Desi in DC

April 22, 2009

MQM, the talibans and Buner

Who thought there would be a day when I would support the MQM. Growing up in a family with strong supporters, I had the tendency to move the other way. Today after reading the Dawnregarding parliaments shameful reaction to the Nizam’s Adl and Sufi Mohhamad (SM) and his followers, I have to respect the party and thank them for their stance.  At Karachi Univeristy, while the APMSO was involved in all the activities that made us dislike student political parties with their phaddas and fights, they were also the party the girls went too when they  had “guy” trouble in the form of stalking and teasing.

Let’s just say that the girls were not bothered again.

Although I am a 90% optimist and have always believed that Pakistan can come out of everything, and that things will pass, I also don’t believe in just sitting back and not doing anything. I think the people of Pakistan need to be more vocal about their desires. Why is it that a bunch of extremely vocal “Talibans” can aspire to control the country and the silent majority just stay silent? If all its going to take is a “dozen” individual to invite SM into Buner, I would say to everyone please don’t keep sleeping. We saw the way the movement to restore the Chief justice succeeded, we need a similar one to ensure that Pakistan remains the relatively secular, moderately religious state that it is and that these people go back to where they belong- ie Afghanistan.

After all wasn’t it in my Islamiat class that I learnt that the Prophet (PBUH) said we should adopt the middle path ie moderation.

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September 27, 2008

US Elections; the North West and Pakistan

Who would have thought that I would say this but after yesterday’s US presidential debate it seems maybe McCain may be better for Pakistan. I disagree with most of his policies except his foreign policy stance related to Pakistan, In Obama’s case his domestic policies make sense but his foreign policy views on Pakistan show his lack of experience..

When will US policy makers realize what a number of US Academics and South Asian experts have been trying to tell them, you cannot look at the north of Pakistan and think its a simple problem that the Pakistani’s don’t want to do anything about. On the contrary its an extremely difficult situation that may require the best minds who know the area to come up with a possible solution that “may” work.  if you look at Pakistan’s statistics you will note that there has been a massive spike in the number of suicide bombings all over the country. As was typical during the cold war, it seems the War on T has done the same, the war turf had moved from the country’s at war to that of ours. It is the Pakistanis who have been losing their lives. Let someone at least recognize that we too have lost thousands of innocent lives due to no fault of our own.

At the same time as Pakistanis we can’t sit and accept the increasing impact that the  right wingers seem to think they are having on our country. Shutting down girls schools, threatening media shops and barber stores, if we don’t do something about this now the situation will only get worse. A number of tribal elders who have tried to help their communities by standing up to these guys have already been killed. We cannot let their deaths be in vain.

We’ll realize too late that the demographics of our country have changed. It is important that for once instead of having a reactionary policy ( ie reacting after the effect) we need to have both an offensive as well as a precautionary policy. It may already be a little late for that and we may already be in the reactionary stage but we still need to make the effort.  We have been complacent for too long and have accepted this violence for too long, its time we stepped up and protected our cities so that our children can be free to go where they wish without us worrying about potential suicide bombings…

July 27, 2008

Pakistan, Politics and the Bird flu

Filed under: Desi,Karachi,Muslims,Pakistan,Peace building,Politics,Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 2:53 pm

Our politicians are at it again, this time at a small town level in NWFP.  Rich farmers with political affiliations have been pushing local administrators to transfer local officials who are actually doing their jobs. A local poultry official was recently transferred for daring to say that there was bird flu in the area. the poultry industry in the area said it was a conspiracy against them that the WHO and the local poultry officer had declared the area had issues.. Puhlleezzz…   so now we have political decisions that sound strangely reminiscent of the 80’s and the 90’s.  This practice needs to be checked ASAP otherwise even those who want to work won’t be able to get too much done.

I am quite impressed by Zardari and Co. It hasn’t even been 6 months and I’m already wishing someone would throw them out. That’s the shortest span i’ve ever had before. Usually it would last at least a year.

But as the every optimist, things will improve, they always have, its a matter of when. Positive things are happening at individual levels we just don’t see the wider impact of it, since they tend to get overshadowed by our ever news making politicians.

June 11, 2008

Back !

