When Pakistan needs the world

اگست 22, 2010

…… Shikeb Ali ……

There was a time when the world calls out Pakistan to do and do more for war against terrorism, and Pakistan replied to the world by  sweeping out Taliban from its tribal areas and assured the stability in the areas like SWAT and Malakand Division.

Now, when more than 25% area of Pakistan has been inundated by floodwater, more than 1500 people have been killed and an alarming figure of 25 million people have been stranded by devastating teh worst floods wreaked by monsoon rains and both figures are expected to rise in the coming days. Hundreds of villages, roads, bridges and millions of hectares of crops have been washed away by the ongoing deluge. This is the time when Pakistan needs the world the most, to fight and recover from this slow tsunami.

Pakistan signals to SOS, but here the international response to Pakistan’s flood emergency has been sluggish and ungenerous compared with the relief efforts after that were seen after previous disasters, like Haiti, earthquake where more than $2 billion were raised by international community.

According to Dr Marie Lall, Pakistan expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs says: "I think there is donor fatigue all around. The [2004] Indian Ocean tsunami, the Burmese Cyclone [Nargis, 2008], the [2005] Pakistan earthquake, and [this year’s] Haiti earthquake. It is getting too much; we are in a recession and people are short of money.”

According to Oxfam figures quoted by The Guardian, in the first 10 days after the Haiti earthquake, donors had promised $742m and pledged a further $920m. For Pakistan, the figures over the same period were $45m and $91m. It is estimated that Pakistan needs $460 million immediately, and till now, just $125 million have been donated. An old friend of Pakistan, the Saudi Arabia alone has raised $105 million, made the pledge following criticism that Muslim countries were not giving enough to victims of the disaster.

There are a lot of other obstacles which are preventing the donors among them the corruption is the largest, as Pakistan has had a bad reputation about its prime leaders, as most of them are battling with corruption cases & accusations and even some of them have been imprisoned for more then 10years over corruption charges.

"Dr Marie Lall says: People in Pakistan are skeptical that the government may be transparent. But they are giving to philanthropic organisations. In the UK, it is generally believed people are skeptical of [non-governmental organisations’] overheads and costs. They don’t know which are transparent and reliable, even though local organisations such as TCF [The Citizens’ Foundation] are doing an incredible job.”

I think Pakistan will need more $500m for helping its homeless and starving people, this is not just a figure which will be able to fix all things, we have to do a lot more than just asking the world for the help.We need to take action. Sitting and watching the TV news reports and feeling sorry for them is not going to save lives.

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Shikeb AliShikeb Ali, professionally a web designer at Jang group of Companies, but he keeps a good eye on current affairs, with his artistic activities on the web. You can follow him on twitter and join him on facebook.
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Go America Go or Go Americans Go? You decide

جولائی 31, 2010

By  Syed Adnan Chishti

The slogan ‘Go America Go’ has remained much talk of the town for late, mostly in media circles through statements of politicians, media persons and members civil society.

Every time, when innocent people, residing in the tribal belt of Pakistan are killed by a suspected US unmanned aircraft or there occurs a suicide bombing in Pakistan or there is seen targeted killings happening in any part of country or… then the politicians, television channels, newspapers and mass gatherings are full of slogans “Go America Go”, claiming that US and its agents are behind whatever wrong is taking place in Pakistan.

But, the think that bothers me a lot is trying to understand meaning of this phrase, because whenever, I happened to hear this phrase, it shoots my blood up, thinking that when almost everyone is against US and its policies and also reckons US and its secret agents behind destabilizing Pakistan, then why do they advice, speaking up, ‘Go America Go’?

Why should we go to America when US is no longer seen a friend or well-wisher of Pakistan? Why, through all possible means of quick communication, Pakistanis are recommended to go to America? And why a country, which is widely believed to be the biggest foe of Pakistanis, every Pakistanis is pushed to migrate to America through the phrase ‘Go America Go’?

Then comes to me the advise from a good friend of mine that do not take this phrase wrongly as it does not suggest Pakistanis to go to America instead, it wants US citizens, its policies and its secret agents to disappear from this part of the world in the greatest interest of Pakistan.

Subsequently, my query was on the cards – how the phrase ‘Go America Go’ can serve meaning that Americans should depart from here? Instead it means that whoever listens this phrase, he/she is being advised to move to America.

