Saturday, 30 May 2009
I’m not a fan of the Pakistan Army. Correction: I’m not a fan of the Pakistan’s Generals. Most, if not all of them. The arrogance, attitude and the absence of accountability within the armed forces. However, does this make me question this institution in a time of war? Never! I have two choices. One to sit back and criticize; and secondly, to take proactive measures that will instill a sense of nationhood not just for those around me, but even within myself. I need to feel connected to something positive, to something larger than me.
"I have two choices. One to sit back and criticize; and secondly, to take proactive measures that will instill a sense of nationhood not just for those around me, but even within myself. I need to feel connected to something positive, to something larger than me."I have realized since the Operations began that it is okay, if our political leadership sucks, because our Armed Forces are not failing us. They have reminded me that I am one of 16 million. My one action will be added with 16 million other singular actions. Big, small, financial, or moral. I am a part of a wave that will raise this nation higher than ever before. I will stand behind the fauji jawan, the young man who is fighting the militants at the moment. Fighting them for us. Doing what we have been wanting him to do for ages. He is fighting my war for me, and I will stand behind him. I pray for him, I support him and I appreciate him. This is the least I can do. The least I can do is not criticize. The least I can do is say a prayer. The least I can do is become worthy of him fighting with his life to protect me.
This is my vow to our jawans: I will become worthy of this country. I will become worthy of this fight. I will become worthy of your sacrifice.
Friday, 29 May 2009
Quite a few years back, in my previous incarnation as a journalist, my dear friend Rafay Alam chided me for beginning all my stories with the phrase, "When I was younger..."
'It seems ironic now that some of my best, happiest and most joy and fun-filled times in Pakistan occurred under military dictatorships.'As I sit here typing out these words, gripped by feelings of grief and anger, I can't help but hearken back to my years growing up in Lahore... It seems ironic now that some of my best, happiest and most joy and fun-filled times in Pakistan occurred under military dictatorships. Indeed, perhaps even more ironic that I find myself missing a youth spent largely under General Zia's rather repressive regime.
I remember long night drives... parking our cars across the Ravi and watching the sun rise slowly over the minarets of the Badshahi Mosque... early morning breakfasts or sneaking out past midnight - on foot - to get juice from Liberty... Yes, things were not perfect - God knows, far from it... But there was hope for the future... and we all seemed to believe in a better tomorrow.
Yet now, as I watch the news coming out of Pakistan, hearing of the repeated bombings and the destitution faced by almost 2 million Pakistanis, I can't help but wish those days returned... And I keep asking myself, "What the Hell happened?"
Over 2 million people displaced... And who do you think they consider responsible?
Oh I know, there are a hundred and one socio-political explanations... the constant finger-pointing and blame game - the military is responsible... or America... or a myriad corrupt politicians/bureaucrats/judges etc etc (and you can replace those words with pretty much anything really - businessmen, lawyers, civil society...)...
The point is, I just can't get over the feeling that it is WE who are responsible.
One of US
I am no less to blame for the failure of our state or our society... As are most of my fellow countrymen... ESPECIALLY our 'elite'... We have sat in our air-conditioned ivory towers and frittered away our future in fashion shows and GTs and Porche showrooms... Fiddling away
merrily as the country burns around us... Hell, Nero was a sociopath... what was OUR excuse...???
I feel like asking our parents, our 'elders' - how could let this happen? How could you let things get so incredibly bad? I'd happily assign all the blame to their generation... After all, our lot
inherited this mess, right?
Like I said, we're ALL to blame...
So now is the time, folks, to stand up and be COUNTED... This is it... this is our last chance at redeeming ourselves and our country and reclaiming our future. We bitch and we moan, "What can we do?"
'Now is the time, folks, to stand up and be COUNTED... This is it... this is our last chance at redeeming ourselves and our country and reclaiming our future. We bitch and we moan, "What can we do?"
The answer, ladies and gents, is WHATEVER WE CAN...'
The answer, ladies and gents, is WHATEVER WE CAN...
I've been sitting here in London, feeling completely helpless... Shattered as I saw pictures of the most recent bomb blast... and then physically sick when I saw the state of the IDPs... these are Pakistanis.... they're not refugees from another country. These are OUR countrymen... without home or hearth... Looks more like Beirut in the Eighties than the Lahore I remember...
Will we let our beloved country go the way of Afghanistan? How did we let things get so bad? By being complacent, that's how...
