Thursday, October 18, 2012

Family Planning in Pakistan

Forget contraceptives, forget pills, forget One Child Policy - the most potent tool to promote family planning in Pakistan ? The School Fee. Current exorbitant Fee requirements for a child in a good private school will render any couple to think a thousand times about extending their family. Take note doctors.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gul Makai in Timbaktu

Yesterday was a very bad day. Nothing happened to me but you never know. God forbid. Two reports that came out yesterday really hammered in hard the fact that Islam today is being eaten by a cancer and that it requires therapy on urgent basis.

Who, Where & Why - I

A 14 year old girl, Malala Yousafzai, was shot in Swat yesterday. Her shooters? Messers Taliban and Co. Why? because '"She was pro-West, she was speaking against Taliban and she was calling President Obama her ideal leader... She was young but she was promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas." Ehsanullah Ehsan, Taliban Spokesman, said by telephone from an undisclosed location. And people actually praise the Taliban? They shot an unarmed 'teen girl' just to settle the scores? That is an insult to religion, chivalry, Pushtun culture and humanity and everything in between. Malala used to write a personal blog on BBC under the name of Gul Makai in which she described Taliban atrocities and lamented the lack of education facilities for girls under their rule.

She did that when she was only 11 years old and Taliban ruled the valley of Swat terrorizing its people and inflicting misery upon them through their strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law. In recognition of her courage, she was awarded the First National Peace Award by the Pakistani Govt. She was also nominated for International Children's Peace Prize in 2011. 

Who, Where & Why - II

The place is called Timbaktu. Its a city in the west african nation of Mali. Do you know it holds a special place in muslim civilization? Timbaktu became the London of Africa in 12th century when it was the trade route of salt, gold, ivory and slaves. It had the Sankore Madrassa which was the largest library of its time containing precious books. It could house 25,000 students. Timbaktu was the centre of knowledge and still has treasure trove of books dating back to 12th century which contain amongst others Arabic manuscripts, books ranging on topics from Islam, Philosophy, Maths and Astronomy.

Now Timbaktu is in the news because a local Islamic militia 'Ansar Dine' is exerting influence in Mali. They too have a strict interpretation of islamic shariah. They have recently been busy smashing the ancient tombs of Mali calling them idolatry. Deja Vu eh? Correct. Taliban did the same to the famous Bamiyan Buddha statue of Bamiyan, Afghanistan. The tombs are part of International Heritage.

The Who, Why and what the hell?

See the link? Malala Yousafzai and city of Timbaktu are threatened by whom? The same set of ideology. Call them Ansar Dine (Mali), Boko Haram (Nigeria), Shehab (Somalia) or Taliban - they all are of the same creed. They all believe in strict implementation of Islamic sharia law - and that too forcefully. For them, every other person, who does not conform to their point of view, is a non-muslim and hence 'deserves' to be punished. Women are the target of most scorn and education (western that is) will be eradicated as it is a handy work of satan. They will use all the legitimate grievances (lawlessness, crime, poverty, political instability etc) to further their vested interest of gaining power under the name of Islam. They are bunch of criminals and thugs and not the 'pure muslims' they portray themselves to be.

Call me bigoted, but I think the root cause of all them is Salafism. Salafists believe that the teachings at the time of Prophet, people associated with him and society of that time was the best model to be followed.  Every other thing is just heresy. People might argue that salafism is not the problem but Wahhabism is. Call it whatever, this brand of islam does not let the 'other' opinion and has gained militant form.  Let me rephrase - the ideology of salafism, though pure in nature, is currently being held hostage by people whose aim is just to gain power in the garb of Islamic shariah law. This is a cancer which needs to be treated. Islamic societies in general and especially of Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan and Mali need to reign in this strand of sunni islam.  Maldives is currently being threatened as well but they have not yet taken hold of it.

People of Pakistan have to rise up to this form of extremism that is creeping up and eating inside out the society of Pakistan. Today it was Malala Yousafzai, someone else's daughter,  Tomorrow it might be yours. Let Malala be the rallying cause for ordinary Pakistanis who want peace and nothing else. She is a special soul, may she be the guiding light of future generations of Pakistanis. May she be the force that changes the mindset of clergy and people who condone acts of Taliban unknowingly and totally being oblivious to the fact that they are committing murder.


Related Post
- Why Do I Hate The Taliban

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Most Tortured Fan

Yes there is one. No kidding. Seriously. A Pakistani Cricket fan is the most tortured soul in this world - the tormentors being the Pakistani Cricket Team itself who offer the most nerve wrecking play of all cricket playing countries.