I therefore resolved to consult a foreign friend of mine whom when I asked to illustrate the meaning of phrase ‘Go America Go’, he immediately saw fully through my understanding, saying that by using this phrase ‘Go America Go’, you are proposing me to move to America and he also said it means equally to another phrase ‘let’s go America’.

Also, he told me, when asked that how would I urge Americans to leave Pakistan?. That you than raise slogan ‘Go Americans Go’ in replacement of ‘Go America Go’ and I was quickly convinced to his elaborations and suggestions.

But But But But…….. He also told me that do not take your politicians, members civil society and mediamen wrong, they might actually mean to suggest people of Pakistan that they should go to America when they chant slogan ‘Go America Go’ and I was quickly convinced to his elaborations too, thinking that how cunning our politicians, mediamen and members civil society are that they are killing two birds with one stone while our nation is so much innocent and blind to this drama.


Why nation mourns precious 152 lives of air crash?

جولائی 29, 2010

By Syed Adnan Chishty

It was another mourning day for Pakistan but not in the backdrops of terrorism, however, this time, it was a deadly air crash occurred early on Wednesday morning (July 28, 2010) when an ill-fated commercial airbus of Air Blue airline crashed into wooded land of Margalla Hills, killing all aboard 152 passengers including two infants.
While the plane, enroute to Islamabad from Karachi, was preparing to land at Benazir International Airport in federal capital Islamabad in the face of incessant showers and rough weather, it came into parts after having crashed, prompting government to announce a day of mourning on Thursday as the national flag will hoist half-mast all over country in memory deceased passengers.
Addressing a press conference at PID media centre, Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Qaira said that Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has constituted a high-level inquiry team, which has started probe into tragic incident. However he said the black box of the plane has not been recovered so far, and search for it would continue on Thursday.
Political leaders, government officials, people and members civil society, leaders from all over the world including US president Obama, Afghan president Karzai, UN chief Ban-ki Moon have extended condolences with the heirs of dead passengers over sudden deaths.
Only 102 bodies have been recovered thus far and 55 among them have been identified while the remains are largely believed to have been torn apart up to the extent of disappearance.
Though the government has announced compensation grant of Rs0.5 million for the heirs of those died but nonetheless a human life can never get swap by any of the worldly means and it should too remain too meager to fill in the gap caused by the irreparable loss of victims.
A bigwig of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed media on condition of anonymity that the aircraft crashed because of ‘pressure’ fault in the plane. The pressure disc or plate of plane was not working perfectly. The CAA often warns technical staff of airlines to change pressure discs to boom pressure but technical staff takes this matter non-seriously, he said.
He said that weather was not the reason of plane crash because other flights were taking off and landing perfectly. Concerned pilot could not handle the plane with dead pressure and it fell down, he said.
Now, the query here arises is of loosing over hundred priceless lives just because some persons rendered negligence of their responsibilities or the weather should be blamed but whoever is to blame, can the life of a single person come back now?  

Chitral’s untapped tourism potential

مئی 23, 2010

By Israr Ahmed

Pakistan today is a very small player in global tourism. Despite that the country has considerable tourist potential, its share in global tourism earning is negligible. Pakistan’s share in the over $ 900 billion tourism industry of the world is merely 230 million dollars.

Despite having enormous tourism potential which ranges from heritages, cultural, religious tourism to nature and ecotourism; the negligible share of the country in global tourism revenue underscores the fact that till now no concerted efforts has been made to tap and exploit the potential of tourism sector.

Pakistan is home to most stunning Himalayan peaks, including K-2 and various magnificent valleys. It has beautiful Arabian Sea, deserts, Indus valley, ancient Buddah’s civilization carved in its mountains and historic forts.

As far as the nature of tourism is concerned, Pakistan has been gifted gracefully with great and wonderful hills, mountains, picturesque valleys, landscapes and lush green hilly destinations. With all this, it should have been one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations.

But due to a weak travel and tourism framework, low branding and marketing effectiveness and deduced priority given to the travel and tourism industry by the government, besides the ongoing militancy Pakistan has been ranked 103 of 124 countries around the globe by the World Economic forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.