By letting others bear the burden so that we can continue living our sheltered lives...
How can we fix it? God alone knows if that's even possible - but if it is, then it's only by each and EVERY one of doing something - great or small - whatever... our small bit to let our country shine.
Even as I salute our brave army jawaans and bow my head in prayer for those that have fallen, I tip my hat to people like my friend Rafay... I myself am guilty of laughing at him for cycling around town and trying desperately to get more people involved to help preserve our
environment... I applaud those young twenty-somethings who got their hands TRULY dirty cleaning up our streets... i raise my clenched fist in defiant support for all those journalists willing to write about the REAL issues and boldly denounce these 'munafiks'... I thank God for all those who are doing their bit for those of our countrymen left bereft (people like Attiq and Jarrar and Ayeda and Nuscie)... I sing joyously (even as my eyes brim with tears) along with all those
musicians who recently sang for our freedom - that's YOURS and MINE, folks...
The cynic in me sneers slightly at these words... Whispers softly that nothing will ever change. That this is how things are and this is how things will always be - until there is no longer anything left to burn or destroy.
And yet... I believe so strongly, so (excuse my French) fucking fervently that we are made of stronger stuff. That our country can and WILL survive this... Not only survive, but rise from the ashes of this destruction like a fiery fucking phoenix waiting to take the world by storm.
As I write these words, I am reminded of Faiz's words:
Aur yeh safaak masiha meray kabzey mein nahin
Iss jahan ke kisee zee rooh ke kabzey mein nahin
Haan, magar teray siva, teray siva, teray siva...
So, let us all stand up, my friends, let us hold hands and UNITE... THIS IS OUR TIME...!!!! Pakistan Zindabad!!!
PS: Apologies to those who felt this a tad OTT - but as I said, we all need to do our bit, and all I have is these words and a truckload of otherwise useless passion...
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Same spirit of sacrifice and valour is being exhibited in the ongoing struggle against the militants. The heroic story of Major ABID MAJEED bears testimony to this reality. On the fateful morning of May 18, 2009 Major Abid Majeed's brother Major Khalid was entrusted the task of recurring the area from Shalpalam to Jura whereas Major Abid Majeed's company was responsible for securing the area from Jura to Nazarabad. Major Khalid's company successfully secured the area followed by Major Abid Majeed. Thereafter Major Abid Majeed's company was ordered to more forward. Thirteen vehicles of the company moved to safety however the last vehicle came under heavy and precise firing, near a nullah bend, by the militants. The driver of the vehicle embraced martyrdom there and then. No more movement was possible as the route was blocked. The forward troops tried to move back and rescue the trapped soldiers, however due to accurate and effective firing by the militants the movement was not possible. It was then at 1645 hrs that Major Abid Majeed decided to move back himself. He took two soldiers, the first aid kit and a water bottle and ordered his company to engage the militants. In the rain of bullets he rushed to site, dragged the two bleeding soldiers Sepoy Tariq and Sepoy Nausherwan to a place of safety. He immediately poured water into their mouths and then started bandaging them to stop the flow of blood. In the meantime his shoulder got exposed and shot. Not bettered by it, he kept engaged himself in the task of bandaging. The second bullet hit in his ribs, still did not prevent him from completing his task. Unmoved by the blood gushing out of his wounds he dragged the soldiers to a safer place. In the process he was hit by three bullets and he fell down. While bleeding profusely, he took the wireless to talk to his brother Major Khalid (for the last time), who was 100 meters away. "BROTHER I HAVE TO PAY SO MUCH TO SO AND SO, DO NOT FORGET IT. TAKE CARE OF THE MOTHER AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES LEAVE THE JOB OF ELIMINATING THE MISCREANTS INCOMPLETE. I WISH I COULD MARCH ON TO MINGORA AND SEE IT CLEAR OF THE MILITANTS". And then he succumbed to his injuries but he managed to save the lives of two soldier/comrades.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Pakistan is showing fast growth in it's IT sector these days. It's online users are growing at a very fast rate. Pakistanis are coming up with many online business models and contributing to over all Internet achievements.
Since the release of Google Map Maker , a service that allows you to create a map by adding or editing features such as roads, businesses, parks, schools and more. Pakistanis have contributed a lot in populating its maps in Pakistan. Now, google maps even give driving directions in Pakistan , as reported by ProPakistani.
