Saturday, 15 February 2014

Talks with TTP and Post US Scenario

Under growing pressure from right wing mindset in the country and changing security environments in the region; ostensibly, negotiations with TTP seems to be the most viable option for the govt. Having exhausted option of negotiations, hopefully, there will be no looking back. This will help mute right wing Islamic parties and PTI. Both Govt and TTP have already nominated negotiation teams, however, growing rhetoric on implementation of Shariah in the country and unrealistic demands put forward by TTP, rouse insincerity of approach to current parleys, which may end without constructive conclusion. Specially, attack on police personnel in Karachi on 14 February 14, should be enough indicator for hopefuls of negotiations to wake up and smell the coffee. Suddenly, Fazullah is being dubbed as Amir ul Momineen. The writing is on the wall, ‘Talks with Taliban is a waste of time’, and the time wasted in talks will only favour TTP. Past experience favours distrust on TTP, as they always used negotiations to gain time for regrouping, strengthening foothold in settled areas, mobilising support of right wing and averting possible full scale military operation against them. Presently, the only thing that makes TTP vulnerable is possibility of redundancy due to proposed US exit by the end of the year. Anti-Pakistan elements may curb TTP funding which is the lifeline of mercenary warfare. Yet, it is not reason enough to make ongoing negotiations with TTP successful. The whole scenario suggests that there will be some tough days ahead for Decision Makers of the state. It is more important to prepare ourselves for situation arising out of ‘failed negotiations’.
It has somehow crawled deep in to our national psyche that instead of thinking ahead, we have developed this lethargic habit of continuous firefighting, rather than preventing the fire from igniting in the first place. More important issue at hand is the situation developing after US exit from Afghanistan. This is serious milestone and it should be taken seriously, only if we understand the gravity of scenario emerging in the region after US’ complete or partial departure.  
Pakistan has been able to maintain fairly adequate relations with Afghan Taliban over the past two decades. Time to yield pro-Taliban policy is nearing as US has already announced exit from Afghanistan this year. However, TTP has been created as a buffer between Pakistan and Afghan Taliban. These mercenaries have created enough trouble for the state of Pakistan in recent past. Those invested in TTP would like her to keep pushing the anti-Pakistan agenda. After US exit, it would not be long before Afghan Taliban take over Afghanistan, foreseeing which Mr Karzai has already started negotiating with them. At the same time, anti-Pakistan forces must do all they can to push a deeper wedge between Pakistan and Afghan Taliban by orchestrating a stronger nexus between Afghan Taliban and TTP. Keeping this whole situation in view, it is imperative that we brace for the change in Afghanistan and be absolutely clear in our policy towards Afghanistan, Afghan Taliban, TTP, formation of various coalitions and our response to all likely contingencies arising out of these coalitions.
