From Shanti Nagar to Badami Bagh via Gojra!

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“Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes”, said the sage Karl Marx . Interpreting in english, it means religion is the opium of the masses. I think Karl Marx very rightly pointed out that religious emotions are the most overwhelming ones. People can commit some of the most abominable acts without understanding the true essence of their respective faith — this insanity touches its pinnacle in societies bereft of literacy and education.

Visiting Joseph colony in Badami Bagh, a naked eye can visualize the arson of Shanti Nagar and Gojra resurfacing itself. Christian minority has once again faced the wrath of intolerance dished out by a handful barbaric minds, that misconstrued the teachings of their faith. Not only christians but the rest of the minorities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have been victimized from the time, since General Zia Ul Haq passed the blasphemy law in 1987.

Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. The Holy prophet (peace be upon him) is an epitome of that. His life is a parable of tolerance and respect towards other faiths. All muslims should follow the teachings of Holy prophet (peace be upon him) and understand Quran, rather than playing in the hands of inapt mullahs who are expert at distorting islamic views.

Even the founder of this country, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was vociferous in safeguarding the rights of minorities. Here is an excerpt of his speech :

” You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state. ” ( 11th august 1947)

As far as this incident is concerned my qualm is that the deed of one man is being translated as motives of the rest of the community — Only the alleged culprit should be tried in the court of law. Secondly it is very easy to settle old scores and personal vendettas by wielding faith as tool over the minorities. As in this case, in order to prove a culprit guilty no physical proof or evidence is required — the mere statement that a random person from a minority group has indulged in blasphemy, would suffice in framing charges against him.

The only reprieve given to residents of Joseph colony by local government after this grisly incident was in shape of an expeditious compensation to rebuild their houses but i still cannot digest the failure on part of law enforcement agencies to preempt the arson.

Moreover the ever rambling law minister of punjab, Rana Sanaullah, failed to utter a single word when provincial assembly session was held to debate over this incident — it transpired that he had a sore throat (he could not have come up with a more flimsier excuse). I hope he is not intimidated by the fundamentalist militia, that holds sway in our country. The way such incidents are unfolding, all of us need to seriously reflect upon our deeds in order to build a pluralist society and a tolerant mindset.

Dil ka ujadna sehl sahi, basna sehl nahin zaalim
……………Basti basna khel nahin, baste baste basti hai!

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Bol kay lub azaad hein teray!

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Pak tea house epitomizes this urdu phrase “Bol kay lub azad hein teray” to the brim. On the bustling Mall road near the famous Anarkali bazaar of Lahore, Pak tea house has been restored yesterday — It is a big stride towards bringing back the glory days of street journalism and community involvement.

From its inception in pre partition days ( under the name of India tea house) till the vibrant 60’s — its was the incubator for churning out progressive thinking and literary luminaries across the country. It was home to anti status quo and progressive Poets like Habib Jalib and Faiz Ahmad Faiz to name a few — as part of the famous cult named ‘Halqa-i-Arbab-e-Zouq’. People would touch upon any issue of social significance from a trivial one to a taboo on a tea table. Poets and writers would light up the ambience through their pieces of art — in turn imbuing the audiences with a sense of purpose to uplift the society.

Unlike the brick and mortar coffee shops sprouting on every nook of Lahore — Pak tea house is one with a heart, where emotions can be felt. I am dying to pay homage to the place — whose contribution in shaping progressive mindsets in our country has not been celebrated in our historical archives. I hope this revival of a revolutionary hot spot lives up to its expectation of nurturing literary minds, progressive writers and intellectual gurus alike.

Future of PTI in a Xenoglossophobic nation!

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Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf has become a cult phenomenon amongst the youth, especially those hailing from elitist background — probably because PTI is seen as fashion statement for change towards the evolving political paradigm.

Barring that small niche, the rest of the country has similar demographics. Literacy is low, with a major chunk of the nation still having trouble understanding english, leave alone speaking it.

Amidst all this, PTI made two tactical howlers as far as their election campaign is concerned. Both occured during the launch of their education reform and industry & skill development policy this year. One, they simply used english as a medium to communicate the populace through policy manuals, most of which struggle to tackle a foreign language. Secondly they hosted the whole policy unveiling ceremony on the lines of a blue chip corporation’s annual meeting — giving an impression as if they are laying out their sales targets for the coming years using difficult jargons in rhetoric.

The mode of communication through brochures, booklets and the rest of policy manuals was in english language too — One must tell the communication and PR personnels of PTI that they are addressing a Xenoglossophobic nation, with due respect.

As an onlooker, the PTI policy manuals adressing 200 million masses in english language was a turn off for me. Confusing the masses with difficult rhetorics and gobbledegook will not open up ways for a ‘naya Pakistan’ (motto of PTI). The trickle down effect, that is promised in an impressive Rs. 2.5 trillion education reform policy or in the well formulated industrial and skill development policy, could not be translated to the masses if they can’t understand the gist behind the great struggle PTI vows to wage for them.

I am a great admirer of the brand ‘Imran Khan’ but unfortunately he is getting it wrong once again. He needs to redefine the public relations strategy of PTI, if he wants to communicate effectively with the down trodden strata.

A wailing city named Karachi

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Our nation had hardly gotten over the trauma of Hazara massacre in Quetta, that karachi has once again become victim of barbaric acts of a few fundamentalist minds.
The attacks in karachi give the stench of religious hatred. Abbass town is the venue of pain, grief and loss. I feel for all those families who are reeling with despair and anger. Alot of observers claim that shia community was the main target of terrorists. I put it differently. I think a bunch of patriotic pakistanis living their peaceful lives in a vibrant community have been attacked. This is not the first time as we are immuned to see chaos now. We as a nation need to ask a few questions to the security agencies and the incumbent government, as to what policies they have formulated in order to avoid more blood shed?
Despondent, at times i buy the ‘conspiracy theory mongers’ belief about this all being a set up.A freak show performed aptly by an inapt government. The election days are nighing and the government has no plan to justify its tenure as a wholesome one for the nation in general. So they are resorting to delaying tactics in order to push the elections further, making unrest in country as an excuse. I have no clue what is the truth behind this notion but one cannot help thinking on these lines seeing people of his homeland left high and dry in pain .
A higher Government official was getting engaged in Mohatta palace under heavy fool proof security, when the security of thousands of people living in those towers was breached with utter disdain on that day. This shows the difference between the have and the have nots in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.If not everyone then atleast all taxpaying citizens must question the government about their investment in laying proper security measures to make all citizen’s habitat a safe haven.
I am helpless. All i can do is to ponder over the inefficiencies of the system run by maladroits and pray to God almighty that he protects us from further calamities of this nature. One silver lining that i find in this grisly act is the unity factor it has brought not only amongst the diverse population of Karachi but within the rest of the country as well.