Last night, I searched for the news regarding two bomb blasts near my house when phone calls started pouring in from friends and well wishers asking me if I was safe. I had heard a blast, but thought that it was a tire explosion or some firecracker. It turned out to be an attack on a Police convoy near my house.
Of the websites that appeared on Google search, one of them caught my attention: the tone and style of writing was very different, something you would not find in newspapers. I did not give much thought to it, and left the browser and my laptop open, and went out for dinner with my family. Next morning, I had a closer look to that news piece, and that website too. It turned out to be an Iranian Newspaper. I read articles about the Iranian Presidential Elections, in which Hassan Rouhani secured 50.70% votes. The polls itself recorded a massive 72.7% turnout. The articles mentioned Ayatollah Khamenei with extreme reverence and respect, and even talks about the other Presidential candidates and the incumbent President of Iran Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. All the articles showed great respect to these people, and the comments by the readers further praised them.
One of the news articles about President Ahmadinejad congratulating the new President-elect and their supreme leader Khamenei. This particular article caught my attention, after reading that article I moved on the the comments below. Since the Newspaper was Iranian, its highly likely that its readers and the commentators were mostly Iranian. Almost all the comments thanked the incumbent President, and showed great respect to him.
I’d love to quote one of the comments here:
Farewell, President Ahmadinejad. Thank you for your honesty and tireless efforts to bring peace and justice to our world. May the Lord give us more leaders of integrity such as yourself. Peace by upon you, the Iranian people, and the world.
This is so unlike the foul language used by our nation for our politicians and leaders. Our current President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari is lashed with obscene, profane and vulgar remarks, by both the public and the media. Our Prime Ministers, the incumbent, Mr. Nawaz Shareef, and the two previous Prime Ministers, Mr. Yousuf Raza Gillani and Mr. Raja Pervais Ashraf, both saw vulgar remarks being hurled at them. The president is usually referred to as “Mr. Ten Percent” and Mr. Raja Pervais Ashraf as “Rental Raja” in relation to rental power scam during his term as the Water and Power Minister in Gillani’s cabinet. Mr. Nawaz Shareef is referred to as “Ganja” which means bald, although he underwent a really expensive hair transplant surgery.
The problem may or may not be with our politicians and leaders. The problem is: we elected them our leaders. The Iranians bore a very politically mature outlook. There was a massive turnout, and no allegations of riggings after the polls. The current President and the unsuccessful candidates congratulated the new President-elect; it wouldn’t be unwise to say that a smooth transition of power would soon be in effect. The Iranians voted and choose their leader, and have faith in him; they are proud of their current President and all that he did for the nation.
In Pakistan, each and every current President, Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and other Federal and Provincial Ministers are accused of wrong doings and corruption. We reject them and raise our voices against them, in probably the most indecent manner. Yet we either do not vote at all or simply elect them again. We refuse to accept the mandate we give them. We talk about an uncertain future, a lost paradise; we simply refuse to set things right.
Yes, we Pakistanis elected our government last month. Just a month has gone by, and we cannot accept our current government’s budget.
Shahzeb Khan, the only son of Deputy Superintendent of Police Aurangzeb Khan was murdered in cold blood by Shahrukh Jatoi, Siraj Talpur and two other convicts on 25th December 2012, near Mubarak Masjid in DHA, Karachi.
On 7th June 2013, the four accused were found guilty by an Anti Terrorism Court in Karachi for premeditated murder of Shahzeb Khan, the two prime convicts, Jatoi and Talpur were awarded death penalty, and the other two convicts were given life imprisonment.
Shahzeb Khan was murdered because one of the servants of Talpur abused and harassed the sister of the victim Shahzeb Khan, and the Shahzeb spoke out against it.
Justice for Shahzeb Khan was not easy to come by: the two convicts belong to very influential feudal families in Sindh; even though the victim’s father was a Police officer himself, the Police was unable to register a case against the convicts due to the pressure exerted by their families.
