Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baba Alam Shah Bukhari, Karachi

This Mazar was something of an icon of that place: Muhammad Ali Jinnah Road, Karachi. It is still there but I am told - and sadly so - that this old building has now been demolished to make way for the new one. How sick is that. And why no authority stops such violation of historical structures is beyond my comprehension. It is understandable that the rise in Sufi version of Islam has caused jam-packed Mazars, but it makes no sense to me that you start pulling down structure after structure.

But this is not new. We have seen this happen across Pakistan. Recent examples include Red Mazar of Sehwan Sharif (Lal Shahbaz Qalandar). Now, a bland, blue Mazar stands in its place, a bad copy of that brilliant Mazar Sharif in Iraq. Why cannot we continue Sufi Islam with historical heritage? How many more Mazars will we allow to be demolished?


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Central Asia Online publishes my photograph

I have happy to announce that good people inhabit Pakistan in great numbers. And some of them live outside but report on the country with their hearts attached. Here is an example of a piece written in Washington D.C by Central Asia Online, which also used my mangrove photograph for this write-up.

The article titled, 'Climate change fuels sea encroachment on Indus delta', is written by Amjad Bashir Siddiqi, whom I don't know yet and photograph is taken by me, which you can view on the top right hand corner of the article page.

Concern for fast disappearing mangroves is growing amidst cries for protection of wetland areas for the larger benefit of the country itself. The protection of flow of Indus river waters is the key to the survival of these mangroves. Already, only 2 species of the mangroves may be found where previously 8 species were to be seen.

Building of dams has had a key affect on the destruction of an ancient way of life as well as on the thousands who earn their living downstream or from mangroves by fishing in its waters. As our author points out in these words,

'“The process of sea intrusion was first witnessed in the mid-90s”, Akbar said. That was when the Arabian Sea engulfed about 1.2m acres of land, he said. Now, it seems to have expanded to almost 2m acres. “The most dangerous trend is the one happening underground”, Akbar said, adding that the sea is contaminating aquifers and making soil useless.

Wildlife is suffering too. Acacia and prosopis forests don’t thrive in salinated soil, and fishermen find prize species giving way to less desirable ones. The availability of Pallah fish (Tenualosa ilisha), a local delicacy, has shrunk markedly. '

We can only imagine the consequences of our actions today. Do we need a barren coastline with no fresh water, salted lands and infertile soil or do we wish to have a life giving water, should be our matter. And we need to solve it. Today is World Water Day and we must concentrate on using water with much more maturity than we have shown in last 62 years.

World Water Day

World Water Day
Originally uploaded by Ameer Hamza
Let us not waste water any more. We cannot just afford to. The time of extra and free water is clearly over. Now is the time for preservation and re-use of this most essential commodity. And the dynamics of each and every living creature proves that.

The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bhag, Bhag, Bhag!

Nawaz Sharif is a core supporter of Wahabi form of terrorism (also called fundamentalist Islam by the likes of TIME / CNN / New York Times, etc). His younger brother, more red blooded than the big brother, is another rash Punjabi terrorist complete with zero beard and lots of mun'ch to his credit.

Recently, just in case you have forgotten it, Mian Shahbaz Sharif had requested [brother] Taliban to please kindly spare Punjab, a statement which has not gone down well with lots of Pakistanis including (surprisingly) many Punjabis. And Dawn letters to the editor section has shown us that no more hard core Punjabiat would be tolerated anymore in this country. (I am eternally thankful to ALLAH that the great Dawn newspaper does not belong to a Punjabi man from Lahore).

Today's wonderfully composed column by Mr. Irfan Hussain by the title of Teflon Tiger ( is immensely readable and must act as an eye opener for all. For instance, Mr. Hussain states about Sharif,

'In his two stints in power, Nawaz Sharif has been responsible for follies that the country has had to pay hundreds of billions for. The expensive motorway project and the yellow cab scheme spring to mind. And while Sharif is now known for his pious advocacy of a free and independent judiciary, let us not forget that it was his goons who stormed the Supreme Court while he was prime minister.'

