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Eyewitness: Karachi, May 12, 2007

A narrative of the events of “Black Saturday and the “stop-the-blame-game argument

Guest Post by Beena Sarwar
article also published in The News on 27th May

“Here in Karachi, we avoid name calling and finger pointing due to fear of having our knees drilled

ON May 12, 2007, Karachi witnessed orchestrated mayhem. Such carnage is hardly unique to Karachi or to Pakistan — law enforcement agencies have stood by and even participated in worse massacres elsewhere, like Northern Ireland and Gujarat, India. In Karachi that day, “only about 46 lives were lost, and 150 or so injured.

But this was the first time in Pakistan that live television cameras captured the situation for viewers to see: government tankers used to block off routes to the airport, police and rangers conspicuous by their absence or standing idle as armed men ran amok on the streets of Karachi, corpses and wounded bodies lying by the wayside in pools of blood.

The security plans chalked out for May 12 were abandoned overnight. The Sindh home department withdrew the weapons of most law enforcement personnel in Karachi on May 12. Armed only with batons, the 15,000 or policemen deployed in the city avoided the violent areas. Rangers who were to hold key positions on the flyovers on the main airport road were nowhere in sight. Instead, armed men in civilian clothes held those posts, and fired into the crowds trying to reach the airport to receive the Chief Justice stranded inside.

At 5:00am on Saturday morning, Shahrah-e-Faisal (Drigh Road), the main airport route normally trafficked at all hours, was deserted as a journalist friend in Karachi found who was out and about early. He emailed me: “I saw something which gave me the chills — no police or Rangers on the roads, just kids with guns guiding trucks, tankers to block the intersections, entry and exit points on the main artery of city. I saw an NLC truck also being used to block the road (picture attached). We all know NLC is Pakistans largest trucking company, owned and managed by the army. Tie-rods were being removed from front tires so the vehicles could not be moved even by a tow truck. I thought, What if ambulances are required to move on Sharah-e-Faisal?My thought was immediately answered when I saw two KKF ambulances moving freely (Khidmat-Khalq Foundation, MQM’s social service wing) and MQM activists among those supervising the blockade.

Getting to office took him two hours, a journey that even during rush hour takes only 45 minutes. “I told my colleagues about my fear and almost all of them told me to relax as MQM is not that stupid they will not repeat the 1992 & 94 stupidity. By 12 noon Karachi was bleeding.

“There were bodies lying at every street intersection, Uzi, a reporter related later on her blog. “We picked up a whole bunch of them and put them inside police mobiles parked nearby.As for the police and the Rangers: “They did NOTHING! They stood around and LOITERED while my city was tainted with blood.

The areas she covered were the second bloodiest that day. It took her nearly an hour to get to Jinnahs mausoleum (Mazar-e-Quaid), normally a 15-20 minute drive from her house. At Kashmir Road the cab driver couldn’t go any further and she walked the remaining distance. At around 01:00 p.m., she was stopped by a political worker who put a TT pistol to her forehead (“NOT the temple, the FOREHEAD). She was allowed to proceed after showing her press card.

Over at the Sindh High Court, lawyer Ayesha Tammy Haq sent this text message around 5 pm Karachi time: “In the High court. Things getting worse. Judges will not leave as there will be a rampage. I was with the CJ. City courts being attacked as re Aaj and Geo. We are going to have army rule in Karachi. It looks like that was always the plan i.e. redemption of the army. (Later in an interview, General Musharraf denied such plans and reasserted his commitment to democratic politics. But then, he has also justified what happened in Karachi as “the political activity of a political party attempting to show its strength to its constituency interview with Talat Hussain, Aaj TV, May 18, 2007)

Another lawyer emailed: “Not only was the Sindh High Court under virtual siege by armed activists, but lawyers attempting enter the Court were repeatedly beaten and roughed up. The armed activists did not even spare the Judges of the High Court. One judge was held at gun point and his car damaged. “While holding me at gun point, the youth called someone and stated Yeh bolta hai kay High Court ka judge hai…kya karun is ka?…achaa theek hai, phir janay daita houn (He says hes a judge of the High Court. What should I do with him? Ok then, will let him go). Many judges, unable to drive to the Sindh High Court, had to leave their official ‘flag’ cars and make their way through menacing crowds and climb over the court’s back wall in order to reach their chambers.

