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.

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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Causes of Concern

Bombs falling, bullets shattering the silence of the morning, blood, dust, chaos. Life interrupted. Iraq? Syria? Gaza? NWA? Nigeria? Yes lets add more countries there shall we. I mean since there are others as well which are going through some form of chaos other than the countries already making the rounds on social media.

I like this line:

“You don’t need to be Muslim to stand up for Gaza , you just need to be human”

I completely agree. We need to just be human. Oh brilliant job on being human about it on your own home turf by the way. Absolutely fantastic. Were you on ceremony when the brave soldiers fighting the battle for our homeland took the bullets? Hmm yes I thought so. So much more convenient perhaps to support a cause that is not so close to home. That is perhaps more convenient to be on the right side of. That is perhaps something that Immy K said to support. A lot more loudly then he did perhaps about the troops and our boys fighting the battle for our future. Flawed perhaps but an essential battle nonetheless which requires at this time our utmost support. But I am sorry, its just not the same. Perhaps the times when the Hazara’s were targeted and killed in those suicide and bomb attacks last year. The Shias? All those killed in the target killings? The massacre at the Iranian border? Balochistan? Believe the list from our own home turf is also long. Police men, honor killings etc. Long list.

And what could possibly be more cause for Jihad then what is going on in Gaza? Yes? Why are the fine gentlemen holed up in our north not going their to take part in ‘Jihad’? Oh yes – I forgot. Their use for the term is merely marketing based rather than the true essence of it. My bad.

As for Gaza – what is happening there is absolutely appalling. There is no denying it. The international community needs to start doing more and actually put an end to it. The Arab world needs to actually start giving a damn and abandon all its proxy war seminary funding/schemes. Oh wait did I just say that? Oh lord the blasphemy!! How dare I? Say something that who whole world secretly knows to begin with?? How dare I indeed. The bottom line is Israel is being allowed to carry out the atrocities because no one in the international community or the Arab world is doing there part. The ISIS situation in Iraq is something the Arab world is choosing to give more attention to because it is somehow fueling out more as a proxy war. To that oldest of problems within Islam – the grand Shia Sunni split. I saw a picture on social media which depicts the Arab world keeping its door closed towards the Palestinians while the door and window towards the ISIS is open and being filled to fuel the other Middle Eastern splits. Oh and hello ? United States? Self appointed world policeman ? Looks a lot more worse than the WMD disaster of a search in Iraq. I mean I am no expert but it certainly does. Oh I apologize, of course this involves Israel. How could the US possibly do the same here that they have been doing on every other corner of the earth? Pffft. 

The bottom line is we don’t need to be Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or Atheist to realize that what is happening in various places world over is wrong. It is absolutely beyond humanity and it is atrocious that it is allowed by the international community at large. Also the bottom line is that I would love to be a part of a cause which requires support. All of the above does. But what does sometimes hit hard is when that same support doesn’t seem to flow or overflow even perhaps in the same manner when all these things happen on your own home ground. I would first support the causes at home and then support those on a more geographical scale. A house divided will fall. And a house ignored will also fall. Let’s first join and support the causes to set our own house in order.

Not for a second do I mean to say that whatever is happening in Gaza is not appalling. But what I am saying is that we have our own issues, problems and plights that need our attention and support. As a friend of mine put it – where is the support for the boys who are now on the front lines and finally tackling the TTP. Where is the voice for them? Gaza needs a voice. So do we. So let’s not forget that.

I am not sure if this post will be taken in the spirit that it is written and because I know I might probably be touching on some nerves with some people I invite anyone who wants to seek clarity to please go right ahead.

Support humanity. Support the fight for saving humanity. Support the right for people to live. Start at home.  