He also points out quite clearly that if Mr. Zardari (who is not of a terrorist Wahabi streak) had said the same thing about Sindh ('spare Sindh my overlord', for instance) things would have been quite different. Without mentioning the term 'Punjabiat' he clearly points out the Pakistan Army, full of Punjabi baboons, would have taken strong action against him including, a fully public rebuke of the President. Some would have asked for his immediate impeachment.

But we see no such thing happening to Mr. Shahbaz Sharif. Unfortunately, our public, much of which comes from his home base Punjab, are blind to all this despite repeated terrorist attacks in the heart of the province. His big brother, a strong ally of people who fund terrorist activities in Pakistan (read Saudi regime run by the fat, monstrous king) very clearly supports Wahabization of the entire country.

If one good thing our president can do for us, it is the immediate kicking of Sharif brothers on their thick, desi-ghee induced butts. He must, anyhow, pull them to the court for embezzlement of billions of dollars by building a very luxurious and very un-necessary M-2, which connects Islamabad to Lahore, their home town. They can also be charged for running away with billions of rupees of mainly poor Pakistanis in the name of 'Qarz Utaro, Mulk Sawaro' scheme.

Thank you Mr. Hussain for writing such a wonderful article. Just like you, we hope that Nawaz Sharif and his brother are made prisoners before they have a chance to regain their power seats.

Dog and men, Rehri Goth

Dog and men, Rehri Goth
Originally uploaded by Ameer Hamza
This is Rehri Goth, a fishing village, now part of Karachi suburbs, where Baluch and Sindhi families have lived for centuries. Today, their major earning comes from tourists who hire boats for fishing or picnic on the mangroves.

This is one of the most memorable photographs of my early life as a self-described photojournalist. The style may not be unique but it captures the daily life as well as the style of clothing - which gives sense of place and time to the frame - of the locals. It also has a dog, who is always a sidelined animal in our country. And off course the concrete huts, which are neither beautiful nor ugly.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Window to history

Window to history
Originally uploaded by Ameer Hamza
Like this window, Karachi's history is left in piecemeal. Some broken, some dead, and some fuzzy. A single, long file of historical buildings are now rare to find. And on daily basis, some mysterious fire destroys yet another historical heritage of our city. We all know who is behind these mystery burnings of our buildings. You can easily count Ashura burnings of these buildings on M.A Jinnah road among the incidents which have become all too common.

And why not? Big money is to made out of these precious little stones.

This shot was secretly taken from a building which is now on a list of 'dangerous buildings of Karachi'. From here, early Sunday morning view of D.J Science college is fantastic.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Flower Show, Sea View

Cactus flower
Originally uploaded by Ameer Hamza
A flower show, brilliantly organized by the ever corrupt CBC and super-duper corrupt, DHA, is being held from 4th to 7th March, 2010 [today till 10pm].

I went there along with my wife. I also requested PPA members to come along. And some of my MAJU friends were also there. It was brilliantly organized and the collection was simply fantastic. The prices of the garden items, however, were very high. I left as the rush was becoming unbearable. Rangers was posted there to help control situation, if anything went nasty.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

American dress to mock Quran

Mansura [also spelled as Mansoora], a town dedicated by Jamat-e-Islami to teach Quran and Jihad to its students in one of the largest seminary of the country also houses a fascinating museum having very rare items on its dusty tables. Among the most prized possessions of this museum is this American dress made by hater of Islam, who printed Ayats [verses] from Quran Sharif on this woman dress. As the museum keeper informed me, it was to mock Quran.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chowkandi, 18Km off Karachi

Tourist at Chowkandi
Originally uploaded by Ameer Hamza
Some places force you to sit and wait. Others get the best out from you. Chowkandi does both to a photographer. It is an Islamic site where Muslim rulers and their subjects used to bury their dead. More precious the body, more elaborate its stones and more intricate its carvings.

This wonderful graveyard, one of 51 Chowkandi sites spread in Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, is a classic example of itself. You will be mesmerized by the lengths at which man can and decorate their dead. The workmanship is superb. And details are just too much for a newcomer.

Unfortunately, some of the precious stones have been stolen from the site and smuggled abroad. One may also find these carved bricks / stones in the drawing rooms of various politicians and officers. Such are the ways of the living. They steal the stones from the dead!