The northern parts of Pakistan have many old fortresses, towers and other architecture as well as scenic, beautiful and mountainous valleys such as Hunza and Chitral. The latter is home to the small pre-Islamic Animist Kalash community, who are believed to be descendents of the army of Alexander the Great. Chitral also has the highest polo ground in the world, the Shandur Polo Ground, which is 12,500ft (4,000 metres) above sea level.

Though the ongoing militancy has wrecked havoc with the country’s economy, but it cost the tourism industry of the country especially that of the northern parts of the country heavily. The Swat Valley, once called Switzerland of Pakistan, has been deserted by tourists both the local as well as foreigners due to worst law and order situation amid Taliban insurgency. The destruction caused to the tourism industry especially in Swat due to the militancy is such in magnanimity that it would be a daunting task to restore the past glory of the valley.

But the Chitral Valley, which remained completely safe from the ongoing militancy and have exemplary law and order situation in the country given the prevailing situation, and have enormous potential of tourism ranging from cultural and heritage to hiking and ecotourism is being ignored by the relevant authorities.

Tourism potential in Chitral is no secret and the beautiful landscape and the unique cultural heritage give the valley a competitive advantage in attracting tourists.

The Chitral Valley, which was an internally autonomous princely state until 1969, when General Yahya Khan made it a settled district of the newly created Malakand Division of NWFP, is situated about 322km from Peshawar. The whole area is mountainous, having green valleys and the towering Trichmir Peak (7,700 meters) of the Hindukush. The Chitral Fort is one of the famous monuments of the town. There is also a palace inside the fort and a beautiful mosque outside the fort.

Despite worst law and order situation in other Districts of the Malakand Division, this area is extremely peaceful. The residents are peace loving and crimes rate in the area is negligible.

A number of cultural and traditional festivals are held regularly in the area throughout the year, which have great attraction for tourists. But due to lack of official patronage and negligence of the relevant quarters, the potential of tourism has not yet been exploited. Even the relevant departments and authorities, whose primary task is to promote and develop tourism sector, have been keeping themselves aloof from the vast potentials of these traditional festivals to attract tourists from across the country as well as abroad.

The area and its unmatchable attractions for tourists have never been properly marketed and advertised by the relevant quarters to attract tourists and capitalize on the potentials.

Recently, the three-day calendar spring festival of the northern Chitral, Jashn-e-Qaqlast was held from April 15 to 18 at Qaqlasht.

Qaqlasht is a flat terrain that is located about 80 kilometers north of Chitral town and approachable by a smooth drive of one and half-hour. When early spring sweeps through the valley, this Plateau type of plane transforms into a gorgeous picnic resort with a carpet grassy and tiny yellow flowers stretched miles and miles that attracts a great number of people from different parts of the district and other parts of the country.

‘Jashan-e-Qaqlasht’ is the old-age festival of the people of northern Chitral with a history of more than 2,000 years. Rais rulers used to organize it in the remote past to be continued by the Kator dynasty, which not only assiduously patronized this particular cultural event, but also promoted other festivals e.g. Jashan-e-Shandur and Jashan-e-Chitral.

However, after the status of Chitral as an autonomous princedom came to an end in 1969, the festivals of the indigenous mountain communities ceased to be celebrated until 2003 when Jashan-e-Chitral for the first time was revived through the support of UNESCO after its discontinuation for 27 years and Jashan-e-Qaqlasht after abandoning for 35 years.

The Jashan-e-Qaqlasht features traditional sports and cultural events of the surrounding local communities.

The event, which was organized by Chitral Association for Mountain Area Tourism (CAMAT) in collaboration with Sarhad Tourism Corporation (STC), also featured some of the traditional sports e.g. Bodi Dik and folksongs/folkdances e.g. ‘chong righishi’ and ‘tatali wawali’, and ‘mamashish’ which are at the verge of extinction. Braises these activates, the festival also featured cultural events and cultural music i.e. folksongs, folkdances, music of reed instrument and that of pure Chitrali sitar. Unlike the past, this time the STC sponsored the event and it advertised it through national newspapers to attract large numbers of people from across the country.

The festival is organized with the objective to protect the indigenous Kho culture and to highlight and market it as tourism product so as to attract maximum national and international tourists to the region that could help reduce poverty by providing tourism-related job opportunities to the locals apart from promoting cross-cultural understanding and harmony.

