Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

JUST BEFORE ISIS CAME

Posted: December 20, 2014 in It angers me...
Tags: ,

It was the massacre of those 132 children that got the city in an uproar…well, some of it. It was indeed sad and a national tragedy and all TV anchors were ripping apart the invited officials to their shows as much as possible.

Except Ghulam didn’t watch much cable. He heard the news on his local channel and read some in the papers. He thought he’d cry too but the Imam of his mosque told him to have courage. It was sad indeed but it was only a reaction. Those soldiers had killed babies of those fathers who’d burst in the school building. Remember the raid on the Lal Mosque years ago? So much bloodshed! And the drones and the airstrikes and the army operations in Waziristan? Innocent people are dying there, by the thousands, and nobody is helping them! So why should Ghulam waste his tears for a hundred children. They’ve only paid the price of their parents’ sins plus most of those ‘children’ were adults; had crossed puberty and were westernized beyond repair. They wore pants!

Ghulam understood. Those children weren’t as innocent as the media said – well the media that was fueled by western agenda anyway. His local channel was also one of them now, it seemed. He decided he will not pay attention and go about his work. Imam knows best. Imam was knowledgeable. It were the blessings of his knowledge, the ‘faiz’ because of which the neighborhood’s small, modest mosque had turned into a wonder of shiny marble and high rising towers. It had more space too for more people. The Imam and his mosque were funded by international groups – because he was so knowledgeable.

This was just before ISIS came.

There was a protest that night as well. A group claiming to be a civil society was chanting slogans outside the Lal Mosque, demanding the esteemed Maulvi to apologize for his words against the army, for not condemning the attack at Peshawar. Why should he? Did the army apologize for what they’d done in Waziristan? If the army wasn’t condemned then why should the attackers of the school be reprimanded? Everyone has a right to fight injustice against them. Besides, that Malik – he who was now leading the protest – wasn’t he the one who was leading a protest in favor of the Maulvi when Lal Mosque was attacked by that dictator? Looks like he got new western money. Everyone wants to go abroad these days. Like that Malala. It’s all her fault really that people misunderstood Taliban. She wasn’t shot. Look at her face. No bullet marks there!

Ghulam decided he wouldn’t pay attention to the protest and go about his work. If the Maulvi was really that bad then why didn’t the government catch him? Why was he so esteemed and constantly on TV? Why wasn’t there an anti-Maulvi day? Because he wasn’t such a bad guy; just misunderstood by a few who will shut up soon.

This was before ISIS came.

The government seemed to have caved in some to the western pressure it seemed. They hung six Taliban fighters. May they rest in peace. They were only fighting for a cause and if only we could talk to them and stop the aggression against them, they would’ve come back to us, happy and laughing and smiling. We were all Pakistanis; brothers. We shared the same religion and values and everything. It was sad that the Prime Minister would sway in favor of the western powers because he wants their money. Such shame!

Ghulam decided he would never be part of the western conspiracy. He was a self-sufficient man who had a job and he was a practicing Muslim who wanted his children to walk the right path. He would do what the Imam said – pray harder for all lost souls and for himself and for his country. It will be okay soon.

This was just before ISIS came.

There was another attack after that. At the girls college this time. Some 140 students died. Women – they should stay home! Besides, that college never taught anything valuable. It was all love stories and ungodly science. Studying all that, those women would’ve become infidels in no time anyway. It was sad they had to die this way but – they should’ve listened. They should’ve stayed home.

Ghulam wasn’t sure if Imam was right about that thought, though. Islam didn’t want women to not learn or not educate themselves. But then, maybe the kind of education in that college was wrong…? But his neighbor’s daughter went there too. Luckily she survived because she hadn’t gone to school that day but her friends weren’t so lucky. That house was in mourning nonetheless. And his other neighbor, Habib, was very angry with the Imam too for his preaching. But then Habib had always been the one to disagree with the Imam’s interpretations, saying that the Quran didn’t say this and the Hadith didn’t say that. Saying the Imam was twisting words. Ghulam recalled the time when the Imam had confided in him and a few others that Habib was not a good Muslim. In fact, he wasn’t a Muslim at all. He worshipped the shrines. He was a mushrik! He sympathized with non-Muslims. He was a munafiq! That scared Ghulam. He wasn’t as knowledgeable as the Imam. He didn’t have the time to read all those heavy books by himself and he didn’t have to either when he had an Imam. He came to the mosque to learn from the Imam. Imam knew everything.