My sympathies with them. The fans I mean.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Q & A - Pakistan For Sunni Men

Question: 'Our population is one that heavily dictates their life through religion... Pakistan could slowly become a country strictly for Muslims, then strictly for Sunni Muslims and then strictly for Sunni Muslim men and who knows what else after?'

Answer: Looking at the brighter conclusion of this scenario... homosexuality will be allowed for Sunni men at least.

Related Post:
- Question For a Mullah

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pakistani Cellular Companies and Scam

Umm. No. I do not mean that they indulge in scam (the way the use hidden charges might tempt people to call it so though). I am more concerned with how they condone those acts which come under the category of scam. Consider this.

The other day I received a message from 'Coke' in my inbox that my number has been chosen to be a winner and that I will get GBP500,000! My joy knew no limits...

'Your Mobile number have won 500,000 GBP on 2012 Coca-Cola Intl Mobile Draw UK. To claim your prize send your name, No, email and address to'
The dumbnut in me urged me to check anyways on net whether it was a scam because the logical one in me was telling me it could not be wrong! It was from a pre-identified number having 'Coke' as ID - surely my cellphone provider must have done the homework, it cannot be that careless. Turns out, the dumbnut in me won. It indeed was a scam and I was left ruing my GBP 500k.


But this begs a question. Why did my cellphone operator provide an ID to this number? (provided my assumption is true that they are provided by them). I get transaction report SMSs on my number from the bank whose financial services I avail and they too are with the Bank's ID. I did not create a contact. So a message is sent by a number which basically is a scam having ID of a reputed company which my cellphone operator provided? That does not sound right. Right? My cellphone company might not be part of this scam but they surely provided some legitimacy to it. 

I contacted my cellphone operator and surprise surprise... they did exactly as they were supposed to. They did not reply me back. I don't know how many people woul have sent in their particulrs and then be told to submit xxx amount of fee for processing of the case and then left them dry.

Poor us.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Data Privacy & Pictures with Geo Tagging

There is this news of a very weird fellow in US who did not act nice to someone else's food and then had the gall to take picture of it and then post it online. Good thing was that the perpetrator of this act was located and report suggests that the management intends to fire him. It is not the news that interesting but how the users located this guy. As it turns out, there is this thing called Geo Tagging.

Digital cameras have long been in the process of being ditched in favour of Phones with good cameras. They are handy and are much readily available when you need to capture 'that' particular moment. In today's world of smart phones, camera usage, its quality and functionality is increasing day by day. One of the feature is Geo Tagging.

With this feature, whenever you take a picture, the software applies the Latitude and Longitude information obtained from your smart phone's repository of GPS coordinates  which is gathered by various apps for example Google Maps, Google Sky, Navigation etc. When you upload these photos on a picture portal like Picasa, this information is maintained in Exif area of the image file. Exif also maintains information regarding the camera, lens settings, ISO etc as Meta Data of that particular image.

The thing about Exif area of the image is that it can be utilized. Digital cameras have been maintaining this information for a quite a while now. Most of the data in Exif is informational material and is really helpful. Some of it might be useful in a way not really intended, The guy in the above referred news was located by GPS location maintained in Exif.

So why am I telling you this? Because we live in Pakistan and its a very interesting country :p We all take pictures and post them on online social sites like FaceBook and Twitter etc. The males in our society are a touch more interested in female info. So if you are at your home and you took a very beautiful picture of a bee sitting on a flower and shared it with your friends and the 'whole god damn world' (assuming you are not aware/ concerned with privacy) then someone can extract the information from that picture and can actually locate your home. Totally fine with me if you are comfortable with that scenario and the perverts that lurk out there.

So what can be done?

1 - Disable the Geo Tagging feature of your smart camera. This will ensure that no GPS location is fed in Exif area of the file.
2 - You can dig out the Exif area through editors in which case you might be compromising on the data quality.
3 - Use Exif software to edit out information. A good read and tool is here to remove Exif info.
4 - Use security settings of your social site to maintain privacy.

Any other idea? Please share.

Monday, July 16, 2012

And You Think You've Seen It All - II

Yup. that's right. These are fan blades hanging by wire to let them dry.
Never had seen that for sure.
Thanks to 'someone' for forwarding.

Related Post

'And You Think You Have Seen It All - I'

Friday, July 06, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Coke Studio 5: 'Ishq App Bhi Awalla'

Ok I am totally floored by the song. It is so melodious. I keep swinging to it. 

