Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Climate Change - Time For East To Rise

When the threat of nuclear war loomed large on the western hemisphere people from Europe to America started planning for the eventful day when USA or USSR will use the weapons to annihilate each other.

Some moved to far away countries like New Zealand and some built bunkers in their houses and stock piled food to last for years. People found solutions from very basic to technologically innovative. From GPS to computers all owe their development to the era of nuclear horror so supposed horror.

They did this for a war that never happened. The threat never became real…. The one questions comes to mind is was all that lost? I wonder if we would have been at this point technologically if the threat wasn’t there…..

The Hopenhagen the wishful name of Copenhagen has been let down…. I wonder what we achieved. How naïve and myopic human race actually is….we deny the danger even if it is on the face of it and only wish we did otherwise after committing a mistake. For denialist I fail to understand how they can be skeptical of the changes….. we are mercilessly using the bounty and manipulating the land mass beyond recognition and doubting that it will bring some kind of adverse reaction….

I was shocked to hear India and China collaborated to stifle any real accord…. Why? do we believe we did justice? Since when carbon and development go hand in hand? Haven’t we changed the technology?

The situation is more like what we faced 60 years ago when nuclear age dawned on us. We can use the technology to improve our lives and make it grow. We have the resource to make it happen and still India and China which can lead the world in renewables are shying from it. Take the case of solar powered street lamps….cant we get economies of scales in India and China to make them cheap? Why do we always have to lag behind west? Why cant the east for once grab the opportunity and decide to lead the way….

It is not about blame game… what we did or they did and we don’t get to do has nothing to do with the situation. The situation is that West messed it and we have a historic opportunity to address it.

Copenhagen was not Hopenhagen but if India and China want to lead they will have to make Mexico a success with binding and aggressive emissions cuts agreed.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Am I First A Pakistani Or A Muslim

The year end for us Pakistanis was not so unfamiliar. Like last year and the year before last we ended our year on a bloody note. 40 people killed in a religious procession in my dearest city of Karachi followed by looting and rampage. Targeted it was and also the looting was meant to stir the religious sentiments of the people of the city so they can pitch once again, against each other. Failed they will be as people in the city do realize that the aftermath of the disaster was driven to destroy the civil fabric of the city.

We Pakistanis sit and wonder how can anyone be so ruthless and cruel to kill a person trying to express their right of religious freedom…. Well I somehow am getting sick of this presumed innocence on part of the larger population. I was going through Pervez Musharaf’s facebook page in which he had sent X’Mas Greetings to the Pakistanis Christians and so many of my so rightist Pakistanis spent no time condemning him for doing so and accusing him of blasphemy. I wish I could do something for such mentally deranged people.

We are the most judgmental nation on earth. We will be stealing electricity and along side it accusing government of doing nothing to solve the electricity problem. Will through our garbage out on the street in front of our neighbours and accuse the government of not taking care of cleanliness. We would skip prayers but pass judgment on people of being non-muslims for not practicing the religion in true spirit. I had a colleague who was very traditional and believed his wife needs to take care of the house and the children. He though loved to dance so never missed any Rain Dance event while in Dubai and before leaving Dubai ensured he did last ritualistic visit to Bangkok. Then again being a Pakistani I am judging someone.

Coming back to the topic of problems of our country we are also a nation that lives off bad news. We need bad news….. watch our televisions and you will find no good thing being promoted. You will find zillion so called experts sitting down and giving you a doomsday scenario of the country and providing solutions for which they don’t do anything other than sitting on their big fat back sides.

We are a country so doomed….. 60 years on and we don’t have a nation. Our we Pakistanis first or Muslims first. If we are muslims first then why did we fight for a nation called Pakistan? We have muslims in India and all over so the identity is not restricted to geographical land mass so was the partition wrong? If we are Pakistanis first then we have to acknowledge our diversity… we have Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims we have Christians and Hindus and they all are Pakistanis with equal right. If we can conclude the simple question rest will fall in place and if we don’t then it is unfortunate but I would have to agree that the battle of world peace would hinge in battles in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eid Al Adha In Karachi

The preparation for eid in Pakistan is becoming more and more technology driven with online purchase of animals to the decorations. More and more we are getting sucked into the material world and while preparation are normally in full gear atleast 2 weeks before the day of sacrifice somehow the spirit it is expected to invoke dont seem to be anywhere near.

