The Change We’re Seeking


The simplest definition of change is to make a difference, to give different position course and direction but unlimited usage. Since childhood, I have heard and talked incessantly about the change Pakistan needs. Change is a relative term thus different from one and other. A certain change for me might not be the change for the other and vice versa. So in a way it is difficult to gauge what a universal change could be? Even though it is a common saying that change is the law of life, but it is not limited to just one particular thing.

We might agree to disagree or simply disagree with a change on a personal level, but when it comes to the government we want them to change everything we want. And we are very clear about it more than anything else. We know all the problems and their solutions, but sadly not the implications and the difficulties faced. We tend to forget that change does not happen in one instance. There is a process behind it. On the front it definitely looks like a revolution, but in reality it is only evolution. Everything must evolve following the Sunnah of Allah, evolution. There was nothing he could not do in a flash, before the eyes have even thought of blinking but he chose process above everything. So, in a nutshell, it is all down to the processes and for them to work they must be created first.

Change

Pakistan is facing a lot of problems, both external and internal, the major one however is that we want everything else to change but ourselves. We refuse to do our part, but expect the government to do so. We lack traffic sense and then complain about the roads and overhead bridges. No matter how many lanes road is built until people get the traffic sense no one can do anything. No one wants to stop at the red signal and if by chance the police stops to give a penalty notice is happy to pay underhand instead of abiding by the law. Yes, the process of retrieving the documents after penalty charge is painful and I think it has improved quite now still does not mean that one should do such a thing. Then we complaint to the government to  do much. I have seen people here in United Kingdom stopping at red signal even at 2 a.m in the morning because they cannot escape the fine in any which way. I have not seen a single traffic warden and yet people respect each other’s right of way. When the traffic signals are not working it still looks like if they’re working and discipline is far better than I have seen in Pakistan with signals. So, what stops us from following a rule and process? Why can’t we be like them? They’re also human like us and if they do it we also can.

While I was in Pakistan, I cared less throwing garbage anywhere but litter. It was not a problem and a convenient option. Unfortunately, I was not alone in this. But now I am a changed man having spent  some time abroad and realised the importance of keeping the street and the area I live in clean. But when we will learn as a Nation? This is not the responsibility of government. It can give a system, but the onus of following is upon us.  We have to clean the place where we live and it should just not the surroundings of our house. Some volunteers have taken upon themselves to clean Karachi and are doing a great job, but a few are not enough. We all have to stand up and do our part to make Pakistan a prosperous country.

The list of changes required is endless, but bottom of line of that is, unless we transform ourselves no one can do anything.  One plus one makes eleven, synergy and it will multiply with every addition to the cause. We have to be patient and let the transformation pass through the process of evolution and become mature and part of the system. Like, if to being with we stop giving bribes to get our work done and instead stand in the queue and wait for our turn. It will be difficult, easier said than done still has to start from somewhere. We have to do it for ourselves and our country. Bear in mind the change I am talking about is of totality and not just the face. Pakistan Zindabad.

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25th July – Election Day


On the 25th July Pakistan will vote to elect a new government and a prime minister. The popular anthem these days is tabdeeli and naya Pakitan just  like Bhutto’s popular slogan ‘roti, kapra aur makan’. Politicians have the knack of playing with the emotion and sentiments of the people and ignite them by using a psychological slogan. The past few years have been good for the democracy in the land of the pure in however what form it is present. Yes, still in early stages, but on its way to maturity which requires at least ten to fifteen years. The problems Pakistan is facing right now are not the ones created just now or by one single party. Pakistan has seen more military dictators than the civilian leaders and the fact is the regardless of how much the dictator proclaims to be a solution and remedy to country’s problem, they’re not. They’re trained to protect the country, not to run the country. So, for running the country they need those who has the experience. And what happened with this mixture of inexperienced and experienced is evident from the state of our country at present. The irony is that only the politicians get the blame and slack for all the mess. The back seat drivers continue to interrupt the front seat drivers chosen by the public rather freely and at their own sweet will.

Whatever little knowledge I have on politics and the system of power in Pakistan is largely gained by reading the articles of my dad and the brief discussions with him every now and then. I remember him telling me that the agencies followed a plan by giving PPP and PML (N) 2.5 years twice in ten years, paving the way for another dictator. Nawaz Sharif in October 1999 became aware of the conspiracy being hatched against him and dismissed his chosen COAS General Musharraf who went on to launch military coup.  Even if the coup did not happen in October the plans were in place to overthrow Nawaz Sharif’s government by December 1999. At that time I was, like every other Pakistani, against the politicians and celebrated overthrowing of Nawaz Sharif’s government. But it did not take long to become evident that the purpose of the coup was just for the absolute power and nothing more than that. This game of absolute power has dented Pakistan more than anything else. In the years that followed as I matured a bit as a student the reality started to unfold. Every now and then a messiah is installed in front us as a problem solver. In the all those years the back seat players (read agencies) have maligned the politicians so much that people started to hate them. And after Musharraf in 1999 they sided with Imran Khan around 2011 when Nawaz Sharif returned from the almost 10 years exile in Saudi Arabia.

