Monday, 26 August 2013

Independence ReTweet!

Letter to Editor:                                              
Ban Ki Moon please “Re-Tweet” Pakistan and India!

14th August and 15th August 2013 has dawned with the sun mocking at the LOC – probably shining at a higher intensity to drain both sides to its maximum, yet reflecting with its glare, 66 years gone and nothing has changed!

The NUST University Independence Celebration and the stance of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on the NUST podium addressing the students - was derision to what our current political scenario is – what are the urgent policies required to handle LOC crisis!

Instead of spending hours and hours on VIP dinners and meetings, if Ban Ki Moon would have advised the PM Nawaz Sharif to hire a “Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs” – with “immediate effect”, he would have done us all an “immediate favor!

We can’t afford a war or even spend time on thoughts of its possibility!

The UN Secretary General – Ban Ki Moon said that “I know that Kashmir is a long standing issue, but the UN military observers (UNMOGIP) has been trying to prevent any conflict across the Line of Control.” He further added, “You should know that UNMOGIP is not mandated with any political role. So, these political issues should be handled and discussed by the leaders of both governments.”

How conveniently, he avoided the LOC issue with “pure 100% diplomatic” answer – with no sugar added, by saying that both sides should “discuss!” He didn’t bother to firmly put this issue down on the table for two to talk!

To save hundreds and thousands of both sides citizens from the “emotional trauma” - Ban Ki Moon – should have logged on to both sides higher echelon and “Re-Tweeted” India and Pakistan and in the end click – “favorite! Which side? Is anybody’s guess!



Concerned, Borderless Citizen

- Karachi

EDWARD SNOWDEN – “Runaway Pride”

USA's Nightmare who shook the NSA and has left questions for 
the world ....."what we do, government must know?"
Edward Joseph Snowden, an American, born on June 21st 1983, was a former technical contractor for the US National Security Agency – NSA, and a former employee of the CIA who leaked the details of various top-secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs to the press. He revealed classified information on US and European telephone metadata and the PRISM and Tempora Internet surveillance programs – which has triggered a series of debates in The Congress and also on the issues related to budget allocation of the NSA programs!

One can imagine what mental and emotional condition he was in when he leaked the information, to Glenn Greenwald, journalist at The Guardian, in spring 2013.

He was happily living with his girlfriend Lindsay Hills, at a comfortable house in Hawaii – before he leaked the classified, security documents.

They had even built a basement where they both shared their future dreams. Jonathan Mills 57 years - father of Lindsay Hills – a software programmer, dealing in the business of restaurants IT packages, reportedly said that, “Snowden always had very strong convictions of right and wrong.” He must have found something disturbing enough that he would go this far.”

Mills also added that Snowden was acting in good faith and he believed he has done morally right to inform the world the “ugly truth of government’s power play!”

Snowden fled from Hawaii to Hong Kong and from his a hotel room, said “I have thought long and hard before publicizing details of an NSA program code-named PRISM.” I felt accountable to Americans that they should know “what is being done to them!” He further added that he leaked the details because he felt the United States was building an unethical and secret espionage machine that spied on every American.

"I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things ... I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. And this, I am NOT willing to support or live under," Snowden said. And now, not only thousands of Americans, but all over the world, people believe that what Snowden did is right!

Snowden's disclosures are said to rank among the most significant security breaches in United States history. On June 14, 2013, U.S. Federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.
He tried to negotiate talks with the Chinese authorities, but they refused him the asylum. Therefore, he fled Hong Kong airport to Moscow on 23rd June, 2013. Snowden had been staying in the transit area of the airport for over a month, while Russian authorities debated whether to accept his application for temporary asylum.
Snowden is believe to have spent his time in the transit lounge learning Russian language and surfing internet quietly in his dedicated place. A Russian airport authority in charge, on condition of anonymity has said “Snowden is a very nice and polite man, who keeps confined at one place.” Few airport authorities revealed that people coming to Moscow, inquired them, “where is Snowden- and tried to snoop around as if to catch his glimpse!”
Then on Thursday 1st August 2013, early morning, the news came in of Snowden being granted temporary asylum for one year. Snowden has left Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, around 7:00 a.m., according to the lawyer, who said he had personally handed him the essential asylum documents on Thursday morning.
Attorney Anatoly Kucherena appeared on Russian television, showing a scanned copy of an official document approving his asylum request. Snowden was in a safe place, according to him, who said he would not reveal the location for security reasons.
In a Wikileaks statement, Snowden thanked Russia for giving him asylum and criticized the Obama administration as showing "no respect" for the law. He said that "in the end the law is winning."