Even the Pakistani media was slow in reporting the story; it wasn’t until a social media campaign launched by the friends and family of the victim Shahzeb Khan on Facebook and Twitter named Justice for Shahzeb Khan, which gathered momentum and sympathies of Karachiites, and evolved into a series of medium and large sized peaceful protests all over Karachi, that the Supreme Court of Pakistan took a suo motto notice of the matter and ordered the police to register a case against the accused in addition to seizing their property and freezing their bank accounts.
The Supreme Court action came a bit late: Shahrukh Jatoi had escaped out of Pakistan to the United Arab Emirates. The arrest of his father for the crime of helping a fugitive of law to escape made him finally surrender to the Pakistani authorities at the Pakistani Consulate in Dubai. He was arrested and flown back to Pakistan and faced trial for premeditated murder.
Even during the trial, Jatoi’s influential family tried to save him by falsely claiming in court that he was a minor, under 18 years of age, at the time of murder. This was later proven otherwise by medical reports.
After the court found them guilty and the verdict was announced, Shahrukh Jatoi was seen smiling and flashing a victory sign while being taken away.
The counsel for the convicts announced that they would be challenging the verdict before the High Court of Sindh. The case still has a long way to go: an appeal to the High Court, if that is rejected, an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and if that appeal too is rejected, the convict would have an opportunity to appeal for mercy to the President of Pakistan. If the President finally rejects their appeal would the sentence be carried out.
Still, this is a major victory for the people of Karachi and the family of the victim. Justice is hard to come by in Pakistan, and justice for Shahzeb Khan is a display of the collective strength of the people of Pakistan, especially the young generation, their desire for a fair and equal society; Justice for Shahzeb Khan also demonstrates the power of social media in getting the people to rise up and raise their voice and be heard and in bringing killers to the book and the dispensation of justice.
Justice being done in this case would not bring the victim back to life, but it might prevent more precious lives being lost in the future to suck arrogant and egoistic attitude of the elite of this nation, who believe themselves to be above the law.
The people welcomed the decision wholeheartedly and expressed pleasure and satisfaction; the following is a glimpse of the reaction of the people after the verdict was announced by the court.
Below: A grab from a local TV channel after the convicts were awarded death penalty.
The Right-wing political parties gained the upper hand in the May 11th 2013 General Elections in Pakistan; parties like the PML-N, PTI and JUI-F had massive popular support. The Left-wing, liberal parties like the PPP and the ANP suffered grave losses. With ‘Talks and Peace deals with the Taliban’ amongst their top agendas, these winning Right-wing parties were adamant on putting an end to Pakistan’s War on Terrorism: actually a War for wrestling control from the Taliban and establishing the writ and sovereignty of Pakistan on its North-Western territories.
To the dismay of these political and politico-religious parties, the Taliban withdrew the peace offer after its second-in-command Waliur Rehman was killed by a US drone strike on Pakistani territory on 30th May 2013. Soon after the attack, Imran Khan, chief of the PTI, was seen on news channels telling the then MNA-elect Nawaz Shareef, now the Prime Minister of Pakistan, to either stop the drone strikes or shoot the drones down.
On 29th May 2013 a petition was filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which sought a declaration by the Supreme Court against negotiations by any person, civilian or military, with a forbidden private army waging war against Pakistan.
The petition was filed by Mr. Shahid Orakzai under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction on the enforcement of fundamental rights, asked how could the armed forces propose a truce/ceasefire/end of hostilities to the rebels on the territory of Pakistan? The petitioner also asked whether a citizen was empowered by the constitution to negotiate peace with a private army waging war on Pakistan. However the Supreme Court Registrar Office had returned his petition by raising objections that he had no locus standi to file the petition.
Article 256 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan forbids and outlaws any private army within the territory of Pakistan:
256. Private armies forbidden.
No private organization capable of functioning as a military organization shall be formed, and any such organization shall be illegal.
