Saturday, February 28, 2009

I.I. Chundrigar Road Hazards

This is I.I. Chundrigar Road, the financial Wall Street of Pakistan. The crane you are seeing in pic, is on the construction site of a local bank. The concrete blocks as supporting weights are exactly on top of the driving lane on the right. I see the crane, the weights and I thank God that I don't follow this route on my way back. This is so scary I swear. I don't know anything about building construction codes but the construction company has, I believe being a Pakistani to core, took no steps for warning signs given to pedestrians or motorists crossing the road.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I am so tired. I swear. I feel like a decathlon participant. You get off from the bicycle and you are told to go to swimming contest. Pakistan too is tired like me I guess. Whoever said in China that may you live in interesting times, had definitely not been to Pakistan because then he would have said 'give me a break will ya!' (english translation of course).

Here is what I remember. In my teens, I heard a plane had crashed killing the President of Pakistan. I still remember scenes from the funeral being televised on PTV. It was huge. Zia ul Haq went out of this world in form of atoms. He also took alongside him the 11 year old dictatorship. I remember Benazir Bhuttos welcome too - but not that clearly. I guess it is the result of media censorship that Zia had. I do remember Junejo - the PM that Zia had. I remember him because his home town was Sindhrri and I used to eat mangoes called Sindhrri. He appeared so goofy, I don't know why.

I remember Benazir Bhutto becoming the first woman prime minister of country and of muslim world. I also remember the day when she was removed on corruption charges. I was dropping relatives on a bus stand in Peshawar in morning when news broke. The ensuing 'jubilant' aerial firing was so intense that I kept worrying the car that I was driving would have holes all over and my father will kill me. I also remember Ghulam Ishaq, the would be President who would remove her for corruption charges during her first term. PTV aired the contestant's for Presidentship interviews.

I remember Nawaz Sharif for motorway. And Bayinder, the Turkish company who was to make the Motorway. They left due to corruption charges, don't know who between them was corrupt. I rememeber Nawaz Sharif trying to be 'Amir ul Momineen' (leader of the faithful) in Pakistan by introducing shariah law. I saw his men storming the Supreme Court.

I remember when India tested the nuclear device. We all wondered what would happen, whether Pakistan would carry out her own nucleur tests, whether we had the capacity. I was on a trekking tour of Nanga Parbat, the 9th highest mountain of the world. It was raining when we were trekking back walking as jeeps were not coming up due to land slides. When we reached Karakoram Highway and Raikot bridge, the traffic from Rawalpindi and from Gilgit stopped due to landslides. The men from army communications gacve us shelter and there we heard that Pakistan had carried ut 5 nucleur tests. And we were all shouting, jubilant and crying out 'Allah ho Akbar'!

We used to wonder how life in Martial Law would be. Fate said wait! and we saw General Musharraf overthrowing Nawaz Sharif and coming in to power. I saw transformation of brilliant General Musharraf to an asshole President Musharraf. I saw Zardari coming out and Benazir coming in thanks to NRO - a slap on ordinary pakistanis. BB disappeared and we wre bestowed with Zaradri as President. How unlucky a nation when you have Zaradri, the Mr. 10% of corruption as your president?

The game is still on. Zaradris Supreme Court has taken the chief ministership from PML-N. The Sharifs are again planning to take revenge. De javu. We are again witnessing the era of 90s political bickering.

The News editorial summed it well .. "It seems that we have a fatal tendency to repeat, and then repeat ad infinitum, the mistakes that have forever bedevilled us. The hope that was there a year ago has faded; tyres are burning and roads are clogged with protesters, some peaceful but others not, and the potential for significant civil disruption is lurking close by. Salmaan Taseer has been installed as Punjab chief executive and the deadly dance of Pakistani politics waltzes towards a clouded horizon. RIP, democracy. It was good while it lasted."

And I am tired.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Marriage - A Mirage?

The board says 'Railways Select Mirage Lawn'.
Not that wrong eh? Do contact them for bookings.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Swat! Pray Peace!

Nothing can be better than this deal right now. I swear. People of Swat have had enough. The NWFP Government led by ANP signed a peace deal with Tanzeem e Nifaz e Shariat e Muhammadi TNSM. Chief Minister Hoti and elderly chief of TNSM - Maulan Sufi signed the peace accord. The deal basically states that 'shariah' will be implemented in Swat, especially Malakand where TNSM was asking for implementation of it since 1994.

