An Unfortunate Mindset

You know there is a very fine line, thin and almost obscure, which connects the mindset which deems it ok to insult someone in public by calling them names – especially when the person in question is of the opposite gender – and the mindset which is ok with ‘light beating’ of wives to be ok for things which are not ‘acceptable’ in terms of their behavior.

This very thin line of connection whilst cannot be seen so easily and to the naked eye is actually one of many big problems with us. And it’s a problem not just in one way or one level. Multiple ways. It’s an entire thought process or school of thought if you will which isn’t really the produce of a well-researched and intellectual think tank or anything of that sort. Just the opposite. Fueled by an ignorant and ancient mindset which refuses to embrace good for humanity and wants to continue ruling with their veil of ignorance on top of everyone to stay in their positions of power and influence. I am sure it won’t require any rocket science to guess who I am referring to.

But that’s one of the things. We are ok dissecting and discussing it in drawing rooms and condemning it as if it was the most natural thing to come to us. Whereas upon closer introspection you might find that one some levels you are just as ignorant. Ok maybe not ‘just as ignorant’ but definitely more ignorant than you would like to admit.

Khawaja Asif’s remarks in the Parliament against Shireen Mazari were uncalled for, unbecoming and definitely not something that should be part of the nation’s parliament much less coming from a federal minister for crying out loud. It was not the first time from Khawaja Asif and definitely not the first time in the history of the country. There have been many incidents in the past involving women parliamentarians of all parties. Benazir Bhutto too had to face such ridicule.

It is sad that such things happen. But these things happen not just here – they happen in other parts of the world as well. So this is actually a bigger problem world over especially with the whole ceiling on women’s achievements and growth and success etc. Till we as a whole get out of this need to differentiate between genders in the professional realm – things will remain the same.

This discrimination and mindset world over is there but perhaps most parts of the world have become a bit more subtle and sophisticated so they don’t tend to boil over like it still does here. It was also unbecoming of people chiming in with ‘Keep quite aunty’ etc. It was also unbecoming of others present there not doing enough to control the situation and try and make amends immediately. Surely this is not something which cannot transcend different political party lines. Respect and all?

Sadly it doesn’t. It is this very mindset which will perhaps condemn the light beating issue of the CII (the wonderful people that they are) but will actually internally agree with them and then well who knows what happens in their households. It is the same ignorant and ‘jaahil’ soch that thinks it is ok to go around beating the weaker sex. As is the case. It is the same mindset which then goes on to connect with other problems like honor killing and all. The one which would most likely look down upon the victim of a rape and take out their flaws and faults which led to the crime rather than look at the perpetrator.

It is the mindset which thinks it’s a man’s world and only men are allowed to be kings and rulers and have every single inch of power available in this world. And that anything else is here to be man’s objects of desire, use and rejection. It is unfortunate that such a mindset occupies the parliament of our country. It is unfortunate that such a mindset is allowed to spew negativity towards development. It is unfortunate that we have not done enough to battle this mindset.

It is this mindset which has for years continued being an obstacle towards girls education. It is this mindset which has given liberty to elements like TTP and the like to go about attacking and murdering innocents, destroying structures and lives, vanquishing dreams and hopes. It is this mindset which is unfortunate and which hasn’t been dealt with where it needs to be dealt with the most – in the mind. The military operation has beat the TTP in the background. But the social fabric of our society is still suffering.

The Importance of Travel

My article ‘The Importance of Travel’ was first published in Travel & Aviation magazine in May, 2015. 

You will only live once. And a majority of that life would be spent in the traditional phases for most of us. School – College – University – First Job – Second Job – Job – Fall in love – Get married – have kids – raise them – retire and enjoy old age. I think that would pretty much cover about 60-65 odd years (based on the average expected life Pakistanis). That’s schooling, working, family life split up in those 65 years, 365 days a year. Now trust me the people or person or story which gave life to the phrase You Only Live Once were definitely talking about the above. They were talking about life in spite of the above. All those things will happen. But it is important to live during all this. To make experiences which perhaps would only add or make you appreciate your everyday life more.