Recently reported by a news agency ANI, citing Banglore-based 'Lalit Katragadda', the founder of "Map Maker" says:
"Pakistan netizens are posting more localized information and data to the Google's 'map maker' than the web users of any of the 160 countries which are using the leading internet search engine's experiment."
Below is the full press release by ANI:
Silicon Valley (California), May 23 (ANI): Pakistan netizens are posting more localized information and data to the Google's 'map maker' than the web users of any of the 160 countries which are using the leading internet search engine's experiment.
Lalit Katragadda, the founder of Map Maker software informed that a particular Pakistani based in London has posted most frequent edits to the Google's Map Maker, a user-operated software.
Katragadda, who is based in Bangalore, told The Nation via teleconference that the software updates information instantly after a user sitting anywhere in theworld within 160 countries posts an edit to the live Map Maker.
When questions were put forth regarding the authenticity of the data provided by any of the net users, Katragadda said, it can always be verified by the software.
"We can always verify from authentic as well as independent sources within an hour's time," he added.
Any such experiment, related to a country's geographical territory can always be a sensitive issue, and could have some implications, but the Google's Map Maker had not come across any political issues till now.
"We have not faced any political issues so far," Katragadda said. (ANI)
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Monday, 25 May 2009
for you i lived and died this day
And in this moment i can recall
that as i fell i still stood tall
Into the falling night i cry
tell them i love them and tell them why
I am not there to see them grow
or curb the wild oats they sow
I am the one with arms held wide
even in death not stepping aside
For god and country i am here
your pain i hold i feel your fear
Freedom is my gift to you
as i left, this price i knew
I am so cold and so afraid
and as the fear begins to fade
I think of those to follow me
to give their lives to liberty
As i taste death's embrace
i pray for strength and a bit of grace
Let me die as i have lived
leaving nothing to forgive
My eyes are heavy let me rest
I know now i have done my best
Daily Times reports:
Major Abid laid to rest
Volunteer Work Verified by Group Admin.
Pakistan Rising Family Relief Packages delivered on 23rd May 2009
Areas of Dispatch:
1. Khudu Khel, Buner
2. Sudum Khairabad, Mardan
3. Tahir Flour Mill, Mardan
Focus Segment: Hosted families
Local Contacts: Khudu Khel: Mr. Inam Khan
Sudum Khairabad: Mr. Abdul Ahad Khan & Mr. Khalid Khan
Tahir Flour Mill: Mr. Bakht Muneer
Time of Delivery: Khudu Khel: 2:30pm
Sudum Khairabad: 6:30pm
Tahir Flour Mill: 12:00am
Relief Package details:
6kg Gas cylinder with 3kg filled gas and stove attachment
Food Items• 20kg Flour• 2kg Ghee in 1kg packs• 5kgs Lentils – Channa 2.5 kg & 2.5kg Masar• 2.5kg Sugar• 10kg Rice• 0.5kg Tea
2 chittais + 2 Bedsheets
Kitchen Set• 1 Tawa• 1 Wooden cooking spoon• 1 Pateeli Big• 1 Pateeli Small
Non-Food Items• 25lts Plastic bucket• 2 hand held plastic fans• 8 plastic plates• 8 plastic glasses• 1 Jug with lid• 1 Lota• 1 Muga
Medicine Kit• Prickly Heat Powder• Cotton • Linen Bandages [2 small & 1 large]• Primodin• Dettol• Ventolin syrup• Isphagol Sachets• Neomycin tube• Brufen tablets• Disprol• Disprin• Ponstan• Wyeth Entox-P• Panadol Extra• Wintogeno• Mercurochrome• ORS sachets• Saniplast band-aids
1 Laptop was also presented to Mr. Jahangir Khan head of the local volunteers NGO Touru Tigers. Touru Tigers are managing on the ground distribution and management of Sh.Shahzad and Sh. Yasin IDP camps set up on the Mardan Charsadda road by the Government.
Details of Delivery:
All deliveries made were on the basis of identifying hosted families while host families or locals were not facilitated. The identification of deserving people was done through two filters.
Filter 1 was a survey prepared by a team of organizers supporting hosted IDPs in their respective areas.
Filter 2 was put into action the day of deliveries through presentation of identity cards and a more detailed survey form. The details of the survey are being summarised and will be posted on the group page as soon as they're ready.
Area by Area Detail:
Khudu Khel: 200units of gas cylinders and attached stoves [Item 1] delivered to 200 IDP families.
