Anwar Maqsood ka Dharna!

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The latest offering by Anwar Maqsood and KopyKats or rather Dawar Mehmood collaboration was on stage across Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi from November 2014 till February 2015. The Karachi shows began in January 2015 and after two failed attempts to watch it earlier I was finally able to go on the last day of the show on the 18th.

Two failed attempts, previous plays track records (14 August series, Aangan Tera etc.) along with the fact that it’s Anwar Maqsood definitely built up a credible amount of anticipation and expectation from the play. To their end the actors did a fabulous job in the roles handed to them. The Maulana, Saad Rafiq, Imran Khan etc. And of course the voice over provided for the calling ‘Bhai’ from London. All were fantastic and more or less spot on in their respective roles. However the overall play and the script just felt it was missing a coup le of zings to make it a really memorable one. This seemed to be more of a filler written to ensure attractiveness of the crowds to the Maqsood – Dawar combo which has been fairly going strong since Pawney Chauda August.

The story lacked anything strong – something that we have grown accustomed to from Anwar Maqsood’s writings. The entertainment value was there for bits and pieces but I would definitely not put it right up there with some of his more memorable works. The actors as I had mentioned earlier thou played their parts really well. Some of the funnier moments:

Maulana calling Surmai Soomro closer to him suspiciously during the commercial break only to start going on a ‘selfie’ craze. Bhai’s call from London was just fantastic.. like seriously. Saad Rafiq’s being entered on the show twice on PTI’s song. Imran Khan confessing that the containers are driving him mad and how he can’t do anything else.  Maulana’s childish tantrum when he can’t sit in between the ladies any more. I think the best was Maulana Diesel generally!

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The play is over now so I can’t really tell you all to go or not to go. However I would assume that I probably wouldn’t have recommended people to go expecting a lot. Maybe the hype and expectation sort of dampened it a bit for me. Still it wasn’t a play devoid of entertainment so overall I would rate it probably a 6.5-7/10

But power to the plays! Keep them coming. More like the Chauda August series thou!

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The Mother of all Rivalries

Sports competitions and battles have long kept us glued to our seats or on the edge of them across the globe since forever. The adrenaline, the competition and the heroism of our warriors on field is something that never fails to attract. And all of this gets ever more exciting when it is between rivals. Whether you are the player or the fan a match or game against a rival is just as important as the entirety of the competition itself. Such rivalries tend to be larger in fact then the competition itself at times. And we have had examples of it across almost all sports since almost forever.

Formula 1 had the Niki Lauda vs James Hunt rivalry in the 76-77, Mikka Hakkinen vs Micheal Schumacher in the late 90’s and Ferrari vs the rest of the constructs since forever to name a couple of them.

Tennis had Jimmy Connors vs John McEnroe, Steffi Graff vs Monica Seles, Andre Aggasi vs Pete Sampras from the yesteryears. And at present who has not heard of Nadal vs Federer.

Football – All club football Derby Matches (Manchester United vs Manchester City, Arsenal vs Tottenham, Chelsea vs Arsenal, Liverpool vs Everton, Athletico Madrid vs Real Madrid, Inter Milan vs AC Milan etc) and then of course El Classico (Barca vs Real) or the United vs Arsenal rivalry in the early 2000’s. Rangers vs Celtic in Scotland. Roy Keane vs Patrick Vierra, Messi vs Ronaldo. There are many. And all of these were/are just that big. They are bigger than the competition.

Cricket – England vs Australia, one of the oldest rivalries of all times further characterized by the Ashes series played between the two sides.

And then there is Pakistan vs India. The mother of all rivalries. A rivalry which is so famous that even people with limited interest in the sport would know about it even if they are from neither India nor Pakistan as long as they are from a cricket playing nation (minnows included). *the above being said more so because of being a Pakistani and a cricket fan

There is never any love lost between the two sides whenever or wherever they meet. Regardless of the competition, regardless of the consequence or inconsequence – your team needs to win. The feeling is mutual on either side of the border. History adds to this rivalry of course. It further fuels it. Even thou there is plenty of on field history and excitement and drama over the decades of cricket – it never really is just about the cricket. This rivalry has always been beyond even the sport itself. It’s just that mammoth.

And it has been mammoth over the decades. Miandad’s last ball six at Sharjah. Prasad’s vital 3 wickets in the 96 quarter final. The sultans of swing Waqar and Wasim. The little master Sachin. Imran Khan. Gavaskar. Saeed Anwer. Anil Kumble. All names that have had their time in this mammoth rivalry.