Immediately, after US exit, formation of coalition govt between Afghan Taliban and Karzai establishment is inevitable scenario. Taliban will get the lion’s share in running the state affairs. Otherwise, Taliban taking over Afghanistan by force will be a matter of days rather than months. Taliban are a force to reckon with and they will definitely have a say in post US Afghanistan. It all looks good from Pakistan’s perspective. But what will be the role of TTP in this scenario? Those who invested so much in destablising Afghanistan and Pakistan will not like a coalition forming between Pakistan and Afghan Taliban because it will nullify the very purpose of creation of TTP. TTP has its own fear of redundancy because if the funding stops, they will go out of job. It may lose relevance in emerging equation. So, those who planted TTP between Pakistan and Afghan Taliban would like it to remain a thorn in the side.
Million dollar question is how TTP can remain relevant after US exit? It has to keep both ends tidy i.e. formation of coalition with Afghan Taliban and be recognized as a stake holder in the eyes of people and state of Pakistan. This clearly is visible in their willingness to negotiate with the govt of Pakistan. These talks will fail but TTP will walk out of these talks as winners. Govt’s willingness to talk to them affords them a tacit approval and recognition as stakeholders which has a greater symbolic value than it appears.  
Coming over to policy line that Govt of Pakistan needs to adopt after US exit from Afghanistan. We have to remain proactive in this scenario otherwise this situation will go down, like so many others in the past, as a missed opportunity. Few extreme essentials are as under:-
1.    We must covertly maintain strong link with Afghan Taliban. Formalise details of coalition with Afghan Taliban before the US exit from Afghanistan.
2.    Karzai Govt is extremely vulnerable at this point in time. In post US scenario, Mr Karzai’s Govt may appear least significant stakeholder, but we must continue with confidence building measures with Afghan govt incumbent.
3.    TTP must not run away with ongoing peace parleys. We must ensure segmentation of TTP splinter groups. After segregation we must go after TTP Shura which is centre of gravity of TTP movement/ mercenary war. We must settle issue of TTP before US exit, otherwise, this monster will cause unmitigated damage to Pakistan.  
4.    Discourage and prevent formation of a formal coalition between TTP and Afghan Taliban. Funders and founding fathers of TTP will do all they can to form this nexus. However, from Pakistan’s perspective, it is a recipe for disaster. This can result in unprecedented bloodbath in the region.
5.    With US exit, threat to US forces in Afghanistan will automatically diminish. Drone attacks on Pakistan’s territory must stop.