The Taliban are a private army/rebel group, waging war against Pakistan since the beginning of the 21st Century, on Pakistani territory. They have killed and slaughtered over 50,000 Pakistani men, women, children, politicians and leaders, police officers and army officers; they have slain many social workers especially those working for the eradication of the Polio virus. The Taliban out rightly reject the democratic system of Pakistan, its legal system, sovereignty of the Parliament over the territories of Pakistan.
Regarding the activities of some politico-religious groups which support the Taliban and/or peace talks with them, Article 5 of the constitution of Pakistan clearly states the following:
5. Loyalty to State and obedience to Constitution and law.
- Loyalty to the State is the basic duty of every citizen.
- Obedience to the Constitution and law is the inviolable obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan.
Under the provisions of Article 5 of the constitution, would it not be that, according to the constitution of Pakistan, any Pakistani keeping contacts with, communication with, aiding or abetting the rebels waging war against Pakistan, would be committing acts treason? Leaders of our winning political parties, Nawaz Shareef of PML-N, Imran Khan of PTI, Fazal-ur-Rehman of JUI-F, all have been in contact with the Taliban, our media who receive calls of Taliban’s spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan when he calls to proudly claim responsibility of terrorist activities his organization carries out, Imams of mosques in rural and urban areas of Pakistan who openly sympathize with these terrorists, are they all not guilty of treason? I do not intend to accuse anyone; interpretation of the Constitution is the responsibility of the Supreme Court, which recently failed to take up the above mentioned petition.
In the video below you can see what the Taliban does in the areas it controls. The video below shows extremely violent acts committed by the Taliban (decapitating humans), NOT suitable for children, those with a weak heart and certainly NOT for those who do not wish to watch it. Be advised.
UPDATE: The copy of this video hosted on Vimeo, earlier embedded here, was removed by Vimeo staff because “it depicts extreme violence”, The video has been replaced by the same copy hosted on this server.
Pakistanis voted on May 11th, 2013: it was followed by the first democratic transfer of power in Pakistan. The general elections were largely free and fair, with the exception of some alleged rigging in Karachi, and some other parts of the nation. The polls recorded a massive, highest ever turnout of 60%.
The polls saw Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N rise to power at the center and stay entrenched in Punjab, the largest province of the nation. Imran Khan’s PTI got a chance to set up a coalition government with the Jamaat-i-Islami in the troubled province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sindh will see a coalition of the PPP and probably the MQM, and a coalition government of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, National Party and the PML-N in Balochistan.
Surprisingly, the former ruling PPP and its allies the PML-Q and the ANP faced bitter defeat. It seems as if, in the words of the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court, “the people avenged the former rulers”.
In Pakistani elections, there’s never defeat; there’s victory for one, and rigging for others. For the first time in Pakistani history, ANP accepted its defeat. Never had a political party displayed this great level of maturity and accepted the shortcomings of its government for its defeat in election. The others blamed rigging, the establishment and whatever their vivid imaginations could draw.
This video is made for and dedicated to my mom; undoubtedly the best mother in the whole wide world! I really love you a lot! I know you love me more than anything else in the world! I always pray and wish for the best for you and would do anything for you; just like you do for me! You mean the world to me mummy! 🙂
Thank you mama for making me what I am today! You have been a constant companion, a friend and the best teacher I ever had and would ever have! Your constant motivation and your guidance has made me what I am today! Thank you for everything! You’re the best maa ever! 🙂
Happy Mother’s Day aami jaan 🙂
On 11th May 2013, the people of Pakistan will vote and elect our Parliament’s lower house, the National Assembly; along with the Provincial Assemblies of the four Provinces. This will be a landmark day, that will decide the future of Pakistan for the next 5 years to come. This day, Pakistani’s will, according to their wishes elect their representatives to rule the country for a mandate of 5 years.
Electing our government is not just our right, enshrined by our Constitution and the Law of our land, or by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed by our founding fathers; it is, I believe, an obligation, a responsibility, that we owe to our nation. Casting our votes wouldn’t just be exercising of our constitutional rights, but fulfillment of our responsibility and our obligation towards our nation and our effort for a better, brighter future.
