The Malleable Heart

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Yesterday I was reading an article, or more like just a headline and the internet trolls had made a feast out of it. Pakistan dissing, cursing and just your regular internet trolling. They somehow manage to find all that is wrong with country while artfully forgetting they are the root of the problem. Such posts are everyday occurrence they can sour one’s mood like vinegar curdles the milk.

Then today I saw a post about some guy buying his cabbie McDonald’s, because he wanted a snack and did not feel right eating by himself when he had another man next to him.

Yeah we are an economic disaster. And not the most morally sound society but when you see, just tiny gestures like this happening, they give you such a warm feeling that you just want to high-five that person and tell him/her it was not just a kind thing they did because they did not feed a starving man or help out a jobless man. They just gave somebody with less fortunate economic conditions, their due respect which so many of us forget to do everyday.

To all those people who thank their help or by gesture show them that they are not just the serving class but an integral part of society without which quiet frankly we can’t really function. I give you a standing ovation. Because people like you make me feel good. Even though I have no part in your act it still does.

‘Image by Artist Kate Powell’



Islamabad Literature Festival 2016 (1)

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This year was 4th ILF, but my first. Circumstances only allowed me to attend three and half sessions. But it was a really good experience. IT was my first time to actually attend a gathering of this sort where writers and intellectual from nearly all the fields are present.

(Faiz Ahmed Faiz Open Air Stadium: 3:30-4:30)

The session on Regional Connectivity and stability. Something as one of the audience directly pointed out to the one of speakers (Nasim Zehra: anchor person, columnist) as a topic never really discussed with vigor and facts it needs to be addressed with on the media.

5 speakers were present, Hina Rabbani Khar (26th Foreign minister), Anatol Lieven (Britsih Journalist, policy analyst), Nasim Zehra, Omar Zakhilwal (Finance Minister of Pakistan)  and Jean François. Mr Zakhiwal like a true politician droned on for long time trying to state that international investors should focus on regional projects. 

Nasim Zehra stated that asymmetry of power between military and government is the reason of setbacks on our economic growth she perceived that if we put behind chasing stability and focus on economic growth. Antol Leiven disagreed with this assessment saying if security and stability was not achieved, economic growth was not possible. Also the energy business due to sudden fall of fuel prices on international market has now become a very insecure investment for the investors. So if the security was not an assurance at a certain level such investments would not come easily. Hina Rabbani Khar said that during PPP rule their policy to start trade with India even with tension over Kashmir issue was an excellent decision and in which we got ever our regional issues for economic ones. In Pakistan or more like in south Asian region our basic problem is that economic issues are treated purely as political moves. Nobody moves forward or thinks further then 5 years of their tenure. Economic stagnation in the region is because territorial issues have over shadowed necessary progressive decision. Mr Jean Francois retold the history of France and Germany alliance on economic projects in 1951. Few years after the destruction of World war. The people already had fought two wars with each other, not mention the invasion of Paris by German, but French leadership understood that for regional peace and in hope there would now not be another war they initiated economical growth projects. They put people opinion aside and moved on, because they had a vision for the future. Same thing may not apply to our region but it could be partially adopted.  

Even though we have very tense relationship with our neighbors. When events like Yadev ( RAW Agent) and Pathan Kot ( Terrorist attack ) happen things seem to spiral further down. But events should not over shadow the strategies of nations.

Summarizing: Regional Connectivity especially for the economic projects and massive development along with minor ones to support and keep the system functioning are necessary. This needs to be pushed by media. CPEC is a very major project and of huge importance but it can not happen if regional security and stability is not completely achieved.  Political leaders should be strong and motivated enough to influence public opinions to get over prejudices and move on with things on economic front. The chances of political unity even for the interest of the country is in words of Pakistani Awam who have come to a sorry conclusion of  “absolutely not”.

It was a vast topic but when it comes down to it was a lot of talk and lack of action which is how many projects in Pakistan just become names instead of things which have physical presence.  A tradegy voiced by Hina Rabbini Khar on TAP gas pipeline a project on which “talks and discussion” started about 25 years back.

