Sunday, 31 August 2014

Protests in Islamabad Turn Violent

On one hand, these amateur political leaders, Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, say the entire establishment must step down, from the PM to all the Assembly yet they expected nothing to happen when they started marching towards the PM house in the middle of the night. Did they expect the police to offer them cups of tea?

If weeks of protests and sit ins in front of the Parliament did not result in the government stepping down, would marching a few metres up to the PM house have changed the outcome? That too in the middle of the night?

Police brutality is the third certainty of life after death and taxes. It is common even in the most established of liberal, democratic states like the US and UK. Yes, it is deplorable that that protestors were attacked, but why was the march ordered and to what end? And why so late at night?

Their entire political posturing consists of threat-making and demands to step down - nothing else. Imran Khan's rhetoric has become childish and vulgar - he talks about the government wetting its pants. Last night Qadri had a woman up on stage and used her personal tragedy to exploit the sentiments of poor folks. At one point he was openly weeping. Then he started quoting scripture and then the Constitution. Why can't our politicians come up with written, concise and clear speeches?

The questions and issues Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri raise are good political debates: corruption, electoral reform and social justice. But these are existential questions that Pakistan has never addressed in a meaningful and productive process anyway. Pakistan has a long way to go before it becomes a just and equal society. Nawaz Sharif is part of a diseased system, he did not spring up from nowhere. Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri must continue asking these questions and raise political consciousness. They must build better, transparent and mature parties. But demands to step down is not a revolution.

Do Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri really want to bring about a revolution? Is asking Nawaz Sharif to step down going to automatically usher in a new Pakistan?

We have an incompetent and clearly a very insecure government besieged by political amateurs and opportunists.

I blame Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri for misleading their supporters into danger and exploiting their sentiments for political gains.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Kavita ko waqt pe solana mushkil hi nahin, na mumkin hai....

Kavita ko waqt pe solana mushkil hi nahin, na mumkin hai....

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

What kind of politics does Imran Khan represent?

While watching the interview of ladies participating in Imran Khan's Azadi March, I got the sense (and please correct me if I am wrong) that Imran Khan has more of an elitist following. One of his supporters bemoaned how Pakistani youth preferred to go abroad for higher studies and did not want to come back! Then she proceeded to show off her designer kurta which has Imran Khan's face all over it. The interviewer than talked to a young girl and, got some nonsensical 'parrotted' answers like people don't have roti to eat. 

The only positive outcome so far of Imran Khan's "container revolution" (Why every Pakistani politician needs a shipping container, BBC) is his stress on electoral corruption which the media has picked up on too. So what? George W. Bush also most likely came to power in a botched election but Gore did not set up camp in front of the White House. Is toppling Nawaz Sharif going to bring a Naya Pakistan?

Even if Nawaz Sharif resigns, what next?

My questions are:

1) What kind of politics does Imran Khan represent?
2) How will he bring about a Naya Pakistan? Does he have a road map? Who is going to benefit the most if he comes to power?
3) Does he really intend to bring about a socio-economic revolution?
4) Who are his followers?
5) Has he addressed the, to borrow a phrase I read in an article in the Guardian discussing ebola in Liberia, "crisis of citzenship"? (Ebola has caused Liberia’s cauldron of dissatisfaction to boil over, Guardian)
Has he talked about the atrocities against the Ahamdis for example? How does he intend to bring gender equality and protect women?
6) Has he ever come out to publicly condemn the murder of Ahamdis, burning of Christian houses, slaughter of Shiias, or the stoning of pregnant women in front of high courts? What kind of politics does he represent?
7) Is he going to blame America for everything if something goes wrong?
8) Does he still support negotiations with extremists like the Taliban?
9) How does he intend to heal grievances in our biggest province Balochistan?
10) What's with including tired old political characters in his party?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Birthday advice to myself

A prolific diary writer since the age of seven, I used to mark birthdays with solemn entries, self advice and promises to myself for the year ahead. I would also set some goals. I was quite a good kid.

I was also quite surprised that I did not feel any different on each new birthday.

For my 35th birthday, a mile stone to say the least, a half way mark to the dreaded "40," I will try to give myself some good advice and think about growing older. 

I just finished thanking everyone individually for their birthday messages - 68 and counting - on Facebook.

Let's see, what do I want to accomplish in the next five years? I have been thinking about this for some time. This is going to be easy:

1) Get published: I desperately want to write a book about having lived and worked in Liberia for ten years
2) Make a fantastic success of my IT company
3) Make a little baby sister or brother for Kavita
4) Make a permanent family home for Haresh, Kavita and I outside of Liberia
5) Make a deeper and wider network of friends in Pakistan 
6) Share more of my money with a cause
7) Identify that one cause, one issue 
8) Go back to school to get an MBA or read more politics/history
9) See Deosai Plains, Moenjodaro, Machu Pichu, Taj Mahal, Petra, Bagan temples, Angkor Wat temples, Timbaktu, Cape Town, Zanzibar, Cape Verde, Quito, Mexcio, Tokyo, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Havana, Ulaan Battar, Samarkand, Buenos Aires, and Bokhara.
10)  Write a movie script
11)  Read, understand and practice feminism
11) Get, force and threaten (in that ascending order) more people to read my blog

As for growing older, I've been practicing it by going for the salt and pepper look. Since I turned 30, shocks of white hair have cropped up all over my head and, I had to start dyeing my hair. Since a few months now, I experimented with just letting it hang without any dye

Dyeing hair is a beauty regimen. By hiding one's greys, one practices a key dogma of the beauty religion: getting older is not beautiful; young is beautiful; and, beauty is literally only outward. 

I stopped dyeing my hair since February this year. I had mistakenly dyed it in jet black and wanted to get my brown colour back. It took quite a while for my original colour to start coming back (although I think my hair is permanently some new weird colour) and in the process, I realised I had way more white hair than I thought. 

During this time, I realised that it actually doesn't make any difference whether I sport a salt and pepper look or not. I feel the same. I still enjoy dressing up every day. I think I look fine in my selfies. I don't have to waste so much energy and time dyeing my hair every few weeks.  I feel cool because I don't care about covering up  my greys. 

But today, on my birthday, I also feel proud of my white hair. I feel they reflect all the experiences, knowledge and wisdom I have have picked up on the way. 

I may go back to dyeing my hair just for the sake of variety but not because I want to pretend I am not growing older. 

Having said that, growing up should not mean becoming an insufferable bore. 

And, while I grow older and try to reach all my goals, I will inspire my days by this wonderful quote by Annie Dillard: "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."