Why do our governments fail ? – Pakistan


The fundamental principal of democracy, is to empower the people to manage their quality of life as per their ability and choice. More and more governments of the world are working towards devolution of powers to the local communities, to establish, what’s commonly known as home rule.

Pakistan, on the face of it, has a federation system, but on-ground it is a unitary system of governance, where the provincial units’  powers may be broadened and narrowed, by the central government, though political power may be delegated through devolution to local government by statute, but the central government remains supreme and can abrogate the acts of devolved governments or curtail their powers.

Local communities are given power of well-being – aimed at providing substantial scope for them to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of their areas. Central government however, focus on maintaining national security and exercising international diplomacy, including the right to sign binding treaties with other countries. 

The central government basically have the power to make laws for the whole country, in contrast with local governments, which covers the issues of local community. Today, local government is considered the most important function of the government, because it directly effects the issues faced by common men. The public is more affected by local government (lowest level of government) and can more easily influence local government than any other level of government. Most of the services provided by government that affects the everyday lives of locals are provided through their local bodies/public institutions, cities, special districts and administrative units. Whether it is drinking water, sewer services, public schools, irrigation water, roads, police, courts, jails or trash disposal, local government is at the core of it.

Even election are simpler for local government, that constitute few voters and their meetings are open and accessible to everyone, citizens can change their city and district government much more readily than the provincial or national government. Even running for office on the local level is easier and much less expensive than even for the state legislature.
The state constitution has tried to give more power to the voters and less power to the politicians and political parties. All city elections are non-partisan and thus candidates for mayor or city council run without party labels. In practice, this means that individual councils can determine what they need to do to ensure “…the peace, order and good governance…” of their municipalities. Essentially each council makes its own decisions based on its collective beliefs, the advice it receives, various financial considerations, legislative powers and so on.

In Pakistan, unitary system is a perfect system for feudalism, to commit corruption from far, while local representatives will say, I’m powerless, all decisions are made in Islamabad or in provincial HQ. Karachi is perfect example of this, nobody owns in, everyone blames each other: local govt, provincial, federal. That’s the reason how govt. get away with not performing their duties, because the locals don’t see them daily. The people in power are far, far away from locals’ accountability. Most of the time, they’re not familiar with the problems of the local community. People of Pakistan (majority of who are naive), have no hope in their local community situation getting better through govt. that’s way they don’t vote. The problem of Pakistan.

Under the current circumstances (ie Capitalist democracy), I would support further addition of provinces in Pakistan, based on its geography, population and governance needs today. Basically, I would support more empowerment to local communities, that’s how the world democracies functions today. So, that local representatives are able to serve their localities better, instead of rulers making decision thousands of kilometers away, from govt empires. This would dispel the culture of government rulers, instead promote government servants, were smartest from every locality comes up to serve their respective locality, understanding its needs and the resource constraints.

I’m sure there are many cities/towns/villages deprived of political rights in Pakistan, but Karachi is an easy example in this context, which is suffering from acute lack of equal rights in government, resulting in imbalance of resources to/from Karachi, where locals does not have power to manage the city and it’s a mess since decades. Idea is to empower the locals for home rule, where they are autonomous to create laws, charge tax, employ resources, manage complete quality of life. You can call this empowerment as: province, local government, or municipality, city-council, or whatever, Karachi remains a prime case for urban secession.

That’s good information, but I doubt it is that of a problem in Karachi. The situation is opposite in Karachi, take eg quota system in civil services, locals has 7.6% quota. I think Karachi is the most ethnically diverse place in the country. By local, I simply meant, local residents. That’s how it’s defined in local government system of the world. It can be anyone living in Karachi. Indeed, lack of political rightis not just problem of Karachi, but all of Pakistan. Karachi having high literacy rate, are more aware to object the feudal system and it’s visibly obvious how powerless Karachi’s elected representatives are.

Everyone empowers people today, Central govt is a thing of the past. Under current system, province still has some powers for their territory, from federal, so is the demand for provincial status for Karachi. But I agree, I’d demand for empowerment, whatever way it is.

Center should run foreign affairs, defense, national interests, while locals should worry about their water, roads, parks, police, healthcare, etc. Living in archaic system, we’ll face archaic problems.

Call it administrative unit.

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PTI (=IK) – Their political acumen


Dec 2015: It has been almost 19+ years, since Imran Khan (IK) entered Pakistani politics, winning a seat from Minawali in 2002. Let me share where his politics stand today.

Personality based parties:

This is a problem of politics in Pakistan, from PPP, PML, MQM, to rest of the small parties. PTI started off well, with a genuine manifesto (‘insaaf’ – justice), to end corruption and bring about change – New Pakistan. But soon, with successive failures, it reduced down out Imran Khan’s personality, as opposed to party’s ideals. Naturally, when there’s problem with his image eg like Nawaz Sharif (NS), or Asif Zardari (AZ) or Altaf Hussain (AH), when IK did adventures in his marital life for example, that instantly reflected negatively on the party and it’s vote bank.

