Wake up calls

 

I dont know how many write ups am I going to start with the words, its been a week from hell. Seems like lately every week is a week from hell here in Pakistan and all we can do as people who actually live here is to hold on to any sort of hope, however false it may be to get by.

In the last few days 80 feet of ice came crashing down on Pak soldiers in the Gayari district of Siachen. Rescue efforts are still underway to no avail as people start to give up hope for the 135 sons, husbands and friends buried there. All for a war which has no meaning, apparently as much strategic importance as a comb to a bald man and must come to an end sooner rather than later, before more brave men are sacrificed to it on either side.

Today has brought the terrible tragedy of a bhoja air flight from Karachi to Islamabad which virtually disintegrated in mid air in a landing pattern before Isloo. Rescue workers are still picking up body parts and our main stream media is exhibiting as it does with every such atrocity new lows in journalistic ethics. Thrusting mikes in the faces of sobbing family members left behind, showing pictures of dead body parts and so on.

In the midst of all this a friend receives the following SMS which she emails to me in outrage. It reads

The instant incident of live
burrial of >135 troops of
Pak Army at Siachin is neither due to an Avalaunch
nor a Cloud burst but a Satellite targeted Laser impulse by NASA which resulted into this Objective
Oriented Killing Of Pak troops after Salalah .
Plz forward for National
Awakening Campaign . SHAME TO USA AND OUR LEADERS
From:column of Dr Ajmal Niyazi Nawa e Waqt Lhr.11.04.2012

Upon reading this two things come to mind. Firstly the sender isn’t exactly very well versed in the language they are trying to communicate in with the creative spellings galore in their text. Which begs to point to the fact that this is probably another brainwashed citizen trying to become the breaking sms version of one of our main stream media houses by spicing up a few details.

Secondly the sms and its intentions points to perhaps what is one of our deepest lying faults “the instant ability to put the blame on someone else” How hilarious is it that in the upcoming budget we as a nation will need donations from the very west we are so apt at blaming for all our difficulties just to fulfill out basic requirements. Alms for Pakistan  please? Because we really believe that even natural disasters like the floods and landslides are a result of mysterious american super weapons. Everything is your fault we are just victims of circumstance! That will be 35 million dollars sahab, we take cash only!

Another part of this amazing conspiracy based blame them mentality is the acceptability of all things arab as the shining beacon of our ummah. This is the part that is usually used to soothe over any fears of the future. Brother muslims who will be there to help us should we be going down. Brother muslims who must be given precedence in all matters from hunting licenses to serving as guaranteers for our umpteen political deals because they are so very kool. Their advice must be sought in all matters, but hold on they wont let us invest in their countries without kafeels or marry into their society or holds jobs with any kind of security or rights. Where oh where is all this permitted to us lowly dregs of this world? “Gasp” You dont say! Not in the west! OMG they are just doing this to destroy our culture further dont you know!!

Off course in all this self serving finger pointing lifestyle the conscience of our society or its ability to self examine has been all but lost. When it comes to a point where natural disasters are being attributed to fantastical imperial weapons can we as a nation ever heal that which ails us? Why can’t we stop blaming or idolizing all other societies and do both of these things to our own selves. Idolize the good in pakistan, blame what is bad in Pakistan and fix it. Do something else rather than just sit and talk expertise on every subject via texts or videos or twitter or whatever.

Do something before it is too late.

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Letter from A Q Saggu to his student Maj. Zaka

 

Today is my birthday. I was born to an officer of Merchant Navy named Abdur Rauf Saggu on tenth April, 1955. It was Sunday and lady doctor Mrs. Benjamin (RIP) had to leave her Easter Service in the church to help bring me into this world, where the Departure Mark is now closer than the Arrival Mark as I have turned fifty seven.

 

Believe you me, this is the saddest birthday of my life, because one of my sons Maj Zaka ul Haq is lying trapped under an eighty foot river of ice which has stopped and solidified into a hard mountain at Siachin. Like many others, I was hoping and praying for the miracle of his survival. And make no mistake if anyone who could make his way out of this white granite, it was him… Zaka, my mischievous son. The hope is fast fading away…..the scale of the rescue task is huge, and the efforts impeded by the weather and terrain seem to be puny and piddling…the only thing we are left to do is praying…praying for a miracle. Still, let’s continue to pray!