Bribery رشوت

Nearly a decade ago, few Sociologists visited Pakistan including 2-3 Americans and 4-5 Scandinavians. They were investigating reasons why bribery is so common in Pakistan and other countries? Why Government and semi-government officials accept bribes on any given opportunity? Why do they hassle their countrymen like this? Out of curiosity, I remained with this group for a year or so, to find out what comes of this research. Finally, they concluded that no one would take bribe unless he thinks himself to be lowly, wretched and pitiable. To extend his hand in bribery, a person has to be convinced in his heart that he is wretched, mean, liar and lowly. If a person lives a contended life with respect, honour and dignity, he would not resort to taking bribes under any circumstances. Our religion has also emphasized that we must not let go of dignity, grace and contentment. Always consider ourselves the best and superior among creatures because we have been granted the status of Ashraf-ul-Makhlooqat اشرف المخلوقات (Best of creation). To live up to this status we must try to live like the best of creation. We often hear and read in books that dog is a desecrated animal and we have been discouraged to keep it as a pet except watchdog for cattle. Logical and religious reasoning is proffered in this regard which is disapproved by kids of new generation (my grandchildren often protest why I not allowed them to keep dogs in house). Willy-nilly we allow them but it has been pondered upon why dogs are not allowed to be kept at home? If this animal is unclean then there are other animals which are not clean as well. Why only dogs are not allowed to be kept at home? It revealed that dog among all animals particularly among pets is a psychophysicist and keeps waging his tail to please his owner. Our religion did not want to keep an animal close to us which keeps polishing our apples all the time. Dogs are thought to leave negative impact on our lives because they are always ready to please us by wagging their tails or cuddling our feet all the time. That is the reason we are not allowed to keep such an animal as pet. There is a possibility that his characteristics may take root in your personality. When you become a psychophysicist, without a reason you tend to please others, which may leave negative impact on your individuality, grace and personality. So please do not keep this animal as pet. Keep a cat as pet, it will not please you rather when not in good mood, a cat may snap at you with her claws. Horse is a beautiful animal and is an old friend of man. A horse can die for you. But if you do not treat him well, he will react by standing on his rear legs but he will not try to please you. You have to treat him well. There are other animals like eagle and hawk.  You must have observed the eagles with Arab princes who visit our country in hunting season. They sit them on their hands and blindfold them. If head cap is not worn, the eagle can even snap at his owner on whose wrist it sits protesting why I am being enslaved with these chains and cords around my feet. We are allowed to keep such animals but those which tend to impair our dignity and teach us flattery, are not allowed. At the same time, draw clear lines between you and your ego and avoid arrogance and pride of Pharoses. Man cannot live a life of his choosing because of the lines drawn which limit his total freedom of action. So much so, there are lines drawn to his biological needs. It is my biological need to eat food and eat more, better and tastier food. But I am enjoined to draw a line today. Today you cannot eat from dusk to dawn. Delicious food will come your way, mouthwatering aura of food will tempt you but you will not eat it. The order is not to eat during daylight hours because you are the best of creation and you are a notch above from the rest. Man is the best of creation when he attains total freedom, when he can choose to do or not to do, only then he becomes truly free.  But he reins in his undue and proscribed desires and actions which makes him the best of creation. It is not true freedom to write an article against someone or deliver a fiery speech but to exercise control and remain within limits of human decency, is real freedom. A buffalo grazes in alfalfa fields and eats whatever she likes whether it is clean or not. But he is a man who can eat everything yet restrains himself during fasting hours. During his fast even if hundred guests show up, he serves them with food and drinks, extends warm hospitality but does not eat himself. The purpose of keeping him from attending his biological needs is not to starve him but the objective is to polish his dignity and grace so that he can exercise control over himself when required. A brigadier lives in our neighbourhood in Model Town Lahore. He is very fond of dogs. He had a good Al Session dog. Somehow, the brigadier lost liking for the dog and it was left to wander at his own. The dog developed habit of eating raw meat and remains of butcher shop, which is considered unhealthy for dogs. When the dog would return after daily way wandering, he would not behave well.  Due to this, the brigadier set down a note on little card and placed it in his neck collar saying,” Please do not give this dog raw meat, if this dog comes to butcher shop, just shun him away”. Seeing the note, butchers would not give meat to brigadier’s dog. Dog is a psychophysicist and he must have thought that he was in trouble and he should find a way out of this? Al Sessions are very intelligent dogs. No real surprise when this dog found out that whole problem was with the card inserted around his neck. So he tore it apart with his claws and teeth. Next day when he went out, it was obvious that the restraining note was not there, so he ate well and returned home happily in the evening. But for us humans, it is better to go to some cave then to live lowly life without self-esteem which will be no different from lives of animals and insects.