Munir A. Malik, one of the 25 lawyers accompanying Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry from Islamabad to Karachi, narrates how they were forced to remain inside the airport. The Sindh government representatives offered to transport the Chief Justice by helicopter but this offer was for him alone. Since the lawyers with him had already foiled the attempts of “two uniformed people to “snatch the CJP and take him from the other side, he refused. (Story at the airport, The News on Sunday, Special Report, May 20, 2007)

Armed men attacked lawyers at Malir District Bar, Iftikhar Choudhry’s scheduled first stop in Karachi, killing a lawyer and injuring several others, including female lawyers. The Chief Justice and his team, of course, were externed to Islamabad after several hours. Late that night, residents in the low-income Ranchore Lines mohalla were awakened by loud banging on their doors. One resident relates that it was two young boys distributing freshly cooked biryani and suji in plastic bags: “Yeh chief justice ki wapsi ki khushi mein hai (This is to celebrate the Chief Justice’s return [to Islamabad]).

On the Karachi streets, Uzi’s press card had saved her again at around 05:00 p.m. as she and a colleague tried to reach the Rangers Headquarters in Dawood College. “A car chockfull of ammunition passed in front of us, stopped, backed up and stopped in front of us, Kalashnikovs pointing at the two of us from the windows. We showed our press cards and the car moved on. NEVER in my LIFE have I felt more grateful to my press card than I did yesterday.

At around 06:00 p.m., she and her colleague were trapped by gunshots all around. “Short of climbing the walls and entering one of the houses around, there really was no other place for us to go.They stopped a police mobile and asked which way would be safe to go. The answer, accompanied by laughter: “You can be killed wherever you go. Choose your place.

In published reports, journalists prudently avoided naming the parties involved. “Young men toting flags and banners had set up camp outside the airport departure lounge. They hid, however, when policemen came by. Reporters in the vicinity were asked whether they had seen any political activists around. Munawar Pirzada (from Daily Times) said that he had seen some nearby. After the policemen had left, the activists came up to the reporter, dragged him by the hair and took him aside. They then proceeded to threaten him with dire consequences if he said anything the next time the policemen came around (Urooj Zia, Daily Times, May 14).

But the affiliation of these gangs was visible in the live coverage provided by several private television channels, which showed plainclothes men brandishing weapons on the deserted roads, using government tankers as cover, exchanging gunfire with unseen opponents, the tri-colour MQM flag visible on their motorcycles.

After Aaj TV’s continuous live coverage of such scenes, armed men attacked the television station, firing at it for several hours. Instead of stopping the coverage, Aaj showed live footage of reporters ducking behind a desk, shots being fired at their office, as anchor Talat Hussain provided an account of the situation on the phone. Reporters in the area asked the Rangers posted nearby to help the Aaj workers trapped inside their building. The answer: “We’re helpless. We can’t do anything unless we have orders from above.

Aaj TV’s refusal to suspend its live coverage emboldened the new breed of citizen journalists. “My faith in independent media was restored and I was confident that I am not alone, wrote one blogger. He had hesitated to post out the testimony of a doctor at a Karachi hospital who witnessed armed political workers turn up to finish off an injured political worker. Encouraged by the Aaj re-broadcasting of images that clearly showed the involvement of MQM workers in the violence, he published the testimony with a disclaimer that “it was an anonymously posted comment and could be entirely false, you be a judge for yourself.

The testimony was apparently sent by a doctor who had been at work for several hours attending to multiple gunshot wound victims in his hospital lobby, where a makeshift emergency room had been set up. Nothing, he writes, “struck down my soul more than what 9 fully armed workers of MQM along with 2 sector office bearers did. They tried to drag out the wounded and dying body of a Sunni Teri worker (whose identity they later learnt) for presumably finishing him off.The protesting doctors were slapped around and dragged by their legs to the back of the gurney alley. With “shotguns, pistols and ak-47’s in hand, the men ran back to the lobby presumably to find their target again.

