Thoughts by Bahadar Ali

October 28, 2013

Polarized Society

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 2:14 pm

Yesterday’s TV soap opera in which two right wing columnists/journalists (Ansar Abbasi and Orya Maqbool Jaan) and left wing intellectual Dr. Pervez Hoodbhouy had a brawl wasn’t only surprising but also upsetting. And I consider it very detrimental to the healthy debate, specially on national TV.

The casual audience was stunned as what the simple case study of Malala’s book, lead to instant fume and fury. But those who know the history of the participants ideological aligning only witnessed the public display of the dark energy under the fault-lines, brewed over the years. Now ideas and opinion difference leading to personal animosity and that too within the rank of opinion makers.

This further shows the receding to non-existent tolerance for others’ opinion that is hardly surprising given the history of extended and black periods of Martial Laws.

The traditional right wing has now adopted to the excessive use of religion to gain advantage in their personal statements in an already religiously charged society. The opponent is cornered in such a way that either it wins the argument or the life. These are the advanced stages of ailing intellectual discourse in the society.

The liberal wing which remained disadvantaged over the last three decades owing to the state’s comprehensive support for right wing, has already thinned out. Though it still has few pockets of resistance but when given a chance sometime unknowingly touches the sensitivities of generally enforced version of religion which is increasingly becoming homogeneous. When given a chance they instantly route to those ideas for which the nation is not ready to comprehend given the mental training and lack of understanding of the moving parts of those ideas which further leads to frustration of the speaker and audience alike.

The above mentioned schism can be traced in the roots of educational system where the divide between poor and affluent’s educational system plays its role. The under-privileged class is not exposed to those texts which their counter-parts grow up with, resulting in total different interpretation of the same event. Even the tone and tenor of English language newspapers is different from the ubiquitous Urdu language newspapers. The same news of a national sensitivity matter is decorated with the different and mutually inverse headline in Urdu and English newspapers and magazines.

In this emotionally charged and polarized society, the role of opinion makers become increasingly important. If no conscious effort is made to train the masses, this country is going nowhere. The weak political parties, who subscribe to popularism than realism, because masses lack of understanding of the real issues, the responsibilities of media grows manifold where the real spirit of journalism should be unmasked over the commercial interests and ‘whatever sells’ phenomena. Once society is back on tracks, economy would certainly provide them enough space to harness their financial well-being.

April 5, 2013

Imran Khan: Myth and Reality

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 12:35 pm

 

In any normal democratic country, it may be a normal process, but a history is being made in Pakistan where one democratic government completed its tenure and transitional government is going to hold new elections. It is a milestone that our portioning partner India had achieved 60 years ago resulting in rock-solid democratic process, stable institutions and matured political parties. Unfortunately Pakistan went through a continued turbulence and ever competing institutions to hold grip on power. Resulting in a sustained chaos and lack of clear vision for the state. The civilian hold up on power, as it is granted in established democracies, has remained extremely weak in Pakistan. Various military generals in almost every decade of Pakistani history staged coup against the civil governments or put the civil governments under their tight checks, if ever reluctantly given power. This resulted in weak political parties, decay of party ideology and birth of a whole new breed of opportunists who would find no qualms in switching their loyalties equally to any ruler military or civilian government.

Insipte of all the short comings, Pakistani political horizon has never remained barren for long. Pakistan has seen very big names and tall stature political leadership who were never short of capacity and charisma. People like Liaqauat Ali Khan, Khawja Nazimud Din, A K Fazl-e-Haq, Hussain Shaheed Suhrwardy, Maulana Bhashani, Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, Mufti Mehmood, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Each of these have their own respective admirers and critics, however, each of these could move the public which they actually did. A new addition to this roll of honour is cricketer-turned-politician Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, popular as Imran Khan.