Evermore we are interested in putting up a good show with the value of the animal telling what your social status is supposed to be so we now hear people spending millions to get a good animal.... and that is not it... one animal is not enough... it has to be a few animals atleast to ensure we have been able to get the full celebrations and then the slogan all is being done so poor people can have a good meal as all this meat is obviously not going to end up on our platter. A convenient argument indeed.

Not only this... we have given our kids an insane notion that watching the animal bleed to death is an exciting event that is why our brothers and children are capturing the moment of kill on camera. Then with the advent of movie cameras and mobile phones video enabled we will see alot of it ending up on Youtube and Facebook supposedly for delight of others. I wonder what is different between us and the cheering crowds in a Colosseum enjoying a good kill. We just cant seem to have enough...... from bombs exploding all across the country one could have expected nation to have ended up being a bit sobre but..... sorry that is not really it. We are a nation undeterred..... our ways no matter how corrupted seems to remain.

The blood from the animal has to flow out of the street.... and we will not make any effort to clean the mess create after the cull. Oh how can we... we are too busy celebrating the festival with RELIGIOUS FERVOUR.....

I am a pro-animal person so I may sound alot crazier but I believe if we are about to slaughter an animal we should do it with humality. I believe the idea is not to have good meat but to answer to what Allah has asked us to do without questioning despite the fact that it is difficult. Well I believe for us killing that animal really isnt difficult. It is very easy... I mean our bros have killed alot of innocent people in the past year without remorse.

I know alot of our kids would learn through text book why the sacrifice has been done but we as a unit never try to put the feeling of humality in our kids so they can appreciate the meaning of this sacrifice and to tell them how difficult it is to do it but we are bounded by the edict.

Landed on 25th Nov to celebrate Eid with the family and as ever for sometime the time spent during Eid AlAdha in Karachi is more painful than fun. The way we celebrate eid seems to contradict the very essence of it. But this is not only with this Eid it seems we as a nation are moving far from our social and moral basis and on to unchartered territory where anything goes.

There is a talk of alot of despondency in the country due to the current state of affairs and all of us are waiting for a knight in shining armour to save us from these perils. I find this mindset disturbing but then when I see our everyday attitude it all seems to make sense. The mess we create is not for us to clear but for others to foot. We throw our garbage out of the house we expect the municipal council to clean and we dont want to pay taxes or share in any solutions. It is not our problem... government is suppose to make life easy even if we are hell bent on making it worse for ourselves. When things will go wrong we will know exactly how bad the municipal council was in doing its business and when something good is being done... no good is good enough for us.....

I just dont seem to recognize my country anymore. It is on a path I have no understanding of. It is not just me but alot of educated masses are sitting on the wings to get an opportunity to leave. The more people leave the more insanity prevails as saner elements seem to leave leaving either old people or insane elements taking charge.

Do I expect things to change? No.... will things improve.... No....

Friday, November 13, 2009


I was on my way to Karachi for a business meeting and the flight was delayed so I opened up my e-mail and started checking it… one of my friends in living in Laos sent an email being upset by an event that took place near the place she lives…. She described the event as follows;

This morning Bee (my maid) told me about an accident that happened to her friend last month. The guy was driving his motor bike on a road around the corner where I live and was hit by a large truck full of sand. The truck-driver pulled over and checked out the guy who was lying on the street severely wounded, but still alive. In Belgium any person would call an ambulance or even a MUG to try to save the guy. Not in Laos. The driver got back into his truck and drove it back and forwards over the guy, twice to make sure the poor man was certainly dead. (we would call this murder)

This seems to be common practice here. If the guy survives, the driver would have to pay for all the hospital and medical costs for as long as the guy suffers from the accident. If the guy is dead, he only has to pay a single fee once to the guy’s family and be done with it. Everything is about money, and money only, something people here don’t have. In this case the truck was owned by a road construction company, and that company’s insurance paid the family fee. The driver himself was jailed for 1 week and then released with no further consequence, and zero Kips to pay.

I sat there at loss wondering how to respond to her mail…. Earlier in the morning… before leaving my home I heard that once again a bomb has exploded in Peshawar killing two people and injuring scores…. Seems to be pretty common in my country these days.

I sat there wondering do I hold the moral right to express my disgust on the event when my only countrymen are committing crimes of similar magnitude or beyond….

