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Archive for the ‘Indo Pak sub-continent’ Category

Are we eventually not back to the square one? The ever so familiar situation repeating itself every so often _ the civil military stand off and the government and judiciary finding themselves at loggerheads yet again feeding ample fodder to the insatiable milling machine of media thankfully to sensationalize and spice things up to their liking, churning out conspiracy theories by creating an unnecessary hype at times while acting irresponsibly by neglecting the imperative developments and details at others to mislead ( read to keep informed) the public at large but to keep their business and entertainment (talk) shows going round the clock. 

The history is perhaps tired of repeating itself over and over again but we are not. While the cynical circular spectrum of events continue to go round and round statically with no linear development over the six decades, interestingly the question remains who is actually at fault? 

Was the judiciary at fault when ZAB riding the crest of a mammoth tide of popularism was hanged? Certainly! Was the judiciary at fault when the over zealous Sultan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif stormed the supreme court overwhelmed by his lust of power? Certainly not! Is the judiciary at fault now when it is taking government to task over a couple of security and political issues? Anybody’s guess! 

More? Was it democratically elected Nawaz Sharif at fault when he dismissed the then COAS Musharraf or was the military takeover a logical reaction to Sharif’s voracious desire for omnipotence while undermining the freedom of various state institutions? 

While it appears deceptively simple to single out Army as the most criminal force and factor in the equation that has arguably rooted out seeds of democratic culture that have been sown time and again but haven’t the democratic institutions failed time and again and caved in owing to their intrinsic weakness, imbalance, disharmony and reckless measures? I am certainly not for khakis to step in or marching boots to trample the constitution at their own free will. There are far too many lessons to learn from the autocratic Islamic revolution led by Hazarat General Muhammad Zia ul Haq and later, in stark contrast, the radiant era of “Renaissance” unleashed by enlightened moderator Mush__ both reminding us of the ages of darkness ironically in one way or the other. But the fact remains that unlike the rest, Military is the only disciplined and organized institution of the state with supposedly far less public dealing and external influence. In all fairness, doesn’t Military get more than its due share of blame for the failure of state or democratic process or institutions? Again, even if for the argument’s sake, Military is the mother of all ills, isn’t failure of a major state institution to understand its due role and to overstep its limits or jurisdiction blatantly time and again be deemed as the failure of democracy or system itself? 

If so, this brings us back to the million dollar question, how in the world do the tenets of western democracy offer the best solution to our typical political, social and economic problems that have failed to grab roots in sixty four years?

 If going to the polls with 35 million bogus registered votes every now and then and casting our vote in the favour of the candidate solely on the basis of birardari or “kinship” as Anatol Lieven ( Pakistan a hard country) puts it earns us the licence to be a democratic state, who are we fooling by expecting a change to take place simply by sticking to this ritual? Not to undermine our society, but have we got the literacy, awareness, religious and social freedom and justice, tradition and maturity to inculcate that culture of expression of freedom, tolerance, mutual respect, equal rights for all human beings that constitute the spirit of democracy together?   

If not, then why are we obsessed with the secular models of western democracy that will never work for us or has never gained roots in the sixty four years of the existence ofPakistanas a state? 

My dear friends and intellectuals who cannot see beyond the dazzling virtues of democracy and exist as if only to keep on harping about it, let us be honest and analyze is democracy the only system that has brought about change coupled with social and economic upliftment round the globe or region? We may snub China for poor human rights standings but what has brought about that magnificent rise in its economic power and splendour? Democracy? Why forget the Asian tigersSingapore? While the state has remained a kingdom with no natural resources of its own (even the drinking water is to be imported from the neighbouring Malaysia), who can deny the remarkable turn around in its stature and economic fate that has earned it the informal title of the ‘Most orderly state” in the world just in a few decades? 

Call it our mindset but name a single mainstream political party that has nurtured democratic culture within its rank and file. Does passing the leadership on to the next generation or the memebers of the family like personal fiefdom or heritage does not negate the spirit of the democracy itself? Or is it perfectly cool to build on a monarchy of  Sharifs, Bhuttos, Zardaris & Madaris while harping about democratic traditions and process?

To cut it short, there may well be countless virtues and democracy may still be the best form of governance but what good is it if it does not deliver but rather dis-enfranchise the masses to the point where the state is brought to the brink of its existential threat?

To me, democracy is after all a means or mode to deliver! 

