in the Flood Relief Efforts

All of a sudden this emphasis on the army is very disturbing, and suspicious at the same moment. the recent fiasco of the President going for his European Tour and the ISI Cheif cancelling his own tour has already igniated a wave of suspicion and the words “Martial Law” are being brought up in every Drawing Room conversation. These words are a very dangerouse thing, especially for a country for whom “Democracy” (no more how faulted) is a rare concept.

The Government efforts are being completly dismissed and ignored, while the Army remains the main focus of our media. I mean wouldn’t it be wiser to consider that it is the Government that calls the army? And the army works on our tax money, just like the Government and the people sitting in the Parliment does. So why is it that the Army is better than our Government?

Are we to expect that the latest propoganda about the army and its efforts and it rescue’s is all part of a preplanned intervention that would be forced upon us? Or is it just another way to discredit the Democratic Government? Should we expect a change of faces?

The army is more or less has have had a say in what happens in this country,

A world full of deja vu’s

A day after facebook was back in my side of the world, I had put up my status saying

Lets see how many of the hypocrites out there actually leave facebook?

A teacher of mine had a wonderful thought to add to that. He commented

not only they arent going to leave, they’ve already started marketing all these pages because of which fb was banned in the first place. talk about deja vu…

I have come to conclude since then that this world is based on the very principle of deja vu, or maybe a better word for this explanation for this would be that we live in a world where everything repeats itself.

After this comment, I started thinking about how every year in Pakistan, we all feel a sense of deja vu when the same electricity shortages and load shedding happens, when the prices hike up during every Ramadan, the same situation on the streets of Karachi every time it rains, this entire country is based on this very experience.

What happened to Freedom Flotilla a few days back is also nothing short of a deja vu. Everytime something like this happens memories of all that had happened before rushes back. Even after this event, the deja vu happened of lastyear, when the Israeli forces killed hundreds of people in a 22 day war. Continue reading

Mother’s Day: Corporate Venture or Something more?

A lot has been said about Mother’s Day and there is absolutely nothing more that I can say or add here.. But somehow I have never been able to celebrate this day as is expected from the us now thanks to the media.. they have found one more way to make us feel bad about how they should be showering their mother/father/sister/dog/neighbor with love, flowers, and cards..

See I don’t think that there is anyone out there who doesn’t appreciate what their parents do for them.. And if they don’t then believe me one day won’t change their feelings. But putting all this emphasis on them for one day and then just taking it away from them the other day is just as cruel.. I mean, the love should be constant.. not a day where you can wash away your guilt for the rest of the year.

So yes, you have guessed it right.. I didn’t give my mother anything special, or buried her under tons of flowers, but for me and my sister it has been a constant understanding since we were kids.

Both of my parents worked, and therefore whatever responsibilities were there had to be shared. I have seen my mother and my father return from work at 12 am and at that point they would come pick us up from our grand mother’s house and then take us home. I have seen her struggle as she tried to explain the concept that there are mother’s who work and not just stay home all day and that too is okay. Continue reading

Lets close our eyes for our Army

Mubashir Lucman

That definitely has been a national policy for every person in this land of the Pure. It is an approach taken by every politician, citizen, and especially the media. I mean God forbid if someone can ever find a fault with the Army and especially when the army is in the government.

It is as though the army is the all almighty that can never be wrong or make a mistake, and that became pretty obvious in the media in the last few days. It seemed that everything that is happening in this country is the fault of the President of Pakistan, Asif Zardari. Now I am not at all a supporter of PPP or the President, but it seems as though he is being blamed for even the death of a stray dog. It is as though there is a mental block towards the acceptance of a democratic government.

Yesterday in his show, Mubashir Lucman showed a video of a convoy going on the streets of Islamabad, and although he didnt know who was in the convey the point however of showing that clip was simply to inform the naive people of Pakistan how this government is misusing its authority.

