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AN IMPECCABLE STINT (EPISODE 2 OF 3)

AN IMPECCABLE STINT

EPISODE – II

THE INTERVIEW

 

Characters:

Qaisar Amjad

Mr. Rodriquez

William Proctor

“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”

Oprah Winfrey


[“Mr. Qaisar! We have observed your CV and expect you to visit our office today at 1’o’clock sharp. Regards, William Proctor.”]


5

FRIDAY

12.15 PM

Gobsmacking!

Minutes have crossed since I received the message but I am still not accepting that there is still hope. I can still cope.

*HYSTERICALLY LAUGHING*

I am reading the message again. Finger-pointing each and every word. Yes, I am asked to reach at 1.

*LOOKING AT MIRROR*

*ZOOMING IN*

This time tomorrow where will we be
On a spaceship somewhere sailing across an empty sea

I slowly touch my throat, gulp and feel the movement over there. I shake my head in shock. I am still wearing the shorts I vomited and piddled. The exploding heart has slowed down in these past few minutes. The house is silent. My shrieking ears have gone deaf. Push, my fatty, is returning with contentment by seeing me normal but after sniffing my shorts, she leaves within the seconds disgruntled.

Although, this is just a response to the job opportunity so I must not fall deluded believing that I will get the job. They are obviously calling me for an interview. And there will be many more prospects waiting for their turn. Which means I will not be alone. I will be surrounded by many bootlickers with no quality experience but strong reference. Or I may be adjoined by the candidates with fake CVs who really are digging jobs like me but do not have work experience. But will I get the job? I cannot refuse to visit the office just because I am not prepared for this. Forty-five minutes is too rapid and difficult to manage coming out of a suicide attempt to reaching the office.

*THINKING*

A suicide attempt! Yes, Qaisar. A few minutes ago, you were about to take your life with a sorry note to your brother. Is this the sign? Was Qaisar waiting for this all these months? Is this why you lost your job?

Gosh, my hands and feet are still shaking. I feel stomach ache. I have to be sober and try to come back to my senses. Ponder, Qaisar! Ponder! I’ll take the bath and wear the most suitable attire for the job interview.

Oh, wait! My car! *palm slap on forehead* Oh my car! It is at the car repair shop. I emptied my wallet this morning. I don’t have money for transport. It is a very important moment in my life. I see no other solution than asking my neighbor for a favor. And I hope my neighbor be kind enough to lend me some money as I feel embarrassed to ask them every week. I am afraid that one day, I will disappoint so many people when they ask me to return.

*THINKING*

I am thinking but I am not thinking. I am confounded but excited. My brain, my throat, my stomach is still sensing the aches. Recovery will take time but I don’t have enough… time. So what I am going to do is prepare a strong coffee and take a quick cold shower.

Relax, Qaisar! Everything will be alright. This message is the indication that I will have good news by the end of the day. Be optimistic, Qaisar! Be optimistic!

I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t want to see
I feel the world below me looking up at me


6

ONLY 40 MINUTES AFTER ATTEMPTING TO COMMIT SUICIDE

To the receptionist, “Good day, madam. Mr. Proctor asked me to show up at-”

“Mr. Benjamin!”

An old man in his sixties dressed in an impressive classic Burberry suiting approaches me. He resembles Mark Rylance.

“I beg your pardon, Sir!”

“Are you Mr… Benjamin?”

Oh, a British.

“No. I am Qaisar Amjad. And and I was asked by-”

“Aaah Mr. Qaisar! The name is William Proctor. I mailed you an hour ago to join at this precise time. *looking at his watch*

“Oh! Mr. Proctor! Good to see you, Sir.”

“I cannot share both the titles simultaneously. You can simply call me by my name. But if you still insist, then add Mr. and avoid the first name.”

“Very well Proctor Sir. Ssorry, Mr. Proctor.”

“Are you in haste? Do you have an appointment at two different places at a similar time?”

“No no. Actually, I wasn’t ready for…. Mr. Proctor! Maybe we should discuss the reason I am called for.”

“Mr. Qaisar! Please have a seat in the guest room. Be prepared when your name is announced. Then I will respectfully escort you to Mr. Rodriquez.”

*nodding* espectflee scort you to Mr. Rodriquez. *losing confidence* Understood. Thank you.”

When I enter the guest room, it is already full of my competitors looking for a white-collar job. As soon as the door opens, they all stare at me. Some of them smirk to make me feel sheepish. I have undergone this all my life. I remember such similar awkward memories like my parents introducing me to their entire ugly extended family in the hometown when I was a kid, or when I was stepping in the school bus and then in the classroom for the first time and in the waiting rooms of the hospitals.

3.00 PM

I have been sitting for the past couple of hours and almost a dozen candidates have left. And then, when the time is near to call my name, I realize that I have come to the office empty-handed and looking around hither and thither like a nincompoop. Like a panicked Basil Fawlty. In hurriedness, I left all my project notes from my previous works behind. I look at my palms and then bury my face in it. My palms had the boldness to hold a knife but cannot occupy with the documents. I have badly forgotten the documents on the dining table. *reasoning* Is this why some of the candidates were smirking at me?

I raise and look at myself in the mirror and to my misery, I notice that the visible portion of my shirt between the sides of the suit jacket has visible marks of my old sweat.

“Mr. Qaisar Amjad! Your wait is over. Let me escort you.”

*BLOWING AIR*

At the corridor, I am receiving a call. Oh my God! It is Nizam! I forgot to call him.

“Brother! At least answer my phone.”

“I.I.I’m so sorry. I am about to give a job invertiew. Call you later, bye.”

I step on Mr. Proctor’s shoe. What a terrible mistake! While I stepped on him, I notice that I am wearing a pair of running shoes.

“Oh, I am so sorry, I.I.I don’t know how did I step on-”

“Never mind Mr. Qaisar. It was-”

“A.Allow me allow me to collect your documents and and *thinking* your coupons, Sir”

“Pardon?”

“Coupons, Sir. These are, are they?”

“It is coupons, Mr. Qaisar, not coupons.”

Humiliation at its pinnacle! Never came to my attention aaalll my life that the correct pronunciation is kew-pon, not co-pun. And here I slipped my tongue in all innocence in front of this old British gentleman.

“Oh, I get it. A.Actually I-”

“Mr. Qaisar! *grinning* Let me state you a fact which you do not realize while being in a jiffy. You are not the only gentleman who discovers the nervousness of listening about his fate from the interviewer. Did you notice all the gentlemen and gentlewomen who were sitting before you?”

“Yes”

“When they came out of the room, they behaved the same way as you. One of them actually couldn’t reach the interview room and left for the restroom. *laughing* So, you see! You are better than-”

“Thank you, Mr. Proctor, for the tenth consecutive motivational speech. It is very certain that you should take rest from escorting the candidates and drink a glass of water. Now, if you are done, will you please be kind and send Mr. Qaisar to my office?”

“And *smiling* this was the voice of your interviewer. I wish you the best of luck.”

Mr. Proctor leaves me at the door. Bare hands, sweat on my shirt and the running shoes. I have already chopped more than enough onions. I take a deep breath and knock at the door.


7

“Come In”

*ENTERING THE ROOM*

Tall man *speculating* in his forties of height near 6 feet sporting long hair brushed back and a stubble beard. He is watching polo through his binoculars outside the window with a folded arm.

“May I come in, Sir?”

“You already are in, Mr. Qaisar.”

Oh wow! His attire is desire. He is dressed in Brioni suiting perfected with Brown Cartesio jacket and his hardwood floor is knocked by his Kenneth Cole’s Oxford shoes.

*HANDSHAKING*

*FAKE SMILING EACH OTHER*

“Thank you, Sir. I am happy to see you, Sir.”

“Happy? Why?”

“Because of *eyeballs down* considering me for the interview, Sir.”

“Have a seat.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Why are you hoarsing?”

“No, Sir. It is just the dryness of-”

“Take this glass of water.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“This morning, I found your response to my offer in the junk mail. I don’t know how that mail moved to that category. But anyhow, I found your CV interesting and informed Mr. Proctor, the one who escorted you, to message you to visit us.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“And now, you will address me, Mr. Rodriquez.”

*NODDING*

“Ok, Mr. Rodriquez.”

*CHECKING CV ON HIS TAB*

“Your latest job ended three months ago. Why?”

“My direct manager didn’t honor the agreement. My working hours were fixed for 8 hours a day. But he made me work for 11 to… 10 to 11 hours several times which was not acceptable to me.”

*scoffing* Not acceptable to you? *surprised* Why? Didn’t your boss pay you overtime for working extra hours?”

“He did. But this led towards work stress *he is listening carefully with eyebrows near his eyelashes* and I was not able to balance my mental capaticy, oh sorry, capacity between home and office.”

If I haven’t committed suicide a few hours ago, my English certainly will make me in a moment.

“For how long were you working there?”

“Three years, Mr. Rodriquez”

*LOOKING IN THE TAB*

“It says two years here.”

“Yes, I think two years. But overall… five years.”

“And you were appointed as?”

“BM. Brand Manager.”

“A Brand Manager. Hmm. Gooood. So what were your responsibilities as a BM?”

10 MINUTES LATER

“I notice you do not bring any folder or document with you which I find quite strange. Even a flash drive of your works supporting your lengthy details would have convinced me. So how can you help me understand your potential as a BM as the oral presentation is not enough, you know?”

*GULPING*

“Mr. Rodriquez! Believe me, if I had time to prepare a.for for the interview then I would not have raised your doubts by coming empty.”

“I am not doubting your capability. But it is quite strange to understand that you were not ready for this. Candidates who seek jobs are always ready for the call. *head shaking like NO* I am sorry but-”

*EYES POP AND MOUTH OPEN IN SUDDEN SHOCK*


8

“What?”

*GULPING*

I am not able to maintain myself at all. My composure is compromised. He shook his head. It is over. I was an imbecile to arrive here with no preparation. I should have requested for a-

“Are you alright? Take another glass of water. Feel free.”

*DRINKS IN ONE BREATH*

*NODDING*

“Alright”

“I assume you took my ‘sorry’ as rejection. I was about to say sorry if you mind because I find the response terrible. That is it. That is what I was going to say.”

Duffer you, Qaisar. Duffer you.

*MUSTERING THE COURAGE*

“Sorry to facially embarrass you, Mr. Rodriquez. Actually, this is the first call in three months for a.any job. So I was lost.”

“If you don’t mind, may I discover what have you been doing for the past three months?”

“I will try to sum up in a few lines. Basically, I have arrested myself at home because all my savings have been incurred on my brother’s education, *voice breaking* shopping, bills, rents, etc. I tried to mail about the job vacancies in this time period but failed to get any response. I lost all my money and had to seek help from my friends to pay the rent to the landlord.”

“And did you physically hunt? for the jobs? anywhere?”

“I did.”

“Only one brother with you at home?”

“Yes. My parents left the city due to the financial crisis a few years ago. At that time, I had a job and good money enough to help myself, my brother, and send a few to my parents. Now, they are not aware of my current situation because I don’t want to-”

“bother sharing, heart-breaking account, to the parents, who depend, upon you. Yes yes. Hm.”

“Yes, Mr. Rodriquez. But not that they require my financial assistance currently. They are in a much better situation then they were when they moved back. They are a large migrated family so they have each other’s back.”

“Migrated from?”

Pakpattan

“Forgive me?”

“Pakpattan. Not a very well-known city like Lahore.”

“Ahaan”

“But very prominent for the shrine of *thinking* a local legend.”

“Yes yes. There are myriads of shrines in Pakistan as well as in India.”

*SMILING*

“Feeling better?”

*NODDING*

“Where you from? If you don’t mind.”

“I’m a Luso-Indian. *thinking* I’m a HispanicKeralite from Malabar. My people are Syrian Christians. But *apologetic smile* I’m an Atheist.”

*PAUSE*

“Mr. Rodriquez! You asked about these months and that is why I spoke in length. And I know that this has nothing to do with my work. But thank you for listening to me as a person.”

“Hm”

“Therefore, I sincerely request you to give me time to prepare myself for the next day.”

“You mean Monday.”

“Oh yes yes yes. Today is Friday. Kindly give me one more chance. I promise you will listen to no complaints when you conduct another interview.”

