Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Letter to General Musharraf

I wrote a letter to General Musharraf today. I have intentionally kept it brief since I wrote it at work. I will write a detailed article (may be 100 since the issue is very big) at later stages.

Mr. President,

Today I want to write to you about an issue that has been bothering me for a while. I had sent you an e-mail regarding this subject before but I am sure you never got to read it and this e-mail will eventually fall on deaf ears too but I feel obligated to say something about it even if no one hears my cries.

Last week when you were on a trip to Saudi Arabia trying to find solutions for the problems of “Ummah” a menace was rearing its ugly head less than 5 kilometers from the presidency. The observers found it quite ironic that you were actively participating in the summit for long term peace in the Middle East while the lawlessness ruled the streets of Islamabad clad in burkas and wielding batons. In one afternoon the whole “soft image” you have been trying to promote throughout the world disappeared.

The nation has heard you numerous times promising the writ of the law being imposed. We have in fact seen the writ of the law doing wonders when it comes to manhandling the Chief Justice of the nation and torturing the innocent protestors who demand to know where their loved ones are but in this case no law enforcement agency had the courage to stop the blatant violation of the law. The whole nation was held hostage by a few fanatics living so close to the parliament.

Today in Dawn, the interview with the principal of the institution is a clear picture of what these extremist elements plan to do to our country. The principal openly admitted that his students have in the past gone to Afghanistan to take active part in Jihad and will go in the future as well since that is what they are taught there. My question to you sir is that what can possibly a two bit mullah have over the government that he can train jihadis practically a stone’s throw away from the Presidency and your government is unable to stop him? How can he wield so much power that his students can take over land and buildings in the name of protests and your minister has to go and assure that all the illegally built mosques will be built again? How can he mock and threaten the government on T.V and not a soul of law enforcement moves a muscle?

You need to take difficult decisions and eliminate this extremism now before it destroys Pakistan completely. Our children deserve a country free of religious zealotry and bigotry. If this trend continues like this then mark my words Pakistan will be at the receiving end of Tomahawk Missiles very soon and history will blame you for bringing Pakistan to this point of no return when you had the power to slay the dragon of Islamic extremism.

You are standing at the fork of history that every leader before you reached at one point or another during his/her political career. There is a hard way to your destiny and there is an easy way. The ones who took the hard way left their legacies for all humanity to cherish. People like Julius Cesar, Jinnah, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ata-Turk to name a few while the easy way is littered with graves of leaders no one remembers. You need to decide if you have what it takes to carry a nation on your shoulders to the bright future our people deserve or if you want to be a casualty of changing times never to be heard from again."

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Monday, April 2, 2007

Yeh watan tumhara hai

Our first forray in the world of youtubing. Here is a popular milli nagma in the voice of the great Mehdi Hasan to convey the pearls of wisdom in the form of advice from our elders and our humble effort to potray our failure as a nation to live up to the message using images of Pakistan.

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Cell Phone (mobile) snatching in Pakistan

A while ago, while probing the matter of our hidden mehdi - the Justice Rana Bhagwandas, I and many others were perplexed by the seeming inability of all to get in touch with him much less find the man. We wondered aloud if the judge had a cell phone. If yes, could someone please give him a call and apprise him of the situation at home. Some said, he was an old fashioned person and did not carry a cellular phone. Others said he had a phone but wasn't answering it. I asked if his phone was snatched on the street. The one good news, or lack thereof of any news, out of that suspense was that the judge hadn't become a victim of street crime after all.

He wouldn't have been the first person in Pakistan or India to have had their cellular (mobile) phone snatched. Mobile snatching is in vogue among the small time street criminals of the sub-continent. Surprisingly, friends and family who have been victims feel more inconvenienced than victimised. The majority comment considers the snatched mobile phone a Sadqa.

Now we have a cell phone snatching to top all cell phone snatchings. Turns out the entire political drama being played out in Pakistan started with a cell phone snatching. The paklaw blog allerted me to Friday Times quoting a fly on the wall of the infamous camp office where and when the CJ was asked to resign. Instead of blinking he whipped out his cell phone. Maybe he was about to play his cards. The prime minister and his goons at that point realized that Justice Iftikhar was still the CJ and could turn the tables on them from the offices of the apex court. Lacking a plan B following the failure of their forced resignation plan they went into panic mode and we know the rest of the story. They snatched the cell phone thus effectively cutting him off from his office, detained him illegally against his will, and perpetuated this whole shambolic affair. The half-assed petition, the raggeddy supreme judicial council, the multiple acting chief justices, what a farce.