I think that he simply has forgotten about the 2-3 hour-long traffic jams and blocking of the streets that used to happen when the ex-president Musharraf used to come to the city, let that be any city and how the petrol pumps used to be closed fro hours. No Sire the army should never be blamed! It is one of the commandments after all of being a reporter in Pakistan, isn’t it?

And then there is one more anchor who it seems have taken an oath to always take side of the army. And that is none other than Kamran Khan of Geo, who so clearly mentioned that “the establishment, by which every one knows means the army, is not so happy with the President.”

Continue reading

Dawood Public School and the “controversial “course

The recent matter that has been made into a ridiculous controversy by the media is the case of Dawood Public School, Karachi.

The issue was created due to the syllabus that is being taught at the School, which contains material about human body and how it works, or to be more specific, “knowledge” about how the human reproductive system works. This has gotten a lot of criticism by 2 families, due to which their children were then expelled from the school, only to be taken later on. The name of the students include Alina Salman, Maheen Salman, Rabia Merchant and Aisha Merchant.

The more so called labeled secular media has played his part in simply ignoring the issue, while the more fundamentalist one has had a field day with it. They have only bothered showing one side of the “controversy”.

The blogs are also busy simply showing one side of the story and not much has been said about what the other side is.

An eye-witness who is also a teacher at the School had this to say about what happened, and how the parents, that have been made out to be the victims by the print media,  so far reacted.

The parents actually attacked the teachers and the students. They bought a maulvi with them and he was constantly giving fatwas. They even snatched the scarfs off the staff members, screaming that if you are teaching such sort of course then you should not be pretending to be so righteous. The mother and the female member of the families attacked the female staff and even the kids.

This is what was done by the so called righteous parents at the school and to the teacjers. Apparently all Islamic values and teachings went out of the window when they were attacking the female staff of the school.

Now to balance out the argument and tell you the other side too. Lets suppose that the school is wrong, that what they are teaching is preposterous and should be banned immediately. Okay sure. But what if tomorrow they decide to become doctors, what then? For to see things in the near-future, what if they decide to take biology as their subject in O-Levels. Now you cant expect that University of Cambridge would be changing their course for 2 families right?This is what their course includes Continue reading

Michael Jackson… The world remembers you!

On the morning of June 25th 2009, the greatest legend was taken away from all of us. His name, Michael Jackson, someone who will be remembered for ages and people would tell their kids and grand kids about him in awe and amazement, knowing that it was a privilege living in the same time as the legend himself.

This morning on July 8th 2009 was no doubt an emotional morning for million of fans around the world as they said their final good bye to the legend that is Micheal Jackson. The memorial held at Staples Center Los Angles, where Michael Jackson rehearsed for the last time,  was no doubt sentimental and a great tribute to the legend. You couldn’t have had a tribute to Micheal Jackson without the music or laughter or reminiscing about the good times because in some way this is the only you can define the life journey of the legend himself… it was tragedy and beauty, pain and happiness, sorrow and laughter… this was how the life of the legend can be described and this is how his final tribute was.

MJ's Family at the end of the memorial service

MJ's Family at the end of the memorial service

It is astonishing to know that people wouldn’t let go of their cynicism even after some one’s death. The name calling and the ridicule was continued by many even after his death. Many continued by the name calling that followed him through out his life ..many newspapers displayed headlines saying “Jacko dead” which was not taken in a nice manner by many and many felt that it was insulting to call names to some one who is no more … some even went on to say that the entire family was putting on a show……

But the fact of the matter remains that the entire world couldn’t have been putting on a show last night.. people could be seen in churches holding hands, saying prayers together, singing to the songs of the great legends, crying, and realizing that this is the end of an era…. It was the end of the Micheal Jackson Era.