But today Habib had really lost it. He cursed the Imam! Saying it was hate-mongers like him who had defiled his religion, made the world hate his religion; people like him who would be the death of his country. The Prophet wasn’t like you! The Sufis weren’t like you! Pakistan wasn’t like this! Habib was shouting. Poor Habib. He was so consumed by the tragedy. He wasn’t thinking straight, Ghulam was sure. Besides, isn’t that what the Imam had been trying to tell us? This is what we had done to Taliban – killed their children. Of course they were angry just like Habib. Poor Habib. If only he could see!

Ghulam decided he would teach his children to be compassionate and see the other person’s point of view. Everyone is good except those who aren’t. The west isn’t good. He would never want his children to turn to that part of the world. It was nice to know that the majority of his neighborhood still felt the same way.

This was just before ISIS came.

The city had turned into a slaughterhouse. Hordes of people were killed, bazaars blasted, gunfire in the air. Mobs were burning down everything in their path while law enforcement agencies were trying to control them. Ghulam saw the Imam leading a mob that was looting, breaking private and public property, killing the cops too. Ghulam couldn’t believe it. He always thought the imam was a peaceful man who believed in talks. Yes, he did say violent actions were justified in some cases but to hit an officer in uniform? That’s against the law! Imam was breaking the law?

Scraps of conversation came to his mind – we don’t believe in the constitution of Pakistan…we pledge allegiance to the Islamic State…

ISIS were wrong and ruthless, that much Ghulam knew. They were just bloodthirsty and killed everyone and abducted women and took away sons. He looked at his daughter and told her to go to her room. He was glad his son was home, too. Then, he secretly chided himself for being afraid. They would never come here! Pakistan had an army and everything. It was funny he was even thinking this. He shook his head and shut and locked the door of his house real tight. He wouldn’t go out today and neither would any of his family members. It will be okay. The government will handle this. It will be over soon.

This was the day ISIS came.

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Gaza and I

Posted: July 15, 2014 in It angers me...
Tags: , , , ,

It’s the same every time. Gaza goes up in flames and so does my newsfeed. I join in too, of course, because it is a grotesque humanitarian crisis at the least. We jointly condemn it, Muslims and Jews and others. I get to read opinions and testimonials and articles that are both informative and hopeful.

And then there’s this status:

Boycott them! Let’s all go to war and show them what the Muslim Ummah can do!

Er…yes. I would looooove to see what the Muslim Ummah can do apart from bombing each other. I mean seriously, what, WHAT is that one glorious thing that the Ummah can do to strike fear in the hearts of enemies by showing them exactly how glorious the Ummah is? Please, share! I’m dying to know. And guess what, countless actually have died. Yet, the secret isn’t out.

I understand it can be complicated what with the seventy two million and a quarter sects we have. The divide alone is exhausting. Besides, one sect’s definition of glory is so acutely different from the others. Not to mention, even before we begin to define glory, we need to define who qualifies to be a Muslim. It is no longer enough to declare there is no God except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Last Messenger, and believe in the articles and pillars of said faith – but you also have to blow up shrines now. Else you’re no good. You also have to say no to birthdays, every kind of cultural event and national holiday and God forbid should you even consider to be inclined to be creative. Doom will find you and – well – doom you.

Also, you must impose the beliefs of that one country over your own people because those beliefs, for some insane reason (probably for lack of your own intellect and tolerance), inspire you. Get real, please. The Kingdom (not even an Islamic concept by the way) of Saudi Arabia is a Wahhabi state. More than half of Pakistan (and the rest of the Muslim world) is not. But does that stop the crazies from forcing it down everyone’s throats? Nope!

As if these problems were not enough, we have corrupt governments, corrupt people, and misplaced anger. The religious fanatics are out to get the liberals just as much as the liberal bigots are out to kill the fanatics. There’s an atmosphere of mass hysteria that keeps blowing up in all our faces every now and then.

The world watches the fireworks.

There isn’t much that can be added to this mix except for maybe I don’t know, a tiny tip, perhaps? Something like freakin’ charity begins at freakin’ home? I mean yes please, build your army and show that perpetrator – the one who just raped and killed a minor in your own city, the one who just killed his wife because he’d had too much to drink, she who just stole a newborn from the hospital, those who kidnapped a man for ransom and then tortured him for fun, those who spread hate and see it bear fruits for them. The list is never ending. And when you’re done with all that, once your own house is in order, once you’ve saved your Titanic from sinking, then, you can cure the world outside of it.

I feel the same way about boycotting products. Many of my friends have taken this stand and I respect their sentiments but personally, I just don’t see the point. I’m not even going to contest the case of the millions of employees around the world, including Muslims, working for products on the ‘let’s boycott this and hurt Israel list’ because we all know that.

I would say I did like the decision of the Presbyterian Church to divest in protest, though. It probably didn’t hurt Israel’s economy but it did send out a powerful message, enough to get a reaction from the said country’s embassy.