Imran Khan entry into politician scene is not a new one. He is on the scene for last over 15 years but couldn’t make his presence felt. Until recently no political analyst considered him a serious political contender. But all this changed, apparently from no where, when he held a major political rally on October 30th 2011 in Lahore. The turn out was beyond anybody’s wildest imagination and hence provided Imran Khan, the much needed political attention. Overnight it galvanized hundreds of political aspirants and stalwarts alike to flock around Imran Khan’s Pakistan tehrik-e-Insaaf ( PTI ). Needless to say that immediately Imran Khan posed serious threat to the suzerainty of the traditional and well established political parties of the country. One of them, PML(N), in particular considered Imran as a serious anomoly that could dent its traditionally conservative right wing vote bank.

Despite being a liberal and Western educated, Imran, choose to play on the center-right political turf. This provided the liberal and secular PPP much needed break as well, when latter thought that Imran would split the right wing vote bank of its traditional rival in Punjab, the PML(N) headed by Nawaz Sharif. However, Imran Khan buoyed by the initial euphoria of Lahore gathering, introduced the slogan of change and promised his followers to uproot, as per him, the corrupt and status quo parties. He further choose to play solo and called his movement as Tsunami ( A reference to the giant tidal wave that sweeps away everything ).

Imran could manage to break away a large number of major political personalities from the two main political parties ( PPP, PML(N) ) along with several regional parties office bearers. The new people who joined Imran proved double faced swords. On one end it enhanced the credibility and strength of PTI but on the other end it created an anxiety within the existing ranks of PTI adherents who stood with party since its inception. The new political cadres within PTI comprised of traditional political houses who are habitual turn-coats. Interestingly the first major influx to his party came from the close associates of the former military dictator General Parvez Musharraf, who Imran criticized in his speeches on a regular basis. The PML(N) started beating its drums to the loudest when it saw the new phenomena. They PML(N) would always criticize PTI on top of their lungs. They labeled PTI as a laundry shop where all the politicians whom Imran used to refer as corrupt but once they joined him all of their stains got washed.

On the publicity front Imran’s PTI has left other political competitors far behind. Its media managers played the media very effectively and especially on the cyber-space, they are absolutely no match. It is jokingly referred as that if Facebook were the publicity criteria, Imran would already have established a monarchy there. In actuality, the handling of the media has remained one of the speciality of PTI. Long before the historic and game changer Lahore rally, the PTI media wing started building momentum through its selective choosing of the television channels, their time slots and producing the required noise at required pitch and at the right moment. This would generate the necessary excitement in public which only resonate further by repeating the same till the day of rally. Consequently public would feel the time ticking and curiosity would mount for the event. This is a brilliant design that PTI often uses for its political rallies. It is important to note here that other parties do hold rallies some time very close to those of PTI’s but they never receive the required media attention and generally their gatherings have limited effect on general public.

Another aspect, for which no doubt PTI deserves the credit, is their ability to extract youth out of their homes. In particular the urban middle class youth which generally would stay wary of the electoral process and most of them treated election-day as just another holiday. For them previously it was a useless exercise to cast a vote or for that matter campaigning for somebody. Now the same youth is charged and passionately supporting Khan’s party. Although sometime PTI’s rival complain about the PTI youth for being foul-mouthed and their lack of patience to face criticism to their leader. However, as they are new to the political process, generally their knowledge of Pakistani history seems confined too. Their knowledge of Pakistani politics just dates back to Musharraf-era. They think everybody else as corrupt and have little or no knowledge about the major political parties and their sacrifices for democracy, especially MRD or PPP’s efforts for democracy against the onslaught of the most cruel military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq. For them Imran is panacea for all the ills that Pakistan is presently facing. If questioned with the PTI’s policy, as how to deal with the powerful establishment, they consider it is a no-brainer.

