Pakistanis Teary Eyed… but Will We Stand Up?

No words can express the grief felt by the people sitting in Quetta with the dead bodies of their loved ones. My mind is feeling numb by Dr Tahir ul Qadri’s long march, the capital being sealed off by containers, the tragedy inflicted on the people of Quetta – what all could possibly happen? I am dumbstruck by the clash of values in Pakistan – the debate of living by principles versus filling everyone’s wallets along the way. So this businessman gives a guest speaker session saying “When I decided to come back to Pakistan from the US, I decided that I would put Pakistan over my principles”. Why so? Perhaps because if he lived by his principles, the imported stuff would never be allowed in Pakistan by the Customs Dept and the others who all want their share of the pie. Another successful businessman agreed that you can’t be in Pakistan and talk about the right way of doing business because that simply wouldn’t cut the deal. If you stand up and say “I disagree”, you are referred to as someone with very foreign thoughts, and will immediately be declared either an idiot or someone with very immature ideas. Lament.

We often wonder why we are in such a state. We sold our values, our heart, our soul to the devil in exchange for some loose change. This country might have some beautiful people, hopelessly talented minds, but our priorities are entirely misplaced. We spend like maniacs on weddings, watch pathetic drama serials, talk behind each other’s backs, make a joke of our jobs, and fully support corruption while running our so-called medium to large businesses. No wonder all the barkat is gone from each and every facet of everyday life. We have too many rotten fish in the pond called Pakistan. And the few souls who still have their integrity intact are the small fish who look around surprised, bemused, horrified. I want to be on the road shouting slogans for Hazara, Malala, the never ending number of media-men, rescue workers, and policemen who die in the name of hatred, sectarianism, violence – alas the youth must rise for us to lead them, guide them, hold them. I think of my daughter and who would take care of her when I am gone. These mercenaries wouldn’t take a moment in killing me – I would be just another number in the pile of dead bodies that keeps accumulating in a country that is so loved by the elders I am surrounded by.

Pakistan Qualifies for the T20 Semi-Finals

The Indian Cricket team often do a superb job at concealing their stress. They are just not that expressive. But yesterday their stress was so evident, and so satisfying, after the grim defeat that the Pakistani Cricket team suffered at their hands a few days ago. From M S Dhoni to Virat Kohli to our Muslim brothers Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan, everyone seemed to be completely out of their depth as the South Africans kept hitting the ball till Pakistan qualified for the semi-finals. The celebrations began as soon as South Africans made 122 runs. South Africans might have lost the match but they won over the hearts of Pakistanis. It is sad how mainstream sites like Yahoo Cricket (http://cricket.yahoo.com) and CricInfo (http://www.espncricinfo.com/) almost deliberately forget to mention Pakistan’s victories Continue reading “Pakistan Qualifies for the T20 Semi-Finals”

Pakistan As I Once Knew It

I have an interesting relationship with Pakistan. Pakistan and I are often friends, sometimes a little estranged, and at times archenemies. This relationship has soured most in recent times. I feel that we as a people just lost our values somewhere and in that we lost a part of ourselves as well. I want to show my daughter a Pakistan that I saw and alas that is not possible and in that lays my resentment. As a child, I remember seeing my dad stay up on most nights working through his files though he was a government officer. He retired as the Chief Engineer of South Punjab. We often had a government jeep or car parked in our garage but we were never allowed to use the government’s petrol and property. It was a real life lesson in honesty and being righteous.

Our joys back then were simple too. We didn’t need extravagant vacations at exotic locations around the world to feel happy. I am still in awe of the times when it would rain in Lahore, and my family and I would talk about the sweet smell of wet earth Continue reading “Pakistan As I Once Knew It”

The Economies of Love and Marriage

A senior colleague observed that young couples in Pakistan who marry out of love seem to fall out of this love too quickly these days. Compared to this 20 or so years ago, even arranged marriages and yes love marriages were very successful. I have a similar observation. I just wonder what are the possible reasons for this. Possible reasons can be issues pertaining to the dismal state of economy, money, work life balance, inlaws… then I wonder if its just a Pakistani phenomenon. Since it is an issue very close to heart, please share your views and comments. I have been wanting to write an article on this for a while now.

A Short and Unpredictable Life

Twenty four year old Mustafa was the only son of a warm and gentle couple, which my father-in-law is friends with since his days in the Pakistan Army.  Mustafa was a trainee pilot in the Pakistan Air Force and we are shocked by his sudden demise this morning when two planes crashed midair during training at Risalpur (http://tribune.com.pk/story/380180/4-killed-3-injured-in-paf-training-aircraft-collision/). He got engaged just two months ago. I shudder to think what his close family must be going through. I agree and believe wholeheartedly that there is a preordained time marked for your death. Also that death is inevitable. Yet, I feel that such incidences where youth passes away in accidents have become all too common in Pakistan. Obscure’s youngest client till date passed away in the Bhoja air crash on April 20th 2012. That was less than a month ago. Continue reading “A Short and Unpredictable Life”