One wonders what drives us? We humans have given all animals some kind of trait like fox is scheming, sharks are vicious, bear are dangerous…. Where infact the most dangerous and ruthless of all predators are humans. Animals instincts are matter of their survival. People know a fed shark will not attack but you cant be sure that a fully fed human wont kill.

We have single handedly annihilated species from the face of the earth and captured and played with many in circus arena!

What happened in Srebrenica when Serbs killed 8000 muslim men in front of the eyes of Dutch “PEACE KEEPERS” to Abu Gharib humans have a tendency of showing the most ruthless and cruel side of their existence and continue to live without remorse. Is there s kind of mutation in our genes that makes this really cruel cannabilistic and sadiest streak to prevail…. Are we all made up of it? Why is boxing or ring wrestling such a big money spinner… I think humans live of the pleasure of kill….

Were the Dutch peacekeepers innocent by standers or relishing the scent of a kill I cant judge but one thing is for sure no one can be naïve…

My post is not meant as an indictment of Dutch Peacekeepers but a simple indictment of human race.

Just sit back and imagine…… how many millions have we killed as part of our selfishness and hatred and lust…. How many… humans, animals and plants…. One wonders how can one not appreciate the beauty of life and how can you not be touched and changed for ever when you hold a new born…. A human, an animal or a bird…. The beauty of that person can melt any…. And today we selfishly destroy everything and we have very good and profitable reasons for it…

From extinction of rhinos to possible extinction of its own race and from rain forest to polar ice cap we have not left anything untouched….

So one thing we can be sure of… till this world is functioning we can be sure of cruelty and ruthlessness demonstrated by humans and suffering in all form and at all levels.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ramadan - Time For Reflection

If you happen to passby or live in a muslim country you will notice that this month is a special month for muslims of the world when majority if not all fast from sunrise till sunset and have special prayers during the days. The last 10 days are specially important because the prayers in the night on these days is more than prayers for a 1000 nights.

Not eating is a way of controlling your urges whatever they maybe, physical, mental etc and a lesson on being humble and creating ability to compose oneself. To help its people government’s of most countries do not allow food to be served openly till the sunset.

I remember my time in Karachi during Ramadan… it was always special and a lot of things that I remember while may not be as per the spirit of the month but still remain quite distinctly related to the time. Muslims are asked to control their anger and it is the last thing they are able to control… from my father losing his temper at the end of the month to anyone of the road and bus you can be amused by the shear number of fights that take place. I specially remember one incident when I was travelling to work in a crowded bus (which is not a good experience in anytime of the year) and someone addicted to Paan could smell a person holding paan in his mouth….. I guess our senses do awaken in time of hunger… the person with the paan was obviously not fasting and the other person on the smell of it either got jealous or was low on energy picked a fight. While standing I wondered since that guy was not overtly eating paan and had it securely hidden in his mouth with no chewing why would this guy be penalized by us? Isn’t it all about controlling your urges? Other than this the one thing different is the cuisine. All countries have developed a different set of cuisine for breaking the fast as it is a festive occasion and what is most amazing is that probably only time of the year we tend to have some balance in the meal though I would avoid the use of oil but then most of the muslim cuisine are cooked in liberal oil content. We have a lot of vegetables and fruits and during this time to a certain extent I have noticed meat intake declines. This must have some historical significance when our forefathers taught us what is right meal and we over the years just played havoc with it.

There is a lot of critical talk about muslim way of slaughtering the animal… everyone has come up with their own logic and my own logic which I feel comfortable with is something I don’t find a lot of people being comfortable with. To me the reason for slaughtering the animal are two, it is an extremely painful experience so a person doing this will avoid repeating it over and over and then there is obviously the health aspect to it. To muslims we can only eat food that has been slaughtered in the name of Allah and preferably done by the persons own hand in front of his eyes. We have started flouting this rule by employing a person able to say Allah Ho Akbar and slaughter thousands in a day. I guess this is how our cuisine evolved also. We had less meat and more grains and vegetables in it which kept us healthy. German’s have their beerfest and unfortunate muslims have their meatfest and any festive occasion is gross show of various meat dishes piled against each other with vegetable hardly in sight as if they have just been released from prison where no meat was served. Now we are in the wild rush to copy our fair skinned brothers of the west in everything while they are doing what we did… they say eat vegetables… lentils are now health food, meat content is reducing we on the other hand are now exceeding average meat intake of Chenghez Khan’s army.

