Rawalpindian…

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Back home, been gone to one of my favorite places in Pakistan, Lahore. Love the city mainly because it houses most loved people in my life. But cannot say it is not nice to be home. Rawalpindi or more commonly Pindi as we call it is more of a second home than permanent home for many. The urban area built entirely on population of rural area around it. There is not any special historical significance related to the city. Just an ex-British cantonment. Closest thing to historical and significance is the ARL refinery, and Presidency which is now FJWU.

ARL refinery old offices built pre-partition
ARL refinery old offices built pre-partition

Everything about this city and new or and fleeting. Nothing is there in Rawalpindi that you cannot find in other cities. But it grows on you, like the clear blue, the clam quiet organized Islamabad. Easy access to the mountains, the cool wind that blows down from the highlands after every rain, how the weather could be exceptionally pleasant during summer. The thunders during spring, and so much soundless lightening during fall that you might think that a wedding is going on in clouds. The soil is not fertile enough  for sweet fruits like mangoes but is for sour and sweet citrus. If it rains hard enough and then weather clears up you could see snow-capped mountains of Murree and blue outlines of mountain ranges beyond.

Glispe of mountain ranges on a not so clear day
Glispe of mountain ranges on a not so clear day

Rawalpindi has few modern age buildings but has numerous Churches and missionary schools at main squares of the city. Giving reflection of British Raj, and also only few markers of organized architectures in haphazardly built city.

Church on Adamjee road
Church on Adamjee road

What Rawalpindi is and always going to be is a cantonment . There is GHQ, 502 workshops, Qasim aviation Base, and 14 Askari and counting.

So Pindi is not a city it is collective set of many small settlements known as “dhoks” in Pothorhari. So it is not a big deal to have field of wheat or mustard next to your house.

There is saying about Pothohar.

” Zameen Hamwaar nae

Mausam ka Atibaar nae

Phaal mazedaar nae

Loag wafadaar nae”

Despite  every thing the not so green, bushy trees and plants,uneven landscape and brownish crumbling land. there was this person no train i heard say

A view of land in outskirts of Rawalpndi
A view of land in outskirts of Rawalpindi

“Shahzada alaqa hai hamara ” could not put that better myself home is home.

Reign of Irrelevence

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Things have taken a very sharp turn in Pakistani politics that has become a general delusion in last few months. The only turn things have taken in last few months is for the worst if they were bad before. And our electronic media has not been very helpful in containing it. There are more than a half dozen channels who are dedicated 24/7 to news. Which is an extremely unnecessary number of news channels to have, considering the most of news they do deliver is completely baseless and irrelevant. Breaking news has become a joke in last few months. There was one every day, on nearly every channel in which one statement was provided which makes no sense and is repeated continuously, like there was a competition of vocabulary going on “who can say the same thing in most different ways”.

Journalism is supposed to be based upon factualism and realism, in which all the sides are of thing are analyzed and reported without biasedness. Everyone has opinions, opinions become a problem when they are more promoted as the truth. However the truth or the facts have become the most irrelevant things to deliver in today’s media. In the first months of sit-ins, certain private news channels gave 24 hour coverage of sit-ins in D-square without running any other news or advertisement. A very questionable behavior which went unquestioned. How can these channels claim to be objective and claim to authenticity if they cannot judge that all the other things going on in the Pakistan are irrelevant compared?

During September there was a brief flood last year which surprisingly got the coverage despite the sit-ins Devastation caused by it was readily blamed on the current government. What I failed to comprehend was why the Famine and drought in Thar did not get the coverage. Why the political and non-political people who have being claiming themselves to be the saviors of the suffering and the poor choose to ignore so completely thousands of people dying in the heat of desert from starvation, one of the worst ways to die from all the ways a person can die. Was the temperature there too extreme for the liberals and the open-minded freedom talkers? Or were these illiterate under privileged not the worth the time of educated and sophisticated class of Pakistan or the revolution and change was only for those who could finance it and help will be given only where there is a camera to advertise it?

During months of the sit-ins literally billions have been spend, all to bring about a change in the chain of thought, to break people out of their shells and make them care for their surroundings. While at the same time thousands were losing their homes dying of starvation. What change can be expected from those when the foundations of heir construction are built on what every other system had done before them? Ignoring and suppressing the voice of most needy and only doing what serves there best interest without taking them out of their comfort zones or challenging ay real enemies like Landlords of Sindh.  How much could have been done if this money would have been invested to the rehabilitation of the people of Thar. Would not that have been a change unheard of? What kind of revolution is it that everyday hundred thousands of rupees are being spent on food, fuel and promotion when few hundred miles south thousands are starving? Why is that not something that comes in every breaking news? Or does everyone need to die from a bomb blast to make anyone care anything less goes unnoticed.

