First of all a Happy New Year to all those reading this blog. May 2014 bring wonderful eventualities to all your lives and to those of your loved ones. Right now that the pleasantries are done with – on with the blog.
2013 has certainly been an eventful year – personally and non-personally both. In the good sense and in the bad both. The only common factor throughout was change. There was change on the personal front, change on the professional front, change in Pakistan, change in the Global scheme of things. There was change everywhere. It almost seemed as if 2013 was singing belatedly to the tune of Obama’s first presidential election campaign back in 2008.
On the personal fronts there were downs, and then there were extreme downs. But then there were some ups and thankfully the ups have succeeded in mostly negating the earlier downs if not entirely. Obviously those close to me know that this was perhaps one of the most difficult years for me personally and emotionally. But at the same time a good turning point professionally and for that I am happy. The personal pain and emotional stuff has mostly passed and I am fairly certain I am ok. My grandmother (amani) passed away as well this year. She was my last grandparent and the one I have spent the most time with. She was truly one of the most awesome people I have ever known. But she was in pain and her suffering has ended. Time heals as they say. To add to the painful bits a fun fact in all of this has been that I have travelled more in 2013 and 2012 combined (2 international trips and 2 domestic in 2013 and 4 domestic in 2012) then I had travelled in the 12 years preceding. I saw the beautiful, peaceful and entertaining city (albeit expensive – thank goodness for elder siblings ) of Singapore. Wonderful place really. Good family vacation. Universal Studio and Sentosa Island on the whole is fantastic and plenty to do in the city otherwise as well. So as you can guess the word change certainly did carry a lot of meaning in my individual life in 2013. Changed jobs , changed circumstances, changed holiday routines, changed spending habits – oh yes. Really did changed spending habits a lot. Along with the ups and downs in 2013 my wallet certainly fell a whole lot lighter. Certainly was a demanding year in terms of budget exhaustion. Took a step towards pursuing one ‘shauq’. Photography. And so far I am really glad I did. Canon is fantastic.
Moving away from the personal front – from a more non individualistic vantage point – there was change at home in Pakistan and change on the global scope as well.
Let’s start from Pakistan. This time last year i.e. December – January, one Tahir ul Qadri seemed all set to ride the success of the then wavering Tsunami of the PTI. He was blowing and thundering and getting long marches and sit in protests done in the biting cold of Islamabad. He seemed to be the walk part of PTI’s talk. He ruffled enough feathers in the power brokers dens that a negotiation party was sent to him to make peace. And then after that it seemed as if TuQ was forgotten. Nobody cared anymore. Election time was at hand. History was to be made. Pakistan was to achieve its first successful democratic transition of power from one government to the next. Despite all the odds Zardari and PPP had managed that. All ho to the change. Democratic process achieved. Change! And of course as a result PPP was wiped off the map except for in Sindh and a new player, after almost 2-3 decades of the same musical chair playing participants – a new face and player had risen. PTI’s had arrived. And they had arrived to stay. For good or for bad was still to be seen but the fact is that on number of votes they were the second most popular party. They may not be the leaders of the opposition in the National Assembly but they are certainly the noisy neighbors that Mian Sb would probably have liked to do without. But that wasn’t happening. Imran Khan and PTI were/are here to stay. They got KP. They got the popular votes. The got the noise of the youth behind them. Change! The elections had the most voter turnout in the history of the country. Change! The president completed his term and a new president was elected. Change! General Kiyani completed his term as Chief and despite the rumors and all there was no controversy or extension. He left. Plain and simple. Yes the appointment of the next chief was rather delayed but has now been done with. Similarly was the case with Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. The court of Chaudry has come to a close after 6 years of “glorious” judicial activism. The appointment of the next chief has been done again without any controversy or extensions despite the rumor mills. Change!
