Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why no-one shoots Pakistan Cricket Team?

Yes, that's the point: Why no one shoots Pakistan Cricket team and dump their bodies on the pitches where IPL is to be played? Why, O, why?

After continuously making clowns of themselves and of the general public (me and you and our dolly President, Zardari bhai) and saying all sorts of bachkana things like the one statement given by Umer Akmal on the dismissal of his brother, Kamran, after horrible four dropped catches by the big bro.

And now, Pakistan has lost badly the second one day against Australia. Margin? Australia scored 267 earlier whereas lame duck Pakistanis scored 127 All Out. And still yet, they are as shameless as ever. Their beards are not helping them hide the infighting which seems to be taking place among the various team members at the moment. We have too many former captains in line in this team, which may be contributing to such horrible showing in Australia. Shahid Afridi, Shoib Malik and Yonus Khan are among the former captains. How can they accept the captaincy of Yosuf, who is a loose captain in any case?

Is it the right time to over haul the entire cricket setup. Needless to say, yes. A big Yes. And we need to give PCB to Imran Khan. No other person at the moment seems to know any cricket management. And please, Javed Miandad, you shut up your big mouth. Thanks.

Oh, please do not shoot Muhammad Amir and Muhammad Asif and Umer Gul and that brilliant Hindu bowler, Denish Kaneria. Shoot all the batsmen, though!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

World Press Photo Competition

For photojournalists worldwide World Press Photo is like Oscars for movie stars and directors. It has been that way since 1955, when the awards were first announced. It was Danish Mogens von Haven who won that award. And since then highest standards of photojournalism have been set. Each year, those standards get higher and higher as more and more photographers jump into the competition. Last year over 96,000 photographs were submitted to the competition of which off course one won the top honours.

I have been participating in this competition since last five years. As only few Pakistanis participate I feel honoured to be representing my country at this highest level. Although I have seldom chance of winning this competition this time around, I am keeping my fingers and my brain crossed. Every year there are a few surprises and hitherto new photographer gets some prize or the other.

So let's wait for 12th Feb, 2009, when the official results would be announced.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Christian boxers turn Madani babus

Recently a news item hit me on the face: Christian boxers, 6 of them, had turned Muslim during a boxing competition held in Karachi. This despite the fact that Islam and Pakistan are continuously despised by western media led by Fox and CNN. Or perhaps they never watched CNN in their lives that they became Muslims? We won't know except that they had themselves told the media that they were, the words of CAR coach Mohammad Kalambaye - and as reported in Dawn of 6th Jan, 2010,
'the boxers were impressed by the teachings of Islam and Pakistan’s hospitality.inspired by the message of Islam.'

This event was the major event in Pakistan's calendar after a deadly attack on Sri Lankan team, perpetuated no doubt by Indian RAW agency, and was named after assassinated former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. Six of the Christian boxers who converted to Islam are from Central African Republic (CAR) - Yagor Gbodo, Selebange Welcome, Niamogui Songnekani, NGoko Bongui, Ndarash and Bongola. Other three are Mendoua Blase, Ketchemi Joseph Justin and Tchwem Justin belonging to Cameroon.

This is a major setback, no doubt, to the anti-Islamic men and women from entire Hindu and Christian world. No wonder then that their counterparts across the world have simply failed to report this event. Even in Pakistan many channels reported this event in the passing.

All these lucky boxers now are part of Dawat-e-Islami tehreek.

ALLAH bless them and us. Ameen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The unsettling of Karachi City Govt.

PPP has done everything to force MQM out. But as MQM wallas are as big a ghundas as PPP wallas are, the only man suffering is the common man. You and me. The recent spate in killings across much of old Karachi since last four days is a clear indication of what PPP wanted and what MQM can do back here in the city. President Zardari may be the richest man in the country and he may be the husband of a dead former Prime Minister. But Altaf Hussain is no chai walla. He is fully capable of extreme violence, when there is a need to be. And somehow many of Karachi's down-trodden and even rich support MQM and him. They reason that Altaf looks and acts much better than Zardari. On any given day it is Zardari who can count on much worse press than Altaf bhai.