Integrity, Justice and humanity:

Here is big dilemma: If IK is an upright man, he stands no chance of winning under this corrupt bureaucracy and uneducated population. If however, he compromises on the manifesto, by inducting seasoned (read corrupt) politicians, he will be able to win seats, but then, there won’t be significant change.

I wrote about this in 2013, before the general election. I didn’t see much change since then.

Hate based politics killed PTI:

PTI rose on the slogans of integrity, justice and progress. Obviously, too good to be true. PTI, smartly targeted youth, who are usually the catalyst for change in any society. But PTI also damaged its reputation, by focusing more on dirty opponents focused campaigns, specially targeting NS. Additionally, establishment’s decades old hate/racism based political strategy was naturally much more powerful, then the PTI’s ideals of integrity, justice and race-averse politics.

Alliance and compromise:

PTI/IK started to learn Pakistani politics, and started to make alliances, in order to win more power across the country, where they didn’t have reach. Jamat-e-Islami (JI), became natural alliance, first in KPK. That helped them win more seats overall. Then they took that alliance to Karachi, which backfired, due to lack of tact – bad timing and weak position of both parties in the city.

Karachi’s NA-246 re-election:

That’s the HQ seat of MQM, where we had out-of-cycle election. PTI in its usual arrogance, made tall claims here. Despite knowing the fact that IK has a checkered past of racism in cricket, PTI went out as far as calling Karachiites a ‘zinda lashain’ (live corpses = as in flocks without thinking ability). MQM was under pressure, as Ranger were conducting operations (undue-power against a political party just in the 90’s) and found (and killed) many criminals, many of who allegedly belonged to MQM. So, MQM upped its election campaign and using their well-established organizational structure and outreach on the ground as well as in the youth, won that seat. Had PTI won that seat, it wouldn’t increase their political strength, but only would be a moral win. Again, it was an ill-informed arrogant act by PTI, trying to win karachitees, without understanding or addressing their pain points, resulting in humiliating defeat.

Karachi’s LB (Local bodies) Election:

Come LB elections in Karachi and PTI was stunned again. After global media spent millions on Islamophobia throughout the world, PTI chose to side with JI (Jamat-e-Islami), a party deeply aligned with the Islamic values. PTI lacks sufficient on-ground support in Karachi, against a vastly secular party (MQM) and on top, despite knowing the fact that their own vote bank (PTI) is largely liberal, so the result wasn’t just a loss, but it was a suicide, just like NA 246.

What it means to the people:

With the same political parties for decades and same old leaders and same status quo, most of the Pakistanis (how are awake) lost hope, stopped voting and the educated (smart) ones moved abroad for good. Imran Khan, re-ignited that hope in Pakistanis that a change could be brought through elections. But his successive failures, due to the lack of tact (or arrogance), brought the nation back into despair, which is even worse, as people now believe, that they can’t change the status quo, through election.

What should we do:

By the way, I myself don’t believe, IK can come into power, through democratic elections anyways. Because, our majority awam (population) is naive (uneducated) and doesn’t know the importance of votes and lacks the ability to choose the right leader. Majority are happy being slaves and can very easily be manipulated into the hate/race based politics. There’s no magic solution, but here are some guidance. The solution to our problems is only in ‘EDUCATION’. Until our majority becomes educated/aware, we will see these leaders serving their own interests – Army its own, industralists their own and feudals/landlords their own, while keeping the general population unaware (uneducated). The great thing though, we have a fast growing youth population share, with highest literacy rate. Once, they are in majority and they are out in the streets to redress our politics, we can expect a new Pakistan.

Habib Bank website gets hacked, some databases vulnerable


As the media industries grows, so does it provides news (openly) about data breaches and vulnerabilities of IT infrastructure, specially databases that companies in Pakistan are exposed to.

Here’s the link to the news. Note, I am sharing the news ‘as is’, as published on ProPakistani website by  on  11, Jul 2013.

http://propakistani.pk/2013/07/11/habib-bank-gets-hacked-databases-leaked-online/

Overt, covert and back to overt fighting?


 

During the World Wars, we used to fight openly and hate and bloodshed. Millions ordinary civilians lost their lives in the battlefields. That got exposed over the decades and everyone realized, only losers are people and not the rulers. Rulers thus lost power to engage people into war. 

That resulted in Cold Wars era, and all fightings became covert. UN, diplomacy, spy agencies, destabilization, psyop, disinformation, false flag attacks, proxy wars, economic warfare, electronic warfare, etc. 

All of that got exposed as well, through time and thanks to the whistleblowers. Rulers started to lose backing of people again, for such covert tactics, for the same objective of fighting. Now, it seems, the establishment is taking the route of overt fighting again, arousing hate and justifying it as a necessary evil, as both overt and covert tactics were exposed in the recent history, going back to overt, since many have forgotten history, and we see people falling for it. The values we learned over the centuries are being brought into debate again: bigotry, racial profiling, intolerance, divide and conquer, world wars on boundaries and nationalism, forced laws, building walls, ethnic cleansing, fighting based on religions, disrespect, fascism, etc. 

It is not patriotism, dummy


If you’ve followed the tit-for-tat escalation of India and Pakistan recently, resulting from growing public protest in Kashmir territory, further aggravated by the media, patriotism on both sides of the border got reinvigorated. Thanks to the hate-mongering leadership of India, equally reciprocated by the ultra-nationalists of Pakistan.