            Once an international conference of scientists was held which was also attended by Albert Einstein. After lunch break, one of the participants inquired from Einstein, ‘Sir, if we keep the vastness of universe and milky-ways in mind, mathematically, place of man is much smaller than a tiny particle i.e. it amounts to nothing’. Consenting to his contention, Einstein remarked,’ True, it is amazing that meaningless, worthless and insignificant man who values lesser than a speck, while looking through his telescope, is unfolding mysteries of the universe to his fellow beings’. One should not consider himself so worthless to succumb to taking bribes. You will come across people who will convincingly tell you,’ everyone takes bribes’ and ‘values have changed’. In fact, people of this kind consider themselves despicable, mean and sordid, and their guilt continuously hurts them. Allah has bound us in so many different ways. If you ponder, you will see all the nations, all the communities and groups of people in the world start their day when sun breaks on the horizon and someone will tell you that today is first day of December or first of January. There is only one nation in the universe which starts her day at sunset. That Ummah is Muslim Ummah which starts her day in the evening. You must have observed in Ramazan when cannons are fired, hooters are sounded or announcements are made on loudspeakers or media after last light to declare that we have entered the month of Ramazan. We do not enter Ramazan in the morning rather in the evening. This is a strangely different religion where day or month starts in the evenings. No other religion in the world has this kind of issues. In my reckoning, this Ummah has been distinguished from others. Notwithstanding the fact that new day or month has commenced, you still will have to face the darkness of the night because you are a dignified Ummah. You must not be weary of the darkness of night, rather you have to have the self belief to reach the day break when light shall shine everywhere. This implies that you will have to lit the darkness of night with the light of your soul, self and personality. All of us start our day and month with sunset. We as Muslims go in to the night with the belief that darkness of the night will not do us any harm. There we are, there is this darkness and light in this darkness is due to the light within us. We are not as anxious to catch a bright day and sunny morning like other nations of the world. We lit candles in darkness of night with our breaths. This dignity and poise is our hallmark. But sometimes we fall short of this mark. Then the guilt takes birth. It cannot happen that we debauch ourselves by saying ‘times have changed’, ‘everyone is doing the same’ (taking bribes), so should we. You may give your arguments against it by writing or convincing others but you cannot suppress your guilt. You cannot get away with the framework which has been enjoined upon us. This reminds me of the story of Khawaja Naseer ud Din Chragh Delhvi who was Khalifah of Hazrat Nizam ud Din Auliya when Delhi was hit with a severe drought. People went to him and requested him to pray for rain by offering Prayer of Istisqa. He reluctantly agreed thinking how could I ask for something which was completely Allah’s discretion. Anyway, on predetermined time and place he went and led the prayers but nothing happened. No sign of clouds appeared on the horizon and he embarrassingly returned from that place. Among the people who attended those prayers, was a sage named Yousaf Sarhandi who told him that same thing had happened before as well. Everyone gathered and prayed for the end of drought but nothing happened. He said when nothing worked at that time, people suggested that we must ask someone who carried himself with dignity and was editorialized person because Allah listened and trusted the word of such people. Yousaf Sarhandi said he had no objection to that and asked people who that person might be? People proposed that a sage lived near Seri Darwazah in Delhi, we should go to him and request for prayers. When we reached there, I was amazed and mortified to see that sage was a eunuch named Khawaja Rahat. The person who took me to Khawaja Rahat introduced me and stated the purpose of visit which was to request him to pray for rain fall. He inquired what would happen then. The person said, Hazrat! (He used this word for that eunuch, I am in serious discomfort addressing that great person as eunuch, but since he was eunuch and he had declared himself as such. But see how graceful people carry themselves? It has nothing to do with caste, gender or eunuchs. Human dignity and grace is a different thing altogether which comes in humans through soul) Delhi is seeing worst drought because it did not rain since long. That great person asked the maid to bring hot water for ablution, after which he prayed. He stood on his feet and addressing Yousaf Sarhandi said, “You must go and offer prayers for rain fall according to prescribed procedure and beg Allah to show mercy on His creatures. Still, if it does not rain then (he pulled a strand of thread from his cloak) wrap this strand around your right hand and request Allah that this strand is from cloak of Khawaja Rahat the Eunuch who has submitted himself to You, who does not meet people, chooses to lives in a quiet corner with dignity and grace and avoids people so that people may not ask him to pray for them, has requested for rain fall from You”. Yousaf Sarhandi said that we did as were told. People came in numbers as if entire Delhi had poured out. We all offered Prayers of Istisqa but nothing happened. Then I took out that strand of thread from my turban which was given by Khawaja Rahat the Eunuch, wrapped it around my right hand and prayed to Allah. Instantly, clouds appeared on the sky and torrent poured down so fast that despite quick dispersal, rain caught them before reaching their homes.
            Ladies and gentlemen, now it is up to us that being part of this Ummah how dignified we opt to live our lives.  May Allah grant us a life of dignity and grace. I pray that Allah gives you due relief in life and blesses you with ability to offer relief to fellow beings. Ameen.