Meehsa Shafi looks absolutely smashing in that dress. Really gorgeous.

The Chakwalis felt some what out of sync but this could be due to 'occasion fright' probably. Misha's voice provided the necessary calmness to it. Back up vocals of Zoe and Rachael Viccajis was excellent.

Where was Farhad Humayun on drums? He missed something phenomenal I tell you.

Too bad for the rest of the artists appearing in this episode after this song. No matter how good, they just could not match the finesse of this one.

A delightful treat from Coke Studio. The Chakwalis are in big time.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

'Larr sha Pekhawar Ta'

Cracker of a song on Coke Studio Season 5's first episode. Excellent stuff on guitar and rubab in this Humayoon Khan's song. But there is one thing I totally hate and that was visible in the BTS of his song as well. When Humayoon enters in the studio, he raises his hand for salam and that is basically his palm in a vertical position near his chest facing the intended recipient. Totally like 'dude.. stay away'. I totally hate this form form salam gesture as it is getting very common in Peshawar. I am from that place too. Similarly, the gesture of hug when one meets someone, now its just resting of the hand on the shoulder of other person and not the hearty hug that is one supposed to do.

Perhaps I am just being silly here but some gestures are meant to be filled with emotions. Don't do it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Totka To Make Children Walk

"You daughter is afraid of walking. You will have to do a totka", our maid's mother stated.

A totka is a household creative solution for variety of issues based on folklore and old wives tales.

My daughter started to walk at the age of 1. She had couple of incidents in which she fell while trying to walk and got afraid of this activity. So much so that she started to cry whenever we would let her stand independently. She would readily move around the house holding a hand but not independently. We tried every trick in our books but to no avail. Watching our dilemma, our maid's mother stated that she had a proven totka to make children walk, that they employ this totka on every child in their social circle. Hearing the solution, my wife and I just laughed. Who the hell does that we said. Illiterate people! And so 3 months passed further.

Now we really were in a quandary as to what the solution could be to take the fear out of her of walking. One day, we both laughingly agreed to use the totka as the last option available and see what happens. We were laughing when we were using the totka, we even feigned the same accent that our maid's mother uses and in their language. It was not going to work so what the heck, let it be fun.

And the totka. According to her, we were to tie a rope around the legs of our daughter - not tightening it but a symbolic gesture of legs being tied. Three twirls around the legs with that rope. Then we were to take a knife, my elder daughter was to be asked 'Shall I cut the rope?' and she was to reply 'Yes, cut the rope' and the first twirl would be cut. Three times this activity of question-answer and cutting the 3 twirls of rope. 'She will start running after this you will see', the maid's mother had claimed.

An hour passes...

My daughter gets up and starts to walk. She walks and walks all by herself so much so that she did not want to go to sleep that night out of excitement. We laughed before the application of this totka and laughed when we saw the result. This is totally bizarre. Had I heard it from someone else, I might have doubted it but I did it  myself and I saw the results.

Truly unbelievable.

Friday, April 27, 2012

PostMan's Law of Junk Paper

It will accumulate by itself.

Corollary to PostMan's Law of Junk Paper
You will be shredding the paper yourself after sometime.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Colour Blind

I: (to my 5 year old daughter) hey wow! Your mother placed a new fruit soap. Orange!
She: Its Peach.
I: How can you tell?
She: Orange is dark. Peach is light.
I: uh huh.

Men just can't get it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

PostMan's Law of Dupattas

A Pakistani woman will have a stock of dupattas - new and of those belonging to discarded clothes.

- Dupatta - Wikipedia

Friday, April 06, 2012

Designer of Porsche 911 Dies

How can I not mention about the car that has attained iconic status in the history of automobiles? My salute to you sir. This car, somehow, commands the respect that you perhaps might not have fathomed but your dedication to the design and stability resulted in it being so. There is not a single person on earth, who if collects automobile pictures, does not have a picture of Porsche 911 - apart from the wish of actually owning one.


Courtesy Yahoo!

