Desi in DC

May 6, 2017

Affordable Care Act – One More Story

My Father-in-Law has Parkinson’s. It took him a while to get diagnosed. He was also a new immigrant to the US. His fault lay in the fact that by the time his 12 years  of waiting in line to receive his family sponsored immigration docs were up, he was already past 64. So when he moved to the US on his green card he was almost 65.

We tried to buy insurance for him and were constantly told to apply for medicare. What the insurance companies failed to understand was that for a new immigrant, medicare was not an option since they had not worked long enough in the US to accrue points. When we were successful in convincing these companies the quotes we received were simply unaffordable. North of 1K per month and that too with a significant deductible.

When Obamacare was passed, my FIL was finally able to afford insurance. After spending 5 years living uninsured, paying out of pocket for any medical expenses, my FIL finally had health insurance.

After spending the last few years stress free, we worry that FIL may lose his coverage once again. 

It is sad that the world’s “Super Power” is unable to get its act together as far as a just medical system is concerned. Access to good quality healthcare should be a right and not a privilege. Maybe the US can learn a few things from its neighbours in the North,

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February 18, 2008

PK Elections 2008

Today the prayers of many Pakistani’s were answered. The elections were relatively peaceful. As the election results come out it is clear that there will be many changes in the upcoming years.. Many of the existing ministers were thrown out, including the minister for water and electricity. The last would make it seem that the people have decided to exercise their vote. At this point in time it doesn’t see if any one party will have a clear majority. So far the PPP and PMLN seem to be leading and media seems to be supporting the idea that the new government may actually be a coalition of PPP. PMLN and ANP.

For us as a country maybe that may be the answer. No one party be given so much power that it can actually blindly raid the country.

The second positive outcome of the elections is that so far the MMA has lost quite a few seats. In a way that was expected since the Jamaat had decided to boycott the elections. I hope this is a clear message from the citizens of Pakistan that we are proud Muslims and we don’t like people who tell us how to practice our faiths. WE decide what is Islamic and what is not. We will not have ideas of a few imposed on the many..

over and out, time to go back to watching the election transmission

PS: I really liked what the television host on GEo Stated. IS you have the right to vote and you did not exercise the right to vote then you have no right to complain about what happens in the country in the next 4 years.

February 14, 2008

The Opposition and Pakistan’s upcoming elections.

Today Zardari passed a statement saying that there would be protests if his party did not win the elections. Everyone is already stating that the elections are going to be tampered with.. Reading all these statements makes one ready to scream in frustration.. why??

A) these parties are extremely corrupt and there is a strong liklihood that they may or may not succeed.

B) some people hate the ruling party, other places like some in punjab have benifted greatly from the chaudries and may very well vote them back at least from their areas.

C) every party seems to be concerned about their own party, their own interests. They seem to ignore the fact that the country is going through some serious issues and for once it would be really nice if they could stop bickering and work for the national interest. But I don’t see that happening especially is the likes of zardai, bhuttos, sharifs and chaudries are to continue ruling us.

I agree with musharaff for once, please don’t take to the streets after the elections, you want to protest do so through some other channels..

I just hope we can find some decent leadership in this country. It is sad when I look at the choices I don’t find anyone that I really want to vote for. What use is my democratic right when it does not even provide me with a choice which is “lesser of the two evils”.

 Over and out..

a frustrated pakistani.

January 7, 2008

A Nation of Contradictions

I have not posted anything new in the past few days. I logged on to write and then gave up not knowing what to write. The state of violence, and the economic losses rendered me speechless. I have only been able to read, digest, and read again  the scale of the tragedy and violence that engulfed Pakistan, particularly Sindh after the assasination of Benazir Bhutto.

As I hear the stories,  I have come to believe we are a nation of contradictions. The average humane Pakistani who is at a loss at why something is happening and the conniving politicians who leave no opportunity to loot, raid and present problems for the people they aim to serve.

It were these who encouraged their workers to go on a large scale free for all spree of looting, arson and violence.  Never in our history of rioting have we had atms looted, nor factories or trains burned down. This was a first.  They came back again on Monday stating three days were too little to mourn our “great leader”. But then by politicians I don’t just mean one kind. The second lot responsible for the safetly and security of its people delayed issuing orders to protect the citizens of Karachi and Sindh. I have only heard stories that my family, friends and their acquaintances suffered through. I don’t even know 1% of all that happened to the poor masses of Pakistan.