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The world we are living in has changed and is transforming at a phenomenal pace. If technology has revolutionized one thing over the years that for sure is communication. Gone are the days when voice of masses, a populist movement or uprising could be hushed or silenced by authority and censorship. Liberation of media, advent of internet and social media in particular has changed the rules of the game altogether. If someone has any doubts, please revisit the events of recent upsurge in Tunisia, Egyptand Middle East. What was the dynamic behind the abrupt change in the region that brought an autocratic rule to its knees within days of the suicide of a young university graduate despite all authority and censorship?

Yes. As much as the followers of strong leadership theories (I being one of them) hate to believe, it was the popular campaign and well co-ordinated effort through social media such as Facebook, twitter, youtube and blogsphere that moblized the educated and impassioned youth to the point that rattled the forces of status quo and shook the foundations of the monarchs and military backed regimes in the entire region. In the event of such a deluge, if leadership gets arbitrary and widespread temporarily, is beyond the discussion but more importantly what we have witnessed lately is the real power and potential of a virtual medium and social marketing in achieving objectives of an uprising or an upheaval when it has the potential to connect and resonate with the aspiration of the masses. Grasp over English language or not, a thin or narrowing tip of pyramid constituting a stream of spearheads has shown to represent and influence an exponential base and human resource at the bottom.

What brings me to resort to such an introduction is an excellent article published in the daily ‘The News’ today (June 18th, 2011; Taking social media by storm by Malik Siraj Akbar). It discusses at length about the similar phenomenon that is brewing in the much neglected but largest province of the country i.e Baluchistan. Arguably one of the least developed areas having low population and even lower literacy rate, the most critical and lethal element remains the relevance. There is no denial that Baluchis today find themselves in utter state of deprivation and negligence. Though this galvanization and resentment against the state is not a nascent development, the recent socio economic events and catastrophes have definitely alienated and disenchanted the Baluchs further.

The gruesome reality and mystery regarding the fate of missing persons remains shrouded. How ruthlessly we dealt with a 79 year old Sardar and Baluch icon, Sardar Nawab Akbar Bugti in particular and other political and national figures sharpened the wedge a great deal and intensified the feeling of unflinching hatred against the state. Baluch nationalistic sentiment is gaining momentum and only gets stronger following each clash with the security forces. It has got to the point where they are resorting to target killings and living in the province for a Punjabi or a non native is a potential life threatening risk. The lukewarm and listless response to the earthquake in Baluchistan a couple of years ago further aggravated the economic woes of the people. So much so, the blogsphere and press talked about deliberate flooding of portions of Baluchistan with allegiance of military and police to safeguard the interests of some Sindhi influential landlords during the devastating floods last year.

Poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, unemployment and deprivation remain the chief concerns of the tribal and gallant Baluchs. Mineral rich Balochistan is brimming with resources like natural gas, copper, coal and recently discovered huge reserves of gold. A long stretch of coastal belt runs along the shores of Makran and Gawadar but unfortunately any plans to develop potential goldmine of port of Gawadar have been jeopardized mainly because of the insecurity and partly owing to the cold war and conflicting interests of giants like America and China in the strategically located province.              
          
Isn’t it ironic that a democratic government cant even associate itself with marginalized population ( a mere 5% of the total population) of the largest ( that constitutes 44% of total area of Pakistan) but most backward and sparsely populated province of the country?

Although the history of nationalistic unrest and military intervention and use of force to curb such elements dates as far back as independence, the widening chasm and technological revolution demands a grossly varied approach to the issue. There was much propaganda of an impending economic package for Baluchistan by the prime minister but nothing has materialized so far.

Coming back to the point, there are  a number of blogs and forums that represent Baluch nationalists and promote their extreme agenda and hype on the web. Talking of most popular ‘Baluchistan’ page on Facebook alone, considering the low literacy rate, there is a following of close to 6000 individuals which by any standard or stretch of imagination is substantial. The worsening law and order and security situation doesn’t help. Thanks to social media, well organized, energetic and flambuoyant youth are quick to grab bits of news and information and share and disperse them within the community and cyber space within no time.

If the infested and bleeding wounds of Baluch pride and marginalization are not daubed with serious dialogue, concerted and well organized effort and if what the article reveals about the extent of co-ordination and the activity and commitment of Baluchs to use social media as an alternate platform to counter all censorship, we have a mammoth, ominous and worsening political challenge to tackle at our hands.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=53240&Cat=9&dt=6/18/2011

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I watched this movie a long while ago. It was touching to the core. Overwhelmed I watched it over and again. There is something very unique and subtle about the human feelings, sensations and realizations embedded deep down. The plot is simple yet warm and passionate steeped in sincerity and bonding typical of a human soul.