 

Several times today, I was accosted, ‘Saggu Saheb tabiat theek hey?’ and I said, ‘Haan yar April he na, lagta he zara allergy ho gai he.’ Zaka, you’ve made me realize that I’m growing old and people can see through the thin film of tears in my eyes and excessive sniffing. There’s a pall of fragrant sadness over CCH today, although it’s the tenth of April and the campus is blooming and beautiful like a princess. CCH is an extraction from Paradise, it truly is! It’s a special gift for people like Zaka.

 

Be sure Zaka if you have by now crossed to the other Kingdom, through the magical power of the wishes of Abdalians we shall transport your CCH to where you have gone and where it really belongs. There again the Adju will give you Front Rolls and Rounds of the Sport Grounds. The housemaster will reach for his cane for the smell of smoking and cardamom, and I shall recommend you for an appointment this time. You might even become the CC on the strength of your debating and sporting skills. Listen up, smoking is bad for health!

 

From the roiling and swirling turbulence of hope and despair, I can only babble out these few words at the moment.

 

Bye! My son! Pak Fauj Zindabad

 

WE ARE MANY, BUT ARE ONE WE ARE ABDALIANS, SECOND TO NONE

 

United in grief

 

A Q Saggu

Deputy Vice Principal (coordination)

Cadet College, Hasanabdal

10 April 2012

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Constitutional petition for online rights

 

On the 17th of April 2012, seven individuals, Awab Alvi, Sana Saleem, Faisal Kapadia, Nazim Haji, Naeem Sadiq, Noman Quadri and Ayesha Tammy Haq through their lawyer Haider Waheed & Basil Nabi Malik, petitioned the High Court of Sindh at Karachi challenging the arbitrary and random acts of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in blocking/ censoring and restricting access to various websites in violation of the fundamental rights of the owners of the websites/online forums as well as the public at large, and without affording the aggrieved persons an opportunity of being heard or due notice.  It was prayed in the said petition that no website could be blocked/ censored or restricted without affording the aggrieved parties (including the public at large) due notice and an opportunity to be heard in accordance with Articles 4, 9, 10-A, 18, 19, 19A, 20 and 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, read with Section 6 of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Act, 1996.  The Honorable High Court of Sindh issued notice to the Federation of Pakistan, through the Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, through its Chairman, and furthermore ordered the PTA said not to block any website other than in accordance with the provisions of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act, 1996.  It may be noted that as per the PTA Act, the correct procedure to be followed before blocking or censoring of websites is as per Section 6 of the said Act, which states,

 

Section 6.

Responsibilities of the Authority.—In exercising its functions and powers under this Act, the Authority shall ensure that—

(a) Rights of licensees are duly protected;

(b) All of its decisions and determinations are made promptly, in an

Open equitable, non-discriminatory, consistent and transparent

Manner;

(c) All applications made to it are disposed of expeditiously;

(d) The persons affected by its decisions or determinations are given a

due notice thereof and provided with an opportunity of being

Heard;

(e) Fair competition in the telecommunication sector exists and is

Maintained

(f) The interests of users of telecommunication services are duly safeguarded and protected.

The intention of the said petition was to bring the entire process under judicial review to insure its fairness, transparency, to prevent ad hoc blocking, to provide a proper system of redress to the parties owning these websites and forums and to protect the fundamental rights of the public at large including internet users in Pakistan.


Media lead for this petition: Ayesha Tammy Haq

Email : ayeshatammy@gmail.com

Twitter ID : @tammyhaq

 

The text of the order is as follows:-

“Notice to the Respondents as well as learned DAG for 07-05-12, to be issued instantly and through all possible modes, till then the Respondents shall conduct themselves strictly in accordance with law and in case, they initiate any action, such shall be done in accordance with relevant provisions of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Act, 1996.”
Organizations supporting this petition : Bolobhi, Bytes for all, Dont block the blog
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Of fashion and my confusion with it

This past week has been sort of a mixed bag for me. First of all Showcase was held in Karachi and Pak tea house collaborated to bring live tweeting from it via cover it live. It was a short event and went off well but i was unable to attend unfortunately due to the situation in the city.