If patriotism is genuine, here are simple litmus test questions to prove that:

  1. 1. Would you throw garbage outside the perceived boundary of your own property (house) or a car or shop or office? Meaning, as if outside your property is enemy territory (not your country). Keep it littered, dusty and insanitary, it doesn’t matter me but my country folks.
  2. Given a chance, would you flee out of country for good? Majority of the population would probably. Because we aren’t ready for sacrificing our personal or family life, at the expense of correcting issues of the country.
  3. You cheat everyone everyday, as if they’re your enemy and not Pakistani. You hike prices during Ramazan (holy month), for your fellow nationals, that you boast to die for. Because actually you don’t give a damn about the people.
  4. You ignore open gutters daily, step on newly carpeted or cemented road, steal street lights and don’t care a bit about public property (which is Pakistan’s property), because it does not belong to you or any other person but Pakistan. And Pakistan mean nothing to you, you let it be.
  5. You can check our true patriotism, by looking at the condition of government buildings and everything that they use. Their punctuality at work, sense of public service and not doing your job are typical behavior. You consider government job as a free money without doing any work, because you think there’s no one at loss except the country paying you the salary or the damage done is only to Pakistan. Pakistan’s property or money means free property, because we don’t give a damn about Pakistan.
  6. You vote your feudal lords, in fear of poverty, prosecution and hunger, or you vote based on racism to support your community, disregarding the fact how much that helped the politicians destroy the country. So, without education, we’ve lost our patriotism as well.

I know there are some good, educated and patriotic people left in Pakistan, but majority seems a sad case. So, when majority chants jingoistic slogans in favor of Pakistan and against India, that doesn’t make me feel any happier but scared. Because I know, it’s not driven by the love of your country, but the hate and revenge against others. The most patriotic people would be our army-men, because they can’t survive without it.

That’s why I’m not moved by any such empty rhetoric on either side of the border, trying to rally public hate in the guise of patriotism. It’s same old tactic of hate and fear to garner public support for wars on both sides of the borders. Read my other post (India and Pakistan – War Hysteria), how poor these two countries are and how much they spend on defense for the past 6 decades instead.

Probably, it’s just as they say: ‘Dash bakhth ka nasha’?  (from hindi movie)

Education! Education, first, not even patriotism.

PIA: What choices we have as a citizen


If we analyze the situation regarding PIA (Pakistan International Airline), our national carrier, here are the options we as the end user of PIA have: 

1. Let 19000+ largely incompetent employees continue to degrade the quality of service, which is at bare minimum, say 3 on a scale of 10 (10 being best). But quality enough to qualify aviation operating standards. 
Or

2. Let 2-3 politicians/businessmen eat the goose that lays the golden eggs and up the service to 4, while still being monopoly, just like PTCL and KE. 

So, it’s confusing choice, makes no difference in our lives. I’d still go with 1, as it would at least feed 19k families. Shouldn’t we address the root cause instead of serving personal gains? – Disband nepotism and quota system from government institutions. Enforce merit! Control monopoly, and instead encourage competition and new players. 

Had the govt being sincere ever, they would have gradually fired all incompetent employees or trained them, instead of trying to sell off the problem, on the direction of IMF (our sworn enemy). If we the Pakistani can make PIA the worlds best airline, where Emirates and Singapore and several other airlines learned from, we can again make it better ourselves, without any foreign buyer or leader. There just have to be a genuine will – address the root cause. End quota system!

How would other countries manage Haj/Mecca (Satire)


This is a different kind of post, that I usually don’t write. It’s kind of satire, I wrote for a change. What will happen when government of other countries were given the task to manage ‘Hajj’ (Islamic annual pilgrimage) or ‘Mecca’ (city of Saudi Arabia, where Hajj is performed).

Masjid Al Haram Panorama UAE:

  • Being poor compared to Saudi, they’d tax directly and indirectly virtually every cost of ‘hajj – pilgrimage’, including roads, ‘zamzam’, ‘kaaba’ building, parking, human resource, prayers, etc.
  • Would outsource almost everything to multinational firms,
  • Invite foreign tourists during off-peak season,
  • Executive helicopter ‘tawaf’,
  • Racing track around ‘mecca’, in Ferrari,
  • Making ‘hajj’ a full blown festival, with pre-season and post-season activities – discounts on bulk ‘zamzam’ water, free camel rides, with purchase of full tour pass of kaba, 360o view from all minarets, food sharing festivals and post season events, like discount for visiting Dead Sea beach or free umrah passes.
  • Hajj costs 2-3 million per person.