The doctor ran out to the rangers and police near the hospital front gate. Their answer to his appeal: “Jaante ho inn logon ko phir bhi kyon larta ho¦hamain upar se order hai ke inn ko char baje tak karne do jo karna hai. Char baje ke baad kuch dekhainge” (When you know who these people are why do you still fight them ¦ we have orders from above to let them do whatever they want until 4pm. After 4pm we will see).

As a previous MQM supporter, the doctor had recognized some of the assailants and called a friend related to MQM deputy leader Farooq Sattar. Five minutes later the men received a phone call and left, threatening the doctors (and stealing one of their cell phones, “Chikna set hai — it’s a cool set). “The guy they had come looking for had been shot one more time in the head. The o.t dress we had dressed him in 10 mins earlier was freshly bloody. Full text at: Karachi Metroblogs
There is a story behind each of those who were killed, some belonging to one or other political party, and others just because they were there. Masked men stopped ambulances and sprayed them with bullets, killing an Edhi Ambulance driver, Faizur Rahman Khan, 65, when he refused to throw out a wounded person he was transporting to hospital from near the airport; the wounded man was also shot again. Armed gangs herded passers-by into an alley and shot dead a young overlock machine operator along with another man, in front of two colleagues who were also shot but survived to tell the tale (They shot us one by one… by Munawar Pirzada, Daily Times). There have been reports about an SHO who guided a procession into an ambush and a pregnant woman who had to deliver her baby in the car when armed men refused to let her proceed to the hospital with her husband. The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) reports that several journalists were manhandled and nine wounded. Some TV cameramen were beaten and their cameras snatched or damaged.

In all these stories of horror, there is at least one amusing aside: the stranded reporter Uzi had the thrill of getting to ride a motorbike when her editors sent a senior reporter to pick her up. “You couldn’t use a car etc, because on a bike your press card was visible, and that was a kind of immunity. In a car or a van, they’d shoot at you on sight. So yeah, I got to ride pillion on a bike, and I didn’t sit sideways either, like women usually do here. 😀 I sat like guys usually do handsfree mode. 😀 Initially I was scared shitless, but then I got used to it, and it was AWESOME — like flying! MQM-waalahs on the way kept turning and staring at the weird Chick who was riding pillion like guys do and didn’t have to hold on to anything to maintain her balance. 😀 AWESOME, it was! I want a bike now! :P”

All power to Uzi, I say. I hope she gets her bike and I hope she gets to ride it. Someone should do a study on why Pakistan is the only Southasian country where it’s a no-no for women to cycle or drive scooters, or sit pillion astride (rather than side-saddle as they do,
uncomfortably and dangerously, sometimes holding on to several children). It wasn’t always that way until the 1960s college girls in Lahore, Karachi, even Peshawar bicycled around pretty freely, some even in saris. A trivial matter perhaps, given what’s happening in the country but these issues are not entirely unlinked.

Karachi educationist, Anwar Abbas, later emailed: “My son-in-law and daughter who live in a building adjoining Baloch colony flyover had a good look at the thugs in action from their rooftop. Their only regret is that they did not have a camera to capture the ghastly scenes. They returned to their flat because their little daughter was alone with the maid and because the thugs had also climbed the roofs of adjoining buildings in order to obtain an aerial view of their targets and shoot at random.

He added: “It is not important which group they belonged to; it is important that they could behave the way they did in complete disregard to the rule of law; if indeed the law was awake or not in collusion with the thugs Many others, including Aaj TV’s Talat Hussain and MQM’s Dr. Farooq Sattar have also suggested that the “blame game be avoided.

