Youth Awareness

Fatima Zakir

I am in UAE these days. Just for a week. On vacations. I don’t have a life here; I don’t have a job hence I don’t have anything productive to do. I don’t have friends. I don’t really know the places so I don’t travel alone. I practically have no control in this country. Yet… I feel alive. I am happy. I am at peace. I can move about freely without worrying about my dress and my appearance. No one stares at me and no one passes comments on the streets. I like staying here.

My hometown is Karachi. I was born there and have virtually lived there all my life in the city of lights. I have a life there. I have a pretty good job. I have friends there. I know the entire city; the malls, the shopping centers, the best of the cafes and etc. I am quite in my skin there. Yet… I am always frustrated, I am always irritated and I am nearly never at peace. My parents don’t allow me to go out late in the evenings and if I get late from work, even 10 minutes, my parents start calling frantically to know my whereabouts. I am always conscious about what I am wearing and where I am going. I am scared when I travel in a rickshaw, you can forget about public buses. I am constantly watching out for my bag when I am out shopping and I keep my mobile phone safely tucked in my bag whenever I am on the streets, even if I am inside my own car.

It is ironic. I absolutely love this place which is not my home, and would love to stay here for as long as possible but after a while I start missing home, my family and friends. Most important, I miss working. Why can’t I have the best of both worlds? Is it too much to ask for? Living in my own city has made me so stressed that I have actually thought of seeing a psychologist, and I might even do that when I go back there. And no, it’s not because I think it’s a cool thing to do. It was just a simple question by a friend I just made here; how do you guys live in Pakistan what with the situation always so dangerous – crimes, terrorism etc?

My friend asked: There is no electricity most of the day; there is no gas at homes; without electricity you can’t use your computer, and when you can the net is too slow; watching TV is another stressful endeavor as it almost seems like the world is coming to an end. And because of the maddening situation in the city/country where anything can happen anytime, you can’t go out as freely at any time of night (sometimes during the day) as one would like. There are no activities… how do you, I mean the young crowd, live? My instant response was; we are used to it, but that got me thinking… (I sensed that outside my beloved country/city I don’t get infuriated as easily as I do back home). I am a changed person.

Last night the internet over here was very slow. I couldn’t even reply to an email- that painfully slow it was, yet I wasn’t irritated. If it was Pakistan, I would have been annoyed but here I didn’t feel a thing. Yes, you can say that I am too much in love with this place so I am being unjust but think about it… I was out the whole day, went to a couple of fun places, did some activities, had dinner out, if it wasn’t for checking my email for some job alerts, I wouldn’t have bothered switching the laptop on. But in Pakistan, since there is nothing else to do this is the only ‘fun’ thing for us. I reach home at 7 or 7:30 from work daily. That’s the time for load shedding which lasts for two long hours. Even then, there are days when the lights go out after half an hour for an hour or maybe longer. That’s when I get upset and say to my mom that I won’t come back from work from tomorrow.

Back home, you go out and you find people ogling at you. You go shopping and you hear comments from everywhere. You go to work and you face cut-throat office politics, where you hard work is disregarded and the ‘unworthies’ who have weaseled their way into the ‘right circle’ get all the perks. You ‘try’ going home after a long day but are usually stuck in traffic jams, road blocks due to protests and rallies, or jams due to VIP movements. You reach home and there is no electricity. There is no security of life. No surety of life.

It’s freaky. Recently, I have noticed some drastic changes in myself. I used to be an extremely happy-go-lucky, optimistic and calm person but within some months I have turned into an extremely angry, frustrated and miserable being. This didn’t happen overnight. It took months, in fact a couple of years, but all my optimism, my love for life and my cool has drained out. I know there are hundreds thousands people living in an even worse condition in Pakistan and they are satisfied. I know I am just being thankless but we have to realize that adjusting to situations is not always a good idea.

