You are a murderer!

YOU ARE A MURDERER!
You are a doctor, and yet you let someone die…just like that!
All you cared for was your fees… You were only bothered about your bloody fees…
You should be ashamed of yourself. Your degree should be torn and then burnt into the fire and your PMDC registration should be canceled right away and you should be hanged till death…because you were part of this murder!
I am a Pakistani and these above lines are wrenched from the bottom of my heart. I just found out that a woman died in a hit and run case yesterday, in Karachi, near Sea View. I am sure you all must be aware of this tragic incident; I am not going to focus on the mad driver who didn’t stop his car and instead, ran all over her and didn’t even stop for one second to look back at what he had done … He’s a murderer and he will rot in hell…
I am not going to comment on that bloody desperate thief who came forward to see the severely injured woman on the road…And in the pretense of providing a helping hand, he STOLE her mobile phone…without even thinking for one second that her phone could have been used for locating her family…or her family would have died a thousand deaths when they would have tried to contact her and her phone would have been turned off because that’s what thieves do, right? No… I am not commenting on this either…
I am commenting and condemning this DOCTOR who refused to treat her when the eye witnesses and some police constables took her to the nearest medical center. This DOCTOR had the audacity to refuse any kind of treatment because all she was worried about was the fact that the woman’s family was not there and her main question was that “Who would pay my fees?” That patient was dying… I am sure no one could have saved her…but at least some HUMANITY could have been expected from that DOCTOR…right?
My hands are cold right now, my eyes blurry with tears…I am mourning the death of humanity in our nation… our nation has stooped to the lowest levels and I really don’t know what to do now…my head is pounding with the images of this accident site and some flashbacks of the sanitary worker that died when THREE DOCTORS refused to treat him in Umerkot few months ago…but above all…my heart is HURT at the inhumanity of all these doctors… It’s killing me because I am a Doctor myself and we take OATHS to protect people. We have pledged to keep people’s safety and benefits before our own…and in cases of emergency…we are bound to come up front and take control…without thinking about money or any other superficial things!
It is my humble request to all, who read this post… Please do something… This nation is dying… Please please please become someone’s light instead of prying it away from them…
To all the doctors out there, don’t forget that YOU were bestowed with the power of healing… YOU were entrusted with the amanat of taking care of people before your own needs… YOU are going to be held accountable too!
Think a thousand times before you refuse treatment to any patient next time…
Dr.Ayesha Ansar Khan

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Drama In Islamabad!!

          I feel angry today, disturbed, ashamed, disappointed and a bit amused too! The weird drama in Islamabad, the way a man, a woman and two children kept the capital on hold, and the manner our security personnel handled the situation has again made Pakistan a laughing stock for the world. 

          And our media, our TV channels licking their lips in delight, reported the whole incident minute to minute! For six long hours! I am no television buff, and had just switched on the idiot box to check out on the weather conditions in Lahore, I was worried because my son and his family were scheduled to reach there from Murree and the rumour was that the roads in Lahore were flooded! (This proved to be wrong as I came to know later).

          There was no news about the rains in Punjab but all channels were covering the Islamabad incident and the drama had started only a few minutes ago! Glued to the Television, I kept on watching in surprise as the police and Commandos were being shown keeping a distance from the car. The woman and children in the car were first reported to be held hostage by the man who started the whole drama by firing wildly in the air. And this was the Blue area of Islamabad, the area with the highest security as all important venues i.e the Prime Minister House, National Assembly, Supreme Court of Pakistan are stuated in this locality.

          In sheer disgust, I kept on posting updates on FaceBook and here I would like to share them with my readers. Although I cannot state for sure what was the exact time but it all started at around 6 in the evening!

OMG….. Police have surrounded the car in the Blue Area Islamabad from which an unknown man fired wildly in the air…I wonder what the police is waiting for!

The car was snatched from a nearby area n there is also a burqa clad woman in the car…hostage or accomplice? The police hv still no clue..Allah reham kare, Ameen

  • The body language of the woman is V suggestive…she hardly looks panicked or nervous as she took something out from the car’s trunk
  •  

Bhaaiyon!!!! Car k tyre hi puncture kar do fire kar ke!!!

 

Two kids in the car Too!!!

My notion was right…….!!!!! the woman claims to be the wife of the man in the car plus the two children are their kids!!! 

 Aaj TVdekhein…I am sure Geo wala will also b enjoying this breaking news…but can not switch channels now…the situation is too weird!!   

Our police keeps on bringing shame to the whole nation!! And the TV channels are having a great time!! All claiming to be the first to report this drama!!I am feeling like a reporter at the moment but cant stop myself from commenting!! Sharamnaak situation!!! Look at the way the woman is coming n going conveying demands! 

Hikmat e amli ki tafseelat bhee bata dee mulzimon ki Sahulat k lye!!! I think these people have never heard of GPRS!!!Humari helpless police bechaari!!! Police dept should be dissolved…the law of the jungle is good enough for us!!!! Both of the miscreants were far enough from their car but still the police didn’t dare to overpower them! 

7.30 PM….I am  getting late for Maghrib.. have to take a short break now! 

High level Drama in Islamabad!!! Baghair ticket enjoy karein!!!  

Latest on Islamabad drama….aap sab ko mubarak ho!! Police ne musslaah shaks ki giraftaari ki tayyaari mukammil kar lee!!!! 

Islamabad Drama smells fishy from Miles!!!! How come no action has been taken although it is already dark?