But a lawyer friend, “angry and distressed in Karachi, argues that “If we avoid name callingand finger pointing, we will simply be brushing the events of last Saturday under the carpet of indifference. Here in Karachi, we avoid name calling and finger pointing due to fear of having our knees drilled. Even Urdu speaking lawyers, while talking of last Saturdays events at the Sindh High Court look over their shoulders and speak in hushed tones when mentioning the name of MQM

“As we try to understand the carnage of 12th May, we have to ask the following question: Which political group stands to lose the most in a Musharraf ouster? Not the PML (Q). The Chaudhrys and their ilk will merely disperse and filter back into the PML (N) or the PPP. The unprecedented power and privilege of the MQM however is firmly tied with Musharraf’s hold in Islamabad. It was the threat to their benefactor from the supporters of the Chief Justice, which unleashed the gunmen on 12th May. Zaffar Abbas is correct when he writes that Karachi was only at peace for the past many years because it suited its militants (‘Back to the future?’ Dawn, May 14, 2007)

“Finger pointing is necessary, because throughout our history, instead of a catharsis, we simply go through a jo ho gaya ab bhool jaao, aagay daikho (forget what has happened) attitude. Already, with the President’s pat on the back at the emergency meeting of the ruling party in Islamabad (on Monday) the MQM is back on the front foot

“Although it is unlikely that the perpetrators of Saturday’s violence will ever be brought to justice, at least they should continue to be exposed before the entire country. More importantly, they should face the consequence of such exposure. Public image is very important to the MQM and the national outrage at their conduct may be the best prospect of compelling them to change their ways.

Orkuting in Pakistan

There is little doubt that Pakistanis simply love to Orkut and I would not be wrong to state that Orkut.com is probably one of the most visited sites from Pakistan second only to search engines like Google and Yahoo. I personally have been orkuteering since 2004 when there was not much awareness in Pakistan about this invitation only community. To sneak a foot into this social network I had to wrangle and invite from a friendly Brazilian who offered the invite in exchange for a postcard from Pakistan. Sweet deal and I obliged him with not one but seven such postcards mailed to him in Brazil

Orkut was quietly launched on January 19, 2004 by the search company Google. Orkut Büyükkökten, a Turkish software engineer, developed Orkut as an independent project while working at Google, who probably had no idea how popular it may eventually become

I personally saw the popularity of Orkut take to the skies in Pakistan in late 2005 and early 2006 when scraping became a household word interspersed in many conversations to eventually become an Urdu word. Generally the conversations revolved around ‘who scraped who’ and ‘who is on whose friends list’ it was literally a gossip column where the creative clickers could easily figure out some upcoming affairs and flings in progress. Despite its popularity it is strange to note that in this age of information overload where IM’s and emails are the hallmark of modern communication scraping was one of the slowest way to communicate yet it was surprising to see people to carry conversations for days if not weeks by scraping each other bank and forth.

Profile views was a concept which was included in the initial design back in 2004 but was discontinued for the better half of 2005 but has recently been reintroduced where members can see who has been visiting their profile, the option of anonymity can also be used which then permits gossipers / snoops to take a drive around town without even raising any suspicion.

Orkut stats 1st Jan 2007

A look at the demographics on orkut shows a very interesting picture, there are over 58% Brazilians followed by 16% Americans, Indians coming in at 12% while Pakistan lands fourth at 1.6% (Duh!!!). Though a number of reliable sources within Google indicate that the usage statistics show Pakistan at #2 in terms of pageviews after Brazil. Brazilians seem to be in full domination of the orkut sphere which according to the creator could be a reason why the North American users avoid flocking this South American networks and instead turn towards Facebook and MySpace.

Over the many years the orkut sphere has been a witness to a great deal of competition, there remains an undeclared competition for the user with the most scraps, the user with most friends, the group with the highest members, the post with the highest number of messages and this competition did spill over into a bull blown India-Pakistan battle where two groups competed to rally the highest numbers in each category. People simply had a lot of time to waste on their hands and orkut provided them an even more excuse to waste their time in the name of social networking.

Since the recent change in registration policy of Facebook which has opened non-US registrations I suspect the socialite class is slowly migrating to the Facebook network. Facebook apparently seems to be a little more socially intriguing as compared to orkut and I feel could be slowly capturing the Pakistani crowd. Time will only tell how the competition boils out. I personally have jumped the bandwagon towards facebook and rarely check Orkut and have heard many make the switch, could this be just a small minority looking for a change or is this a more rampant issue throughout the country?