Travelling is that one major important element which will give you the experience and perspective and personal insight to all of the above. Whether for adventure, to relax, to explore, to learn or simply to get away from everything and take whatever it offers you – travel is something that should not be ignored. It should be undertaken with open arms and open mind. Travel and you truly will understand the fact that you will live only once.

We have compiled a list of reasons for you to travel. My best bet is that you will be able to relate to at least half of them.

  1. Travelling has never been easier

First of all let’s clear the air about the difficulties of planning a travel. Travel isn’t a gigantic task or a mount everest that needs to be climbed over. It is not something unreachable or undoable and certainly not because it is difficult to do, plan, manage or execute. More now than ever before travel is actually easier to plan and manage. Yes there might be the challenge of getting the VISA for the destination of choice but beyond that it is certainly no herculean task. The easiest route of course is a travel agent. Just tell them where you want to go and they will plan everything and get it done. Even airlines offer you the option of making arrangements for accomodation along with booking a flight and even transport.

If you are more into doing things and managing yourself than there are many online websites now which help you make your travel plans, book online, provide reviews etc. tripadvisor.com , lonelyplanet.com and booking.com are three such websites which will help you plan you trip from a to z. With reviews provided for hotels along with information on the top attractions of a particular city, these websites also come with ongoing deals on accomodation, tours and air travel. They will help you compare each element, guide you on the dos and do nots and give the perspective of other fellow travellers. Make a detailed itinerary or a light one all can be managed by booking through the websites.

  1. Opens your eyes and changes the way you relate to the world

It is great reading about all the customers, cultures and things that happen around the world in newspaper articles and online blogs and magazines. They are fantastic to look at in documentaries and other shows on the television. But nothing quite compares to experiencing all of this first hand and then opening your eyes with that added experience to the world that awaits you. The Donor Kebab that you saw on tv or had at the local franchise was great. But the one you can have standing in the streets of Istanbul amidst all the hustle and bustle of Turkey’s most beautiful (in fact one of the world’s most beautiful) cities was an experience on a whole other level. Seeing the locals interacting with each other, going about their daily business, having their lunch in a quick street meal and the way it all comes together was something on its own. Add to that the authentic Donor kebab from the very heart of Istanbul itself – priceless.

The way we look at everyday things that we do when at home changes when we have an added perspective of another part of the world in a meaningful way. Whether it is food or business or a local merchant or a local small business man or any other xyz thing – the perspective you gain, the way you can relate to your everyday life back home will have gained from the travel experience.

  1. Self Insight

Backpacking through Europe, not knowing exactly where your next stop and meal is going to be at and just living life 1 day at a time during that 10 day vacation. Doesn’t quite sound like the everyday hustle and bustle of driving from your home in DHA or P.E.C.H.S and driving through the clutter of cars on Shahr-e-Faisal and I.I. Chundrigar back in Karachi. Neither is it anything like well cooked Biryani waiting for you at the comfort of your home. You see when you step out of your everyday routine or your comfort zone you will most definitely get an insight about yourself. Maybe you will learn that you enjoy walking. That you actually enjoy roaming the market streets and interacting with people more than you thought. Perhaps you are someone who likes to get your hands on fresh produce and whip up something of a quick meal and experiment and make all that Masterchef viewing come in handy. You will learn that you can be quick on your feet in decision making and that there are certain areas of life that you never knew could be explored. Most of all you might learn that you have a thing for taking breaks, going to new countries and getting new experiences of people, cultures and food.

  1. Meaningful and memorable encounters with people

When on travel you are bound to meet new people, have new encounters with them. For most parts these might just be your average typical conversation. But everyone once in a while you have a special encounter with someone who might through their shared life experience leave you wiser and enlightened. Or someone with whom you might by chance share a mutual travel experience with which lends foundation to perhaps a story that you tell over and over in your life. They might even be someone that you become good friends with. And maybe, just maybe if you are experiencing a rare hollywood / bollywood moment than you might even meet your soulmate. You learn to embrace being outside of your own social circle of family and friends back home in Karachi or Lahore or Islamabad or wherever in Pakistan you hail from and learn to make new connections and the different perspectives it can bring. It will help you develop the skill of striking up conversations with people you have never met before, of breaking the ice, of making small talk and interesting ones. You will be a more confident and well rounded person at the end of it.