Easy load for the culprit’s cell by the POLICE…how sweet of them!!

Bachon ko Pizza khana hai!! SSP Operations se naya mutalba!!! Its only my notion: P 

Operation ki tayyaryaan Mukammil!!! Bas anesthetist ka intezar hai!!

I couldn’t stop myself from Re tweeting this!

  •  A Good Soldier (@Soldier_pk):
    One thing is certain, all vehicles carrying families will face extra scrutiny at police barriers, thanks to Sikandar ‪#‎BlueA
  • My Tweet…
  • Media personal manhandled! Kumhar pe bas na chala gadhia ke kaan amethe!‪#‎Bluearea ‪#‎islamabad d security forces hs brought d nation 2 shame!!

          The nation is waiting for the drama to end! First it was being suggested by our TV channels that the security personal are waiting for the dark! But on second thoughts, I feel they have decided to wait for the Sun to rise!

          9.30 PM…After this post, I had to be pull myself away from the television as I had to go to a dinner. After exchanging pleasantries with my hostess, I requested her to switch on the TV. The drama was just ending, I could see the PPP leader Zamurrud Khan pouncing on the man and the later, as if taken by surprise, falling down and being overpowered by our brave Commandos!

(I guess Zamurrud Khan will be given Hilal e jurrat for his bravery!!)

        12.30….It is being reported that the gunman has been taken to the PIMS Hospital and is undergoing emergency surgery as he has been shot in the stomach and leg! I only wonder why this couldn’t have been done earlier!

          Frustration and shame has become the lot of the common Pakistani nobodies like me! Helpless, surprised, disappointed and angry at the (mis) performance of our police, rangers and most of all the so called Commandos we just watched the ongoing drama in sheer disgust!

The security personal seemed helpless, spineless and confused! We, the patriotic Pakistanis, demand an immediate explanation! Why were we made the laughing stock for the world once more! For Heaven’s sake, don’t hurt our pride again and again in this manner! We love this country and want it to rise from the dust… and shine!

Long live Pakistan!!

 

 

 

 

 

WHO IS TO BE BLAMED?

This is an edited version of an article published in The Financial Daily

 

WHO IS TO BLAME?

 

Independence Day is approaching yet another time. Yesterday I had a sudden idea and impulsive that I am, decided to implement it at once. Throughout the year, we are busy celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Why not have an Independence day party? Happily I started to call close family members but I was a bit confused at the reaction of the young generation, who seemed to decline my invitation politely at one pretext or another.

I called Sohail, my nephew, on his cell many times and on not getting a response rang him at his office. “What’s wrong, Sohail? Why are you not attending to your cell? And no one is receiving the phone at home?” “Oh, Auntie, my cell has been snatched a third time and I simply can not afford to go on buying mobile phones for muggers.” Sohail’s tone was very cross. “Shazia has gone to her parents with the kids. We have no electricity and so no water for the last two days. How could she manage with the children with no water in this heat?”

Warily I told Sohail about the party. “Come on Auntieji, you must be joking! What is there to celebrate about anyway? Insecurity?  Power failures? Corruption? Suicide bombers blowing up innocent people whenever and wherever they want? Or the sky-rocketing cost of living which is making a respectable difficult day by day? What has Pakistan given us anyway? Please excuse me Auntie, I shall rather stay at home and catch up on my sleep”.

Sohail continued in an angry tone, “I simply see no logical reason left for celebrating the Independence Day. Though we have got a homeland but still we have no freedom. We have to free ourselves from the shackles of religious extremism, poverty, illiteracy, greed and corruption before calling ourselves a free nation and planning any celebrations. The struggle for independence is not over yet!”

 Sohail’s outburst helped me to understand why the people of his generation were not showing any interest in my party. They all belonged to a disenchanted and disappointed generation which had seen Pakistan going on the downwards slide, year by year! Although I tried my best to convince Sohail, his arguments were so strong and he seemed so agitated, I decided to talk to him later.

I was born in an age when the people who had strived, suffered and sacrificed for the sake of independence were all around, so I felt deeply disturbed at the frustration of our new generation. In those days Patriotism was the order of the day and our parents never tired of telling us true stories about the Pakistan movement. Precious lives were lost, ancestral homes and properties were left behind but no one considered this a price too heavy for Independence. I vividly remember my mother shedding tears when she talked about Mohammed Ali Jinnah or Liaqat Ali Khan! Love for Pakistan seemed to be in the blood and everyone seemed proud to call himself a Pakistani.

I can still remember how enthusiastically we celebrated 14th August at school. The principal hoisted the national flag and gave a short speech stressing on the importance of independence and love for one’s Homeland.  As we fervourly recited the National Anthem in a chorus, it was a proud moment and the fluttering green flag never ceased to bring tears to my eyes. Sweets were distributed among the children and all of us were as happy as if it was Eid.

Sohail’s questions brought a rush of guilt to my heart. What is the reason behind this change in emotions? Have we failed to transfer this love for Pakistan to our next generation? Did we take independence for granted and did not strive enough to pass on its importance to their young minds. Or is it our poor and inept education system which is to blame.

Today our young generation has but a fleeting knowledge of the hardships faced during the movement for Pakistan, something which they have learned in the dull and drab books on Pakistan Studies! These books also keep changing with the advent of every new ruler who want the syllabus to suit his whims, trying to write a new history after every few years.

Or should we blame the greedy and incapable politicians, who are too busy filling their pockets (which are already bursting at the seams), to care for the peace and prosperity of Pakistan?