*PAUSE*

“Do you realize Mr. Qaisar that you are selling yourself pretty quickly? I understand your situation but you do not have to drop yourself that your professional appearance compromise at your current situation.”

“My apologies, Mr. Rodriquez. But my life heavily depends on this job. It took three months to finally get a response. I don’t know what would have happened if I had not received the message. Sir, you are the boss. We have different economic situations. *smiling* You will understand my situation only if you are in my place.”


9

*scoffing* In your place? *smiling* In your place? Mr. Qaisar! Are you assuming that the man in front of you has enjoyed an ideal and perfect life? Without any suffering or hardship? Do you ween that employers or those employees in senior positions or those working at some collar jobs with high pay never face difficult situations?”

*HESITATING*

“I.I never meant that, Mr. Rodriquez? What I want to make you understand is that I am mentally disturbed in my life for some time and that is why I am not able to impress you in a job interview.”

He separates his folded hands, stretches his palms, brings close to his chest and tries to make a point.

“You are mentally disturbed in your life because this is how you feel in the given circumstances. And believe me from your most exhausting brain and heart that I have seen worse cases than yours. Every individual in his/her magnitude of depression and stress behaves and believes that he or she is at the lowest possible form of life crisis. They behave like any normal human caught in flu or body ache. I am not a doctor but a human with the emotional experience.”

*THINKING*

“Mr. Qaisar, how old are you?”

“I am 28.”

“28 haan! *grinning* You feel you are facing the worst crisis at 28 haan!? Are your parents alive?”

“Yes. Both of them. Like I told yo-”

“Both of them? *raising eyebrows* Both of them? Now imagine a 15-year-old boy in the hostel been informed that his parents have died trying to save the house on fire.”

I am unmoved for a few seconds and not believing what he just said. I am honestly lost for words but trying.

“I.I.I am sooo sorry to know this, Mr. Rodriquez.”

He lifts from his chair. Inspects outside. No more polo. Fills his pockets with his hands and speaks to me.

“They were burnt in our home where I was born and raised with my toys, cards, cassettes, music player, childhood pictures, drawings, and countless memories. My sister was teaching in the kindergarten as the fire ate our house in daylight. She was six years elder than me and at 21, she agonizingly screamed that it affected her brain and also lost her voice.”

*DOOR OPENS*

“No more candidates today Mr. Proctor. Inform them to call on Monday morning. Thank you.”

*DOOR CLOSES*

“While *pointing at himself* this prodigy returned from the hostel, myself and Suha, my sister, were taken by my childless uncle and aunt who later admitted me to a better school and Suha, who was not able to teach further after losing her voice, was married to an old businessman. Three years later, I lost my sister in her maternal death. So I was alone at 18. Mr. Qaisar! *grinning* Have you lost anyone in your family?”

*BREAKING PAUSE*

“No, I haven’t. My parents are old but alive and my younger brother is with me.”

*TAKING HIS JACKET OFF*

“We humans are a subject of comfort and torture. Somewhere, we are responsible and somewhere, we are put to test. Young man! Realize that you are put to test and your case or crisis is not that bad as many others are suffering. Be thankful Mr. Qaisar! Be thankful! Look at you! Only three members of your family are depending on you. And *looking in the tab* you are not even married, are you?”

*SMILING*

“No, I am not.”

He hits politely on the table and sits back on his chair.

“Are you engaged? Or committed to someone?”

“No Mr. Rodriquez, I am not.”

He shakes his head in bewilderment.

“So why are you so depressed? Look at me! *pointing at himself again* I am married with my lovely wife and four kids. 3 daughters and a son. The fifth is arriving soon in a couple of months.”

“Oh congratulations in advance to you, Mr. Rodriquez.”

“Thank you, young man! But try to understand my point here. You are a bachelor and your depression is nowhere close to a married man like me.”

*SMILING*

“I understand, Sir”

“No, you don’t understand, young man! *lifts from his chair and stands nearby* When I was 24 and I married the woman I loved. She gave me twins. We were bubbly. One day, the company went bankrupt and it shut down within a week. After all the promises, the owners didn’t pay a penny to me or any worker. It was a recession period but somehow my family and I survived. Some helping hands and some labor force. With work, I was preparing for my graduation exams. But I gave up due to no money. And the family was my obvious priority. It took 18 months to get a new job, 18 months young man!

Today, I am worried about my young girls. Every father naturally is. Every time they see me, they insist to hand them some money and I cannot refuse. And this belief kills me, what if I meet the crisis again? So I have more things to worry about, Mr. Qaisar.”

“It is very understandable that you are a practical man who has encountered more difficult times than me. Maybe I have solutions but I am not thinking that deep to overcome the crisis. But I fear that one day, those who helped me in difficult times may question because it is their right.”

“See, my experience and moral teaches me that when you help someone, never ever expect for a favor in return. Never. And ever. If they are able to help you in return or repay you, it is up to you to accept the aid or money or just simply refuse in good spirits. Your friends at least helped you to pay the landlord recently. That is what you said before, right?”

“Yes, yes, they helped me.”

“Goood! At least you were helped by your friends.”

“What about you? Did you happen to-”

“Yes. *laughing* A few years ago. Before joining this company, I was broke and lost much of my earnings in a failed business venture. That resulted in fake promises to my landlord. For two consecutive months, I sought financial favors from my friends but no help came. It was not their fault because none of them were that financially stable as I was before my business failed.

And one day, the owner arrived at my door. He ordered me to empty the apartment within two hours. Imagine the agony. I was helpless as a husband and unprotected as a father. He was just standing there gazing my hopelessness and I was wandering and staring at the flats in my neighborhood. To my good luck, someone solaced our agitation. One neighbor offered the money to the landlord at the eleventh hour. And then we stayed there. After observing that neighbor, another showed up at our door and gave us some curry. *smiling*


10

“Honestly, I am speechless to your accounts.”

*laughs* Mr. Qaisar! *sits on his chair and both hands on the back of his head* This is life. Always love your family. Always, always love and shield your family. We are different people from different backgrounds for different purposes but one facet which should always remain common is humanity. Someone in the neighborhood was human. I cannot repay him for what he did. And again, if I would ever repay that kind of favor, I do not know if he would accept or refuse in good spirits.

Life has taught me to help people. This reduces the distance between them. Now, you were supposed to impress me by your professional capacity as a BM but thanks to you, Mr. Qaisar, that you forgot to bring your work material to start a different conversation. And this is a very important point that you *pointing finger* must always remember *pause* that things… happen… for a reason.”

*NODDING*

“Because humans today have lost themselves in materialism, violence, self-destruction and greedy competition so they don’t realize. But you, Mr. Qaisar, after all that lengthy heart-to-heart conversation, I honestly believe that you deserve a chance.”

*FLABBERGASTING*

*DIAMOND IN MY EYES*

“R.Really, Mr. Rodriquez!?!? D.Do I?”

“Yes, young man! It will be too jarring and discourteous; and I will be evil to send you empty, hopeless and distorted after that *thinking* tête-à-tête. Today is Friday, so you can commence working from Monday. I will put you on trial and will scrutinize you if you really are capable to work as our company’s BM. If things work well and you surpass my expectation, I will make sure that you are paid with all the possible allowances and provide you vehicle and accommodation. *grinning*

He takes his key, a journal, a handbag. That is it. Interview ends. I get the job. Yes, I get the job!

“Thank you so much, Sir. *shaking head* Thank you sooo much. Much obliged, Sir. *handshakes* I am… I am lost for words and I wish if my parents were with me, I would have invited you to meet them.”

“Otherwise, you won’t?”

“No no no. *grinning* I didn’t mean that. You are most welcome, Mr. Rodriquez.”

He is folding his suit jacket.

“You have no idea how much I am grateful to you despite the fact that I wa-”

*pointing index finger at me* TV?”

“UHD”

“K?”

“8”

“Gooood… NBA?”

*laughs* Clippers

“Drink?”

Guinness

“Attaboyyy!! I have your number. See you on Monday.”

Honestly, that ‘Gooood’ was in Palpatine’s voice. But he has surprised me. What a jolly fellow he is. Such a friendly gesture he has. And he also likes NBA! We actually are watching NBA together soon? With drinks? Am I dreaming? Who does this? I haven’t even started working. Is this for real? I hope this is not a prank. I hope he is normal.

“Leaving, Mr. Rodriquez”

“Yes, Mr. Proctor. Please look after the employment formalities of the newcomer.”

“Will do, Mr. Rodriquez.”

*looking at me* And you! Do not fail me, young man! And never ever give up! See you on Monday. And we’ll plan about watching NBA. Mr. Proctor will also join.”

“Me? *laughs* Oh, I’m afraid I-”

“Come onnnn! It will be fun. This guy has 8K UHD! Even I don’t have at my home. Oh, by the way, Mr. Qaisar! He is Celtics. *sarcastically laughing*

I am confused. Why is he laughing? And should I laugh with him or not. He prepares to leave.

“I must leave now. It was delectation to have you and speaking in length. Come prepared, Mr. Qaisar. Do wash your shirt and wear a better pair of shoes here.”

He kneww itt! And he still recruited me!

“Welcome aboard, Mr. Qaisar.”

*HANDSHAKING*

*WALKING TOGETHER*

“Mr. Proctor! I must admit that Mr. Rodriquez is a very generous and humble man. He is completely the opposite of my former boss. If we have people with such qualities holding the chairs in most of the companies, we employees can never feel distressed.”

“I wish if the global powers would have been that kind and perfect, there would have been no economic crisis.”

“Is he always like this with all the candidates?”

“Most of the times. Yes. He is fond of making people optimistic. But today, he invested more time on this young chap.”

*BREAKING PAUSE*

“One question, Sir!”

“I am not a British, Mr. Qaisar. I am a South African Jew born in Bloemfontein and raised in Chelmsford. A few family members of my great-grandfather were the subject of abuse in the British concentration camps during the Second Anglo-Boer War. In short, you learn from your life… when you lose your family.”

*AGREEING WITH HIM*

“You are right. I can relate to your point somehow.”

“And I hope *smiling* that you won’t lose your… job.”

“I am confident that I am staying here for long.”

“It’s 4 and I suggest we should do these formalities on Monday.”

“Mr. Proctor! I am yet to ask about your position in the company.”

“I am the secretary to the company’s GM and also have my say as a consultant. Enjoy the weekend.”

*HANDSHAKING*

I come out of the building. Then I gaze back at the building to the top. Heavy clouds pouring drops on my head in laziness.

It wasn’t pouring for some time. The weather forecast was sunny this morning. I went to the building empty-handed but I feel that my hands are carrying some weight now. The weight of my fate.

I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world

Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’

A few hours ago, I was about to take my life. I was lost and hopeless. I had an accident this morning. My phone was not mute. I had no money to reach here. I left my documents at home. My e-mail was on the junk. The interview was semi-personal. And this man under his authority gave the chance I was craving for some months. Maybe he was in high spirits before I stepped in to meet him and he may have thought to make the life of any of the candidates. But the point is *thinking* that things happen for a reason. Things… happen… for a reason.

*PAUSE*

*AIR BLOWING*

I am looking around, trying to notice why the vehicles stop at red and run at the green from my wet eyes. I think I understand something. I am clapping and joyously chuckling while still looking around. I am smiling as if I have fallen in love again. I look around the busyness of the city.

Two kids of around 8 licking ice creams at a stall. A woman reading a book on the bench with her poodle sitting near her. The workers lifting bricks and some working on a billboard. I am loving everything whatever I see.

But there are things which provoke me to observe the harsh realities on the same streets. A mime entertains a small crowd nearby and after the act, no one drops a penny to his name. A beggar bundled in torn clothes whines for food and a group of witnesses strangely guffaws over his misery imagining if this is a slapstick. A street singer goes unheard lamenting about the man of words who committed suicide after his poetry fell on deaf ears.

Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley

I help an old woman with a walking stick cross the street on the red signal. She thanks me and leaves. I wave my hand on her back which goes unnoticed. Then a beggar from my back appears to me asking for money. I realize on his face that my wallet is empty of notes. I stare at him.

*NIZAM CALLING*

Aaaahhh.

*RAINING*

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall


11

MONDAY

8.30 AM

“Nizam! Don’t forget to collect your key. I am leaving now.”

“Good luck, brother.”

