Saturday, 7 April 2012

Where are we headed to?

I could not sleep much last night. Most of the time I was tossing and turning and my brain just refused to zone out. Twice I had to get up and go to the wash room thinking I was going to get sick.

And no. It was not because I was under any stress except the usual study-related problems. It was because right before going to bed, I had made the mistake of reading e-tribune’s story on Domestic Violence Bill reaching a deadlock in a joint sitting of the parliament. The current status is that JUI-F and even PML(N) are advocating against it and Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman has vowed that he will fight tooth and nail against the bill that protects women and children from getting beaten up. Infact his exact words during the session were “Western culture cannot be promoted under the pretext of protection in Islamic states”, which indirectly means that beating up women is an eastern and Islamic culture and quite acceptable to us.

Let me tell you a very simple thing first. Why do we consider stealing or robbing someone a crime? On a human level, we consider it a moral and legal crime because we are violating another person’s rights and are harming him or her. We have been taught by our parents and then in schools that stealing is wrong. It is a criminal act and has adequate punishment. On a religious level, we are told that our Prophet (PBUH) condemned this act so much that he even said that he wouldn’t hesitate to cut-off his own daughter’s hand if she was found stealing. So, because we grew up with these things being taught to us, today most of us civilized people do not rob anyone, no matter how needy we are. Those who do eventually get punished one way or another.

I never had much hope from this Domestic Violence Bill, to put it in plain words. Reason being our society and its male-dominated environment would make sure such laws are never implemented in their true spirit. There are men who would favor this law but then they are in relative minority or atleast they are not in the parliament so it does not make much difference at this moment whether we have this law or not.

Having said that, there is one thing that I had been hopeful about. Even if such women protection laws do not get implemented in my or your life time, atleast our future generations will grow up being taught that it is wrong and a criminal act to beat up anyone, be it outside or inside of home.  This is how all moral sins and legal laws have been systematically ingrained in our brains. If a boy grows up thinking beating up his wife will be criminally punishable, he is less likely to do it when he gets married.

On a human level, we all know domestic violence is wrong. What strikes me the most is that the opposition to this bill comes from the religious right or let me say so-called religious right and they use Islam to justify the violence. And no matter how many times do I read the Quran or listen to scholars discussing the rights of women, I have never come across anything that allows men to harm their wives in any way. It is beyond me how people like Fazl-ur-Rehman, Khawaja Saad Rafique and even some women parliamentarians would claim such a thing and to my astonishment, there are people who actually think they are right and are protesting against this bill ! My only question to these mis-guided people is: Why is sunnah limited to having a beard only and not seeing the way Prophet (PBUH) treated his wives? This again brings me to the point that why do we even need to use Islam to justify such inhumane thinking when we know that in our religion nothing is against nature. How could someone even think that Allah (SWT) would ever allow his fairer creation be violently treated in something as sacred as marriage? It does not make sense to me.

I think I am too shocked right now and my belief in humanity is slowly fading away. Someone asked me a few days ago that why do women need separate laws and special treatment for themselves? My answer was very simple. Women NEED special treatment and their rights have to be defined and written because unlike men, their rights are not given to them on a plate. They always have to ASK to be treated as humans. They always have to ASK men not to beat or harass them. Otherwise it is considered NORMAL treatment.

I never call myself a feminist because I’m still struggling for women to get basic human rights; Equal rights are too far off an idea to spend my energy on. But this recent news has made me fear for the future of thousands of women and children. How can we bring up our daughters in a world like? If we shelf this bill now, not only women will no longer be protected; but also domestic violence will be seen as something legal and allowed which will encourage the abusive men even more.

And for those who are confused about Islam and domestic violence, try doing your own research for once , instead of listening to Mullahs who get votes in the name of Islam. It should be unnecessary to get defensive about such a logical issue but since it looks like some of the parliamentarians are bent on defaming Islam, I as a muslim feel appalled and consider it my duty to point out what Allah (SWT) and his beloved Prophet (PBUH) actually say about women rights.

