Hold of the Past

In memory of Salman Taseer (RIP)-First published-Jan 4 2011
On Tuesday, hope died in Pakistan. Salman Taseer, whatever his flaws, was a courageous progressive; a rare breed in the increasingly radical Pakistani society. While others minced words about the sheer hypocrisy and extremism in our society, Mr. Taseer openly criticized and condemned the convolution of dark forces plaguing Pakistan. And he complimented the province of his governorship, for Punjab deserves men like him who possess the lively charm the land of five rivers is famous for. Salman Taseer died a martyr, a true martyr unlike many, because he raised his voice for the helpless, and for reason.

Mr. Taseer’s murder has raised the existential question for Pakistan: What kind of nation is Pakistan supposed to be? Will we honor the founder of the nation at long last and create a more equitable and liberal oneor slowly turn into a theocratic state directly or indirectly ruled by up-to-no-good Mullahs? The answer and subsequent actions supporting it will determine the fate of this cursed land.

The following is quoted from Mr. Jinnah’s address to the 1st constituent assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947: Read more »

Vote for Imran?

By Hitchens

I just saw the footage of Imran Khan’s terrible fall off the stage and cannot contain my anger with the people who organize these rallies without taking proper safety precautions. I’d be lying if I were to say I didn’t care much for Imran. This I realized after watching GEO’s coverage of the incident. I immediately got a lump in my throat as if it were someone close to me. I guess, my critique of Khan Sahib stems from the intellectual betrayal I feel from someone who I have looked up to since childhood when I first saw him in middle school. I hope he recovers without any serious damage. Lucky for us, not only is he an impressive campaigner, but also a specimen of physical fitness at his age. Like the energizer bunny, he seems to keep on going and going…

Let us not forget the 40,000 victims of terrorism and countless others who have been left handicapped at the hands of the Taliban and their allies. The awesome show of support Imran Khan is receiving leaves us all hopeful for a better future. This sort of sympathy should also be shown for others who are intentionally harmed, not just by simple accidents. I would only wish Khan Sahib would realize this too. Please continue to read the blog piece I was about to post before the accident.

“Oh what fun it is to ride on a one horse open-sleigh, HEY! Jingle bells, Jingle bells, jingle all the way…” would be the cadence of choice for jiyalas riding the waves of Khan Sahib’s alleged Tsunami, wearing blinders to a horse race.  A good number of these followers, however interesting their justifications are to vote for Imran, are the same people who voted in Musharraf’s dictatorial referendum.  In the words of Read more »

A Gamer’s wet dream

Ah the gamer’s life. Disdained by our elders, enjoyed by our kids.

So where do we stand? We grew up playing Atari, Commodore 64, Colecovision, Super Nintendo, NES, Genesis, Gameboys, Dreamcasts, N64s, Playstations, Gamecubes, and so on.

Well, most of us are still at it and whaddaya know, there’s a website that’s a great place to get the lowdown on game reviews, news, previews, and updates.

The website is called SpawnFirst and it’s run by one of our local desi residents here in Atlanta, Karam Elahi. Check the site out, as it’s gaining steam and making a mark in the game journalism business.

They also have a Facebook group: (https://www.facebook.com/pages/SpawnFirst/227935504017976?ref=hl)
and a Twitter account: @SpawnFirst , both on which a lot of the hourly updates are done.

So peruse their website, like their Facebook page, and catch their updates on Twitter. If you’re a gamer, you will NOT be disappointed.

 

 

Elections 2013: Make it your decision, vote!

Come election year, political parties bring out the big guns to strengthen their political campaigns and make their case for the right to the electoral mandate.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has offered higher minimum wages in an effort to appeal to the masses, or perhaps, cloud voter decisions with promises of money

The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) has resigned from the Sindh government because evidently it takes five years to realise that an alliance is dysfunctional.

The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has shiny new buses and underpasses to show “real development”; even ex-dictator Pervez Musharraf is all set to return and “save the country” with the All Pakistan Muslim League.

The prospect of political power sparks a fever of patriotism and renewed political will that only subsides once results have been announced post-election day.

While pre-election campaigning is traditionally marked by such political stunts and even more aggressive efforts to Read more »

Usman Kurd, the man who caused fall of Raisani govt

It was mainly the failure of Balochistan administration to counter the deadly anti-Shia Hazara terrorist activities by Usman Saifullah Kurd faction of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and the consequent reaction shown by the Hazara community that finally compelled the Centre to dismiss an already fragile Raisani government and impose the governor’s rule in the trouble-stricken province.