*DOOR CLOSING*

I have my parents’ blessing. I spoke with them on the weekend and informed about the new job. I pretended that I left the previous job for this and skipped reporting all the jeopardies. Why should I tell them? Why should I?

[“Beta! I am so happy and proud of you. Always work hard and earn good money.”

“Thanks, Ammi.”

“Oh yes. Something I forgot to tell you. Mrs. Khurshid came last night at our place. You know her daughter, Saba? She has returned from Amsterdam completing her studies. Maa Shaa Allaah, Saba is such a beautiful-”

“Bye, Ammi.”]

My car is still in the workshop because the workers later that day left for strike due to non-payment. The neighbor lends me more money as I informed him about my new job. That day, I called the landlord and my friends to inform about the job. Now I am at peace.

I have my Montblanc business bag and derby shoes of Hugo. And there are no marks of sweat as my attire is laundered. So I am missing no chance to give a better impression this time.

And I am enjoying cool breeze hanging in the bus. Above my head, the sun is hiding behind the clouds… just like my recent past. *smiling* And behind my head, I notice a teenage girl making a video of a sleepy passenger with saliva dropping from his mouth and snoring loudly. The scene catches the attention and his nasal thunders chuckle the other passengers, so does I. I recognize the delight on many faces and suddenly my eyes catch sight of a striking girl in a red and white sleeveless fit and flare casual dress of an unknown brand who notices me after chuckling at the sleepy passenger exactly the same time as I to her. She reminds me of Lauren German.

Black Sabbath – Orchid

As soon as we look at each other, my eardrums hark Black Sabbath’s Orchid. We are not chuckling anymore. We don’t care whose snoring has been funny all these seconds. We are glaring at each other. Her sparkling hazel eyes are inviting. She looks at me as if she is daunted with the unwanted coincidence of the chuckling faces fixing the eyes over each other. Maybe she is augmenting her careless mettle where emotions foolishly wander. Maybe she is making a statement. All my conundrums have vanished.

Oh, wait. Some lady holds her arm from the back. She looks back and they are smiling at each other. And she leaves with her at her stop and doesn’t glance back at me. Maybe she is with her. Maybe she is her sister or a friend. Maybe I am thinking too much. Maybe this is becoming my tendency. I remembered Sakina for a moment when she and I fixed our eyes at each other. Our misfiring chemistry led to abysmal farewell.

*BUS STOPPING*

Now I realize how stupid I was thinking about killing myself. The opportunity knocked and I got a new job hours later. And that is why we should never lose hope. Because someone above the clouds is very kind to you. He is testing my patience. He is observing me.

8.55 AM

I have reached on time and I am a few minutes away from 9. It is the new beginning and I hope that I will fit in the working environment with my new….

*STOPPING AND STARING AHEAD*

Why are the cops patrolling down? What is happening in this building?

I walk a few steps ahead. People on the streets are gathering to observe the situation. I ask a few who are standing near the cops. They have no idea. I have no idea. I am getting late on my first day but I am not allowed to enter the building for some time. I must call Mr. Proc-

*EYES WIDE OPEN*

*JAWS DROPPING*

A team of police escorting a handcuffed Mr. Rodriquez out of the building!


12

Mr. Rodriquez is handcuffed! The cops are here for him?

Mr. Rodriquez is arrested? What is going on?

Life ain’t always beautiful
Sometimes it’s just plain hard
Life can knock you down
It can break your heart.

My eyes are not believing the scene I am witnessing. I try to reach to one of the patrolling cars nearby.

“Why is he handcuffed?”

What did he do?

He is three steps away.

“M.M.Mr. Rodriquez! What happened??”

He is smiling. Shaking his head. He looks like he was crying before reaching here. He doesn’t look like if he has slept the last night. The cops are making him sit in one of the vehicles.

“Things happen for a reason, Qaisar. Always remember! Things happen for a reason.”

“Mr. Rodriquez!”

The door of the vehicle shuts!

“Do not fail me, young man! And never ever give up!”

Life ain’t always beautiful
You think you’re on your way
And it’s just a dead end road
At the end of the day.

I stand there as the cops leave the site. Mr. Rodriquez keeps looking at me until he disappears from the scene. I am believing as if he further wanted to say something to me. I am feeling if he is downtrodden by the authorities for being humble and kind to the helpless people like me. The spectators around become pedestrians. The time has passed 9. I am allowed to enter the building. Should I? I can barely move my feet from where I am standing.

But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way
Of taking its own sweet time.

A silence spells for a few seconds then I see Mr. Proctor reaching towards me.

I am dumbstruck but I have to begin from somewhere.

“What in the world just happened now? I cannot believe what my eyes just witnessed. What did he do?”

“Please come to the office and we will speak on this matter.”

Entering the building and the gate from where he was escorted out handcuffed is not helping me make up my mind because I want to know.”

“Please Mr. Proctor! Tell me. What did he do?”

“I hope you realize that this is not the place to sp-“

“What did he d-“

*RAISING HIS VOICE*

“HE HAS MURDERED HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN!!”

…………………………………………………………………………………………

[“Always love your family. Always, always love and shield your family.”]

No, life ain’t always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life ain’t always beautiful
But it’s a beautiful ride.


(Soundtracks Used in this Episode)

The Kinks – This Time Tomorrow

Looking at the mirror and touching his throat.

Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall

Nizam calls Qaisar and the rain breaks.

Black Sabbath – Orchid

Qaisar and a girl look at each other on the bus.

Gary Allan – Life Ain’t Always Beautiful

When Qaisar witnesses Mr. Rodriquez escorted out by the police.


(Pictures used in this episode)

  1. https://s3-eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/centaur-wp/theengineer/prod/content/uploads/2015/03/05161100/meeting.jpg
  2. https://www.cpacanada.ca/-/media/cpa-digital-hub/featured-images/2019/05/hub-05-29-jobinterviewlies-hero-1200×900.jpg
  3. https://thereviewonline.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/fire-cover.jpg
  4. https://drnealranenbaltimorepsychiatrist.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Depression.jpg

7 Points Aurat Should ‘Also’ March For

Aurat March began in Pakistan last year to observe International Women’s Day with the purpose of expressing solidarity with women. With the rise of feminism wave in recent years, many organizations have voiced about women rights and empowerment. It is a much-needed voice.

The March of this year grabbed my attention and I observed many pictures from Karachi and Lahore with women holding banners, posters, and placards. Yes, there were some important messages about honor killing, domestic violence, and individual freedom. But much to my surprise, most of the messages looked like a crusade against men. Although a few were exceptional and spot on, but I think the participants of the march missed the chance to raise the country’s many critical issues related to women. Some of the issues or events which the women should have raised and notified to the government.

There is every possibility that the issues below have been raised by a few but not many and can be voiced the next time such event is organized. Therefore, I am raising a few issues which deserved to reach the advertisement boards and I felt were more important issues than cooking together or finding socks:

01. MINORITY RIGHTS UNDER HUDOOD ORDINANCE

This has been a subject of controversy over the years about Hudood Ordinances (HO) which criminalizes rape and extramarital sex. The HOs which were enacted back in 1979 as the part of General Zia Ul Haq‘s Islamisation process is applied on both Muslims and non-Muslims in Pakistan. These ordinances are of two types; one is Hadd (punishment under Islamic Law) and the other is Tazir (punishment decided at the discretion of the judge or ruler of the state).

But the problem of this never amended 1979 HO law is that it is unilateral towards Muslims and discriminative towards the minorities. The Muslim man will not be convicted under the HO if he rapes a non-Muslim woman.

Under clause 8 of the Chapter of Zina under HO (VII OF 1979), the proof of Zina or Zina-bil-jabr is liable to Hadd only if at least four MUSLIM witnesses are produced to the case. The court is satisfied only when the requirement of Tazkiyah-al-shuhood (TS) is on the table. TS simply means that the witnesses are truthful persons and abstain from major sins. While applying TS, the law indirectly considers the non-Muslims as witnesses untruthful and unreliable.

Due to this reason, the non-Muslim women are not able to register their statement and has to visit the magistrate under section 21. The worst possible damage for a non-Muslim woman getting raped is her pregnancy. The DNA tests will decide if the illicit child is of the rapist. Only then there is a possibility of her getting justice which is by then exhausting and humiliating if she really survived to that day.

In the first place, HO introduced ambiguity into the law by recognizing rape with fornication/adultery in the same frame which is exquisitely horrible. Fornication or adultery is a ‘voluntary’ sexual intercourse between the two but rape is when the one indulges by forcing the other. Former is sin by religion, the latter is a crime by law.

Imagine how many non-Muslims are imprisoned due to the confusion and mess created by these laws. We do speak of minority rights but what about those who are jailed for wrong reasons?

02. LOW PAY SCALE OF SPORTSWOMEN THAN SPORTSMAN

I am not aware of the other sports but let’s not expect any good about women earning some respectable amount as compared to men in any sports because the situation in this matter is worst in cricket.

In Aug.2018, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced central contracts for 33 men and was further reported that the male cricketers were getting an increment in their salaries by 25-30%.

Among the 4 categories, the players under the top category which is A were to get Rs. 800,000/month. This followed by players under category B, C, and D to get Rs. 500,000, Rs. 350,000 and Rs.200,000 a month respectively.

Four months prior, when PCB announced a central contract for 21 women, the board was paying an extremely small amount. As compared to men under A category paid Rs.800k, the women were paid only Rs.100k. Yes, eight times less!

The same case with the women under B, C and D categories were paid only Rs.80k, Rs.60k and Rs.40k a month.

I am not saying that the women should demand equivalent to the amount men are paid in Pakistan cricket. I understand the global marketing, advertising, organizing tours and fixtures, ticket sales fetch more of the board’s budget in men’s cricket than women’s. But paying eight times lesser to women is not justice at all.

Not many families can afford their daughters to step out and play the sports they love as they have to tackle many domestic and social issues. Coming from tough and difficult background stories, physical fitness and health is a huge focus for these sportswomen and I don’t think that most of the sports will facilitate them enough. Maybe cricket in Pakistan but the figures in the contracts above are discouraging.

The central contracts for women were announced a few months ago without mentioning the amount in figures. But what change will there be? And this is cricket I am talking about. You decide yourself what women are paid in the other sports.

03. WORKFORCE AND PAY GAP

As per the new Global Gender Pay Gap (GGPG) released by the World Economic Forum in December 2018, it will take 202 years to close the gap or in other words, men and women will earn the same figure of money in any given position across the globe after 200 years have crossed. This has improved from the 2017 report which predicted 217 years. Furthermore, women today are paid 63% of what men earn.

149 countries were ranked in this report. Iceland topped the list with women there earning 85% of what men earn. And guess where Pakistan ended up. They were 148th and above Yemen. Women in Pakistan are earning only 55% of what men earn. Yes, it indeed is embarrassing that the poorest countries in the world like Chad ($919 per person a year) and Mali ($917 per person a year) have a better ranking (145 and 143 respectively) than Pakistan. This disappointing percentage of Pakistan has increased by only 1% since the 2006 report.

The most disappointing factor is that Pakistan is consistently the second-lowest in GGPG for the past five years. So no step has been taken to escalate the rank in the last few years.

According to a 2012 conducted study in the agricultural sector, female workers were earning only 170 rupees a day as compared to male workers earning 300 rupees a day. The women earned 32% in skilled agriculture which was less than half of men (67%).

Pakistan, which is still amongst at least 60 countries with fewer women population than men, constitutes only 24% of the female labor force which is three times lesser than men labor force (82.7%).

04. RIGHTS FOR LESBIANS

(Here I will try to focus only on the lesbians out of LGBTs to stick on the points I am raising in this blog to a certain length)

With the awareness of globalization and increase in liberalization, one cannot ignore the rights of people from a different sexual orientation. Finally, after decades, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled in favor of civil rights for the transgender citizens in 2009. And last year, the country’s parliament passed the Transgender Persons Act 2017 which established protection for transgender people.

Which indicates that there is hope for the homosexual community to get civil rights just like the transgender citizens. Because so far, the same-sex marriages are not permitted and the matter is not generally brought in discussion in fear of the moo-law fascism.