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Imran Khan formed his party ‘Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’ in 1996 on the premise of fighting against the corruption and anti-status quo movement. The party did not gain much until 2011 when it finally found the momentum and drive. The carefully chosen slogan of ‘tabdeeli and naya Pakistan’ to win people tired of 5 year rule of PPPP which did nothing in all that time worthy of writing. The wave spread across the nation and it was thought that PTI will form the government by winning the 2013 elections but it was not the case. Then started the incessant chants of rigging followed by a 126 days prolonged dharna in the capital. In that Khan vowed that Nawaz Sharif will lose the PMship on the back of the arguments going on between the civilian government and the army. He was so sure about that, but was let down by the compromise reached between Nawaz led government and the army where the control of foreign ministry was relegated to them. Khan was disappointed and was looking for a place to hide. During this time Khan’s dharna partner Tahir ul Qadri had already left after striking a deal. Khan was left alone and on the verge of political death. The pretext on which he started dharna did not happen, but what happened was an attack on the parliament and radio station by his party. The unfortunate incident of APS Peshawar paved the way for an honorable exit from the dharna.

Khan’s relentless effort to the throne continued and he joined hands with the back seat drivers. Though he denies and most PTI supporters are offended by this claim, but the fact remains that PTI failed to win even a single by elections and found the popularity lessened once the hands were withdrawn. Now again it finds itself on the center stage and with the helping hands all set to form the government after Nawaz Sharif was sent to the gallows on a ‘reasonable doubt’. It so far has not dented the popularity of PMLN and it might end up gaining sympathy votes to the surprise of everyone. Khan took every tom dick and harry into his party on the basis of the argument that his party need electable(s) (the new term for lota) to win elections. PTI need the people who know the science of contesting and winning elections. Something he did not achieve in all the 22 year political struggle. For the sake of throne everyone was welcomed from every other party with tainted record. Khan and his supporters think that they can set these people right because Khan himself is not corrupt. However, his tax return doesn’t justify his luxurious lifestyle. He has supposedly few wealthy men who are affording his private jet travels and other expenditures. The question here is the premise of all that spending and the fact that how much income tax they have paid. Also one pertinent question is after PTI comes in to power these people will not make up for their spending on Imran Khan in all those years? If not, then I would be interested to know what benefit they will get by spending this much money?

The problem and issues faced by Pakistan right now need someone experienced at the helms of power to steer the ship in the right direction. Khan’s candidates don’t show much promise in this regard. I am all for young and new faces but not at the expense of my country. PTI has delivered a lot less than it promised in Khyber Pakhtun Khawa (KPK).  The province only managed to produce 74mw power in 5 years even thought Khan vowed that the province will give electricity to other provinces. He also promised to convert the Governor house into a library and that his government will observe austerity. But in the five years only the spending on tea was reported at about four crore rupees per year. Then all the travel with protocol. In short, his party failed to live up to the promises and now again in josh-e-khitabat he is making tall claims and promises which are impossible to deliver even on the paper. The Pakistanis need to know that winning the World Cup is one thing and running the country is another. He might possess one of the best cricketing brains, but there is nothing beyond that. If there was any such thing thing he would have created a team of trusted people. Pakistan is a country and not a sports team which can be entrusted in the hands of a person and a party who itself is playing a party and clearly lacks the capability to run the country. Speaking on the dice is very easy, even I can say so many things, but to execute them whilst in power is a tough ask and Khan really is not aware of it. People can say whatever they want against PMLN but the fact remains that this party has at least delivered compared to the other parties. So, my dear Pakistanis when you vote on the 25th please give preference to facts over emotions. Also bear in mind that without civil supremacy, no one would be able to deliver. The interference in the civil matters must stop for the sake of the country.

 

 

 

The Station of Love


Mustaqeem Hussain entered the newly built café in Lahore and was captivated by the aromatic, energizing and pungent smell of coffee beans. The fingers in his two hands were enough to count the people sitting in the made in wood café.  He stood there inhaling, and relaxing before finding his way towards Salman Mansoor, sitting in the gloomy corner of the café.

“How are you?” he said and waited for Salman’s response as he sat down on the wooden chair. “Salman, —how are you?” he asked again.

Salman looked away from the windows and asked with furrowed brows, “What happened?” Continue reading

Pakistan: Blasphemy and the Blasphemers


To say that the Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws are talk of the town would be an understatement of sort. The laws currently are the world phenomenon courtesy the verdict in Aasia Bibi’s case in November 2010 and now Rimsha, 11-year-old Christian girl with Down Syndrome was arrested by police in Islamabad on a charge of blasphemy for allegedly burning pages of the Quran. There has been hue and cry from all around the world; from Pop Benedict XVI to the people in United Kingdom, United States of America and elsewhere in the world. The foreign people and the media are being helped by our local media as well as the so called human right activist (read opportunists) and some politicians as well, all of them calling for the annulment/amendments in the law. There major cause of concern is the section 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code popularly known as Blasphemy Laws.

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The Familiar Spirit


Ahmad, the chef, sees his face in the mirror. He names it reflection. When he walks away from the mirror, his reflection disappears. The mirror is blank now. After a few minutes, Ahmad comes back and sees his reflection. Continue reading

Experience So Far: The Reading Week


If finding the way of imparting education in United Kingdom was a 180 degree shift, getting a reading week was a surprise. The sixth week of the course was the Enrichment Week commonly known as reading week. As per the course module this week was given to catch on any missed reading. And it was expected from us to be on top of our game for the rest of the semester. But ever since the reading week begun for some strange reason I stopped reading the little bit I was doing. The only work I have done during the week is rewriting some of my old stuff according to the feedback received.

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Experience So Far: The Voice behind the writer


I used to mumble before putting my thoughts on paper. This really helped me in showing the exact emotions required for the particular part. There were also times when I corrected something in a much similar manner. In all those times I never realized and was not even bothered to know what it was. Only a few days ago I realized that it was the sound of the writer’s voice courtesy of my Creative Writing course. The discussion made me look in to voice with a whole new perspective. Never knew voice has so much importance in writing and that you can sense the expression in a novel through voice.

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