But what is the point of killing and maiming over 60 people, 10 of them, when British delegation was in the city? What exactly is the point here?

The burning of over 3000 shops could not conclusively prove that MQM was behind the carnage. Police and Rangers were the culprits. And this goes back to Federal Govt. aka Zardari the President. Over 60 were killed, most of them Shia mourners. And then the rampage began in earnest, as if directed by a Hollywood director.

Nothing proves nothing has been a dictum now-a-days in Karachi. Hundreds dead and thousands have lost their jobs. Yet no conclusion has been arrived at. The only conclusion is that neither MQM nor PPP wants to leave Karachi alone. Hell with the general public. They want their powers in Pakistan's biggest commercial city. And PPP appears to be lagging far far behind. So much so that someone from President's office had to 'immediately' call Altaf Bhai in London to 'please stop bloodshed'.

Such is his power string from London. Who, then, may be supporting this loner from UK? Your guess is as good as mine!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Public kissing at Sea View, Karachi

Couples are always there. Sea View is a place of choice for young couples. Married and un-married ones moving around, sitting, engrossed in their chats; children playing around; older ones walking or just sitting idly. But it is the Saturday night which perturbs me. And the young, apparently un-married couples, huddled in the black tinted glass cars, sticking together, kissing. These are the sort of men and women you might expect everywhere in the world. But the type of things they do, and it is obvious what they are upto, raises quite a few questions.

Ok yes, it is not my responsibility to stop every of the 254 men and women kissing on a wintery Saturday night at Sea View. But as a citizen of this God-damned city of Karachi it is my responsibility to whine about the irresponsibility of DHA and CBC patrol police there. How can you tolerate all these couples, huddled in their cars, kissing loudly and touching each other obscenely within the clear view of all the married men and women and their children and old men and women. What sense, if any, shall be made of such a display of lust and sex right in the middle of a public place? I feel sad that these men and women are not yet married and that their lust for sex has driven them so mad they ought to have sex displays in front of public. I feel sadder for their parents who are unaware of their sons and daughters doing whatever they are doing. It is not about morality going awry in Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It is as if our entire system of civic sense and understanding of our own roots have gone down a DHA drain. We as a nation do everything we can copy from the West. And this appears to be no different.

Much thanks to Musharraf for all this help these go-getters got from amendments!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pakistan's first Blogging awards

It is very clear to me and to others that Google has beaten everyone at world networking game. This game employs human beings, you and me, and it connects everyone of us via various technologies, games, chatting, and googling. It also entails more and more people becoming politicians, gangsters, celebrities and junkies of the internet. It also means painful backs, lack of interest in your brothers and sisters, and more and more play with real time maps at Google. No wonder that majority of the awards worldwide related to blogging are supported by Google. It clearly is their game and by an hour they are becoming even more impressive. (Think of their latest mobile phone directly in competition of Apple).

No prizes for guessing that Google is supporting and sponsoring Pakistan's first ever Blogging awards. CIO Pakistan is partner in crime. And this event will surely bring down Pakistan's iconic and emerging bloggers at a single, mega event. All types of them. Oh, and that appears to be very disconcerting to me. Too many bloggers: People more likely to interact via twitter and blogspot rather than via direct, traditional channel of 'talking', will gather on a single platform and fight it out the awards. Well well.

I am one of those who are part of this melodrama. But I am not hoping to win under any category. I am just being grateful to the organizers for allowing me to be part of this truly historical event taking place in our exciting time. 25 years from now we would be able to tell the world that we were part of the history in the making - and I would be able to tell my kids that organizers, Google Inc. and CIO Pakistan, somehow mistakenly marked me as a celebrity blogger!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tragedy tourism?

Ashura day bombing and subsequent burning of specific commercial buildings by Shia mourners and later by MQM thugs caused over 3000 shops to burn down completely; over 25,000 people lost their jobs. Numbers are likely to rise once survey is complete. It is highly unlikely that MQM-led CDGK would ever complete the survey and compensate the victims. Almost all victims were MQM voters.