With the overgrowing popularity of orkut and facebook there are a number of upcoming designers who strive to conjour up a localized social networks geared a community like the Pakistani and Indian communities for example Fropper, Naseeb and ApnaSpace they all seem to have a decent viewership but pale against the popularity of Orkut and Facebook.

How do you socialize online?

Cricket Crazy Nation

I posted this yesterday on Cricket Bloggers of Pakistan but simply love this commercial which was produced by Nike (India) probably a tribute to the people of the cricket crazy sub-continent area. Both India and Pakistan have been knocked out of the world cup but the passion must definitely live of wounds will heal and new teams will form to outlive the shattered dreams of the world cup 2007. The only thing that will not heal is the millions spent on TV advertisement through out the subcontinent. This is a MUST WATCH ! video for all cricket lovers [PS – I love the comment ‘oye Balcony’ – simply ingenious]

WC-2007 Ex-Theme Song for Pakistan

There is no doubt the people of Pakistan were shattered when the Pakistan Cricket Team made an early exit from the World Cup after loosing to a minnow Ireland. The dreams of lifting the trophy vanished into thin air for many leaving a broken heart including a major dent into the pockets of companies who had invested significantly to developing television and print media advertisement featuring the Pakistan team.

The heartbroken Pakistani fans were smiling last night when they witnessed the annihilation of their arch rival India which was ransacked by Sri Lankan Cricket team almost confirming the return trip to Delhi (pending only an unlikely win by Bermuda). we all know the passionate cricket fans of the subcontinent, Pakistanis were ruthless the day after the loss to Ireland and there is no doubt the flames would be burning all over India, I feel they are in for a far more serious home coming as compared to Pakistan, as Bob Woolmer’s death has subdued the anger.
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Wikipedia: The untimely rise and expected fall

Guest Blogger: Asad Asif at My Chronicles….

Wikipedia… When one hears this name, one thinks of one of the world’s largest encyclopaedia which relies on community members contributing articles.

Being a student, I have been a huge, though passive, supporter of this project. I say passive, because I have used it for finding information but rarely have put in any information myself. However, my primary interest in Wikipedia articles lies with topics relating to computers and various other non-political topics. I have looked at political and controversial articles on Wikipedia before now but that has happened infrequently.

Wiki logo

During the last few days, I have been taking a look at various political articles. My interest in such articles relates primarily with articles on South Asian political topics. On one of the forums I frequent, some members complained about some administrative abuse issues with Wikipedia in a thread titled “Indians bragging on Wikipedia”. I first thought of this to be the usual case of vitriol, and to find the truth for my own self, I spent a couple of hours browsing various Wikipedia articles, reading user pages of various community members and administrators and looking at article histories to see when and what editing was done.

What I found was slightly shocking and depressing for me. My findings from these couple of hours spent browsing Wikipedia are plain and simple.

There exist extensive lobbies and groups of people of like minded interest literally waging an online war by editing Wikipedia articles to favour their own point of view. These groups have members in the Wikipedia administration team who have considerable influence and power to quiet any opposition.

Looking at article histories, I found a constant revert war by certain users. Wikipedia has a ‘3 revert rule’ as part of its policy according to which users can’t revert an article more than 3 times in a fixed amount of time. Members of any particular group abuse this rule by individually reverting any particular article the allowed number of times round the clock. Obviously, the group having more members wins this childish game.

My primary concern in this regard is the role of the administrators, in particular Rama’s Arrow and his flagrant abuse of administrative powers. For the record, this person is of Indian origin and a follower of Hinduism. While this should, in an ideal world, have little consequence on the matters discussed below, in the real world this gives an insight to Rama’s Arrow’s motives.