Thursday, 6 February 2014


We are in to the Oscar season of the year. The only time of the year that you watch Oscar nominated movies and get the pulse of what exactly is going on in Hollywood. Though I discontinued my ritual of watching Oscar nominated movies especially after ‘Hurt Locker’ was preferred over ‘Aavatar’ for obvious reasons. But then I felt a need to be in picture of indoctrination process of the Hollywood. Unless you know what you have to combat, how will you prepare for the battle? Secondly, not watching movies is also taken as an extremist tendency J. Anyway, just bent few reasons to withdraw my self-imposed ban of watching movies and to get some Oscar Fever this spring.

I am not a big fan of reviews found as Rotten Tomatoes because these are mostly suck ups but I really like the name of the website. Except technological ascendency, Hollywood is nothing more than a Rotten Tomato. And if you get to see the movie under question (Her) and read this review till the end, you may not think differently. I shall keep dropping some Rotten Tomatoes Desi Style, so that we should not just get carried away with the cool movies of Hollywood. Besides coolness these movies always carry strong underlying intent of indoctrination of the rest of the world. As long as we remain aware of this hidden agenda, there is no harm in watching every new movie.

I stumbled in to movie ‘Her’ which is among the race of movies vying for the Academy Award.  How we ‘Stumble’ in to Oscar Nominated movies is not all that complicated. Torrent sites are banned but then we unblock the blocked sites through proxies. Get the torrent and watch the movies at home. Oops, we just confessed violation of US federal law on copyrights. But I hope people there will forgive us in exchange for drone attacks on our country (a small matter of violating our sovereignty).

Back on movie ‘Her’. A brilliant concept. We spend so much time with our Operating Systems like Windows, Jelly Beans, Itunes etc that it is becoming a way of life. Apparently, challenges of ‘Relationship’ with humans ask too much from us. We are comfort loving creatures. Don’t go out, just swipe your handset and there you go, you are connected to millions of people at social networking sites. No need to have physical relations, just hook up with some online sexually excited person and have cyber intercourse each time with a new person with no strings attached. But there was still a void, you could not fulfill your basic needs of loving and being loved. Along came an AI solution. Which is intelligent yet artificial. The movie kicks off with Joaquin Phoenix in lead role, struggling with his recent divorce, falls in love with his Operating System. It turns out that many people around him were also doing the same. The whole setting is sad and weird. Then comes betrayal, the same OS namely Samantha was simultaneously in love with 641 persons. And suddenly, the value of human relationships comes to fore. So it should serve as a wakeup call to all those who spend more time with their OS than humans.

Entire humanity is adapting to cyber ways of living and our society is no exception. Unfortunately, weariness for relationships has been imported from the west. There, everyone feels lonely but finds it hard to withstand the challenges of human relations. The disease has crept in to our lives as well but to a limited extent. Still, the strength of family life and strong bonding within relations is very much alive in our way of living. Each time such bizarre yet intelligent ideas emerge like this movie, I get to thank heavens that at least we do not live in any confusion about basic questions of life ie from where we have come? Where we have to go? What is our relation with our surroundings? Above all, an intact family life system.  How much these movies can affect someone can be judged by this incident. I went to see Matrix with a heathen British friend in Bracknell, UK. We were in our early 20s. On the way out of the cinema, my friend made a statement which clung in my mind,” Listen mate, I think this is it, this is my religion”.
Stay blessed and watch movies with open eyes and mind :)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


Growing up as an introvert child, I still had a great fascination for good speech. Eloquence always inspired me more than any other human attribute. Because in order to be a good speaker, you ought to be knowledgeable, proportionate in judgment, witty, analytical, intelligent and inspirational. In my reckoning good speakers always stood in a different league from others. Like a copycat, I started gathering bits and pieces from the good speakers and began to attract audience with lucid speech. It was like high of a drug. But when I understood first four Ayat Mubarikah of Surah Al Rehman, I felt that fallacy of good speech like my other fallibilities deceived me. Once again, I was trapped, battered and beaten by my worst enemy, my ego. Every ability that we have including speech, is a favour, an obligation. We are not good at it, it has been granted to us.

That is why Allah said in Quran;

الرَّحْمَنُ ﴿55:1﴾

(55:1) The Merciful One

عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآَنَ ﴿55:2﴾

(55:2) has taught the Qur’an,

خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ ﴿55:3﴾

(55:3) has created man,

عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ ﴿55:4﴾

(55:4) and has taught him articulate speech.