See so much change has taken place in Pakistan in 2013! Makes one all excited and hopeful about the future doesn’t it? Well the future will just have to wait and take a back seat. Again. For the time being. The thing is that while there has been all this wonderful change the results haven’t really come in. Regardless of the time span. Mian sb has been a largely MIA prime minister. He has hardly said anything since getting into office. Imran Khan continues to create noise over things which should not be getting precedence over delivering on the tsunami of PTI’s change that got them in provincial power in KPK. Instead he has just intensified his “Taliban-Khan” colors. There has been no real win post elections for the process or for the common man who voted for Pakistan. There has been no win for the youth and first time voters who were mobilized for the elections. There has been no real win for those who hoped for change, real change. For me the only thing to be clinging on to is that the system is being allowed to take its own course. There is no interference for now. Yes the system will disappoint for now and for some time to come but will eventually start correcting itself. This government must also complete its term without being overthrown. Eventually the right leaders will start coming out. But for that to happen first we will also need to start changing. When we change ourselves then real change should automatically follow. We need to change our mindsets, our actions, our approach towards even the littlest of things. Take for example Malala Yousufzai. The fact is that the she is a teenage girl who was attacked. Commend her for her bravery. Don’t attack her for a game that is being played on the geo political level. That she is being used as a pawn is not her fault. Perhaps not. But at least let’s just appreciate the fact that a girl from Pakistan has been able to address the UN, has made some of the right headlines. That she has largely been used as a tool is not her fault and maybe the ones using her should be attacked instead of her.
In less intense subjects, the cricket team has seen a pretty dismal year overall. However there have been two standouts – Misbah has been the highest run scorer for 2013 in the ODI format. He has beat the likes of Kohli, AB De Villiers, Dhawan etc and that too without having scored a century. Also he led Pakistan to their first ever series win in South Africa. Also Saeed Ajmal was the highest wicket taker in the ODI format. Also Waqar Younis has been inducted into the ICC hall of fame Some positives.
Theatre has certainly gained momentum and that much can be made out from some of my previous posts. The partnership of Anwar Maqsood and Dawar Mehmood’s KopyKat Productions has delivered 3 outstanding plays for the year. Islamabad finally has a mall!
On the global scope – the first thing that comes to mind is the number of disasters (natural and otherwise) have increased this year. Earthquakes, airline crashes, train wrecks, hurricanes etc have take a number of lives and prayers must go out to those who lost their loved ones. There was also a meteor that exploded over a Russian city early in the year which claimed the lives of over a 1,000 people. The most recent one was the hurricane in Philippines which claimed the lives of over 10,000 people and left all in ruin. Floods in India had also claimed over 5,000 lives. Signs of the world changing or warnings from the Almighty?
The world has a new Pope. The US and Iran seem to have adopted a difference approach towards their relationship which in turn has irked some Saudis and perhaps some Jews. How that will turn out in the long run is yet to be seen especially given the US will be pulling out of Afghanistan (as per their plan) in 2014.
The Syrian conflict has continued raging on and has continued taking more and more lives. The UN being more persistent and vocal when chemical weapons were being used. The fact that conventional weapons are also taking lives was perhaps not a touching point for them. As it has not been in many places of conflict before. Egypt saw disturbances again this year as Morsi’s government was overthrown. Protests and clashes followed claiming hundreds of lives.
Jullian Assuange was old news – this year was all Snowden. The United States certainly seems to have a lot of people pissed off out there because there seems to be no dearth of them trying to blow the whistle on some of their covert operations, exercises and all the intelligence activity on the public and common man.
In the end a tribute to some notable figures who have departed in 2013 – Nelson Mandela being the most influential and inspiring person to leave. Paul Walker (fast and furious fame) died in a car accident. James Gandolfini (The Sopranos fame) died sometime in May, June. British correspondent David Frost who achieved fame for his Nixon interview died in August.
For a complete list of global events and notable people who have died this year you can always visit Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013
2013 has been up and down. It has been the best of years and also the worst of them. In the end one must not forget that we are being governed by laws and forces that are beyond our control and complete understanding. For this one must always pray to Almighty Allah to always do what is better for us and we must always strive to be better ourselves.
The world is changing at a dramatic pace. The way things are dealt with is changing. The geo-political scope is changing. The world is changing and 2013 was proof of it. We must hope for the change to be positive and pray.
Good bye 2013, hello 2014.