This year, as the STC sponsored the Jashan-e-Qaqlasht, it was advertised in major national dailies and the STC announced special package for tourists from across the country, which was responded very encouragingly.

When contacted by Business Recorder, Programme Manager CAMAT Shamsuddin said that this year the festival received very encouraging and positive response from tourists across the country.

He said as the STC had sponsored the festival and offered attractive packages to the tourists, large number of people from across the country participated in the festival. He underlined the need to properly market the tourism potential of the area at national as wells as international level, as the snow-covered peaks and lush green valleys besides the diverse cultural and heritages have great potential to attract tourists from across the globe.

He said the festival was held in extremely peaceful atmosphere, as the exemplary law and order of the area did not necessitated any special security arrangement. Over 20,000 people from all over the Chitral district as well as tourists from Peshawar, Islamabad and other parts of the country participated in the festival. The cultural music, folkdances and folksongs were the most interesting phenomenon of the mega event. There was a big bonfire for night musical programme.

Besides the Jashn-e-Qaqlast, there are many other festivals, which are celebrated every year and have great attraction for tourists from across the country and some even from outside the country.

The three-day sporting and entertainment event, called as Shandur Polo Festival, takes place on the high altitude ground, which is the highest polo ground in the world, every year in July. The festival features exquisite, thrilling and spectacular polo matches between teams of Chitral and Gilgit, besides many others sporting and entertainment events.

For the last couple of years the festival has gained international popularity and tourists from across the country as well as abroad thronged the highest polo ground of the world to enjoy the festivities of the event and beauty of the idyllic Shandur valley, which is overlooked by snowy peaks besides a crystal clear lake.

Although the tourism industry of the country has jeopardized due to the volatile law and order situation, despite all odds the Shandur festival attracts a large numbers of tourists from all over the world.

One of the major attractions of Chitral are the Kalash valleys- the home of the Kafir-Kalash or "Wearers of the Black Robes”, a primitive pagan tribe.

Over 3,000-strong Kafir-Kalash live in the valley of Birir, Bumburet and Rambur, south of Chitral town.

The Kalash women wear black gowns of coarse cloth in summer and hand-spun wool dyed in black in winter. Their picturesque headgear is made of woolen black material decked out with cowry shells, buttons and crowned with a large coloured feather. Due to their unique culture, the Kalash people and their festivals attract large numbers of tourists from across the country and abroad.

The Kalash are fun loving people who love music and dancing particularly on occasion of their religious festivals like Joshi Chilinjusht (14th & 15th May-spring), Phool (20th – 25th September) and Chomas (18th to 21st December for a week).

Kalash Festival

Joshi or Chilimjusht (14th and 15th May): This festival is held in spring, when girls pick first flowers of the year. The days are marked by dancing, visiting each other and exchanging flowers, milk and milk products.

Utchal (Mid July): It is celebrated to mark the harvest of wheat and barley. The celebration lasts for two days, which includes dancing, singing, and feasting.

Phool (20th to 21st December): The festival is to mark the reaping of grapes and walnuts harvests. (Subject to weather conditions).

Chowas (18th to 21st December): Chowas is a winter festival celebrated to welcome the New Year. The entire population remains indoor. It is celebrated by feasting, drinking and merry making until the elders, who sit on hill top watching the sun reaching the orbit, then declare the advent of the new year. They come down from the hills, light their torches, perform their dance and sacrifice goats at the altar.

Boroghil Festival

The Boroghil festival is held from July 15 to 17 at the famous Boroghil plateau at the summer settlement of Shuwor Sheer. The level grassy Shuwor Sheer is situated at the junction of the Chianter glacier, the Zindikharam pass to Darkot and Yasin, the Kurambar pass down into Iskhumnan and the Darwaza pass into the Wakhan corridor.

The salient feature of this festival are various events like wild mountain polo, horse race on the wide pastures, Yak Polo and Yak race the only event of its kind in the world, Buz Kashi, and traditional music in the evenings. The Wakhi Sirikuli, Tajik and Kirghiz tribes who are scattered over the Boroghil in Pakistan and Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan find this festival a wonderful opportunity to exchange pleasantries. It is an occasion where families meet, news shared and marriages formalized. The area offers the pristine turquoise Kurambar Lake at 4620m a stopover for migratory birds from Russia and Central Asia.