We are too adaptive to our environment that we take in all the bad things around us very easily and adjust accordingly. Those who find it difficult get stressed and lose patience. I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want to be whiny all the time –don’t want to be angry at every little thing. I don’t want to be rude to my parents. I want to be happy again. I want to be optimistic about life again. I want to believe in the power of greater good. I want to have my sanity back. I want the reasons to believe in Pakistan… again! Just need that something to be able to do that.


“We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants.”

Saudi Arabia is the third largest state in Middle East, biggest oil supplier in the world, extremely close and loyal ally of USA, staunch rival of Iran and finally supposedly time tested friend of Pakistan.
Saudis have been playing very active role in Pakistan from the day they recognized her as an independent Islamic state in 1947. From acquiring of nuclear technology in Bhutto era (funding) to the testing of nuclear warheads in Nawaz Sharif era (they promised to support Pakistan’s economy after the tests) Saudis proved their loyalty. On the other hand Pakistan also tried her level best in strengthening the bilateral relations of the two states. From flying of Saudi aircraft in 1969 to the episode of seizure of Holy Kaba, Pakistan also showed their metal.
After USA, undoubtedly Saudi Arabia is the major socially, religiously and politically contributing factor in Pakistan either positively or negatively. Though nowadays her negative factors are more clearly showing their effects on Pakistani society. Even Wiki leaks gave evidence of this symbiotic relationship, when Saudi Ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir, was showing off in front of USA Ambassador,

“We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants.”