A lot of hue and cry is being raised on this deal - from NATO and US to our Pakistani brethren who consider that the deal itself is defeat of the State against the militants. It is said that the deal will not work because militants don't consider it as of any value. Thats True. It is said that agreement is ultravires to the constitution as it calls for establishment of 'Darul Qadha' which would be final legal decision authority bypassing Supreme Court. Thats true. They say that militants wanted implementation of 'Shariah' - but whose shariah will it be? Sunni, shia, barelvi, deobandi, hanfi, shaafi etc etc? Thats true as well because Taliban consider all the rest as infidels. It is argued that there is no strategy mentioned as to how the militants will lay down their weapons. True I would say. It is said that the Sufi Mohammad will not be able to restrain his son-in-law, Maulvi Fazlullah or Maulana Radio (because of his illegal FM transmission in which he hurls threats to nay sayers). True too. It is said that it will give an excuse for every religious outfit to take up arms and demand implementation of Shariah. Can't argue against it.

Now tell me what could have been done otherwise to stop the mess that Swat was in? Do you have a solution? The political administration was routed by militants. Hospitals, schools, police chekposts blownup. Bridges destroyed. Courts and lawyers threatened. People being abducted, killed, slaughtered. Army was no where to help. Locals could not withstand the might of militants being well funded by every element imaginable against the security of State. what should one do to stop the downward spiral? This is what would have happened.

You should have seen the joy on Swatis. They were so jubillant that finally peace had a slim chance to survive. The Nizam e Adal system being planned is nothing new. It was running since 1996, amended in 1999. It had judges of local courts turned in to Qazi (Islamic judge). Implementatio of Shariah has long been demand of people of Swat and its an excuse for militants. Why not implement it? Let it function and see what happens. Let the pacifist in Sufi Muhammad deal with his son-in-law (He is hardly a pacifist becasue he believes in jihad all over the globe, in fact even went to Afghanistan with local boys to fight against the amercians but compared to fazlullah, his son-in-law, he is a tame goat)

So lets just be with Swatis for a moment ok? They lost their lives, livelihood and loved ones to the militancy. Lets pray for Swat to be the paradise it was once again. Pray peace.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Who Was Abraham's Father?

Islam is one of the Abrahamic religions alongside Christianity and Judaism. Abraham or Ibrahim was the messenger of God for whom the first term of 'muslim' (one who submits to the will of God) was coined. Prophet Muhammad did not invent 'Islam', he himself was told to follow the religion of Abraham whom was given all the rituals of Islam. (Quran 22:78)

There is a certain issue regarding the identity of Abraham's father. You can check the site here. The contention is that Abraham's father was a monotheist instead of a polytheist. Quran refers to Abraham's father as 'Azar' and history books mention him to be 'Tarukh'. The argument is that Quranic translators have got it wrong by saying that Azar was father of Abraham who was wicked as wicked could be. He, instead, was Abraham's uncle and his father was 'Tarukh' - a very noble person. In essence, there is a thing called 'lineage' and 'pedigree' does matter.

The gist of the blog post is in the following text.

"The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF) has said that the essence of his existence had been transmitted and ultimately conveyed to his immediate parents through a pure, a holy and sanctified progeny."

Now there are couple of things that need to be pointed out.

1. Selection of Messenger

Its God religion and its His will whom He wants as His messenger. He made Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad his messengers because He wanted to. Abraham could still have been present in this universe without being a Prophet. So its God's 'blessing' that they were made Prophets.

16:02 - He doth send down His angels with inspiration of His Command, to such of His servants as He pleaseth, (saying): "Warn (Man) that there is no god but I: so do your duty unto Me."

2. Prophets were Human Beings

What on earth does this statement mean? It means that humans, as followers, have a natural tendency to 'idolize' their leaders. Prophets were not exempt from it either. God constantly keeps reminding us in Quran that they were 'ordinary' human beings just like you but they were 'blessed' enough to receive the scripture.

Let me quote a very interesting Quranic verse.

25:07 - And they say: "What sort of a messenger is this, who eats food, and walks through the streets? Why has not an angel been sent down to him to give admonition with him?

There are Two aspects of this verse. As obvious, the disbelievers are commenting upon the designated messenger of God as to how could that person be a messenger? What good is he? He is just a human being like us, he would have some credibility had there been an angel sent down with him.