I found out that just this month, the Wikipedia arbitration committee banned four Pakistani editors for a period of one year at the behest of Rama’s Arrow. Admittedly, I also found that two of the editors were in violation of Wikipedia policies multiple times but the other two were banned for no particular reason other than that they were there at a convenient time for being targeted. These Pakistani editors were banned, all while fellow cohorts of Rama’s Arrow were openly violating the same policies that the now banned editors were violating. This particular administrator has been suspending members who disagree with his point of view and has his own band of supporters. I am, frankly speaking, disgusted by this abuse of power and deliberate biasing of Wikipedia articles.

I no longer trust Wikipedia articles, particularly those of a political nature. This weakness of the Wikipedia architecture has been its downfall. If anyone can come in to edit any article, how are the site’s visitors to know that Wikipedia is presenting factual data? After all, the reference to any assertion can be a random rag which has no credibility. Neutral administrators who are not in the know about the topic of the article might think of it as a valid reference which is particularly damaging to the quality and reliability of any information in the article. When one administrator is fooling a bunch of other administrators, who’s the actual fool for even allowing this to happen?

Just yesterday, Wikipedia lost a lot of reputation when one of its most prolific contributors who claimed to be a professor of religion having advanced degrees in theology and canon law was exposed to be a 24 year old college drop-out. His name on Wikipedia was Essjay. His true name is Ryan Jordan and he is from Kentucky. He was a Wikipedia administrator (a member of the arbitration committee). This fake person contributed to 20,000 Wikipedia articles using texts such as Catholicism for Dummies!

This stands testament to my observations mentioned above. If this is the actual standard of Wikipedia administrators, it is hardly surprising that the site is going to the dogs!

As of now, the Wikipedia arbitration committee page lists him as retired. So much for credibility of the arbitration committee which banned the Pakistani editors!

Here are some excerpts from Nadir Ali’s user page, who is one of the editors who were banned:

I follow Unblock-en-l and your case appeared in it, hi. Anyone who belongs to the dominant block of opinion on any subject can get anyone else blocked. Wikipedia has no policies, applied consistently.

All the admins who talk on Wiki-en-l (Unblock-en-l was set up separately from it summer 2006) openly admit counting any shred of personal fairness as mattering less than developing Wikipedia as they wish. Blocking of only 1 side when 2 sides have done exactly the same thing that the block is supposed to have been for, is routine. It’s what happened to me, and claiming to have any rights against a biased 2-day block actually was the offence that got me permablocked, after only 5 weeks’ membership. Look at all these:

A voice from within Wikipedia’s own system describes how the ArbCom and dispute resolution systems are rigged with discretionary catch-alls that always enable admin to win, on how force of group numbers dictates Wikipedia pages’s content. This is actually called “don’t bother reporting abusive admins“.

I was wary of how the umpiring of pages the whole world can fight over could possibly work well, but I was drawn into Wikipedia by a friend who was briefly (and no longer is, already!) having good experiences with sharing his medical concerns on a couple of pages on medical subjects. My Wiki name was Tern, and here are 2 administrators saying to me [ LinkLink ] “You are not entitled to anything” and “Wikipedia is not a democracy.”

On the nature of Wikipedia:
SHOWCASING Abuses of Admin Power
Wikipedia is controlled by group bullying and hatefulness – Tern

Another recipient of this message contributed: Being unfairly branded a target in the midst of Arbitration, with the Committee turning a blind eye:
User Talk: Nobs02
User Talk:Dmcdevit

A former admin, leaving Wikipedia on 6 Oct 06 says, “Too many admins whose first course is to insult a new user in order to see if they get a “reaction” so that they can spank the new user for talking back to an admin. I’ve seen too many admins block accounts for infinite duration on flimsy evidence or mere whim.

I’ve seen more accusations thrown around of someone being a “sockpuppet” of another user. Time and again, I looked through the edits, and I didn’t see it. Instead, what I saw were users who were systematically hounded until they finally broke down and broke the civility rules, and then as an afterthought someone came up and said “oh, it doesn’t matter, they were a sockpuppet of X anyways”, thereby removing all culpability on the part of the abusive users who had spent time hounding and abusing the newbie…

The Wiki is broken. … We, the admins of wikipedia, broke it. We broke it by being stuck-up jerks. We broke it by thinking we are better than normal editors, by getting full of ourselves.”