  1. Learn new languages

It has, it is and always will be cool to know how to speak a different langauge. Other than our mother toungue of urdu, the globally official language of english and our regional ancestral language of sindhi, balochi, pashtu etc. You may not be extremely fluent in it but to be able to utter out a few sentences that you learned while away in Italian or Spanish or French is something that will add that ‘coolness’ factor to you. And its always better when that learning has that travel story attached to it rather than language classes at for example Berlitz in Karachi. Added to all of that there is something deeply satisfying about having been able to do it with the locals on your travel.

  1. As a transition

It is always good to get away from your world from time to time. It leaves you refreshed and recuperated. Re-energized and raring to have a go at everyday life once more. This is truer for people who are going through different transitions in life. These transitions might be good or bad. It might be in between jobs, in between schools and moving, kids or relationships but just stepping away from all of that for a few days of escape will benefit the end goal of that transition. Sometimes more than the end goal the escape is necessary simply for you to move on with your transition. It can maybe help you deal with a major life event. I have had the personal experience of travelling twice when things got a little too overwhelming for me in my personal life. Both times I came back feeling renewed just that little bit extra. It helped me shut off my mind from everyday stuff or ongoing stuff for those few days and be back with a different energy to move on. This was especially the case when I went to Sri Lanka last year to help myself get over the loss of my mother. Whats more is that at times it needs to be solo to be able to achieve the required goal. So from experience I can say in my opinion that travel is perhaps the best drug, in a completely legitimate and good sense, during any sort of transition period.

  1. For all the food in the world

Travel is especially essential for a foodie. And we are not talking about the people who are foodies because of their unbelievable capacities to down gastronomic monstrosities. No we are talking about people who love food, for the art of food, for the divine experience of food. For people who know and understand and want more out of their food life than your local spicy biryanis and parhata rolls and niharis. While our pakistani cuisine is rich collection of culinary delights and heritage and history – it is certainly not the end of the world. The world has so much more to offer in taste. So many different ways to cook the fine produce from mother earth each with its own sense

  1. For the adventure, the experience

Riding the elephants in the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka or having the parakeets standing on almost every part of my arms and head while feeding them at the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore or walking through the streets in Trafalgar Square or visiting the historical grounds of my love i.e. Arsenal (football club) in London UK are not experiences that I would trade for anything ever in life. In fact all the traveling I have done – domestic or international – has only left me with the desire of doing it even more. To wanting to see more and more different places and being able to experience the different foods and cultures and people those places have to offer. The night safaris, interacting up close with wild animals, trekking through the mountain ranges, visiting different historical landmarks, the mueseums, the art, the culture, the sacred places, pushing my physical limits and pushing my cautionary flags are experiences and adventures that have left me wanting more. There are many beautiful places and cultures in this world that are waiting to be explored and taken in. The need for adventure and new experiences is hardwired into us. Travel helps you awaken this need and tap into it.

There can be a million more reasons added to this or just one taken from the list above but as soon as you understand yourself and look into yourself you will know that you want to travel. So grab your backpack, book your tickets and get going. The world is a wonderfully diverse place waiting to enrich you with all it has to offer in every corner of it.

Pakistan 2011: The Year That Was….

And so comes to an end a year which can easily be described as a b-grade romantic thriller novel. With not so much of the normal romance that one would expect from these novels. Pakistan’s 2011 has been full of headlines from covert US CIA agents killing civilians to the extraordinary feat of our cricketers heroics in the world cup to reach its semis amidst the clouds of match fixing.

The topsy turvy ride of 2011 started with the killing of the then Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer at the hands of one his bodyguards. That there were sections of our country that actually cried in outrage at the killers arrest and detention was indeed a low point. Then towards the end of the same month the Raymond Davis fiasco ensued. The ‘Diplomat’ who was working as a covert CIA agent who killed two Pakistanis in Lahore. Who then was freed from our prison after paying blood money to the victims families.