For a rich kid kicked out of design school, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche created one of the greatest legacies in automotive design with the Porsche 911 — one that will survive far beyond Porsche's death today at the age of 76.
The son of company founder Ferry Porsche, F.A. or "Butzi" as he was known spent most of his career at his eponymous firm Porsche Design, where he oversaw the styling of thousands of products from watches to yachts, many with the tag "Designed by F.A. Porsche."
But it's the 911's emergence in 1964, when Butzi Porsche was just 25 years old, that made him a historic figure. While his father and grandfather had been famous German engineers — the original Ferdinand Porsche engineered the first Volkswagen Beetle — F.A. Porsche chose to study design. A year after enrolling in a prestigious school, Porsche was in his own words "kicked out," and took at job at his father's fledging car business in 1957.
At the time, Ferry Porsche had created the successful Porsche 356, but needed a follow-up model. He set the car's basic layout —a rear engine, a short wheelbase for agile handing — but pushed the designers and engineers to fashion a more sporting look than the men who built the Beetle had produced so far.
Prowling the auto shows of Europe, F.A. Porsche formed an idea of how the car should look as a smooth, curving fastback, rejecting the flat angles popular in American cars of the era. "I just think you start creating edges when the body of a car is bad…they are lines that support something that ties the designer down," Porsche would say years later.
The new car's design spurred a dispute with the older designers in Ferry Porsche's shop, to such a degree Ferry went around them, taking his son's blueprints to the body fabricator. The first production-ready model, called the 901, appeared at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 1964, and after Peugeot objected to the name, Porsche changed it to 911. Despite the timelessness of the 911's shape, F.A. Porsche believed his greatest design came a few years later, with the Porsche 904 race car.
When the company went public in 1971, the Porsche family withdrew from management roles — although F.A. Porsche would remain a presence on the company's board and in its design studios. "He established a design culture in our company that has shaped our sports cars to this very day," said Matthias Müller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Porsche AG. "His philosophy of good design is a legacy to us that we will honor for all time."

Friday, March 30, 2012

PostMan's Law of MS Excel

- There will be a typo.
- You will play with borders and colours in the spreadsheet that you often work with.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PostMan's Law of Multiple Cars

Buying a new car in addition to the presence of the older one will result in lesser attention being paid to the older car.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

BCP or DR?

My wife keeps a diaper and wet tissues in the glove box of our car for our 1 year old. Does that fall under Business Continuity Planning (BCP) or Disaster Recovery(DR)?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PostMan's Law of Child Care

The level of attention to the care and protection given to children decreases as the number of children increases.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Aman Tehreek.

Count me as your new member - wherever you are.