Pakistan:

Govt:
  • Seek aid from all muslim countries for ‘hajj’ operations, misappropriation in millions,
  • All aspects of ‘hajj’ business run by relatives and industrialists, taking turn to own it,
  • Cut-throat wrangling every 5 years for these lucrative positions,
  • Sacrificial animal import and ‘khaal’ (hides) export to relatives in Pakistan,
  • Water, electricity, gas, roads, hospital, complete infrastructure dilapidated,
  • Thousands of people (God forbid) perish in mild rain storm and dust-storm, due to 45 degree temp and water shortage, eating donkey nihari (curry), etc.
  • Hajj costs 3-4million due to mismanagement
Army:
  • The complete supply chain of hajj operations run by military inc., but well organized and reliable,
  • But almost all of that in loss, still audit exemption due to national/defense matter, thus requiring increased funding from country and abroad to sustain without question.
  • Massive military deployed across ‘mecca’, one Ranger personnel at every furlong (not at the border, but in the city:),
  • Helicopter surveillance of ‘kaaba’ 24/7, with ready F-16s and anti-aircraft missiles, against a supposed Indian threat, which makes defence 70% of the hajj budget/cost,
  • Sky-rocketing land cost, making hotels out of reach of Muslims, except for elites and ex-armymen quota,
  • Bomb blast by enemy/victim survivors hundreds of thousands (God forbid) perish every 5-10 years, requiring reinforcement of military,
  • Hajj cost 2-3 million rupees.

Malaysia:

  • State of the art facilities (even better than now), underground subway, overhead mono-rail,
  • Cable car between ‘safa’ and ‘marwa’,
  • Underground aquarium for ‘zamzam’ plant,
  • Alcohol only allowed after 10pm,
  • ‘Hijaab’ only required for ‘haji’ (one performing hajj)
  • Hajj cost 1-2 million per person

Canada:

  • Well organized facilities, with tight public scrutiny,
  • Separate Toilets for every conceivable gender,
  • Open for Muslims and non Muslims and atheists or agnostic equally,
  • Signage in English, Arabic and French
  • Educational institutions and research on Arabic and religious literature
  • High tax for every infrastructure , healthcare and resulting high cost,
  • Hajj cost 2-3 millions per person

Feel free to add about other countries 🙂

Rangers’ Operation in Karachi and Govt.’s will for the peace


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Here’s a summary update of Law & Order situation in Karachi, from a citizen’s perspective.

Cause of mismanagement:
Karachi has an age old problem of lack of empowerment. It never had any voice in the power corridors, even if its citizen vote 100% to any party. That is a fundamental flaw in the system of governance in place in Pakistan. Take an example of operation in Karachi. Federal govt. through Ministry of Interior, recommends operation in Karachi, in Sept 2013. Sindh govt approves special powers to Rangers and Armed Forces assigns head of Rangers (Sindh) to carry out the operation. No where, the elected representatives of Karachi’s opinion taken into consideration, let alone their powers to approve or disapprove it. The democratic countries of the world had evolved decades ago, empowering people to make decisions about their day-to-day matters autonomously.

Due to the hold of rich (industrialists) and powerful (landlords) on the power corridors (commonly known as feudalism in Pakistan), we are still using archaic system of central government.

Where most of the authority on resources to run administration of the cities, remains in the control of central (here we call Federal) government. It does have a ‘federal’ title, but the authority majorly is not devolved down to the localities. This had serious repercussion on the government performance, creating imbalance of power and sense of deprivation.  Karachi being significant, in terms of both population and its economic contribution, had noticed serious incompetency from provincial and federal level and imbalance of resource distribution, resulting in distrust and lack of ownership, which lead to disorder, to an otherwise extremely vibrant city. It did grew exponentially nevertheless, by accommodating all ethnicities from across Pakistan, making it country’s most diverse city. One of the factors of growth, despite government’s willful neglect, is that Pakistanis have innate survival instinct, who finds a way to live under minimal of resources.

Authority on Karachi’s resources, are largely shared between Federal govt and Provincial govt., where the elected representatives of Karachi has minority say, thus non-empowerment in the matters of their respective constituencies.

Take an example of electricity, where KE is begging for continuation of 650 mega watt of supply from national grid, and all (Federal and provincial members) but representatives from Karachi are making the decision on the fate of electricity for Karachi, who are the ones suffering from it, day-in and day-out, and the ones making the decision (in the center) has no clue, what are the resulting problems on ground. Take eg Crime in Karachi, which is the topic of this post, where lack of govt interest and the resulting incompetency of Sindh Police, created an uncontrollable problem of crime and later terrorists finds Karachi a safe heaven. What we are seeing today, is the outcome of 4-5 decades of government neglect in the area of Law & Order, through LEA (Law Enforcement Agencies).

Rangers role:
Rangers had been in Karachi with different powers, for over 2 decades, through special provision of law (amendment to the  constitutional). They report to Army (corps commander in GHQ) and gets approval and funding from Sindh Govt. and takes direction from Ministry of Interior (Federal). Rangers have launched operation in Karachi under the auspices of Nawaz Sharif direction and Raheel Shareef authority (background), since the past 2 years. This is following the army’s resolve in eliminating terrorists in northern areas. They managed to find terrorists (826) and huge repositories of weapons  (7312) and overpowered many hideouts, which resulted in reduced acts of terrorism in the city – bomb blasts, mass murders, abductions, ransom, etc.  I won’t say Rangers operation in Karachi is wrong altogether. Rangers core job is to protect borders (international) from terrorists.