The country still strictly prohibits homosexuality. Forget about the rights of the lesbians, it is considered a crime by law and anyone involved in the carnal intercourse with the same gender are to be punished for at least two years and maximum ten years with a fine according to the article 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

It is quite weird to realize that PPC is actually inherited and renamed from the Indian Penal Code, an Anglo-Saxon law written by Lord Macaulay in the colonial era in 1860. Why Pakistan still follows an almost 120-year-old article 377? The amendment was made in A and B of article 377 but the article itself was not amended.   

Moving towards the globalization, the country is the least accepting the community of homosexuals and are hostile towards them. Homosexuality is still a taboo subject in Pakistan. There was a spark of controversy when the private news channel broke the news of two Pakistani girls tying the knot in the UK.

So what about the people in such minorities then? Either they live as compromised or settle down to a certain country where LGBT is tolerated to live with freedom. Speaking of which reminds me of a case of a lady from Karachi who moved to the UK because of the tormented years of her beatings and discrimination for her being a lesbian.

As per the 2013 survey report of the Pew Research Center, 87% Pakistanis rejected the recognition of homosexuals in the society. But four years later, ILGARIWI mutually conducted a global attitude survey under which 45% Pakistanis agreed that such people should enjoy the rights as straight people.

A very minor percentage of lesbians in Pakistan are not able to stand up for their rights. If the women marching on the streets or sharing support in the social media believes in women rights and freedom, then they should step further and speak about this specific minority. Let them live in peace and others live in their peace.

05. WOMEN IN OLD-AGE HOMES

I think the most haunting imagination of life has to be when you think about getting old. And when I say old, I mean when you cross over 65 or say 70 at least. And what if I add a further misery or a jingle of torture to send you to a center where people of same age live for God knows how long.

It is torture, no? Keeping in mind that you are old and not long enough is the remainder of life to live with a decline in health. And you expect that your young ones will take care of you but they rather prefer to drop you there.

Some actually are okay to end up there because they suffered enough by their own to decide to move there in peace which is also a tragic fate. Enough of haunting? A man in Pakistani society may survive but what about a woman? Her case is more sensitive.

Abdul Sattar Edhi once admitted that the number of old-age homes dramatically increased in Karachi alone which rose from six to ten centers between 2006 and 2010. A few of those centers were sheltering more than 150 people. Do read the stories of the then 67-year-old Fehmeeda and 84-year-old Darakhshan.

Let me clear a very important point here. On a few occasion, their young ones or the relatives are not at fault. Many of the old generations have to move welfare centers because there is no other solution to survive. The pensions at most of the sectors and the companies are not enough to maintain a healthy life. With age comes diseases and the expensive medical bills shape to become a will paper. Should I expect better public toilets especially facilitated for old-age people at all in Pakistan or at least in a few metro cities?

It is the duty of the state or the welfare organizations to raise the bar of building more centers with enough facilities to help them live a better life. At the same time, the women need to voice the awareness of taking the domestic responsibilities of protecting the rights of their old ones especially the women. Imagine the life of people living in rural areas or slums. Those female sweepers, cleaners, maids and servants who spent their life serving the others and stay in their extreme poverty. What are they when they get old? Some measures should be adopted to lead them towards a healthy life above the poverty line before they feel isolated and rejected.

06. VOICE FOR RAPE VICTIMS

Whenever we discuss the rape cases in Pakistan, the first victim who comes in the mind is Mukhtaran Mai, a villager from Meerwala who survived a gang rape ordered by the tribal clan in Muzaffargarh. She broke the headlines in the Pakistan media for some time and even hit the global media including BBC and Time Magazine.

The tragic popularity of Mai has now dimmed with the death of a 7-year-old girl from Kasur, Zainab Ansari, who was raped and murdered last year in January. And there are dozens of rape incidents which became seasonal headlines and disappeared. Many cases didn’t meet justice.

Kainat Soomro was 13 when she was kidnapped and gang-raped for four consecutive days. Her brother was murdered three years later when she voiced for justice. Her father was beaten with iron rods and the local tribunal determined her to be a Kari (the black female who loses the virginity outside marriage). She fought for her right for several more years.

The reason for highlighting a few is to bring awareness to this serious matter which is, unfortunately, happening for decades in this country especially in the rural areas. Can you ever believe that some village councils in Pakistan rules ‘revenge’ rape in some cases?

Most of the rape cases are registered from Punjab province where around 3000 rapes reached the police station in 2017. Almost the similar figures of cases were registered in 2016 too. If I only term crimes against the women instead of saying ‘rape’, 5660 such cases were registered across the country in the first 10 months of 2017.

That year, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reported the lowest number of crimes by any province in the first half (202 including 72 rape cases). Balochistan had 354 cases in the first 10 months including four rape cases.

Sindh also has terrible stats. In 2016, there were 2817 cases registered about crimes against women which included 165 rapes and 13 gang-rapes. Next year, the new yearly concluded figures increased to 2934 cases out of which 156 were rape cases in Karachi and other parts, and 47 were gang-raped.

According to the 2017 Pakistan Human Rights Report from the US Department of State, the rapes were frequent but the prosecutions were rare. So imagine the fact that will disgust you that the abovementioned figures from the years 2016 and 2017 are only the cases which are registered to the police station. How many of those cases were then investigated? How many of those files were opened? How serious was the police department to eradicate or reduce the crime? When Zainab Ansari was lost and the case was reported to the authorities, they did nothing. In fact, the CCTV video footage was discovered by the family members when no response came from them.

I wonder such negligence has cost how many scores of lives in Pakistan. According to the Aurat Foundation in the same report (page 38), NGOs alleged the police that sometimes they abused or threatened the rape victims and demanded to drop the charges after receiving a bribe from suspected perpetrators. Some police demanded a bribe from the victims to register the case. According to the 2018 Pakistan Human Rights Report from the US Department of State, three Balochistan police officials were arrested for pressuring a rape victim to withdraw her allegations.

Yes, there were voices against the rape in the Aurat March but what about the rape victims? Who demanded justice for any rape victims? I may have missed some placards if there were but still not on a scale the participants of Aurat March should have.

07. PROTECTING WOMEN FROM ACID VIOLENCE

My final point of concern is about the women’s disfigurement by acid throwing mostly attempted by men. According to the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) of Pakistan, there are up to 150 cases of acid throwing in Pakistan every year due to the domestic abuse. Some other possible reasons can be her ‘inappropriate’ dressing or rejecting the marriage proposal. Imagine, around 150 women in Pakistan are the unfortunate victims of acid attacks with the consequences of possibly permanent skin damage.

Speaking of which reminds me of the case. Almost seven years ago, Alex Rodriguez of Los Angeles Times covered an incident about a gang of four men throwing sulfuric acid on a 10-year-old Zaib Aslam and her mother Parveen Akhtar. One of the four men was recognized to be the ex-fiancé of Parveen’s older daughter.

The acid attacks on women in Pakistan came to global attention only when Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge directed the Academy Award-winning documentary ‘Saving Face‘ in 2012.

Naila Farhat was the first prominent name of this century to suffer the acid attack. At 13, Naila was punished by her teacher’s friend for refusing the proposal by throwing acid while coming back from school in 2003. Punishment to the culprit? 12-years imprisonment and 1.2 million fine by the sessions court. So when the culprit appealed in the High Court, he was released with the condition of paying the fine.

Due to Naila’s courage to take the matter to the Supreme Court and the efforts of ASF Pakistan in 2011, the parliament decided to pass the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill on acid violence. But the unfortunate part is that maintaining reliable data about the cases were not taken seriously by the federal and provincial governments and due to the reason, the number of cases is extremely low. Based on the monitoring of the media, 96 cases were recorded in 2012, 67 in 2013, and 84 in 2014.

In 2008, the New York Times covered the story of Shahnaz Bukhari, founder of the Progressive Women’s Association (PWA). This organization came to existence to help the female victims of social and domestic violence. In 1994, the PWA began to work on the acid and burn cases. Through this coverage, Bukhari has claimed that PWA has documented nearly 8000 acid attack cases during the period 1994 to 2008 only in Islamabad area. That is a huge jaw-dropping figure from none other than the capital.

The reason to write about all these acidic references is to emphasize that Pakistan badly suffers this type of violence. Throwing sulfuric acid on the body is a serious degree burn with much certainty of the skin to be never normalized or women not surviving the pain or committing suicide. And throwing for the most ridiculous reasons. Even if there are strong reasons, then this should not be the case. This is death before the real death.


The punishment of the last two points should be severe so that the crime rate drops somehow. Many laws have begun to shape in favor of women but there is still time for swift justice. I cannot imagine what and how most of the women especially in the rural areas have suffered in the 20th century.

In my opinion, the ideal government and nation are which advocates the liberty and religious, social, domestic and economic freedom of a woman. I believe that the woman should enjoy her rights and must be served/facilitated with her just demands.

Abdul Sattar Edhi once said that Humanity is the biggest religion. Indeed it is humanity which all the religions emphasize on by different teachings and principles. There has to be no existing religion which does not focus on the importance and rights of the women.

(NOTE: The pictures used in this blog are taken from The News article and belongs to Bismah Mughal).

Concluding my blog with the hope that people in Pakistan understand the significance of the critical issues and raise awareness. Sharing is caring.

The Siege Of Bhopal, 1812 (First Part)

Moti Masjid built in 1860 by Sikandar Begum, daughter of Qudsiya Begum

I have been struggling to focus for past few months about reading this history book called ‘The Begums of Bhopal‘ written by Shahryar M. Khan, the former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and the former chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board.

This book came to my attention when I came to know that he was the cousin of the Nawab of Pataudi which meant that he belonged to the royal house. So when I read about him on Wikipedia, I was reintroduced to his name as an author. One of the books had this title envisaging some blood connection and when I read that some of the women ruled the Bhopal state for more than one hundred years, that knowledge encouraged me to read this book.

Mr Khan emigrated to Pakistan with his mother in 1950. His mother inspired him to write this book and for the research, he used his mother’s library to read all the available books, documents, and manuscripts, even the recorded tapes about his ancestors in the state’s history. No book on Bhopal can challenge the heaviest and rich detailing of this book due to the fact of Mr Khan having the luxury of storing the most authentic sources about Bhopal.

In this book, Mr Khan attempts incredible research and enriches the readers about his ancestors in which four Muslim women rulers reigned over Bhopal between 1819 and 1926. Therefore, the length of the blood lineage of Mr Khan can be traced back to Dost Mohammad Khan of the 17th century.

This double-storey palace was built by Rani Kamlapai in 1722. Rani was the widow of Nizam Shah, the Gond Raja who ruled Ginnor. When Dost Mohammad Khan protected her from her Gond rivals, she gifted the village of Bhopal. A new chapter of Dost’s dominance over Bhopal began from that moment.

This blog is not a book review. My reading to this book is merely 60 pages old but what has made my mind to write this blog is to inform you about one of the sieges mentioned in the book which was occurred in extraordinary circumstances. I would like to take you back to the chapters of the Indian history to tell you how the soldiers defended their piece of land. An example which is hard to imagine and nearly impossible to exist today.

We are observing a lot of wars, bloodbaths, riots, protests, ceasefires, political and religious disturbances between any of the two which is dismantling the way this world used to function. In these times, when all our ancestors of the golden periods are vanishing and becoming a part of history, there is a certain possibility that one day there will be no one and nothing to tell the new generations. The history books are already losing its value because of the priorities the new generations are setting to read. So it is the duty of some of us to share a part of history what we have read. Today, I will tell you the story of a siege and try to memorize you the significance of sacrifice. This is about the siege of Bhopal occurred in 1812.

Before I speak about the siege, I must enlighten you about some points which connect you towards the reason behind this siege. I will try to summarize the details.

DOST MOHAMMAD KHAN (1672-1728)

Now I mentioned this name before, Dost Mohammad Khan. This is the man from whom the history of Bhopal is genuinely spoken because he was the founder of the Bhopal state. He was a Pashtun from the Mirazi Khel clan of the Orakzai tribe from Tirah. He was a powerful warrior who fought under the army rank of Emperor Aurangzeb.

After the death of the emperor in 1707, he was employed in Malwa‘s Rajput state called Mangalgarh by Raja Anand Singh Solanki. Solanki’s mother was highly impressed with his service and after Raja’s death, she appointed him the guardian of Mangalgarh in 1708. Dost also married their Rajput girl, Kunwar Sardar Bai, who later converted to Islam and become Fateh Bibi. Dost had 11 children. The most popular of those were Yar, Wasil, Fazil, and Sultan.