And on the biggest stage of ODI cricket these two teams will be starting off their respective world cup campaigns against each other come Sunday. They will be resuming their rivalry. Familiar foes meet again. What a way for the 2015 World Cup to start.

As a Pakistani of course my heart is beating and screaming for the boys in green to emerge victors. As I am sure would be my counterparts across the border. Till Sunday the barbs (oh and the Indians have come up with a  good one *reference to the firecracker ad), the conspiracies, the predictions, the experts, the seasonal fans, the specific to Pakistan vs India fans etc etc will all be buzzing, talking and dissecting everything there is to. Come Sunday of course everyone will be glued to their television sets in the anticipation of this every so mammoth clash.

I will again as a Pakistani of course be glued as well and will hope beyond hope that we defeat the Indians (if for nothing else at least so that we can give them a fitting reply to that ridiculously stinging ad). Who unfortunately we don’t have a single win against in World Cup matches. Yep. Even thou we have a superior record against them in overall ODIs – we still haven’t defeated them in World Cup encounters. The first time being in 1992 and the last one being the Semi Final in Mohali in 2011. It’s like a jinx. And they have been a better one day side over the past year or so (albeit more so at home – they have been lousy away from home as well). And they have had more time in Australia thanks to the big three keeping a triangular between themselves (all hail the powers that be at ICC – bravo on ensuring fair play for everyone). And they have a stronger batting side while our bowling is suffering from some major absentees due to injuries and suspensions (ICC please read previous line again… excellent timing on the clampdown btw).  All the logical factors point to another win for the men in blue.

But in comes the heart. This is the first world cup meet between the two sides without Tendulkar. Their perfect record against us cannot go on forever – it has to give sometime. And now seems like as good a time as any. Pakistan won its solitary world cup in Australia when the competition was held here last almost 23 years ago. Pakistan can be unpredictable on their day. And let’s not forget. We have LALA!!! AFRIDI!! (Wishful thinking I know but still you never know).

So the predictions, the logic, the wishful thinking, the heart and all of the above will go on an on till Sunday. But one thing is for sure which I will repeat again. Regardless of the bigger consequence of Sunday’s match on the remaining world cup campaign – it is a match that needs to be won. That feeling is mutual on either side of the border. Pakistan vs India is always bigger than the tournament, the rest of the competition. It’s for glory, for pride. It’s for the green and white of our flag. For Pakistan!

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The Pursuit of Change

The word Change has been trumpeted around for quite a long time. Politicians use it. The establishment uses it. The judiciary uses it. The media uses it. The average household uses it in their daily lives and drawing room discussions. Heck I bet even the good folk in the TTP and LeJ etc use it. But that’s just about where the idea comes to an end. The more one thinks about it, the more one feels that actual and real change doesn’t seem to be trickling through.  We as a nation have become conformed to a response mindset rather than actual change or ‘reform’. And hence so have our leaders. ‘Jaisee qoum wesse hukumraan’.

I read Cyril Almeida’s piece in Sunday’s Dawn yesterday (LINK: http://www.dawn.com/news/1160725). For a lot of you who have read it or care to read it I am sure it will hit home. And as usual as it is with a lot of truth in this country, it’s sad.

The Peshawar Attacks are still recent in our memories but yet one can feel they have more or less gone out of the national narrative. And then yet again a new attack struck, this time a sectarian target. More than a 130 died in the barbaric brutality of Peshawar and more than 50 died in the suicide blast of Shikarpur. The operation is still going on as it has been for the past 8 or so months and seemingly has the Boys’ conviction at the heart of it. This is a change of sorts I suppose and we can take heart from it. But does it seem to be enough? Is the funding being cut off? Is the supply line being cut off? Is space being taken away for them to regroup and rebuild? Is there a contingency? And where is the rest of the change. Sure the moratorium was lifted and people are being hanged. Well some were hanged anyway and it received a lot of media attention but what after that? Why are notable leaders of the same kiln being allowed to roam freely? Why are characters like Abdul Aziz and Malik Ishaq not behind bars? Why is Qadri the self-confessed murderer of Salman Taseer not being given a final sentence? In fact a few days back his ‘case file had disappeared’. (LINK: http://www.dawn.com/news/1160391). All this makes for a little hard viewing to see any change.

Take other issues – energy for example. The PML N got their mandate by and large on the back of a strong ‘Energy will be resolved campaign’. The promises on energy varied from a year to 5 years of delivery at differing times since the elections in 2013. No change has really happened. There is still load shedding. There are still supply issues. There are still high cost energy issues. But no change is really happening. And instead we are focusing on metro bus lines.

