Khoon ke Aansoo

Phir na nikalna iss tareh ay guruub e aftab
Ke mera dil aaj khoon ke aansoo ro raha hay

Ye mera dil, meri dharkan, meri saans
Aaj saneha-e-buzdili ki daastaan pe ro raha hay

Voh maa, behan, voh bhai aaj kyun apnon se bechar gaye
Farishta-e-sifat bachon se kyun koi badla le raha hay

Qaatil tum naheen, hum naheen, koi bhi naheen
Voh phir masoom lashon ke unbaar kyun laga raha hay

Dekho aaj ilm ke paristaar wahan chal basay
In taarik rahon main kyun koi dia bhuja raha hay

Raasta hay kathan, manzil bohat door apni
In halaat main kyun koi kaante bicha raha hay

Phir na dilana yaad mujh ko ye din saaqi
Ke mera dil aaj khoon ke aansoo ro raha hay

Ke mera dil aaj khoon ke aansoo ro raha hay . . . .

(C) Atif Mumtaz December 16, 2014

Dedicated to the victims of Peshawar Attack.

The Politician Flavor of the Month

tahir ul qadriIt is no surprise to see Dr. Tahir ul Qadri trying to crawl back into the hearts of Pakistanis with a new fervor but carrying the same old message. And it is typical of Pakistanis to watch his antics with awe and laugh at his actions. Yes, some of us will follow him whole heartedly, and join his futile attempts at whatever he proposes. I for one pity those followers.

To me he is just another Politician. No different from others. Just the flavor of the month. He will be forgotten with the same speed at which he is now being remembered.

I am quite surprised at his audacious questions that he asks his fellow politicians. He has committed the same crimes as others. He talks about transparency but he himself has an interesting past. He cries for Pakistan but lives in Canada. Rather, he is a citizen of Canada. He talks about openness but I would like to know who pays his bills for such a massive advertising campaign which is in millions of dollars. So what is the difference between Qadri and other politician? What has he done in the past (other than emigrate out of the country when the going was tough) that merits him to be above the rest?

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Bulleya Ki Janan PM Kaun?

Bulleya!Bulleya ki janan PM kaun?

Na voh momin vich maseetan
Har vari kare kufr dee reet aan
Na voh paakaan bus vich paleet aan

Shaid voh numrood o Firaon
Bulleya ki janan PM kaun

Awwal aakhir Asif noon jaanan
Na koi dooja hor pichana
Asif toon vadh na koi sayana
O’ Bulleya o’ Bulleya

Bulleya ki janan PM kaun

Na voh Paki na voh Khaki
Na voh tabdeeli na voh Leegee

Bulleya ki janan PM kaun

With due respect to Baba Bulleh Shah and Junoon.

Can Politicians hijack PTI from its honorable goals?

Javed Hashmi and Imran Khan

Javed Hashmi is now a PTI politician ditching PML in their favor.

I am a bit concerned about the mass influx of traditional politicians from PPP and PML into Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), an upcoming political party run by the venerated Imran Khan.

Veterans like Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Shaukat Tareen, Awais Laghari and others have been in politics longer than the somewhat new democratic process begun after the death of General Zia ul Haq in 1988. However, none of them have contributed significantly for the improvement of the the democratic process, providing justice to the people or controlling corruption in the country. Heck, most of them enjoyed VIP privileges when ministers for PPP, PML and even willingly served under the leadership of a military dictator.
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Greg Mortenson – You are still my hero

Greg Mortenson - a saint among usCBS may have taken a few potshots at you to improve their sagging TV ratings. Jon Krakauer: might have gotten his 15 minutes of fame that he has been so desparately seeking to improve his profile (and possibly make his next book a best seller). But in reality none of this changes the fact, that for the better part of last 20 years you have dedicated your life to building hundreds of schools in the most remote and forgotten parts of the war ravaged world.

It also does not change the fact, that your schools were the first education that anyone has received in in generations, especially the girls.

It also does not change the fact, that your books have inspired countless people, to think for others rather than themselves for the better good of humanity.

Your actions, have inspired a whole new generation of philanthropists and social entrepreneurs who are out there trying to play their part in making this world a better place.

While CBS’s tabloid journalism might try to derail your noble mission to educate the poor of the world, it does not change the fact that each day another child comes home better educated than his parents. Each day, a girl learns the meaning of life and her rights as a human being which sadly her mother missed out by being kept illiterate.

While the CBS investigative team (Andy Court, Kevin Livelli and Maria Usman) has never left the comfort of their homes to visit any war torn regions, nor have they gone and lived among the poorest of the poor. They certainly do not know the meaning of poverty, uneducation and powerless lives. They are probably just seeking cheap publicity to further their journalistic careers. Today, they take a pot shot at you, tomorrow, they might go after Nelson Mandela.