Written by Nadeem F Paracha in Dawn

In March 2010 animated conspiracy theorist, TV personality and poster-boy for stylised sofa-warming-jihad, Zaid Hamid finally met his nemesis at the Peshawar University.
Hamid, who till then, had been enjoying a virtual free run on certain TV channels and on privately-owned campuses, was chased away by large sections of the audience that turned up to listen to him speak at the state-owned Peshawar University.
As Hamid’s speech began being booed at, Hamid made a quick exit from the premises only to face another crowd of students outside who shouted slogans against him, and pelted his car with stones.
Suddenly a man who was lovingly being courted by TV channels and student bodies and administration of private educational institutions, was angrily courted out by the students of a state-owned university.
They accused the university administration for allowing a ‘fitna’ (provocateur) and ‘agent of military establishment’ to speak at the university.
Initial inquiry suggested that the main ‘perpetrators’ behind the incident were members of PkSF (the student-wing of the Awami National Party) and the PSF (the student-wing of the Pakistan Peoples Party). What’s more, the protest against Hamid was also joined by the right-wing IJT (the student-wing of the Jamat Islami).
It is interesting to note that IJT that is a traditional and ideological foe of organisations like PkSF and PSF was also present in giving Hamid a hostile send-away.
Further investigations into the matter revealed the narrative that had driven the students to confront Hamid. The narrative (that we will discuss later in the piece) was constructed by a little known organisation called the Aman Tehreek (Peace Movement).
The truth was it was not exactly a small outfit, but an umbrella organisation under which a number of mainstream progressive parties, student organisations and members of the civil society had gathered to protest not only against extremist outfits such as al Qaeda and the Taliban, but also against the way the Pakistani military establishment and media had been engaging with these organisations.
But since the Tehreek’s narratives on religious extremism, terrorism, the military-establishment and the American drone attacks were largely anti-theistic to the ones toed by the largely right-wing mainstream electronic media, its activities were never given much space.
Recently the Tehreek came into focus again when its members vehemently protested in the streets of Peshawar against the Difa-e-Pakistan Council – an umbrella organisation of right-wing Islamic parties, jihadist outfits and pro-establishment politicians.
The Council, that also has in its ranks members of some ‘banned’ sectarian organisations, is accused by detractors for being a front organisation of those sections of the Pakistani intelligence agencies that are suspected of having links and sympathies with some extremist and sectarian organisations.
Radical peace
So what is the Aman Tehreek? It is an umbrella organisation that was formed in 2009 by members of Peshawar’s civil society.
It was conceived to draw out a ‘peace plan’ for the people of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), a province at the centre of a rather enigmatic war being fought between the Pakistan military and Islamist terror outfits.
In December 2009, the Tehreek organised an elaborate seminar in Peshawar in which members of the civil society and NGOs were invited. Also present were delegations from mainstream secular political parties such as the Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Paktunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), and the Baloch National Party (NP).
The Aman Tehreek was represented by a number of progressive intellectuals, lawyers, businessmen, doctors, and student and labour leaders.
Various delegates at the seminar presented their reports on the issue of extremism and terrorism in Pakistan. These reports were then critically evaluated and discussed among the delegates. After a hectic round of discussions, it was decided by the participants that a synthesis be constructed from the discussions. This synthesis was then expressed as a joint declaration, called the ‘Peshawar Declaration’ (PD).
Of hooris, ababeels and liars!
The Peshawar Declaration (PD) suggests that currently Pakistan is experiencing one of the most dangerous and complex kinds of terrorism. PD assails the indoctrination techniques of both the terrorists, as well as the military in which both the terrorist and the soldier are promised paradise and hooris for killing people that also include women and children.
PD states two sources of terrorism in Pakistan: (1) Militant Islamist organisations like al Qaeda and the Taliban and (2) the ‘Strategic Depth’ policy of the Pakistani military-establishment.
Interestingly, the Declaration describes the al Qaeda as ‘a caricature of (‘Wahabi/Salafi’) Arab expansionism in the disguise of global Islam.’
The second factor according to the Declaration that is contributing to the growth of extremist of terrorism is the ‘Strategic Depth’ policy of the Pakistan Army. The purpose of this policy is ‘to use Jihadi culture in order to counter India and protect nuclear weapons, and to subjugate Afghanistan by making it Pakistan’s fifth province on the Azad Kashmir model.’
The Declaration also elaborates on the psychological and cultural aspects of the Strategic Depth policy:
‘The Strategic Depth policy of the Pakistan army has a complete background. The ideology of nationhood on the basis of religion serves its foundation. Cantonments were labeled with the slogans of Jihad Fi Sabel-e-La (Jihad in the name of Allah). Big crossings and roundabouts in the cities were furnished with tanks, fighter planes and replicas of the Chaghai hills (where Pakistan first tested its nuclear bombs) to make a war-like environment.’
‘Instead of a welfare state Pakistan was made a security state. The Objective Resolution (1949) gave birth to Mullah-Military Alliance. The same resolution was included, in letter and spirit, in the constitution by General Ziaul Haq … Terrorist organisations like Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkatul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayeeba and Jash-e-Muhamamd were installed in Kashmir. In Paksitan Sibah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangwi and in Fata Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, Amarbil-Maroof, Tahreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi and Tahreek-e-Taliban have been operational … All these organisations are termed as strategic assets (by the military).’
The Declaration informs that the US, China, Arab countries and Europe helped Pakistan in its aggression against Afghanistan (in the 1980s).
Twenty-four billion petro-dollars were spent to establish seminaries (religious schools) that implanted extremist ideas in the minds of young Pakistanis and Afghans. Military aggression was explained as Jihad.