The session ended with people questioning would this generation see the economic growth of Pakistan or will it go down in wishful thinking. Will Pakistan be secure from international and internal sabotage long enough for CPEC to be fully functional.








Conditional Equity

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Its 12th of December and we are 4 days away from the 1st anniversary of one of the  most tragic incidents happened on civilian population “not in war zone” in this decade.

Around 140  and more children were killed in brutal shooting whose coverage in international media to be honest was non existent. Because lets face it nobody cares when Muslim dies even if they are kids and they even careless if they are in Pakistan because these kids according to the western microscope are potential terrorists.

People keep on posting please don’t compare Paris attack to the APS Peshawar attack . I did not last month but i will today. Lets compare every single inch. Paris attack has been talked and condemned by every single president on every single platform. Twitter was choked with hatred and radicalism by seemingly “enlightened and better” western counterparts who thought exterminating 1.57 billion Muslims was solution of their problems.

People in Paris attack were traced, their stories found and published their friends family shown mourning. Their dreams, hopes, careers explained to pain stalking details to show the pain and loss of their lives and to denounce the method of their death.

What about the kids who died in APS attacks? they were of ages 14 to 16 their graduation from school only few months away .They were kids deciding which university they were going to go to what career they will choose. They were at brink of new beginnings. What about their pain their stories those parents who will never see their sons again those mothers who tended them through sickness, injured knees and elbows to the point they were now able to take care of themselves. They would never know what it would have been like to see their years of hard work and nourishing excel and grow.

Does anyone even ask about those father who have been fighting real war of terrorism in FATA for more then a year defending their borders their country, their country men  and minimizing the threat of terrorism for the rest of world from that particular area, what they felt when they knew that their own kids have been murdered in the most ruthless manner known? It tears me up every time to think about those fathers who were defending humanity fighting the good war but could not save their own kids? What about them? What about their pain? their loss? What about them!!

What about the kids who survived that attack? What do they feel going back to school when their friends are dead? What do those parents feel when thy see their sons which were returned from the mouth of death walk out of the door? Someone so young should not have to deal with that. they should not have to be covered in the blood of their friends they should not have to go through that.

Yeah that is right their is no comparison between APS attack Peshawar and Paris attack their is just no comparison between the situation and what a show of inequality, arrogance, disproportion and disrespect the APS attack martyrs and survivors were handled with just no comparison.

Yesterday was Friday, we Muslims consider it to be a holy day of the week. The day most people try to make to the Namaz Jumma (prayer performed by men in Masjid in afternoon). There was a fire bomb in a Mosque in California,  that news did not even make the top five headlines of MSN news which due to my browser i am follow on regular basis. The news that was present told less about the fire bomb and more about the shooting that happened in San Bernardino.

So the message here for every one including me is from the whole situation ” Every time there will be an attack of violence against Muslims it will be pushed under covers while indirectly making it look like it can be on a level be justified or even glorified by some  as a reaction of the San Bernardino shooting or Paris Attacks or some other act of terrorism .The people who are not Muslim matter more then those are Muslim. Hammer that in you heads already. “

There is no such thing as equality there is no such thing as respect tolerance or whatever the synonym to those words are and used. I am just sad that I would have to live in this intolerant world and that my family will be in this intolerant world. The way things are these  days makes me want to shrivel up inside my self.

What a tragedy we are what a tragedy humanity is in all its scientific progress and glory its modernization and liberalization is proving to be. Makes one wonder the point of progress. What ever that is.



Lets talk about our I’s and isms.

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I am so bloody angry. I feel like am I am going to suffocate under all the hate that we have for each other in this country. I don’t know where the idea of Pakistan went so damn wrong. We might as well just nuke each other off. Its not we are doing anything with our “atomic” abilities any way .

First there are our “I’s” Pathan, Pashtun ( mind the difference) Punjabi, Sindi, Balochi, once upon time there were Bengali but now they have their own country.

I have seen more tolerance in street dogs when a another wanders in their territory than I have seen in most Pakistani’s for one another. Every single one of us is convinced that they have got it right. “12 kitabain parhta hai aur Aalim ban jata hai saray paraha likha jahil”.