In order to substantiate the rise of PTI from history, Imran Khan equates his popularity to that of the founder of PPP Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in late Sixties. Essentially predicting his electoral triumph in forthcoming elections that to the scale of Bhutto’s PPP in 1970s election. Obviously this is tall claim, nonetheless, it gives further spur to his party cadres and workers alike. Reality is somehow different. Bhutto’s success was the result of multiple factors, the most important among those was the rise of Marxist Socialism in the entire region in that particular era. Bhutto played that Socialist wave to his advantage and turned that into his party’s electoral success. Beside that Bhutto was a trained politician who had charisma with in-depth study, extreme intelligence and was a fiery orator. Imran on the other hand lacks many of these qualities. A leader’s success lies being dynamic and by providing intelligent guidance to the changing realities and political landscape, however Khan, mostly relies on rhetoric, which doesn’t sound appealing after sometime.

Another interesting part of Imran Khan’s person is his overt display of religiosity and his confusion over handling the extremist threat that Pakistan is facing for over a decade now ( Practically it is there for three decades, however it started getting much attention after 9-11 attacks). In the past many years Imran Khan has always remained a vocal critic of the CIA operated Predator Drone attack on Pakistani border areas. He had a consistent stand on dialogue with Taliban and also tries to champion the cause of most of the issues that somehow hurt the extremist element of the society. But he always looked the other way when it came about openly condemning suicide attacks within Pakistan. Even if he did condemned it occasionally, he would right away takes the potency out of it by declaring it as a reaction of US atrocities. This kept many confused even within his party ranks. Because for most of the PTI members he represents the most presentable public-face of Pakistan being a widely traveled and well educated person. Also his detractors question his apparently ‘playboy’ past ( A whole volume can be written here, but it would be beyond the scope of this article) and his handling of some of events from his Cricketing career, including playing in Kerry Packers series while stranding Pakistani team while it was visiting India and also for staging revolt against the then captain Javed Miandad after Sri-Lankan tour of Pakistan 1982.

It would not be out of place if we look at the possible outcome of the forthcoming general elections from Imran Khan’s PTI perspective. Despite the tall claims of Khan for his Tsunami, sweeping of the polls and winning two-third majority in Parliament, the ground realities seems quite to the contrary. There is no doubt that Imran has been able to gather some fairly decent delectable under his garb, however, keeping the dynamics of the Pakistani politics and the mechanics of the polling process even getting some decent size seats in the National Assembly seems a distant possibility for PTI. It is fairly unlikely that Imran would be able to win a seat from MQM controlled areas of Karachi and other Urban Sind centers. On the rural Sind, situation seems bleak as his party doesn’t have enough traction to break the traditional hold of PPP there. Thus it is unlikely that his party might win any seat in entire Sind. In Southern Punjab, on some National Assembly seats his candidates might give some decent fight to PPP but chances of getting more than one seats doesn’t seem possible. In Center and North Punjab where Imran has high hopes, PML(N) would be too tough for him to defeat. However it is likely that Imran Khan himself might win his own National Assembly seat either from Lahore or Mianwali( his ancestral town ). In Khyber-Pukhtunkhua, situation is highly polarized and dicey. There are simply too may contenders and too many favorites. While competing with ANP, PPP, PML(N), JUI(F) there PTI might gain some National Assembly seats but apparently in lower single digit. In Baluchistan province, PTI is simply non-existant. In this bleak picture ( the way I see it ) the only positivity PTI can expect is that it would be a second best contender in some of the seats in KP and Punjab that might help it to prepare for the elections of the future.

 

 

 

 

June 20, 2012

The Day Justice was dispensed!

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 1:34 pm

A malifide intended PM has been disqualified. Every one on the streets is reciting ‘Va ja ul-hukke va zahaq-al-batil, Innul batila kana zahuka’. Finally piety, chastity and good has prevailed. There is fresh breeze of purity that is causing stir on the horizon of virtue. Crying babies have started giggling, trees and crops have started smiling, milkmen started distributing non-contaminated milk, the sounds of angels’s wings have started spurring on the sovereign aerospace of Pakistan, the faces of parliamentarians are beaming with the new respect that they have attained and last but not least executive has finally cheerfully decided to not to interfere in the craft of running a government again, ever! And every one is going to live happily ever after. Right?