There is a subdued air of romance and love about the whole theme but this love emanates out of the realization and commitment of the man with the family and the role and responsibility he has taken upon himself. This has more to do with the penance and grief he is suffering from within that induces him to go to every possible extent within his capacity to make amends for the accidental death of a stranger and the unintentional loss he has inflicted upon his family living worlds apart.

Apparently with all his sincerity and prowess, leaving no stone unturned that is humanly possible, he smoothly blends and mingles into their lives and turns things around for them! 

Perhaps it is another depiction and hue amidst a spectrum and rainbow of multitude of shades reflected by the prism of selfless and devoted love.

Each time I listen to the music from the movie, it leaves a lasting impression upon my senses and mind and transports me to another heavenly material-less world. But then this ghazal is immortal!

Lyrics:-

Koyi fariyaad tere dil mein dabi ho jaise
Koyi fariyaad tere dil mein dabi ho jaise
Tune aankhon se koyi baat kahi ho jaise
Jaagte jaagte ek umr kati ho jaise
Jaagte jaagte ek umr kati ho jaise
Jaan baaki baaki hai magar saas ruki ho jaise

Jaanta hoon aapko sahare ki zarurat nahin
Main sirf saath dene aaya hoon

Har mulaakat pe mehsoos yehi hota hai
Har mulaakat pe mehsoos yehi hota hai
Mujhse kuch teri nazar pooch rahi ho jaise

Raah chalte huve aksar yeh ghumaan hota hai
Raah chalte huve aksar yeh ghumaan hota hai
Woh nazar chupke mujhe dekh rahi ho jaise
Woh nazar chupke mujhe dekh rahi ho jaise

Ek lamhe mein simat aaya hai sadiyon ka safar
Ek lamhe mein simat aaya hai sadiyon ka safar
Zindagi tej bahut tej chali ho jaise
Zindagi tej bahut tej chali ho jaise

Is tarah pehron tujhe sochta rehta hoon main
Is tarah pehron tujhe sochta rahta hoon main
Meri har saas tere naam likhi ho jaise
Meri har saas tere naam likhi ho jaise

Koyi fariyaad tere dil mein dabi ho jaise
Tune aankhon se koyi baat kahi ho jaise
Jaagte jaagte ek umr kati ho jaise
Jaan baaki baaki hai magar saas ruki ho jaise

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‘Coaches don’t win you matches, players do’, goes the word of wisdom. But lets not forget one man’s contribution to the India’s lifting of the world cup after twenty eight long and tedious years. 

Taking over the coaching of the Indian team during turbulent times and then moulding it into an invincible unit by sheer motivational training in just three years has not only earned Gary Kirsten due recognition but also put many unsettled questions to rest. Most importantly when a former Australian great Greg Chappell fell out with the skipper and the team and packed his bags under bitter circumstances in a classic showdown that witnessed magnanimous exchange of vocabulary and accusations from both ends, the efficacy of foreign coaches in regional context was widely questioned. It was in those adverse conditions and controversy that Gary accepted the challenge to work in an alien world and environment. 

India and its cricket with all its geographical vastness and cultural diversity was all ripe to present every possible shock and challenge to a man on threshold of discovering wide regional, religious, traditional and ethical spheres within a whole. The team representing a rich mix emerges from a background comprising dozens of languages, having entirely different habits, preferences, approach and way of doing things. It was under those conditions that the man took to his job, not only acclimatized himself but just during a brief stint of three years, delivered and accomplished what none other could achieve for India during his tenure. 

In their own turn, looks like the Indian lads took his every advice to heart including indulging in fervent sex ( not between themselves ) before the match to stimulate flow of their hormones and testosterone yielding aggression and spirit in the field defying and thus trampling the solemn lessons of celibacy preached ardently by the fatherly figure of Mahatma Gandhi for decades.

Perhaps what makes Gary unique is his motivational approach. Knowing the potential and capabilities of his players apparently, he knew how to extract the best out of them individually and more importantly to gel them together into a formidable unit with full faith in themselves. That is the reason that even the cricketing giants like Sehwag and Tendulkar are all praise for the man and have been drumming about the difference he has made to their game and the Indian cricket. Going through a depressing phase, from a low, when he was even left out of the squad for a few games to the ultimate surge where he emerged as the man of the tournament, Yuvraj Singh acknowledges his coach’s contribution in his achievement. Even a senior and accomplished player like Yuvraj considers Gary a parental figure. 