1. Sabr is Not Suffering in Silence - Webinar (Yasmin Mogahed)

2. Removing the Silence on Domestic Violence by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Here is the link to the bill itself that i found on the national assembly website. 

Please try to find out for yourself where this bill is unIslamic and how could it promote westernized thinking as per JUI-F's tantrum in the parliament.

My apologies if I sounded like ranting. I needed to get it out of my system.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

How to get famous in 5 minutes (Tips by a mean PTI TROLL)

The easiest way to get famous these days is to write an anti Imran Khan or an anti PTI blog. What I have noticed in my short twitter life is that most anti PTI tweets come from people who have lesser followers than the amount of eggs I keep in my fridge (No offence). Another remarkable fact about these people is that they tag a famous so-called liberal, blogger or a journalist in their tweets asking them questions ranging from “Where is Imran Khan these days?” to “IK has no vision, don’t you agree?”, to “@xyz: What are your comments on abc article about SMQ or Kasuri?”.

Seriously, people: I can give you better ways to get famous. For starters: You can go nude with an ISI tattoo. OR if you want to do serious work, make a documentary on some real issue and get an Oscar !!! Chances are, you will gain more “respectful” attention this way. And please stop tagging the liberals in each and every tweet. The reason is very simple: THEY ARE NOT LIBERALS ! Rather they are “liberal-extremists”. They don’t give a damn about you; All they care about is how negatively you tweet about Imran Khan or PTI. And see, because I studied science in school, I can even make an equation out of this situation:


Of course we can add all sorts of variables and parameters in this equation (for example your display picture or how ruthless you are in criticism, even gender) but for the time being, this will do.


Coming back to the eggs in my fridge….

No…Let’s go to “how to get famous part”: I read a hilarious blog post by majorly profound (no idea what his real name is) giving a template of “how to write a thought provoking article” and it inspired me to make my own template on “How to get famous or how to write an ANTI PTI blog”. Since I have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that these two things are directly proportional to each other (see above), I consider myself qualified enough to make this template. So, let’s go step by step:

1. Identify a topic: You MUST select a topic on which you want to bash Imran Khan or target PTI. Even if you don’t find a good topic, it doesn’t really matter as long as you keep on bashing throughout your article. But let me give you a few choices to help you. 
  • Problems in the Educational system
  • Terrorism
  • Corruption
  • Energy crisis or any other crisis Pakistan is having
You can pick any one topic out of the above. It’s not important what you select as long as you relate it to PTI somehow.

2. Make the topic/problem sound like it is PTI’s doing or fault. It does not really matter, and I repeat, IT DOES NOT MATTER if PTI has never been in power. The liberals who will be reading your blog will most probably be watching Golden Globes simultaneously. Also, use following sentences to prove your point.
  • Imran Khan does not have a vision. He rants and talks about ending _______(your topic problem) in 90 days but he does not explain it. (Please ignore the fact that IK does give a guideline about these issues otherwise you wont be able to write your blog)
  • PTI’s policies are half baked theories and _____ (your selected topic) is not included in his manifesto. (Please ignore the nagging conscience which tells you that you have never opened PTI’s manifesto and the fact that PML-N simply copies everything they do. Also ignore that they are still in the process of developing their ideas into detailed road maps)

3. Now is the right time to attack the old faces entering the party. Pick any old face you last read about in someone’s tweet or blog. ATTACK !!!
  • He is an old face. How will PTI bring change if it allows such people to become members.
  • He was a Musharraf supporter. (Read SATAN)
  • He is a rich person/feudal/industrialist. That fact alone makes him unsuitable for PTI.

Please ignore the fact that when PTI did not have electables, you were busying saying "PTI does not have any seasoned politicians". Now when PTI has electables (relatively clean ones, unfortunately God didn’t send angels for Imran Khan despite his frequent requests and prayers), now you have objections as to why PTI has old faces. You MUST ignore these thoughts because you have to finish your article.