These two points would of course continue to remain thorns through the course of the year. Salman Taseer’s murder under the banner of Blasphemy was not an end to this unfortunate extremist mindset. The Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti was also gunned down for ‘Blasphemy’ in March. What was their blasphemy? They spoke against the abuse and misuse of the Blasphemy Law against minorities. Both these men were killed by extremists for saying the right thing. For saying what our mullahs should ideally be preaching: being just and fair. The rights of minorities are not exactly at their best in our country. It might not occur to us as much because they aren’t exactly reported as much as the happen in our mainstream media. There have been many cases where families have had to uproot from their home towns and flee to another one because the locals had started persecuting them for ‘blasphemy’.

What our mainstream media was and always has been more focused on is the soap opera-ish love affair between us and the Americans. Davis was just the start of a year which would prove to be really record dipping low point of the US-Pak relationship. He killed two Pakistanis in Lahore, was in jail for a little while and the US cried Geneva Convention. Somebody paid blood money to the families and the guy went back to the US without so much as another word on the matter. Then of course there was the whole OBL incident. Somehow a delta strike team of the US Army managed to make it all the way into Pakistan all the way to Abbotabad and take out Osama Bin Laden in the deep of the night. Apparently they were using the cloak from Lord of the Rings which Frodo used to hide outside the black gates of Mordor because surely our military capability is enough for us to see an intrusion like that and stop it. It was a debacle. Osama was in the Military’s backyard for 5 years apparently and we didn’t know? We were not informed of this strike before hand even thou we are ‘allies’ in the ‘war on terror’? Many questions but very few answers. Then American Military Chief of that time, Mike Mullen said the Haqqani Network was a ‘veritable arm of the ISI’ which was apparently taken in the wrong context but not out-rightly apologized for by the Obama administration. Then memo-gate and the NATO strike on one of our outposts as a response to which Pakistan avoided the BONN conference as a protest. It has really been one thing after another which has just been pulling this love affair down from rock bottom to rock bottom. Cyril Almeida puts it brilliantly in his article published on 31st December, 2011 in the Dawn:

‘The US doesn’t trust Pakistan and Pakistan is massively suspicious of the US. The US has fundamental doubts about both the will and capacity of Pakistan to fight the war against militancy. And the Pakistani Security establishment is convinced that the US was seeking to do more than just dismantle the Al Qaeda network’

Clearly the tone doesn’t look rosy for 2012 in all things Pak-American.

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The internal political scenario hasn’t lagged behind from our media focus of course. I mean how else would the likes of Kamran Khan and Hamid Mir maintain their ‘mojo’. MQM’s walkouts and make-ups with the PPP government. Nawaz’s rants and playing the typical opposition party of Pakistan. The Q-league doing what it does best: shifting alignment as and where required without have any morals or actual ideology of their own. They did so again when the PPP required a message to be given to the MQM that they have other options for forming a majority Government and to bring an end to their dramatic walkouts and then making ups. The Qatil league happily accepted the role after being promised things like deputy prime minister and other cabinet positions. Those did not materialize but then most promises in the politicking are ever held. What they did manage to gain was the release of Moonis Elahi from prison and the end of the corruption cases against him in the NICL scam.

But the drama of MQM and PPP was hardly over. No one knows who let him loose –the liquor or Zardari – but Zulfiqar Mirza took it upon himself to create a storm in Karachi. It started with a drunk, fiery and uncontrolled speech at ANP Leader Shahi Syed’s house. But continued through the course of days and weeks. Speech after speech. Not just targeting the MQM anymore but also some PPP leaders as well especially Rehman Malik. To his credit Zulfiqar Mirza did entertain and keep those media ratings going through the roof. The words were bold. The accusations and poking was very much for all to see. It instigated violence in the the city by the sea. Target killings, ethnic violence and complete shut downs. But that didn’t stop him. For he had taken it upon himself to eradicate what he called the menace of Altaf Hussain, MQM and Rehman Malik. The PPP of course distanced itself from all that ZM was doing and eventually after a flying back and forth from KHI to ISL ZM has now gone to London. To this date leaving people unclear who gained what from that entire drama. Was it Zardari who wanted him to go up against MQM and time the Qaatil league handshake accordingly? Was it a reminder to Rehman Malik not to be too ambitious about where his sights may lie for the future? Or was it a case of ZM being redundant for the party and not really having control on his liqour? No one knows. There are theories of course. But no one knows for sure.