I did however attend the fashion week held soon after or at least two days of it. Being a fashion bystander with a background in textiles does give me some insight into fabric but I will not pretend to know much about what was on display and analyze it. I will not do that because I really didn’t understand some of what was on display anyways as it featured a mixture of western styling and over the top antics to try to create as much hype as possible.

I do however recognize quality when I see it and it was pretty damn obvious in Bunto kazmis line as each piece seemed quite lovingly crafted. These kind of pieces even a layman can tell are one of a kind each. Equally impressive were maheen khans collection for her chic fabrics, sanam chaudrys colors and cut and shehla chatoors styling. This event was quite important social media wise as well because we at pak tea house not only collaborated to report on it but in my opinion carried off quite a remarkable feat with live tweeting, as we had about 6 featured tweeters per day, scoops on video from back stage and hidef pics of the days collections uploaded every night “BEFORE” any newspaper or magazine could publish them. Which meant that quite frankly mainstream media was playing catch up to us in this entire event rather than how it used to be in the past with bloggers writing on info gleaned from news stories. 4700 tweets from these live tweeters over 4 days of fashion week along with pics are ample proof of  the fact that some of the best live bloggers are the ones not featured extensively in our community till yet as they were here .

@fursid @samramuslim @Sidra_Rizvi  @Umairmirza @abdullasyed @shobz @CinnamonCurls

@faizanlakhani @Hinasafi  @Sidra_Rizvi you did create history.

Obviously none of this would have been possible without the tremendous facilities given to us by the events organizers, the seating in third row, the press passes and the ability to write what we damn pleased. So Kudos to Etihad, Maheen Khan, Deepak and the other organizers & sponsers for embracing social media in this open hearted a manner. Perhaps this is why the events live stream on twitter and via video feed reached many people at home and created an enormous buzz.

There were however some areas which were imo severely lacking in an event of this magnitude.

First of all the PR.  I do understand that it gets very tough for an agency to handle invites when the venue and the date keep on changing but if there were to be new lows in organization in an events pr they were achieved here. The helpless agency did not have invites ready till 9 pm the day before the event took place and on top of it wanted everyone from the social media community to come pick them up. We do think that this is ok with other media outlets as they have gazillions of staff boys on bikes to stand all attention while invites are printed? But in our realm such tortoise like inefficiency is usually called what it just was, invite us by email attachment next time pls, we don’t have the time to wait on you!

Secondly it is very important to know that while video live streaming seems all kool and good to announce onstage, it is a difficult thing to handle. Turning it on an hour before the event starts and that too with audio so the whole world can realize what stage and light boys are subjected to “verbally” is not exactly good publicity for the fashion industry in Pakistan.

Thirdly the delays and the rush inside did not make this event any more inviting even though it had such effort put into its decor and arrangment.  I myself saw ushers selling passes which I considered invite only on the day of the finale. Which explained to me why it seemed like the bohri bazaar of wanna be’s inside the event space. Lets not also forget that although the ramp is precious and should not be walked on, people do need a reasonably wide space to exit from, bumping into socialites with no idea of deodorant isn’t everyone cup of tea. Thank god the fashion community is so willing to rub shoulders with everyone or we could have had quite a few altercations around the ramp area.

All in all it was a very lively event which generated a lot of good feeling and positive coverage for Pakistan. That is why such initiatives must be supported, for the overall bigger picture! However with the incoming fashion week in Islamabad and what not, we are running a tad bit into the overkill area. How many fashion events can one have in the year? Shouldn’t there be some kind of standard to adhere to? Can anyone stitch together a few suits play patriotic music and try to cash in the greatest man in this countries history without an outcry? Can we have the same models display different collections night after night without any emotion?

These are some of the questions that need to be answered by not just those organizing but the people clapping to all this seated in front row. Till the next time  then fashionita, socialite or whoever you are reading this. May the ramp be with you.

 

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