Even the recent petrol crises – there was nothing done to show that a change is being made in the system or process to ensure that this incident doesn’t happen again. No one was really taken to task. Instead the PSO MD was made a scapegoat and shown the exit door. And their own man was brought at the helm.

The short term was addressed which is always the case. And why? Because they know that we as a nation are also in the most apt of definitions a fickle nation with short term memories. Short term thought processes when analyzing the issues. Who cares about long term? We won’t be there. We will make as much as we can now and then let the long term be a collection of all the failed short terms.

Imran, as much as his heart seems to be perhaps in the right place also seemingly started his marathon 127 days of Dharna (or was it 129?) with a short term goal. Or so some of his ardent supporters would say. He needs to become prime minister now because he is getting old. He is running out of time. The system’s change should not be a strategy dependent on the viability of one individual. That in itself just doesn’t seem viable or sustainable.

This is not to say there has been no change whatsoever. There have been some things which have changed. People in KPK are testifying to a difference , a positive difference in the state. A positive difference in the general administrative nature of things. The police. The hospitals. The judiciary. So that’s great. But no one has actually gone around amplifying this and instead have stuck to the same rhetoric – elections were rigged, electricity will be solved in xyz years, condemn the heinous attacks etc etc etc.

So yes almost 2 years on from the supposed election of ‘change’ in 2013 we are still not anywhere near that ‘supposed change’. The pursuit for it is still in the process if it hasn’t started yet. Or so it seems. And so it increasingly seems to be the case as an ongoing phenomenon.

On The Peshawer Attacks (16-Dec-2014)

Barbaric. Brutal. Disgusting. Criminal. Inhuman. Worse than animals. Heartless. Mindless. Etc etc etc.

These and many other words are and will continue to do their rounds on the social media, internet, talk shows, news channels and drawing rooms against the Taliban. The attacks on the Peshawer school (a school I also attended when we were posted there in the mid 90s) have left a gut wrenching feeling of absolute disgust. It is sickening. It is demoralizing on a number of levels. No amount of words or solidarity can ease the pain of the 130+ families that have been scarred for life with the loss of their loved ones. Not to mention the children who survived but are no doubt in trauma. Their scars are also very real and are something that they will live with for the rest of their lives. To have witnessed a brutality and barbarism of this sort in your childhood … it is unthinkable. I have no words for the pain. No one can possibly have any words. All we can have is prayer. For those departed, for those left behind.

Anyone still hoping for ‘Dialogue’? I hope not. Dialogue was never the way. I was, am and will be for the fact that the Taliban problem is not a dialogue one. Military operation is the only way. It shall continue to be the only way. The resolve should only get stronger to avenge the deaths of yesterday and from every other incident of the Taliban attacks to go after them and finish of this insurgency once and for all. There will be collateral damage – already has been. There will continue to be collateral damage. A war like this (yes we are at war) doesn’t come free of innocent deaths. That will be there and that is something which is out of one’s control. The bigger objective is ridding our nation of this scum, this barbaric band of murderers who brandish their own justice in the name of a religion which is and will be for peace and justice. Their actions are against the very religion they supposedly have set themselves for Jihad in the name of.

There has been an outpour on the social media in solidarity of the deaths with people changing their facebook pictures and cover photos to black. Others have come out on the street and lit candles to observe vigil. Pictures are being shared. Statements are being shared. All this is commendable on some level I suppose but it will not bring those responsible to justice. There needs to be action. There needs to be absolute and decisive action.

In this time in my opinion the entire nation needs to be behind the armed forces, with the people who are fighting on the front lines. Who are living on the front lines. For their bravery and for their sacrifices. Now is not the time to go after every ailment of this country. Yes there are many. The first and foremost objective needs to be this – eliminate terrorism. Eliminate their holes. Go after them. Smoke them out. Bomb them to heck. We can’t have constant political impasses and a war in the north at the same time. Priorities need to be set straight. There will be a time to fix the rest of the things as well. But first let’s bring focus to this. The most important of things. Destroy this enemy.

We cannot move forward as a nation on any front until and unless we resolve the security of our country. Especially when the security of your children is compromised – its just over then.

The Peshawer Army Public School attacks are a terrible tragedy which is beyond words. May Allah rest the souls of those who have departed in peace. May Allah give courage and peace to those who survived and live with the scars. May Allah give strength to those who lost their loved ones. May Allah give us, our leaders and our forces the foresight, wisdom and ability to overcome and defeat this evil once and for all.