By the next year, Dost bought Berasia on lease from Taj Mohammad Khan and built his fiefdom on it. He also built a mosque and a fort and appointed a qazi (judge). He gave administrative assignments to his trusted Afghan lieutenants and persuaded his clan in Tirah to join him and settle in Berasia. By 1712, fifty of his clan people along with his father and five brothers traveled and joined him. Thus, his Mirazi Khel clan became the pioneer settlers of Bhopal and were called Barru-Kat (shrub dwellers) Pathans of Bhopal.

Bhopal’s first mosque, Dhai Seedhi Ki Masjid, was built by Dost Mohammad Khan in 1722

In 1722, the foundation of Fatehgarh Fort was laid by Dost naming the fort after his beloved wife Fateh Bibi. Bhopal’s first mosque Dhai Seedhi Ki Masjid (Two-And-Half-Steps Mosque) was also built inside the fort. This fort has never been conquered. During this period, Dost was entitled as the Nawab of Bhopal for what he did for the state. It was his charismatic leadership by which he created a Muslim state with 90% Hindu population and surrounded by a sea of Rajput and Marhatta adversaries.

Mausoleum of Dost Mohammad Khan is located near Gandhi Medical College in Bhopal
YAR MOHAMMAD KHAN (1710-1742)

Six years later, Dost died and his son, Yar Mohammad, became the second Nawab at 18. The post-Dost era was a pretty hard time in the beginning as the Marhattas began dominating over Malwa under Peshwa Baji Rao I. Peshwa, in 1736, fought and defeated the Nizam of Hyderabad. In 1740, Bajirao died and his son Balaji Rao succeeded him. Yar’s leadership lacked the charisma which his father had and his 14-year reign saw Bhopal genuflect towards the Marhattas. In 1742, Yar died of illness at a young age of 32 leaving his Hindu wife Mamola Bai behind. She was the first significant woman of Bhopal’s political history. She didn’t give birth to any of Yar’s but ruled over Bhopal for over 50 years under the name of Yar’s sons, Faiz and Hayat with the assistance of another Hindu loyalist Bijjeh Ram who was Dost’s faithful chief minister. It was ironic to observe two Hindus giving a helping hand to rule the Muslim state over a population of most of the Hindus and invoking the Islamic legitimacy in favor of her stepsons. Mamola herself adopted a Brahmin, Chottey Khan who later became her chief minister.

FAIZ MOHAMMAD KHAN (1731-1777)

Faiz, the third Nawab, was a very religious man whose devotion to Sufism grew to an extent that he lost his interest in the state politics. Mamola ruled under his name for the next 35 years until he died of an illness leaving his wife behind. His wife was Saleha Begum, better known as Bahu Begum, his first cousin. Begum was the daughter of Yar’s brother Wasil Mohammad Khan, the traitor who once helped Peshwa to invade Bhopal.

HAYAT MOHAMMAD KHAN (1735-1807)

The era of the fourth Nawab, Hayat, met serious crisis when he allowed his cousin, Murid Mohammad Khan, to enter the Bhopal state in 1796 (a year after Mamola Bai died). Murid was the son of the conspirator Sultan Mohammad Khan, who once attempted to claim the title of Nawab from Yar once their father died. Murid was a pure villain and treacherous. In 1797, he killed Hayat’s wife and later called Marhatta leaders for support to take over Bhopal state. Hayat summoned Fazil’s grandson, Wazir Mohammad Khan to take the charge. Hayat and Wazir with 1000 tribesmen were assisted by Kuli Khan, the jagirdar (landlord) of Ambapani and defeated Murid in the battle where his other opponents were Bala Rao Anglia of Gwalior, Raghuji Bhonsle of Nagpur, and Amir Khan of Tonk with a force of forty thousand.

WAZIR-GHOUS RIVALRY

Although the opponents tasted a bitter defeat and the Bhopalis defended their state under Hayat but it was Wazir whose heroics earned the highest reputation hoping to revive the legacy of his great-grandfather, Dost Mohammad Khan. Almost 70 years to Dost’s demise and their people missed that leadership quality among Yar and his sons Faiz and Hayat. In fact, it was Mamola Bai most of the times when she ruled with proper care under their names.

Wazir became the deserving commander-in-chief in 1797. He recovered many territories which were lost under Hayat’s rule. His growing reputation became a huge concern for Hayat and his son, Ghous Mohammad Khan. Wazir and Ghous were rivals but Ghous had permission by his father to exercise the powers of Nawab. After all, Ghous was next in line. Wazir had no interest in the power, he was a born warrior who wanted things to go in the best interest of his state.

Sensing a possible threat from the powerful neighboring states of Gwalior and Nagpur who were recently defeated, Wazir negotiated with the British in 1804 to support them against the Marhattas. This may have proceeded in a mutual agreement if Ghous wouldn’t interfere. His enmity for Wazir was so venomous that in 1807 when Hayat died and he became the fifth Nawab, he banished Wazir from Bhopal and made treacherous deals with his rival, Daulat Rao Sindhia. As per the deal, Ghous was willing to surrender the Islamnagar Fort, pay four lakhs of rupees in cash, present an annual tribute of 50,000 to Sindhia and 11,000 rupees to his public officers.

BHOPAL UNDER THREAT
In 1807, when Ghous banished Wazir from Bhopal, he moved to Ginnor and took a temporary residence in this fort, Ginnorgarh Fort.

With this deal, the British drew themselves back because they were obviously unsure of Bhopal’s commitments. Looking at Ghous’ impotency, Raghuji Bhonsle took his chance to take revenge from their defeat and sent a colossal force of 40,000 under a Muslim general, Sadiq Ali.

Wazir on his tailless horse Pankhraj took a temporary residence in the Ginnorgarh Fort, an ancient fort built in the times of Gond Rajas. Areas of Hoshangabad and Cheynpoor Barree were taken by the Nagpur army.

Rahatgarh Fort is located in a town, Rahatgarh. Built by Sultan Mohammad Khan. In 1807, when Daulat Rao Sindhia besieged the fort, it was Wazir Mohammad Khan who began to recover Bhopal back by fighting his enemies from this fort.

Sadiq Ali stayed for six weeks at Bhopal, took Ghous’ eldest son Moiz as a hostage and returned Nagpur. Sindhia besieged the evacuated Rahatgarh Fort. Wazir scrutinized the security on the fort weaker enough to confront and overtake. After taking the fort back, he determined on an attempt to return for the rescue, kick the Nagpur force out and take the control from here.

Raisen Fort is over an 800-year-old fort to be first under the control of the Rajputs and various Hindu rulers until the 16th century when the fort was captured by Sher Shah Suri in 1543. Faiz Mohammad Khan occupied the fort in 1760 and remained under the princely state of Bhopal when India achieved independence in 1947.

There was no way the state would trust Ghous as their leader. Wazir accused him of treachery and banished him to Raisen fort. Ghous remained Nawab but with no authority to exercise. The situation was alarming after the omen which Ghous brought on the Bhopalis. In 1812, the states of Gwalior and Nagpur who had differences with each other during this period, resolved their issues because both had a common enemy to deal with.

Daulat Rao Sindhia and Raghuji Bhonsle joined hands to defeat Wazir, invade Fatehgarh Fort and take over Bhopal. Their collective Marhatta army of 82,000 under the generals, Jagua Bapu and Sadiq Ali, marched towards the state of Bhopal to the siege. Bhopalis faced the greatest crisis and the toughest times in their history.

How possibly would Wazir defend his state and his people against the mighty Marhattas this time?

THE RISING OF A FAILED STATE (LAST PART)

This blog is in the continuity from my previous blog. Before you begin reading further, kindly read the first part HERE.

In the previous blog, I discussed the issues Pakistan is facing in the recent years and what points the observers have to consider in scrutinizing the government. Now I will surface the expectations on the revival of survival.

INVOKING A TABDEELI

The result of the recently concluded general elections comes to a massive surprise with a voice of change drumming almost everywhere. Being hopeless to observe the cipher-bound nation to vote the same parties repeating the same destruction and failing the country, I was believing that the same Pakistan Muslim League – N (PMLN) running the government will win the election after collecting the sympathetic votes for imprisoning their favorite leaders or perhaps Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will take the turn.

Moreover, Imran Khan‘s former wife Reham Khan sparked nationwide controversy by making blatant allegations in her recently released book. I am not aware of how accurate the allegations are. My brain doesn’t accept the kind of allegations she made on her former husband because those claims make Khan look pure evil but then, Khan had a Sita White case in the past with whom he has an illegitimate daughter. Fingers crossed or in the other words, God knows the best.

But Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are victorious with 116 seats for the National Assembly. The 22-year wait to win the general election is over. Khan’s declaration of change in the form of a tsunami which he coined in a political jalsa a few years ago all becomes true. Back in 2002, when Pakistan Muslim League – Q (PML-Q) won the general election, PTI won only one seat and that too by Khan. This election, Khan win 5 seats alone wherever he contested becoming the first Pakistani politician to record victory at 5 different polling stations. Back in 1970, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto contested elections from 4 constituencies and managed to win 3.

Numerous wonders occurred at this event. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto lost a seat from Lyari district where his party had political dominance for decades. Muttahida Qaumi Movement‘s 30-year rule over Karachi ended when PTI won 15 of the 21 seats in Karachi for the National Assembly. The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) had a tendency towards changing the ruling party in the general elections every time in the past 25 years. PTI became the first party to win KPK assembly in consecutive terms which prove that their contribution for the KPK people was recognized and trusted.

Voice of change and change of voice coincides across the nation. A politician like Maulana Fazlur Rehman who in almost every general election ended winning the seat in the National Assembly couldn’t win this time. Amir Liaqat joining PTI five months ago raised the eyebrows to the standards the party had raised or lowered to the voice the change for the better cause. But how crucial was this decision? People in Karachi, who were fed up of MQM’s rule especially Farooq Sattar, decided to vote and prefer Amir Liaqat over him for the sake of changing hands and looking a better future of Karachi under PTI after listening to Khan addressing tons of promises in the last few years. It indeed is a change when so many calamities over PMLN, PPP, and MQM occur.

KHAN’S ADDRESSES – A VOICE OF HOPE

The political dynamics are changing, so are the global voices. After a few channels from the Indian media displayed hatred towards Khan, many people in India including famous names in sports and film industry are praising his success and struggle, and hoping to see a new wave in Indo-Pak diplomatic ties. Navjot Sidhu accepted Khan’s invitation to participate in the oath ceremony. With Sidhu’s arrival, I hope a dove raises the bar of peace between the two countries.

Imran Khan with scores of addresses and promises in his jalsas forwarded highly impressive addresses after the election results before and after becoming the 22nd prime minister of the country. A lot of topics came to the attention but with a powerful stature and a command in speaking with the required determination that he always possessed, what made his listeners feel good and hopeful was the freshness of words. He spoke some lines which no biggest authority in Pakistan ever did. There is a reason why most of the viewers and listeners trust him.

What I will try to do is bring a few bullet points in attention to the readers from both the addresses to understand what we are to expect and hope in the next five very important and crucial years.

01. Khan idealized that the state under him will be like Medina under the times of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaehe Wasallam (SAW). Now, to be honest, this religious circle of vision may take the nation into daydreaming and completely avoiding the ground reality of the offense the country has suffered under the name of Islam. With people belonging to many different Islamic ideologies under the same geographical roof, it is almost impossible to convince all at a point or put them in any religious agreement.

There is every chance that his every move or decision is put to an argument if the decision is according to Sharia law or if Prophet Mohammad S.A.W. allowed. Most of the people in the country have taken the religious matter to different dimensions, they understand less, gets sentimental more. Many times, the probability of doubt towards understanding a scholar or an orator about Islam or any aspect adds more rage, fury, and risk. In such a situation, my opinion is that Khan should have avoided such an extremely bold statement because when the lumberjack chops the trunk, the whole tree collapses. 

So the nation should observe that Khan spoke about the principles of the ideal state to establish so they should not fall delusional of thinking a whole newly constructed Islamic state and begin comparing his every move for the state with the state Prophet Mohammad S.A.W. established. He, in short, has set Medina state as a prime example.