I don’t know about you but personally I don’t agree with my above bizarre juxtaposition. Reality is actually more grim. From the history, we know there were times when military dictators would topple elected governments and aggrieved party would go to Supreme Court as a last recourse. But times have changed now. A bad and corrupt Prime Minister has been disqualified by an honest and upright judiciary. The maligned fellow was in General Musharraf’s dungeons when the same esteemed judges were taking oath under PCO ( not once but twice ) and gifted the blank cheque decisions to the dictator to amend the constitution, the way he pleased to do so.

Sweets are being distributed. But only history would be the judge as how a new tool has been gifted to the establishment to cut parliament to size and now the next Prime Minsters would meet the same fate, in the foreseeable future. The current parliament worked so hard to amend the constitution so to take out the most autocratic dispensation of infamous 58-2(b) from the constitution, so that no single individual should prevail on the will of the people. And I would blame it to the leader of shooders, as why he picked the office of the president, as this office was meant for ‘Brahmans’, who would sit there and conspire against the elected governments. But with a head-shooder on the altar, constitution that was void of 58-2(b), the ‘good guys’ were perturbed as how to relieve the public of an inept government, as they used to play these holy-missions back in the decade 90s. However, where there is will, there is a way. First a whole section of media was unleashed on the sitting government and one gentleman in particular was assigned to talk about packing of government, every night before he went home. That didn’t work! Just that poor guy lost his job. But soon, government’s contemptuous behavior was discovered and justice was required to be done, and justice they did!

The raison de’attre of firing the PM (ex-now) is the contempt of the court. The question certainly arises what punishment we should prescribe to those who have been not only doing open contempt but actually spitting venom on the parliament for last four years, every night in the independent media’s gossip shows? Now that question can land anybody in trouble. The question of contempt of parliament is a novice’s choice of wrong words. Fact of the matter is that parliament is on the tip of the shoe of everyone. Our constitution says that judiciary and armed forces cannot be ridiculed, fair enough, but what about the parliament that gave this constitution.

Volumes can be said on this matter but time to take a pause, for now. But there is one impression that ( nauzu-billa) does this expediency has anything to do with a successful business genius Arsalan ( Cannot write his last name, no pun intended )? And if I remember correctly few days back a two member bench of Supreme Court ordered the government for strict punishment for Arsalan but before anything could be done to him government itself is packed off!

Mur kay bhee chain na paya to phir kidher jain gai.

April 25, 2012

FAQs: How to remove a PM in Pakistan?

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 12:33 pm
FAQ: How to remove the democratically elected Prime Ministers of Pakistan?

ANS: If 58-2(b) exists and president is co-operative then dissolve the entire parliament which naturally will get rid of PM as well.
Else get the justice done with PM by approaching courts of law who would initiate contempt of court and a soft revolution will follow that will wipe out PM

FAQ: You seem sarcastic, do you have any precedent to this effect?

ANS: Absolutely. 1990 Benazir’s first regime, 1993 Nawaz Sharif first regime, 1996 Benazir’s second tenure. Tool used was 58-2(b) and presidents were co-operative. Nawaz Sharif in his second tenure got rid of 58-2(b), courts summoned him for contempt proceedings. He was lucky to have some faithful followers who gate crashed the chambers of my lord justices of Supreme Court and ‘azad media’ was absent too thus NS couldn’t be washed away. Now Yusuf Gilani, tried to run a West Minister type democracy in Pakistan which doesn’t suit our temperament thus he should go, rather should be made a horrible example, as how dared he tried to complete his term.

FAQ: Wow that is seditious, if all of these techniques fail what will you do then.

ANS: LOL:) Easy just move 111 brigade and they will occupy the PTV and PM house. PM will be tried for some ‘grave’ crime and at the end either he would be hanged like Bhutto or be exiled to Saudi Arabian Saroor palace like NS. 