Snowden's father, Lon Snowden, on Thursday morning gave an interview to Russian TV and  praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin for protecting his son, expressed thanks for the asylum given his son and said that he aims to come to Russia to visit him.
In Washington, spokesman Jay Carney said that the White House is "extremely disappointed" in Russia's decision to grant asylum to Snowden. But the reality is that -“Russian deal is done” - Putin has taken 100 % advantage of the situation!
The impending talks between Russia and US are hampered as Obama’s official visit to Russia in Fall 2013, is a debatable issue now – further the fate of G 20 summit looms in darkness. But Russia has taken a step forward in what can be termed as an emerging cyber war!
Whether, Russia will use Snowden or vice versa – both complement each other in the given circumstances!
It is not a “thrill to leak and run – unless there exist  a chip in the Snowden’s computer brain - to break away from ruthless power of US” said an IT student at Harvard University. Likewise another IT student at MIT reportedly stated - “we all need to awaken to a new morning where we carry the keys to IP addresses ourselves and not leave any documents in the safe, which US government can open whenever we are on vacations!” A classical statement was made by a computer programmer working in Silicon Valley, who said “Snowden – has snowed on Pentagon and when it shall melt, NSA leaks will leave US in water!”
If Snowden can escape under the eyes of US and later seek asylum in Russian territory – he can also manage to call his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills – and seek paradise in the cyber world – on a territory much dreaded by the US Authorities!
Indeed, he is an unbeatable “runaway pride” for all those who respect law, truth and their private domain!


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Bombers and Worshippers: Crackers and Tailors!

         A must read for you to "re-think" what we are leaving behind 4 youth!

The Farooquia Masjid firing, early in the morning on eid day, in Quetta, killed 6 and injured many – left a dilemma in the minds of the “worshippers”- should we offer Eid Namaz or not? Many men were forced to stay indoors and say their namaz by their wives and children! One blast occurs and the churn of events having emotional and psychological impact is far more pervasive than the gun shots on the ground. Another striking thing which might be off the record, we as viewers – keep on switching the channels and state that “yes, they have gotten injured but surely not in our area” – and then switch to other channel for other news. We have gotten so immune to this bomb culture – that our conscience is lying somewhere sleeping! Major trickers on TV run to inform us that the injured from the firing incident shifted from Quetta to Karachi! Have we thought - why can’t they be accommodated and treated in Quetta and the emotional ordeal of the victims’ family? What trauma they go through in traveling and searching for their loved ones in Karachi – and that too in the government hospitals? Major upheaval in our thoughts and awakening of a new horizon is needed to deal with bombers and their ever growing radicalization – which is making Pakistan go on headlines every day! Our foreign policy office should be on toes rather than busy in prayers!

Story goes on…
Nothing on my mind - except crackers, bombs and blasts! I was at the new branch of KFC, Kh-e-Rahat with my children at iftar dinner, when this drama happened! Around 3 cracker blasts took place in DHA and 4th one near Moti mahal - and all were in front of wine shops, giving the owners a certain warning! But they could have resorted to some other means of negotiation – rather than scaring the neighborhood!

My small children asked me “can we change our country please- we can’t even have a burger in peace!” Do you have an answer to the questions lurking in their minds?

A question to ask the NA 250 leaders of PTI – in march you advertised so much in the corner meetings that, “vote for PTI , vote for change and we will give you a peaceful Karachi!” My children even participated in your mega car rallies and walks. Now they ask me, about eating French fries in peace? Please answer them– why did you make them walk for you? Why did you make all the Defence, Clifton crowd walk in the name of change? Why did you get the youth out on sea view for mega car rally, when you cannot even stop free rides of cracker blasts at The Village Restaurant – Sea View?

Why you can’t in return run back for NA 250 citizens and KPK is a wild goose chase? Let alone, whole Pakistan – what change you could have offered us – if voted to power in the Federal? Mobile courts and online FIR though a good idea – is not workable for the people who want simple bread and butter – with a corrupt free police desk!

PTI forgot how many have the access to computers and internet – and if they had, how many are tech-savy to make use of your online FIR! A better option would have been an open court system, photocopied on a pattern seen in the Mughal history of Akbar the Great! The Din I Ilahi of 1582 AD, could have done a target-game in our country, better than the faults of the 18th Amendment – which have put the Provincial and Federal Government on the tug of war games! Akbar the Great, philosophy of One Bell by the common man – and the leader is answerable - could have jolted our leaders better than anything!