Our anchor personal have started an unannounced campaign to unveil corruption, disgrace the political leaders, or to highlight all the things which are wrong with judicial system, if that is not enough they will pick some random religious cleric and start to prove how these religious people are spreading hatred and sectarian system. I have never seen this kind unity for cause, outside of cricket. What these claimer of honesty and provider of truth “based on facts” did not unite upon was and is unaccountable target killings and kidnapping happening in Karachi, or bullets fired by Indians, or how a people of Thar starved or while Festivals were being held or how a training CSS officer is burned behind locked doors and there is no explanation. We have lost so many good men in those violent and unjustifiable acts but no one unites no one executes these murderers in their talk shows like they execute the corrupt. Somehow they never can find the men made of flesh and blood or identify them or figure out who they work for, as they kill openly in middle of the streets, in daylight. But they can always find no- existent paper trail of corruption. Or what political people do in the privacy of their homes and deals done behind the closed doors. Truth has become an irrelevant accessory these days. Anchor personal are the most important people in our system they somehow have gained the right to execute the people and judge everyone without any consequences for their statements. They determine what is important and what is relevant. They can say whatever they want to whoever they want without any restrictions, moderation and censorship and their words lack an ounce of truth and it does not matter because everyone is en-titled to free expression as long it is made by someone who can sell themselves well.

All the things that should not be………

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Yesterday when I was on my way home a saw a kid sitting on the road covered in dirt and his face streaked with tears. He was with two other boys, who looked older than him, they were fighting over an item they found in trash. When I reached home it was all I thought about. These were alive kids, hungry and needy. We find it so easy to pity the dead we burn candles for them and stand in cold for them. We go on rallies and write in press for the brutality committed against those killed in bomb blasts. But they are dead beyond yours and mines help but these kids outside ours homes in our streets they are alive, and they can be helped, they can be fed and they can be protected and we do not need government for that all we need is to care enough to do so. So many have been dying of starvation in Thar a death much more insufferable and long than being blown apart or shot down also something preventable somehow these people do not matter enough to be on every Facebook page and news channel, why? who decides whose life is more important and whose is not??

so many like him suffered and died but nobody did anything
so many like him suffered and died but nobody did anything

There are about thousands of kids and their families, starving in Thar Desert with legs and arms size of match sticks. Only time I have ever seen those appalling photos was when they show famine stricken countries of Africa. Living in camps struck my tribal wars and mercenaries. There was no aid for them few million rupees given here and there. Those people were dying literally of hunger when everyday tons of food was being wasted in D Square, Islamabad. “Naya Pakistan” was being dreamt, when few hundred miles south in same country, the same Pakistan that was being brought to brink to revolution for better, so many were just in need of few bites of food. It did not matter, whose jurisdiction these people fell under for the sake of humanity and because we are all bonded by Islamic brotherhood and because we are all Pakistani’s for better or worse. People who had enough support of money and power to go on for months in D Square, could have easily invested that in Thar, I believe they would not have to ask for a single vote after that, every person with a conscious mind would have supported them for it. So it won’t be too far-fetched to say that they only wanted to bring a revolution which fells under their comfort zone, where heat in tolerable and camera’s are in plenty to capture them and promote them and rest of Pakistan can go to hell, just like nearly all their acquaintances whether they are in their opposition or support. Yesterday Eid-mil-dun-Nabi was being celebrated all over Pakistan. A day which has no Islamic recognition what so ever. About 50 years earlier it was the day when cinema houses were shut down, shops were closed. As death of The Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) which by the way is confirmed on 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal, was mourned. I saw so many boys standing in street squares and roadsides collecting charity to decorate their streets and bought cakes. We are keeping the legacy of Marie Antoinette alive not our Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) while so many barely get bread a day, 1000s of pounds of cakes are being cut all across Pakistan.  Lalkurti in Rawalpind, which by the way is not exactly posh area, it is the only place I had a chance to see for myself, seeing newspaper today I learned there were hundreds of places like that all across Pakistan whose every house, every shop, every street was covered in fairy lights, and there were flags and so many other kinds of decorations, cakes were being cut and music systems were set to play Naats, while so many slept in dark, on empty stomachs and with only sound of screeching, crying, hungry children most nights of the year.  Every shrine was decorated with lights and flags, the graves of the dead were covered in new clothes while the alive shivered in cold. If the money our country folks wasted on pointless celebrations of a day which is more the day our Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) died then born earning sins. We could have given that to support families of poor in the name of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) who could have lived months on that money. What better way to express our love for someone than to keep his (P.B.U.H) legacy alive.

They say they are showing their love for their prophet but what about giving all this to some needy no better way to show love than keep his Sun-nah alive
They say they are showing their love for their prophet but what about giving all this to some needy no better way to show love than keep his Sun-nah alive

What I find really demoralizing and brings me to the brink of hopelessness is the indulgence of nation in irrelevant causes like 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal and making joke of Islamic Beliefs. And their ability to love the dead while the alive are invisible to them.  How being honest is a rude and unacceptable and how being a truly practicing Muslim is the hardest thing to do in Islamic Republic of Pakistan. And how giving 24/7 coverage to the sit-ins in D Square and showing footage of dressed up people and same speeches every day for more than 3 months is important news and the starving, dying naked kids and their families are not?  How everyone observed a black day on Peshawar incident and rightfully so but more children have in these past months died at the hands of our arrogance and selfishness in Thar then they did in Peshawar by terrorists. So who are we to point fingers?