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Posts tagged with: Pakistan

Who is The Terrorist?

Guest Blog by Zeeshan Khan

She crouches in a corner of her humble abode
Fear writ large in her light brown eyes
In her heart she cries out to the world,
“How much more will we be terrorized?”

There has to be something about the term ‘Terrorism’ which makes it the most misused term in recent history in my opinion. Whoever feels like it, picks it up, chews it into a thousand particles and spits it out to be then picked up by another and abused likewise.

Many debate and articulate what “terror” means? Can we, with our safety-bubble lifestyles even come close to understanding what it means? You switch to the news everyday, witness scenes of “blood curdling horror” and human limbs scattered on pavements like nonentities. You shake your head in pity then switch the channel to find out who is the latest “American idol”!

Ask the little girl crouched in a corner, palms pressed tight against her ears to muffle out the screams and firing. Ask the young woman who stares defenselessly at the approaching group of bulky men. Ask those people what terror is, who jumped off the World Trade Center on the ill-fated morning of September 11. My point is that without knowing the essence of this all-encompassing term, great powers, intellectual giants and so-called religious bodies alike use it to promote their own vested interests.
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Liberating Women in Pakistan – The Sane Chronicle

While browsing the Pakistani blogosphere, I found out that writing, grumbling & debating about women issues is in vogue in Pakistan’s literary circle, not considering the fact that it only adds up to an already bad impression created about the country abroad. Well, I want to rest this argument once for good! -My lame attempt to stop educated Pakistanis from maligning Pakistan either intentionally or unintentionally, on International forums. Lets use our pen with responsibility.

Presenting women with financial independence and social autonomy, is often considered the precise approach to impart them power. However, the candid perspective is, empowering women is only a dream without ascertaining two fundamentals; A Blooming Economy & A Free Judiciary. And therefore, earnest political will! Integration of women into the social fabric would happen automatically with an improved economy & amplified employment opportunities. Dynamic government policies & magnanimous economic activity leading to more job generation will indirectly lead to more & more women coming out of homes to work, and hence turning them into financially self-sufficient beings.

Furthermore, enforcing women to work without any increase in jobs will only lead to more frustration in the society as now double the number of people will be applying for the same number of jobs, totting up the competition. However, by broadly improving economy, there would be enough space for both men & women in the job market in different categories. You see men doing many odd jobs that are purely a women’s domain, only because of redundancy. If job market is improved, these chores would also be available to women and even the most conservative ones would come out without eyebrows being raised.
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Op-Ed: A Global Ideas Bank

Just published in The Express Tribune my Op-ed on “A Global Ideas Bank” talking about TEDxKarachi and the power of positive energy, I wrap up the discussion with “We have to start believing in our own selves to bring this country on the road to progress. We should no longer tolerate mediocrity; our own ideas must shape our destiny, not the ideas of some corrupt Tom Dick or Harry who has no vision beyond the infinite depth of his own pocket. TEDx which is you and me and an idea, intends to do more of such events across educational institutions and very soon Pakistan will be feted to a new breed of inspiring youngsters who will lead Pakistan to a brighter future. Let there be no doubt that we shall change Pakistan.


Faceblockistan

Rebecca McKinson writes a blog post More problems in Facebookistan, here last paragraph quite aptly sums up the frustrations of the Muslim community as a whole – she says

This larger context also helps explain the extent to which moderate and cosmopolitan Muslim Facebook users who believe in free speech against censorship were so alienated and upset by the fact that Facebook allowed the “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” page – which on the several occasions when I looked at it was full of obscene and gratuitous anti-Muslim hate speech – to stay up for more than a week. It’s well known that Facebook quickly takes down other racist and anti-semitic pages. Yet they allowed a page full of nastiness and hate against the Muslim faith to stay up.

Personally, I too cant stomach the fact that the Facebook administrators continue to deliberately allow such uncontrolled hatred to continue on their websites which is a direct violation of their terms of service, it seems they are keen to prove a point, push the limits of decency and be responsible to engage the world in a deliberate religious war. I continue to condemn the blasphemous cartoons and the hypocrisy of the Mark Zuckerberg but at the same time am fully against a blind outright censorship enforced by the government of Pakistan on the entire domain, if such images are not acceptable under the Constitution of Pakistan then a mere block on the particular pages and other subsequent pages should have been enough.
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Why Quit Facebook

Guest Post by Muhammad Adil Mulki and assisted by Khurram Ali Shafique

1) How Important is Love for Prophet Muhammad – صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم (S.A.W)

Our faith can not be complete till such time that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is dearer to us than our own selves, our parents, our forefathers, our children and all our businesses and possessions. (Please refer to the Appendix at the end of this document if further elaboration of this statement is required.)