It’s their job which they were supposed to do on a regular basis, for the past 27 years, that’s what they’re paid for (Rs. 1.4 billion/year/2013), which they were negligent/incompetent at frankly, remember bus shooting, attack at the airport, PNS attack, numerous bomb blasts, etc.

Now doing it as a special operation (and portraying it as some kind of ‘ahsaan’ – service), when the city is destroyed/infested with terrorists from around the world, is a service too late, costing thousands of innocent lives in Karachi already. Further, their unbiased operation, turning blind eye towards PPP and other political criminals, while sparing no stone unturned against MQM workers is objectionable, specially the disappearances and extra-judicial killings (called as encounters), some 300+ instances of encounters since Jan 2015 alone. MQM claimed 50 of their political workers are missing, probably dead. According to another news report (again without details):

Rangers claimed to have killed 364 so-called ‘criminals’ and arrested 200 others in the encounters.  Rangers has conducted some 5,795 operations and apprehended 10,353 suspects that ranged from street criminals to terrorists.

If they are foreign terrorists and out of control, killing the in encounters can be acceptable (exceptionally), but killing known MQM workers without trial is unacceptable, specially looking at the level of competence and intelligence of our LEAs and their masters. Extra-judicial killings have severe repercussions. Would make hero out of MQM again, as all except MQM had been ignored. Such extra-judicial killings if challenged in the court of law, could bring severe trouble to the LEA leadership responsible in this misadventure. Further, the return of MQM (haqiqi) leaders in Karachi and erupting clashes between MQM and MQM (H) workers, does not speak good about the intentions of Army/Rangers here.

There couldn’t have been bigger embarrassment for Rangers, but during their raid at nine zero, finding nothing substantial, that was always hyped. Following news media, even I started to believe that nine zero is some kind of no-go area, where there is a secret army with truck loads of artillery and sophisticated weapons, that could over power armed forces. Remember, how many Rangers contingent were deployed during that raid ? But it turned out to be a measly amount of weapons, many of which were said to be licensed and the abducted people  (without warrant), have to be eventually released (again embarrassingly), due to lack of evidence. It again proved their incompetency and lack of intelligence, to solve the issues of city. If they are not smart enough to reprimand criminals and convict them to justice (following the law of the land), they shouldn’t indulge in operations in the first place. Obviously, that’s what they’re not skilled in, as they don’t have civic sense or demographic intelligence or criminal investigation skills. They have combat skills to kill the enemy at the border, so they did kill some terrorists, albeit without warrant and extra-judicially, so effectively nobody knows, who they killed. Further, Karachi is not a war zone, where the constitution has been suspended, so you can kill people at sight, without trial. Lastly, except just MQM HQ, all actually (dreadful) no-go areas should be cleansed from illegal weapons and criminals.

Nobody can think about going into ‘kati pahari’, ‘layari’ or ‘sohrab goth’ today, like they can ‘nine zero’ now. These kinds of acts, created doubts in the minds of residents of Karachi, about the intent of the government to enforce peace.

Sindh Government:
Regarding govt. interest to enforce peace in Karachi, we’ve to ponder on what are the root causes of crime generally. Crime in Karachi depends on many factors:

  • Incompetent bureaucracy hired on quota system,
  • Same is true for police (major factor),
  • Lack of border control (inflow of terrorists),
  • Easy availability and affordable weapons,
  • Gangs/mafia (eg land, drugs, beggars, tankers, political parties, etc.),
  • Extreme economic disparity, extreme poverty and disrespect (social injustice among indigenous and immigrants),
  • Significant unemployment,
  • Education rate (high illiteracy),
  • Illegal/’kachi abadi’ (safe heavens for terrorists and criminals alike), c
  • Corrupt judicial system (lower courts),

These are the root causes of crime in Karachi. If anyone is sincere, they will address these issues. But since the intent is not to bring peace and prosperity in Karachi, none of these aspects are even talked about, let alone addressed. One institution created to control crime in any city, that’s police.

Since, Sindh Police is based on quota, just like rest of the govt. bodies and similar institutions, which makes them  incompetent, highly uneducated, unskilled, underpaid and underpowered, there’s no way to achieve sustainable peace in Karachi.

Nobody has ever talked about reforming Sindh Police, so this also confirms the lack of intent of Sindh govt. to establish peace in the city. Nothing obviously goes without being noticed by Sindh Police in Karachi, so everyone knows, they’ve cut in virtually every crime, eg beggary, encroachments, land mafia, transport mafia, etc. Naturally, the operation did not help with the crime. All actions (conducted by rangers) will naturally be fruitless for the average citizen, as it can be noticed on ‘Halaat Updates’ facebook forum, for the past 1 year.  I’ve written another piece on the reasons of L&O woes in Karachi here.

Problems cannot be solved through force, it’s proven in the history. Problems are solved, when you resolve it’s root cause. When all the causes remain, which I enlisted above, specially the incompetent police, you simply cannot reduce crime.

