Blame Christians, women or USA-Israel for everything in Pakistan. Very effective.
You were thinking “Ha! She gave up blogging. She can’t keep up with the timing. She lost her humor or her mind or both”. But you were wrong, dear, you were terribly, horribly, apocalyptically incorrect. Your assumption will now be annihilated by the onslaught of my crayons and bitter mood. After all, this country gives me so much to draw about; including political and religious debates that have been rambled upon until I could actually memorize the beginning, middle and end of every rebuttal from both sides. The crux from both ends of the spectrum? A polite rephrasing of the rather blatant statement: We’re not ready to take responsibility of any discrepancy on our part. It’s much easier that way. Bitch.
But I digress.
Where was I? I was in Tumaï, Nairobi. Did you know that Tumaï is a women’s village (of the Samburu tribe) that offers shelter and protection to battered women? It is essentially a matriarchy that consists of 150 people roughly (no men allowed) and it refuses to register your repulsive sexism as significant or applicable. While it is a real-life village, I met these women in my head under my big, curly hair. My imagination runs gender-equally and wild. Kilele, “Maasai Lady”, wouldn’t mind kicking your butt if you’re insensitive to gender discrimination and abuse. She says hi.
No, seriously. Where was I? I was away in my little utopia sipping lemonade, munching on digestive wheat cookies and narrowly escaping the clutches of depression. Our country, in the past few months, has projected in a downward spiral where sanity, rationality and peaceful coexistence have turned into – what’s the word? – mirages. So you can’t really expect someone like me to be jubilant about doodling under circumstances that also entail several lovelies assuming I’m an American agent OR, worse, drawing as a “liberal fascist.” What?
Why can’t we collectively call a spade a spade? Why can’t we call a murder a murder, a crime a crime? Why can’t we, you need to tell me, call a villain a villain instead of a hero?
Why can’t we muster up the courage to own up to our faults and then gracefully step towards the stage where rectifying our errors is not just the need of the gory hour but also something that we owe to our fellow citizens including minorities, women and children? Did I just say that? Did I just say minorities, women and children are rightful citizens of Pakistan too? Blasphemous of me.
So I was hibernating simply because the insanity around us has grown exponentially and my brain cells fried for a while. But now that I’m back, expect doodles, anecdotes and observations on the surroundings you and I share. About time we MS-Painted this chaos to its death. This is our country. You and I can actually fix it.
P.S. Why doesn’t MS Paint have a decent shade of beige? Damn it.
P.P.S. Pagal Bhabi is here. And she’s very angry.
My good friend and the ever-famous Y U NO man is here and we both had a long discussion last night on regional politics, IR and how Wikileaks is changing the world drastically. What compelled me to argue with Y U NO man was his pessimism regarding the local scene of politicians: He says he doesn’t care about the world if his very own home is on fire. Furthermore he told me how the citizens of Pakistan disappoint him on a daily basis. I agreed with him on some points. Here he is, beseeching y’all.
And then Y U NO man looked at me and asked two questions posed for the average Pakistani male and female citizen.
And the Hiterlesque Y U NO man spoke as well.
Annnnd this is the average Kasana-hater:
Like any fan of 4chan and Meme Generator, I decided to make my own meme-inspired pictures but, this time, the characters are from our local political scene. I know some of you probably think (quite unfortunately), “UHHHH, SHE’S A CHICK SO LIKE UHHHH SHE’S NOT SMART ENOUGH TO SAY UHHH SHIT ABOUT UHHH POLITICS” but it’s not like that. Neutrality is my stance when it comes to our leaders and their cronies. When I say leaders, I cough and clear my throat twice and expect you to get the point.
Anyway. With last night’s development of General Kayani receiving a three-year extension in his tenure, I witnessed many tweeters express their opinions about the military dude. But what compelled me to create these images was Kaala Kawaa’s rage against the decision. I think it was adorable in a very serious way. Call me weird, whatever.