The months unfolded a trajectory in politics which bore a staunch resemblance of the Pakistani ‘democratic’ scene of the 90’s. The opposition party creating enough hue and cry for the incumbents to be eventually dismissed and then take their own turn in the opposition. It seemed the same. The ingredients were all there. But then, a new kid (well not so much new but more like a rejuvenated) arrived on the block.

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With a inexplicable rise, Imran Khan started what he now calls the Tsunami for Pakistan. A tsunami which will only destroy corruption and all things bad for this country. Imran Khan and his PTI now boasting names like Javed Hashmi, Kasuri and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, started representing a hope … the only hope under the circumstances, for a change to come to this country. They used the social media and marketing tools at their disposal to very good advantage and to their credit they have managed to get the urban centres (especially the youth) more involved. If nothing else there will be change in the form of more voter turn out in the next elections. Gathering sizeable crowds in Jalsas in the hearts of PML-N and MQM in Lahore and Karachi respectively is also a change. It is a testament to the fact that people are really desperate for change. They are desperate for any thread of hope dangling in front of them. I am still sceptical of the PTI. Especially because Imran Khan has ‘had’ to induct into the party people with questionable pasts. Imran Khan himself of course cannot be questioned in terms of his will and desire to do something for the nation. His resume boasting of the Shaukat Khannam Hospital and the University are proof of this. Along with of course the more popularly discussed achievement of winning the word cup as our cricket captain. I will vote for him but as I keep saying not out of choice but by the lack of it. Nonetheless he has caused concern to Mian sahab, the chesire cat of Isloo and Bhai in London. And he does pose as a much better option than any of the other parties. We can but only hope that mine and a few others’ concerns are unfounded and that he will actually bring real change.

Our year in sports has gotten better as the year has progressed. For one thing the PCB has not been in the news much since the end of Butt’s tenure as Chairman. Afridi has returned to the One Day side after his self exile from national cricket over what he termed as mismanagement and differences with former coach Waqar Younis. We have played 4 series since the world cup and won them all. Given that 2 of them were against minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe which is hardly a test. And there was West Indies as well who are not the giants they were once. But we did also play Sri Lanka and completely dominated them in the tests and ODIs. Regardless of Sri Lanka being off their game it was still an achievement and credit to the team. The Feb-March world cup heroics were also something the nation should be proud of.

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Afridi led a divided team to the semis where we lost to the India (the eventual World Cup winners) at Mohali. There have been negatives of course with the tussle between Ejaz Butt and Afridi. And the spot fixing scandal from Lords last year still looming over our heads. The three players involved had been slapped bans and fines by the ICC and now have also been sentenced to jail time by the courts for bribery. The constant switching of captaincy and continued policy of of not naming a long term permanent leadership setup for the team by the PCB remains a sore point. Mohsin Khan who is currently head coach of the side is not a permanent choice and there are still reports of Dav Whattmore getting the job. However the year has ended on a positive and we start 2012 against England with high spirits.

Apart from the major categories of Sports/Politics/Foreign Policy there have been other positives and negatives as well and well some just downright embarrassing stuff. Veena ventured for overseas work and twice made the media focus. Once with the whole Big Brother saga and then the FHM magazine shoot. It isn’t cute and well its just too much tabloid.

The brilliant geniuses at PTA actually tried to come up with (i say ‘tried’ in hopes that the idea has now been abandoned) a list of english and urdu words that would be banned for texting. The list was not small and clearly indicative of a llloooottt of spare time for the people at PTA. The bloody thing turned into a joke not only in our own country but some foreign channels also caught the speculation. In a gist their reaction was ‘Are you fucking serious? hhhahahahaha’

Pakistan was again hit by floods this year and the worst of it was in Sindh. The response and awareness for this was encouraging to see. The effort put in by some organizations was really good. I mean even if we are as a nation hypocrites and emotionally irrational by and large – the spirit to come together to help the fellow man in natural disaster situations. If only this same spirit would be so evident for other things as well. Civic sense for one.