MQM’s Responsibility:
First party responsible for everything about Karachi is obviously MQM, since they won 95% of the seats from Karachi (19 out of 20 MNA seats in 2013). But, like I said before, they aren’t empowered enough. They are as powerless as ever. Prime example of their lack of authority is this operation itself, where they can’t stop Rangers from killing their workers extra-judicially in Karachi. Note, Sindh Govt can call off Rangers policing authority in Karachi, btw.

Zardari said to have strike a deal with the establishment, which resulted in PPP (through Sindh Govt), recently extending policing powers to Rangers, which were to expire in June 2015 (the power for this operation).

It’s been more than 60 years, since the independence of Pakistan, it’s about time, the mandate of Karachi be accepted. There’s no way this discriminate accountability of MQM alone will be accepted by the people, while every criminal leader in the govt., and their gang of absconders and their political parties are in full power (with 10 times bigger share in the govt. than MQM), with no remorse whatsoever or respect for the writ of Pakistan or mandate of the citizens. When from nobody like Ayyan Ali, to terrorist like Uzair Baloch (sought by Interpol), Tappi, Baba Ladla are spared and statements of Zulfiqar Mirza and AAZ against Pakistan and Army are ignored, Lahore police brutality never brought to justice, sold-out judges goes free making false judgements about election fraud, no one held accountable for Karachi airport attack, or APC attack, etc. just to name a few, are all instance of the high-handedness of the present govt, but since they were in connivance with the people in the power corridor, govt is silent about them. This is simply a double standard of government. With complete injustice in the country, nobody has any moral right to question MQM to become pious. Let’s accept the mandate of MQM, given by the votes of citizens of Karachi.

What should we Do about it ?
Empower citizens of Karachi to be able to make decision on their living – police, water, electricity, infrastructure, all aspects of govt, autonomously. There’s no dearth of intelligence and skills in Karachi, see the private sector. It’s just a matter of upholding merit in government, so that people in Karachi stop abhorring government jobs and take part in serving the nation.

Today, they either leave the country for good, or mind their own business (as furthest away from govt. as possible).

So, we need to correct the system, without which nothing can be resolved, let alone such a complex problem as crime. Empower police, hire on merit (education, skills), pay sufficiently (like we pay to Rangers), bring them to enough numbers that is proportionate to the population of Karachi (being the second biggest city of the world) and see how crime goes down automatically. Above all, accept MQM’s mandate in Karachi. Let’s voice for the equal rights for every citizen.
oppression
Empower citizens!

Quick info on Heat stroke (also called Sun stroke)


This is a quick reference for general public awareness about Heat stroke (also called Sun stroke). I compiled this, as many people, even in educated families, didn’t know about it and exposed to risk, during recent heatwave in Karachi.

Definition:

Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures — usually in combination with dehydration — which leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system. The medical definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit, with complications involving the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures. Other common symptoms include nausea, seizures, confusion, disorientation, and sometimes loss of consciousness or coma.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

The hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. But fainting may be the first sign.
Other symptoms may include:
• Throbbing headache
• Dizziness and light-headedness
• Lack of sweating despite the heat
• Red, hot, and dry skin
• Muscle weakness or cramps
• Nausea and vomiting
• Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
• Rapid, shallow breathing
• Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
• Seizures
• Unconsciousness

People most at risk of heat-related illness:

Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but those most at risk are:
• People over 65 years, particularly those living alone or without air conditioning
• Babies and young children
• Pregnant and nursing mothers
• People who are physically unwell, especially with heart disease, high blood pressure or lung disease
• People on medications for mental illness.

Causes of heat stress and heat-related illness:

There are many factors which can cause heat stress and heat-related illness, including:
• Dehydration – to keep healthy, our body temperature needs to stay around 37°C. The body cools itself by sweating, which normally accounts for 70 to 80 per cent of the body’s heat loss. If a person becomes dehydrated, they don’t sweat as much and their body temperature keeps rising.
• Lack of airflow – working in hot, poorly ventilated or confined areas.
• Sun exposure – especially on hot days, between 11am and 3pm.
• Hot and crowded conditions – people attending large events in hot or crowded conditions may also experience heat stress that can result in illness.

Heat stroke – treatment:

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and requires urgent attention:
• Call for an ambulance.
• Get the person to a cool, shady area and lay them down while you’re waiting for emergency medical help.
• Remove clothing and wet their skin with water, fanning continuously.
• Do not give the person fluids to drink. (You can give fluids in case of heat exhaustion.)
• Position an unconscious person on their side and clear their airway.

Heatwave in Karachi & How we responded


This would have best context, for those living in Karachi. But, others would also get the main message. With the rising temperature in Karachi, in the recent past (June 2015), going as high as breaking record (45oC), which was exacerbated by the government’s water and electricity shortfall, that some 1000+ souls lost their lives in this big metropolis. Most of them were either chronically ill or drugged and rest lacked awareness about heat-stroke, but it was no less than a tragedy for the city, in recent times. I wrote another post on heat stroke and how to respond in such situation, here.