 
PS. Make sure to obtain clemency like that of NS, you have to be a non-PPP PM otherwise …. well read the history 🙂

March 31, 2011

A heart-breaker that was played at Mohali

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 5:06 am

For Pakistani nation the moments of happiness have become a rarity in recent times. And in desperation they try to squeeze joy out of any minor/major event that comes across their way. The latest was the Cricket World Cup semi final match that was played in the spirit of sub-continetal Ashes. There was a huge hype weaved around this event and a night before the match Pakistani streets were reflecting the Chaand Raat like scenes. The cricket fans ( meaning by everybody in Pakistan, as everybody is a Cricket fan there ) in order to savour most out of this event made special arrangements to mark it the most memorable one. There was nothing but cricket in the air!

The course of the day leading to the match start time in the afternoon virtually brought Pakistan to a halt. Though officially government granted half-day off but practically it was observed as a full day off. Finally on their TV screens they saw Umar Gul picked up the ball and raced towards Tedndulkar along with millions of racing hearts, especially on the Pakistani side of the sub-continental divide. It is important to reckon this subtle difference that why Pakistani hearts were beating faster then their counterparts. Indians were no less thrilled but lately their country has achieved much successes in a lot of other fields while the Pakistani side is certainly success-thirsty. For the given moment, they were content to quench it with at least a cricketing success.

Ball after ball and Over after Over, as the day progressed so did the Indian score card, notwithstanding some forgiven follies committed by maestro Tendulkar, but in the end the Indian walked out with a decent though chase able total on the scoreboard. The charged crowds on the Pakistani streets regarded that Total as their half success. They ignored the fact that Pakistani bowling was better than Indians but that was not true in the case of batting. Naturally, with brief and distributed intervals of tractions, the Pakistani batting line kept on sliding South, resulting in producing a heart-breaker for 180 million people.

They say, the higher one flies, the harder one falls. Our cricket team’s flight in this match was not higher enough, but the flight of imagination of crowds was not matching the match. It was too high, to say the least. They wanted to settle a number of scores with India by the score on the scoreboard. But as it turned out, though a little late in the minds of emotion savvy nation, it was just another game of Cricket. The one who will play better, carries the day. In this case it happened to be India.

Never mind, we can have match with India in many other fields and believe me those matches don’t have any knock-out stage. History tells us that downfalls of the nations are not caused by singular events rather these are pluralistic in nature. Every string is broken and every bead is spilled. Out of a homogenous downfall we cannot keep some segments floated. All sinks or all rises. So my request is to treat this event just as a beautiful game of cricket and it would distasteful to see if we pick some scapegoats among the Pakistani cricket squad. They did their best. Better luck next time.

March 29, 2011

The Mohali Show Down

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 4:20 am

March 30th, the day when sub-continent is scheduled to stand still on the eve of the clash of Cricket Titans e.g.; India and Pakistan. Naturally the emotions of Cricket fans across the divide are spouting to the new highs. And rightly so, even a minor Indo-Pak cricket trifle creates a sizeable sensation in both countries but this time the event is the most prestigious in the cricketing world, not an ordinary pool match and on top of it being played within hundred miles from the border of Pakistan.

The Internet forums have already flared up and heated discussions dominating the entire subcontinental cyber-space. ‘Team India’ and “Boom Boom Afridi eleven’ has charged followership. Both teams must be under going immense pressure because of the huge expectation of their respective people. But what to do, unfortunately, their will be a result and one has to win and other has to lose. But-the fans- they are not willing to accept the defeat. This is tough!

Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh has invited the Pakistani head of states to watch the match. Diplomatic circles are suggesting it as a cricket-diplomacy venture. This must be an auspicious event to expect a thaw in the frozen relationships of both countries after the events of 26/11, the Mumbai attacks of 2008. Thanks to cricket, at least we would see a summit meeting, which is a good omen to the 1.2 billion people of India and Pakistan who have become hostage to the activities of the non-state actors and also the knee-jerk nature of relationship. Thanks cricket!