Our country is rich enough in resources. But whose purpose does it serve to keep them untapped and underutilized? Job opportunities which can be created but are not, the rain water which can do wonders for our agricultural lands but instead floods and destroy standing crops, the beautiful valleys were no tourists dare to visit due to fear of the so called religious extremist, growing unemployment and a steep rise in the inflation level are only a few reasons of the causes leading to the frustration of our young generation. These and many other such thoughts kept troubling me as I lay awake in the darkness of the night.

The next morning I called Sohail again, “Whether you come or not, I am celebrating 14th August according to my plans. You asked me many questions yesterday. The only question I have to ask you is ‘What have “We” given to Pakistan’? Nobody from the Heavens will come to change our lot. It is our choice, either we sit in our drawing rooms, sipping tea and blaming each other for our failures, or firmly resolve to strive and sacrifice, step by step, for the prosperity of Pakistan”.

RAMZAN AND PAKISTAN ( Musings of a true Pakistani!)

 

We have been blessed by the month of Ramadan again. This is the time of the year to re-learn lessons, to stop and think; and to act for a better life and a better future! As I repeatedly say, Ramadan is not about refraining to eat and drink from dawn to dusk as this only the physical requirement of this month. Neither is it only about preparing and shopping for Eid, something we all spend a major part of the month in. The message of this month goes much deeper! If we think a bit profoundly, we will find that this is a month to change ourselves for the better, to improve in all aspects of life.

We all know Pakistan was created on the 14th of August 1947, but maybe most of us do not know that this day coincided with the 27th of Ramadan 1368 Hijri. If we truly realize the real lessons of this month, and apply it to our behavior and attitude as citizens of Pakistan, we can make a drastic improvement in the future of our homeland. All of us have to play a role and change ourselves to contribute towards this goal.

Discipline, obedience, punctuality, compassion for those less blessed than us, sharing and caring and a sense of accountability are all feelings which can go a long way in improving our lives as well as the situation in Pakistan.

My readers may be too young to realize the intensity of the dire state of affairs we as a nation are stuck in, but you are enlightened enough to know that all is not well in Pakistan. The newspaper and the electronic media give us disturbing news every day. Your parents fear for your security when you go out. Illiteracy, crimes, corruption and greed are gnawing at the roots of our beloved homeland. If we as a nation resolve to apply the true spirit of Ramadan to our conduct and outlook as a nation, a positive change in the situation is bound to come.

Ramadan teaches us the lesson of obedience. We know that we have to go without food and during during a fast. But we can easily sneak a snack or a glass of water when no one is watching us. But none of us would even think of doing so because we all firmly believe that a Divine Eye is watching us! Why is it so that we take a pleasure in breaking rules and disobeying laws? Sneaking a flower or two and walking on the grass where it is clearly written “Do not walk on the grass or pluck flowers” give us a sense of adventure. Breaking traffic signals and over speeding on roads are not even considered a crime by most people. Pushing and shoving each other instead of making a queue at public places are all national habits with us. These are small crimes but this frame of mind gives rise to a disregard for law at all levels. If we learn to obey and respect the law at a young age, a far reaching change will be seen very soon.

Ramadan is the month of punctuality. We start and break fasts according to the fixed time and not according to our mood or whim. But as a nation we totally lack a sense of punctuality. Students submit their work late, government officers generally do not care if they do not reach their offices in time; we seldom follow the timings when we attend a wedding or any other invitation. And often I have found patients waiting and suffering in pain because the doctors do not turn up at the exact time they have given to their patients. Time is a commodity which we love to waste although if we study the cases of developed nations we shall find that punctuality and valuing time is one of their foremost qualities. So, this Ramadan let us resolve that we shall value our time and try to do every thing according to a set routine.

When we give out Zakaat in Ramadan, we come in contact with people less privileged than us. This creates in us a sense of compassion as well a will to share our blessings with the needy people around us. Feeling the pangs of hunger as well going thirsty makes us realize what the poor people go through the year around. If we nurture these feelings and keep them alive around the year, a large number of people from our circle will benefit. Giving away clothes, toys, books and other personal possessions which you can comfortably do without may bring joy and content to those who can not afford to buy these things. Frustrations and deprivations usually give rise to crime. The crime graph in our country can come down sharply if the affluent change their attitude of amassing wealth by using unfair means and depriving the worthy of their share, but these qualities have to be learnt from a young age.

In the end I must say that Ramadan gives us a general sense of piety, an urge to do good deeds and shun bad ones. Lying, cheating, selfishness, greed and back biting are all qualities which are causing the detoriation in the conditions our country is facing. While fasting we have a natural urge to keep away from these ills. Why not resolve firmly to make this a national habit? Even when Ramadan is over and we are not fasting truthfulness, honesty, patriotism and discipline can go a far way to guide Pakistan towards the road to development.

So, enjoy the delicacies Mummy cooks for Iftar and Sehar but do not fail to lend her a helping hand wherever you can. Shop for your Eid preparations but do not forget those who are less privileged than you. But foremost of all, this Ramadan let’s resolve to make Pakistan a better place to live in. When we all join hands and make firm resolution things will improve Insha Allah. Because as an optimistic I firmly believe that there is light at the end of the darkest tunnel! A change (for the better) in our values and preferences is the need of the hour.

Bonding Times!