The division in Pakistan is far more complex than most complex chemical formula. We just don’t have a sectarian problem in this country if we only had the sectarian problem life will be half less complicated than it is at the moment. We have a theism and atheism problem. We have liberal and conservative problem. We have a problem with the rich and we have problem with poor. We have a problem with elite culture and we have problem with middle class culture. We have problem with army and there are the ones who happen to worship it. We are democracy lovers and what we love more is making it fail. We have an obsession with freedom what we can not seem to get is freedom does not mean a license to act like wayward imbeciles. Then we have a problem how people dress, women who wear burqa or do niqab are “fundos” and who wear jeans and tees are “baegairat”. The “modern educated class” call the people with beards “taliban” or “harbourers of taliban” either as joke or seriously .You freaking assholes that is insulting! You do know that your Prophet(S.A.W) had a beard? Even Hazrat Issa (A.s) or Jesus Christ had one!

The other class call them moulvis or hajjis either as joke or so seriously that they think these people might be personification of angels (that is a exaggeration but lower income class trust in people with beard is quiet misled) and leads to things which are too shameful and screwed up to even imagine.

Then comes the “-isms” bane of our lives. There is Wahhabism, Sunnism, Shi’ism’, Barelvism, Ahle-hadith, Isma’ilism, these are the ones I know. Not to mention few whose correct spellings I am unaware of or am forgetting them. Honestly there is just not enough land to give everyone their own separate state.

But then came the educated class who love to talk about things they don’t really face. Some how we love our stereotypes. Extremist exist everywhere, in every single kind of sect, ethnicity and culture or what ever separation you happen to believe in. lets not even mention the role of electronic media whose sole job is to provide the news that really does not exist or to blow things out of proportion to a scale that out smarts most of the showbiz tabloids.

In our country the new popular culture and favorite status update seems to be of bashing religious people. On other hand we have the ones who happen to think “facebook” and “twitter” are the platforms to preach religion.

Seriously people wake up thanks to you all we have “Sunni-Islam” and “Shia-Islam”.

Here is a hint for everyone whatever you say won’t change the thoughts people who are prone to think you are a infidel. “itna naaike ka bacha hota na tum saab, tu facebook pa status upload karna wala halaat nae hota”.

So in good nice words get over your self and stop wagging your tongues on each and every incident and stop giving them shape they don’t really have. “khala ka ghar tum logo ka?” Freedom of speech ki maa behan aik kar ka rakh dye hai tum logo na.

There are things you say among friends. That is voicing of unformed ideas. That is thinking brainstorming. Printing your brainstorming for the world to see is really ridiculous. And more over they come off not liberal or cool but as naïve and prejudiced. You are not young enough to come off naïve and not old enough to be forgiven for your prejudices. Imagine every writer starts publishing his or hers first idea of novel? that would suck wont it. Even if it was Tolkein or Rowling or Grisham or who ever. You are neither of those people so imagine how much you suck.

Next time you feel like bashing anyone by that I mean anyone (excluding ISIS only people who no one have enough words to describe) just think that some one is dumping a bucket full of rotten eggs on you. The smell is disgusting just like your words who hurt people who feel insulted by them when they are being blamed for things they never did and never even thought. You with your “honest saying” and “so called truth” are brewing same hate and intolerance which is done by ISIS rockets and AK47s.

This post is for all the wanna be revolutionaries and liberals and free thinkers and smart people and conservatives who think social websites are perfect place for verbal vomits. Congrats facebook and twitter activists and the flag bearers of truth you have out done yourselves once again.

My imagination is Failing me

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I am looking at blank document trying to overcome my writer’s block. I have always written without ever having an end plot. It had worked out pretty well for me because once I started to write, the story always self-evolved.

Last year I was trying to write a story and it turned in to fabulous tale which everyone loved. That was my first success and was a completely unintentional one. After that I have written few stories which all were well liked.

Now I cannot write even I line without choking. I do not know why I am suffering from this heart wrenching writer’s block but it is making me feel inadequate.

I do not stand for much and do not have much to show for my one score of life. I never had a big academic achievement, always been a mediocre student. I do not have any skills like sewing, embroidery, cooking or baking. I am just a woman, who is just that.