We are in the last 10 days of Ramadan and it might be a good time for us to reflect back and see how we actually left the ideals of being fair to everyone from the mother earth to every living thing on this planet and how we can return and help bring sanity to this ravaged 3rd rock from the sun. ...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The City Falls Into Darkness

Two weeks ago the city of Sharjah fell into darkness. 80% of the city had no electricity for hours. Soon after the cracks within the system appeared and it looks that either lack of maintenance or lack of supply resulted in this overload and trip. Since then the whole of city's industrial area plunges into darkness at night. With the temperatures soaring beyond 40C in the day and settling to humid 30C - 32C at night people are having an uncomfortable days till the soaring summer heat begins to subside later this month.

While everyone in the city is complaining one thing that I still fail to understand is why does the business go on as usual till late at night. Cant businesses close for the day at sunset so it can provide the much needed relief to the system and people can have electricity in their houses. Why is their a need for miles and miles of lit roads. It seems humans have mastered the act of complaining and are adamant to change demanding all but not ready to give anything in return.

This leads me to the pertinent question of our times..... Climate Change. The intense human greed and quest to have all the material wealth has led us to strains in only habitable planet and with obvious signs of distress just like not turning off an extra light in our houses we aren't ready to reduce our demands for even greater and bigger things.

While alot has to be done to regulate collective reaction of mankind on the issue we eventually have to realize individual leadership on the issue. If we can control ourselves in small things collectively the step will lead to great good.

In G20 the leaders who represent us the 3rd world have been bickering over who should do what... again a typical blame game. Instead of fighting if we can capture the advantage the 3rd world for the first time can lead rather than being led by the West.

We are on the road to Copenhagen.... how our leaders will react to it will largely depend on the way we would be embracing the problems at hand. It seems mankind has learnt one thing from the animal kingdom.... to deny reality we bury our heads in the sand....

We have a choice... keep our eyes closed or stand up and snatch the opportunity....

Friday, September 4, 2009

Religious Ignorance

I had an opportunity to follow a very lively debate about a Pakistani woman being forced into prostitution due to the financial situation of the girl. Since she was educated to the secondary school she rose through the ranks and became a dealer providing girls to brothels in Lahore.... during the debate some members kept argued lack of Islamic teaching to blame to the argument of an elderly gentleman arguing of declining common decency amongst us. The gentleman with the religious card wanted to show as if Islam is the only religion highlighting such moral values while others dont. I wonder which other religion in the world would condone the events that led to that woman becoming a sex worker. So reckon it was about society being devoid of human dignity that led to the person's misfortunes and nothing else. Moral degradation is rampant unfortunate is the minorities are singled out by one eyed people and mullahs. It is an irony we have become so intolerant and disrespectful of others.

It also reminded me of my life during the Zia ulhaq reign and how we were led to believe that it is our religious duty to wipe the world of infidels... the definition of which I have started questioning.

The point is we in Pakistan are so lost as to what the world is that despite being morally bankrupt we believe we are the best.... it takes me back to the muslims of India in general... We lost everything in 1857 when last mughal emperor was sort of unceremoniously evicted from his palace in what we can in current terms call a coup and then we were led into a live of oblivion by obscurantist of that time... branding every forward looking person as a Kafir... leading to what we are today but, when it came to discussing greatness we only had the relics of yester years to show nothing of present time to back it up. This mindset of grandeur still exist amongst us.

Pakistanis are led to believe in a dream that doesnt exist and that the dream of greatness of a nation... we are hardly a single nation what to talk about great...

The point is our media, our education system all have to actually reflect the open mindedness of muslims that rose them to power... Respecting others and not making a statement about how great a muslim we are in every other sentence and not in action.

In my view we have to live it rather than speak it.

Last month I was in Netherlands... the most liberal of liberal countries on earth known for its coffee shops and sex business. I was fortunate to see the other side of it.. I went to what is the bible belt of holland with people living by what they feel is the truth.... being there reminded me of prophet's saying... "Cleanliness is half religion" and when I saw the town and compared it with ours.. I had to question our standing.

If we list down all the traits of "A Good Muslim" run it across the board and then run it counter with "The Infidels Of The West" i wonder where we will stand....