Now, if we can just get our mosques to do that…

But that won’t happen. Why? Because chances are (about 99% of them) that your beloved mosque where you’ve just received hidaya after being a Muslim all your life only to find you were following the wrong sect, is funded by Saudi Arabia. They’d rather not boycott. Why?

  1. What they’ll tell you – We cannot make this choice for the followers. You have to do this yourself.
  2. What they won’t tell you – Saudi Arabia doesn’t give a damn and will not divest anything for the sake of humanity because it is much too invested in killing a far greater number of Muslims (the wrong kind of Muslims, mind you) in Iraq and Pakistan and such through ISIS and Taliban and such. Not to mention Bahrain. So sorry. No can do.

So, boycott KSA for killing Muslims now? Let’s not buy any more petrol/gold/pilgrimage to Mecca. Yes, the Pilgrimage – you do realize that Hijaz alone is a huge part of the Saudi economy, right? Can’t do that? Okay, how about boycotting China for the way they’re treating our brethren? Virtually everything we use is made in China. Please, tell me again how will you survive when all the Muslim world produces is – bad news? How about Bangladesh? You have heard about what they’re doing to the Rohingya Muslims there, right?

Usually after such a rant I’m thrashed with queries on the line of so should we just idly stand by and watch and do nothing?

My response: I never said that. By all means, support Gaza. Just don’t make it a seasonal thing. Gaza is not a Facebook profile picture or a cover photo or a placard that one just whips out every time Gaza bleeds. Sure, it makes us feel nice and holy to do so but it doesn’t help the cause.

The only thing that can make that miracle materialize is if we stop the murderers amongst us. Stop the massacre that’s taking place in our own lands every day. And stop blaming the West for it, too. We in Pakistan especially love to do just that by the way. So, I’ll say this to my countrymen – grow up! You are a nuclear power with a fully functional army, air force, navy, intelligence. If you still can’t protect your people, then they probably deserve to die.

In this conflict, I truly find no one else to blame but the glorious Muslim Ummah that is nowhere to be found. In the words of George Galloway – and I’ll leave you with that thought:

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So…grand scale drama at Pakistan airports of late encompassing all adventure elements from terrorizing shoot-outs to angry passengers not getting off the plane to airlines refusing to fly to particular terminals for safety concerns.

I am beyond thrilled. This is too much.

What got my attention the most was the fact that my newsfeed exploded about Tahir-ul-Qadri’s arrival and subsequent ‘bad’ behavior at Lahore Airport. Well, yes, I agree. So not cool. And he got what he deserved – Emirates banned him for life from flying them. So, there. His haters had a field day with that, too – lots of jokes and bad puns and all that jazz, and among that, detailed discussions were held regarding what more will Emirates do to avenge this insult? Discontinue flights operations, perhaps?

Well, that did happen. But amazingly, not because Mr. Qadri had held the carrier hostage. Emirates (and Etihad) declared to discontinue flight operations to Peshawar after a PIA carrier was fired upon there, claiming a passenger casualty. To quote a friend here, “soon there will come a time when even PIA will refuse to fly to and within Pakistan!”

Surprisingly, he was the only one who posted anything about this terrible incident. There was not much in the way of a squeak from anyone else in my newsfeed over this. All the concerned citizens who were uproarious about Qadri’s behavior a few hours ago were – well – quiet. And why not? I mean obviously Mr. Qadri is the real threat to Pakistan’s stability and economy; not the trigger-happy-airport-attacking terrorists.

So now I’m thinking – it is okay to raise hell when there’s potential for character assassination (because we love to mock and belittle people, of course) but absolutely no need to waste time worrying when something truly sordid happens because well…Pakistan mein to yeh sab chalta hi rehta hai. It doesn’t matter if the government continuously fails to protect its people against anything at all. It is okay if the state run police kills unarmed civilians in the name of law enforcement – I mean they were like only eight of them, not like eight million or something! And it is perfectly fine for the government to force passenger aircrafts to land not to the nearest airport but to the one that suits their fancies simply because they are incapable of handling the situation on ground/immature/seemingly democratic with tyrannical mood swings. For PML-N, that’s the second time.

But of course, this is all fine. This is Pakistan. This happens.

Well, there’s one other thing that’s perfectly fine. Tahir-ul-Qadri as part of the country’s political fabric.

I don’t care if TuQ is a mullah (a favorite term with many), and has a beard or is too loud and emotional for my exquisite taste or hails from UK, Canada or Mars – if he is against Taliban and wants to be in Pakistan, he needs to be in Pakistan. And so I welcome him. He can refuse to get off as many planes as he likes because that’s not what will compel airlines to stop flying to Pakistan. No, that’ll be the doing of Taliban and ilk who think it their privilege to wreak havoc in Pakistani air and land space, and the utter incompetence of the government to secure the country against that.