02. Khan spoke highly of human development and recognition of the poor to be fed and paid what they deserve. He was so highly concerned of child growth that he, live on the state channel, showed two diagrams of children only differing due to consumption of nourishing food required for a two-year-old child.

03. Khan confirmed that political rivalries are the past for the sake of bringing solidarity in the country. I do not expect the rivalry to end. When he is running the government, there is every possibility in the coming years that his rivals ridicule the country’s political and socioeconomic situation in the coming years.

04. Khan clearly stated that the accountability will start with him and his ministers, followed by the others. One of the most impressive lines in his address.

05. Khan encouraged the overseas Pakistanis to invest the money in the country under the new leadership and promised the nation to protect the tax money and better the tax culture.

06. Khan innovated shaping the PM house into an educational institution and to bring in public use of all the governor houses. Because he admits humiliation for living in a palace of a country where more than half of the population are poor.

With that, he submitted his assurance that he, his governors and ministers will reduce their expenditures and adopt simplicity. The expensive vehicles which were used by the previous governments will be sold in the auction to the businessmen and put the received hefty money in the national treasury. The security will be reduced.

07. Khan talked about sending a team to China, make a report and learn the progress of the efforts the Chinese government made to overcome poverty at such a high rate.

08. Khan gave equal importance to both Saudi Arabia and Iran and voiced for immense efforts to ease the Middle East crisis. I have discussed Pakistan’s role in the Middle East crisis in the previous part.

09. Khan expressed disappointment to the Indian media for spreading negative portrayal but urged for dialogues and stepping ahead for better ties and open on trade relations and transactions.

10. Khan spoke of law amendments to ensure speedy disposal of civil cases within a year. We know that thousands of cases are shelved unfought for years and the poor is the one who suffered the most. If this happens, justice may be believed to earn its lost repute.

11. Khan stressed on the improvement in the education and the government hospitals.

12. Khan raised the issue of global warming and emphasized on a nationwide tree plantation campaign. Khan on the 3rd of September has launched a mega Tree Tsunami project in which 10-billion trees will be planted in the next 5 years against the climatic and environmental challenges. If this plan succeeds, Pakistan may be counted among the countries who raise their voice and contribute against the challenges. It may prove to be a significant turning point.

13. Khan challenged and offered cooperation to his rivals by investigating on any requested stations where the losing parties believed that the elections were rigged. This act of daring is something which the previous ruling party didn’t commit or offer.

14. Khan, in his final lines, envisioned that the country will financially prosper to the extent that there would be no tax receiver and he doubted if he may be alive to see that happen. This statement will be remembered for a long time even after his soul departs because the quality of the great people is that they, in their lifetime, utter some quotes which become the observational phenomena.

WERE THE ELECTIONS RIGGED?

Many observers have depicted their satisfaction. I am not an observer of this scenario. Rigging has always been in our blood, this will never stop. As far as politics is concerned, after every 5-year period, the victorious party claims the general election to be the purest while the rest whine. The same method was applied this time when all the losing parties assembled for the conference and decided whether to sit in the national assembly or not. It indeed is traditionally hilarious that after losing the election, the party claims rigging and later on decides to sit in the assembly indirectly and technically accepting the results, and become the opposition. Because seriously, who refuses the power of seat in the national assembly? Better to sit in the opposition and play chess.

They say that the Election Commission of Pakistan was responsible for the election. But let us agree on the open secret that there is something fishy about the happenings in Pakistan’s political affairs in the recent months. The judicial and military accountability over the-then existing political scenario troubled them, the biggest names went to prison or were declared impotent to contest any seat for the general elections. Yes, nature had its say too when the heavy rains in Lahore exposed the lies of the provincial government and the professed Paris in Lahore turned in to Venice. The army security had much of the control on the polling stations I agree. I asked a few of my friends about the situation there. But why the cameras weren’t allowed inside the stations? Only God knows what exactly happened but, to be honest, if the elections still were rigged, I am certainly okay with it.

Why so? Because the previous rigging established no hopes but sorrows. Voters voted the same parties and whined all the years. You have tried and trusted them for decades twice and thrice. You have lived in fear at certain places. This time, the rigging that brings the new faces and new hopes are acceptable, the majority of the nation is convinced that they can certainly expect better from the new ruling party. Perhaps, this was the fairest ‘rigged’ elections ever. And there is nothing wrong in hoping that the country’s broken spine and damaged reputation can be tried to fix and improve.

REALISTIC PATRIOTISM

Pakistanis are the most patriotic nation in the world because there is no country whose nation celebrates its independence like her, but unfortunately, their sincerity and passion are over-dramatic and unrealistic. I call it chauvinism with the all-is-well approach because their contribution is less to what words of their utmost love for the country they utter from their mouths.

Patriotism is a form of emotional madness towards liking and loving a particular geographic piece of land with the addition of developing aerial theories which most of the time doesn’t make logical or lacks common sense. People with such mentality loses conscience and begins to believe that they are superior to the others.

Failed governments have destroyed the societies for decades and as compared to the golden period of their cultural integrity, we have observed more moral calamity, rage, hatred, delusion, frustration, madness, negativity, lie, manipulation, backbiting, brainwashing, abuse, killing, and firing.

Further destruction came in the education when so many lies while teaching the country’s history wrecked and manipulated the generations and developed disturbance and confusion towards the reality which they declared frailty. After all of this, if the nation thinks that they really are patriotic, then it is a lost case and doesn’t make sense.

Thinking and understanding towards the religion and tolerance have dropped a severe low, also in decades, when religion was used as a political tool and many many many so-called religious organizations came to existence to fool the illiterate and ignorant people. Many flags under the motive of spreading the message of Islam clashed the brains of common and aided with false and wrong beliefs. The wrongs and fongs became traditions and rituals. Some of those organizations became political parties and some campaigns for spreading terrorism.

The passion of the-then nationalism and patriotism which was highly delusional on paper with zero motive now have a new voice and new hope. Under a new leadership, this jazba can flourish and help to contribute an honest cause and build them a new mason.


I am not a nationalist or a patriotic individual but I feel disappointed to observe a country in such a miserable condition and totally lost on the purpose of its existence. I admire Mr. Jinnah’s charismatic personality but do not believe in the vision of Mr. Jinnah and strictly disagree with the partition of a land into two on the bases of a two-nation theory which is built on strict racism and hatred. Both Hindus and Muslims have lived together for centuries. The existence of both the countries became a possibility thanks to the conclusion of World War II which pushed the British Empire to release the countries from the colonization. God knows how long we all would be colonized if this war would have never happened or never ended.

I am not a rebel nor a time traveler to rectify the blunder of the country’s founder but with the passing of time, I have to compromise and recognize the existence of this country and I, like other people, build HOPE to see a better future of this country with the new masons enrolled.

People should not jump waiting for the results from the day after taking the oath. People must realize that much a loss in shape of money has been suffered. The act of begging by the previous governments towards the institutions and supreme authorities has led the country in bad repute.

After some years, we will look back and observe how the revelation of the Panama Papers and Microsoft’s Calibri font ate PMLN. It looks no less than a wonderful script of a political drama.

What is Naya Pakistan? It is a substantial imagination of building a utopian state which failed to create in 71 years. It is a renovation of the destroyed building. This is not coming to reality soon. I have observed the craziness on the social media about people asking and questioning the possibility of observing Naya Pakistan in a few days and weeks. This is sheer nonsense. Even the final results of your board exams do not show up that quick as the people are demanding.

Tremendous patience is required. It is about rebuilding a country, not a school or shopping mall. It will take years to produce the genuinely positive results. Enough addresses from Khan, action has to be implemented. The government should be judged after at least six months and should be highly discussed when the first federal budget under this government is announced. But people must realize that Khan cannot do this alone, the nation has to cooperate and contribute. The nation has to do the favor to aid Khan to produce the expected results. If the level of trust has raised a few percentages under him, there is a possibility to believe because hoping is believing.

No government in the political history of Pakistan has ever completed its 5-year tenure. Will Khan be able to complete? Will Khan fulfill the promises? Will the ruling party surpass the expectations of the nation? Will there be a booming economy? Will the poverty decrease and the workers earn the deserving? Will the justice serve the right and prevail?

Time will tell…

Rise…

The Rising Of A Failed State (First Part)

Just an opinion as a prelude, when states fail their people, people then fail their states.

The victorious political party has a fixed period of time to win their people’s trust and act on the promises they spoke in their speeches. When the government fails, the nation looks after the other party who can do their work better than the current one. Time passes by, decades crosses, economy goes down and corrupts, the environment pollutes, societies lose morality, rich people invest money on survival, middle and lower classes frustrates and blames, and refuses and abuses, and fights and ignites, and doubts and shouts, and daydreams and screams, and cries and dies.

On the earth, the national deludes but in the grave, the national complains. We are not sophisticated people, we are colonized people. We do not rule, we are ruled. We are a nation who follows and revolves around ‘Cipher’. We are a puppet who is functioned by the other pair of hands. We have been played by the people in the supreme power for more than a century. The power is a supreme authority which can manipulate great minds. So when the extreme power strikes its spell like the beauty attracts to a man, the greatness turns in to greediness. The acts hold wrongdoings clean and cleam. The nation is further deceived and colonized.

A group of people with the right set of mind with an ideal vision in favor of the nation especially the poor are robust against disgust. They struggle without snuggle, raise their voice for change and whisper the hopeless ears that ‘we are the avengers to bring bad people in power to the highest court of justice and punish them, we are the masons to build and hold the broken wall, we are the defenders of solidarity and contributors to prosperity, we are the rescuers of the rights and advocates of the political revolution, and with the nation lost and frost we want to be the reason for the change in nation’s fate and fortune’. It is extremely painful to survive after being repeatedly deceived, the existence with such suffering only waits for the call of Azrael. It is highly likely to build a belief that there is still a helper offering a helping hand to change his/her fate and fortune. With new people in power on the same chairs, there is nothing but hope. And hoping is believing.

POLITICAL TURMOIL

(INTERNATIONAL)

After George W. Bush‘s declaration of War on Terror, things have gone further wrong in Pakistan’s way. With former General Parvez Musharraf joining hands with Bush on War On Terror and making the biggest blunder in Pakistan’s political history in the 21st century, Pakistan achieved nothing but suffered heavy losses physically and economically. The casualties are counted to at least 60,000 people and financial loss of more than a $100 billion in supporting what Bush began. But here is to admit the ugly truth that many of Al-Qaeda biggies were caught from Pakistan including the big bad news, Osama Bin Laden. After all these years of hiding, where was he finally found? In Abbottabad! In a compound which was located less than a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy. And Abbottabad is hardly one hundred kilometers away from the capital. More to the embarrassing mess, according to Bin Laden’s wife, he was living or hiding in that compound for five years! Oh boy oh boy oh boy!

(I will additionally recommend the readers to read a very interesting article from the mid-2007 issue of Foreign Affairs, A False Choice In Pakistan by Daniel Markey focusing on post 9/11, War on Terror and policy/relation with Pakistan and Pakistan’s internal issues and conflicts, even dangerously doubting on them if they are the trusted allies of the US.

Also, check another detailed report from the directory of the Federation of American Scientists about the political instability of Pakistan by Alan Kronstadt. This research was published in 2014.)

Pakistan’s further stress towards the motion of building or shaping a political harmony is their relationship with Saudi Arabia and Iran. After decades of the brotherhood with Saudia, Pakistan is observed to be inclined more towards Iran in the recent times. Back in 2015, when the Kingdom called for the military support in the Yemen fight against the Houthis, Pakistan declined to support giving the impression that Iran was backing Pakistan for this. The Houthi rebels are the movement of conflict with the Zaidi ideology of the Shia sect heavily backed financially and militarily by the Iranian government. As per the 2012 report from the US official site, most of Yemen’s 35% Shia population is of Zaidi sect.

Pakistan under the new leadership also has to make an impression with the other Muslim countries that they are not dealing with the devils especially after signing billion dollars energy deals with Qatar and Russia. 5 Arab countries broke the ties with Qatar last year but Pakistan made an agreement with them before in late 2015 worth $16b to provide Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for the next 15 years. With Russia, Pakistan made an agreement of constructing Karachi-Lahore pipeline for the LNG transportation worth $2b also in 2015 and before this agreement, both Pakistan and Russia had signed a defense cooperation deal in late 2014 with Sergey Shoygu becoming the first Russian defense minister to visit Pakistan since 1969. This energy deal was also the countries’ first in 30 years. Knowing the fact that Iran and Russia both were backing Bashar al-Assad in the war crimes against his own people, Pakistan still went for it. From September 2015 onwards, Russia began heavily bombing in Syria.