On the event of attack on Sri Lankan team in Lahore, I submitted that it was a time for requiem over Pakistan cricket for long time to come. No foreign team visited Pakistan since then on Pakistani land because of well found security concerns. I was intentionally trying to avoid the usage of political sausage but hard to put it aside. There has lot happened recently in Pakistan and our media sang in chorus the choir of pride, ego and sovereignty repeatedly. Fair enough, the nations have their prides, but pride without substance is tantamount to humiliation and embarrassment. Don’t we see that around our borders the whole world has converged to pay homage to the game of cricket and even some smaller countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are also the proud sponsors of this majestic cricket gala but our ‘proud’ nation has failed even to bring some of its matches on its own soil, what a shame!

sharam magar tum ko naheen aati Ghalib

Sorry, politics just induces itself always, despite the restraint. On a more brighter note, the PM of Pakistan has agreed to visit India to see the match. Congress president Ms Sonia Gandhi would also be there to cheer her team. At the same time the chief minister of Punjab has announced that government is going to allot one murabba of fertile agricultural land ( around 12.5 acres ) to each player of the Pakistan team, if they beat India in the Semi Final. Well this may be a better pre-emptive move to ward off the booky phenomenon which has already consumed some wonderful talented Pakistani cricketer in the last year.

Back to the game, despite my love for Pakistan cricket team, Indian seem more favorite for this game because of their deep batting line up and the kind of game they displayed against Australia. However, the momentum Pakistan team has achieved in the last two games cannot be simply over-looked. Pakistan batting is key to this match. Historically Indians are not good chaser of the target, but Pakistan has to do extremely well and target of 290+ can guarantee them a spot in the finals but only if they show the same game as they have shown against West Indians then I am sure they can take on the East Indians too. Yuvrah Singh displayed some fine batting performance against Australia but there was no hurry for him as plenty of over were yet there and he just had to save his wicket and play the loose ball, which he did perfectly well. But the problem lies with the squeezed-in scenario where if one has to manage an average of 6+ per over and save wicket too. No matter what is the out come of this game might be, but at the end it would be a win of game of cricket which has brought close the publics of both countries.

As I was browsing the net, I came across an interesting menu made by a charged Indian cricket fan. Please see for yourself what kind of taste he is offering to his team. Personally I don’t agree with him.
Indian Tigers Menu for 30th March

Afridi Kabab
Shoaib Soup
Kamran Salad
Umar Makhini
Younis Biryani
Gul Raita
Misbah Nan
Ajmal Fry
Razzaq Papad
Hafeez Ka Halwa….

The Great Pakistani thali specially for The Indian Tigers… (Pakistani ko pakaa ke kha jayenge)
Note: This example was picked to depict the deep level of emotions running among the fans. There were a lot more which couldn’t be quoted ( from both sides ) but this one was interesting. Finally I wish well to both the teams and like anybody else eagerly waiting for the match.

March 3, 2011

ایسا دیس ہے میرا

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 4:28 am

 On the eve of a new tragedy that took place in  Pakistan where intolerance has consumed another life, this time it was a Pakistani federal minister,  Shahbaz Bhatti. Are we witnessing the beginning of an end? I have no idea, but Faiz saw it much earlier.

Please read on if you can read Urdu.

نثار میں تری گلیوں کے اے وطن کہ جہاں
چلی ہے رسم کہ کوئی نہ سر اُٹھا کے چلے

  جو کوئی چاہنے والا طواف کو نکلے
نظر چرا کے چلے، جسم و جاں بچا کے چلے

  ہے اہل دل کے لیے اب یہ نظمِ بست و کشاد
کہ سنگ و خشت مقید ہیں اور سگ آزاد

 بہت ہے ظلم کہ دستِ بہانہ جو کے لیے
جو چند اہل جنوں تیرے نام لیوا ہیں

 بنے ہیں اہلِ ہوس، مدعی بھی منصف بھی
کسیے وکیل کریں، کس سے منصفی چاہیں

August 19, 2010

Pakistan Floods: What Ashu Lal says!