On the heels of the federal government’s decision to get ridof the Raisani government under Article 234 of the Constitution, some key intelligence agencies investigating the non-stop killings of Shia Hazaras in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan had informed the Centre that the ongoing reign of terror against the Shia Hazaras in Quetta and other parts of the province was being spearheaded by the Balochistan chapter of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, led by Usman Saifullah Kurd, who had escaped from a high-security Quetta Cantonment jail way back in 2008.

Read more »

Al Qaeda Disbands…….

………Says Job of Destroying U.S. Economy Now in Congress’s Hands

The international terror group known as Al Qaeda announced its dissolution today, saying that “our mission of destroying the American economy is now in the capable hands of the U.S. Congress.”

In an official statement published on the group’s website, the current leader of Al Qaeda said that Congress’s conduct during the so-called “fiscal-cliff” showdown convinced the terrorists that they had been outdone.

“We’ve been working overtime trying to come up with ways to terrorize the American people and wreck their economy,” said the statement from Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. “But even we couldn’t come up with something like this.”

Mr. al-Zawhiri said that the idea of holding the entire nation hostage with a clock ticking down to the end of the year “is Read more »

SHOULD WE CELEBRATE CYBER MONDAY?

If you are wondering what the heck is Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it is like the days before Eid-ul-Fitr in Pakistan (and other Muslim countries) when people flock to markets to shop. There may be one distinction, however. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are supposed to offer some of the best deals on anything from Toasters to TVs to Computers and practically anything else. Almost every companies discounts its products deep (except perhaps Apple and Bose!) For instance, you can purchase a 50 inch LED TV for around$400 or $500 (normally double that). Now the article…

Nicholas Thompson The NewYorker, Nov 26, 2012

If the early data is right, people are buying a ton of stuff online today. Maybe about a billion and a half dollars’ worth, exceeding the billion that Americans spent on Black Friday, traditionally the biggest analogue-shopping day of the year. Read more »

Fireworks in Gaza

By Dr. Larbi Sadiki

A friend from Gaza has recently returned back home. Like many Palestinians, he chose to go back home, even if in every sense it is more hellish after four years of normalcy in Britain.

His three kids left the Gaza Strip in 2008 in the nick of time: A few weeks before the three-week winter 2008-09 war, Operation Cast Lead for the Israelis, and al-Furqan (meaning “the criterion” in the Qur’an) for Hamas. He felt confused: On the one hand, he was relieved his kids missed the mayhem the Israelis caused by disproportionate use of force that indiscriminately targeted institutions, civilians and the military. On the other, he could not but help feel a little guilty, insofar as to why his kids are exempt from sharing in the suffering inflicted on other Palestinians kids in times of war, and in-between wars.

He tells me now he is relieved his whole family is in Gaza to join in the common stand made by the entire community of Gazans; children, women, and men, poor and rich, politicised and apolitical, learned and lay, all are rendered equal under Read more »

And I left My Eden -By Muneeb Tahir

16 died today when masked gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Shia pilgrims in the suburbs of Quetta, 4 died today on Prince Road when two unidentified motorcyclists threw a hand grenade on a “settler’s” shop!

Yes, this is the everyday story of my unfortunate city, my lost Eden and I am (as they call me) a “Punjabi-settler”. Although, my family had been living in Balochistan since the year 1900 but still the “locals” weren’t benevolent enough to ingress us into the fold of being “locals”. This is the story of many alike.

“Settlers” is a wider group of migrants belonging to various ethnicities who migrated to Quetta during different periods of time in search of better economic future. The irony is that the Afghans who migrated to Quetta in the aftermath of soviet invasion have fully assimilated in the social order and are now recognized as “locals”. This unfortunate lot on the other hand which is called by a slang (to me at least it is) “settlers”, after living Read more »

The President and the Pakistani

As Barack Obama fights for a second term in the White House, Rashid Razaq, a reporter on the Evening Standard, weighs in with this intriguing and accomplished two-hander that speculates about a pivotal moment in the future President’s youth.

It’s set in the early 1980s and Barry Obama – here a leather-jacketed, turtle-necked Columbia graduate, compellingly played by Syrus Lowe– is about to leave the scuzzy apartment in crime-ridden Harlem that he has been sharing with Sal Maqbool, a young Pakistani illegal immigrant.