2) What has facebook done which is so unacceptable?

In this world there are people having all kinds of views / opinions and beliefs. Freedom of Expression of opinions is a right that should be enjoyed by all. Freedom of Expression however does not equate to Freedom to Insult. Facebook has crossed this line as it gave freedom to insult Islam and Muslims. Ironically, Facebook claims to have a set of “regulations” which should have stopped the “Everybody Draw …” page. However, Facebook, showing no respect towards Islam and Muslims refrained from banning the page. They even had the audacity to express disappointment upon being banned in Pakistan!

(Please read Section 6 for a more detailed list of Facebook’s offensive actions.)
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The Strange Islam Originating from Lahore

There is a ‘mass madness’ ranging from TV talk shows to headlines of News Papers and debate on internet. Charged workers of religious organizations are out in streets of Pakistan. As Malaysian are relatively more religious people as compared to Pakistani’s and share the same Prophet. I was thinking that today country would be choked like Pakistan from electronic blackout to burning shopping malls and McDonalds. Especially, the State of my work my worst as it is currently being ruled by a conservative religious party considered as ‘fanatic’ as Jamat e Islami of Pakistan.The conservative religious rulers of the State where I work have already declared Friday as a off day despite the fact the rest of the country have off days of Saturday and Sunday.

Since yesterday Pakistan Telecommunication authority has blocked Facebook, Youtube and Wikipidia along with interruption in Blackberry services on orders of a ‘Holly Lordship’ of Lahore High Court. The bearded Mullah are on the loose in streets chanting against western infidels burning tyre’s and destroying public property. There are 45 million Pakistani users of social media site Facebook, twice the entire population of another Islamic state, Malaysia. Many of them running businesses, charities and communicating with families and friends have been deprived of access to communication without being heard by a religiously charged self righteous judiciary. All being done in name of a ‘Holly Cause’ to defend the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) from conspiracies of Infidel west.
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One Facebook, Two Faces: A Piece by a Virtually Dead Man

I had been banned from Facebook and my account had been disabled a night before Facebook was banned in Pakistan. Before all this happened, I visited the blasphemous page “Draw Muhammad Day” and the content on the page hurt me badly. Once again a certain group of westerners called it the “freedom of expression” and went on to show extremism – something they always verbally disassociate themselves from. As a response to this lunacy, I thought it best to find out how they respond to others’ right of freedom of expression – I created an Adolf Hitler page right away and it read, “To all those who think they can ridicule Islam in the name of freedom of expression and yet punish those who speak of the genius of Hitler”. The comment on the wall read, “Let’s hit them where it hurts them the most”. Further I added some photos of the Fuhrer, Nazi Party and the Italian Footballer Paolo Di Canio who was banned and fined by FIFA two years ago for performing the “controversial” Roman Salute which according to him gave him a sense of belonging to his people. Within an hour tens of people joined the Hitler page which was named “H | T L E R”. The very next time I tried to log in I found out that my profile had been disabled for ‘violation of Facebook Regulations’.

Despite the fact that there exists no proof of the holocaust and no evidence that six million Jews died in concentration camps during WWII, let’s just imagine that it did happen. Now how is it that Hitler is termed as the most evil person in the history of mankind while those that bomb Muslims, commit heinous crimes in their countries, ridicule their Prophet and Quran and as a result hurt the sentiments of 1.2 billion Muslims are hailed as heroes? And I wonder why the victims of Holocaust are more important than victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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Prophets, protests and holocaust

Anyone who’s been on Youtube or Facebook or Blogs in general knows that no intelligent conversation can take place between two Internet-commenters. It’s like the paralympics being hosted on the Interwebs. Even if you win, you’re still retarded. During the last fortnight, ever since this unfortunate drawing contest issue caught fire.

