Archive for the ‘formers’ Category
An All Parties Conference [APC] (APC used to be a pill for headaches and pains or a war machine and these APCs are neither) was called, which constituted a committee to hurriedly take its time to come up with a National Action Plan (acronym NAP), which as the politicians keep dithering, keeps meeting endlessly.
Time wasted and opportunity lost and terrorism continues diverting attention from the task at hand.
Just another case of what was so cynically defined by Sir Barnett Cocks, a clerk in the UK’s House of Commons, as “a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.”
And in our context is this not just another case of the committee set up by a conference being caught NAP-ping!
A little over five years ago, I needed to talk to someone, anyone. I needed catharsis to find if the doubts, fears and guilt I faced were mine alone, or I was part of a larger group with similar issues.
And I found myself stonewalled at every step.
No one was ready to listen to me. Every one found sanctuary in an age old cultural and social desire of not discussing any issue that questioned the beliefs and norms – of acquiescing to what is happening – something that is so deeply entrenched in us with years of “teaching.” In plain words, one must accept misfortune in silence in the hope that time will heal wounds.
On the Fifth of October 2009, I joined the ranks of the ordinary Pakistani on the street.
The Pakistani lost between debates of Islam, the rationale for Pakistan’s existence, two nation or diverse nationalities, deciding who is a Muslim who not; wondering why people in the power corridors are unconcerned about the blood on the streets.
Gone was the pampered Army brat, a crust of upper society, one rubbing shoulders with gentry. All lost in one all leveling bomb blast.
On this day, at about 12:15 PM, a soldier of the Frontier Constabulary walked into the well secured Country Office of the UN World Food Program in Islamabad. He was a suicide bomber dressed in FC uniform and he blew himself up.
Gul Rukh Tahir, Farzana Barkat, Abid Rehman, Muhammad Wahab, and Botan Ahmed Ali Al-Hayawi lost their life in this attack.
Today, four and a half years on, as Pakistan debates the how and why of the F 8 Courts attack with the usual cacophony of apologetic arguments heard again. A feeling of disquiet, a foreboding, a sense of deja vu for the survivors of this attack, and the families who survive those who fell victim to this act surfaces.
I feel revival and flashbacks to the scene outside the WFP premises when I reached there, looking for my wife. Not knowing that Gul Rukh Tahir was a victim of the suicide attack!
Today, as the acts of terrorism continue unabated, and toll of Suicide Bombing Victims reaches 6,053 dead, 15,880 Injured, and continues to rise, I have a sense of despair. Questions arise in my mind for anyone listening. Questions that I have asked on many forums since 10/5, getting blank stares and incredulous looks in response!
What have we done to deserve this fate at the hands of self-professed reformers and torch bearers of a faith twisted to suit their concept of a Caliphate over the world?
What have we done to see our rulers vacillate at the altar of expediency for continuation of their rule?
What is the deep dark secret that keeps us from taking steps that will eliminate this menace from amidst us?
Why is Islam being bandied about as the decider in the battle against terrorism?
With thousands dead or wounded, and more thousands surviving the loss of a loved one, can we not see our people – my wife, your son, father, daughter, brother, sister, friend, relative, colleague, Pakistani all, losing their life? Not the American or NATO country populations. So how can we still brazenly ask, “Whose war are we fighting?”
As the uncertainty deepens talk of Good Taliban, and Bad Taliban surfaces. Is it to justify the stand that talks solve all issues, even if the other side has one sided dogmatic stance?
That begs the question, are Taliban justified to differentiate between good musalman, and bad musalman, and kill accordingly?
With strong undercurrents of the sixty five year old debate, was Pakistan created for Islam, or for Musalman’s? Are we Muslim Pakistani’s, or are we Pakistani Muslims? What do we stand for? Or are we destined to be shot wherever someone thinks there is a need to have a religious cleansing?
I grew up with a strong sense of Pakistan, my father being an Army man, we never had any doubt that Pakistan was where muslamans lived, not that Muslims make Pakistan. Then as a soldier defending the country pre and post 1971, there never was a question of identity. So why now?
Where did we go wrong?