4. Next step is to pick any other party or entity and show how PTI supports them. You can choose from the following:
  • PTI didn’t criticize MQM in Karachi jalsa
  • PTI prefers negotiating with Talibans
  • PTI condemns drone attacks

Now here comes the real test of your writing skills. How you manage to manipulate the situation to your advantage depends directly on how weak your memory is.

If you select MQM, then you MUST NEVER mention that you were the one saying Imran Khan is not a politician. He needs to learn to be political. He is too direct and straightforward. Now Khan Sahab has learned some political tactics but you can USE it to your advantage and ask him why he avoided to clash with MQM in his jalsa.

If you select Taliban, DO NOT FORGET to mention his nick name “TALIBAN KHAN”. That is the jewel of this WHOLE article you see. Ignore the fact that the US has been brought down to its knees to negotiate and start the peace process. Ignore that WAR never solves anything.

If you select PTI’s anti drone stance, write a few words about how drones are killing high value targets. Ignore the number of civilian casualties and the fact that a true liberal NEVER SUPPORTS KILLINGS. NEVER.

5. If you still don’t feel like you have bashed enough, you can always refer to Imran Khan’s jewish connections. Lie through your teeth and go low. SO LOW that you reach the bottom of the earth.

Hope it helps. Try to use difficult english words as that would simply confuse a common person like me and your blog will look more "authentic". And GOOD LUCK with everything. Remember, if a pseudo liberal- extremist starts responding to your tweets, OMG: Mission achieved ! Get yourself a gold medal from a good sports shop. But don’t forget I’ll be there to troll you in the comments section or respond to your tweets which you can later retweet to show HOW FAMOUS you are.

Tsk Tsk,
A mean PTI troll.
and i mean it: A VERY MEAN PTI troll.

*The post is written in good humor. Dont take it literally please and kindly dont use this template for writing your blogs. Copyright issues you see. Ill simply sue you.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

Coming back from a partnership agreement that two of my friends signed here in Holland, the male friend joked how he would have to pay the fine for his (now) official partner, if she was caught in some misconduct by the police. As such lamenting over the fact that as legal partners in Holland, they are no more independent individuals and that the girl could from then onwards always demand responsibility and share in her partner’s properties and assets. I do not know the details of the contract to know whether it works equally in the opposite direction as well, but that is not my concern and therefore I will not dwell on that.

Women related issues, in today’s world, form a major part of our usual discussions, and yet lots of work still needs to be done in eradicating the injustice that is perpetrated against them, not just in the developing world but also in the much more civilized and developed world of the west. Despite there being a judicial system that encourages and protects women to come out in the open with their complaints and a society that has come way beyond the typical stereotypes associated with women abuse and torture of any kind, the fact remains that anywhere in the world more women get raped or tortured and beaten than men. True that in the west such cases get reported more often with probably even punishments meted out at a much faster rate. But the number of such incidents in comparison to incidents of a reverse nature still remains very high. And that reminds me of a recent discussion with some Pakistani friends on the nature of equality and similarity between men and women.

The discussion started with me lamenting over the fact that some Dutch male colleagues did not offer a chair to a couple of us females during a one hour long meeting where seating arrangement was not adequate. Though not a very strong argument in favor of men-women dissimilarity, especially when seen in the context of the irony that a female professional brings to an engineering company, the one hour long fatigue (and boredom!) was good enough for me to pass a judgment. Despite being a person who has often rebelled against the traditional mindset in Pakistan to be given permission to run marathons, go to engineering college, participate in political and social activities AND also gone as far as rebel against one’s own female self to cycle in snow or walk 3 hours while fasting, THAT day provided me with a new insight. Seeing “strong” men seated while two women stood throughout the duration of that one hour long meeting, made me realize the inherent dissimilarities between the two genders. And I wondered how they could not, since just a few days earlier my Dutch supervisor while explaining to me the concept of marriage ceremonies in Holland, told me how the bride walks on the right side of the groom till the altar and after proclamation of marriage, the bride changes position to the left of the husband, signifying the authority of the man over the woman and the new family.