The Declaration also assails the dictatorship of General Parvez Musharraf for allowing the media to give coverage to those people who were supporting jihadist organisations and the military’s Strategic Depth policy, such as retired generals, a few journalists and so-called ‘defense analysts’.
The Declaration laments that as a result those living in other parts of the country (that are outside the war-torn areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) or those who were not directly affected by terrorism ‘were uninterruptedly indoctrinated with ideas for about eight years which further helped terrorism.’
PD then goes on to suggest that those residing within and near the areas that are directly in the grip of extremism and terrorism have their own view of the issue, a view that is quite different than the one being propagated by the military and the media:
‘It was propagated over the media that terrorism is the continuation of Jihad against Soviet Russia. The fact is that almost all those who fought against the Russians are now actually working to bring stability to the democratic process in Afghanistan. They are the foremost opponents of terrorism …. Only two of the anti-Soviet groups are now involved in terrorism i.e. Gulbadin Hikmatyar and Jalal ud Din Haqqani.’
The Declaration also laments the fact that due to the media, the image of the Pushtuns has been distorted and they are now seen as being extremists.
It then continues about how those directly affected by extremist violence have a different view about the issue than those living away from war and terror, and are being fed news and perceptions about the subject by the military and the media:
 … the people of the war-affected areas think that the army and Taliban are actually partners. They have been persistently asking the question why the military failed to target the core leadership of the militants in all the 17 military operations in Fata?’
‘These people (residing in war-torn areas) call for a real and targeted military operation … These people do not support any peace deals with the militants but unlike them the rest of Pakistan talks of putting an end to the military operations and resuming the so-called peace deals.’
By observing the above, the Declaration lays bare the anxiety and anger of those sections of the society and political circles who have been criticising the military, the media and some politicians who have been misrepresenting the views and emotions of those Pakistanis stuck in areas dominated by extremist/terrorist organisations.
PD claims that most people in the tribal areas of KP actually call the American drones, Ababeel (the mythical holy swallows [mentioned in the Quran] that were send by Allah to avenge Abraha, the intended conqueror the Kaaba):
‘The issue of (US) drone attacks is the most important one. The people of the war-affected areas are actually satisfied with the drone attacks which they support the most …  Even some people in Waziristan compare Drones with Ababeels. A component of the Pakistani media, some retired generals, a few journalists/analysts and pro-Taliban political parties never tire in their baseless propaganda against the drone attacks.’
The Declaration makes the following recommendations: (Edited version)
• The Strategic Depth policy is not only the cause of terrorism but it is an end in itself regarding terrorism … If the terrorists succeeded in Afghanistan their next target would be Pakistan. Therefore, this policy is destructive for Pakistan and should be abolished.
• Sanctuaries of terrorism in Fata, KP and central Punjab should be destroyed. A brief and targeted military operation should be launched against the terrorists. A half-hearted military operation is only spreading and helping the terrorists.
• Nato forces were sent to Afghanistan under UN mandate. However they should offer a clear time frame for the withdrawal of troops. The US has supported some of the terrorists. Americans are blamed for supporting Jandullah. Similarly they are least interested in dealing with the terrorists from Sangkiang.
• Saudi Arab and other Arab countries should stop financing terrorists.
• Some political forces and a component of the media and establishment are supporting terrorists. Such forces should be uprooted.
• Besides uprooting terrorism in Fata, the people of Fata should be compensated for the damage done due to terrorism. A comprehensive developmental package should be planned and the people of Fata should be allowed to choose any administrative system for themselves.
• The so-called banned terrorist organisations are still operative in the country. Merely banning them would not help. These organisations should be practically eliminated.
• Pakistan army and intelligence agencies should not interfere in politics.
• Every democratic government should be allowed to complete its term. Any conspiracy to derail democracy should be defeated.
• All the aid and international assistance in the name of counter terrorism should be spent on Fata, KP and other terror-affected areas.
• Full national autonomy should be granted to KP province.
• The need of education and awareness to combat terrorism should be overemphasised.
• The government of Pakistan should institute and initialise a concentrated media campaign against terrorism.
• The media should play its due role in the fight against terrorism. Pro-terrorism broadcasts should be banned. The political parties, civil personalities and Lashkars who are against terrorism should be given proper media coverage.
• Positive portrayal of terrorists should be discouraged (in the media).
• Budget allocation for education should be increased. Education should be acknowledged as a basic human right. Education till matriculation should be provided free of cost and elementary education up to grade eight should be made compulsory. Female education should be emphasised.
• The syllabus of education should be renewed. The curriculum should be designed on broader humanistic goals. Modern scientific knowledge should be imparted on the basis of research and creativity. Laboratories and libraries should be declared necessary for all institutions. The need to inculcate the qualities of tolerance, peace and democracy should be emphasised and the contributions of people having these qualities should be highlighted to inspire the youth. All the material regarding hate, prejudice and Jihad should be removed from the curriculum.
• Gender equality should be ensured in education and it should be taught to the students.
• Arts Councils should be established in every district.
• Community Centers should be set up in every district.
• All illegal FM channels should be closed.
• All those cultural activates should be banned which are against the basic human rights, especially against the rights of women.