See the other side of picture.

مئی 19, 2010

By Syed Adnan Chishty

Drawing Sketches of Hazrat Mohammed (SAWW) (Naozubillah) is nothing but a filthy trick to gain popularity, aiming at hike in rates on advertisement on facebook.

I believe much in actions being taken these days for money, fame, financial benefits and worldly prosperity and that is what non-believers believe in too.

Simultaneously, the act of holding a day for sketches of Holy Prophet Hazrat Mohammed Mustafa (SAWW) (Naozubillah) means a lot for admin of facebook as they are fully aware of involvement of emotions from the point of view of Muslim community, which is for-sure on its way to serve the purpose.

This, to-be-held competition, has done the trick for lovers who seek media fame like almost everyone is and like those masterminds behind this competition and already numerous television channels, cellular lines, websites on internet, newspapers, magazines, journals, FM radio stations have been trumping over it.

And that is what they have achieved very easily, but a Muslim cannot stay quiet on this as well however, it is better to judge the issues from all aspects and dimensions.

We Muslims must also try to read between the lines (the motive behind holding such filthy competitions).

Condemn it, denounce it, flay it, lash this out, slam it and get it removed from facebook.


It was not just the Pakistan’s day

مئی 15, 2010

By Syed Adnan Chishty

Much awaited Pakistan-Australia semi-final drama came to shocking, exciting, thrilling and an unanticipated conclusion; with Kangaroos stunning Greenshirts with many out-of-the-park hits specially the dying one, the gigantic one and with only a ball to spare in the shortest format of this sport and with former’s fans chewing their nils while the latter’s flying over the moonMichel Hussey’s magic worked for Aussies, smashing 60 runs off mere 24 balls – first time ever happened in the known history of T20 matches so far, which snatched glory from Defending Champions. Also, Cameron White from other end struck many times the last nail through the coffin, which assured Pakistan that they are now knocked out of the mega event

Though Akmal Brothers had contributed major to set an apparently impracticable and never chased target, 192 runs, to dustify the mentally matchless Kangaroos but it was Pakistan’s bowling turn, this time, to make country kiss the dust and for its beloved ones to become gloomy

The result could go either way till the last few deliveries were seen sailing over the boundary rope for Sixes

Those who remain deeply submerged amid Aussie’s chase need to have their say on where the defending champs went wrong and how?

Comment please!


Shoaib-Sania marriage, a love or trade? Ask yourself

اپریل 10, 2010

Shoaib-Sania marriage, a love or trade? Ask yourself۔۔

By Adnan Chishty

 

Though I gratefully welcome Indian tennis stunt Sania Mirza being sister-in-law here in Pakistan, would much like to throw light on another aspect of such knots, it is very commonly witnessed and widely felt on two sides of border that Indian women or Pakistani men, raised in a showbiz atmosphere or from any filed of fame, prefer to tie the knot with the cross-border ones, as they must have somehow found such deals – highly lucrative in terms of money, fame, media hype, bagging profitable advertisement packages from national and international companies and many more concealed benefits۔

 

Here in this case, the love story merely flourished within last six months, while both Sania and Shoaib were sinking down in the top rankings of their respective sports. Why not? both sporting giants might have resolved to find it the only and best available opportunity to fly at sky-high rankings through this age of media. And by-the-way, it is a proven fact not theory۔

 

It may also be likely that as it’s been much talked in media that Sania and Ayesha were close friends or maybe siblings; it can certainly be the battle between egos of two closely-related girls to tame a dashing Pakistani boy – the result of orthodox jealousy found in women! Which might have gutted Sania when seeing Shoaibi in arms of her average-looking cousin۔

 

Last but not the least, after so many allegations from Siddiquis – the family, which held Shoaib responsible for telling a lie and ruining the life of their daughter, have suddenly gone with the winds with their mysterious quietness, raising many doubts over their truthfulness and regarding their early claims. And why not? this unbleveable role of Siqqiquis is highlighting a secret deal۔

 

 Love being the sole reason, today, is a hard chance in this case, I think so۔۔۔

 I need your comments۔