What is surprising is this discovery that mobile phone snatching is a gateway crime. You can start with a phone snatching and end up breaking not just one law but the whole constitution. Good job! king of thieves, lord of dacoits, prime minister of Pakistanis. If the snatched mobile phone of the chief justice is a sadqa, it better have averted our nation a biblical catastrophy.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Mirror, Mirror ...

Yes, our lovely patrons. In the spirit of hailing from the land of a thousand Abbassi chai hotels we announce the opening of a new wordpress location of our chaikhanah here. It serves the same tried and tested chai we make so lovingly. No, don't worry, LiptonDiCha hasn't stolen my secret recipe and has no immediate plans of opening his competing chaikhanah around the corner. It is an attempt on our part to subvert the ban on blogspot by the Pakistan government. We will still post here and that location will mirror the content here. Either location has its own rss feed.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Jamia Hafsa Ninjas on the rampage again

Ninja, the word conjures up images of trained killers acting as hired guns for their evil masters. Performing sabotage, espionage, and assassinations to subvert civil society. Katanas and throwing stars aside, the ninjas real weapon was fear. They conquered through fear, employing tactics that can only be defined today as terrorism. It took the state a while to gather up the courage to wage a campaign against them and rid society of their menace.

As the sun was setting on Tuesday evening, a gang of ninjas was making final preparations inside their temple with plans to invade a house and abduct four members of the resident family. Those who saw the armed gang leaving the devilishly red Lal Masjid knew something ominous was in the air. Thirty women clad in black from head to toe were backed up by ten of their brothers in arms as the group moved through the creeping shadows.

They moved swiftly .... at times. Mostly though, they ran into each other, and into street poles, and into oncoming traffic. You see, the ninja's stealthy black burqa costumes are marvels of costume design. A flowing A-line, that allows ease of movement and prevents even educated observers from reading the movements of the ninja. The only drawback is the extremely limited peripheral vision. For all practical purposes the Hafsa ninjas march and fight with tunnel vision. That explains the purpose of the male chaperone's. They make sure the ninjas don't succumb to the perils of a journey down the block. Some of the talibs walk in front. These forward observers also serve as beacons for the ninjas to follow and stay on path. Other talibs form the rear guard and a couple are posted on the flanks. This arrangement work well to keep the flock together. The talibs are not as efficient as, .... ehhhh ... say sheep dogs. We have all marvelled at the ability of a couple of dogs to flock hundreds of sheep. But then again the sheep have a better sense of their surroundings and possibly better developed civic and common senses. The Hafsa ninjas compensate for these with overtly developed senses of moral superiority and religious fanaticism.

Residents of nearby sector G-6 cowered in fear as the gang of armed ninjas swept through the streets and converged on the target house. There were four people in the house. The matron of the family, her daughter, her daughter-in-law, and her grand daughter of only six months. These poor women didn't know what hit them. Within moments the ninjas had overpowered the residents. The beaten and scared women were then hurriedly marched back down the block to, Lal Masjid, the ninja's temple-cum-fortress.

The word of the ninja attack and abductions spread through the city like fire. The government has so far been reluctant to confront the lawless Hafsa ninja. These ninja have their own vision of what the law of the land should be. Something the call the law of the Hasba. They have previously stared down the government on a couple of occasions. First, when they forced the government to back down on their illegal land grabs and later when they occupied a children's public library for weeks. The writ if the government eroded further when taliban from Lal Masjid grabbed a couple of police men from the street and held them hostage.

The question now is how long before the government and people of Pakistan realize our freedoms and society are worth defending against the menace of Hafsa, Hasba, Burka, Durka et al.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Talaash-e-gumshuda sehvum

Police officer who led attack on Geo TV goes missing

I did not start off on this blog to carry the mantle of finding the missing people in Pakistan. That was a challenge taken upon by our chief justice. His bravery in the face of the unscrupulous agencies of the government of Pakistan was admirable. No one in Pakistan had ever dared question them or their authority. On the one hand our CJ earned the gratitude of the relatives of the missing and the praises of the interested observers. On the other hand his activism in the cause of human rights in Pakistan earned him the scorn of the government and its long arms and big mouths. This was a man they needed to shut up if they are to continue the abhorrent masquerade that their rule has been for nearly a decade. And they did try shutting him up, and failing that they are now going to try to discredit him and roll back his agenda of enforcing answerability.

However, with the chief justice under house arrest, the least I can do is jot down my feelings here and hope someone reads and agrees. Another person of interest in this thriller has gone missing. The ghayab (missing) person is the police officer who allegedly led the attack on offices of the Geo television network in Islamabad.