Why is 1979 touted as the turning point for us, while Afghanistan stood the acid test, and the USSR lost? Why does Iraq, Saudia Arabia, Syria over 2600 km away impact what we do in Pakistan? And why is the US considered the mother of all evils in Pakistan?
So do these musings make thinking Pakistanis bad Musalmans?
If yes, then we should not ask for whom the bell tolls, for surely it tolls for us!
March 08, 2014
As the much hyped government Taliban negotiations, make headline news, allegations, counter allegations, conditions and counter conditions, go on, the people are left in a state of disbelief, for talks and bombing, killing, goes on in parallel.
Do the dead and wounded and those who survive care for the outcome, or want as decisive an action as the extremists undertake?
take a breath
deep if you can
or even shallow
as you always do,
feel the pain
the scathing burning
acrid taste of burning
tearing down your throat
smell of flesh, clothes and wood
tinged with explosives
even as you look away
and cover your nose
the throat tells you, you have
just been exposed to
a bomb blast.
and as you run
you stumble and fall
shocked to see
beneath your feet
bleeding, torn, incinerated
and you stand in shock
and one thought
why us? rises
above all in your mind
and you wonder if the
negotiations touted as the
mother of all talks
will have any effect?
and even if they do
will the result of these
bring back the humanity
you just stepped on
back to life
being able to love
and you can see the
writing on the wall
seen by all
but those who matter
confused and unsure between
oblivious to the pain,
loss, suffering and feelings
for they have not suffered
hiding behind their high walls
long convoys in duplicates
moving along different routes
jammers, rerouting traffic
and all spent on the
alter of expediency, the
dead, maimed and wounded
unseen, unsung, unheard.
change, for the sake of your people
your mindset, and realize
and eye for an eye
was written for such as these!
February 13, 2014
yesterday July 01, 2013 i stood in the D Chowk Islamabad, to protest the bombings in Quetta and Peshawar, and the general terrorism related situation in Pakistan.
more than us who stood there, were the security and police in evidence, as if we were not there to protest the bombings but to carry out bombings!
we need a government effort, in earnest and in all dedication to rid the country of this menace!
I am not me
But the voices inside
Which haunt me
Waiting for their turn
To be heard
Over the din infinite
Silent, yet eloquent.
And I drown their voices
In unnecessary chatter
Not wanting to hear
That what they will say
For they may have
Something that may
Break in an exact extent
The serene circle
That I have
So painstakingly made
Around me to keep
Away, precisely such voices
From telling me
And making me brood,
Am I wrong?
March 10, 2013
I met Ms. Uzma Yasmeen a student of the National Defense University, Islamabad at the public talk on the subject of “Security architecture for South Asia” by Mr. Farooq Sobhan, Former Foreign Secretary, People’s Republic of Bangladesh organized at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) distinguished lecture series on November 1, 2012.
In the last one month Ms. Yasmeen has become active in promoting PakTSN and she arranged my meeting with other students on December 06, 2012.
It was a wonderful interactive session, which lasted for longer than I had anticipated, but it was worth each minute of it. At the peak there were 6 students (some students were detained by the faculty for other work) round the table while few sitting close by had their ears on our discussion. We talked of terrorism, reason for my becoming an anti-terrorism activist; why I speak for survivors; about PTSD; steps that can be taken to create awareness about the ‘human cost of terrorism; rational for reaching out to youth; role of youth; how we can pool our resources to reach out to other educational institutions in Islamabad / Rawalpindi, and surrounding areas; and generally about issues facing Pakistan.
I cannot appreciate enough the interest and desire of Ms. Uzma Yasmeen to work with us on this important aspect of human interactions post passing away of a loved one in an act of terrorism. May Allah help and guide us in this endeavor. Aamin
I look forward to the participants’ inputs on broadening this undertaking of creating awareness of the human cost of terrorism particularly among the youth of Pakistan, and to our meeting with more people in the future.
hard facts of life – times like this we want revenge not forgiveness!
the suspects of the UN WFP October 05, 2009, let off for lack of evidence.
i was on the panel in azm e alishan behtar Pakistan episode 6 telecast on november 17, and 18, the link to the episode:
comments welcome. please circulate widely to give voice to our anti-terror crusade.