The culture for theatre is on the rise in Karachi which is great to see. I have come across a few programs varying from teaching, to kids being involved in community work, the citizens archive has held various exhibitions on factual history of Pakistan and etc etc. Point is that the overall avenues for increasing one’s awareness has increased in the last year. At least that’s how I feel about it. Social Media has of course played its part. Imran Khan can be tied into this with getting the youth involved as well. That is also good to see. People motivated and pumped up and involved. Awareness before change.

I feel I have covered most of the important stuff. If I have missed out on anything please feel free to point it out.

Moving on to 2012 now. Looking at the way things have been in terms of the political scenario and still largely unattended matters like energy, employment and rising inflation one can only hope that there is some … SOME improvement in those areas. That there is actually some work in Public Development, education, energy. Better utilization of our natural resources and actually working towards making our economy self sufficient. That our political leaders will move on from just doing Jalsas where they make highly captivating and dramatic speeches and talk more about what needs to be done and HOW it needs to be done. I seriously do hope the army continues to stay out of the governing of the country (or as it would seem for no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors) and that the democratic setup is allowed to run its own course. Let the bad blood flow out of it naturally. What the army should actually do is focus on getting there own image corrected. The incidents with the Mehran Base attack, OBL raid in Abbottabad and the NATO strikes haven’t really left a pretty picture on the army. Including the memogate incident.

Let us hope that 2012 will be a better and more consistently positive year. Let us pray for the best of Pakistan.

Happy 2012.

 

2012

Of Blogging

For quite some time I have had sort of a Blogger’s block. I think it’s been a good 4-5 months since I actually blogged with a certain amount of flow. I think that’s mostly been down to being tied down with work load and a lot of other things on my mind. Most of which even if I did write about would involve a lot of facts that I simply cannot put out there on the open web.

Tonight might be different. I think the past 3 weeks have seen an absolute transference of my scenarios in various things from one extreme to another and then back that …. through some twisted way of being a muse…. my blogging has been given life again. Rather my blabbering.

I truly believe that a big part of a blogger’s writings is the ability to blabber. But not the sort of blabber that tends to put one off…. but the sort which is interesting to some, fascinating to others. A few find it informative to. And I love this part blogging. The blabbering.

I have been maintaining this blog for the past 3 years. Prior to that I never used to write like this. I mean … prose or gibberish or article type stuff. I used to write lyrical stuff .. which was .. very average at best. Not that I am saying that my blogging is millions of light years ahead of that ability. Better nonetheless. What’s more is that this really gives me a lot of pleasure… much more in terms of expression then anything else. Granted very few can understand in exactly what way I am expressing myself at times. But its like that voice in my head has a character to it now. It has suddenly become an interesting channel of conversation ranging from current topics to the most utterly absurd and insignificant things. From events of my actual life … things that have happened… my feelings … to the deepest corners of my imagination and fantasy.

JD – the character from the …err… ‘Dramedy’ is what it would be called I suppose… more of a comedy thou – once had this habit of going through an ‘inner monologue’ (that’s what its called if I am not mistaken). I think this blog also gives me that channel in a sense. Even if I am not stating absolute facts… I do write something which is carved or developed right out of that train of thought.

What’s more is the whole idea of having an online pseudonym which gives it a cool and mysterious effect. For people who don’t know me I mean. For people who know me a page is dedicated to you on the top of this site. Please refer to that :P.

I think it’s important for everyone to have a outlet to whatever is happening in their heart and head. Whatever is happening around them and having a direct impact and effect on them. Everyone needs something to keep them sane. At times its not just one thing … but a combination of things. Each working at a different time. For me its mostly music… blogging… and playing some sport. Even video games which are sports centric.

Anyways… I think that’s all I am gonna say for now. And that I can just feel a lot of blogging coming to me…. the blabbering spirit is alive in me again … for now. With the long weekend ahead … I probably will. A lot of things I have to say a lot on. That I have just not been able to. See … even signing off I blabbed so much. Blogging is fun. It can be addictive. etc etc etc. ok done.