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 4:57 am

 Note: This is what Ashu Lal, a poet from Siraiki area of Pakistan, comments about the recent devastation caused by the floods in his area. I liked Ashu Lal’s talk so much that after watching his emotional interview with BBC, I decided to translate that for the understanding of the greater audience. In the whole translation the use of ‘I’ is synonymous with Ashu Lal.


I don’t think this destruction is because of ravaging waters in Indus, partly may be, but more it has to do with the greed of the local landlords. The Siraiki belt around Indus ( Katcha ) used to be a cattle hording area. People were very rich, some household might have hundred buffalos while other might have 200 but it is no more the same. We were told to till the land and become agriculturists and in return we got the same person now either owes money to fertilizer-supplier or to pesticide distributer. He has no more cattle but now he has one motor bike and a cell phone in his pocket, this is all he got in return. The connection of transformation from cattle ownership to an agriculturist has deep meanings. Prior to agricultural trend Kachi (his area) was known as ‘Sonay kee pachi’ ( basket of gold). People were rich now they are poor.

Before the wheat-cotton growing phenomena kicked in, people would connect rivers through small canals for the cultivation of cattle fodder only and there were around 500 natural lakes, so huge that some of them would take more than a day for a river to fill it. The river would pass through these area only after filling those lakes and these served as a natural check on the river flooding. Then greed of wheat crept in, the big landlord filled all those lakes with bulldozers over the period of time, to be used as wheat growing fields. Indus and its tributaries were left with narrow passages and zero natural storage to minimize the impact of flooding. Then what river would do, it would certainly jump out of its banks and would try to find its flow track like blinds, squashing anyone on its way. This is exactly what happened now.

I have never seen in my life that floods in these areas would actually do any harm to the people of the area or their cattle. Cattle could be moved but crops, no way! Reap the results the prosperous families overnight turned into alms seekers. When you level the outlets and close the flow channel, this is what rivers would do. Conform with nature, don’t bend it. It becomes furious if you meddle in its business. [ I support this argument based on the fact that heavy rains in Pakistan and fires in Russia are the result of tampering with Mother Nature ]. Every year, Lahore, mockingly also referred as Takht-e-Lahore, takes away Rs 95b from our area and returns back 10b, we don’t ask them too much after this calamity, just return our money that you took this year, and we’d be fine. But the scale is big, everything from Kala Bagh and all the way to the sea, is under water, more than 1100 KM. The scale of destruction is too big!

All the government official, members of parliament, they are unaware of the planning business, they just demonstrate their naivety when something out of blue falls on their head and then their mediocrity flashes everywhere. You have blocked the rivers but never bothered to make National Flood Commission or any other similar authority to plan and organize the construction of roads and residences according to the geographical realities of the watery areas. They are just useless scums, just useless

Here is the link to his original interview with BBC Urdu.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/multimedia/2010/08/100817_ashulal_poet_onfloods.shtml

August 17, 2010

Horrible devastation, Please donate now!

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 1:40 pm
Instead of writing a detailed article, please accept this as a humble plea. Please open your hearts, as things are really bad in Pakistan. Now the estimated figure is that 4 crore (40 million) people have been affected and displaced people are left with nothing. UN today said 3 million childern are potentially target of water borne diseases like cholera because they don’t have clean drinking water. In their areas where ever flood passed it contaminated local water resources and it is no longer drinkable. A lot of Pakistani city names that you used to hear, are now under water. So far more than 40 cities with a population from 500,000 to 10 million are under water. We can imagine as countless villages and small localities would have succumbed to the ferocious flood waves and may not even got attention to the major affectee count. The major problem with the stranded public is the accessibility as most of the road infrastructure, bridges has been swept away. With new estimates it will take Pakistan at least 15-20 years to be able to re-develop that infrastrcuture. But that is long term, right now people are hungry! There are scenes where mother have seen two of her childern die of hunger infront of her but she has nothing to feed them. Now it has been establsihed this is the world’s largest recorded calamity. I don’t know why this is not making world headlines.
 