The constant SMS on our cell phones, ended the day of re-polling on 19th May 2013! And the dharna was also a lost cause at three swords. What did you mean by choosing the “three swords” to incite a crowd and risk their lives on 19th May 2013, night?  Did you want us to see a new ideology of Pakistan? Or ignite a political cold-war?

The miscreants left the holy night of 27th Ramdhaan and chose the 28th Ramdhaan night- for their bombers and crackers mission! Probably they were busy praying to God the night before and preparing their “radicalized minds” to kill the innocent Lyari children – who had come to enjoy a football match.

The funniest part of the cracker blasts was seen at few tailor shops around Saba Commercial and Kh-e-Rahat location- tailors already doing late sittings to earn double round the Eid – were sweeping the broken windows away, as they claimed that few reporters had come and interviewed them. They wanted to show off their tailor-tag shops in the camera hoping to be in some breaking news.

Shezad of SK tailor and boutique, whose shop was at the intersection of popular avenue and kh-e-rahat – just behind the wineshop, told me that as there were 3 cracker blasts in DHA - so the reporters were being dropped off – only for “live beepers” to be given in their respective news room! DSNG’s were fallen short of transport that day to meet the pace of “crackers ride!” The news producers couldn’t decide which camera to switch on from The MCR! All in all – it was a classical mayhem of “footloose!”

Seeing so much enthusiasm among the crowd on the Cracker day of 28th Ramdhan night – a live show telecasted on the problems of tailors would have earned that TV channel a few more rating points. They had kept their shops opened till late night as police men were seen interrogating them on any “suspicious movements” witnessed by them and also they waited for their Eid tailoring payments!

I hope that some of our electronic media producers churn up a show “Common Man – Talk show” – where a common man can come and speak “for their problems, by their problems, of their problems!” I assure you that you need no feasibility for its success as it will touch “the pulse” of the nation!

Further, a good, one liner topic for the anchors and producers to do a talk show on: “the children demanding peace in country- which is bomb free!” Invite in your show parents - who are in constant tension to cope with their children questions on our national security: private security guards agencies owners – as their business is ever rising to the demand of guards: the shop keepers facing bhata challenges. Do not forget to invite few children who want to change their nationality. May be if our politicians see them, they hide their own passports behind the already “dual nationality” hyped documents!


One of my very close friends recently shifted to Islamabad from UK due to her husband’s change in business product line. She says ever since she has come to Pakistan, their children keep them on toes and demand their parents to return to UK. They say they want to give up their “green passport” where “248 prisoners are on loose!” Such qualitative impact of bomb blasts and terrorists hide and seek, is seen everywhere, in each household there is a different story to tell and share – just the angle is different in the 360 degree of “bomb and cracker” culture.

We are giving a lovely Eid gift in the shape of haunting memories of bomb blasts - to our youth and children, the flag carriers of Pakistan – who would probably take a microscope and hunt the house of Quaid-e-Azam at Ziarat Residency!



       Free lance journalist, political analyst and President – Mishal Welfare Trust.

Twitter: @KANWALanalyst

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Political Stage - Curtain Raiser


The mayhem of Election 2103 can be sung in to the songs of heroes - whose melody fades away into the cascade of “elected warriors” – battling for forsaken ground and then claim to be our parliamentarians! We were fooled in the name of ECP’s transparent electoral system, like a desert’s mirage, quenching the thirst of citizens waiting for a change! Henceforth, who would want to accept the “true spirit of democracy”, where we pay taxes to the government, but in return do not get a peaceful night’s sleep!

The citizens being oblivious of the past, present and future where they hold faint memories of pre-poll rigging, dharnas, ECP confused statements, corruption at its zenith to mould the results, returning officers given a free ride ticket to “engineer” the results and by and large, irony being that the election process is still un-complete. Though common man has lost interest now, as to “who is who”, all he yearns for is “who will solve the problems of our country?” The incessant power crisis, tax burden, clean water issues, lack of health facilities, ever rising unemployment, literacy rate at lowest ebb – a common man’s dream to own a house of his own, shall remain an impossible path to follow on this political stage happenings!

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;  William Shakespeare, As You Like it, 2/7

The exit of the past PPP government and the entrance of the PML (N) government have set a stage for the players of the political market. As soon as 1st June 2013, Saturday, dawned – one could see a parade of politicians walking on the aisle of the red carpet of the parliament house for their first session. The glitz and glamour posed to reflect the Lux Life Style Awards, with only “differed cost” of the clothing, watches, hand bags, pens on the desk, smart phones and a trail of personal secretaries with each MNA. It was a rare sight to see all MNAs in full attendance, all in the “who is who” syndrome! But in heart looking out that some one interviews them and also look at their wardrobe selection! Alas, if they could be serious about “parliamentary legislative business” as they were about their 1st day curtain raiser session. If you ask anyone for their future plans, they either said “follow my secretary” on the phone or “give us time to think” we have just come, it’s our 1st day!” One MNA boasted that she has a line of TV talk shows till whole week, so she does not have time to speak!