The cherished months have finally arrived. It’s summer holiday again! It’s time to laze around and relax from the strict regime of school life, home-work, tests and, for some friends, the additional burden of tuitions too! But it is often seen that after the initial week or two, the excitement and charm of the vacation seems to wear off and we start complaining of boredom.

What should we do? This is the question which you all start asking your mothers and it makes them want to groan out aloud as they wonder how to keep their kids busy, happy and mostly out of their way!

Some lucky ones amongst you may go out of town (or country) to spend your vacation. There are also a lot of summer camps which offer a variety of activities, but in these times of insecurity and inflation, most parents do not find them affordable or convenient.

Friends, instead of getting on our parents’ nerves, we must find such means to keep ourselves busy that are not only fulfilling but also easy on our parents’ pockets!

This summer you can find a very fulfilling activity which will not only keep you busy, it will also provide a sense of immense emotional gratification. These are the months when we have lots of free time at our hands, and we can make this time precious by using it for bonding with relatives, old friends, books, nature and the environment around us!

Bonding with relatives

Often, in the busy school months we have hardly any time for our elderly relatives. Grandparents specially look forward to vacations as they know that you can visit them more often and also spend nights with them. The luxury of Grandma’s delicious pulao, her special cookies and the traditional kheer, which no one can make as perfect as her, are for yours to enjoy.

You can also help Grandpa with his gardening, in rearranging his bookshelf, or accompany him when he goes out for his daily walk or to the mosque. You can also help your grandparents to clean up their cupboards and room, a chore they do not have the energy to do without help. Maybe you will find something interesting like old photographs, grandma’s trinkets which she doesn’t use anymore or old coins and stamps Grandpa once collected as a hobby. They may allow you to keep these with you and they may one day turn to be a sort of souvenir from them.

There are also elderly family members, like your parents’ aunts and uncles or an ageing neighbor. A visit from you or a phone call can brighten up their day as deep down old people are usually lonely! You can indulge them by playing a game of ludo or chess, or reading out to them from their favorite book. The happy look you will see on their faces would make your free time worthwhile.

Bonding with old friends

Sometimes you lose track of close friends once they move out of your neighborhood or change school. In these leisure months it would be a wonderful idea to look them up and refresh your ties with them. You can email them to find out about their whereabouts or call common friends to trace them out. Meeting old friends is often a tonic for our mood and spirits, providing us with a deep sense of pleasure.

Bonding with your books

With the hectic routine of homework and class tests, most children usually like to spend their free hours relaxing in front of the television, texting or chatting with friends and browsing on the computer. Reading good books is no more a favorite pastime for most of you. But you must realize that books are your best companions and there is no better time to cultivate good reading habits than the long afternoons of your summer vacation.

To make your time more productive, look up some good classics, and be sure that every day you spend a couple of hours in reading. In this way you will learn a lot as reading not only broadens your insight, it also provides you knowledge beyond your textbooks — the most enjoyable pastime one can have!

Ask your parents or elder siblings to help you in the choice of books. You can visit old book shops or the Sunday markets where you can get good books at affordable prices. Create a chain by exchanging books with your friends. This way you will be able to read more while you spend less. Soon you will realize that reading is the most enjoyable pastime one can have.

Bonding with nature

Bird watching, going for walks and gardening are all means to bond with nature. Place small pots of water and baajra (millet) in your garden and you will be delighted to see the sparrows specking at the food and drink!

Bread pieces leftover from the breakfast table, a spoonful or two of cooked rice can also go into these pots and don’t be alarmed if crows also come in for the treat. After all they also help to clear up the environment and we can set out a morsel of food for them too.

Gardening is also a very fulfilling activity which will bring you closer to nature. You can set out small pots in your garden or balcony and nurture and water your personal plants. The tinge of delight at seeing your plant grow will make your time rewarding as well as give you a sense of fulfilment.

Bonding with the environment

This summer vacation set a goal for yourself to make your surroundings better. You can organize a cleanliness drive with the help of your neighborhood children. Clearing up your lane and going from door to door to ask people to help you by not throwing their trash on roads will create awareness and a better civic sense. You will also immense satisfaction of seeing your surroundings cleaner and more hygienic.

The list goes on and on. These are only some suggestions for your summer holidays, but I am sure that my little friends are intelligent enough to take their initiative from these activities and plan a number of positive ones themselves! Happy vacation!

Environment: Say ‘No’ to polythene

A\fter having breakfast, I picked up the newspaper and settle down to my second cup of tea, a routine which I enjoy everyday. A letter to the editor about the use (or misuse) of polythene bags caught my eyes. It read: “The government has failed totally in imposing the ban on polythene bags. Although implemented strictly last year, they disappeared only for a few days from the super markets, shops, vendors and stalls. They have come creeping back, slowly and surely, and it seems their days in Pakistan are not over”.

Nodding my head at the inefficiency of our government, I exclaimed angrily, ‘How irresponsible our authorities are! They start these campaigns half-heartedly and then forget about them quickly.’ Folding the newspaper away and feeling very displeased at the inefficiency of the authorities, I started preparing for lunch.

I took out the required items from the refrigerator and proceeded to the kitchen. But a thought froze me halfway! The number of polythene bags I had taken out from the fridge made me feel guilty. Mince, chicken, tomatoes, carrots, curd, coriander and green chillies were all packed in separate polythene bags. And I would be using and discarding a lot more as the day will end. I realised the fact that it would be the same in most households.