Sudum Khairabad: 71 relief packs delivered to 71 IDP families. Inclusive of Items 1-6. The delivery of the Medicine Box [Item 7] was withheld on advice from our local contacts that people may take overdoses to cure themselves quicker and were left with the local contact to be stocked at a dispensary and given free of cost with dosage advice on a need based requirement.
Tahir Flour Mill: 29 relief packs delivered to 71 IDP families. Inclusive of Items 1-6. The delivery of the Medicine Box [Item 7] was withheld on advice from our local contacts that people may take overdoses to cure themselves quicker and were left with the local contact to be stocked at a dispensary and given free of cost with dosage advice on a need based requirement. 100 cans of Cerelac and 12 cartons of juices also delivered here.
Katch Garhi Jalozai – I
Jalozai – II
Yar Hussain – Swabi
Shaikh Shehzad – Mardan
Jalala – Takhtbai/ Mardan
Established Off-camps Humanitarian Hubs:
Peshawar (Near General Bus stand, Peshawar)
Nowshera (Near Social Welfare office, Nowshera)
Charsadda (Mushtarika Flour Mills, Rajjar by-pass road, Charsadda)
Mardan – I (Duranabad, Baghdada Road, Mardan)
Mardan – II (Sange Marmar, Mardan-Swabi Road, Mardan)
Mardan – III (Katlang Road, Mardan)
Swabi – I (Khunda More, Near Motorway Interchange)
Swabi – II (Aurangabad, Swabi-Mardan road, Swabi)
Swabi – III (Naway Kalay, Near Haider CNG, Crl Gul Sher Khan Kalay, (Shaway Adda), Swabi Road,
Malakand (Civil Secretariat, Batkhela, Malakand)
Bajaur (Political Agent (P.A.) Colony, Khar Bajaur
Kohat (Near Malik Fuel station, Bannu Road, Kohat)
Expected Off-camps Humanitarian Hubs:
Takhtbai (Hujra/election office Sher Afghan Khan, Mardan Road, Takhtbai)
Khairabad / Rustam (Govt. High School, Khairabad)
Mardan – IV (Hoti Flour Mills, Mardan)
'So Pakistan Rising is officially on the ground in NWFP.
This past weekend Pakistan Rising distributed relief packages to 300 families in 3 locations in Buner and Mardan adding up to approximately 2400 people. Additionally Pakistan Rising has started providing relief to a few displaced families currently residing in Lahore as well. A big thank you to everyone who's contributed to Pakistan Rising so far..
Please continue your generous support..also spread the word about Pakistan Rising..we need as many of you on board as possible.The situation in the Frontier is grim but things are slowly improving. The Pakistan Rising team visited a food distribution point jointly run by the CRDO (community research and development organisation) and WFP (world Food Program) in Charsadda. The distribution point was being operated very efficiently and in a highly organised way with a lot of emphasis being given to the comfort of the IDPs. Pakistan Rising also visited
Pelosa camp comprising 560 families in Charsadda being managed by the Army and the relevant Union Council in a school. All tents had fans and the camp has electricity and a standby generator. The army along with the local administration was looking after the affairs of that camp and things look to be on the right track there. The Army has also entered relief work in a big way. Their surveying teams are combing through all the union councils registering all IDPs living with host families or relatives.Finally a special word of appreciation for the locals of that area who have literally thrown open their homes to the IDPs..a lot of local families have moved out of their own homes so that the IDP's could live there while they themselves have moved into their animal sheds or out in the open.
Guys this is a battle all of us have to win! We have to treat our IDP brothers and sisters with the respect and honour they deserve. they have sacrificed for us so that we can live a Taliban free life and let's also not forget that it was the people from the NWFP who helped liberate the parts of Jammu and Kashmir now known as Azad Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan Rising with your help has now begun the trek towards a better Pakistan..
Join us in fighting this battle for the soul and sovereignity of our country. Donate genorously your time inputs, ideas and money or in kind. Do ask others to do the same as well..do not hesitate to contact us if any info is required.
Pakistan Hamesha Zindabad!!'