And though my Pakistani friends maintained that women could do just anything, or at least what men could, I insisted and still maintain that that is not true. True that, tasks considered impossible for women a few centuries ago are now being carried out with quite a lot of ease by women. That reasoning, HOWEVER,  is akin to using a false presumption. Women were NOT ALLOWED to explore the tasks they were allowed to later and therefore today one sees them in almost every field. It is not because they have, somehow, evolved over time and become equal “physically” and physiologically” to men. It is the challenges of today, not those of yesterday that will judge a women’s true prowess.  And today’s challenges show that women in engineering companies or colleges are not common and neither is their presence in car racing or extreme sports. True that the world has stopped raising its fingers at any such endeavor, but that has nothing to do with issue of equality anyways. That has to do with a systematic understanding of the potential of the two genders, not just by men but by women themselves as well.

For those who seem to look at just the apparent “evolution” of women over time, there is something that has stayed static over time. And that is the fact that ONLY women can give birth. The phenomenon changes the whole dimension with which the comparison between men and women is looked at. The process of reproduction in itself, with all other supporting biological processes, is not a mere scientific way women have been made; but rather has a more deep psychological meaning to the person a woman is. However strong a woman might seem physically and emotionally, inside she is still a woman tied to her biological and physiological roots; which she fortunately/ unfortunately cannot escape. This, however, has nothing to do with her intelligence, (though it is said that baby girls talk sooner than baby boys) in the literal sense of the word or the way it is used usually. It is no surprise therefore, I explained to my friends that day that an infant is more often entrusted to the mother than the father in cases of forced or unforced separations.  And it is also why mothers are more comfortable shopping for even male infants than fathers (something I noticed on a shopping trip to a local store in Holland).

The feminists of today seem to neglect or simplify the notion of motherhood and limit it to just the literal sense of the word. Men, on the other hand, use that as an excuse to subjugate women and term them weak.  Why not celebrate and rejoice in the great gift that God has given to women and understand the psychological and physiological demands of that great task God has entrusted to women alone? Why not rejoice in the emotional strength and nurturing quality God has given to women as a result of the responsibility of motherhood? And why not revel in the dissimilarity instead of using it as a means of confrontation?

Why not understand that men and women are two dissimilar beings made by God to work in harmony, and not necessarily compete with each other? Why not accept the different roles that each has, and tailor ourselves according to that? Why should we as women compete with men? Why strive to become like “them”?  Let us stop this race, before it destroys the peace of our societies.

And as a refresher, to elevate our feminine self let us, from now onwards, start with saying “Men are not equal to Women…(and end with)….

..But women are also not equal to men”…=)

Happy Reading.


Saturday, 24 December 2011

FAQs that I come across in the Netherlands

As a Pakistani woman studying abroad, i come across people who are so intrigued to know about Pakistan and its women. Its actually very nice to explain to people where we come from and to clear their misconceptions. Ofcourse, I tend to find humor in everything and sometimes i just throw in a regular laugh to put the other person at ease. Following are some of the questions that i find most interesting and are regularly asked by my friends and colleagues here in the Netherlands.

My standard answer
If pressed for a more detailed answer
Are you an Indian?
No, Im from Pakistan.
Cant you see that we are different?

But how did your family allow you to live abroad alone if you are from a muslim country?
Well, women are allowed to study abroad or wherever they want to by our religion. If someone is not allowed, that is because of family traditions.

We can always throw a tantrum if we are not given permission ! Simple.

Why don’t you wear a head scarf? All muslim women do.
Well, my religion teaches me a lot of other things that I follow, which I think are more important than just covering your head.
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t and I don’t know why, but that is just the way I am !

Are all women suppressed?
No. All women are not suppressed. If they are, that’s more because of our culture than religion.

Do I look like im suppressed?
How many Talibans do you know about?

None, atleast none in my daily life.
None. I wish they could come and see Pakistan and realize what a lively country we have.
Is there a war on streets in Pakistan?
No, not at all. Life is normal.
Except maybe inside a house. Haha !

Do all men have four wives?