Women wets her burqa to cool off the head of this elderly man

Thanks to God, who has provided us with this government and KE, KWSB, KMC, WAPDA, Karachi Meteorological Department and Sindh Police, Civil/Jinnah Hospital and PIA, etc., without which we couldn’t have gained piety in this holy month of Ramazan. This is a sarcastic statement, but they really tested our patience. How could people (eg living in first world countries), in relative quiet time and peaceful living, get the chance to demonstrate patience and tolerance, when everything is easy for them. You know, many of those people (living abroad), run into a situation where they can’t find enough people eligible for ‘zakat’ (person living below poverty line), people under stress, and destitute families, that they have to turn to the third-world countries, to fulfill their obligation of zakat (giving alms).

Both the people with the means and luxuries of life are tested (‘Ibtilah’) and also those who are living in poverty. But, God tests more the pious people, so as to test the strength of their faith and to give them a chance to increase their level of ‘taqwa’ (piety).

{Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allaah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allaah knows all that before putting them to test).}[al-Ankaboot 29:2-3] – Quran

Indeed, in order to earn such blessings, we have to observe patience and not get agitated, under any circumstance, like that which Karachiites (specially the poor) are enduring through lack of basic essentials like water and electricity, the trouble of getting CNG, increased beggary, raging traffic and the rising mercury level.

“Great reward comes with great trials. When Allah loves a people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it attains His pleasure, whereas whoever shows discontent with it incurs His wrath.” Narrated and classed as hasan by at-Tirmidhi (2396); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah, no. 146 – Hadith

So, those who did observe patience and those who got martyred through the heat-wave, mugged, or endured heat or lost someone/something dear to them, and did not complain and observed ‘sabar’ (patience) and remained thankful to the blessings of Allah, must have gained His ultimate favor.

{Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.}[Az-Zumar 39:10] – Quran

Although, it wasn’t wise to observe ‘fast’, during those extreme heat-wave period, specially for the weak (who are exempt anyways) and impoverished (who risk their lives), and specially when the government was adding to their misery, failing to provide electricity and water. I have written another post on how to avoid, identify and recover from heatstroke. But, I am sure, who did fast naively and with the sole ‘neeyat’ (intention) of gaining Allah’s favor, would definitely get their reward. During Friday sermons/prayers, I noticed lots of people, under open scorching sun, stood perspiring from head-to-toe, saying prayers.

That’s indeed a great sight, of the level of faith in the society, under such tough circumstances.

{And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Saabiroon (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.} [Al-Baqarah 2:155–157] – Quran

Such, calamity also provides us the opportunity to perform those acts of kindness that I noticed many people of Karachi demonstrated, by volunteering to provide drinking water with ORS (necessary salt) to hundreds of thousands of people in shantytown and hospitals, across the city. The noble acts of planting trees (Neem tree) followed, which is a ‘sadqa –e- jareeha’ (eternal reward).

Neem tree plantation, by volunteers

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “There is none amongst the Muslims, who plants a tree or sows a seed, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but it is regarded as a charitable gift from him.” (Bukhari) – Hadith

Everyone volunteered either with their money, or time, effort, awareness or encouragements, in whatever manner they could, to serve their fellow Karachiites. Acts of kindness and sacrifice, when you have plenty to share or when you are trouble-free, is obviously easy. One of the reasons for fasting in the month of Ramazan, apart from giving a break to your body, is to feel for the poor, who are hungry and thirsty and learn to observe control without any discontent. If we are awake all night, eating or just hanging around with friends and sleeping next day in AC, or remain in AC anyways, you’ll still fulfill the obligation, but you will miss to observe hunger or thirst and a feeling for the poor. Similarly, in the middle-east, it’s common these days to see temperatures has high as 40-50oC. But still, you don’t get such opportunity of giving and sharing with the impoverished, that you get in Karachi.

11705471_10155757487850072_2188371522267574757_o Food given to a child11536507_1137088642987883_3840152461339580152_oWater distribution - hospitals

So, the real metal is proven, when under such dire circumstances, Karachiites showing their heart for such immense level of brotherhood, is a pleasant sight, something we must be thankful for.

Umar ibn Hazm reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There is no believer who consoles his brother at the time of a calamity but that Allah the Exalted will clothe him with noble garments on the Day of Resurrection.” – Hadith

Pakistan is known for its philanthropy and the month of ramazan sees its phenomenal rise, where you see hundreds of thousands of people giving charity, by providing free ‘iftaar’ (food boxes), arrange places for ‘taraweeh’ (evening prayers), give free ration to the hungry, give cash to the poor (‘zakat’) and donations to hospitals and charity organizations, was overwhelming to observe in this Ramazan. Somehow, such information is never highlighted in the news. The reason, I almost stopped turning TV on.

Water streetsmedicinesPoor man receiving waterIftaar box

Last but not the least, such acts of nobility aren’t complete, without the mention of Abdul Sattar Edhi’s Edhi Foundation, who provided funeral services to the sudden death of hundreds of people during the peak heat-wave, which no one was able to handle, government, least bit. Our leaders (in the government) should understand their job is to serve and to protect, and not to rule us. There is a painful hellfire waiting for them, if they neglect their duties and let such a magnitude of people suffer like that. But, anyhow, it turns out to be a blessing in disguise, where it provided us the opportunity to expiate our sins and reminded us of the true path.

