Thursday, April 22, 2010

Movement for restoration of the Bahawalpur province!

Demand for new provinces, or smaller administrative units is getting quite popular in some regions of Pakistan. Reasons vary. Demand of Hazara province is ethnic, Seraiki province is linguistic, and some purely demand bigger provinces to be divided into smaller units so that they can be administered better. But there is one demand which is unique and different from all other such demand. And that is of the Bahawalpur province. They don't ask for creation of a new province for them, instead they want their former province, the province of Bahawalpur to be reinstated. They want their former 'administrative unit' to be made functional again.

Some facts about the Bahawalpur province:

  • The state acceded to Pakistan on 7 October 1947 after an agreement between the founder maker of Pakistan, Jinnah sahab, and the Nawab of Bahawalpur. In the agreement, it was clearly stated that the state will remain a separate administrative and federating unit of Pakistan, a province.
  • When the state government was officially abolished, On 30th April, 1951 the Pakistan Government and the Ruler of Bahawalpur entered into an important agreement which put the State on the same footing as provinces under the Government of India Act of 1935 in the matter of legislation and administration.
  • Provincial elections were conducted in 1951, and a forty-nine member legislative assembly was formed, which began functioning in 1952.The first chief minister of Bahawalpur province was Makhdoomzada Syed Hassan Mehmood.
  • In 1954-55, the provincial assembly of Bahawalpur presented a surplus budget of rupees 20 crores, with a surplus of over 4 crores. It was the only province of Pakistan with a surplus budget.
  • The provincial assembly was functional from 1952, till 14 October 1955, when it was merged into the West Pakistan province, or the 'One Unit.' Bahawalpur entered One Unit with a condition that when the West Pakistan province will be abolished, Bahawalpur would retain it's provincial status.
  • It is a historic fact that before One Unit Bahawalpur had a provincial status, and Bahawalpur merged with a status of a province with West Pakistan at the time of One Unit. But when One Unit was broken on 30th March, 1970, Bahawalpur was merged into Punjab through an illegal and immoral executive order by General Yahya Khan, subsiding all the previous agreements.
  • Bahawalpur is one fourth of Punjab in terms of area, and 13% of Punjab's total population.
  • 51% of it's population lives under the poverty line, which is highest in any region of Punjab. On the contrary it was among the higher per capita regions in India before partition. Today it is Punjab's poorest region by far.
  • The only river that irrigated Bahawalpur was given to India under Indus Water treaty. Some say it was sold to India for 35 billion rupees, but that's debatable. After the treaty, Bahawalpur province was to get water from the other rivers of Punjab and it was allocated a share. It is on record that Bahawalpur hasn't, in any year since then, received more that 30% of it's allocated water. In the 1991 water accord, 70% of Bahawalpur's water was given to other regions.
  • The infant mortality rate in Bahawalpur is 142 for every 1000 births, highest in Punjab. As compared to that in rest of the Punjab it is 72 deaths per 1000.
  • Literacy rate of Bahawalpur is 34%, where as in the rest of Punjab it is above 57%.
  • If Bahawalpur province's last provincial is to be taken as a base, it's budget today after adjusting inflation and devaluation of currency (if we assume that income level of the province hasn't increased even one bit) it's budget today should be around 65 billion rupees. But it gets only 5 billion, or less per annum.
  • Bahawalpur province produces 44% of Punjab's total cotton, 22% wheat, 18% sugarcane, 20% rice, 45% mango and 35% of the total live stock.
  • The region was given a 12% quota in the civil services, which has now been reduced to 3%.
The most interesting fact, by far, is that the Bahawalpur state donated rupees 6 crore (almost 50 billion of today) to the infant state of Pakistan which was used to pay the wages of the state machinery for the first six months. Jinnah sahab's official car, that he used as the Governor General of Pakistan, was also a gift from the State of Bahawalpur.

Can all these facts be discredited? I don't think that a sane and a patriotic citizen of this Land of Pure would or should oppose the restoration of the province. The movement has a very strong case, now it's just a matter of effort and time that the dream would see the light of the day. I hope I live to witness that.

Pakistan zindabad.

Car gifted by the Ameer of Bahawalpur,
Nawab Sadiq Mohammad Khan
to the Quaid, Mohammad Ali Jinnah

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pakistan ka Allah hafiz! (part one)

On the 13th of March, two guys riding a bike, stole the side mirrors of two of my cars while they were parked outside my house. My fault. Why did I leave the cars unattended? But in my defense, the porch needed to be washed and swept since we had a party at the house in the evening, so I asked the gatekeeper to wash the place leaving the cars unattended. The driver was on leave too.