No, most men have only one.
I think one wife is quite a handful – but if someone wants to go bald………
How come with your education and family background, you are having an arranged marriage?
Well, in our society, arranged marriages are safer and more reliable than love marriages.
Yes, arranged marriage – Arranged by “ME” – Haha !

Do you live independently or with your parents in Pakistan?

Currently with parents, future with husband.
If I tell my parents that I want to live separately, they will think im nuts or mad at them for something ! Have to ask future husband yet if he can tolerate me in the same house. :D

Why don’t you settle abroad?
Well, I have my scholarship bond and I want to go back to serve my country.
Your country is nice and I love it but I cant help myself when it comes to my heart that lies in Pakistan !

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

"azadi"-a privilege not to be taken for granted

Prat, just like that, not feigning any diplomacy and uncompromising about the conclusions drawn from his weeklong stay in Pakistan, my uncle exhibits a demeanor reflective of someone unhappy with an erring child who has gone too far in taking many privileges for granted. Last time he was here, he stayed in Daska, a small town in Sialkot that my Nanaabbu made home in 1948 as he left family and business behind to start a new life in the “azad” Pakistan. Daska is very close to the border and that’s what my grandfather and many of his generation who settled in this very "Kashmiri" city in Punjab, lived and most have now died, hoping would help them maintain contact with their hometowns. That azadi that they expected would come in 1948, didn’t come. If at all he had any regrets about his decision to settle in Pakistan, he never showed it. He raised thoroughly Pakistani kids and that’s the kind of “Pakistani nationalism” he relayed to his relatives in Kashmir too.

My uncle’s unable to comprehend the contrast between Pakistan’s hapless national affairs and the showy sophistication of the urban masses. A consistent comment on my sister’s wedding pics was, “ …muslims don’t do this in Kashmir, it’s a hindu practice” (from the garlands to stage decorations and “doodh pillai” to the ever so gaudy glitter of the ceremony itself- n let me clarify from a Pakistani perspective it was any usual wedding, leaning in fact towards the simpler of ceremonies in Islamabad), a comment reflective probably more of the insecurity felt by minorities which leads to an adamant commitment to perceived religious and “national” values as appears to be the state of muslims atleast in Indian side of Kashmir, than an educated denunciation of “alien” practices adopted by a Muslim Pakistan. However, his comments about how one can “see” a lot more money in Pakistan than 26 years ago, the affluence of Islamabad compared to Delhi and yet many more beggars too on the street than last time was definitely a sincere reflection on the rich-poor divide in Pakistan . He was concerned about the extravagance on display, for it didn’t set down well with the beggar of a country that we have turned into, and more importantly the shriveled spectacle that we present today of the messianic warrior state the Kashmiris have always looked upto expectantly. This disappointment was reflected in his response to my question about the Kashmiri aspiration in today’s geopolitical atmosphere, particularly of the Kashmiri youth. He said while any sympathy for India was completely lost on the Kashmiri muslims, from the partition generation to the current lot who have been witness to Pakistan’s u-turns in their most glaring form, their association with Pakistan depended on the way we conducted ourselves. And with that he added an endnote: You just take care of Pakistan, Kashmiris will continue to search for inspiration in their ideological affinity with Pakistan.

