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 Revival of Pakistani Cinema

There are two different Cinema revivals in Pakistan. One is the pure movie theatre culture and big screen experiences that were originally associated with names such as Regal Cinema and Nishaat and Bambino if you go further back. Then a few years ago places like Atrium, Cinepax, Cineplex, Nueplex etc started opening up across the major urban centers of the country. Cinepax is now even expanding to Murree.

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The cinema going culture has been revived for a few years now and so much so that in Karachi for the otherwise starved for entertainment public this is the primary outing these days. Movies would be sold out over the weekends and even weekdays would see throngs of people lining up to the big screen madness.

The other cinema revival is that of the Pakistani movies. This has started happening in the last couple of years thanks to ARY, HUM and other major media houses investing in bringing out films. There have been hits and many misses along the way but it is heartening to see that our movies are also being sold out at the cinemas even with bollywood releases simultaneously being shown. Definitely a good sight.

There has been criticism however of an inclination for movie makers of trying a wee bit too hard to be in line with Bollywood standards or outlandish plots and scripts matching C grade hollywood material. That criticism is valid but perhaps a little harsh at this time. The revival has just started. The primary stars and talent is coming from the world of tv dramas (which we have always minus a couple of years in between been high quality in – both in terms of acting and stories). Yes there is an attempt to compete and imitate bollywood and hollywood styles but that’s ok. At least it is pulling the public in and eventually we will see more consistent quality work coming out soon.

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There have been a few good ones too so its not all despair in terms of quality. Waar was a brilliant movie strictly speaking from our standards. Yes there were loose ends and technical quality and directorial issues but we will get over them. Na Maloom Afraad was another great movie and to be honest I would actually disagree with the critics against it. I think it was a well balanced and well made movie with plenty of laughter and solid performances. The storyline was well worked and consistent throughout the movie. Javed Shaikh displayed the quality of his immense talent and one has to say he is perhaps the most legitimate quality veteran actor we have who can be slotted right up there with the very best.

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This year has also seen a host of new movies coming out including hits like Karachi se Lahore and more recently Jawani Phir Nahi Ani which has been doing well at the box office. I would say Karachi se Lahore was a more superior film to Jawani Phir Nahi Ani as the latter tends to go a bit overboard on occasions and I am sorry but Humayun Saeed – as a good an actor as he has been simply does not fit.

The best this season and perhaps over the years has to be Manto thou. Sarmad Khoosat has brilliantly displayed his skills both as an actor and director with this one. Fantastic acting, great post editing and wonderfully well worked music give the entire movie a A Grade quality of work. The acting by everyone in the movie was great and some scenes were powerful beyond words. A couple of the scenes which stand out the most – the story part of Manto’s ‘Thanda Gosht’ and the scene where Manto just about makes it home in the middle of a curfew with alcohol instead of medicine for his ailing daughter. manto-poster

All in all extremely good to see our movies coming out more frequently and improving step by step in terms of technical execution of acting as well as production and direction. Stories will also improve with time. Give it a couple of more years and I am sure we will start seeing more of Na Maloom Afraad and Manto type of work. Maybe even B or A grade type Hollywood action stuff.

In the meantime lets all continue the support for our industry and see the movies.

The National DNA

This nation can be a very frustrating one at times. More so over the last couple of years. Maybe because that thread of hope for them is wearing thin. With each year, with each spectacular failure or blow, with each new low – and not just the government and political family. Not just the establishment and the boys. But overall, of us as a nation.

Take the incidents of the attacks on the bus in Safura Goth. The perpetrators carried out the attack without any remorse. Without any shred of humanity being visible in them. Almost as if one was going to slaughter chickens in a simulation! That bad. And lo and behold some kid from IBA pops up as involved. The murders of Masood Hamid (Dawn Marketing Director) and Sabeen Mahmood (Activist – T2F Café). The general manner in which we continue after the mandatory condemnations and drawing room talk. I don’t see anyone actually making or doing anything to make a difference. Save the few souls who are actually working for some betterment. We will come to him later.

Take the Axact situation. Take the Ayan Ali situation. Take Moin Khan during the world cup. Take our nation’s reaction to that. Take the common man who cheats his customers during Ramadan. My friends actually encountered this – samosas empty of any filling. And that’s just one example. Take the numerous AC walas who overcharge or do the kind of work which requires repeat services as the ‘AC’ is just not staying fixed.

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Take every single person who drives in Karachi and thinks that every road, every market area is named after him or his father. Or that somehow the property rights belong to them. Parking will be done in the middle of the road blocking the cars. Traffic signals will be broken without any regard for the safety of others and one’s own self. Take all the hit and run cases. Take all the bikers. Take all the spoilt rich kids driving. The 4x4s. Take every feudal. Every security rich entourage travelling through the city and blocking everyone’s path. Take every one who just drives on the wrong side of the road. Take every traffic cop who looks the other way when a red or green note appears. Take every cop who flags down cars for no reason hoping for the red and green notes. Take every person who takes out those red and green notes.

Take every ‘professional’ from the corporate world or in a government job who is looking to make themselves just a tad more richer on the company’s expense through kick backs. Take every corrupt official sitting in the national institutions waiting for the general public to come and fill their small coffers with ‘small’ amounts. Take the general public for filling them.

Take the absolute lack of civic sense not only on the roads but off them as well. The concept of time is lost on us. We give one time and expect the other person to automatically know this could mean plus 1-2 hours. Or simpler yet, just don’t show up. And don’t inform either. Why bother? It should be a given. Because that’s the God given right. Taking every other person’s time for granted.

The problem with us as a nation is that our DNA is already lost. It is broken and unhealthy. The DNA has over time corrupted itself into accepting certain norms which should not be accepted. It has corrupted itself into adopting certain behaviors and attitudes which should not be adopted. It is in the DNA. Our DNA should be rejecting these so called ‘Political Leaders’. They are serving us. Or should be serving us. Not the other way around. Not us servicing their bank balances.

The situation at hospitals in Karachi after the recent heat wave. The complete disdain of the provincial government and the Chief Minister. The utter shame in the manner in which corpses were piled up due to lack of facilities. The fact that it took one Jibran Nasir to say it out loud and follow it up with some action at the JPMC Hospital. I have found Jibran Nasir in the last year or so especially to stand up and speak for what is right. To not shy away. To do what the nation as a whole should be doing. Speaking out. Raising their voices and playing their part. He got JPMC 18 air conditioner units to battle the heat wave and to bring comfort to the patients admitted in the hospital for varying ailments. He is perhaps one of the few that I mentioned earlier. 

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But how has the nation been affected by all of this as a whole? By all of the above. By the systematic decline of things, the systematic rot setting in. Not really. We grieve, complain, condemn, raise volumes (not voices really), contribute perhaps for a couple of days. The problem stays, there is no constructive resolution. It just goes in the background and life goes on. Continues to go on. And we keep going to our drawing rooms and intellectually say that the Chief and the boys are truly the ones running this place. The civilian leadership is corrupt. That they are incapable. And that we hope that General Raheel is the savior we have all been dreaming and waiting for. There is no concerted effort to look at the general public DNA and how to fix that. How to fix our approach. To fix our own inconsistent standards of ethics, civic sense and morality. Jesse qoum wesse hukumran.

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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!

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.

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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