Thus, here’s to our political bast – leaders:
It isn’t very flattering to find my country in the Index of Failed States despite realizing the compilation is a tad sensationalist by nature. However it hits hard when fellow countrymen exchange statistics that actually affirm political, economic and social chaos within the land. I read Arif Nizami’s upfront observation on the current situation in Pakistan and, honestly, almost every point raised in his analysis is undeniable. For the lack of grandiloquence, I have simply shared the former-editor’s opinion below.
The way the world sees us – Arif Nizami
During the course of the week, three surveys have been released in the media that do not show Pakistan in a good light. The so-called Failed States Index 2010, ranks Pakistan as the tenth state amongst the ten states that top this year’s Failed State Index. The survey is being published for the past six years by the US Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace.
The Washington-based Pew Research Center’s survey of 22 countries has been conducted basically to judge President Obama’s popularity, or lack of it, amongst the participating countries. Only eight per cent of Pakistanis approve of the US president’s foreign policy, in sharp contrast to India where 73 per cent approve it. Understandably, 56 per cent of Pakistanis oppose US anti-terror efforts and 65 per cent are opposed to the presence of US troops in Afghanistan.
Amongst the countries surveyed, people in only four–China, India, Brazil and Poland–say economic conditions are good. All these four countries weathered the global recession well. Only 14 per cent of Pakistanis are satisfied with national conditions and a mere 18 per cent think the economy is in good shape. Although no fewer than 69 per cent in Pakistan worry that extremists could take control of the country, support for suicide bombings has slightly gone up in the past year. It had declined from 33 percent in 2002 to five per cent in 2009, but has risen to 8 per cent in 2010.
It is no revelation that according to this survey President Zardari’s popularity has plummeted by half and the obvious beneficiary is opposition leader Mian Nawaz Sharif.
Of the three surveys, the most surprising results on Pakistan are contained in the Freedom House survey for 2009. It places Pakistan in the company of Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen where, “violent Islamic extremism” continues to plague the countries.
We might pride ourselves on our incipient democratic institutions, a free and vibrant press and an independent judiciary, but according to the model devised by Freedom House, barring Afghanistan, Pakistan fares the worst in the region. The 2009 freedom status bases itself of categories of “not free,” “partly free,” or “free,” with 1 representing the most free and 7 the least in terms of political rights and civil liberties.
According to this criterion, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh are declared as electoral democracies while Pakistan is not even considered an elected democracy. In the categories of political rights and civil liberties India scores 2 and 3, respectively. Pakistan gets a rating of “partly free” with a score of 4 and 5, in the same categories.
Giving reasons for Pakistan being rated poorly, the report states that the country has remained mired in official corruption and extremist violence. However, it notes as positive signs “initial reforms of the tribal areas and the peaceful resolution of the judicial crisis, including the reinstatement of the chief justice if the Supreme Court and restoration of a large measure of judicial independence.”
The common thread among the surveys conducted by the prestigious institutions is that none of them have little to about Pakistan that is positive. But is the situation is really so bad, or is it being portrayed as such?
Few will disagree that the country is a chronic case of poor governance. Successive governments have refused, or are unable, to do anything about this. Apologists for military regimes, especially those who collude with them, argue that military strongmen are better than civilian rulers in governance. But they ignore that it is the military, by virtue of its repeated interventions, which is responsible for the destruction of most institutions of the Pakistani state.
Endemic corruption and lack of transparency in governance has been cited in all the surveys for Pakistan’s poor standing. The present government has been singled out for criticism on this count. Tales of corruption, misuse of power, squandering of public funds for personal or political gains, and cronyism and nepotism adorn the columns of newspapers and dominate the airwaves virtually everyday.
Despite the fact that various parliamentary committees and the superior courts are increasingly asserting themselves and taking note of these shenanigans of the powerful, the trend produces little effect in practical terms. The present government has completed half of its tenure. Yet, not a single minister or government functionary has been shown the door on charges of corruption or misuse of power.
The other day, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani complained to the US president’s special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, that world “inaction” was accentuating Pakistan’s financial crisis and extremist elements were taking advantage of the delay in delivery of assistance to Islamabad. Holbrooke assured the prime minister that Washington would do everything to expedite assistance for its ally, and play its role in the forthcoming Friends of Democratic Pakistan meeting.