Being citizens of a democratic state it is not just our right to be a part of, or be represented in, the government of our country; it is our obligation! We share as much guilt and sins as our corrupt and/or bad politicians. Why? Because they have had been our representatives, and ruled our nation on our mandate! And for those who overthrew our elected governments and assumed control of our nation, well our silence and ignorance was their approval to plunder our nation, and our money which we pay in form of taxes for the functioning of our country!
Now is the time for a change! We wish for and really need a better, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan, we have to vote for better representatives to do that.
I don’t care who you vote for, I am not asking you to vote for a particular political party or ideology or individual. I am just requesting you to vote! Vote for and elect the party whose manifesto matches your vision for the future of Pakistan; for the party you think is honest and determined to tackle the problems faced by this nation! It is our country, our motherland! We cannot allow corrupt, morally bankrupt people to do whatever they wish to do with our nation!
Please exercise your right and fulfill your obligation onto our nation! Stamp your ballot paper! Cast your vote! Only you have power to decide the nation’s future! Your action will write Pakistan’s destiny for the next 5 years, and your inaction will seal the country’s fate for another 5! You have been given the right and the authority to decide the future of the nation! Please use this, and use it wisely and fairly!
11th May 2013 is the opportunity and chance we have of fixing our nation, helping it stand on its feet once again, and make our great nation, great once again! I will be casting my vote… Stamping the ballot paper and putting it in the ballot box, with a believe and satisfaction that I did my part!
Democracy isn’t just casting our vote, we have to keep a check and balance over the people we chose to represent us. If the go astray, we have to remind them that we have given them the mandate and we have the ultimate, collective authority over the way our country shall be governed. Staying silent and turning a blind eye to evils, especially by our representatives is some not less than a sin! I read a quote which was something like this:
The world’s problems do not lie in the evils of a few but the silence of the many!
Its time to rise up! For our nation, for our future and for ourselves! Please cast your vote and vote wisely!
I earnestly request each and every adult Pakistani reading this to vote! If you aren’t old enough to vote, please make sure that all those around you who are, do go to the polling station and cast their vote! Share this with those around you; the least you can do is to ask your loved ones to vote!
SMS your CNIC number to 8300 and check the polling station where you have to cast your vote, and then DO vote please! For Pakistan!
“I have this brilliant new idea! I believe it could change the way we live our lives, revolutionize the order of the society, make lives better!” popped a thought in my mind, “This just wouldn’t make lives better, people would be happier! This might be it! I could be famous, and probably rich! I will be respectable, honored all around the world! But it’s the good my idea will do for the world, for humanity that fascinates me more” We all might have had a similar thought to the one I had, but it was the fear of failure and embarrassment that probably kept us away from bringing it to reality, fulfilling our wishes, desires, dreams… Well with every great idea, there’s always that risk of failure associated.
I have a friend, he really crushed on a girl, but feared approaching her, talking to her, expressing that to her… He was not shy, no, not at all, he just feared the risk of rejection. Another friend wished to be a member of the school’s student council, but the fear of the risk of rejection kept her away from applying for the post. “I just get too depressed,” she said, “if I am ever rejected.” She had given up, accepted defeat even before trying.
Successful are those people who had a vision or a dream, overlooked the risk of failure and strived on towards their goal and achieved it. We are indeed too risk conscious these days. It is probably a natural instinct, a defense mechanism that keeps us from things our subconscious mind presumes may be harmful for us; anything out of the ordinary. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., founded the company is his parents’ garage. Years later he was fired from the company he created, but started NeXT, another computer company, because he just loved what he did, he had a passion for his work; the risk of failure that people fear was a bitter reality for him, yet he started fresh and eventually got back into and took Apple to the heights he had aimed for. He took risks, big risks, but in the end, it was all worth it.
Steve Jobs commented on this in his famous speech at the commencement at Stanford University, when he stated about getting fired from Apple:
“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
Assessing the risks before we do something grand is a really good and helpful idea. It gives us an insight into what might be at stake. But is the fear of the associated risks keeping us behind?