I encourage you to read the linked web pages in the above excerpts. They give a good insight into the current system and its pitfalls.

I am wondering on what note I should end this article. Wikipedia has definitely disappointed me. On top of that, the negligence of the top level administration is bordering on being criminal. People have tried complaining and trying to change the system to no avail. I personally feel that if I complain directly to anyone, I would be yet another addition in the list of those banned from the site or those ignored outright. Wikipedia has, in my view, lost a lot of credibility. Unless the administration seriously starts taking notice of their fallacies and the increasingly biased nature of Wikipedia articles, in a few years, Wikipedia will be just another mouthpiece for propaganda machinery of the groups which dominate the site. I just hope this does not happens, for if it happens, the academic world will lose a truly valuable resource.

This entry was originally posted at My Chronicles.

Supreme Court questions Malik’s Ban

Cricket Bloggers of Pakistan: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has questioned the life-ban imposed by Pakistan Cricket Board on Saleem Malik back in 2000. The court has for now delayed the hearing for a week upon the request of the PCB lawyer as he would need a little time to provide sufficient proof as to why Saleem Malik had been banned, if failing to satisfy the court Saleem Malik can potentially claim for damages.

Back in November I had previously discussed this issue when Malik had approached the Cricketing Council after he may have seen a ray of hope when Ata-ur-Rehman was relieved of his sentence. It was my opinion then and it remains so now, that it would generally not help Malik in any significant way, hes 43 years old and definitely would not be planning to put on some pads but the only quirk could be that he may be eyeing for a job as coach in the post-Woolmer era immediately after the world cup.

The question that lurks in my mind and many Pakistanis, could this be yet another ploy by Dr. Naseem Ashraf as I suspect something is afoot which is pushing Malik to rise from the dead after six years of a secluded life in Lahore, there is definitely something up according to the mystic tea leaves served up by the Teeth Maestro’s cup could be have another Naseem Ashraf blooper on our hands?

There is little doubt that Saleem Malik was a key-player in a number of match fixing scandal, granted in the local Pakistan inquiry he and Ata-ur-Rehamn took the fall while a number of well-connected players walked away to have, but there can be little doubt when he was banned by PCB ater Australian players Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh who had alleged that Malik offered them bribes to under perform on Australia’s tour of Pakistan in 1994. Malik’s name then also featured in an Indian match-fixing inquiry and was also mentioned by late South African captain Hansie Cronje in another probe. Probably a little too many fingers pointing at us, might I say Mr. Malik?

PCB has yet to defend the decision taken by its Inquiry bench, I would not be surprised if we find yet another example of an over turned decision.

Cross-posted to Cricket Bloggers of Pakistan

Paypal in Pakistan


With the ever increasing popularity of e-commerce, everyone desires to take a bite into the sweet pie, and why not? But sadly Pakistanis are being left behind as Paypal, one of the most popular e-commerce networks has still to list Pakistan in its permittable countries for registering with the service. We are then forced to use alternate commerce systems which have slowly cropped up but to contest the monopoly and popularity of a trusted Paypal account still eludes us Pakistanis.

This issue bugs not only marketing companies, freelance developers but is also a major deterrent for bloggers who are unable to receive funds generated via the ad networks running on their blogs. I have been fortunate to have a full business account (as I was studying in the US for over three years) and was able to use this to generate donations for the Earthquake relief in Pakistan during our Donate a Dollar for Pakistan campaign at Help-Pakistan.com.
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Bronze to save the Day

Doha 2006 Games

Two days earlier when the Pakistan Hockey team showed a dismal performance at the Doha Asian Games 2006 in their semi final match with China to loose in the sudden death extra-time 2-1 (Doha 2006 PAK-CHN Score Card) it was like a nail driven into the aching heart of an old Hockey fan like myself. Pakistan had nine penalty corners and were unable to convert any while China produced goals in both the penalties it pulled out and drove in the winning goal in the second penalty corner of the sudden death extra-time to qualify for the finals, which it sadly lost to Korea with a score of 3-1 (Doha 2006 KOR-CHN score card).
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Condoms ‘too big’ for Indian men