On the other hand are the contradictions. The civilians, the masses, the villagers. These are the people who fed travellers in trains stranded in the middle of nowhere for upto 48 hours and more, with limited food and water on board.  It is these poor villagers who prevented the tragedies from becoming even worse.

We also have individuals who gave shelter to other people while Karachi was hijacked by rioters. Then again there were others who didn’t.  It is these people who warned women to leave their cars and seek shelter as rioters headed towards them.  We had a television host that repeatedly appealed to people to stay in their senses and not attack the lives and properties of their brothers and sisters.  It is these people who make me hopeful that we pakistanis will prevail once again. That there will come a time when we are no longer hijacked by the actions of our politicians and their workers and where the decency of the people will prevail and come to light again.

over and out..

December 18, 2007

Of BB, Emergency and the birdflu

Filed under: Benazir,Education,Elections,Islam,Karachi,Muslims,Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 1:48 am

I am finally back after disappearing for a few weeks in between. Much has happened in Pakistan. Our President has paved the way for Ms BB to rule the country again. I seem to be see sawing between respecting our President and wanting to have him removed for allowing BB to come back.

But another important news that is just now gaining world attention and is a source to concern to many all over the world is the occurance of human cases of the Bird flu in NWFP.  If the proper authorities do not take the proper care Pakistan could well be named the most dangerous country to visit and this would not be because of the terrorists but instead because of biology.

November 8, 2007

of Lawyers, Kalam and emergency

Back online after staying away for a few days. Protests in Pakistan still continue. According to the latest news the lawyers are planning on switching their protests from out in the streets to the working of the courts. The lahore jails have become so overcrowded that the homes where political leaders were being kept under house arrest have been declared as subjails. Furthermore the factory at landikotal was also shut down to create more room.. refer to urdu press for more details

I guess the Jail bharo movement seems to be succesfull. The students of FAST and LUMS seem to have joined the protest and youtube is filled with videos coming out of PK.

Our TV channels were not to be left behind. Most channels especially GEO, ARY and DAWN have posted links on their websites where people can see live streaming.

BUt the one news, which has brought hope has nothing to do with the emergency. It is a news from KALAM that dawn reported. It seems that the tribal elders had called a jirga and then informed the “local taliban” that they were not interested in having the militants control their area and just basically asked them to get out.

good for you! the people of Kalam. I thank you from the depths of my soul heart…Now if we can get the “taliban” out of the other areas then the poor people of swat will be able to lead their own lives without fear of bomblasts and threats and the government will no longer have an excuse to continue with this “emergency”. So the question is.. is it still being called that or have accepted that it is a martial law.

so is a martial law in any other name still a martial law??

I am still wanting to be an optimist and may even wait and see if uncle musharaff plans on living up to his promises of holding elections in February. I guess the situation will hopefully be a lot clearer in the coming weeks.

over and out

a confused citizen of Pakistan.

November 3, 2007

8 years and Back to square one.

Filed under: Desi,Elections,Karachi,Muslims,Pakistan,Pakistani,Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 8:23 pm

8 Years later and we’re back to square one. 8 years ago in October 1999 Gen Pervaiz Musharaff and his army came into power through a coup. 8 years ago we were amongst the happiest people and thanking God that he had done so.

8 years later musharaff has once again declared an emergency and we can’t stop cursing him enough.

What has happened to bring about this change?

Musharaff stated in his speech to the nation that the nation is heading in a downward spiral, frankly none of us deny it. watching the news coming out of Pakistan has been extremely worrying.

security is almost non existent, with suicide bombers attacking almost weekly in some part of the country or the other..

prices have sky rocketed. When i left for school three years ago, milk was Rs 29 a kilo ( tetra pack) it is now sitting at Rs 44. tandoori naan is being sold in black for up to Rs 6 or 7.

the macro economic factors may be positive but the micro economic factors seemed to be heading downwards especially with inflation rising.

The rule of extremists groups seems to be rising in the north of Pakistan. Girls schools are being threatened, music shops seem to be bombed and painters, musicians and barbers are trying to relocate or start a living with a new occupation. The government doesn’t seem to have paid too much attention to the plight of the people.

Musharaff said what he is doing is in the interest of the country. He said in his speech that the supreme court is going out of control and that the media should have the freedom but also should take responsibility and that they should show positive things rather then portray negativity.

Is showing positivity when people are dying, and when the poor man can barely afford to eat 1 square meal a day rather then two,, is that not being like an ostrich with its head in the ground?