Some of you may not be happy with the government or Pakistan’s political image degradation might have created a sense of indifference. But trust me the people who have tarnsihed the image of Pakistan may be less than one percent of the one percent. Rest of the people are just like us albiet may be poorer but exactly like us. I am pointing out because people are not donating enough. My voice may be very weak, but please understand that calamity and its scale is way bigger than Tsunami or Haiti’s earthquake or any other natural disaster.
 
Please donate generously, wherever you think you should, just do it. If you don’t trust the official funds, give it to any indvidual or organisation which you trust but please do it. Time is running out. If we don’t act now, God forbid, we might get some disastrous news from that part of the world and at that time trillions of dollar would not be able to do anything. Timing is really important, please donate now!
 
If possible please spread this message.
 
Thank you.

August 14, 2010

Unprecedented Floods and Donor Fatigue

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 4:09 am

Yesterday seven people were killed only by snake biting in the flood ravaged areas of Pakistan. The deadly Python are increasing the sufferings of the flood victims in the Southern Punjab and now Sind.  While entire transportation infrastructure in Khyber-Pakhtunkhaw has been swept away, out of 5000 km roads only 350 has survived the ferocious flood waves. Out of 280 bridges only seven are left now.  Swat, Malakand is cut off from rest of the province and around one million population is besieged there because all the connecting bridges have been taken away by flood. Estimated cost of initial damage for Khyber only is more than $2B. While known number of casualties in just one province have exceeded 1400.

Overall in Pakistan this is the biggest calamity to have hit this country ever in its history. Unlike  the 2005 earthquake, the scale of destruction is huge and comprises the entire Pakistan. Crops worth  billions of dollars have been destroyed, estimated 350 thousand houses are there no more. 14 million  people are living under the open skies. They are fasting there without food, medicine and are victims  to potential disease outbreaks and insects. The scale of the disaster is unimaginable, hospitals,  schools and other infrastructure  cease to exist. There is widespread understanding that Pakistan has  been pushed back for at least 15 years. UN is calling it even the worst disaster than 2004 Tsunami.

But the problem is nobody is donating the money! Our media is focusing  on the shoe hurled at Zardari.  Government is defending that there was no shoe attack. Heated debates are being conducted over national media with appropriate time for commercial breaks. The fun and chatter of bickering politicians on the  TV is continued. Political point scoring is at its peak. Zardari is planning for another trip. This  time to Russia, though he has shortened it now. Though it could safely have been cancelled. This is the state of affairs in Pakistan!

Donors are not contributing enough this time. So far Prime Minister’s fund has received just Rs. Four  million! Once the flood waters recede the ominous task of of rehabilitation  of the homeless would  commence. To put it mildly, it would be like re-building half of the country. Crops, cattle and other  valuable of ordinary Pakitsani he owned, are there no more. A huge funding is required. No single state can do it. All of us need to realize that the magnitude of the destruction is huge and has  unfortunately could not be projected as it was supposed to be. Because of our deepest interest in the  dynamics and heat of politics we took it light and on Facebook and other social networks a vast 
majority of Paksitanis were busy in unfolding the ‘Joota’ mystry while town after town was getting  inundated. Very unfortunate!

Through this post I appeal you to please open your heart and contribute as much as you can. If you feel a credibility issue with the government or any NGO please figure out the people whom you think are  honest and hand it over to them. The donor fatigue is visible and understandable but please imagine one quainter of Pakistan has been rendered homeless. We have homes and comforts, please imagine if that is  taken away or water destroyed our property, what would be our feeling? This has actually happened in  Pakistan and fairly well-to-do people have also been forced to request for two meals a day in a relief  camp ( Even relief camps are not many and most of the people are wandering and have no where to go  after water took over their homes and properties) .

This is time to act, this is Ramadhan and the best place for your early Fitrana are the needy, helpless and flood-ravaged people out there. Lets keep the political point scoring for some other time. I am  purposefully not mentioning any of the charity here. However personally I’ve chosen International  Development and Relief Foundation ( www.idrf.ca ) a Canada based charity with a proven track record of  helping Pakistan in the past.

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