You can read the complete document of the Peshawar Declaration:

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Blog

More than 6 years have passed since I started this blog. It certainly has changed in all these years because the scope widened for which I initially started this blog. Anyways, thought to share some snippets from my blog:

- My blog has been visited by 150 countries and territories. Visitors are not that much though in numbers. Pakistan just overtook USA as the place where I got most visitors from.

- The most viewed post has been 'Divorce in Islam - A Quranic Perspective' indicating the prevalence of this issue world wide.

- The second most viewed, is 'Urdu Word for Orgasm' - not because of the post itself but due to the search terms like 'how to get orgasm in urdu' etc. There was one search term of 'diagram of female orgasm in urdu'. The latter even interests me.

- A lot of visitors to my blog come to know whether 'female sex slaves (are) allowed in Islam' and whether 'one gets virgins when dies'. After 9/11 perhaps, lot of focus is on Islam and belief system of muslims so people want to know about these things more.

- Muslims and non-muslims want to know about 'Planet Mars in Islam' and whether there are 'muslims on other planets'. Are they not enough on this Earth?

- Some want to know whether 'Cleopatra was a muslim' or 'Nefertiti was a muslim'. Wish I knew.

- Curiosity it seems bugs some when they come to my blog searching for 'when do a muslims deeds go to heaven mondays and thursdays' and whether 'Coke Studio allowed in Islam'. A bit too much eh?

- I agree that Islam is kinda all pervasive fact for muslims and they need to find solutions for their problems but trust me Islam has no solution for this .. 'in islam solution for erectile dysfunction'.

- And what on earth is this? Can somebody explain? 'muslim nude slit'

- Lot of visitors come to my blog searching for 'nude beaches in Pakistan'. Amazing isn't it? Where are they anyways in Pakistan? and who on earth wants to come in Pakistan and be nude? to be stoned?

- Indian visitors come looking for 'Hina Rabbani Khar in jeans'. What is with Indians regarding Hina Rabbani Khar? and that too in jeans? OK I get the latter part, whats with the former?

- Indian visitors also come looking for 'postman rhymes'. I have never heard postman rhymes honestly. 'dakya aya.. daak laya'? Also, I never felt this. Too bad. 'crush on my muslim postman'

- Women Cricketers of Pakistan get more attention on my blog with search terms like 'love affairs of pakistani women cricket team'. People actually search these?

- I did a post on a teenage girl that went solo yachting across the globe 'Girl Going Solo'. I kept getting visitors on it for quite a long time intriguing me as to what is in it that interests people? Turns out, its a porn site.

All of the visitors have my respect, this was not meant to be disrespectful. I might keep updating this one.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Verse 2:223 - Women and 'Tilth'

In my previous post, 'Faith, Rationality and Consequences', I had discussed about a controversial verse of Quran in which, allegedly, the women are to be treated as 'tilth'. Antagonists argue that this demeaning verse sets the tone for blanket exploitation of women commonly visible in Islamic societies all over the world.

The Quranic verse is this.

2:223 -  Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe. 

Now per se, there is nothing sinister in this verse nor admirable. Things come to open when one comes to the nitty gritty of it. Three possible interpretation of this verse are as follows:

 Interpretation 1 - The verse means just as it says, your wives are a tilth for men. Good for producing only babies and nothing else. A man is to do what a bull would do in a field. 

 Interpretation 2Reference to 'tilth' is being given since for a farmer, the tilth is the most precious thing to cherish. It provides him with bounty and protection. Unless and until the farmer invests his sweat and blood in it, he is not getting respect from the his tilth.

 Interpretation 3 - This relates more to  the context in which the verse was supposedly revealed. Some say that people used to ask how should they 'do' their wives and in came the clarification that the intercourse has to vaginal and not anal. 'tilth', 'produce'... dig?

Now what on earth does this verse mean. If you are an antagonist, you will definitely go for the first interpretation and you would cite the issues of 'a man can have 4 wives and a woman cannot' (No you can't) and 'man is allowed to have sex slaves' (no he can not) as your arguments. Basic idea being that since Islam treats women as secondary so the conclusion of this verse is fairly easy to see.

Then there is another side of the story as well. Quran says:

30:21 - And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. 


2:182 - ... They are your garments and ye are their garments...

If spousal relationship means tranquility, love and mercy and both of them are like garments to each other, 'tilth' would make all the more sense. You can not do without each other. People argue that why the reference of tilth is given? This means that women have to be in the 'ownership' of a man, nothing by themselves and require a man to be of any good value. Further, when a tilth becomes infertile, it will be abandoned.

Quite frankly I don't know why the reference of tilth was given. If I were a God or had god-like powers, I would have been screwing around a lot instead of sending books for reforms. But then that is just me. Some might say that by just screwing around I would already be following the job description of god. The main thing, I think, is to note that its not the object in that reference that matters rather the relationship of those objects referred. Take the example for 'garments'. Both men and women are referred to being garments of each other. A garment, too, is nothing by itself and requires ownership to be of any value but when it comes to what it signifies... then it means protection, covering, privacy, intimacy etc. So tilth has to be viewed in that respect and not just object per se.