Pakistan being a Sunni-dominated country has a 20% Shia population which disembarks them from the ground neutralities. The country would have to be someone’s proxy in the unwanted war. When Saudi Arabia launched Islamic Military Alliance (IMA) in December that year, 34 countries were involved which stretched to 41 later. All the participating countries were Sunni-dominated countries including Pakistan. With that understanding, all the Shia-dominating countries including Iran were not the part of it. To avoid the situation get worse, Pakistan hosted Iranian president Hassan Rouhani after a few months to reassure that Tehran is not an anti-Shia body. Saudia later on appointed the-then retiring Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, Raheel Sharif as the commander of the IMA.

(NATIONAL)

With Pakistan already suffering from the international politics, the country lost its accountability in the province of Balochistan. The insurgency by the Baloch Nationalists against the government is decades old but the recent phase of the growing tensions began from 2005 when Shazia Khalid was raped at the Sui Gas facility. It is widely believed that she was raped by an army officer but when Parvez Musharraf declared on the state channel that the culprit in the army uniform is not guilty, Nawab Bugti led the violent uprising. Years passed but the fight didn’t stop.

Besides, a ruinous political unrest was witnessed in past few years. The Model Town Tragedy of 2014 badly affected the reputation of the governing body with the police killing several Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) protestors. Media broadcasters aired the shocking footages of a vandal, Gullu Butt, smashing windscreens of many parked vehicles by using a club and strangely leading the police squad attack the protestors. Furthermore, he was seen hugged by Tariq Aziz, SP of the same area. Butt was later arrested and then bailed out prompting heavy condemnation of both PAT and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Tariq Aziz was later promoted as SSP Discipline and Inquiry in Lahore police HQ after Butt was bailed out. The-then Law Minister of Punjab, Rana Sanaullah, defended the police operation.

On the other hand, after no response from the government on the demand of probe of election fraud in four constituencies for 14 months and no response from the supreme court despite fraud allegation from the additional secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan Afzal Khan, Imran Khan accused Nawaz Sharif of rigged elections and led a massive anti-government protest called Azadi March beginning from 14th Aug to the next 126 days. The slogan ‘Go Nawaz Go‘ went popular nationwide and among the Pakistani communities living across the globe from this event. But the use of this slogan dropped many cents of morality among the few anti-government lobbies that some of the pilgrims from Pakistan chanted the slogan during the pilgrimage and in the two holy cities.

THE DISTURBED GEOGRAPHY

Pakistan being one of the most insecure geographical places for the outsiders and one of the suffering regions by terrorism, met severe tragedies in the last few years indicating that the country has been under alarming target by the terrorist organizations. Among the few to mention and reflect the level of security crisis; Karachi airport was attacked by 10 militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and 36 people were killed back in 2014. Imagine the security situation of Pakistan’s other domestic and international airports when the country’s largest and busiest airport met this unfortunate event!

Sectarian clashes in the country have met tremendous hatred and grown concerns despite reinstating brotherhood for umpteenth times. The Afghan gunmen from Jundallah killed at least 45 Ismaili Shia passengers during open firing inside the bus in Karachi in 2015.

The shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar has been one of the most significant historic sites where a million visitors show up every year. Last year, a suicide attack (believed to be orchestrated by ISIL) killed at least 90 people and injured 300 others during the Sufi ritual after the evening prayer.

Months later, a series of terror attacks by ISIL and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar resulted in 96 casualties collectively in three different cities on the same day. In 2016, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar were also responsible for killing at least 75 and injuring more than 300 people in Lahore’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park. The motive behind this terrorism was to kill the Christians who were celebrating Catholic Easter on that very day.

But the biggest tragedy amongst all the terror attacks was the Peshawar School Massacre when six gunmen affiliated with Tehrik-I-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacked the Army Public School by open firing on the school staff and children between the age range of 8 and 18. 149 people including 132 school children were killed that day becoming the world’s fourth deadliest school massacre ever. This event ripped me because this fact just couldn’t accept digest me or accept my mind that a terrorist can open fire on children. I wish the murderers rot in hell, Amen.

DIGGING KUFR

Safeguarding the minority community has also been the talking point in Pakistan especially after the War on Terror. Also, the minorities have been socially ill-treated and there have been cases of church attacks, burning temples and killing them.

Minorities, who comprised 23% of Pakistan’s population back in 1947 which has now dropped to 4% in recent years, have been in remote position due to non-acceptance, unrecognition or intolerance by the Muslims in the surroundings everywhere. The case of the non-Muslim communities of both Hindu and Christian faith are highly sensitive. The Hindus in Pakistan in the early 90s had to suffer the wrath after the historic Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India was demolished by a large group of Hindu Kar Sevaks in 1992. In retaliation, more than two dozen temples were destroyed in one single day in Pakistan. Hardly two dozen of the temples for the Hindus remain in the country.

The Christian community has also suffered a series of setbacks in recent years. Over 40 houses and a church were set ablaze by the mobs in Gojra back in 2009. But a few months before the 2013 general elections, a twin suicide-bomb blast killed over 100 people and almost 250 injured at All Saints Church in Peshawar. Two years later, Lahore witnessed a bombing each at two different churches on the same day killing at least 15 people.

The case of the Ahmadi community is also very sensitive and plasters a dark and controversial image in Pakistan. Unnecessary to detail them but the community who were the advocates of Pakistan Movement, who supported Jinnah’s Muslim League for the establishment of a new Islamic state, who were one of the most prosperous and educated people after the independence, were victimized and targeted of their beliefs and killed in heavy numbers in 1953 and 1974. 2013 onwards, numerous events have crossed of their deaths. If the transgender can get their rights, why not Ahmadis? Because of their belief? As Imran Khan has given his support to the blasphemy law but the treatment of Ahmadis in the new hands of changing politics will be a sensitive observation.

RAPES AND HONOR KILLINGS

No nation can progress whose government is not able to protect and safeguard the women and children. This decade has met unfortunate events of honor killings and rapes, most of these occurring in the Punjab province. More than 70% of violence against women in Pakistan in 2014 occurred in Punjab with almost 30% increase in the cases registered Punjab as compared to those registered in 2013. In 2015, 1100 women were murdered in the name of honor. The Human Right Commission of Pakistan has listed more than 450 cases in 2017.

Alas, honor killings, unfortunately, is a tradition in Pakistan running for centuries. Elders of the family actually kill their women if she doesn’t obey and accept the marriage proposals, or find her speaking to a man, or committed with someone. There have been so many cases. I was shell-shocked when, in 2008, the three teenagers were buried alive by their Umrani tribe for choosing their own husbands, the politician Israr Ullah Zehri defended the honor killings in an open national parliament and willed to continue.

Most of the rape cases came to the attention from the rural areas where the local village council itself ordered the women to be raped. Yes, you read it right, rape order direct from the council. What eats my brain is that why and how the village cases have not come under scrutiny, why the women in rural areas are still the targets of rapes and honor killings? Four years ago, one village council ordered the gang rape in Muzaffargarh district, that was the very district where Bibi Mukhtaran was gang-raped back in 2002. So what changed there? Nothing.

January of this year observed a few rape cases of under 18, the most infamous being Zainab Ansari’s rape and death who was only 6 or 7 years old. A 3-year-old girl, Asma, was raped and murdered in Mardan.

With the ruling parties changing in the National and Punjab Assembly, many human rights organizations will have a careful observation on the number of cases reported, registered and the treatment towards the women and children during this tenure.

(Sincerely thanks for reading. This blog will be continued in the next and final part publishing soon.)

#MeToo And Meesha-Ali Scandal

I don’t follow what is happening in the world. Why? Because the happening is depressing and same old story repeats again and again. So why should I take the interest? Why should I bring enthusiasm when it is going to do nothing but deteriorate your health.

In 2018, an individual cannot have a positive mindset because of this reason, because of the existence of the system which doesn’t help you to live your own life at all and if he/she compromises and tries to bring a positive outcome or inspire others with a better suggestion, or present a better theory and opinion, then there is a ranting and hooting race of fellow humans who will behave as betrayed and offended and curse you without understanding your point.

Forget the value of the humans who dropped words of wisdom from their mouth to their disgust by mistake, I have seen commentators mocking and insulting your country, your religion, your prophets, your entire family and ancestors (to whom you may have never met), just because he/she didn’t agree with you. Aye, that is how indisposed the world has become.

So I am not a newspaper geezer but that source of alarming the happening is faster on the social media. Neither can I avoid social media nor can I keep my eyes away from the news. So how things are rolled up nowadays? Forget about the world authorities and supreme powers playing a Game of Thrones every day, we normal earthlings are also getting emotionally corrupted.

For some decades, sincerity and morality from the emotional aspects of human relations were diminishing at a vast speed thanks to the scientific advancements and inventions which were supposed to help the human race at all, but now we are the criminals of our own body. No not masturbation, readers! This is about a lot of things. For example, developing a sexual interest in the children or taking the matters of human sexes in the debate.

Man versus Woman, why? Blaming and criticizing their sexes, why? Both were supposed to cooperate each other. Both were supposed to enjoy each other’s company. Why the hatred? Are we in position to speak on the blame games? If we are, then will we humans justify the case?

A wave of feminism globally rose with a ‘Me Too‘ slogan and suddenly the MAN became a disease, a plague. And thanks to Harvey Weinstein, who helped this wave become a tsunami. But, with time, has feminism conveyed the message and shaped into their own betterment within the same society where this cruel MAN is existing? What is the science or theory of feminism on which a girl or a woman constructs her ideology or life?

Recently, a topic in Pakistan rose in the name of sexual harassment among the celebrities. On the 19th of April, Meesha Shafi announced on the social media that she has been sexually harassed by her colleague, Ali Zafar. With the announcement, Meesha hash-tagged Me Too, confirming that a woman has been abused by a man. Fair enough, that is one side of the story.

A few hours later, Ali Zafar responded on the social media by denying all the claims lodged against him. As expected, man and woman from all over the world responded with many different opinions. Some favoured Meesha, some Ali. Some blamed to both or any of the two while some criticized the urban life and liberty, and advised to follow Islamic teachings.

What ridiculed the issue lies in the state of the event occurred between the two. Many of us passed their opinions. Through this blog, let me try to speak/write some points related to this event because I am also free to pass my opinion.

A) The first thing we should understand in such a sensitive case is to recognize the fact that you and I know nothing at all what exactly happened between the two. So before any of us begin writing our opinion, we should not be judgmental on any of the two’s case. People tell their side of the story and we are nothing to them. So we don’t know if what they say on the social MEDIA is even half lie or true. Meesha says Ali harassed her but he denies. So between these statements, especially in the case of sexual harassments, we have to be careful because we are absolutely not aware. We have to be choosy in our literature while passing our opinion. Unless one in a thousand is the witness of such incident or a close friend or associate in a circle has more capacity to fill the accurate words or use authentic explanation about the issue.

B) I am not a woman but I realize the sensitivity of the subject she faced if it is true. Now, as a viewer, when I read Meesha’s message on the social media, the first thing I hope is that may Lord be with her IF she has been harassed but but but and another but, if she is harassed then why is she announcing to the world? If she has become a victim of sexual harassment, then knock the doors of the court of justice and file a case against the culprit. (I was writing soon after the posting of both the tweets). When you need justice, you do not announce to the world unless you really are stuck in some remote or highly restricted area that the authority doesn’t want to move you or raise your voice. But Meesha is a very famous celebrity and she is free to take action on a man in the court. Reaching to the social media will not help to solve the case but will boil the topic with no deserving conclusions. Sexes will part and take sides. Both men and women would either become joke taking on each other or will involve themselves in a meaningless argument wasting each other’s time. Most of the women will listen to Meesha’s message and shoulder her while men will deny like Ali as if the claims were lodged against him, not Ali. Both will pass jokes on each other, mock their existence, insult them of their being man or woman.