Dr Greg, you are our hero and you will remain one no matter what. What you have done for the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan is unique and angelic. May God give you reward in this life and hereafter for your good deeds.

Can Pakistan really trust USA? Take a quick Poll to find out.

Can Pakistan really trust America? (Cast your vote)

(polls)

Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton’s three day visit to Pakistan opened up more questions than it answered this week. Ms Clinton once again failed to alley the fears of the general public who still are sceptical of US designs in Pakistan. She also hinted at USA’s mistrust over handling of the War on Terror without once acknowledging Pakistan’s army brave men fighting in the trenches an American (foreign) war. While she was quick to blame Pakistan army for not being able to capture Al Qaeda members, yet she never fully explained why America, with all its might, has failed miserably in Afghanistan and Iraq to do the same. Surely, if they expect an economically and militarily weak Pakistan to curtail Al-Qaeda then US, being the super power of the world, be able to produce better results in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The mistrust, sadly as it seems, is at its highest and is only getting worse. The disillusionment is not just among the general public in Pakistan, but is slowly creeping into the political and military leadership of the country as well.

Despite Pakistan successfully capturing more Al-Qaeda high value targets than any nation (including USA) it is never acknowledged nor really commended upon. Instead a sleuth of allegations are placed by the world leaders. At the same time, Pakistan army has lost more troops than any other army (including the USA) in this war on Terror since September 11, 2001. Yet, no US senior diplomat or military general has acknowledged their sacrifice or even placed a wreath on their memorial.

Worst still, millions of innocent Pakistanis have been uprooted by the War on Terror in many districts of Pakistan, but little or no US humanitarian support has reached them. Pakistan has seen thousands of civilian deaths that are directly attributed to US drone attacks are also acknowledged by American leadership as “acceptable civilian losses”. It seem that Pakistanis lives have no value as compared to the American citizen.

The mistrust between Pakistan and USA is not a recent story. In fact, it dates back to the 1960s and here is why:

1960s:
Pakistan was member of the alliance (SEATO and CENTO) similar to NATO in Europe. That meant that if any member was attacked the alliance would support them. The U2 spy planes would also fly from Pakistan over Russia as part of the agreement between US and Pakistan. This was a major source of anger for Russia with Pakistan and had threatened a war on Pakistan. Yet, Pakistan, stood fast in support of USA throughout the time the U2s flew.

In 1965, a war broke out between India and Pakistan that lasted 17 days. At the end of the War, the Lyndon B Johnson’s US administration, rather than supporting Pakistan, put them on a sanctions list and ended the military and economic support of the country. Pakistan’s economy had been growing tremendously between 1960-1965 period primarily due to the US economic support. With that gone, the economy suffered and went south. At the same time, our military which was reeling from the war with India suffered a major setback when it was left to fend for itself without any support from America.

As a contrast, India’s main supporter Russia, not only increased its support for India but gave it the latest machinery (fighter jets, tanks etc) to better equip them against Pakistan. They, Russia, also played a vital role in end of war treaty between India and Pakistan while US stayed away.

The economic downturn that followed the sanctions turned into a political turmoil and eventually culminated in the breakup of the country and creation of Bangladesh 1971. Pakistan military was weakened considerably during the past six years and crumbled easily against a well equipped Indian army during the short 1971 war with India. Once again, US played lip service and did nothing to assist its ally, Pakistan throughout this conflict.

Dejected and left to its own, Pakistan unilaterally walked out of CENTO and SEATO treaties as the allies failed to help them.

1970s
Pakistan played a pivotal role in bringing China and America together. If it were not for the efforts and role played by Pakistan, Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon would not have had the opportunity to build a long term relationship with China. Yet, Pakistan’s role is never discussed or acknowledged by the US. It seems they did all the work while no one helped them.

1980s
To fight the Soviet Communist threat, Americans gave rebel Afghan forces not only sophisticated weapons, but trained them in the guerrilla warfare under direct supervision of trained CIA operatives. When the rebel Afghans were running short in number and did not have enough manpower to continue to take on the Soviet Union, CIA devised a clever plan to make it into a religious war, a jehad, and invited/recruited many young people from various parts of the Arab world as part of the mercenary army. Each one of them received complete weapons training and a healthy stipend among other perks. Money was no object. It was literally distributed in sacks to the recruits and their leaders by CIA.

Osama Bin Laden and his cronies were among the recruits during the mid 1980s who flew in from the Middle East to fight the war. The fighting force was renamed as Mujahideens (Army of God) and given full support from all Western powers. Today, these same fighters, some still have the same leadership, are all jumbled up by the US administration as Talibans and AlQaeda. Yesterday’s Mujahedeens and today’s Talibans have little difference and sometimes have the same leaders guiding them in their war with America.