Thus calamities, trials and tests are signs of love from Allaah for the believers. They are comparable to a cure; although it may be bitter, you accept it because it is from the one whom you love; and to Allaah belongs the best example. As comes in the hadeeth, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The magnitude of the reward is proportional to the magnitude of the affliction. When Allaah سبحانه وتعالى loves some people, He tests them. He who is content (with Allaah’s decree) will receive the Pleasure (of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى); and he who is discontent will attain the wrath (of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى).”[10] Related by at-Tirmidhi and Sheikh al-Albaanee رحمه الله graded it Saheeh. – Hadith

So, we should observe patience under any circumstance and do good to others, in the best way you can. But that does not mean no accountability for the leaders (government officials), responsible for this debacle. Part of the ‘sabr’ (patience) is to stop them from committing this hardship on the people at large. It’s also our responsibility to protest. It’s indeed same as committing oppression, when you bear oppression and does not voice your concern or fight back.

May Allah, grant maximum reward to these people who served their fellow beings (‘huquooq ul ebad’) and give us ‘sabar’ (patience) and strengthen our faith during such difficult times and save us from actual calamity and give us ‘toufeeq’ (guidance) to make the most of this month, so that we get your ultimate favor, Aameen! May Allah, also give guidance to our leaders (in government) and save them from hellfire, Aameen!

Verily we belong to Allaah and to Him we shall return. O Allaah help me in my calamity and bring me something better in return, Aameen!

Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything. – Unknown

* Many of the photos, I’ve taken myself and many I’ve gathered from volunteers on social media.

Do We Have To Be Offended By Everything


The Belle Jar

You are a smart person and you pride yourself on your critical thinking abilities and general good taste.

You read or hear or watch something and find yourself smiling, nodding in agreement, maybe even laughing out loud. This, whatever this happens to be, is genius. Whoever created it somehow articulated exactly what you’ve been thinking but have never been able to put into words. Nothing has ever been more perfect.

You share what you’ve just read, heard or watched with your friends, expecting that they’ll be just as blown away by the insight and hilarity as you were. And some people do get it, so you high five to celebrate your mutual intelligence and awesomeness. But then a few of your friends start to voice misgivings, and then someone comes right out and says it:

This isn’t cool.

Here’s the thing – you’re not a bad person. In fact, you…

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Watch for Facebook’s bug exposing your personal photos publically


I was told the other day by a friend, that my hundreds of photos, in which I am tagged, are visible publicly, to people who aren’t even friends on Facebook. For quite some time, I argued in denial that how is it even possible. But finally when she showed me the photos she can see, I was like, what the heck ? Such a blatant error ? The photos which I’ve kept as private, visible to only my family, is all visible to public at large. This is ridiculous. I searched on the net and found that this bug is still not addressed by Facebook. There are numerous people asking about it on the Facebook community forum, all unanswered, unresolved, some as long as 6 months old questions. People themselves found some workaround, which I used as well. If you change the Language setting from US (EN) to UK (EN), it would disable that search feature and effectively won’t show the photos.

I don’t mean that you misuse someone’s privacy, but just to let you know, that there is a flaw. If you type someone’s name in the top field on Facebook page (who’s not your friend), and once the name comes up in the list, you select it. Once that person’s name opens, hit that field again (which should have that name already in it) and you’ll see a drop-down, with a list of options, eg Photos of xxx person, Photos by xxx person, Likes of xxx person, and so on, as show in the image below. You click ‘Photos of xxx person’ and viola, you have all his/her photos, nomatter public or private.

Learnsharehelp.workpress.com

Be careful with what you post and share on Facebook and change the language setting to UK (EN), till the time Facebook resolves this error. Feel free the spread the message.

Warm bed in winters


It has started to be colder here. I’m lying in the comfort of my bed, under warm blanket, writing this. I just recalled a night, while in picnic long time back, at some farmhouse and I remember there were too many people and during sleep time, there were less bed to accomodate. So, everyone sought whatever space they can get – corner of a bed or cushion or sofa or carpet. I ended up on carpet as well. The unusual part was that, it was winter and we didn’t have enough sheets or blankets to cover us during sleep. It didn’t feel that cold during talking or activities together, we were fine without using overcoats or covers. But I remember, while sleeping, I had really hard time sleeping. As by nature we need to be on warm before we can sleep. As you know, our body temperature drops during sleep, so that we relax easily and rest. And only then, I could relate to the fact, how poor people would sleep daily, many under the open sky. Always cherish what you have and always be thankful and try helping others with whatever resources you’re blessed with. Be comfy! Happy winter!

Dancing With The Wolves


Good read!

Dr. Haider Mehdi

wolvesAt last the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman, Imran Khan, has taken a definite policy stance against the continuation of the US drone attacks on Pakistani territory and against its citizens. In a National Assembly speech on Monday, Khan categorically set the November 20th date for the PML-N government to resolve the drone strike issue: “(But) if drone strikes continued then we will block Nato supplies after November 20 and go to the UN Security Council,” warned the PTI Chairperson.

The vital questions in today’s Pakistan are: How long will we continue to dance with the wolves in the killing of our citizens and decimating peace, stability and political tranquility in this country?

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