This revelation about the missing inspector came direct from the mouth of the president himself. El presidente was trying to kiss up to the Geo TV Network in the aftermath of the attacks on Geo during the course of their reporting of the current judicial and constitutional crisis in Pakistan. The announcement came during a protracted appearance on the now un-banned Kamran Khan show amid contrived apologies and promises of swift justice and all.

Even with the president himself issuing the APB (all points bulletin), most observers in Pakistan are going to take this development with an extra pinch of salt. No one believes the junior police officer acted out of his own volition. We have a history sprinkled with the corpses of junior police officers who are killed off after they have served the illegal purposes of their political bosses.

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Ikhtitam ul Haq

The sad end of Inzamam's cricket career

The picture says it all. Head bowed in embarrassment, visibly shaken and looking like a man who has just lost the most important battle of his life. The cricketing career of Inzamam-ul-Haq comes to an end. The saga that began with a young man full of raw talent and devil may care attitude on the cricketing pitch ends with a grown man struggling to find the will to fight. A sad end to the career of yet another Sub- Continental cricketing giant.

The match that hurried Inzi into retirement will forever be recorded as the biggest upset in the world cup history. A make shift team of part time players, playing without central contracts or huge endorsement checks humbled a team considered the most talented team on paper.

Lets talk about the two Inzis we have come to love and hate over the last 15 years. Inzi the batsman and Inzi the captain. As a batsman he had his shortcomings but one thing is undisputed. He was a very talented batsman. Making over 20,000 runs in International cricket is no small feat. As of today there are only three batsmen in the history of the game who have scored over 20,000 international runs, Tendulkar, Lara and Inzi; with Dravid and Ponting very close to the target. An elite group of players that everyone who ever dreams of wielding the willow professionally tries to emulate. A large number of his test centuries have come in a winning cause for Pakistan. His ratio of centuries in wins is only second to the god of cricket, Don Bradman. No one can steal away his place as one of the greatest batsmen Pakistan ever produced.

Now comes Inzi the captain. Elevated to the post of captaincy based on seniority, an old Pakistani tradition. His captaincy can only be summarized as a mixture of mediocre successes and embarrassing failures. As a captain his lack of vision and absence of motivation was evident for the whole cricketing world to see. His look in the field told the spectators and viewers that he didn’t want to be there. No words of encouragement for the bowlers and fielders. No tips and tricks to pressurize the batsmen. No show of anger for poor performance. Hard to believe that a person who had played under the captaincy of Imran Khan would not pick some morsels of wisdom from the most successful captain in Pakistan’s history. With all his shortcomings, he did in fact had one thing common with Imran. His strong likes and dislikes for certain players but for very different reasons. Imran went to extremes to keep the players he supported, Qadir, Wasim and Inzi himself. Inzamam kept the players he liked based on personal preference first and talent second. It was made clear in the news that Mushtaq’s appointment as the bowling coach for the World Cup was made on Inzamam’s insistence. A bowling team with one full time and one part time leg spinner who were both far from automatic selection in the playing eleven was coached by a former leggie. The whole world saw it as a stupid move but Pakistani team stuck with the plan and paid dearly in South Africa and the Caribbean.

The one thing that I personally have an issue with is the shot of religion that was given to every member of the team in large quantity. Rumors were common that the team is pressurized to pray together since it was considered the sure shot method of gluing the team. The motto “ if you want to play together , pray together” became a butt of jokes everywhere. Every time Inzi appeared before the camera or a microphone, we were given a heavy dose of religion. Apparently it was supposed to make Pakistani team the best in the world. No bright bulb in the “tablighi ijtamah” also known as net practice pointed out the absence of religion in other teams who were a lot more successful in the cricket ground without having God to take credit for their success and blame for their failure. No genius ever pointed out to them that religion has nothing to do with cricket. The Pakistani team that won the cup in 92 was made up of drinkers, gamblers, pot smokers and playboys.

Pakistan cricket is at the bottom right now. As a matter of fact we had hit the bottom some time ago and then started digging. It is time to shed the tradition of appointing the captain on seniority alone. Captaincy should only be given based on merit. The team should be given a strict message as far as physical appearance is concerned. We can do without the models of “best of Taliban” calendar playing for our national team and representing our country as ambassadors in the whole world. PCB should spend some money on getting the team members a little help in spoken English and in management. Lets make sure that we don’t have another great player again bowing out from the world of cricket with his head pointed at the ground.

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design by Dwayne Hunter
design by Dwayne Hunter