So, friends and readers, we are simply not justified in blaming the authorities for not implementing ban on polythene bags strictly. Refusing to take responsibility, we fail to realise that we ourselves are also the culprits… and the victims, as well!
Polythene bags constitute serious environmental and health hazards. Hundreds of thousands of polythene bags are discarded daily as a waste. Apart from being unpleasant to the eyes, they fly about with the wind and get stuck to barbed wires, trees and bushes, they choke drains and sewerage systems which, as a result, encourage the spread of mosquitoes and waterborne diseases.

Also, this plastic waste when dumped in fields causes land infertility, and it has disastrous effects on aquatic life when thrown in rivers, ponds or the sea. Moreover, burning polythene bags releases toxic gases that have ill-effects on health, such as aggravating respiratory problems. Recycling them is very costly and when buried they take about a 1000 years to decompose!

By refusing to pay heed to the warnings of the usage of polythene bags by concerned environmentalists, we are playing havoc with our future. Milk, eggs, fruits, pulses rice — every conceivable eatable is sold and bought in polythene bags. The scenario is no better in shopping centres. From the big departmental stores to the vendors on the footpath, every shopkeeper is supplying his commodities in polythene. We bring back home clothes, toys, shoes, books and almost all the stuff that we buy, in polythene bags.

This cursed material of the 20th century has invaded every aspect of our lives. What did people do when the polythene bags were not around or not so common? In my childhood days, I remember that cane baskets or jute bags were used to bring back groceries. These were in a number of sizes in every household and they were used according to the quantity of the commodities required. Milk was bought in steel or aluminium containers and cotton or jute bags were used to bring in meat, fish and poultry. Women usually carried colourful reusable bags when they went out for shopping. But slowly all these environment-friendly options were discarded as we took the convenience of disposable polythene bags.

How easy it is to criticise others and we are always content to play the blame game, putting the responsibility of all community work on the shoulders of the government. We conveniently forget that all of us have to join hands to bring about a change, a change for the better only if we offer helping hands to them.

We should make efforts to create awareness among our friends and neighbours about the harmful effects of polythene bags and give them suggestions for suitable alternatives.

All of us have many pieces of cloth at home, leftovers from suits, faded bed sheets or extra pillow cases. These can be easily converted into handmade shopping bags. Jute and paper bags are also good options, depending on the nature of our shopping.

Any efforts on the governmental level will have minimal impact unless we do our part by refusing to use polythene bags. We must cooperate with the concerned authorities to save our country from an environmental disaster. It may take a little planning to completely eradicate the usage of polythene bags, but by putting life ahead of inconvenience, we can make a difference to the environment. By saying ‘No’ to polythene bags, we can help the government in eradicating this menace, for in doing so we shall be investing on a healthy environment for the future.

 

LIGHT THE TORCH! (MY MUSINGS ON THE EVE OF PAKISTAN DAY)

Gloom hangs heavy in the air as Pakistan is going through one of the worst phases of her short history! The most common emotions we are experiencing these days are of insecurity, anxiety, fear, frustration, disappointment and all other such negative feelings! Although elections are just round the corner but the common citizen does not seem to be interested in casting his vote! We have been hoodwinked so many times by the clever and greedy politicians that we have lost all hope that things will or can improve for the better! Tall promises made in the past (and which were never fulfilled) have made us doubt any new claims made by these same faces!

The media is crying its throat hoarse on the intensity (read hopelessness) of the situation. Day in and day out, we witness participants of TV talk shows spell doom. The hosts of these shows invite people at the helm of affairs, people who have influence as well as authority, to discuss on the various issues troubling our country. But these people do nothing except fighting like wild cats, slinging allegations at each other and behaving like a bunch of spoilt brats! No one is ready to come forward and take responsibility, the best that they do is comfortably placing their opponent responsible for the quagmire we are stuck in. Problems are discussed and defined, but no solutions are offered.

I am just a face in the crowd, an ordinary woman in a country of millions. But like every educated and dedicated Pakistani, I feel depressed by the state of affairs and often ponder on means and ways to come out of this situation. I strongly feel that every one with an iota of patriotism should do his/ her share. It may be a drop in the ocean, but with time, effort and dedication, eventually every drop will count! Because every contribution (however small it may seem at the moment), towards a better society, may make some difference tomorrow! According to Shahzad Roy, founder of the Zindagi Trust, “To go big, we must first start small. Alas there are no shortcuts!”

 I and my readers are lucky, in the sense that we had access to quality education. We went to good institutions and had sincere teachers who brought out our abilities as best as they could. We know what our rights as citizens of a state are, and what duties we hold in return. We are leading a relatively comfortable and respectable life and can only imagine the sufferings of the down trodden masses. The current state of affairs strongly demands that it is our turn to pay back to our Homeland and not take our good luck for granted. We must understand that holding discussions over a cup of coffee, comfortably seated in our drawing rooms will not change our lot. We have to do something urgently, nay, on a war footing, to save our country from total turmoil.

The crying need of the hour is to create awareness among the masses. People must learn to identify their rights as well as be aware of their duties! And this mind-set comes only with education. We in Pakistan have a very low literacy rate, although official figures paint a brighter picture of the situation, as they declare near half the population literate. But their criterion is indeed pathetic; as a person who can read and write his/ her name is called literate in Pakistan. We have a dismal education system, teaching a listless curriculum by teachers, majority of who lack any sense of dedication to the cause of “Education for All”. Some of Pakistan’s problems like the rise of the crime graph, unemployment, hatred, intolerance and poor health conditions due to poor hygiene, are created by the lack of education.