Anyways, this is how the whole thing happened according to an eye witness, my gardener. Two young guys riding a motor bike stopped outside my house, near the cars. One kept sitting on the bike and the other, in a rather commando-ish action, jumped off and rushed straight to the first car and tore off the side mirror mercilessly. He rushed to the other side, making the other mirror suffer a similar fate. He repeated the same with the other car. Before he could reach to the third, he saw the gardener getting really close to the house riding his bicycle. The guy rushed back with his hands full of bounty, side mirrors of my cars, in this case, jumped on the bike and fled the scene. The gardener came charging in the living room with this tragic news, breaking it right on my head. Finally I understood what 'breaking news' meant. I walked out to the cars disgusted, angry and disappointed. One of the two cars was brand new. At the same time, I was quite relieved too since two other cars were safe.

I called my insurance company for a claim and narrated them the incident. I was told to come to the workshop in the morning with complete documents and a copy of First Incident Report lodged in the local police station. My heart sank. FIR? In the police station? A Pakistani police station? They'd take a bribe more that the value of the mirror for the FIR. Anyhow, I gathered all my strength, took along a friend who's a lawyer (thinking that lawyer are these days a bigger mafia than even the police) and drove straight to the nearby police station. I presented the 'muharrar' (the guy who writes all the reports or complaints lodged in the police station) the application we had written narrating the theft incident. Seeing the application, his response was, 'meinu angrezi nai parhni aandi, tusi zabani dasso ki raula aay' (I cannot read English, so tell me your problem verbally), and we did. He told us to leave the application and come back later in the evening because only the SHO or Station House Officer could order for the FIR to be lodged. All right. No problem. We'll be back in the evening. And we were. There was no electricity. Entire police station was clad in darkness, but some how we did reach Muharrar's room. He directed us to the SHO's room and handed one constable our application to present to the good officer. Walking through a dark, wet ally, we found SHO and his office. Greeted him, he replied in a very cold and aloof manner. We didn't mind. Told him what we were there for, he listened carelessly. Meanwhile our application reached his worthy table, and after the first glance he commented, 'aay hun angrezi kaun parhay ga?' (who will read this English now). He told us to leave the application with them and they'll look into it. We pleaded that your 'highness' we won't get an insurance claim with the copy of the report (implying that we have no intention or hope that you'll find the thieves or recover our mirrors and neither do we wish to disturb you by asking you to do so) so please help us O lord. After much pleading, almost crying, he asked a subordinate to write a 'rapat' (report) of an accident and give us a copy. We pleaded again that Sir it was a case of theft and not an accident, and only an FIR of the incident would serve the purpose.

His mood changed. He told us to pick up our application and to come back with one written in Urdu. After that he will look into it and will decide if any such incident actually happened or are we just making it up. Basically telling us that our FIR will not be filed and we could just fuck off.

We left with a heavy heart. Next day I couldn't convince my self to go back again to that hell. But I had to, or else I'd have to pay for the mirrors from my pocket. Day after I went again with my lawyer friend. We were told that SHO sahab was on leave and we should come after a couple of days. On further enquiry we found out that there was a duty officer in charge of the police station. We went to his room, greeted him, explained verbally the theft and what we were going through. Presented him our application, this time written in Urdu. The listened our plight, read our application, saw our faces and probably could spot the tears that were might come out to plead next. For a few moments he paused, without saying anything, he got up a started walking swiftly to the muharrar's rooms. We followed him, quietly. He told muharrar to lodge the FIR and to give us the copy in 15 minutes, and walked out, again without saying anything to us. Eventually we did get the copy of the report after an hour, but the muharrar clearly wasn't happy. He was, in fact, angry. Probably because he could've made a few thousand rupees out of this.

Few points:

1 - Two guys come, right in the middle of the day and steal side mirrors of cars on a busy road without any fear.

2 - Duty of police is to protect the life, property and honor of the citizens, but they have problem even reporting the crime, which is the least they could do.

3 - Was that duty officer really from Pakistan Police?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Shoaib Malik's response!

Following is Shoaib Malik's response to the allegation of (Aisha) Siddiqui family, and I post it without any comments of my own.

I want to clarify a few wrongly reported facts about me in some sections of the media, newspapers and television channels in India and Pakistan.

I want to make my position clear especially because I am to wed Sania Mirza in the near future.

Ayesha first started calling me on the telephone when I was in Sharjah with the Pakistan cricket team in 2001. On the phone, she introduced herself as my fan. She said, she was living in Saudi Arabia.

Gradually, we started speaking every day. Naturally, I wanted to meet her. Every time I brought up the topic of meeting she would send me a bunch of photographs. I was made to believe the girl in the photograph was the one I was speaking to.

The truth is, I haven’t, to this day, met the girl in the photographs Ayesha sent me.