And then there was a list of things he wanted to be taken care of in Pakistan. He wanted us to take care of the waderas we elect into office and who continue to suck us dry and deposit all the hard earned money of the electorate in their private accounts outside Pakistan. He wanted us to take care of the frustration permeating our society, show a little more dedication to Pakistan and not run away to leave it at the mercy of money-mints. He wanted care to be taken of the leadership vacuum in this country. He wanted us to take care of the traitors that pose as leaders and sell the country’s secrets to roll back a concerted initiative to wrest control of Indian Kashmir (reference to Khalistan movement and Benazir’s alleged admission of Pakistan’s involvement and handing over of dossiers consisting of state secrets)-an example I state here not because of the merit of his argument but only so as to present the dissatisfaction at the inconsistency of the Pakistan government’s strategy vis-a vis the Kashmir issue, and the feeling of having been left high and dry just when a climax is reached on some of Pakistan’s more ambitious strategic designs. He cited also the shift in positions from an independent Kashmir as first put forward by Zia-ul Haq, which according to him presented a more realistic chance of ridding the Kashmiris of the yoke of Indian occupation. He felt that since independence was a diversion from Pakistan’s traditional stance of the state’s accession, it would be more acceptable to the national ego of the Indian administration than the plausible results of a strictly U.N. resolution defined referendum. And then worse-comes-to worst, Musharraf’s highly charged declarations defending kashmiris’ right to self determination in Agra coming to naught when he made his Chenab-formula (division of Jammu and Kashmir along the Chenab river) proposal public, reneging on Pakistan’s commitment to the U.N. resolutions. Or for that matter, the common Kashmiri’s bewilderment at the Pakistan government’s outright denunciation of militant activity after having supported it for more than a decade and in the process shunning erstwhile popular Kashmiri leadership of the likes of Syed Ali Gilani. That’s what some Kashmiris reminded my father when my parents went over to the Indian camp during haj in 2001 to meet my mother’s relative, “aap nai tau hamari peeth mai khanjar ghonp dia hai” (you-Pakistan- have/has stabbed us in the back).

All the admonition and criticism however was not coming as a judgment from an outsider. It was more like a regretful narration of one’s own shortcomings, coming from someone forcefully ripped away from the whole. And interestingly unlike us in Pakistan, who have played around with our independence and the values that were part of the dream of Pakistan, like some cheap toy and shown contentment with an elite-centric status qou as long as its fallouts don’t knock at our doorsteps, Kashmiris are not content with peace imposed at the stake of justice. It cannot erase for them the reality of graveyards brimming with the future that Kashmir was to have; the past that weighs very heavily against a “peaceful” status qou. It was a plea for us to mend our ways, lest some great harm comes to Pakistan, which for them still represents an ideal of muslim nationhood, an aspiration that they haven’t experienced as yet and still want to look upto-just like the complaining Kashmiri professor who wept as he kissed my father’s hand when he heard he was from Pakistan and said, “You are very lucky; you come from a free country.” And they do NOT want this ideal to be mutilated to an extent where the 60 years long anticipation is rendered baseless. This is probably why in 1971, as my mother narrates, on the announcement of General Niazi’s surrender in Dhaka, my grandfather rushed home, took out his prayer mat and knelt in front of God weeping uncontrollably in supplication for some miracle to undo the blot on the dream he had followed, into Pakistan.

Footnote:  This article does not claim to represent the aspirations of the population of Jammu and Kashmir. Nor does it intend to pass a definite statement on the political conflict itself. It is more a reflection on the development of this conflict and the human side of it over its 60 years long history, and on the state of Pakistan itself.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