Successive governments have failed to work for raising literacy levels in Pakistan (134th position in the 180 countries of the world and 31st out of 35 Islamic countries). Our selfish and greedy politicians realize that mass literacy will give people dignity, self respect and the courage to fight against their oppressive policies. Because with education comes enlightenment and the will to fight tyranny!

In the past Punjab government did come up once with the slogan Parha Likha Punjab. (I beg to state that the name is suggestive in itself of the political motives behind it as Parha Likha Pakistan would have been a more patriotic slogan). But it was rolled back after millions of rupees were misspent. So whatever tall claims they may make, education has never been on the top in the priority lists of our governments.

Whoever is in power, in every budget only meager funds are allotted for education, while much bigger chunks are spent on the luxurious spending of the government high-ups. Although the outgoing government had announced that over 80% literacy would be reached by the year 2015, but with no note worthy efforts in this direction, this proved to be only a verbal claim. We can easily understand how sincere their claims were by the fact that approximately a paltry 2% of the budget was been allocated for the educational sector. (UNESCO has recommended increasing this to at least 4%). In which I call only a vote gaining tactic, a resolution to implement free secondary education was passed in the National Assembly a few months back, but every educated Pakistani felt that this was “Too little, Too late!

In the rural areas, the situation is worse. The influential landlords consider it against their interests that their Haris or their children get educated. They know that their uncrowned kingdoms will have to face a down fall once awareness is created amongst their domains. To keep their powerful tentacles firmly rooted, they discourage their Haris and threaten them with dire consequences if their children are sent to school. They forcefully have schools shut down, using them as their Autaqs, or worst still as their cattle pens. As most of our feudal landlords have a strong hold on the country’s political power, they can easily have their way. So majority of the population continue to live on as illiterates, in abject poverty and unaware of their basic rights to a minimal quality life.

          NGOs, philantropists and private trusts are working in the education sector and doing a lot to provide free or affordable education to the poor children. The parents are urged to pull their children out of child labor and sent to schools; something they are often reluctant to do, as the children help out their parents by bringing in additional income. But the problem is so enormous that these efforts can not be enough to tackle the situation and bring our country out of this culture of chaos, corruption and confusion. Each and every educated person in Pakistan should come forward to do his/ her share.

My slogan is “Each One, Teach One”. If each educated Pakistani vows to impart education to only one illiterate person, young or old, soon we will see winds of change blowing. By adopting just one person as our student, be it our maid, chowkidar or their child, the boy selling tidbits at traffic signals or the Chota at the motor mechanics or Pan shop, we have to coax and urge these people and take them under our folds. By sparing a couple of hours of our free time and making all out efforts to impart education from the basic level, we can change the destiny of at least one person, as our student will not just learn to read and write his/her name to be called a literate, rather would have the awareness and vision only education can create. Making only one person literate by the educated ones, will double the literacy rate of Pakistan in no time. And the only repayment we may ask from our student is to ask him to pass on his knowledge to someone else in his circle.

Being a firm optimist, I believe that there is light at the end of the darkest tunnel. Every educated Pakistani must come forward to light the torch of literacy and to make sure that this torch keeps on burning. It may take time, patience and endurance but in not- too- far- off days we shall see hands coming out of the darkness; hands which shall pick up this lightened torch of education and awareness and march ahead, spreading the light of literacy to each and every part of our country! In Sha Allah!

 

Attitude: Roads are not dustbins By Yasmin Elahi | From InpaperMagzine | Young World (Dawn)

Roads are Not Dustbins!

GARBAGE DUMPED ON ROADSIDES!

My little son taught me a lesson which I will remember all my life. We were coming back home after some shopping and it was a hot and humid day. As we were quite exhausted, I bought chips and juices for our drive back. After sipping the juice thirstily and finishing my chips, I was about to throw away the empty packets on the road when my son’s voice startled me, “Mama, roads are not dustbins!”

Surprised I turned around to see him neatly folding his wrappers and placing them in the empty shopper. With a somewhat amused smile, I asked him, “Who told you so, son?” Without a blink of an eye he said confidently, “Our teacher told us in the class yesterday that we should not throw anything on the roads. It is the duty of every citizen to keep our city clean.”

I felt ashamed of myself! All my life I had committed this crime without even considering it unethical. Every unwanted thing during a drive which should have been saved for the dustbin, was thoughtlessly tossed out of the car’s window. And then I had the cheek to complain about the dirty conditions of our roads, curse the sweepers for not doing their job properly and blame the concerned high ups for not taking strict steps to ensure that the city was kept spotlessly clean!

Karachi is considered a city of colours, from its multi-ethnic population, the variety in the dresses of its people, the food they eat, or the highly decorated public buses they travel in, but some of the colours are added by the garbage strewn along the roads, alleys, parks and other public places. It isn’t an uncommon sight to see heaps of cloth strips outside a tailor’s shop, leftover food dumped besides roadside eateries, vendors of fruits and vegetables throwing away their rotten produce, wrappings and empty boxes outside their shops.

All of us take great pains to keep our homes clean, spending a good part of our time daily to keep them spic and span. But how many of us realise that keeping our streets, alleys and public places clean is also our responsibility? Roadsides are littered with fruit peels, empty cans of juices, pet bottles of cold drinks and mineral water, discarded packs of cigarettes, match boxes, wrappers of chips, biscuits, ice-cream, pan and sweet supari, etc.