However, unless Islamabad gets its act together by fulfilling the US agenda in the region, as well as bringing a modicum of transparency in its financial dealings, funds will remain hard to come by. Hence, Pakistan’s merely going around with a begging bowl for more assistance will not produce improvement in our economic situation.
Bold and structural changes in our economic policies are the need of the hour. Not only do we have to get out of the vicious circle of debt, we also have to spend a greater part of our GDP on improving indicators like health, education and other areas of social development. Increases in the defence budget alone cannot solve the problem of extremism. Alleviating poverty by improving the economy and drastically increasing social spending can deal with the problem in the long run.
President Zardari, speaking on the occasion of the 57th birth anniversary of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, correctly enumerated the achievements of his government for strengthening democracy. These included the passage of the 18th Amendment for the restoration of the supremacy of parliament, the NFC Award, the Balochistan Package and the renaming of NWFP to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He also vowed to defeat real or perceived conspiracies against democracy.
He can rightly claim that in a relative sense democratic culture has flourished on his watch. There are no political prisoners in the country, the media is free and assertive, the judiciary is fearlessly independent and, despite periodic shouting matches between them, politicians by and large are practising consensual politics. The biggest saving grace is that the military has studiously kept itself out of politics.
Despite these pluses, why is it that the world sees Pakistan as “the most dangerous place” and as a failed state? Over the years our optics have become so bad that labels like “failed state” no longer seem to bother us. Pakistan got this label in the late nineties, during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure as prime minister. He correctly retorted that perhaps there could be some truth to the charge in the previous few decades but this was no longer so. Perhaps Nawaz Sharif failed to perceive that the rot had already started.
One way of dealing with the problem is to recognise it and start dealing with it. In terms of demographic pressures, internally displaced persons, the fragmented elites and external intervention we are placed close to Somalia, the most failed of the failed states. Simply put, we are in a state of war with the very elements which successive governments, military and civilian, have nurtured over the years. Now the chickens have come home to roost.
This may seem somewhat unfair. But the right course to follow for our ruling classes, primarily the feudal-military-industrial elite, is to do some introspection about the direction the country should be taking. Another military intervention would lead us further down a pit that is already bottomless. However, in order for democracy to work the stakeholders need to drastically reorient their present bearings. Especially those in power.
When my parents brought me and my younger sisters back to Pakistan, we were assured that our return to motherland was to teach us about the “peaceful culture” of the Land of Pure. Never has a statement been more false. And it is even more appalling after what happened on Friday, May 28, 2010 in Lahore.
Wasting time on definitions and political history regarding Ahmadis is something I will not do since I am pretty sure that most of you reading this post know, at least, the typical description of a “Mirzai”. According to the majority of this country and the constitution of Pakistan, an Ahmadi is a Kaafir that denies the finality of the Prophet Muhammad and is, consequently, barred from basic religious and social rights and privileges. Their places of worship are termed “Ibadatgah” according to the definition stated in the constitution. Referring their worshiping points as “Masjid” or “Mosque” is an offence. More details can be found in thousands and thousands of links shared by orthodox Muslims throughout the world. Which is why I simply refuse to waste my energy over the bigotry that the Pakistani constitution is replete with. Read 298-B for proof. And please don’t forget to read this link: Ahmadis have been victims of global violence.
What bothers me is a set of social factors, religious hate and political hypocrisy that proved to be powerful catalysts for what happened today. At least 76 innocents were killed during Jummah prayers in Model Town and Garhi Shahu in Lahore. Let me remind bigots of Pakistan: I don’t pay a damn if they were Muslim, Jew, Christian or simply atheists because, for me, humans are humans regardless of their beliefs (or lack thereof). No one possesses the brutal authority over another human’s life. It is downright disgusting to see many, many Sunni and Shia Pakistanis commenting in favor of this savage act. Also, it is a major contradiction on their sorry part because, if they studied Islam well enough, they would learn that advocating mass murder is something their precious religion is against.