The 2nd June 2013 was Sunday and most of the MNAs were found lounging with their outstation guests and family members in murree or enjoying their space in the parliament lodges. The exit players still in possession of few accomodations, have left the Habib Rafiq builders to carry on the “extension of the parliament lodges!” Do you think our parliamentarians need lodges or a mind set to give common man means of survival and housing schemes? – We do not need bahria towns on the stage, but a spirit and will by the parliamentarians to build common man towns!

The 3rd June 2013, Monday, saw the arrival of Speaker and Deputy Speaker – with a wave down to Dr Fehmida Mirza. Indeed she looked graceful, yet thoughtful (as if her thoughts encircled around being the First Female Speaker of the Assembly). The resounding of the claps in the parliament house for her, showed the respect she had earned in the eyes of the public. And not to forget on 5th June 2013 - Wednesday, when Javed Hashmi claimed that “PM Nawaz Shareef” was his leader yesterday and even today. It was beyond any sane mind’s comprehension that how could he even take care of his constituency, let alone struggle for our country- when he can’t even watch his words in Live NA session. Same day on 5th June, 2013, evening - The PM Oath taking ceremony was fabulous and a treat to watch!

Beyond the trumpets being blown, a fleet of protocol uniformed men - welcomed Mian Nawaz Shareef as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. President Zardari shook the hands with such warmth, that PM Nawaz Shareef must have thought “Am I really in the Presidency House for the oath?” As soon as he was sworn in, it took a while to raise the curtain of his “kitchen cabinet” and the people seen in it – were mostly a predetermined clan of “grand dad” politics.The political stage is now at the zenith of “changing hands” where last minute projects are handed over to the highest bidders of under the table cash inflow. The Chairmans’ and the MDs’ of various organizations are appointed on a “HR Transparent basis” which is counter signed with the “political pen.” The jumps are seen in the capital city, mainly in the bureaucracy set up, which gets a “blended shakeup” as the curtain is raised of the PML(N) government. The greatest high jumps are see in the State TV (PTV) and long junps in the State Radio (PBC). The classical strategy is to “freeze” the hiring and then to “shuffle and change” the designations – with an aim to appease the “political players.” The Ministry of Finance takes the 1st segment in lead acting (Budget for the people, of the people, by the Government actors) - assigning the role of lip movements to various bureaucrats, where in case of any slip of the tongue, the supporting actors – still carry on the political drama on the stage: with the rest awaiting the “intra-credit” budget allocations to respective ministries.

Let us assume for a moment that the best ironical part of curtain raiser will be witnessed on the political stage, when the bounce back of “General pendulum” will strike out the kings of the “political chess”. So PM Nawaz Shareef should be on “red alert” from the lessons learned from “Strikes of the Generals.” Also, removing the WAPDA chairman- will not solve the power crisis, the Federal Minister Khawaja Asif, needs to look over and above the WAPDA and KESC as now the “trust deficit” existing among the minds of citizens wait for a solution- not a press conference! And what will happen back in the Scotland Yard will surely be the cause of more strikes in Karachi. Whatever hatches or is made to hatch on the political front on the scenario of Karachi – PM Nawaz Shareef should not ignore it and say “we are coming with a bullet train to launch “metro buses” in Sindh”. The thunder of Bolan Medical Complex will be a noise maker in our terrorist feat- only to remind us that the parliamentarians that day were too busy to even notice what was happening- till the electronic media shook them out of their dome! The rubbles of Ziarat Residency is a slap on our faces that we all are passer bys of what is going wrong will be more wronged – until we all stand and be a reflection of our “conscience revolution!” 
As ramzaan and price hike will keep citizens occupied, the parliamentarians will be busy in holding iftar dinners and discussing on how to “blind fold” the public on various issues! The permanent blind fold being the power crisis which is just a number game of “Watts” for the policy makers. Behind the curtain remain the upcoming issues in darkness: baldiati nizam, how to say “no to drone attacks”, making water available for public and the ever green issue of “yes, who will curb power crisis and when?”  If they could hold more discussions on good governance and implement it, then the wishful thinking of common man to have a 24 hrs water / electricity in their homes will be realized. But alas- this is not so and we are left alone to re-think the definition of “democracy” in imperfect economic environment – where left wingers have become sizzling zingers!