Children often say any and everything that comes to their minds, they never hesitate; they would ask questions or pass comments that might otherwise be considered inappropriate, indecent, improper, or even blasphemous by an adult. But does that bring about any harm to that child? No! Well, even I used to ask radical, spontaneous questions as a child, and adults sometimes had a hard time answering them, or choosing the right words to answer them in an appropriate manner. Children do this because they do not associate any risk of embarrassment, risk of being stereotyped, risk of being labeled by the society. That, probably, is one of the reason why children are able to get things done the way they want.
Being risk conscious may be a good thing at times; before investing in something new, a business conducts adequate market research. That is really essential to take ‘calculated risks’, and is beneficial to the business in the long run. Here, being risk-conscious is a good idea, for putting a lot of money at stake might not be so fascinating to the stake holders, employees and for the market at large.
It is a reality, the world today is quite risk conscious, but is this new to our times, or is it something that has been coming along from generation to generation?
Turning the pages of history text books, we do see examples of warriors and kings sometimes taking rash decisions, not taking into account any risk associated with their actions, and we see that sometimes action or inaction was based purely on the risk associated to the contrary. It has been observed that being risk conscious has had affected many of history’s important decisions, but is not the current generation’s risk consciousness just too exaggerated? Are we too risk-conscious these days?
At the level of the technological development of this era, risk calculation can also be a computable task, but that’s not what has made risk consciousness so exaggerated in the modern times, it is probably the fast paced life. We are indeed too risk conscious, but is if for the good or for the bad, that depends on how we make use of the risks we assume or calculate.
As Bill Cosby rightly said,
“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
I have had written this essay for my entry into the Commonwealth Essay Competition. The topic of the essay was the 5th amongst the topics of the senior category. I choose this topic amongst the 5 because of its relevancy to the modern times, and for this very reason I have published it here.
On 12th March 2013, St. Michael’s Convent School held its 2nd Annual St. Michael’s Inter School Science Competition.. This competition was started last year by Mr. Javed Khan, our A Levels Biology teacher. This event aims to create an awareness and interest in the A Levels Biology students about the latest research and development in the fields of medicine and biotechnology. It is indeed a perfect example of learning outside the boundaries of the class room.
The event started off a little later than planned; the opening ceremony featured the National Anthem and our School Song, followed by a recitation of the Holy Qur’an and a reading from the Holy Bible. This was followed by speeches by our Deputy Principal Mrs. Seema Naiyer and Mr. Javed Khan. This was followed by a toss to determine the order of the two rounds. The distinguished judges of the event were: Dr. Manzoor Ali Memon, Dr. Ruhina Hassan and Dr. Nisar Ali Shah.
This year, 4 teams competed in two rounds: Beaconhouse Team Proposition competed against St. Michael’s Team Opposition in the first round, and for the second round, St. Michael’s Team Proposition went against Beaconhouse Team Opposition.
The competition started off with a presentation by the first team, Beaconhouse Team Proposition, followed by a presentation by St. Michael’s Team Opposition which concluded round one of the day. After the short break, we, St. Michael’s Team Proposition opened round two, and were followed by Beaconhouse Team Opposition,
At the end of the day, after a critique over the debates and presentations by Dr. Nisar Ali Shah, the results were announced; they were as following:
- In the first round: Beaconhouse Team Proposition beat St. Michael’s Team Opposition; and
- In the second round: St. Michael’s Team Proposition beat Beaconhouse Team Opposition.
The results were announced in the closing ceremony, by Mr. Kevin Lobo, and the shields and medals were awarded to the participants by our respected judges.
Being one of the organizers of the event, and the leading member of the winning team: St. Michael’s Team Proposition, and lifting the trophy while wearing the gold medal at the end of the phenomenal event; I must say, it was a really proud and eventful day for me.
I would especially like to thank our Principal Mr. Peter Misquita, our Deputy Principal Mrs. Seema Naiyer Mr. Javed Khan, Mr. Kevin Lobo, Mr. Irfan Sheikh, our respected judges and the students who helped us all along to make this event a huge success. Last, but not the least, I would like to commend the efforts of all the participants; their efforts were instrumental in this phenomenal success.