Filed under: Desi,Karachi,Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 5:33 pm
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I finally logged into my account after disappearing for a very long time. The reason, apart from being insanely busy and too lazy, I was too disillusioned watching the whole drama of Pakistani politics.. but since that is not going to change anytime soon, there is no reason for me to stop writing.

will try and be more regular after this..

DC is sweltering in its heat. Having grown up in Karachi, I know heat, but even I cannot handle DC’s heat. Pakistan should start exporting lawn products to the US. The fabric is much needed, especially in a nation which loves man made products, especially polyester and does not necessarily appreciate the benefits of natural products..

February 29, 2008

The genocide of Pakistani Humanity….

Over the past few decades, acts of violence and terrorism and singlehandedly attempted to kill all levels of humanity within the Pakistani society. Every value that we are proud of, that makes us different from the west, that makes us appreciate our culture seems to be targeted by these senseless acts of violence. As if someone is bent on removing them from the very core of our existence.

What do I mean by it?? Lets identify what we value and then move forward from there.

As a kid, growing up in Karachi, if someone had a flat or car problems, I remember my father offering to help. I remember people helping us as well. As I became a teenager that became less and less. Why was that the case? My father said people would use it as a ploy to steal your car or harm your family. It was safer to help a family then to help a single individual, especially a single male.

As part of Pakistani humanity, I remember driving down stadium road and seeing this old Afghan woman walking through the back routes trying to reach the road. My brother and sister in law stopped the car and offered her a ride. Their good deed for the day. This month I read something in the news that really scared me. A couple was driving their on one of the busy roads of Karachi. Someone got in the back seat and said that he was a suicide bomber and to ram the car / building/ police car etc//   This act has killed another aspect of the Pakistani humanity. Anyone who in the past wanted to offer a ride on a hot day to an old man will no longer do so..

On a hot day, I remember poor kids and old beggars knocking on the door asking for food. I don’t remember anyone sending them empty handed. If there was no cooked food in the house, we would hand them some fruits, if nothing else them a glass of water and something to eat. Today we ask how old is the person. Make sure there is no dacoit waiting to  rob the people..

and the list continues…

Are we going to let them completely annhilate our values and our humanity. Our we going to let them completely take over who we are? are we going to let these so called protectors of religion hijack our values and beliefs?

I don’t think so.. I don’t intend to let these terrorists and perpetrators of violence destroy the goodness in our society. What about you? 

This is a work in progress..

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 18, 2007

Madrasa Reforms- Part2

When Madrasa Reforms part 1 article got published, one of the response that we received asked do you know how expensive it is for the government to board hundreds of students and provide two square meals a day..and how do we address that?

following is the response I wrote back.
I wrote the article since the government has been speaking about madrasa reforms for the last few years and nothing seems to have been done. My concern is primarily due to the long term effects of this education. The madrasa system in Pakistan has become extensive in the last 2 decades and we have started to see the effects in Pakistan in the last few years. In Indonesia the government was providing partial support to the pesantrans, the remainder was coming from private sources similar to those providing support to madrasas in Pakistan. It is up to the government to make the change. If there is no choice of religious education without some secular education, then funds will accommodate as well.

Why is it that the Punjab government can implement free primary education, but we are unable to do so for the rest of the country? Other provinces need to receive similar support, but at the same time the provinces need to show a similar commitment to education.

My only response to the government official is that drops of water make an ocean. If we can identify areas where “extremism” is more rampant (for the moment, these areas include but are not limited to bordering Afghanistan, FATA areas and the province of NWFP), we should start with making changes in the system here and then with more sources try and move to the other provinces as well. We acknowledge that the problem cannot be solved in one day. It took 15 years and more to create the problem and will require a similar amount of time to resolve it, but we need to start somewhere to possibly reach a solution someday. If we keep looking at the situation in a complex manner which is what it is, we will never come up with a solution. In order to reach a solution, we need to simplify it and take it one step at a time.

You have NGO’s like the Zindagi trust who are attempting to make a difference, one school at a time, and frankly that is the approach that we also need to take. Please read the book “Three Cups of Tea”, building peace one school at a time to see what I mean.

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