However, we are accustomed to accept whether we cry, shout or protest (beautiful example of inelastic democracy) is to humbly say: “Aye, Aye Sir! - You are, our respected Parliamentarians” – the fact is that senators and elected members are here to stay at the parliament lodges (mostly on our cheques without any checks)! So we need to look into the aspect that “world is a stage” and our politicians and parliamentarians are merely players (who plays with the emotions of the common man) and then vanishes at eleventh hour (like Cinderellas searching for pumpkins), before the clock strikes midnight!

A half- hearted, democratic led nation only yearns for a “solution!” They look towards the parliament house for constructive “legislative business” so that they can flash “green passports” with pride (only if they get printed on time!). The fact remains that they are here to stay to raise the curtain as mere players, whether for 5 years or lesser or a period chosen by Generals’ - we as citizens of Pakistan can only wait for another show case of our parliamentarians talent.



Kanwal Abidi

* Freelance Journalist / Political Analyst, Associate Chartered Banker (UK) and a Social Activist (Founding member of Mishal Welfare Trust)

Huma Abedin and Clinton School of Forgiveness

***Abedin and
      Clinton School of Forgiveness***

With the recent fashion of leaking secrets / reports / commission, the newest on board is "Huma Abedin's" - and revelations of her husband’s illicit scandals- a former Republican Anthony Weiner — including the latest, which went public (photos and text messages sent online to women - got leaked) this week on Twitter!

“Our marriage, like many others, has had its ups and its downs,” she said, in what The New York Post reported was her first speaking engagement at a press conference. “It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy to get to a place where I could forgive Weiner.”

Abedin began working as an intern for the White House in 1996 and was assigned to Hillary Clinton. She later worked for Clinton as traveling chief of staff and "body woman" for Clinton during Clinton's 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination campaign and subsequently served under in the State Department. “Abedin is like daughter to me” said Hillary Clinton. One can easily deduce the amount of massive moral support she would have gotten from Clinton in all aspects of her life – and now has the spirit to follow her in forgiving her husband too.

In June 2011, Huma Abedin (while she was expecting her 1st child) became the subject of widespread media attention amid her husband's Twitter photo scandals. In the press conference where he admitted the online conversations with women, Weiner said he had revealed his online relationships to his wife before their marriage. Regarding the new revelations, Weiner said, "She was very unhappy, she was very disappointed, and she told me as much. And she also told me that she loved me and we're going to get through this." 

Political media strategist Adam Weiss said the speech reminded of the days when former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, occupied the White House — when the president’s illicit scandals went public and Hillary Clinton came out in public to support her husband and "stand by her Clinton man.” This was the time when "Lewinskygate" scandal appeared: when the tape conversations were leaked by Defense Department, co-worker Linda Tripp - who secretly recorded telephone conversations of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton.]

When Tripp discovered in January 1998 that Lewinsky had signed an affidavit in the Paula Jones case denying a relationship with Clinton, she delivered the tapes to Kenneth Star, the Independent Counsel, who was investigating Clinton on other matters.

At such crucial time, when Hillary Clinton can stand by her man and protect him for political mileage, then Huma Abedin can be said to follow, “Like mother, like daughter” and “to forgive and move forward” for the sake of family is the most workable strategy. One can hear whispers of their heart and broken tears of Clinton and Abedin, but life is a boat – where nothing stops and one has to row for the shore: and for them their shore is “White House!”

Huma Abedin, likewise - wants her husband to contest the next NYC Mayor elections as she would get full mileage race along with him! “I love him, I believe on him, I forgive him” said, Huma Abedin at a recent press conference from their NYC electoral office.

“They both are that power hungry to accept the absolute disgracefulness of serial cheating from their husbands,” said Adam Weiss, in The New York Post.

 Huma Abedin comes from the Clinton school of forgiveness — "power is more important than dignity.” Whatever the motives behind - Huma Abedin's press conference to forgive her husband Weiner and publicly acclaim the issue, one should salute her for the courage to stand on her feet and speak for preserving the marital bond for the sake of their son - Jordan Zain Weiner (born in Dec 2011).

She must be on equal symbol of courage that took Malala Yousuf Zai to stand up in The UN Youth Assembly for the "One book, one pen” strategy to educate females!  Huma Abedin must also be praised for "One woman, one family" strategy to lead a peaceful life and that men should honor their marital bond - rather than hiking in the woods with other ladies on the board!

By: Kanwal Abidi
       Karachi (Pakistan)