Coaching a star studded rainbow of players with huge egos boasting of enviable and extravagant records takes all one could possibly imagine. In all probability, it was South African’s humble and intelligent handling, seamless communication and overwhelming commitment that helped him sail across the seas and deliver perhaps more than what he was expected to. 

With a job well done, while the man is all set to return to his homeland and family to possibly accept a similar assignment for his native country or some Australian teams as the press reports reveal, lets give the man his due credit who has stamped his mark on the history of the game.

Taking nothing away from Indian team and their well deserved victory, WELL DONE Gary Kirsten!!!

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Pakistan has never beaten India in the world cup cricket_ a hard and bitter bare fact and well yes a jinx maybe! But the history has to change its course somewhere. So what’s the harm if it takes a diversion on coming Wednesday?

Having remained invincible for so long against Pakistan adds to the vulnerability of the Indian team just as the Aussies came crashing down after a remarkable winning streak of thirty four matches to lose two successive games_ the last one sending them packing back home.

It is not just the statistics, though skewed heavily in favour of India, that make its victory improbable but the immense home ground pressure against arch rivals Pakistan coupled with its inconsistent performances. Whatever the outcome is going to be, nothing can be more electrifying than the mouth watering clash between India and Pakistan.

Having advanced to the semi finals, the game ensures representation of at least one team from the sub continent in the final thus continuing an intermittent pattern of regional supremacy. Both sides have obvious strengths and weaknesses that make the contest even and potentially highly interesting.

With an unending depth in its batting, India can perhaps boast of the most potent and annihilating batting arsenal the one day game has ever known. Batting first on any surface, the team can never be sure of ‘a potentially safe’ total if that happens to be setting a target for the Indians to chase. With the likes of Sehwag, Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Gambhir, Yousaf or Raina, the tormenting lineup on a home ground is capable of accomplishing any score that seems improbable. The only ray of hope is the vulnerability to collapse that the Indian middle and lower batting order has displayed time and again during the world cup.

India’s biggest weakness lies in its makeshift bowling attack_ an ordinary and average lineup that has been unable to defend humungous totals like 338 and 297 on its own pitches. If Pakistan has to win, it will definitely have to target a couple of weak links in the Indian bowling chain. How well will Pakistan cope without having a chance to acclimatize to the conditions and playing for the first time on Indian soil in nearly four years is anybody’s guess!?

In contrast, Pakistan’s main strength lies in its bowling resources. Traditionally known to enjoy supremacy in fast bowling faculty, the spin bowlers have been very effective so far in the tournament. This, in all likelihood, is the one clear edge that Pakistan has maintained over the rest of the teams and has been the main driving force behind the Pakistani victories. Talking of the game at hand, Shoaib’s appearance can be decisive even if there are some differences brewing up in the dressing room.

Averse to chase and batting in pressure situations, Pakistan’s best bet lies in getting a sizeable total and then restricting India by bowling on a cracking pitch. In case India bats first, restricting India to a chase able total can prove testing. Remember our batting has been tested only once by New Zealand and that was the match that we lost with a phenomenal margin.  

In the end what is most crucial are the nerves and the team that deals with the enormous pressure by staying calm and collective gives itself a fair chance to sail through.

And like I have been emphasising throughout the tournament, defying all logic and reason, nothing serves us better than our unpredictability. If qualifying by securing most points and climbing to the top of the pool and then storming to the semis in a mesmerising royal fashion was unpredictable, why not beating India and then cruising to penultimate victory in the finals!?

Go greens go! 

All the way!

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Another contribution by Mrs. Delirium

Driving through the main roads of any Metropolis, Billboards displaying the latest collection of the en vogue fabric of the season one is invariably stuck with the impression of beholding familiar countenances from across the border.  

Whilst those strongly objecting to the presence of Indian Icons on Pakistani billboards, and may have a point when they criticize the exuberant amounts spent on hiring them in endorsing their products, that have little or no appeal on the other side. 

Regardless of the protests these multinationals or textile giants as they are now called, are spending colossal amounts owing to the mass appeal they enjoy on this side of the divide, not withholding the ideological segregation dominant on the socio-political and the ideological fronts. The fact that these models cost four times as much as the local ones is no deterrence to their advertising budget. That they are employed repeatedly is testimony to their popularity that they are reaping the desired dividends. 

So where does that leave us ideologically speaking? 

Despite our leaders’ stance on India and on foreign cultures in general, with India-bashing remaining as their favourite pastime, the obsession of Pakistanis with Indian icons is a reality which cannot be ignored. The cultural similarities between the two countries and the constant didactic exchange between them is also a reality.