Even more repulsive is the flood of condemnations from politicians, the terms being used by the media for Ahmadis (because, believe me, it is painfully torn between portraying Pakistan as an “enlightened” country and constitutional restrictions) and, most significantly, the blame-game. Tehreek e Taliban Punjab claimed responsibility for the attacks. I seriously doubt the ‘purity’ of Hakeemullah Mehsud’s Islam since if he was such a true Momin, he would be have been more preoccupied with praying Jummah instead of leading a massacre in another mosque. But what hurt me the most were the comments given by many Pakistanis today. In this link shared by a friend of mine, you will find religious wrath and bigotry at its worst.
Compassion for mankind irrespective of creed may force you to wince when you read this: The majority of Pakistan is responsible for the attacks that occurred in Model Town and Garhi Shahu. Had we been a little philanthropic and accommodating in our conduct, yesterday would not have been so intensely gory. Our approach towards fellow citizens is sadly based on misinterpreted religious preachings, racist social perceptions and mindless phobias. Sometimes when I’m sitting in front of the television, the only thing that keeps going through my head is how desensitized we are as a nation. We simply don’t see each others as human beings anymore.
Note: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has ordered Worldcall Telecom to ban this post due to ‘controversial content’. Here is proof: http://i50.tinypic.com/5bnwp5.png.
Oh my, Facebook has been banned in Pakistan. Well, at least it isn’t opening here in Lahore. Not on my server, no sir. Therefore, without wasting time, I must introduce you to the very infamous Tehreek-e-Facebook! No more Facebook for you and you and you! If you think you want to upload your fancy little sheesha party pictures tonight, you’re WRONG! I, Maulana Mehreen Kasana, have issued a fatwa against all you blasphemous social network whores. That’s right, you heard me! No Facebook for you for the next few days. If some of my readers are confused, here’s a link to explain the current issue. Right now, many Pakistani Facebook-users look like this:
Read Statistics and Do the Math:
It’s just ridiculous, to be honest. Banning an entire social network is not going to stop 40,000 caricature-supporters. I’ve been given an argument as well: It’s going to bring down their economy! My very simple refutation consists of primarily one word: No. According to Facebook, the social network will only suffer a loss of $0.15m if Pakistan chooses to continue its ban till May 31, 2010. Not a big deal for Mark Zuckerberg’s creation which has been in controversial crises with China, Vietnam and Iran. Facebook is based on a pay-per-click model and it earns $.03 on each click. Pakistan has nearly $2m Facebook users. If we use our brains (something most of us don’t) the product of your rebel theory states that Facebook only suffers a few meager bucks. Therefore, the ban is useless. It could have been productive if we were still on Facebook and chose to negate their campaign by simple and peaceful dialogue. Stop messaging each other “OMG WE RUINED FACEBOOK!” because no, $0.15m means nothing to the ones living in Calo Palto, California.
Contradiction By LHC and PTA:
What gives the LHC the right to ban a whole networking site based on what some individuals have uploaded? By the logic, shouldn’t they block YouTube as well? How about Google, since it gives you results for all kinds of things? If I choose to waste my time on the internet, that’s not anyone’s concern but mine and no one, not even the LHC should be allowed to take it away. This is by far the most wrong decision taken by any entity in this whole saga. If PTA is so very dedicated to the real preachings of Islam then why on Earth do I see Alexis Texas bouncing in bed with some buffed up porn star? Paradox, anyone?
What To Do:
One of the best opinions on this web-crisis is by Adnan Ali: http://blog.fursid.com/blogged/why-i-will-not-boycott-facebook-on-may-20-2010-how-muslims-should-respond/
I wish PTB realized that there are far more effective ways of protesting and retaliating. Violence and banning Facebook are not options. Peaceful negotiations can help. Better yet – ignore them. We need to start using that thing up in our heads. If the supporters still don’t believe me, answer this question: How exactly does banning Facebook affect Draw Muhammad Day?
Let me know your answers (without calling me kaafir, thank you).
P.S. Don’t you think it’s a little too ironic that popular porn sites like XNXX and YouPorn continue to open without any delay on all servers in Pakistan? After all, PTB is very sensitive about Islam and its preachings.
P.S.S. Massive trolling by PTA supporters. Fun thread below.