As for the tsunami, the inqilab, the revolution, the blah – get rid of Taliban and their ideology, that’ll be revolution enough for now.

Shameless in the Veil

In Taliban’s Pakistan, women will not be allowed to wear jeans but men will be entitled to wearing burqas as and when they please.

According to very terrified sources, men will be encouraged to keep a burqa handy by say, thrown over their shoulder/head/woman so that it’s always within reach in case of an emergency. In fact, every man under Taliban regime will be provided with a zambeel to store his Emergency Exit Burqa. The EEB’s can range from glossy to cotton and from body-hugging to billowing.

When inquired about possible emergencies that may require EEB’s, shunning law-enforcement authorities was number one on the list. When asked, won’t the Taliban themselves be the law-enforcers in their own regime…we were stoned.

Reporting from the grave here. Live at Night.

JAB WE MET

And so Taliban Khan prances towards the entrance to the coveted Cave of Terror. Baad-az-Saat Salaam to the Asst. to the Asst. of Terror Master guarding the gates, and sufficient laanat malaamat on Yahod-o-Nasaar (with the exception of goldsmiths of Britain), he enters.

Meanwhile, Mullah Lal Masjid was spotted harassing his tailor (bazooka blaster on-call) with sticks and stones that would break his bones if he failed to deliver the Mullah’s latest order of a silk Shuttlecock in peacock colors and pure non-Ajami gold threadwork.

Ameer-e-Islami, after caging yet another rape victim along with her three witnesses, was seen spritzing his starched self adequately with khushbo and running out singing Aii Milan Ki Bela!!!

We here are standing by to see what more this circus of Talibans talking to Talibans Only has in store while an army general is due to be hanged in about – now. We request you to please be a true Pakistani and do nothing. Just watch. Do nothing. Be nobody.

(post by My Protest, cartoon by Sabir Nazir)

Once upon a time in the Land of the Pure, there lived ordinary people like you and I. With families, relatives and neighbours surrounding them, they were a happy lot. And why not? They lived where they were respected. Nobody questioned which mosque, temple or church they went to. They were free to go wherever they liked, and no one dared question their residency. However, over the years, they left their country gradually. Some for economic reasons, others for further studies, and there were those who sought political asylums in foreign lands. They chose to be displaced and became outcasts in hope for a better future. But wherever they went, they have clung on to the one identity that they related to – being a Pakistani.

They were not alone. It has been and continues to be the foundation with which every Pakistani shares as a nation. Despite our adoptive nationalities, whether British, Australian, Canadian, American or Norwegian etc., at the end of the day home is where the heart is. Deny as we might, we have some form of Pakistaniat in us, which makes us proud, cringe, flaunt, despair, and as in the current scenario in the country – empathise whenever our country’s name is mentioned.

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Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Times of Ummah

 So one fine day, February 11, 2013 to be exact, when Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry declares in court, “How can somebody who takes an oath of allegiance to another country be loyal to Pakistan?” it has been like a slap on the face of the Pakistani expat community. Is he serious? More importantly, is he sane? If the Chief Justice of the country is going through PMS, he should kindly refrain from flaunting it. This is not merely matter diplomacy. His position defines and unites the people of Pakistan (remember unity, faith, and discipline?) To use it as platform for vengeful agendas is contempt of the justice system, and a disgrace to us people, who need this court to uphold our ideology.

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Earthquake 2005, The News

Even if, for a moment, we think without prejudice about this statement, does it mean that we have no constitutional right whatsoever? Even the right to generate parties after parties at our whims? Fair enough. After all, we merely have a national identification card (NIC) to go our local embassies for passport renewal purposes. Or need be, donate “generously” in times of crises like earthquakes, floods, epidemics and a host of other occasions. It doesn’t matter if our hard earned money is instead being used to fund hate groups, sectarian killers, gangs and payment for the hoodlums who protect the Chief Justice; we are to follow the dictum “hear no evil, see no evil, talk no evil”. If by way of patriotism we give preference to Pakistani traders abroad to uplift local enterprises, increase remittances by sending home more money, it is our business, not Pakistan’s.

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Flood 2011, Beena Sarwar Blog

Our only right, it seems, as Pakistanis living abroad is to vote for any nincompoop leader that gets lucky with Western aid funds, and to answer the multitude impossible questions posed by foreigners. Pakistan, you mean where bomb blasts occur all the time? Why is your country always in a state of war? There is a lot of fundamentalism in Pakistan, isn’t there? No. Yes. Sometimes. Does not matter how defensive we get trying to explain why we still love the country. Apni mitti hai, sona he rehayga.- Janil Jean