C) Now here is a turbulence of the situation where the denial of an assumed theory falters with the change of mind. The classes of urban life and the liberty of an individual’s mind and body are all fluctuating due to a dramatic turn. Sometimes it is the man whose strength and desire melts a woman, and sometimes it is the woman who diverges the world for a delusion or a false hope making her merry for a moment she spends with a man. Through the sensitive portions of the emotional bridges and ridges, both the sexes collapse and in confusion, the connection between the two damages in contusion. Either the man is no more willing to take a step ahead and accept the consequences or the woman is backing out and not letting herself sink into the ocean. And in both cases, the feeling of betrayal awakes.

The life of a celebrity around the world is pretty rich and broad in few cases. People freely accept each other’s company and there are different levels of acceptance towards your limits in such class. Some classes are so open, free and careless that man and woman here may sleep together and indulge in intercourse. And I am not talking the possibility of this occurrence between Meesha and Ali. I am just speaking generally that in a kind of global village or a social community you recognize your existence, you should also recognize and know your limits.

If any of the two were advancing their next move through their looks or giving a couple of secs focusing your retina on his/her lips, it is pretty obvious then. And if in the eleventh hour, any of the two decides to walk out then that is too embarrassing. Again, this is not about Meesha and Ali because I am not aware what happened between the two. This is just a general perception about a free society where men and women accept things.

D) What if and what if not? In both the cases, one of the names will fade, one of the careers will destroy, and one of the reputations will damage. Both have worked on international platforms and they are well-known figures. In personal life, both are married with two children.

The leaked video of the jamming session between Meesha and Ali shows nothing as both were at some distance. Not only this, Ali’s two ladies in his troupe, Aqsa Ali and Kanza Munir have expressed their support to him. Despite the fact that both are women, Aqsa and Kanza chose to defend Ali instead of Meesha which is pretty critical in a sexual harassment case.

If Ali is proven guilty of harassing her, Pakistan has their own version of Harvey Weinstein for a moment then. All male artists are on red alert. Many stories and claims will be leaking in near future. A very aggressive nation like Pakistan have already lost tolerance after the Zainab case and a high-profile name like Ali Zafar will become an ideal prisoner one would really like to hang.

But what if Ali is clean? What if what Meesha announced to the world was all lie? The consequences of the false case are very ravaging. If the court concludes the case in favour of Ali, then the biggest damage of the case will be the use of #MeToo, disrespecting a movement which globally helped the woman to make her voice recognize and significant. The global voice raised by the women to unite against the inequality and abuse of a man over a woman will lose the strength of delivering a powerful message. The slogan will be then corrupted. This will prove that the woman is intentionally using the power for a wrong reason and bringing bad to the objective because she knows that such statement (false or true) will lit a hellfire in the society, and due to misleading, most of the women in anger will beat him on the street.

If Meesha is wrong, then she will be brainwashing and manipulating millions of women globally. If Meesha is wrong, then the men in power will take the advantage of the lie and deceit. He will believe that the women who were globally raising their voice may also be lying about harassment in the past. Most of the men will think that speaking false about the man or making him culprit was and is in their nature.

Because this is what happens. When you have the power, there is a tremendous responsibility not to betray the power and the people. Because once the trust and reliability are damaged, they cannot be fixed. You can break someone’s heart in seconds but it will take years to fix, and some cases are infinite in time. The leader will be trusted by his/her followers but if the leader is found corrupted, those will curse him/her and face the consequences.    

And this is what the problem is. Look at Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. She won two Academy Awards for her documentaries based on honour killings and acid attacks on women but she thinks sending friendship request on the social media is a harassment. How on earth is this a harassment?

I am fully aware of this power called Feminism. But before playing this card, people should know the primary objective of Feminism? Feminism, in my opinion, is advocating woman’s basic rights when it comes to justice and equality. Correct me if I am wrong. By this definition, feminism applies in all the cases where the rights of woman are not implemented or if the woman has been physically abused in form of rape, sexual harassment, body-shaming, etc. Feminism also applies to woman’s rights over employment and electoral voting. If your agenda or objective is accurate and precise, everyone will be in favour of your movement. I support the word feminism and the slogan of hashtagged Me Too by the authentic definition and objective of feminism. But in the name of this movement, if the women are intentionally damaging the name and its objective, we will see a tremendous collapse of the society.

I hope this Meesha-Ali chapter ends soon. May the case rest with Meesha and Ali meeting their deserving fate and justice.

THE GRAVITY OF HONOR

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My good morning happens with the shocking news of Qandeel Baloch‘s murder! I am not a frequent visitor nor am I her fan but I have seen her earliest videos on her Facebook page and came to understand that she was one of those human species who chose to post silly nonsense videos to get a swift popularity. Her popularity brought the same arguments about downfall in society’s moral collapse with the repeated questions of “Where is Pakistan going?” and now is reigniting debate about honor killings in the country.

Yes indeed it is a morale collapse among the individuals doing naughty and silly stuff nowadays. Eyes of us men are no innocent to the videos we are fond of. Nope not talking about the videos of the adult industry but generally speaking, female individuals of different ages in South Asian societies have done way more than what the deceased used to do on social media. We have seen them making and forwarding amateur home videos like stripping behind the close doors, naked selfies, courtships in front of continuously adjusting camera and God knows what else for the sake of the demands coming from their seasonal boyfriends despite knowing the fact that there is every chance of the books from her storehouse to be transferred towards the library. But that morality can be corrected, vanishing her from earth is not the solution. Was QB a bigger threat than ISIS’?

Let me justify definition of ‘Moral Collapse’ prevailing in this country by four understood phases of this tragic life cycle.

  1. QB posted silly videos for popularity, many of those alarmed if she had mental issues.
  2. The viewers have/had different opinions and every opinion doesn’t make sense like her. Some turn out to be perverts and some become bonerfide seasonal mullahs who watch the whole video and then declare her ‘gandi’. Some females in the comments recruit her in adult industry or curse with a rolling-pin in hand.
  3. Instead of correcting or ignoring her (because her’s is/was none of our folking business); people all of a sudden become responsible for their khandaan or become patriotic and mullah and begin delivering threats to her. And one day someone kill her and the killer is none other than her brother whose so-called gherat was sleeping all these years.
  4. Most of the people who come to know the news of her death are actually glad, happy and excited as if they have passed some exam.

All four phases explain the collapse in morality. We have no business to what an individual does. I can fully understand from what ‘shame’ her brother has gone through, how his friends, neighbors, kins and society has been treating, teasing and scolding her. But but but committing crime and taking her soul is the most dumbest and disgusting idea. Whatever she was, taking the human soul is not in our hand and Islam teaches us that killing a human is killing humanity.

It is irrelevant, very very irrelevant and nowhere in any condition or space of judgment to kill her just because of your hatred or her business. Just because you don’t like her or she expose her skin too much, does it make you think that she brought shame to your family and your country? And does this reasoning power give you license to kill her?

The regular boners of the deceased’s videos who are now happy for her being killed by her brother under the name of ‪‎honor killing should from now on mind their own business and should not speak shite about‪ ‎Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The lady won us not one but 2 Academy awards for her documentaries on acid attacks and honor killings in Pakistan and many people from her country criticized her for presenting ‘bad’ image of Pakistan.

Those who are laughing and enjoying her death from now on should also not criticize and emphasize on extreme feminism either people encouraged towards extreme feminism are right or wrong. Because if you can laugh on the death of a girl who was expressing her good or bad freedom in her videos, it makes no sense to speak how much your country cares about women’s rights because I don’t see that happening in this country. Just a month ago, one lady was abused live on TV speaking of women’s rights by a JUI guy while a lady was called a name in the assembly.

We Pakistani nation are just like pleasure-house visitors who enjoy every inch of solicitor’s skin in the courtship and lovemaking and help her strip her clothes. But once we are done, we leave her just over there and even talk dirty about her the other day. Even accuse her for being a public property or root of all evil. World has gone so cruel and planet Earth is no more a safer and peaceful place to live.

Members of civil society and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan hold placards during a protest in Islamabad May 29, 2014 against the killing of Farzana Iqbal, 25, by family members on Tuesday in Lahore. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has demanded to know why police apparently stood by while Farzana Iqbal, a pregnant woman, was stoned and beaten to death by her family in front of one of the country's top courts, his spokesman said on Thursday. She was attacked on Tuesday, police said, because she had married the man she loved. Her husband said that police did nothing during the 15 minutes the violence lasted outside Lahore High Court. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood    (PAKISTAN - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CRIME LAW) - RTR3REE6

Sometimes I wonder why honor killings happen more in Asia specifically in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Jordan. Even when such crime happens in America and Europe, most of the cases associate with the immigrants, or Muslim families mostly coming from Pakistan and Iran. Remember Belgium’s first ever honor-killing trial few years ago? She was 20-year-old Sadia Shaikh, a Pakistani girl who was fatally shot three times by her brother for not accepting an arranged marriage with her cousin to whom she had never met in Pakistan.

Back in 2005, there was an honor-killing case in Denmark that involved 7 members of Pakistani family and friends. 18-year-old Ghazala Khan escaped from her home and married the guy to whom she loved after her declaration of wish towards her family was exchanged with their harsh beating. Two days after the wedding, Ghazala’s brother shot the couples on the order of her father to save the family ‘honor’.

In Brescia, Italy, a Pakistani father slit throat of his daughter 28 times! The reason of murder? His father state that his daughter Hina Saleem had turned from Asian girl into a Western woman who refused an arranged marriage and lived with her Italian boyfriend! Hina’s family buried her body in their house garden.

Honor killing event in Switzerland was more horrifying when a father killed his 16-year-old daughter Sawera by striking axe on her head a dozen times. Reason? A Christian boyfriend!

Britain has many cases of honor killings among the immigrants and Asian Muslim families. Bradford-born British-Pakistani Shafilea Ahmad‘s murder was a much talk in Britain a decade ago when she all of a sudden disappeared from home but months later, her dead body was found. Her parents were found innocent until Shafilea’s sister broke years later. She admitted that the parents killed her due to the reason of not accepting arranged marriage by force resulting in bringing ‘shame’ to the family.

Samaira Nazir’s case was her wish to marry an Afghan immigrant which was rejected by her family due to different caste. After argument, her brother and cousin stabbed her more than a dozen times using 4 knives in front of her family.

I highlighted only Pakistani cases because that is my concern in the blog as there have been many tragic events from Arab and Iranian families in West as well as Indians. So many tragic events of honor killings I mentioned above have one thing in common i.e., the parents feeling embarrassed that the daughter may/will bring ‘shame’ to her family and entire khandaan. Despite the fact many of the cases which happened in the West, the parents with such pathetic ideology and preferring their pride and shame over their daughter’s life and her choice is beyond my understanding. Living in the west or any country where multinationals live together bring a lot of cultural and religious understandings but such parents in that same atmosphere confuse me with their ideologies. Why on earth the parents do not see what her daughter wants, what she desire and with whom she find her happiness? Why bother judging her instead of giving your blessings? Girls would never run away to make you think of family’s pride and shame only if you accept her what she want. How come killing your own daughter becomes an ultimate solution? Are these type of parents psychopaths or what?

QB’s case is not that different. Just few days ago, she admitted she was married ‘by force’ back in 2008 and also had a son. After the beatings, she divorced and never contacted the man Ashiq Hussain of Kot Addu who first appeared on TV to claim that he is QB’s husband. And today she is killed by her own brother with some sources saying that she had received threats from Mufti Abdul Qavi with home she made some popular selfies a month ago. If the whole chapter of her forced marriage is true then she fell in same category as above-mentioned cases. We have watched girls with such mad cases who met tragedies in the past. Further investigations will clear and let us know further.

Last of all, I condemn the honor killings of QB and victims of all the above-mentioned and not-mentioned cases. I condemn all the crimes and abuses happening in Pakistan and other countries which little children and females of different ages are paying a heavy price for that. It is also terrible to see tortures and killings of Black Americans in recent days.  I feel hurt for all the terror attacks happening in the world and extreme pain for the massacre and holocaust suffered by Palestinians and Syrians, and people in Kashmir, Myanmar and many places. The remaining lives you and me are breathing is polluted now and it has become a terrible terrible world. May God answer our just calls, appeals, requests and prays and give patience to the friends and families of those who lost their lives for good Amen.

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