If The Creator has to boast about three of his greatest mercies after swearing by His mercy and the gift of speech is among those three, then, it is not an insignificant happening. It must not go unnoticed. There must be a greater purpose to it. Speech in this context becomes an obligation i.e. to use our ability to speak in a well judged manner. How do we payback the greatest mercies of the Lord? Have we done justice to our ability to speak? Have we exercised due caution before speaking? Like other blessings, there will be accountability of this favour as well.

The relationship between thought, speech and actions is well sequenced. One begets the other. Our thoughts bring about speech which is translated in to actions. It all begins with the thought and ends in action, whereas, speech is an intermediary caught between the two.

Everyman is made up of his thoughts. Thought process defines a person. All five senses work round the clock to serve our thought process. Like a computer processor, we are able to sift and analyze all the information our senses feed in to it. Then the processed information is translated in to the speech. The speech, like thought is a Divine Gift. Speech is the finest yield of all five senses and the processed thought.

Finally, the relation between thought and energy also needs to be understood.  Our thoughts are susceptible to the effects of energy that surrounds our lives. Proven fact is that entire universe consists of energy in one form or the other. Our thought process is affected by negative and positive forms of energy. The equation is very simple in this context. Our approach towards life is defined by the dominant energy of these two. As much as the life of a person is dominated by negative energy like complaining, envy, doubt (shak) etc, as much he will radiate negative energy in his thought, speech and actions. Conversely, if a person is able to see the half full part of the glass like trust, patience, shukar etc, he will exude positive energy in thought, speech and actions. Hence, whichever form of energy (negative or positive) surrounds our lives; it can positively or negatively influence our thought process. Don’t worry too much about others, they just perceive your personality through your speech and actions according to the parameters of judgment set in their minds. Since no one can peep in to your mind and see exactly what is happening there, only you yourself can rid your mind of negative thought. Our ‘things to do’ list must include identification and weeding out of negative influences on our thought process. May Allah be our Guide.


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Ant & Grasshopper

Traditional Version

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs & dances & lays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

Modern Version

Ant, Grasshopper, Media, Politicians & Pakistan
 The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant's a fool and laughs & dances & lays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

Geo TV, Duniya, Sama, Express, ARY, BBC show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Asma Jahangir stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house.

Maulan, JI & Imran Khan go on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter.

Altaf Bhai cries in a weird mourning ritual for Grasshoppers just like he did on the murder of Imran Farooq Bhai.

Amnesty International & Chief Justice criticize the Pakistan Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshoppers.

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance) .

Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Islamic parties call for "Hartal" in KPK and Baluchistan demanding a Judicial Enquiry.

MQM pushes for immediate promulgation of law in Sindh preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers.

Khawaja Saad Rafique allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Pakistan Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Shalimar'.

Sheikh Rasheed dedicates his entire life hopping between Talk Shows babbling about deprivations of poor Grasshopper.

Taliban they just LOL (laugh out loud) on a tailor made scam saying do these people really need enemies.

Finally, the Mamnoon President drafts an ordinance ' Anti State Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act' [ASTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the winter. Mobilizes state agencies.

Punjab Govt. makes ' Special Reservation ' for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions & in Government Services.

The Ant is fined for failing to comply with ASTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, it's home is confiscated by the NAB and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by PTV.

Shahbaz Sharif calls it ' A Triumph of Justice '.

Belawal & His Daddy call it ' Democratic Justice ' justifying PPPP’s motto of revenge through democracy.

MQM calls it the ' Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden'

Prime Minister invites the Grasshopper to address the National Assembly.


Many years later...

The Ants have since migrated to the US, Canada, UK and
Middle East, have worked harder then they did before and set up a multi-million dollar businesses.

1000s of grasshoppers
still die of starvation because they were unfamiliar with the word hard work, they just wanted their share in ants’toil…

As a result of loosing lots of hard working Ants and feeding the Grasshoppers, Pakistan despite 66 years of age… is still a developing country !!!