Archive for the ‘SE Asian Region’ Category

A Bad Pakistani Musalman

March 8, 2014

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!

Why us?

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
5:15 pm

written on the wall

February 14, 2014

0As 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

shattered humanity

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

forgetting

forgiving

reliving life

being able to love

once again?

and you can see the

writing on the wall

seen by all

but those who matter

confused and unsure between

containment,

elimination,

conciliation,

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

8:16 pm

Peshawar 22.09.2013

September 23, 2013

Image

My friends were there

Praying to God

My people all bowed

Asking for His blessings

For them and theirs

And for Pakistan

Everyone there was mine

Children mine

Girls mine

Boys mine

Youth mine

Mothers mine

Fathers mine

Old aged mine

All on their knees

Singing hymns

And saying ‘aamin’

Sunday best

Dresses and mood

Happiness and mirth

All of this earth.

And a deafening sound

Heat, pain, fire around

Disbelief, flying metal

Sky rending cries

And another sound

Adding to the din

Limbs and clothes

Shoes and sandals

Sobs and groans

Silence and moans

My people all

Shattered and torn

Asking where if the God

They had just invoked

Another story,

Another lament,

More photo-ops and

Media to comment

Three days to mourn

Then back to work

The usual drudge.

The night falls

Silence reigns

An occasional sob to show

Life exists in deathly throes

To cry the names of one

Who will never return,

Home, left torn.

The question again

Raises its head

Where is the will

To stop this bloodshed

Or do we wait

With bleeding hearts

The dawn of another day

And dread the next news

Of man’s hatred?

 

Sunday 22nd September 2013

09.45 pm

Standing up against militants of K-P: How my father died for Pakistan

June 23, 2013

Standing up against militants of K-P: How my father died for Pakistan

we need to share such stories wherever, by whatever means, and whenever we can – we must show we are not to be cowed down, but will continue to raise our voices against terrorism!

Voices

March 10, 2013

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

2:45 pm

National Women’s Assembly

December 13, 2012

13/12/12 thursday – a very well spent day

participated in the women’s national assembly, jointly organized by insan foundation trust (http://www.insanfoundationtrust.org/object.htm), aurat foundation (http://www.af.org.pk/index.htm), and UN women.

the first session included talks by women survivors from all five provinces of Pakistan, and AJK, the narrations moved the audience to tears on more than one occasion. security concerns led to some of the narratives being made by the women from behind a wall, further highlighting the of threat scenario to some of the religious sects and minority populations in Pakistan.

in the second session, women parliamentarians from all provinces talked about their experiences, hopes, and aspirations about the future of women in Pakistan,

the third session was for the launch of the CEDAW shadow report on Pakistan.

over all the day was very well spent and a learning experience.

PakTSN Update: A good Interaction with senior students

December 7, 2012

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.

3rd Anniversary, Parade Lane Rawalpindi attack

December 4, 2012

shuhdas today December 04, 2012 is the third anniversary of 2009 friday prayers attack on the mosque in rawalpindi, next to islamabad, pakistan.
a group of extremists attacked the worshipers with grenades, rifles and suicide bombers.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_2009_Rawalpindi_attack

School of International Law – Follow up interaction

December 2, 2012

we had a follow up on 29 Nov, to the 04 Oct, interaction with students at SIL.

well attended, and great interaction session, the students came prepared with the questions i had sent, and their search was in the right direction.

the questions answer session was intense and informative, and i found this group of youth to be fully aware of the ill’s of extremism, and active in “Saying No to Terrorism”

Image

UN WFP suicide bombing handlers set free

November 25, 2012

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.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/islamabad/19-Sep-2012/terror-suspects-released-for-lack-of-evidence