Is asking the police to locate the “missing people” and return them home, or asking the local government to take action against the excessive load shedding and traffic jams causing immense hardships for the people interfering?? Although I don’t agree with everything that the SC has done, for the first time it seemed there was finally some place that could represent the plight of the people, and maybe deal with issues that everyone was thinking about, and if nothing at least have a place to voice them.

8 years ago, we had a prime minister who was close to acting as a dictator, we had two prime ministers who had between them managed to rape the country in all manner.

8 years later, our saviour signed an agreement with one of these leaders in the interest of maintaining his post. 8 years later and as mentioned insecurity has skyrocketed, as had inflation.

I agree positive things have happened, but those too seem to be collapsing.. with the rains in karachi, the development work landed up creating hurdles in people’s live rather then benefiting them.. In the interest of democracy you are pushing one of the most corrupt leaders back to the people..

at the end of it all,, people are just tired.. they were promised so much,, and every single leader has disapointed them. including our current leadership.

We had hopes, we knew that things would be difficult, but to come back to square one after 8 years is simply heartbreaking.

to look at the situation in Pakistan and to acknowledge that things were bad during the 1990’s but the situation in 2007 is a lot worse and much more dangerous makes one think where are we headed.

I hope and wish that we have hit rock bottom and things can only get better, but maybe that is just wishful thinking on my part.

My God take care of Pakistan.

October 2, 2007

What Right does the Pakistani Government have to Grant Amnesty to Benazir Bhutto?

A leading English Language newspaper reported that the Pakistani Government agreed to grant Amnesty to Benazir Bhutto. According to the report the government has agreed to quash corruption charges against Benazir Bhutto. What right does the Pakistani government have to grant amnesty to Benazir Bhutto?  BB’s crimes affected the country and its people; her crime was against her people, people who were ignorant and dense enough to elect her twice to power, not having learnt from their first mistake; people in a country where at least 60 % are illiterate. [I have given the country the benefit of a doubt by accepting a literacy rate of 40% while acknowledging that quite a few of these ‘literates’ barely finished 4th grade.

What right does the Pakistani government have to grant Amnesty to Benazir Bhutto? What kind of message are they sending across? Raid your country dry, and then live a comfortable life abroad, make contacts with the West, wait till a General comes along, if you wait long enough, your friends in the west, along with the general may be sweet enough to forgive you the crimes that never affected them in the first place? Is that the message that we want to send out to our future politicians?

For Benazir Bhutto, it is not just the crime of her corruption, but also the corruption that her husband participated in, but more importantly the heinous crimes that were committed on the city of Karachi during the reign of Benazir Bhutto.

I have just finished reading Kamila Shamsie’s book Kartography. (a novel about Karachi and its elites though the 80s and 90’s.) As I finished reading the book I was struck strongly by a sense of horror that how could we forget what Karachi was like?

As a child and a teenager growing in the 80’s and 90’s the one thing that I clearly remember is a time of peace and a time of violence. Newspapers have written constantly about the possibilities of Benazir Bhutto returning and how she was the “US Supported” candidate. While reading the book, I was transported back to Karachi in the 1990’s and a statement made by the then prime minister (BB) , that country was progressing and Karachi was only a city of 10 million people. This statement came at time when on an average 20 people were dying daily on the streets of Karachi. It was during BB’s reign that during the first 9 months of 1995 more then 1300 people were killed on the streets of Karachi, most of them young men belonging to the Mohajir community. Between the periods of June 1995 and Oct 995 more then 600 people were killed, with the rate of execution style killings rising. Bhutto was criticized by her own brother for the way she handled the situation. 

The terror that we grew up with, how can we have forgotten that so quickly? Are we really going to go back to those days? Karachi is not perfect, it has often been hijacked by those with power for their own means,  But those who grew up in the city can think of no other place as home and often wonder when will the city receive justice?

What right does the government have to grant amnesty to a person who has committed a crime against people who do not want to forgive her?

If she is innocent, let her fight her cases like everyone else. Although  no case has been proven against her in Pakistan, Bhutto has already been charged for Money laundering by Switzerland. In addition, countries such as France, Switzerland, Poland and UAE have already forwarded information regarding Bhutto and Zardari’s corrupt practices.  How can the West, that promotes ideas of freedom, democracy and transparency, keep pushing someone who is so corrupt, a fact not only stated by Pakistanis but also by European countries.

Over and Out

A very frustrated Pakistani!

PS: Can a case be filed against this decision??Our lawyers and politicians seem to be filing one for everything else, why not for a worthy cause?

 

References: Asia week summaries. http://www.pathfinder.com/Asiaweek/95/1229/newsmap/pakistan.html

Wikipedia

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