I’ve been reading countless accounts of Pakistani Internet users in a variety of rhetoric styles which all sum up to this one thing: ‘they’ are out to get ‘us’ and they have COOKIES! Ok, I’m just joking about the cookies but I can practically hear Mr. Zaid Hamid saying in the most Dumbledore-esque voice: ‘I will only truly have left the Pakistani minds when none here are loyal to me’. Most of the Pakistanis today are channeling the same spirit which can only be likened to a mental patient caught between acute psychosis, paranoia and schizophrenia. The bottomline is, had we paid any attention to the course ‘Introduction to Logic-374’ in college, we would perhaps be aware of how absurd all our comments and arguments are. I will try to counter some in this post:

1. Blasphemy is a BIG deal:
Yes it is a big deal but so is tolerance. You are claiming to be the followers of a Prophet who preached that conquering wrath and anger is perhaps the bravest thing a man could do. I’m not a religious scholar but I’m quite sure that the Prophet who himself went to visit an old woman who used to throw garbage at him, the Prophet who only had well wishes for a city which reduced him to blood and tears when Angel Gabrielle stood at his command to just say the word and Taif would be history -that Prophet would not condone such inflammatory reactions in his name.
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PRESS CONFERENCE: Protest Against Nationwide Government Ban of Facebook

For Immediate Release

Defenders of Internet Freedom Protest Against Nationwide Government Ban of Facebook

On Wednesday 19th May 2010, the Lahore High Court ordered the banning of Facebook across Pakistan. Facebook is the world’s most popular social media network and is used by over 400 million globally. In Pakistan, over 2 million people use Facebook to stay in touch with their friends and family, conduct business, manage events, and share photos, news, and other content. A few days ago, a page called “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” was created on Facebook asking users to submit drawings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on 20th May 2010. This page, interpreted as blasphemous, has triggered a nationwide ban on the entire Facebook domain.

While we recognize that sites on the Internet are used to spew hatred and incite violence, we steadfastly believe that governments have no right to control access to information. We believe that every citizen has an inalienable right to freely access information and by censoring Facebook, the Government of Pakistan has taken away that right. This action will have a very negative impact on Pakistan, especially considering that countless small businesses, nonprofit organizations, restaurants, art galleries, magazines, and media outlets use Facebook to conduct day-to-day business and share information with their stakeholders.

In 2006, the Supreme Court of Pakistan banned the entire blogspot.com domain for over 18 months over a similar incident where only one blog carried blasphemous cartoons. Thousands of Pakistani bloggers were deprived of the freedom to express themselves and interact with others. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority now has the ability to block specific pages on the Internet and could have banned just the single blasphemous page. As members of civil society and professionals who depend on social media networks for our daily communications, we demand the immediate restoration of Facebook and an end to Internet censorship by the Government of Pakistan.

We would like to invite you to a press conference to discuss the worrying trend of Internet censorship and the resulting impact on civil liberties and the free and unfettered exchange of ideas and information.

Date: 20th May 2010
Time: 5:00 pm
Venue: Karachi Press Club

PS attempts are being made to live stream the event from the Press Club, follow this space for updates, if we are able to pull this off


Anti-Americansim: Time to Make it Unfashionable

When I first learned that the suspect in an incident to set off a bomb in Times Square was Pakistani, my reaction was somewhat jaded. Most of us Pakistanis living here in the United States have become accustomed to the unflattering amount of attention given to our country of birth. Perhaps as a sign of the times, I have found that I no longer need to pronounce “Pakistan” in an American accent. Everyone here knows Pakistan well – and not for reasons that elicit pride.

Nonetheless, many of us were surprised to read about the background profile of Faisal Shahzad. He was young, educated and socially assimilated. For someone who had taken advantage of a standard of living and educational opportunities afforded to very few people in the world, he seemed like an unlikely candidate to bite the same hand that fed him.

Unfortunately, if Faisal Shahzad wanted to find legitimacy in his actions, he did not need to go to the far flung tribal regions of Pakistan to find it. In each visit back home to Pakistan, I have found that anti-American sentiment has become increasingly embedded, part and parcel, in the mainstream culture of Pakistan. We propagate anti-Americanism at dinner tables and casually sprout conspiracy theories, couched in a mixture of facts and urban myth, that blame even the load shedding on the CIA. Blaming our ills on the Americans has become fashionable.
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Understanding Terrorism

image by ~trump on DeviantArt

I was deeply troubled by the recent suicide bombings of the innocents in the Kohat refugee camps. I was not surprised by the reaction of the Pakistan military and continuous shelling in response. I know I was not alone in this. The entire nation felt the pain of these refugees who were the victims of an extremist mindset. How cruel does one have to be to attack some people who are already homeless and helpless? Does one really have a second thought before killing himself and many others? These are some questions that occupy my mind before. Where are these terrorist organizations taking this war to? They have introduced an indiscriminate nature of attacks in the country. We all saw how two suicide bombers dressed in burqas struck a crowd of displaced people collecting aid handouts, killing at least 41 people. What bothers me more is where does one get all this courage from? Did these terrorist not see the faces of the people collecting aid? What in the world makes these men choose this path and why do they Pakistan so much?