ROUTING FOR TRANSFER OF US DOLLARS
Routing No. 1:-HABIB AMERICAN BANK, 99 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK, USA (SWIFT CODE: HANYUS33XXX) ABA NO.026007362 FOR THE CREDIT OF HABIB METROPOLITAN BANK LIMITED, KARACHI (SWIFT SODE: MPBLPKKAXXX) ACCOUNT NO. 2072-9532 FOR FINAL CREDIT TO THEIR LAHORE MAIN BRANCH (SWIFT CODE :MPBLPKKA002) ACCOUNT NO.20311-172061 IN THE NAME OF ZOHRA & ZZ AHMED FOUNDATION.
Routing No. 2:-CITI BANK N.A. 111 WALL STREET NEW YORK, USA (CITIUS33XXX) FOR THE CREDIT OF HABIB METROPOLITAN BANK LIMITED, KARACHI (SWIFT CODE: MPBLPKKAXXX) ACCOUNT NO. 36082351 FOR FINAL CREDIT TO THEIR LAHORE MAIN BRANCH (SWIFT CODE: MPBLPKKA002) ACCOUNT NO. 20311-172061 IN THE NAME OF ZOHRA & ZZ AHMED FOUNDATION.
Routing No. 3:-AMERICAN EXPRESS BANK NEW YORK, USA (AEIBUS33XXX) FOR THE CREDIT OF HABIB METROPOLITAN BANK LIMITED, KARACHI (SWIFT CODE: MPBLPKKAXXX) ACCOUNT NO.721829 FOR FINAL CREDIT TO THEIR LAHORE MAIN BRANCH (SWIFT CODE: MPBLPKKA002) ACCOUNT NO. 20311-172061 IN THE NAME OF ZOHRA & ZZ AHMED FOUNDATION.
Title of account:
Zohra & Z.ZAhmed Foundation
Bank Account #: 20311-714-172061
Bank Name & Branch: Habib Metropolitan Bank, Egerton Road, Lahore
LOCAL DONATIONS in KIND
Pakistan Rising Associated House,
7 Egerton Road, Lahore
2. Clothes of various sizes (lawn, cotton), Beddings, Shoes, Mosquito netting
3.Tissues, Soaps, Dettol (antibacterial cleaners), Towels, Sanitary wear
4. Rice, Sugar, Flour (Atta), Onions, Potatoes, Pulses, Beans, Canned food, Biscuits, Cooking oil, Tea, Milk (tetra packs or powder), Safe drinking water.
5.Crockery, Buckets - buying them locally will be better
7. MEDICINES (URGENT)* Water purification tablets. * Anti mosquito spray* Life saving drugs. * Vaccines for malaria, cholera, typhoid, influenza. * Pain killers including strong ones like morphine derivatives, tremadol, pethadine, kinz . * Antibiotics e.g. tetnus, amoxil, gentamycin. * IV cannulas * IV Drip sets * IV drips: normal saline, ringerlactate * Local anesthetics (injections) * Cotton bandages, cotton. * Surgical instruments: e.g needle holders, forceps, tweezers. * Suturing materials, Skin staples.
Ghari Ismail Zai
Kot Dualat Zai
Kot Ismail Zai
The needs and requirements of the IDPs are changing on a day to day basis, therefore please find below an updated list of essential items.
Bedding (mattresses, chatais, bed sheets, pillows)
Water shortage items (water coolers, buckets, etc)
Kitchen utensils (pots, pans, plates, spoons, etc)
First aid medicine including ORS and diarrhoeal medicine
Hygiene kits (towels, soap, miswak, comb, female hygiene items)
Kindly donate these items at our nationwide collection camps managed by our dedicated Security team located at the following addresses:
- Karachi NTO Building, near Nursery Stop, Shahrah e Faisal
- Lahore Mobilink House, 5 P Gulberg II Lahore
- Islamabad Mobilink House, 1-A Kohistan Road, F-8 Markaz
- Faisalabad Building # 1298/B, People Colony Near Saleemi Chowk Satyana Road
- Multan Mobilink House, 60 Bridge Lane, LMQ Road Near Kutchery Road
- Quetta Global Center Opposite Police Line Gulistan Road, Quetta.
- Sukkur Mobilink Office near Islamic Science College, Minara Road
- Peshawar Mobilink House, near Shiraz Gathering, University Road
You may also contact your regional Mobilink Foundation Torchbearers for donations in cash or kind:
Arshad Hamid 0301 8561769
Syed Jamal Pasha 0300 8155678
Humayun Majeed Janjua 0300 8433797
Kamran Ahmed Ansari 0300 8281316
Mobilink users can also donate Rs 10 per SMS (taxes apply) by sending “Swat” to 616.