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php5K8dkPEven in his memorial he ended up doing a great deed by introducing us to a young boy “Shaheen” who stunned the world by his performance and his voice. But still there were people who raised eyebrows about the relationship of this boy to Michael Jackson. I guess they wont leave him alone even now in his death.. there are always going to be people that would find something to say against him, but I always say to these people first see about what he has given us, what he gave to the world and then judge him against the cruel words that you have to say for him.  You will be missed thouroughly!

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The performance of "Shaheen" who was to be introduced in his come back tour


Press Club and the New Generation of Reporters!

Press Club yesterday had arranged a ceremony in honor of Mr. Qazi Junagarhi, a journalist/author, and for Raees Fatima, also an author, columnist and a retired professor, and the life partner of Mr. Qazi. It was during the ceremony that this strange thought came to my mind. The occurrence of this particular thought was due to a reporter who made it clear to me how intelligent are our reporters and the people who hire them.

Asking questions to Raees Fatima, he asked her what this book was about, and which cities had been included in this book of her which is about her travels in India. This particular journalist was only interested in making a news that was to be a part in the newspapers of today. And thus he just kept insisting that she tell him what the entire book is about, which in my opinion he should have bothered to read and then put a news about.In his defense he just kept saying that he is here to make a news item and not to write a critique on the book.

Insistently she finally told her about what she has written giving enough details so that he can make his story for the paper. She told him her vies about the Indian city and then mentioned that it was great going to India for she was also from the city of Allahabad. And then the reporter goes ahead and asks her “But isn’t Allahabad in Bangladesh?”

Allahabad has been a prominent city in our history and it was therefore shocking to me that this reporter from a leading Urdu newspaper didn’t know where Allahabad is. This made me realize that thought the number of newspapers and television channels may have increased but the intellectual levels of our reporters is deteriorating by the day.

Press Club was an exclusive club and a majestic building. Getting membership into the Press Club was an honor. Years of struggles against dictatorship had been conducted from this very Club, namely against Zia-ul-Haq. Journalism and Journalist therefore were not only given respect and honor but were also looked upon in awe. These people not only managed to go out and search for the stories that they wanted but they also found a way to say what they had to.

Minhaj Burna, a prominent name in Urdu Journalism, was a member of this great club, and it was from inside these walls that he had launched a struggle for a press media and press during the Zia regime.

Ex-president Musharraf may claim to have given a lot of freedom to the media and it is true that it was during his tenure that the number of private channels increased threefold. But that is one side of the story. The institutions to carter to this demand haven’t been increased in the same way. And it is maybe that’s why that we have reporters that have no idea even where a prominent city like Allahabad, which not only played a great role in the struggle of Independence but also produced some great writers of our time, existed.

So maybe it is not entirely true to blame the reporters, but then knowledge can not only be found in Institutes.

Our Biased Media

The job of the media is to REPORT things.. but like many other institution of Pakistan, the media too has to learn on how to be able to report. This is an immature institution which has to learn a lot from sensible reporting to investigative journalism. And so far – almost 10 years to be exact- the excuse of the media has been “WE ARE STILL A YOUNG INSTITUTE – GIVE US TIME”

I don’t believe or buy this excuse because when you have predecessor to guide you then this excuse simply doesn’t work.

Recently, Dunya news displayed a news item on its slide bar, that Muktaran Mai was caught stealing electricity. Now, agreed that this is a crime and that we are all responsible citizens and should condemn it. But was it right to target a women like that, who was from her tragedy done a lot for the country?

Isn’t our great ex-leader President Musharraf, who shouted from every forum, that his country is his foremost responsibility and it is that which pulled him towards the power so that he maybe our savior- isn’t he stealing electricity? A report in Express newspaper suggested otherwise.

Didn’t KESC found that within the limits of the navy residential project KARSAZ, around 70 high naval officials were found stealing electricity?

Don’t we all know it for a fact, that all major industries and high profile people of this country are inafact indulged in this crime?

Then why did the media take it upon to target a women, who at least has done something for this country? Is it because she is weak and can’t create some trouble for the media, which Musharraf and his “buddies” could have?