Of Rhetoric, Peace Talks and Sindh Festivals

I have felt myself being disconnected with the general happenings in Pakistan over the past couple of months. It is down to a couple of reasons – personal circumstances being major in occupying a large majority of the mind’s capacity. But also because of a general disdain. A feeling setting in that there is no fix in sight. That there is nothing concrete coming out from any side. There is just talk. Rhetoric. And the same old blame the previous government, terrorism bad but because of US war, condemnation of the xyz attack in xyz city. It is the same vicious cycle repeating itself.

My vote for change last May has really fizzled out to a big nothing. I don’t see any concrete change taking place. It has been majorly disappointing the manner in which Imran Khan has conducted business. My vote for him was to establish infrastructure. Focus on that. On what should be his forte. Something that he has proven himself in being capable of. But no – all we have had is a lot of noise over drones, peace talks, US bad etc etc etc.

First of all – let’s get it straight. This is our war. It may not have started out that way. But it is pretty much our war now. You can’t just say that the thousands of lives that have been lost to this barbaric notion of TTP is because it is not our war. The constant security situation of the last 10 years cannot just be swept aside as not our war. It is our war. They have challenged our sovereignty just as much as the drones have. They have attacked more innocents and military/security personal. Their logic is flawed – if they have a problem with the drones – attack the drones. Why civilians? No this is very much our war.

Second of all – peace talks. I am sorry but the idea of holding ‘peace’ talks with murderers is just beyond me. The simple fact of the matter is that they are using religion to get away with it whereas the religion under which they claim to be doing all that they are doing will hold them more than accountable for a lot of things that they shouldn’t be doing. But they are still getting away with it. Because they have so successfully worked upon the stereotype of the ‘religiously’ correct into our heads that it is unthinkable for anyone to openly and aggressively challenge them on religious grounds. I mean those who do are dealt with and the state does nothing to respond, other than the ‘condemnation’ and other rhetoric.

Khan and his PTI have been pro-Taliban that much was known to me. But I believed that he had it in him to deliver on other fronts – the administrative and infrastructural fronts. That really hasn’t happened. There have been mobile court rooms and little bits here and there. But nothing big, nothing concrete. Nothing in focus. The focus has been the drones, and the peace talks with the taliban. You have been given a chance to change the fortunes of this country starting with KP, and with all due respect you are blowing it. Well not for yourself perhaps because you are still playing the popular politics that got you KP in the first place.

Mian sb and company I would have given a 20% benefit of doubt. Third time prime minister. Changed heart and all that. Leave a legacy of having done something for the fortune of Pakistan. But nada. Disappointment there as well. Absent leadership, a nod here and there. A speech now and then comprising mostly of previous government, we will do ‘insert vague statement’ and promise nothing concrete.

And the next generation – well they are just focusing on their marketing image for now. Saeein rocking his Sindh Festival ads and speeches and looks and viral videos and what not. It’s an overhaul of the PPP image for the next elections come 2018 or maybe even before if this government doesn’t complete its term. Because the need of the hour is concerts and tournaments. That’s what sindh needs. That’s what Pakistan needs. Hey here’s a neat idea – how about not wasting money on all of that and instead putting it into the system – making a real change which is sustainable. Just a thought. Tell you what – you can still make an ad and wear that ridiculous ‘saayeein’ moonch to do the image overhaul that you so desperately want.

And finally the military. Well I cant say much on that front. Kiyani was all about keeping the boys out of politics. Keeping the boys a little restrained and compliant to the democratic cause. Raheel Sharif seemed at first to be going all guns about business and bringing the boys into action. But well there seems to be a stalemate there.

As Cyrial Almeida puts (once again might I say brilliantly) in his column today TTP V 2.0 is really the winner here – they are evolving in their thought and ability to tackle and manipulate Pakistan.

The real losers are the people, ignorant and aware alike.

So hence – I feel getting more disconnected with the current affairs because it is the same rhetoric cycle over and over again and no one is seemingly interested in changing it.

Kudos.

P.S.

Cyril Almeida’s column can be read on the following link as it has been published by Dawn:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1087283/taliban-20