 

 

On Cricket

Over the past couple of years due to varying circumstances I have sensed a decline in my ‘interest’ level in cricket. Yes… cricket. The sport that may not be our national sport in Pakistan but certainly the one which is given every honor and importance of being that national sport of the country. Almost being a monopoly in terms of commercialism of sports in Pakistan. Cricket is king. Yes… it is this cricket for which I find my interest level declining.

Long gone are the glory days of being the ‘Unpredictable’ Pakistan side. Long gone are the days of having prolific players in our side. Long gone are the days of having some of the giants of the game. The modern day cricket of Pakistan is nothing like its predecessor and unfortunately is not all that endearing.

It is a combination of on the field and off the field controversies as well as performances and results and overall attitude/character of the side. They lack the confidence that should normally come with being one of the ‘Big’ teams of the sport.

Don’t get me wrong – I would still follow and watch Pakistan and its exploits on the pitch. I will still be roaring come the 2015 World Cup or the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup. But it won’t be the same roar that was there perhaps up till the 2011 World Cup. Cricket for all intents and purposes is losing its whole charm-of-being-an-emotional-birth-right-and-national-team-fan thing. Previously I would look forward to various series and tours as well. Now probably not so much – for example the recently concluded Pakistan vs Sri Lanka series which took place in the UAE was one in which I perhaps just saw …….2 live overs..maximum. Over the entire length of the series – all tests, ODIs, T20s included.

The reason for this as I said is a combination of on and off the field issues. It is the controversies – one after the other. The constant state of chaos that PCB loves shrouding itself in. The repeat situations where our team has inexplicably collapsed or succumbed or been toothless. It has been the lack of any confidence inspiring new talents. Afridi isn’t the same he was in 2011. He still tries to be dangerous and consistent as a bowler. But he is still the worst person to rely on as a batsman who will bail the team out from 5 or 6 down at low scores. Saeed Ajmal has been our most threatening bowler and now his action has been challenged and he is likely to miss the world cup. We haven’t had an out and out pace threat – like a dominating, soul crushing pace attack like the days of yore since the unfortunate bans on Asif and Aamir. We haven’t had a decent opening pair let alone an explosive one since the days of Saeed Anwer and Aamir Sohail. Pakistan cricket has been in a state of sluggishness which is leading towards a steady decline of the overall team. And that there doesn’t seem to be a positive outlook in place to try to fix the fundamentals because of which this is happening. The fact that international cricket doesn’t look any closer to returning on Pakistan soil is a contributing factor to all of the above.

I love cricket. My memories of cricket will always be very fond. Imran Khan lifting the 92 world cup being one of my first conscious memories. But yes … I am not as interested in every game as I used to be once for Pakistan. And that’s a little sad.

Of Azadi & Inquilab

Go Nawaz Go! Azadi! Inquilab! The march is now a sit in. The cries have been heard with an up and down fervor for the last 9 days in the capital. And very slowly it has somewhat crept towards the other cities of Pakistan as well. D-Chowk at Islamabad, Teen Talwar in Karachi.

The numbers have been fluctuating somewhat from lowish to highish. Day times are sparse. The night time is jubilant with dancing, music, rousing speeches and an overall festive atmosphere. Well at least in the ‘Azadi’ half of the protests. The slightly more consistent and higher numbers of the ‘Inquilab’ half of the protests are more of a somber affair.

In either case the issue has been going on for 9 days. For 9 days the marchers have been sitting in protest in the ‘Red Zone’. For 9 days the state institutions have not been functioning. And the days aren’t over yet as the on again, off again negotiations are yielding nothing more than an acknowledgement of hollow pleasantries so far.

While the Inquilabi march of TuQ and company started with the model town incident in which PAT workers were killed – it is hard not to attribute the current state of the protests and sit ins to Imran Khan’s rousing and fired up rounds against the current system and government. The social media wing, the youth and the more socially marketable PTI has perhaps created much more noise than Nawaz Shariff and his government would probably have anticipated. And given the informal alliance with PAT the sit ins really are becoming more than just a nuisance for Mian sb. We can see that on his face that he is very much concerned. Maybe a little relieved after reassurances of support from the US and maybe a veiled message from the army in saying we are not coming … yet. 111 for all its historical connections is for now just looking after the security of the capital and the state institutions. Or so they say.