The OTHER frame of reference

I was never a blind supporter of Imran Khan’s slogans of change and revolution, but I had always had expectations of him, ONLY because of his honesty. I had often questioned his not-so-direct criticism of the establishment, wanting him to be clearer in his goals, often questioned his tirade against only the Sharifs , and doubted his steadfastness against the ruling government party itself, or the more dangerous armed thugs in Karachi. I probably still do. A two and a half hour meeting, though, has given me a new perspective on all of that.
I met a Dutch woman who has no personal affiliation with Pakistan to be in awe of Khan for all the non political reasons (cricket, shaukat khanum cancer hospital, namal college, flood relief) a normal Pakistani would be of him. And yet, she supports him enough to actually become a member of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf in Holland, contributing fully to this small group of people. And that is why, her narrative of Imran Khan is so relevant today, since she stands to neither gain nor lose anything from this battleand has no baggage attached to her.
I had often seen the name Joana (San) Ong appear in any PTI-Holland discussions on facebook, and I used to wonder whether this was just a pen name, or whether she was a dutch married to a Pakistani, having strong ties with Pakistan. I was told she was none,( not in the strictest sense at least). And therefore, not surprising then that it was not Pakistan through which she discovered Imran Khan, but rather it was Khan through whom she discovered Pakistan initially. And she is still in the process of unraveling the mystery that this nation of 180 million is to many westerners like her.
I asked her why and how? Her answer came easy,
 “Justice, equality and self-esteem are words I connect with… And as a woman interested in women rights and a campaigner against discrimination of all sorts, I was attracted to his message… While having a discussion on a face book group on discrimination in general, a gentleman from Pakistan asked me if I had ever heard of Imran Khan. I was surprised to hear of someone from Pakistan, a “terror-infested”, flood stricken poor country, having similar views about equality and justice, …I did some research, watched some of his videos, and I was hooked…”.
It was as simple as that. Joana found in Khan the path to her goal of equality, justice and self esteem-Pakistan becoming her top priority thereafter. 
Joana is yet to understand the complexities of the Pakistani constitution, the role of the president, the prime minister, or probably even how elections take place for the parliament and the senate in Pakistan. But seeing the passion and energy she has for PTI and its goals, it is quite evident that those political nitty gritties are the least of her concerns in her quest for a brighter and self sufficient future for Pakistan. Her goals are clear and her inspiration is steadfast. Though many might consider her as a one-point agenda free mover and doubt her sincerity to the political structure minus the social structure, I believe, being one not directly linked to the Pakistani social dynamics, she is in a perfect position to teach us a few lessons in understanding the ultimate goal that our founding father laid down for us in 1947; a social Islamic Republic.  She might not yet be aware of the see saw of military establishment, political feudals, pirs and mureeds that run Pakistani politics, but that should not even matter in the context of the bigger goal of “Change” that Imran Khan has put his weight behind, for “change” would ultimately cleanse everything.
Though being a political activist who believes in long term social reform ONLY through political institutions (and not just through individual shows of charity) and who thinks politics and society are but two faces of the same coin, the meeting with Joana has shown me how one can even move backwards from the ultimate social spectrum to the initial political basics.  Although some of us might not agree fully with the “political” choice she has made for achieving her social goal, we can at least try looking at Pakistan from her perspective, un wrangling ourselves from the dogmas of the “real-politik”, and then start picking our favourites.

Joana (San) Ong-PTI member (Holland)
How many are in for this new “frame of reference” then?
Happy Reading!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Home is where the heart is........

I love Pakistan. 
Its the country where i was born; 
where i grew up;
where i spent so many years with my family;
where i made friends with whom i shared my good and bad times;

where i fell ill from missing my dad when he went to karachi for a week;
where i was educated by the teachers i admired;
where i spent the evenings of 13th august glueing jhandian on a never ending thread;
where i stood on our house roof top to watch the F-16s on 7th september;
where i sat in front of the TV all night to watch election results;
where i cheered for our cricket team; 
where our "maulvi sahab" used to give a jumma khutba in his splendid voice;
where i bargained with khan baba over the price of a suit piece;
where i ate paratha rolls and masalay wali chhalli;
where eating halva puri on sundays was a must for me;
where i had my first and last PAAN and didnt know whether i was supposed to spit it out or swallow;
where i used to run to the door at the sound of walls icecream vendor;
where i watched my brothers flying kites on basant and ALWAYS failing miserably at beating the neighbours;
where i liked going to mehndi functions and hated barats;
where i tried over a hundred ECS chappals and bought just one;

where i spent eid chand raats looking for the right bangals and the best mehndi;
where the dhol wala group used to wake up everyone way before sehri time;
where i threw tantrums when my tailor got late in making my dress for eid day;
where my mom used to put food in my mouth when i refused to eat during exams because it wasted precious minutes;
where i cried for days when i gave a bad exam and kept picking out imaginary mistakes when i gave a perfect one;
where i taught students who probably didnt understand my lectures;
where i learned how to drive but could never drive;

I still remember a voice going deep into the winter nights..... "garam aanday";

Oh God; How i miss everything.
I miss Pakistan. I miss home.

Its where my heart lies.