The administration also fails to acknowledge that it created its own Frankenstein and continues to blame Pakistan for it. This strategy may work in USA, where an average Joe is not familiar with Afghan war, but in Pakistan in particular and in Middle East in general, where such recruitment and trainings were openly carried out, such American amnesia is not only baffling but considered an outright lie.

1990s
Pakistan was threatened in the 1980s by Soviets with a nuclear annihilation for its support of rebel Afghans. It was also told not to fight an american agenda in Afghanistan. Soviet jets would bombard various parts of Pakistan throughout that conflict yet, Pakistan stood steadfast with its ally, the US. By the time, 1990s began, US had won the war in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union had collapsed and Berlin War had come down. Once again, US had no use for Pakistan and instead of rewarding its old ally, it instead placed it on new economic and military sanctions under Pressler Amendment. This was not a just reward for a nation that stood by the US throughout the 1990s.

Once again the nation spiraled into economic depression. The military was left to fend for itself. And worse of all, Afghanistan was left to its own peril with no support from the US. Leaving it to Pakistan to sort out the matter.

In this chaos and gloom of 1990s, Mujahideens of the previous decade transformed themselves into autonomous bodies in the form of Al-Qaeda and Talibans. Trained and well equipped by the CIA, these operatives had not only working knowledge of how to take the fight to the enemy but had already played their role in bringing a super power down (Soviet Union).

In this chaos and vacuum, these organizations rose to take the fight back to the US culminating in the tragedy of 9/11.

This week, Hilary Clinton, was in Pakistan. Rather than acknowledging the mistakes of the past, she preferred that the Pakistan forgot the past and embraced the future. She also failed to thank the nation for its sacrifices and skirted the issue of the drone attacks that has killed thousands of innocent civilians in Pakistan. She never delved deep into the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) crisis, and also failed to explain the draconian clauses in Kerry-Lugar Bill similar to Pressler Amendment whereby America can pull its support at any instant if it deems necessary.

The question remains. Can Pakistan really trust America? I have created a simple poll asking this very question and see if our readers can answer this question in the light of the facts just mentioned.

So click on the link below to vote:

Can Pakistan really trust America?

(polls)

Rising Petrol Prices in Pakistan

So I got this message today.

Rising Petrol Prices

Rising Petrol Prices

The price of petrol in the international market is hovering around US$36 a barrel. Now one barrel contains 210 liters of petrol. Which means a price of US$0.17 per liter in a barrel. Now as Pakistani Rupee today is around 80 rupees to a dollar, that translates into PKR 13.60 per litre in a barrel.

Now adding the price for refining and taxation, it comes to around PKR 25. However, the price set by Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) is PKR 57/liter in the country. Is that not excessive profit taking by oil companies in Pakistan? Is that not another sign that the PPP government led by Asif Zardari is failing its citizens by not curbing and controlling the oil companies? The uncontrolled rise in oil prices in the country has caused an inflationary trend with commodities like milk, salad, meat and other such basic items costing two to three times more than a year ago.

Would be interesting to read comments on what others think on this pricing model.

Mumbai, Media & Politics

India Pakistan Conflict

Pakistan India Conflict --- courtesy nicholson cartoon

You dont go to war with a country which is already at war!

India might not get this message, but engaging Pakistan in a war across the border, even a minor skirmish, will not bode well for the region. This past decade has proven one thing beyond any doubt, that forcing a war on a nation will not resolve any conflicts. Rather it will only exasperate any imploding matters. US incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan and its ill effects are quite evident to all of us. Israel’s disastrous short war against Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006 is another great example. Heck, even Kargil conflict between India & Pakistan in 1999 has shown us that hot wars cannot resolve long standing conflicts, it will only make matters worse.

This current Mumbai crisis has the hallmark of becoming a major flash point in South Asian politics. Already, India’s politicians have shown little leadership and more showmanship. Their anger and threats towards Pakistan have actually lost them more friends here than anytime in the past. This was a time to work together with newly elected Pakistani leadership in capturing the culprits. After all, Pakistan is suffering from terrorism within its borders on a daily basis.

What was surprising was the biasness of the Indian Media. When Mumbai crisis began, there was widespread sympathy for the victims. After all, Pakistan is going through a similar turmoil for the past few years. Therefore, there was an immediate connection and people felt sorry. However, Indian media, began implicating anything and everything that is Pakistan without any substantial proof, logic or common sense. As the hysteria was built up by the media, it was apparent, that Pakistanis were beginning to change their perceptions and were more dejected by the false reports being telecast from India. Today, Indian media are considered the “biggest liars on TV” here. They earned this respect in less than a week of irresponsible reporting.