What of Pakistan?

It is a question that has crossed my mind many times consciously and unconsciously. It is of course of grave concern that this question arises and I am sure and know that I am not the only one with this question. The way things are going … even more and more so in mirky waters where people just don’t know what’s being done exactly? What is happening to fix the real, big problems of this country? Why do we continue to put up with our nation’s running of affairs being made a mockery of?

For example two things (And I know I’ll probably get a lot of flack from a lot of quarters for saying this- but I remember that somewhere somehow , someone had the audacity to say that everyone is entitled to their opinion and freedom of speech) – First of all the changing of name of the N.W.F.P to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As the driver of a relative- the driver belonging to the same region – said very aptly; the changing of the name will not make any difference whatsoever to what the real issues of the people of those regions are. Lack of infrastructure, constant threat of clashes and militant attacks or being victims in the attempt to neutralize the terrorists/militants. What have we “meaningfully achieved” by changing the name as we have after long debates and meetings and negotiations. Will it end the war? No. Will it provide people with jobs? Will it create job opportunities in the market? Will it improve the over all economic condition of this country? No. Will it help solve the power crises which continues to loom on our heads as something in which we are all heading to disaster. I mean 14 – 16 hours a day is not a joke, especially considering the climate that we live in, how it hurts our industrial output in an already ailing economy.

No, none of the above mentioned matters. We are apparently a nation which thrives on Masalized news. Tabloid. It is so obvious when the country’s biggest news channel shows the headlines with A) Music being added to each headline to make it more … “viewer friendly”. B) Our news channel is more interested in what is happening with Shoaib Malik and Sania Mirza and their wedding rather then other things happening in this country which are much bigger and much more significant.

Is it not important for people that the sitting president is on the list of the people who were granted ‘immunity’ on their cases thanks to the NRO – which was scrapped by the Supreme Court. Or that even after it was scrapped the ‘politicians’ who were on that list are not being taken action against. That the wife of our Prime Minister is having her loans written off by the National Bank of Pakistan. And that too not a small amount. These things are significant – and if proper action is taken then they will help the people of Pakistan and perhaps start freeing up the countless resources (financial, human and other) which have been tied down because of the history of corruption that exists in this country.

I haven’t even started on how ‘secular’ a nation we are. How patient we are. How tolerant we are. How messed up we are. I would rather not go there because I think people would easily find something far better written on that subject by Mr. Nadeem Paracha in dawn’s Images on sundays.

Coming to the lighter aspects of this nation – sports – which are supposed to be a nation’s pride and a source of inspiration and glory in this world. Something that did do us proud last year when we needed it the most. We won the T20 2009 world cup at a time when the entire country was buried deep in turmoil in terms of the raging war between the Taliban and our army, the string of terrorist attacks (including the one on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore) and lots more. We were as a nation completely demoralized. And just then- cricket provided just a flicker of brightness. Something hopeful. Something to cheer about.

A year later- the PCB , specifically Mr. Ijaz Butt, has managed to make a mockery out of cricket far beyond anything one would have imagined. A disastrous tour to Australia which was a complete whitewash. We didn’t win a single match. Lost all tests, ODIs and T20s. Following that was the ‘infighting’ reports. And following which of course was PCB’s cull. Without explanation, without transparent evidence, the banning of senior players, fines and overall team shake up is of course something I consider to be a mockery when the administrative body itself is in bad need of a shake up and massive structural overhaul. Ijaz Butt must go. So must the current system. It is not a progressive system even if we do somehow through some miracle manage to retain our T20 crown.

Problems … on all ends. Political, economical, progress, development, security, sports, administrative. Where does it all start to change? Does it ever change? People have become despondent to that. They have become pessimistic. Things for them simply can never be fixed in this country. It is a country of jageers and vaderas and so it shall be. Apparently in a ‘democratic’ country the parties can contest in ‘democratic’ elections but cannot practice ‘democracy’ within their own parties. Why? Because they are family properties. They are jageers. Simple as that.   

Two cents to anyone on where we are headed?