The other aspect of this verse, is for the followers of that prophet that after all, he is a human being! His role is just to deliver the message, be a warner and forbearer of good news and nothing more. He cant save you on day of judgment, he cant intercede (shafa'at) on your behalf, he cant provide you hidden treasures. In fact, Prophet Muhammad was told to say this...

7:188 - Say: "I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah willeth. If I had knowledge of the unseen, I should have multiplied all good, and no evil should have touched me: I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith."

The idea being that Prophets are not considered 'super humans' and thus people end up idolizing them, just as christians do in case of Jesus. Mind you, muslims just don't say that Prophet Muhammad is son of God but they expect everything from him in the same manner.

3. Does Lineage Matter?

Not at all. Abraham is no lesser Prophet in value because 'oh God forbid his father was a polytheist!' Nothing like that. Now you will ask - what about Prophet Muhammad's parents? were they polytheists too? Frankly I do not know. God told about Abraham's father but He kept quiet on Prophet Muhammad's parents issue. I am no one to judge other people faith. So let it be between Prophet's parents and God ok? Though one thing.. if you are a 'Syed', then rest assured you are not privileged, you do not have special permissions and you are not anointed as the only knowledge bearer on earth. The only criteria is 'righteousness'.

49:13 - O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

Lastly, let me quote another verse from Quran that shows that progeny does not matter.

2:124 - And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: "I will make thee an Imam to the Nations." He pleaded: "And also (Imams) from my offspring!" He answered: "But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers."

Related Posts

1 - The Myth of Intercession
2 - Moon Split - The Miracle?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Here Come The Militants!

They have announced their arrival with a bang. The police checkpost in Mianwali, a border town near restive NWFP, is a grim reminder that Pakistani society is facing the worst scenario of civil unrest that it has seen for decades. The two story building was reduced to rubble when the militants destroyed it with powerful explosives. They attacked the post around 3 am, killed the constables on guard and then killed 6 police personnel inside before blowing up the building. Militants have come to Punjab with an attitude.

So how is it different this time around? I mean, suicide attacks have taken place before in Lahore and Rawalpindi. Yes indeed Punjab has been struck with tragedy of suicide bombings on various occasions but this attack on post signals the fact that militants will now increase their sphere of influence outside the frontier province and tribal belt. Swat is already under Taliban's control, Peshawar is closed from 3 sides, Dir - hitherto untouched- is falling to their control. Taliban are effectively utilizing their FM radio transmission network. They use it to broadcast information, threats, jihad sermons and everything that matters. And locals do listen.. because in these transmissions is their security. If your name is aired. rest assured you will be dead soon.

They have also established Taliban High Courts (THC). Young men recruited from these area are dispensing justice - quick time that is. People actually prefer these courts because they get quick results although usually Taliban are thrashing someone for some reason. You say 'Nay' - you will get drubbed. This of course highlights the most atrocious act of State negligence as it could be. The militants now and religious outfits before them, wanted a speedy justice system - not the one is plaguing rest of the Pakistan since ages in which there is no relief for the complainant. Swat had an effective justice system under 'wali e swat' and when in 1969 they formally came under Pakistanis state rule, the administration system was removed with the inefficient and corrupt system prevalent all across Pakistan. People don't forget mind you. Forget that, why should anyone NOT demand a speedy system of justice?

Then there is this intriguing role of Army. Just what the hell are they doing in Swat and tribal areas? They cant even pin point location of Maulvi Fazlullah - the notorious cleric of Swat? They cant stop FM transmissions? People of these localities say that there is no protection for them against militants. Army is no where to be seen! So where is the Army? Is it afraid of militants? Are they busy with 'strategic depth' issues in Afghanistan so much that they cannot find the time for their own homeland issues? Or are they waiting for the 'opportune time' to strike at civilian government saying they are ineffective in controlling situation in Pakistan?! Luck it seems on their side as Pakistan is bestowed with an extremely incompetent Government. Mr Zardari is busy in extracting revenge through Democracy from poor Pakistanis.

So Punjab be prepared. Your police check posts will be attacked. Your political administration will be weakened - targeting Nazims, political figures, anyone standing against them. They have routed the administration in Swat that is why police and locals cant do anything. So the time has come for Pakistanis to stand their ground against the assault on them - mind you, don't expect help from civil government or Army. God bless.

Buckle your seatbelt, Dorothy, ’cause Kansas is going bye-bye.