Now the social media and various platforms and threads have been going crazy with the whole ‘changers vs haters vs burgers vs niharis’ taking jibes at each other and I have so far avoided commenting or participating in full flow. But I guess I will now jump in as well.

The people passionate about Imran Khan say he is the only leader who is thinking from his heart for the betterment and the future of Pakistan. That he is the only one who isn’t corrupt and that he doesn’t need the wealth or the fame as he already has both in plenty. That he is the only leader who is thinking not about his seat and instead about the generations of Pakistanis to come. I am still inclined to believe as I did a year and a half back while casting my vote for him and PTI that yes he is. He is perhaps genuinely emotionally invested in this with good intentions. He perhaps genuinely feels that whatever he is doing is in the better interests of the nation. And also let me just state for the record – the things that Imran Khan is demanding and the ones that Tahir ul Qadri is demanding are not wrong. There should be electoral reforms. There should be much more transparency in the whole process. There should be an independent and unbiased election commission running the whole process. And there should be a non politicized law enforcement force throughout the country. An FIR should be registered against the people responsible for the model town deaths of the PAT workers in Lahore.  

I however disagree with his actions and his strategy. There are a couple of narratives going on here. In the forefront and in the background. The media is quite apt at covering the forefront narrative. At the action on ground. The background is as always subject to many speculative theories.

First of all let me address the forefront and what is happening on ground. And my disagreement with Khan sb and his methods. I believe, truly believe that the system needs to be given time to autocorrect itself. (Yes I am being that naïve right now in saying that). I think that despite all of the other things one thing that Zardari and his PPP did deliver was a smooth transition of power from one civilian / democratic setup to another. Through elections. Elections which saw the highest voter turnout. Elections which were far from perfect but which have been observed by most as more or less fair. Yes they have not been free of rigging. Yes they have not been free from vote tampering. But they did give the result that most people, most experts, most analysts were expecting in the first place , give or take a few seats. Imran Khan and his PTI didn’t get the federal government but they certainly did get KP. And they have their chance there. To build a case study. To deliver 5 years of progress, administrative capability, improvement of system, improvement of law, schooling and all the other things that he is quite capable of. Despite his pro dialogue with Taliban stance I was confident that he would be able to deliver administratively. And as per the locals from the province and whose families are there PTI has been making headway on those fronts in KP. That’s what he should have done. Stuck with it, deliver KP in these 4-5 years. And come next election time make a more solid, stronger case. A stronger campaign. A year and a half down the road – coming down to long marches and demanding the ouster of the current premier wasn’t the way to go about it. Bringing the capital to a stand still and also imploring his supporters to not pay taxes and bills as part of his Civil Disobedience call was not the way. Now we have the government playing negotiations with both him and Tahir ul Qadri. Those have been nothing less then a game of musical chairs as well. There are talks. There aren’t talks. They are representatives from the government and then they aren’t the ones who are ok with protesting camps. There is a resignation of the Punjab CM. There isn’t one. And today something that will further fuel IK – former additional secretary of the Election Commission has alleged that the ‘People’s mandate was stolen in the 2013 election’. I am sorry but the election was last year .. where were you all this time? I am not saying I am not inclined to believe or not believe. Just that the timing just seems to be very convenient. Or has Imran Khan really had that extra profound effect on everyone?

Which leads us to the non-naïve position of things- its not always how it seems. The dialogues, the statements, the speeches, the actions are merely a show. The strings being pulled in the background by someone else. The military ‘facilitating’ both the marches to be where they are because they needed to remind civilian setup of who is the real boss when it comes to the big stuff. The boys. The boys were, are and will remain in charge is what is perhaps being said. That Nawaz had forgotten that in his different policies which are not in line perhaps with the military. That the civ-mil balance was coming to a more balanced position given that democracy was having a good run of things is merely perhaps meant for the public eye so that it is more easy to absorb on a day to day basis. And perhaps Nawaz needed reminding of all that. So a part of me is inclined to believe that as well.

Which makes me come to the following:

First of all a dangerous precedent is being set here – you don’t like who is in charge then just gather your people and march and camp yourselves out in the capital. Bring everything to a stand still. Someone has to listen. Much easier when people with influence, power and money do it and simply buy the crowd. And not always people with perhaps a good heart and a disoriented political brain.

Secondly – if Imran Khan who is supposed to be the last great hope of democracy and everything that one looks for in a national leader in terms of sincerity is also at the end of the day taking some sort of directives even if not 100% from the military then really we need to be asking what kind of changes are the military in favor of. Because here it would seem that at the end of the day the boys are the ones really whose opinion matters.