Pakistan is paying a very heavy price for this relationship in the form of ongoing sectarianism, extremism, Talibanization of Pakistan and constant political chaos as they keep on supporting corrupt politicians of the state.
Throughout history Saudi Arabia’s main focus in their foreign policy was on the spread of Wahabism and containing of influence of Iran in Muslim world. They make huge donations from USA to developing states around the globe with one condition that they will be allowed to send their preachers and scholars to preach their Wahabist ideology. They provide funds for building mosques and research centers. Wahabis are devoted believers of force or extremism in Islam.
Madrassa system of Pakistan based on Wahabist ideology was completely funded by the Saudis. Young boys were taught glorified image of jihad and even were physically trained for the future purpose of jihad. Taliban were the direct outcome of this Madrassa system. They support and propagate Terrorism which is against the teachings of Holy Prophet (PBUH) who actually taught, peace and harmony.
Saudi Arabia funds extremist activities all around the globe especially Taliban in Pakistan. The former Director of CIA James Woolsey described Saudi Arabian Wahabism as “the soil in which Al-Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are flourishing.” Until recently they themselves had to suffer extremist activities in their own state, they pulled back a bit but still all the global Saudi charities, which are headed by the Saudi cabinet ministers, are still actively fanning radicalism.
Pakistan is a victim of proxy war of two Middle Eastern states. As Iran supporting the Shiite Muslims of Pakistan and Extremist groups of Sunnis, being supported by Saudis, gave rise to the sectarianism in Pakistan, resulting in total wipe out of the highly skilled and educated lot of Pakistan, like doctors, scholars and even high profile political figures. This proxy war especially accelerated after the Iranian revolution, Saudis wanted to contain their influence in Middle East. During 80s and 90s they funded many extremist organizations for instance Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) which started propagating against the shiites in Pakistan. In response Iran funded Tehreek-e-Fiq-e-Jafariya.
This interference not only paved the way for many more coming future extremist cells and groups but also gave rise to the Taliban regime (current disastrous turmoil of the state). That ongoing war between both states neither affected Iran nor Saudi Arabia but it destroyed the peace and social infrastructure of Pakistan. Saudis are even not satisfied with President Zardari as he wants to maintain good relations with Iran. Saudis are scared of Pakistan, Iran and Iraq (under Shia authority) triangle. Saudis also called him “rotten head.” Shows the state of mind of the Saudi regime.
Saudi Arabia is playing active role in Pakistani politics as well.One of its main examples was bailing out of Nawaz Sharif from the hands of Musharaf. He and his family was not even given political asylum but also provided with business license, main reason behind the Sharif family’s complete allegiance to Saudi Arabia, they not only saved his neck but his economic interests are also tied to the Saudis. Now Sharif brothers keep their eyes closed over the jihadi activities and invisibly support them.
Saudi Arabia, constantly supports the corrupt and dishonest politicians of Pakistan. Whenever there is a deadlock, case is referred to Saudis, as ultimate authority. Saudis are enjoying the status of puppet masters causing worst political turmoil resulting Pakistan to lose its prestige and honor in international platforms. Ironically, they themselves also do not trust these politicians, during flood crisis, they gave aid to the flood victims in the form of food and other daily use articles instead of liquid money, even this was made possible when General Kiyani himself went to Saudi Arabia and gave his guarantee.
Recently, it’s being speculated that being a close ally of USA Saudi Arabia played the role of mediator in deal between USA and the families of the victims of Raymond Davis case, though Saudia denied it but PM Gilani gave the hint of Saudis’ involvement. Again this was a direct hit on the sovereignty of the state. Though this was the case of Punjab government, Shabaz Sharif referred it to the federal authority and they to Supreme Court and one day before his release Nawaz Sharif suddenly left for UK in pretext of bad health conditions. Ironic still Saudis deny their involvement.
This over all analysis of the current relation shows that now Saudis are interfering way too much, first it was only being run by USA now Saudis are also deeply involved. Saudis’ positive contribution cannot be neglected or forgotten but we need some space. We need some air to breath. This constant involvement is causing Saudi Arabia to lose her good reputation in Pakistan. People know how deep USA and Saudi relations go and most of the time it is speaking the language of USA on Pakistan’s part.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari left Pakistan suddenly on Tuesday, complaining of heart pains, and is now in Dubai. His planned testimony before a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament on theMemogate scandal is now postponed indefinitely.
On Dec. 4, Zardari announced that he would address Pakistan’s parliament about the Memogate issue, in which his former ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani stands accused of orchestrating a scheme to take power away from Pakistan’s senior military and intelligence leadership and asking for U.S. help in preventing a military coup. Haqqani has denied that he wrote the memo at the heart of the scheme, which also asked for U.S. support for the Zardari government and promised to realign Pakistani foreign policy to match U.S. interests.
The memo was passed from Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to former National Security Advisor Jim Jones, to then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen on May 10, only nine days after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani military town of Abbottabad.
Ijaz has repeatedly accused Haqqani of being behind the memo, and Ijaz claims that Haqqani was working with Zardari’s implicit support.
Early on Tuesday morning, Zardari’s spokesman revealed that the president had traveled to Dubai to see his children and undergo medical tests linked to a previously diagnosed “cardiovascular condition.”
A former U.S. government official told The Cable today that when President Barack Obama spoke with Zardari over the weekend regarding NATO’s killing of the 24 Pakistani soldiers, Zardari was “incoherent.” The Pakistani president had been feeling increased pressure over the Memogate scandal. “The noose was getting tighter — it was only a matter of time,” the former official said, expressing the growing expectation inside the U.S. government that Zardari may be on the way out.
The former U.S. official said that parts of the U.S. government were informed that Zardari had a “minor heart attack” on Monday night and flew to Dubai via air ambulance today. He may have angioplasty on Wednesday and may also resign on account of “ill health.”
“This is the ‘in-house change option’ that has been talked about,” said Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, in a Tuesday interview with The Cable. Nawaz said that this plan would see Zardari step aside and be replaced by his own party, preserving the veneer of civilian rule but ultimately acceding to the military’s wishes to get rid of Zardari.
“Unfortunately, it means that the military may have had to use its muscle to effect change yet again,” said Nawaz. “Now if they stay at arm’s length and let the party take care of its business, then things may improve. If not, then this is a silent coup with [Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza] Gilani as the front man.”
In Islamabad, some papers have reported that before Zardari left Pakistan, the Pakistani Army insisted that Zardari be examined by their own physicians, and that the Army doctors determined that Zardari was fine and did not need to leave the country for medical reasons. Zardari’s spokesman has denied that he met with the Army doctors.
One Pakistani source told The Cable that Zardari was informed on Monday that none of the opposition party members nor any of the service chiefs would attend his remarks to the parliament as a protest against his continued tenure. This source also said that over a dozen of Zardari’s ambassadors in foreign countries were in the process of being recalled in what might be a precursor to Zardari stepping down as president, taking many of his cronies with him.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that before leaving, Zardari met separately with Gilani, Chairman of the Senate Farooq H Naik, and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
This past weekend, the Memogate scandal worsened for Zardari when Ijaz alleged in a Newsweekopinion piece that Zardari and Haqqani had prior knowledge of the U.S. raid to kill bin Laden, and may have given permission for the United States to violate Pakistan’s airspace to conduct the raid.
On May 2, the day after bin Laden was killed, Wajid Hasan, Pakistan’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, said in an interview with CNN that Pakistan, “did know that this was going to happen because we have been keeping — we were monitoring him and America was monitoring him. But Americans got to where he was first.”
In a statement given to the Associated Press of Pakistan Monday, White House spokespersonCaitlin Hayden said that information on the actual operation to kill bin Laden was not given to anyone in Pakistan.
“As we’ve said repeatedly, given the sensitivity of the operation, to protect our operators we did not inform the Pakistani government, or any other government, in advance,” she said.
Zardari lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai from 2004 through 2007 after being released from prison, where he had been held for eight years on corruption charges. His three children live there, but his 23-year son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), is in Pakistan now.