Polythene bags blow about lazily in the breeze or worse still, get stuck in the bushes, trees and barbed wires, depicting an ugly sight. They make storm water drains choke and overflow whenever there is rain. Still we do not even have a second thought before throwing out our garbage on the roads. These ugly dumps not only emit an ugly odour, they also become a favourable breeding place for flies and mosquitoes, giving rise to many infectious diseases.

As a nation we lack civic sense. We seldom take responsibility for any collective or productive act which could provide for better living conditions. We are content to play the blame game, sit back and criticise the government for all our woes. We hold the municipal authorities solely responsible for keeping our roads and public places clean, without realising that each and everyone has to play his role.

The city government has taken many steps to beautify Karachi and the result can be seen in nearly every part of the city. But the greenery, the impressive flyovers and underpasses can only please the eye if they are litter and graffiti-free.

It is high time we understood and learnt to play a positive role in keeping our cities clean. On self-help basis, we can take the initiative by forming neighbourhood committees that see to the sanitary conditions of their locality and make sure that no one throws his garbage outside his house.

We must learn to use dustbins provided in public places for unwanted things and teach others to do so too, because clean roads make clean cities and clean cities provide citizens with a healthy and pollution free environment. Like in the developed countries, the government can declare littering a crime and carry out on-the-spot checking; fines can be imposed on those who violate the law. We can follow the example of Singapore, one of the cleanest cities in the world, where heavy fines are imposed on throwing anything on the roads.

The lessons learnt during childhood last for a long time and children are good learners and teachers too. So parents and teachers can play an important role in inculcating in them a sense of responsibility at a very early stage. Their civic sense can go a long way towards changing the attitude of society as a whole. I hope many children (like my son) will teach their careless parents (like me) a lifelong lesson. Thank you, my dear son!

 

 

THE BEGINNING OF THE END?

 

I grumble, I protest, I rave, I rant and yes, I am not ashamed to admit that in weak and emotional moments I cry too! But in the depth of my heart there is a sad and sinking feeling that all this is in vain! I can not do anything to change the way things are going in my beloved Homeland. And then I realize that my pen is my only tool! At least I can give a path to my emotions, share with my readers my pain, my anger and my frustration at the non stop downslide in nearly every aspect of life in Pakistan! Being a stay at home mother and grandmother and also a senior citizen, my ageing body and mind hampers me from any active participation in the state of affairs; this is the only small contribution I can make. It may be a drop in the ocean, but deep down I firmly believe that eventually every such drop will bring about a tsunami of change!

Every new incident of terror, arson, cold blooded target killing, corruption and sheer negligence bring a flurry of troubling questions to my mind. Is this the price we and our coming generation pay for loving our country? Who are these people who have unleashed a reign of terror on the common (and patriotic) Pakistani? Why are the people who are supposed to trace them and give them exemplary punishment a total failure in their jobs (for which they are paid hefty amounts after fleecing the law abiding taxpayer)?  When will the situation change for the better and this hopeless situation end? When will our politicians end their race in corruption and greed and rise to the occasion and try to control things which are getting out of hand day by day? When will the sufferings of the man on the street abate?  How can the heartless people who are killing innocent and unarmed fellow countrymen dare to call themselves Muslims? Although I can find no answer to my questions, the intense pain, the deep anger and the sense of frustration abates a bit when I express my feelings of utter hopelessness!

I am no political analyst, nor a religious scholar, so like every common Pakistani I can only ask, nay, demand for solutions! Maybe someday, someone will come up with an answer to my queries but at the moment I, like all sensitive and patriotic Pakistanis seem to be groping in the dark! We are walking in a tunnel which seems to be endless, our souls so tired we feel like dropping down dead, but the vague hope that there is bound to be light at the end of this dark tunnel keep us dragging our bleeding feet on!

11th January..2013

I had started this blog a few days back, but the slow and lazy writer that I am, had left it unfinished. But the bomb blasts in Quetta have brought me back to my computer. Today is a black day in Pakistan’s history! And I am sad to say that we do not have days like these once in a while! The bomb blasts in Quetta which has left more than a hundred people dead and a lot more injured has opened a new set of questions in my mind. Who are these people who are targeting the Hazara Shias in Balochistan? Are we all not human beings, and then Muslims before we are Sunnis or Shias? When will the high-ups in Baluchistan wake up from their deep slumber to stop these killings? Are they a part of this conspiracy and deliberately turning a deaf ear and blind eyes to the ethnic cleansing of these innocent people? The list of questions goes on and on and I just grope in pain for answers!

13th January…2013

The relatives of the bomb blast victims have taken a seemingly strange step. As a protest for the killings of their dear ones, they have decided to hold a dharna(sit-in) at the site of the blasts, with the coffins of the deceased! They are demanding that the army take over the control of Quetta and the inefficient and corrupt government of CM Raisani sacked! The voice of their peaceful but painful protest is reaching out to every sensible and sensitive Pakistani, waves of protest are spreading country wide as sit ins are being held in many cities in all the four provinces of Pakistan!

The unburied coffins of the victims of the gruesome carnage in Quetta seem to ask more questions? What was our fault? Why are we being targeted so cruelly? Why have the security services and the government failed to give us protection?

As I try to go back to sleep after my Fajr prayers, my mind goes back to the people out there, braving the freezing temperatures and the agony and pain of sitting with their unburied dead! As I pull my blanket closer, my ageing body seems to shiver at these disturbing thoughts. I feel restless! And pushing my blanket aside, I try again to complete this blog.