We had become close, thanks to the telephone conversations. In 2002, I came to Hyderabad specifically to meet Ayesha. Just before I left Pakistan, she told me she had to rush to Saudi Arabia on urgent work and her cousins -- Reema and Maha apa (meaning older sister) -- would take me around. I waited in Hyderabad for five days, hoping she would return. I finally asked her family where she was and they said, that in the last year she had put on a lot of weight, because of which she didn’t want to meet me until she could shed some of that. I told them I had photographs of her and that she wasn’t fat, but they told me those were older photographs.

Ayesha wanted us to get married. She had been talking about it for some time, saying we would only meet at our shaadi. In 2002, she told me that people in Hyderabad were talking about our relationship, and it was putting her parents in an embarrassing position. She also told me she was feeling insecure. She wanted us to have a telephone Nikah to stop the talk. I knew that my parents wouldn’t agree to a telephone Nikah. They wanted to celebrate my wedding, and so did I.

I wanted to marry Ayesha, but I was too young, I was only 20 years then. There was a lot of pressure on me from Ayesha. I called her from a friend’s shop in June 2002. I got a nikahnama, signed it, thinking the girl I was marrying was the one in the photographs. I wasn’t happy doing this, because I hadn’t told my parents, and was emotionally forced to do it.

A year or so later, I travelled to Hyderabad in the hope of meeting her, but once again it was the same story. Ayesha told me on the phone that she still hadn’t lost the weight she put on so didn’t want to meet me. I was met by Maha apa and Reema, who took me around again.

In 2004, my brother-in-law travelled to Hyderabad to meet Ayesha and her family, and again the same story was repeated, so he returned without meeting Ayesha. At that point, I was a little flustered, because none of us were able to meet her. It was I who had requested my brother-in-law to travel to India and meet Ayesha and her family as I was keen to take the relationship forward, formally.

Later that year, I was here in Hyderabad with the Pakistan cricket team. Mr M.A. Siddiqui invited the team to his house for dinner. I was hoping to meet Ayesha there, but the girl in the photographs wasn’t at the dinner. The same story was told to me again. I just couldn’t understand what was happening.

In a practice game, the next day, I won the man-of-the-match award. Later, I said that I was happy this was happening in my wife’s city. Even though I hadn’t met her even once, we were constantly talking to each other over the telephone. I always wanted to support her. That was how I felt, despite everything.

We accidentally ran into the truth about who Ayesha was. It was the worst moment of my life. No one enjoys being made a fool of, and that was exactly how I was made to look. It happened in August 2005. My brother-in-law got a photograph of a teacher in Saudi Arabia, who was telling people around her that she was married to me. His nephews were studying in that school. I was aghast when he showed me the photograph of the teacher; the woman in it was the person I called Maha apa. I immediately confronted Maha apa. It was she who had been making a fool of me all these years, pretending to be the person whose pictures she had been sending me. I told her I didn’t ever want to speak to her again. At that point I wondered if I could ever trust anyone again.

I told Ayesha I was going to release the photographs she had been mailing me to the media. She apologised and told me that the other girl was married and that I would ruin her life if I released those pictures. I thought about it, whosoever is in that photograph, probably doesn’t even know about all this, and it wouldn’t be fair to release those pictures.

In 2008 my lawyer sent a legal notice to Mr M.A. Siddiqui, who had been feeding the media with false and fabricated stories about me. After that he stopped making false allegations against me, until of course, news of my marriage to Sania Mirza became public.

Now, they’re asking for a divorce. To begin with there was no nikah because they pressurised me into it, with the intention to cheat. In Islam, there can only be a divorce, if the nikah is valid. I was wrongly made to believe that the pictures Ayesha had sent me were of the girl I was marrying. I feel terrible about the mess, created by a family, that has caused great grief to my own people and the family of my bride to be.

I’m confident, however, that the truth will prevail.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Saturday, April 3, 2010

To America... Through gym!

Although now, in an unprecedented move, the US has exempted the Pakistani nationals from screening at its airports, this post, however, was written back when Pakistan was added among those to be screened. Anyways, I thought why not share it anyway, even if a few months late.

As we all, by now, know that Pakistan too is among the countries who's nationals are going to be strip searched at the American airports. What a surprise!

Anyways, now that we are in the 'prestigious' list, and lots of us 'do' want to travel to the US, I say all the aspirants should head to a nearby gym, and start training. All of us who want to visit US need to get in shape before we land at an American airport. It's now a matter of national prestige. Imagine, how awful the dangling love handles or the macho man boobs would look when we'll stand naked in front of foreigners, at a foreign land?