Not many people realize that today, Pakistan has over 100,000 troops engaged in War Against Terror in North West of Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan army is the second largest military force after the US war machinery that is actively engaging Talibans and Al-Qaeda elements within its borders. This military force is not just out there to keep Pakistan safe, but is working closely with international partners to keep the world safe.  Therefore, it would have been prudent for Indian Politicians and media to have engaged Pakistani leadership rather than threatening them with dire consequences.

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown visited Pakistan and clearly indicated that it would be prudent for the world to work with Pakistan government in eliminating Talibans within its borders. Today, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is also sending out the same message to its enemies and engaging them in peace talks. India should follow suite and work closely with Pakistan. There should be more sharing of intelligence reports and facts.

The recent Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martti Ahtisaari  when asked about the Mumbai crisis clearly indicated that one cannot resolve such matters without resolving Kashmir conflict. This festering wound has already caused three major wars between India and Pakistan. The longer Indian leadership continues to ignore United Nations resolutions dating back to 1949 on this conflict, the longer the conflict will continue. It is time for all leaders to sit down and resolve old conflicts. Drumming up war with Pakistan will not resolve any crisis rather will act as a catalyst for terrorism to spread to other parts of the world.

Mumbai and War on Terror

Failing War on Terror

Failing War on Terror

What happened in Mumbai is an atrocious crime against humanity. There is no doubt about it. The hallmarks of this terror attack are no different from what Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Britain, and United States have experienced it during this past decade. This unfortunately is a direct consequence of failing war on terror rather than any stand alone event. It is not caused by any sinister government nor any religious cults of the world. It is precisely a direct consequence of the failed policies dating back decades by most of these countries.

It is our firm belief that the method of waging the war on terror by the coalition forces earlier in this decade has not only failed to curb violence, but has actually acted like a catalyst for terrorism to spread literally across the globe. Today, there is no safe place from the reach of terrorist who can strike anywhere with such force that it makes the previous attacks look child’s play. Terrorism is now a cult and a religion in its own right which answers to no one.

Pakistan is waging an undeclared war on its own citizens in the North West of Pakistan. Namely Wazirstan, Bajaur and Swat Valleys. So far, no productive results have emerged except for over quarter of a million people have been made homeless and made to live in deplorable conditions. Each day hundreds of innocent people die from US drones and Pakistan Military bombings but the world has forgotten them. With the result, Pakistan now faces bomb blasts almost on a daily basis all over the country. I too had my office destroyed during the powerful Marriott blast on September 20, 2008. Like me thousands of people have been affected and many thousands have lost their lives.

Iraq is no different. The Shock and Awe campaign has literally backfired with whole country of Iraq falling into the Al-Qaeda trap. A country which had never really exported terrorism to any part of the world, now harbors and trains Al-Qaeda operatives as a direct consequence of the War on Terror.

India, like the other nations, has on its own part not been a saint when it comes to Kashmir, Assam and other freedom seeking states especially towards minorities within its borders. This is not something new. The brutal massacre at Golden Temple in 1984 or Gujrat in 2002 are just a few of the many attacks the minorities have faced in India which have never been fully answered. Today, there are many innocent people behind bars without trial in the jails of India. Many innocent people have been gunned down by the security forces in Kashmir. A swift and brutal retaliation was not just expected, but actually was waiting to happen. Unfortunately, in 2008, it has happened on a much larger scale in India than anticipated.

It is very easy to blame or accuse someone of a crime, but very difficult to understand why  such heinous attacks are committed. To get to the bottom of these crimes, one has to have an open mind and must engage the other side into a meaningful dialog. President Hamid Karzai, with the help of his coalition partners, is beginning to do just that. He is offering an open dialog with Mullah Umar and Talibans in hope for a long term peace in Afghanistan. The other nations should follow suite. There is no need to bomb and blame others for the crimes. We must look inside ourselves to find solutions.

Peace will come from within. It will not come laden on bombs. This past decade has shown us this message quite clearly.

Blasts in Jaipur and Cricket

Somehow, it is the Cricket in Pakistan that seems to get affected more by an occasional blast within the country than anything else. While these blasts have political motives, yet it rarely affects anyone or anything for long in the country. However, somehow, in all this entaglement, Cricket stops happening in Pakistan and with countries like Australia continue to not travel due to “security concerns”. I really do not understand these concerns. Take the 2005 blasts in London or even the recent series of bombings in Jaipur that killed over 60 people instantly.

http://content-pak.cricinfo.com/ipl/content/current/story/350910.html

The same Australian board never sent out any security teams to India or England. Nor did their players opt out of the Ashes or IPL. Life went on as it is. Yet, in the case of Pakistan, the whole series and seasons have been rescheduled or canceled outright.

I see only double standards and lack of commitment from ICC to have uniform policies. It is quite unfortunate that such double standards and Hippocratic practices continue to happen with no one really taking any serious action.