This is too funny and I simply can’t resist the temptation to post this news report which has just appeared on BBC

A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men. The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms. It has led to a call for condoms of mixed sizes to be made more widely available in India.
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Shoaib – Woolmer Rift Surfaces

Shoaib AkhtarTo add another twist to the woes of the Pakistan Cricket Team. NDTV has just released an exclusive interview with a retired Indian Army officer attached to the Pakistani team during the Champions Trophy where he has revealed that Shoaib Akhtar had slapped coach Bob Woolmer on the team bus, in a tussle over which music should be played on the stereo.

“The boys were listening to Hindi songs when Bob Woolmer removed an iPod and put on an English song. Shoaib got up and again changed the music, putting on a Hindi song. Woolmer first kept quiet and then started making fun of the song. This was too much for Shoaib who suddenly got up and gave Woolmer a tight slap. Everyone was stunned and quickly intervened” – Colonel Anil Kaul

Hours after the incident, the Pakistan team announced that Shoaib and Mohammed Asif were being sent back home after a failed dope test.
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Karachi – Dubai Dream Cruise – A Review

Gulf Dream CruiseYesterday I had the opportunity to have dinner on the ‘hype of the town’ Dubai Dream Cruises. Before I begin, I would like to issue a disclaimer more so to make you aware of the frame of mind I had while walking up the gangplank to enter the Gulf Dream Cruise vessel. I have previously taken a cruise to the Caribbean upon the Celebrity vessel managed by Carnival Cruise Liners, it was a superb experience with excellent food and amazing entertainment. At the same time many Pakistanis have been relating the ship to the amazing footage they saw in the movie Titanic which in its time captured the heart of millions. Despite my experience, and the splendor of the Titanic I will attempt to review this experience with neutrality leaving my own critique to the end.
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Shoaib & Asif Banned

Shoaib Akhtar and Mohd AsifShoaib Akhtar and Mohd Asif who had been sent home from India after their urine tests turned up positive have now been banned from cricket. Shoaib Akhtar will be on the sidelines for two years, while Mohd Asif has been banned for one year by the Pakistan Doping Tribunal.
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Pakistani Cricketers Fail Dope Test

Shoaib Akhtar

In an embarrassing development of events in the ICC Champions Trophy in India, it has just been revealed that Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif both have failed an internal Pakistan Cricket Board performance enhancing drug test just prior to their match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Both the cricketers are being immediately sent back and will face some sort of penalties enforced by the PCB.

I am embarrassed and stunned, it was after much difficulty especially with Shoaib’s poor performance in the previous years Shoaib Akhtar in Aussie Bar Party that I slowly saw him rebounding with a significant improvement in his performance, to a point that I was again supporting his sorry arse. But this news report sends me reeling back into the Anti-Shoaib camp, in my opinion he continues to disgrace our nation, and such individuals I simply will not tolerate. Its sad to see Asif also go down as we all, since we all truly saw some great match winning talent from him.

What’s your take on the issue? I would love to hear…

Musharraf – Book Profit to Charity

Line of Fire

A few weeks back I was very critical of Pervez Musharraf when he started his book tour in the United States to the extent of making a statement in my post

Bomb Pakistan into the Stone Age, or else.: “I sincerely hope that the People of Pakistan see some of the royalty being submitted into our national exchequer as he is undoubtedly using his official capacity to publicize his personal book.”

These concerns were put to rest when I came across a news report where the President of Pakistan has declared that the proceeds will be given to an undisclosed charity, but on further questioning he actually revealed the actual numbers (Reuters)

Simon & Schuster gave me $250,000 of which I have already donated $90,000 but I don’t want to get into the specifics (of who the recipients are). That leaves me with $160,000. I will be getting a 15 per cent cut in royalty but we have not reached that stage yet,” Musharraf revealed. He then proceeded to elaborate on the setting up of a fund, which he proposed to call Musharraf Foundation and announced depositing the residue sum of $160,000 he had from the book into it

What can I say? … Go Buy The Book