My advice to all the 'Amreeka goers' is to get in shape. As simple as that. Their motto should be, "To America... Through gym!" It's nation's pride at stake after all.

Sikander Fayyaz
January, the 20th, 2010.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sania weds Shoaib, India hates Pakistan even more...

Last week has seen the biggest non-cricket, cricket news for Pakistan since the T20 victory. Amid the fines, bans, appeals and team selections comes a news that our very own Shoaib Malik is going to marry India's very own Sania Mirza. Without going into the merits of the match, I'd begin with congratulating the two.

The news was like both the Eids combined, many times over, for Pakistanis but disappointed Indians to say the least. I personally found both the stances quite funny to be honest. Facebook, Orkut, twitter and every other social networking site was flooded with congratulatory messages of Pakistanis to each other. India's Sania was all of a sudden 'Bhabhi ji'. People actually gathered outside Shoaib Malik's residence to celebrate, and not just that, in some cities people even danced on the roads on the beats of dhol. In India, on the other hand, there was a gloom. The announcement didn't go down well with most people. Bal Thakray, the Shiv Sena chief, even advised Sania to marry an India, by saying, and I quote, "had she been truly Indian at heart she would not have chosen a Pakistani''. Simple (read funny) people on both sides of the border. I'm, although, enjoying the circus thoroughly.

I actually started writing the post to share a few really funny quotes that I read on different social networking sites. I have chosen the following to begin with, but I'll keep updating the blog with more quotes as I find them;

A lad named Siddharta asked following question to Sania, and I found this really funny:

"A few questions to Sania Mirza

1-Has Fatima Bhutto ever wanted to get married to Lakshmipathy Balaji?
2-Did you watch Veer Zaraa one too many times?

3-Does your family not have a copy of Lakshya at home?

4-Is this some lameass attempt at making the “Aman Ki Asha” campaign a success?

5-Do you know you are already being called Pakistan ki Bahu even though Sohaib Malik was never even treated like their own son?

6-Do you realize why Shoaib Akhtar got a bout of genital warts?
7-Do you realize Asif Ali Zardari might end up at your wedding and make cheesy-ass remarks while grinning from ear to ear? [scares the hell outta me]

8-Do you realise the LeT will do a 22 gun salute in Muridke

Finally Do you realize, your wedding might just have ONE DISH as per law in Pakistan? All that feminist bullshit and you will move because of your man to Dubai? Dubai?! Who the fuck goes to Dubai anymore? Even Mohammad Asif said fuck this – im injecting at home. As if every tom dick and harry in this country singing Atif Aslam songs in this country wasn’t bad enough. Not even the good ones. "

Another guy, Anand, actually a friend from across the border shares his fears for both Shoaib and Sania in following words;

"Anyways, wish them all the best, but don't think they are a nice pair by any means...ghar pe kya baat karenge..ek toh usko English nahi aati...iski Hyderabadi-wali nakko bava sab sunke woh pagal ho jayega...(what would they talk at home.... one he can't speak English, listening to her Hyderabadi he'll go mad) she is a lot more sophisticated than Malik... I still keep hoping Sania's father meant Shoaib Akhtar and not this idiot.. "

A really hurt friend from India vents his anger out in following words:

"GOP should celebrate this by providing a national holiday on wedding day.. "

A happy Pakistani friend shares her joy:

P.S. im quite happy that finally the bollywood 's crystal ball inside which Pakistani girls always fall for an Indian guy n finally leave for their susral is broken :)

An extatic Pakistani:

"Liken Indians ko jaltay howee dekh kar I am soooo enjoying this!!!" (but seeing Indian (asses) burning, I'm so loving it)

There are plenty more that I can add, but you probably get the picture. Indians and Pakistanis can't live with or without each other, and that's for sure.

Photo courtesy BBC

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This day, 24 years ago!

This day, the first of April 1986 was my first day in the boarding school. I had just turned 6 exactly a month ago and I was sent away from home. There was really no other choice. First few years, I'd be honest, were tough. Specially when I came back to school after visiting home, usually on alternate weekends.

But I got used to it. There came a point when I loved being at school more than any where else.

I spent twelve wonderful years at the school and I can't thank my parents enough, specially my mother, for having the courage and heart to send me away from them. I'm a parent myself, and I can understand how tough it is being away from your child. But they didn't let themselves get week for my future's sake.

Today, when I look back, I cherish every bit of time that I spent there. Incidentally, a friend, who joined the school same day came to visit me at my village and staying with me for a night tday.

I still remember how sacred I was on the first night, and how disappointed I was on the last.

Good old days.

The school was Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur. My father attended the same school too.

Long live Sadiq.

School Canteen

IT Center

Senior School, the early days!

Senior School, main block.

Al-Maktoum Library