One thing I do have are dreams, resolutions, ideas and aims. I have always wanted a position of power in civil services that is my dream and aim.  I want to help people, bring change. Not small change in lives but in the system. That is what I think about half of the time what will I do if I become a bureaucrat. Other half is spend in imagining different conversions with different people or conversations among the imaginary army of characters I have stored in my head.

Someone who spends so much time in different fragments of their own imagination they should be able to write, right? That is what I thought before I started to write but it is not that easy, not everything that I imagine is coherent or concrete enough to be written.

The thing about imagination is that we can skip many important details and trim it to our liking. Me, personally can never pen down my thoughts completely mainly because they are private fantasies mixed with ideals. So those thoughts are too private,cheesy, inappropriate, secret and mostly nobody’s business to know.

My philosophy is; imagination is gift, it is place we can escape to relax and release all our worries without any effort. The day your imagination fails you, you are in big trouble. And am in big trouble.

Any thoughts

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I wanted to write something other than book reviews, don’t want my blog purely to be about books or politics and serious stuff so thought i should branch out. But i don’t know what i would blog about. Thought about writing reviews on movies or TV shows i watch enough of them but decided against it for the moment. As i am a multitask-er, so i never remember the good dialogues. i have to re watch the whole thing or find that moment to again than listen to it to and write it down. Well that is to much hustle to just write a blog about a movie. So what do you unknowns think i should write about??

The Thousand Splendid Suns ( it took me a while to understand what the title stood for)

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A Thousand Splendid SunsA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The reason i bought thousand splendid suns was because i had watched the Kite runner. i had liked that movie and heard a lot of positive things about the writer.
Now when i read this book i gave it 5 stars but i was on a high the one you get after reading a fantastically tragic ending. But after that i have questioned every single detail.

The good parts ( from writing point of view)

Firstly: The Mariam part of the story is very good. It is something very understandable, relate-able and something we all from east have heard, seen or observed (unfortunately). Her naivety, her innocence and infinite believe in humanity. Like every good woman in Asia her effort were pointless and she was blamed for everything which was not her fault. Her consolation and peace was in Quran, one gift she received as a child and probably only highlight of her life.
Secondly: Rasheed, a loner, a widower, who technically buys his very young bride. In the start the guy is good, even considerate. But all his considerations were purely selfish. No children are indeed a sadness. But like a typical introvert he victimizes himself for having to live with such a woman who cannot give him the only thing he wants while he is provides everything for her. In this again the writer depicts a very typical thinking like earning and providing is favor men do, not a obligation given to them by Allah. But than religion restrictions are only for the woman, typically for the obedient and submissive woman. His hatred towards his wife is more because she was not young anymore. Another very perverted thinking which is not actually thought to be very degenerate as it should be.
Thirdly: Laila was like 14 when he entered her in the book, a very young age to be so mature and responsible and to have such a understanding of world. It felt like she was a grown woman not a adolescent. The war, her marriage to Rasheed the suffering and her relation with Mariam was another was again understandable. There was not much character building in this character.

The parts i strongly disagreed with

In Laila’s character writer tried to show an educated class, the class who valued education above religion. He separated education and religion. Religion was a setback while modern education was key to open and better minds. What a clique. Oddly enough religion is followed only by illiterate idiots or perverts and anyone with education does not need religion.
Another thing it was not that Laila and Jalil relation was unforgivable but it was the fact that writer made it look like it was alright that it was actually appropriate, and it was how unapologetic Laila was. Rasheed probably was the last person on earth who deserved loyalty. But then faith does not depend on how people treat you it depends upon us and our actions despite the situation and state. (It was not that Laila’s self defense mechanism was wrong.)

Mariam’s ending was as good it possibly could be, she believed. The writer should have put a little more effort in developing Laila’s character. She was the legacy she could have been little more flexible and accepting when i say that i don’t mean her situation with her first husband. At times she came of as stubborn child not a wise woman. But than i agreed with Laila on many parts it is that this book made me want to defend my religion and books like that could be very hard for me to enjoy without being sulky.

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