P.S.S.S. Like any average Muslim, I’m glad to know that Molly Norris is apologetic for igniting the obscene campaign. Read more about it here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/comic-riffs/2010/05/pakistan_orders_blanket_ban_on.html. You can even find more on the inconsiderate fool’s apology and request to cease the campaign here and here. I have a feeling it’ll stop soon. Going to keep my Muslim fingers crossed. Woohoo.
For those who have been speculating that I have expired, I would like to hop out of my dorm-grave and prove them wrong. I am not dead and no, I have not tied the knot (yet). In fact I have other important things to do. For instance: Passing my final exams, winning the parliamentary debate championship, coming up with new ideas for my editor and composing several reviews on some very impressive reads. For near and dear ones: It’s great news that I aced the debating competition and won the Best Speaker Parliamentary Debate Championship trophy. My yapping skills paid off. And the trophy is like, propa big-ass.
Also, the heat in Lahore is terrible. And I made the horrendous mistake of drinking gallons and gallons of cold chocolate milk, thinking this is going to “cool me down” but nooo, it got worse. Nosebleeds followed with massive headaches and cranky mood swings. So the next time your girlfriend tries cajoling you into making chocolate milk for her, you better tell the bitch to calm down and make YOU a sandwich. (Passionate advocate of female-lead anti-feminism acts, I am.)
I haven’t been updating the blog for quite a while maybe because I’m out of ideas to write about. There are many things I would like to jot down and rant about but, then, most of my readers have done their fair share of research on them. For instance, writing about the post-traumatic stress journalists suffer while reporting in war-torn countries. Or about the shooting of a young teenage homosexual at school. As a student of mass communication and journalism, I have often found myself explaining the intimidating challenges most journalists suffer. It isn’t an easy job. Even small-scale event coverage by internees like yours truly can be tough. Punctuality, precision and a strong flow of creativity is constantly required. If you’re out of ideas, you’re out of the game.
I will be reviewing a few books that I have had the chance of reading these days. Expect to go through a review on Bapsi Sidhwa’s “The Crow Eaters”, scandals noted by Capitol Hill and some very, very disturbing chapters on existing cults. (Psychos, I tell you. Propa psychos).
With the reemergence of NWFP as Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, a violent wave of resentment has arisen from the Hazara division of the province. Projecting the political demands of the Pakhtuns only, the Awami National Party has, for the umpteenth time, failed to provide its people the political platform and voice they deserve. There is a fine line between ethnic pride and ethnic supremacy; something that has been obstructed from the vision of the ANP. And what disturbs me even more, is the deep-rooted feud between the two ethnic groups. It is about time they let go of their past (gruesome) grievances and move forward for a more prosperous Pukhtoonkhwa-Hazara.
Before I continue, I would like my readers to know that I hold no grudges against either of the two ethnic races. There is absolutely nothing illegitimate about demanding a proper name for your province but at the very same time it is simply, for the lack of a better word, wrong to brush aside the political right of representation of another ethnic group in the same province. The Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa assembly owes the Hazara people (and let’s not forget the Hindkos as well) an independent identity for they are, just like the Pakhtoons, rightful citizens of Pakistan.
The simplification of the 19th Amendment ought to have taken place in order to render the process of province-making easier and more practical. The passage of the 18th Amendment has ignited another dispute in the province and I am certain you all realize that this contention has its roots in the troubled terrains of Afghanistan. Why invite such disintegration to a province that is already the political hub of vendettas, bloodshed and constant disharmony? I doubt, honestly, that the current regime of PPP has enough balls to handle a state with such powerful ethnic differences that could lead to major clashes among the citizens. Our diverse neighbor, India, is offered as an instance to take heed from. Ibrat, as we say.
Every ethnic group deserves a solitary platform for airing its voice whether it is about the Hazaras, Saraikis, Punjabis or Pukhtoons. Being a separate racial entity endows one with the privilege to be addressed by their rightful name, to be provided distinct political representation and to be treated equally. The irony of the current situation is bitter: What good is this neo-titled province where an entire section of the population is being denied its very identity?
Bluntly put, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa is no better than an old contemptuous hag with a new name solely due to the fact that it has a lot of accountability to own up to in front of its multi-ethnic population.