 My heart goes out to you, the relatives of the innocent people killed in the Twin explosions. It must be breaking your hearts to sit out with the dead bodies of your loved ones, bravely facing the bitter cold and rain as well as the emotional trauma you are going through!

14th January ..2013

After the three days long painful sit in, a day of mourning which has brought most of the country to a standstill, the government finally has to give in! Although the prime Minister had reached Quetta earlier in the day, he did not seem to have the courage to go out to the protestors. Media coverages of him, sitting comfortably in the warmth of the heaters in the Governor House, holding talks with concerned people, while the young and old, men, women and children were shown shivering in the intense cold, only added insult to injury!

Finally late in the night, he went to offer his condolences to the bereaved, not looking very comfortable as he hummed and hawed during his speech, and had to be prompted again and again by the Information Minister Kaira. He finally announced that the demands of the protestors have been met. There would be Governor rule in Baluchistan, immediate compensation for those who have been killed (as if money could compensate for their lives) and free treatment for the injured.

And the rest is history!

Today there is only one question which keeps on tugging at my heart! Is this the beginning of the end?

I hope and pray this time the country wide protests, and the painful sacrifice of the mourners of not burying their dead unless their demands are met, do not go in vain and the moment of change we all have been waiting for has finally arrived! Maybe I will at last get an answer to the questions which make my heart bleed and keep me sleepless at nights! May be we have reached the end of the dark tunnel, even if we are on our hands and feet, but being the resilient nation we are, we are bound to bounce back!

Long live Pakistan!

 

          

The Real makers of Pakistan’s Future

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August 14, 1947, is the most important day in the history of Pakistan. In 1947, this was the day when, under the inspiring guidance of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and after a long struggle, the Muslims of India achieved a free homeland.

We celebrate this day in a befitting manner. The official festivities begin with flag raising ceremonies in Islamabad and the provincial capitals. Most schools hold special Independence Day programmes, flags are hoisted on rooftops and terraces, and children wear badges on their arms.

But sadly, over the passage of time, all this has become a sort of norm. We all do these things not from patriotism or love for Pakistan, but because everyone around us is doing the same. The fervour and love for our homeland and the fierce sense of ownership, which should be the essence of the celebrations, seems to be missing.

I was born to parents who had witnessed the Pakistan Movement. When Pakistan came into being, they, and most people of their generation, gave up their ancestral homes, properties and friends without a second thought. Their hearts filled with hope, they happily migrated towards the land of their dream.

For them Pakistan, ‘The land of the pure’, would be the country where peace, honesty, dedication, tolerance and justice would be the order of the day; where the Muslim majority would lead their lives in compliance with the teachings of Islam and also let non-Muslims freely follow their respective religious beliefs; where the three golden principles of Quaid-i-Azam, Unity, Faith and Discipline would form the base of society and where the law would rule supreme!

Tragically, after the initial few years of Pakistan’s creation, things began moving in the wrong direction. Greed, lust for power, corruption and putting personal gains over national interests started gnawing into the roots of our new found homeland. There was a total lack of will on the part of the people at the helm of national affairs to root out illiteracy and poverty from Pakistan.

And the resultant downslide in the conditions of our country has not stopped to this day!

Today, Pakistan is facing multiple troubles. Religious fanaticism, political instability, ever increasing foreign loan burden, corruption, illiteracy, inflation and an immense shortage of electricity and gas are only a few of these problems. The Pakistan that our forefathers dreamed about and the one that our great leader envisioned, is no where to be found!

Friends, our Quaid had great faith in us. On one occasion he said, “My young friends, I look forward to you as the real makers of Pakistan, do not be exploited and do not be misled. Create amongst yourselves complete unity and solidarity. Set an example of what youth can do. Your main occupation should be in fairness to yourself, to your parents, in fairness to the State, to devote your attention to your studies. If you fritter away your energies now, you will always regret.”

Talking about the importance of education our great leader stated, “Without education it is complete darkness and with education it is light. Education is a matter of life and death to our nation. No sacrifice of time or personal comfort should be regarded too great for the advancement of the cause of education.”

This year, on August 14, when we hoist the national flag on our rooftops and terraces let us resolve to work hard to raise the prestige of Pakistan in the world. When we pin Pakistani flag badges on our dress, let us pledge that we shall use these arms to root out corruption, injustice, greed and illiteracy from our homeland.

I feel that I and the people of my generation have failed miserably to put our country on the right track. By giving up the teachings of Islam and the guidelines our Quaid gave us, we have contributed towards the downfall of Pakistan.

But I am pinning my hopes on my young friends. Children are called the architects of the future of a nation. With your concentrated efforts, you can pull out Pakistan from the quagmire it is stuck in. By adopting the guiding principles of Unity, Faith and Discipline, and with dedication and hard work, you can guide Pakistan towards a bright and prosperous future.

Friends, let’s join hands and vow to strive and sacrifice with dedication and love for our country, just as our forefathers did.

In the end, I would again like to quote Mohammad Ali Jinnah, our visionary leader, “We have weathered the worst storms and the safety of the shore, though distant, is in sight. We can look to the future with robust confidence provided we do not relax and fritter away our energies in internal dissensions. There never was greater need for discipline and unity in our ranks. It is only with united effort and faith in our destiny that we shall be able to translate the Pakistan of our dreams into reality.”

Long live Pakistan!