Who is Tiger for you ? the one who say or the one who deliver ?

LAHORE – Choosing to watch Shahid Afridi hit Sri Lankan bowlers for boundaries all over the place in the one day international between the two countries in Sharjah on Sunday, people overlooked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Faisalabad rally, dubbing it to be the ‘usual waste of time’. Ironically for PML-N, as soon as Mian Nawaz Sharif commenced his speech, Afridi came on to bat. For many, the choice was clear. “Sunday is a day to relax and to be entertained. Who cares about the rallies when Afridi is on a roll,” said Chaudhary Murtaza Asif, a student.
“Afridi makes us happy. What has Nawaz Sharif done for us except give us things to worry about,” said Mutaki Awan, an O Levels student.

Interestingly, in a poll held on Facebook that asked “What is more important to watch today?” and offered “Pak vs Sri Lanka Match” and “PML-N Jalsa” as options, a whopping 94 percent selected the match as their answer while only 41 opted for the rally.
Facebook statuses and comments on different pages showed that the people were more interested in watching the cricket rather than the rally. Citizens were of the view that PML-N should have arranged the rally on some other day. “There is nothing special in PML-N’s rally. They hold it every other day,” said another young boy, who runs his own website, Ali Ashraf.

Some, few and far between, chose to watch the rally on TV. A die hard fan of Mian Nawaz Sharif, Ali Sheikh, updated his Facebook status to “well spoken Mian Sahib” after Nawaz Sharif said he had spent 10 years in Saudi Arabia for Pakistan.

Many were of the view that after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s successful rally in Lahore, every party had started the ‘stunt’ of holding rallies and they had nothing consequential to say. They also said PML-N was trying to copy PTI’s rally by playing music and copying the stage and the seating arrangement.
Khan’s page, Jaagutho, updated its status to, “PML (N) jalsa a total “copy cat” and “me too” approach. Hope they can also copy the integrity and declare their real assets.”

Facebook users also shared the video of PTI’s show at Dhobi Ghat ground and said the crowd was much more enthusiastic and fervent in Imran Khan’s rallies.
“I don’t understand what Nawaz Sharif wants to achieve by holding these public meetings of patwaris,” said Zeeshan Iqbal, a student.

Source: Pakistan Today

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