The country is doing all it takes to put a stop to these terrorist activities. Along with the high intensity of military action, many think tanks have once again begun to explore whether a retort utilizing the tools of dialogue and negotiation might produce a better outcome. The prolonged war on terrorism keeps giving continuous hits to the financial standing of the country. Every morning I wake up and realize that the situation seems to keep getting worse. Terrorism must be stopped with whatever tool it takes before it is too late and the economy of the country cripples.

However, my perspective is poles apart from the others. My deep thoughts about terrorism stem from long inquiry into what creates conflict and violence between the Pakistanis. More importantly what keeps the terrorist going? What fuels the courage to the terrorist for going into mosques and shattering into pieces of flesh?
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Living Amongst Giants

From Flickr - One Seven OneReading Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ welled up my eyes several times. What a team of men! Not only Nelson Mandela, but his comrades who never got all the glory but were still with him in all the hardship they endured. Walter Sisulu…Ahmed Kathrada… people from another planet surely, for they remained in prison for 27 years ‘of their own accord’! They could’ve got out if they had said they are standing by their beliefs no more. But they didn’t, and suffered so much for their people.

And it struck me that these people are still alive, still breathing the same air we are breathing. Books of heros are usually read when they are long gone. But in this case, they are right there, all alive, and I felt a strong desire to meet them as soon as possible. I know I can’t go right away, but meeting these giants is on my agenda from now on.

I call them giants because they looked above and beyond their personal gain, their families and any materialism. They lived for a cause, a just and worthy cause in my view, and defeated oppression by resistance. South Africa got rid of apartheid last of all, but we could well have been experiencing this strange human behaviour even today if these men didn’t do what they did.
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What’s a Meridian Jet doing in Karachi?

Last week while traveling to Islamabad for a personal visit I noticed this jet parked on the tarmac near the PAF sheds, little did I think again about the airplane until I read a blog post by Omar R Quraishi who also happened to notice this plane while he was jet-setting to Lahore for a day, upon his return he put his journalistic talents to use and Googled out some concerning facts.

Meridian Airways previously known as Air Charter Express is being used by British Ministry of Defense from RAF Lyneham base and may also be engaged in flying to Afghanistan as well. With extensive involvement of the US and British forces in Pakistan, it might be as simple as a routine trip to Pakistan shipping supplies to the American forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But Omar logically deduced some similarity with CIA covert rendition program to say

The plane looked very similar to other aircraft that have appeared in news stories every now and then on the whole so-called ‘rendition’ programme in which the CIA uses private aircraft to ferry prisoners to various countries where they are then interrogated so that US laws regarding prisoners and torture don’t have any bearing.

We know for a fact that the US has in the past smuggled out a number of Pakistani nationals out of Pakistan, so I too would be worried as to why this jet is being operated in Pakistan it being suspicious parked behind three PAF Jets at the Karachi Airport, Omar Quraishi rightfully questions

Who came on it? What was it being used for? And how many such planes use Karachi airport in a week? A month? We are taxpayers and our taxes go to pay for installations such as Karachi airport and for the salaries of the air traffic controllers who interact and guide these planes to land — surely we need to know –who is going to tell us this?


Zong Inspiring Ideas for Pakistan

For many who may have not see this new ad by Zong, its worth watching, I was first alerted of this release by Abid Beli, and later watched it on TV. It without doubt puts a smile on my face, that amazing things can still help transform Pakistan for the better. Watch this Sab Keh Do Day Theme song released on the 2nd Anniversary of Zong sung by Ali Hamza of Noori and video directed by Saqib Malik. Thank you Zong


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To Shave or Not to Shave, that is the Question

An event was to be held on the 30th of March 2010 at Hall 6 of Expo Center Karachi, to break India’s world record of most people shaving at the same time. The event was being sponsored by Gillette, a reputed shaving company, the event was advertised well & over 2000 people showed up at the venue on their own free will, voluntarily, to be part of the smooth shavng spree.

The Organizing committee started receiving threats a couple of days leading to the event by Maulana Fazl ur Rehman & his cronies who called upon them to shutdown or face the consequences. The Maulana is said to have threatened to send a truck load of Madaressah boys to take care of the world record attempt. The organizers contacted Rangers for security and support who declined to help because they could only be deployed at the request of governmental approval, in turn the organizers resorted to coordinating their security cordon with the local police station who promised support


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