So to conclude, this verse is really open ended. I would not be surprised if the antagonists point out the meanness of this verse. Perhaps all the cruelty done to women in islamic societies is due to this verse. I on the other hand, an adherent to this scripture, see the positive side of this verse. The million dollar question being - what interpretation would you chose if you were an adherent of this scripture? Go for the compassionate verve or be a bull in tilth? The choice is totally yours. Perhaps this verse is a mirror.. shows whats inside you.


P.S: I ain't a saint.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Faith, Rationality and Consequences

Faith, for me, is a private matter. What I have in my heart regarding myself and the God, is to remain within confines of my heart and others have no right to judge or base their acts on it. But this assumption gets tested most of the times.

Islam is different in the sense that it involves various issues that relate to society in general, for example, guidelines related to divorce, matters related to orphans, inheritance, marriage so on and so forth. This renders the border between personal faith and public display of religion in form of rites, rituals and behaviors all the more blurred. What constitutes as a matter of my personal faith and how implementation of a certain religious injunction could intrude into that personal space are topics of interest.

Why do we hate the Taliban? Because they make religion (their sect specifically) enforceable by power. Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan are testament to the brutality that Taliban inflict in the name of religion. If I offer my prayers or not, Taliban should not have a problem with that, but unfortunately, it is their problem so I will be dragged to the mosque if I did not say my prayers, will be forced to grow beard and my pants will be above my ankles because according to them its un-islamic. They will not care how good a person you may have been otherwise but if you did not fall to the crtiera they have established, you are not good.

Then there is this little interesting thing. There is an author at Express Tribune who posted in the Blog section of the newspaper titled 'Who says I can’t be a Muslim feminist?' What she was trying to say was that while being a muslim, she held feminine principles too and did not find them contradictory in their implementation. The regular comments followed. I too participated in it. The basic thrust of the arguments was against her telling her that she could not be a muslim and a feminist at the same time because both were contradictory in nature.

The discussion then focused upon a verse of Quran and what implications it might have on the people following it. This will also serve as an example to what I am trying to say in this post. Here is the Quranic verse.

2:232Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe.  

This is a much debated verse of Quran and antagonistic say that this verse is extremely demeaning to women, that women are to be treated like 'tilth' - they say and provides males all the powers to abuse women. I differed. I said I found the verse telling me to be kind to the women folk. (I will be writing a separate post on that verse later on why I said so, its in the comments of the news website if anyone is interested. My Post 'Verse 2:223 - Women and 'Tilth')

The nice souls on that blog were trying to make me understand what the verses really meant – and they were very mean according to them. They all worried, rightly, that if I were to follow such scripture, I would end up on the wrong front – in this case, will abuse womenfolk. I, on the other hand, the adherent to this scripture, was saying that the scripture was telling me to be nice to womenfolk. These guys were insisting, that since the verses were wrong so I had to be wrong. They said I was just 'sugar coating' the verse by offering explanations. Instead of being worried what I was deriving from the verse they were more interested in what verse really meant. If they thought it would result in my being abusive to women then I was stating the opposite. Is it not this what they wanted?

Take the case of this blog author. She says she is a muslim and considers herself a feminist. She wants to maintain her faith and be a productive member of the society. BUT she is wrong. Why? because Islam and feminism are ‘oxymorons’ to each other. So she could not be a valuable member of the society because she was an adherent of Islam. Not very different from religious bigots who say that only religion provides the moral guidelines. They think that an atheist would not be a good human being, that secular societies would be glaring examples of social evil conveniently forgetting that best law abiding societies are secular

In essence, one would not care whether I am a productive member of the society but more interested to know what my faith was and then trashing it. But for what? Does one argue just for the sake of argument or there has to be an outcome preferably positive from it? Whether I am a believer of a certain faith, follower of a particular religion, believer in thousand gods or just single one, whether I am an atheist and rationality is my only god - should one not be concerned with what good I do for the society and/or personally instead of what I believe in?

The only consequence should be - whether you are believer of a particular faith or your religion is only rationality and logic - be human and humane. Peace.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Death - A Tough Calling

Just met a friend of ours who lost her father. She had tears in her eyes. I imagined my daughter in her place and teary eyed.

I can not see tears in my daughter's eyes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Provinces in Pakistan

The call for creation of new provinces in Pakistan by a certain section of people is just the assumption that they will only be exploited by their own brethren of cast or language - instead of everyone else. It has got nothing to do with welfare for the people.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

PostMan's Law of Language

Knowing and conversing in the same language is the most powerful instrument in winning you the acceptance of a person/ group.