In Tom Attenborough’s fluent, well-focused production, the pair are surrounded by cardboard boxes which, as a motif of transition, even form the ceiling of Francesca Reidy’s wry, telling design. Sal imagines that they are going to hump these packing cases to their new pad. But over the course of a single, bumpy night, he has to come to terms with the fact that Read more »

Don’t blame the Taliban

A friend of mine was surprised that this article was published in a Pakistani newspaper.  It is indeed revolutionary, in Pakistan’s context, to debate whether what Taliban or like-minded groups/parties do is indeed the real Islam, and therefore, they real Muslims.  Suppressing my two cents here, I’ll let Mr. Kunwar K Shahid make the case. You can make your own judgement. 

Let’s call a spade a spade instead

The Malala incident is déjà vu times million. You have religious ‘extremists’ manifesting brutality; the ‘educated’ class calls the act heinous, the ‘intellectuals’ label the offenders as beasts, the ‘liberals’ protest against the ‘cowardly act’ and while everyone is condemning the act, they remain shushed about the root cause of it all: the ideology. Throughout the past every single person who has denounced the Taliban has acted as an apologetic, justifying the religious ideology and claiming how those ‘uneducated morons’ have ‘unfortunately’ misinterpreted the teachings of peace and tranquility – no, they haven’t, ‘unfortunately’.

It is so painfully amusing to note how the ‘moderates’ and armchair revolutionaries, would sit there with a glass of vine in their hands, uninhibitedly hanging out with the opposite sex, not having offered a prayer or fasted for ages, claiming how the Taliban – who lead their lives strictly according to the Shariah – are infesting their religion of harmony. The poor chaps are only doing what their scriptures – the ones that the pseudo intellectuals extol, or don’t have the cojones to criticize – tell them to do. When you are being taught, through the scriptures that are universally recognized by the followers as ‘authentic’, that all the non-believers or threats to the grandeur of your ideology should be killed, you will Read more »

End the talks: Malaala Yousafzai and Bismarck

It is one of those moments in history when a very difficult decision must be made by the Pakistani nation. When a 14 year old girl, who devoted herself to girls education in places most needed, is barbarically and shamefully attacked, it is time for deep introspection. Malaala Yousafzai is fighting for her life in a hospital in Peshawar, her chances of survival are fifty percent and will probably die.

I wish to write pages over the sins of our country (and others) that has led to this innocent girl lying on a death bed. Her ordeal is a symptom of problems far too complex, yet I strongly believe a decision must be made by, not the state, but by we, the people.

We must end all talks with Taliban and the like. A strong military offensive, coupled with all resources of the mighty ISI, and government/non-governmental groups ready to assist the displaced, must be launched and sustained. This drama must end now. We can not negotiate or talk with those who would shoot Malaala, or sympathize with her attackers.

Bismarck famously backed ruthless measures to counter a revolution, arguing that if rules of revolution favor ruthless measures, why should rules of a counter-revolution be any different.

Pakistanis need to make a decision and soon!

Bill Maher, Salman Rushdie and Islam

I have always been a great fan of Bill Maher. His politically incorrect statements and discussions, otherwise absent in the American mainstream media, are a breath of fresh air in the scripted political discourse in America today. However, he has committed a major sin here. His disdain for ‘Religion” is well known but in this show he separates Islamic intolerance or orthodoxy from other religions whom he, traditionally, has lumped together.

A rejection of the ‘unknown’ or ‘blind faith without evidence’ could be open to debate, but it has to be consistent and uniform. Mr. Maher, perhaps in a moment of excitement, has let out a dangerous anti-Islam bias. Salman Ahmad (Junoon band) was on his show after 9/11 and tried to separate extremists from what he called ‘real Islam’. Bill Maher shut him up. It is comprehensible to give Maher credit for criticizing what he thinks is a destructive role of religions in modern societies. But, he bares himself  to criticism when he singles out Islam (as he did here) when he has traditionally been broad. It is sad that he has fallen prey to his internal bias.

Salman Rushdie clearly made Mr. Maher uncomfortable when he tried to separate those who ‘manufactured rage’ versus the everyday Muslims. Salman Rushdie has done a very good job of explaining his side of the story about his novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ and the reaction that followed. Most Muslims despise him, yet, he has attempted to separate extremists from the common Muslims here and in his new book, “Joseph Anton”.