Today, I and my friends, Suffian Adhia, Hasan and Raja Islam, went to Boultan market to photograph it. And the people who've lost everything. Instead, I focused on people who were coming with their wives, mothers, children and friends to view the devastation caused on that ugly night. I witnessed people from all walks of life in cars, bikes and on foot, viewing buildings and pointing fingers. They were also discussing things like Altaf Hussain, MQM, Zardari, Shias and Blackwater, all subjects on which none seems to have any expertise or understanding. Drawing room discussions were being performed right in the center of M.A. Jinnah Road, a place where no one can stroll not even on Sundays. But today were families roaming about and taking shots. We were no different either. Although misery surrounded us we were still smiling and photographing and enjoying, as it were.

Such tourism, as is often referred to as War tourism or tragedy tourism (in our case), feels like un-ethical and infinitely human. We tend to see at things which we never considered would happen. We are awe struck by the devastation and the scale of it. We show sympathy towards the victims and yet we bring our families to witness history in the making, all in the picnic sense of the word. I think this is not our part of culture. It is a part of all human cultures. Morality often takes a back seat on all this, even on the face of such massive human and social tragedy.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Who burnt Boultan Market, Karachi

One of the most remarkable markets of Karachi, alas, is no more.

Did Shias burnt it to the ground, angry after their 43 members were blown up and distributed across M.A. Jinnah Road, Karachi? Did MQM did it to kick out the erstwhile Memons and Delhi Wallas from that place? Did India or Isreal or Blackwater did it? Aha, Blackwater.

My first and foremost view is that Shias, out of rush of blood and emotions, did the trick. They burned down the plastics market and the perfume market and all that and did not allow fire brigade to come in until very late in night when everything was ashes. CCTV footage, first shown by Mustafa Kamal on GEO, clearly shows that. These are the mourners, and as Mr. Kamal makes it abundantly clear to all and sundry, not the MQM jiyalas.

Shias, off course, deny charges. But cameras this time have proven beyond doubt that the crazy fire, which later caused losses into billions of rupees and thousands of shops burnt, were caused by Shia mourners. I also have first hand account of a friend whose friend was killed by the Shia mob. This mob was trying to set his building on fire. On resistance, Gilgiti Shia shot him dead and fled from the scene. Punjabi-dominated police, as is expected of them, did nothing to prevent the tragedy.

But Shias are telling us all that they don't carry all these chemicals needed to burn so many buildings. Well, fair enough.

You see, whenever something bad happens petty criminals and enemies of the state jump into the fray and do all sorts of nasty things. Their only purpose appears is to loot and run. That is not probably what happened as most of the property was burned and not looted. But the critical CCTV footage is being held back by MQM men. Not sure why. Perhaps because they are involved. Perhaps there is some other reason. Many from Boultan market have claimed openly that MQM wanted entire market to shift to Sohrab Goth to allow more breathing space to the city. This was off course not acceptable to thousands of shopkeepers, many of whom are some of the richest and oldest traders of this country. If that was what MQM wanted, they got more than their deal.

As far as India's involvement is concerned, no serious thinker is thinking about it. India has better things to do. It is focusing on how to break loose Baluchistan from Pakistan so that Pakistan becomes a weak state. It won't probably go about doing things in Boultan market.

What can I say about Israel. If a cockroach is found dead in Burewalla people claim that Israel's Mossad had killed it!

My cousin, Imran Kholia, explained his loss to Dawn paper, “My seven brothers and I used to sell wrist watches, cosmetic items, toys, optical frames and other items to support our families and 25 children. We had 22 warehouses located above our stores, which have been destroyed, except for an 80 sq foot area.”

“The tragedy is that my building wasn’t on fire when I had reached here at around 6:45 p.m. [on Monday]. We pleaded with the firemen to stop the fire raging close to our store, but they replied they had to refill their tanks. It took them more than two hours to get water. However, by 9:00 p.m., it was too late and the fire had spread,” explains Kohlia, who claims to have suffered a loss of Rs. 90 million, including property and goods.

“My biggest fear now is that I feel that the government may want to take over our property, which if you take into account the whole locality, is worth billions,” says Kohlia. “But come what may, we will resist any such attempt. We have been doing business here for generations and will continue to do so.”

I am probably thinking about Shias and MQM combined. They both have a track record of extreme level of violence and brutality. I call them Modern Yazeedis.