Ever since Pakistan became a sovereign state, the issue of human rights has been one of grave importance. The partition of India in the second half of 1947 saw one of the worst massacre, as thousands of individuals were slaughtered, made homeless, raped and abused in the process of migrating to the homeland of their choice. Governments on both sides of the newly drawn borders could not do much to prevent this; they were silent spectators to one of history’s most bloody moments.
In 1948, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was presented in the United Nations General Assembly; Pakistan was among the 48 states that voted for the adoption of the Declaration. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed that year with 48 votes in favor, no votes against it and 8 abstentions. The declaration became an integral part of Pakistan’s constitutions, all three of them, and still is an integral part of the fundamental rights enshrined in, and guaranteed and safeguarded by the current constitution.
Pakistan, however has seen much ups and downs in its political arena. The Constitution, when first suspended by the first coup d’état, saw unlawful arrests, exiling of influential political figures, and unreasonable restrictions being imposed upon the citizens, as the Martial Law administrator General Ayub Khan said that he believed in “Democracy with Discipline” (there wasn’t any democracy, just the innocent civilians being disciplined along military lines). During the era of Gen. Yahya Khan, when East Pakistan, now Bangladesh was fighting for its independence and dismemberment of Pakistan, the Pakistan Army committed severe human rights violations, which may be classified as atrocities and war crimes. The army massacred many professors scientists and doctors in the East, and was accused of rape and torturing prisoners to death.
After Prime Minister Bhutto was ousted from office in another coup d’état, and General Zia-ul-Haq took over; the country saw its worst nightmare. The Constitution was ridiculously amended and new laws were promulgated in the process of ‘Islamization’. These new laws, aimed at legitimizing Zia regime, provided the administration far-reaching powers to suppress political activities. Public floggings became a common sight, political parties, trade unions, student unions, all were banned; those who dared to question Zia’s legitimacy or actions were tortured to death. The Hudood ordinances, provided for the punishments of victims of rape, and took away the rights of inheritance of women.
After Zia’s era, the Constitution was abrogated twice by Gen Musharraf, however this did not accompany large-scale human rights violation. Musharraf’s attempts to control the judiciary backfired, and the protests eventually lead to Musharraf leaving the country, and the presidency. The situation has improved greatly since. General elections were held in Pakistan in 2008, that saw the coming of a democratic government, which introduced the Constitution 18th Amendment act 2010, which reversed many of Zia-ul-Haq’s changes, and introduced articles, to safeguard the right of education and grant the right to a fair trial.
Judiciary and the Election Commission in Pakistan are now fiercely independent; this means that the right to a fair trial and right to participate in the country’s government for all Pakistanis are now secure. Much has still to be done; prisoners are still being tortured in jails, child molestation is still taking place in underdeveloped urban areas of Pakistan, according to UNICEF reports.
Pakistan, although has a democratic government, there are still incidents of human rights violation by the government. The Pakistani constitution, for example, guarantees the right to freedom of expression, subject to “reasonable restrictions imposed by law in order to protect the glory of Islam…”. This provision is being used as a tool to impose censorship on media and access to Internet. YouTube, the world’s most popular video sharing platform is not in Pakistan, just because a few videos insult Islam. This action of censorship, in my humble opinion, is violation of an individual’s freedom of speech, expression, choice and right to information as granted by the universal declaration of human rights and the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and law.
The government has also failed to protect the right of life of its citizens; many people fall victims to target killing and terrorism each day. There have been instances of the law-enforcement agencies doing just that: in June 2011 the paramilitary forces shot dead an individual in a public park accused of armed robbery.
The situation of human rights abuse is improving in Pakistan, ever since the democratic forces have come to run the country. Pakistan, however has still a long way to go, before it transforms itself from a security state to a welfare state, which safeguards all the rights of its citizens without any discrimination of any kind whatsoever.
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