Thirdly – if that’s what we are saying – then why continue with the farce of democracy? Effectively what we are saying is that at the end of the day it’s the boys who are calling the shots. They are running the show in terms of the big boy stuff – foreign policy and all that. The administrative and as one of the papers put it ‘deputy commissioner’ sort of work is being done by the government. The civ mil balance is merely a myth. The military is the military and any tom, dick or harry could be sitting in the prime minister’s chair.

Fourth – why do we even have a president? He is a unrequired ceremonial figurehead who actually has no power whatsoever. The constitutional amendments have made sure of that. It actually didn’t matter that he has been forgotten and not heard from throughout this political crises. In fact I don’t remember when I last heard anything from him to begin with. So why is he even there? Why is the tax payers money being wasted on a salary for someone who has no role whatsoever. Not even the smallest and tiniest of ones.

Look at the end of the day all I do want is what almost any other citizen of Pakistan wants – peace and progress of the country. I don’t give a hoot whether it is Nawaz Shariff sitting in the PM’s chair or Imran Khan or Zardari or xyz. Also I myself don’t know which version to believe anymore of the narratives – the naïve one or the not so naïve and the conspiracy theory one. Whatever is happening in the forefront or in the background – if it is for Pakistan then great. If it isn’t then nothing is really changing here is there. And we can all say so much for the Naya Pakistan.

Pakistan–67 Years On

Happy Independence Day to all people who stumble upon this blog.

Happy another year of a mixed bag for Pakistan. Thou at times it gets harder and harder to count the good points amongst the worrying or the bad points. With all the long marches, opposition protests, terrorist attacks, corruption, energy issues and other woes its no surprise that good points tend to get lost in the background.

The democratic system is faltering and almost in danger of treading off path and crashing. Zardari managed to keep all things at bay to steer home after 5 years. However Mian sb and his N League certainly aren’t inspiring the same confidence. And the opposition is making a lot of noise and the Civ Mil relations are back to being well on and off rocky.

One good thing is that we are finally taking a stand (hopefully all the way through) against the virus and plague that has been the TTP for Pakistan in the last 12 years. No more dialogue. No more bull. Time to get the act together and clean up this mess. We don’t want an ISIS blowback coming all the way here.

The thing is I could go on about all that has happened in the previous year of Pakistan’s existence but we all already know that. Thanks to the dozens of news channels. But what about the things not on the news. Like where has the spirit gone by and large? Yes there still cars out with the customary side flags and bonnet flags and roof flags. Yes there was still some awaam heading towards sea view to create a ruckus and party. But there was no noise. There wasn’t much sound. It was more like a case of somebody just showing up to a wedding to get there face shown, attendance marked and then be on their way home. Even at work, people who were in the spirit (and there were hardly any by the way) were recycling things that they could get their hands on from last year at work. There was no joy. There was hardly any green. People didn’t do even something as small as just wearing something green. Very few.

Is it that the whole spirit of being a Pakistani is fading away slowly and steadily? Did the ‘Naya Pakistan’ disappear over the last year? Perceptions matter and right now the perception is that it could be the 3rd of March for anyone cares – it’s a holiday from work. And that’s about it. No sitting down and watching parades as a family. No good national shows on TV to follow. No national songs blaring around to celebration. At least I didn’t hear any. The mood is perhaps more somber this year because of the whole Azadi march and the Inquilabi march and Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri and the show down in Islamabad. Our capital has been shut for the last few days. Anyone there is not getting much done. And the march is on the way.

Even so – even with all of that going on and no doubt all of that is quite significant – the spirit is slowly fading away from people. The passport is getting less and less valuable in the general public’s eyes. A good investment in some small island nation for a different colored passport is sounding extremely good to people.

I miss the days when it was better then this. The spirit was there. Green was dominant on this day. The green of our flag. There was something ,….. anything that would reflect even a little bit of love or pride. Now its hard to find. Hard to see. Hard to blame people for as well.

So yes Pakistan, 67 years have gone by. 67 years survived at the hands of corrupt politicians, noise oppositions, a non-inclusive military and a still to mature media. Here’s to perhaps a different 67 years ahead. Maybe a different topic or theme altogether when it’s the 134th Independence Day of Pakistan. If it comes around to that.

Let’s pray to Allah to bring better years and better fortunes for our country in the years and months to come. Let’s pray that the love comes back. The spirit gets renewed.

Pakistan Zindabaad.

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