In the face of dearth of local movies to cater to the demands of the local population, Indian movies and channels have taken the local market by storm and have worn as far as the cultural front is concerned. The huge fan-following of the Indian Channels with our local ones emulating them in language and attire is not something of the distant past.

Is this representative of the dichotomy that exists within us as Pakistanis? The ideological confusion amongst us since the inception of this country. A fragment of the society shunning India and everything associated with it and another incorporating it into their daily lives. Not only as means of entertainment, but also as their idols.

With their music loudly blaring from our vehicles, our homes & mobiles, our weddings incomplete without having their dances choreographed to the minutest detail, are we constantly living in denial?

From our National policy of fuelling hatred towards them to our unadulterated fascination with them, do we as a nation need to wake up to the fact that we cannot survive isolate in an era of information revolution and war is NOT an option for our economically challenged, terror-stricken and internationally isolated country?

So while we need to retain our individual identity as nation and adhere to the basic principles that this nation was founded upon, we need to understand that culture is and ever-changing concept. And we need to celebrate the similarities in our language and heritage to exist as a harmonious whole.

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Despite all that potential bashing that our baRey Khan Sahib invited at the hands of patriotic and sensitive Pakistanis, I highly feel tempted to echo his views on Dhoni and Indian team. There is a difference between being realistic and patriotic just as between being emotional and rational. Sometimes the games are won by sheer passion but only once in a while.

With increasing technological breakthroughs and professionalism coming into play, cricket is transforming into a strategic warfare. Physical and mental toughness, accuracy, flexibility and versatility, strengths and weakness of the individuals and limitations as a collective lot, weather and surface behaviour and conduciveness of the conditions and environment are analyzed to the last shred to devise a strategic game plan for each opposing outfit. How much room does that still leave for the cliche ‘cricket by chance’ to govern is anybody’s guess!      
So when Ian Chappell analyzes and picks up the five prospective world cup champions and Pakistan figures NOWHERE, I feel despondent but not surprised at all. If I sniff an element of bias and malice in the claimed rankings that may well be intended against England for obvious reasons but certainly not towards Pakistan.

He is very right when he says that tournament is potentially the most open since the inaugural world cup in 1975 and not anymore the case of ‘Who’ll meet Australia in the final?’

Once again India riding a high tide with a lethal and mesmerising batting line up, braced by its seasoned and calm leadership, that makes up for its ordinary bowling resource comes out as a favourite. The question remains whether the co- hosts would be able to sustain the immense pressure and expectations of home crowd to belie the maxim that ‘the home team never lifts the world cup’?

Australian team looks far from the best. Ponting, with his drooping shoulders, is not the near invincible captain that he once used to be. Michael Hussey, the most accomplished and gifted lower middle order batsman, is a great potential loss. With a prospective mouth watering quarter final clash against the arch rivals England, even with a recent one sided one day series win against them under their belt which they swept away 6-1, it won’t come as a surprise if the howling lions seeking their fourth consecutive trophy are shown the exit doors at such an early stage.

That brings us to another prospective winner. What about the chokers? As strong and balanced as ever and one of the best on the paper, do the Proteas have the temperament to deliver? They have the potential to beat every side and can never be underestimated to emerge from the wings to break the myth.

The Sri Lankan tigers can may well prove to be the dark horses yet again. Having already one a world cup on subcontinent soil, they have every capability to repeat that feat again. Not to be forgotten, the match winner in Muralitharan can tilt the balance with his quest for glory during the farewell series.

England has come a long way from the ordinary and ‘bits and pieces’ side of yester years. It has finally evolved and forged into a team well worthy of winning their maiden world cup. Their chances may hinge on their capability to overcome their traditional weakness i.e to counter spin bowling. Although in the one day version of the game the balance is skewed highly in favour of the batsmen, the spin still can sometimes play a role on subcontinent’s surfaces.

The rest of the teams including Pakistan can, at best, be given an outside chance. What goes in our favour is a recent surge in the form and blending into a team with better cohesion and co-ordination as a singular unit. The conditions are better suited to our liking and spirits will be at all time high while performing before the Indian crowds. Fitness and fielding remain nagging issues and Pakistan will have to count highly on one factor that it is conventionally and most known for_ its unpredictability.

Unless that unpredictability pops up repeatedly with some consistency against the top notch sides, Pakistan’s  chances to fare well during the world cup remain slim.

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