Wah Munshi jee, Kya khoob Munshi jee’.

by Khurshid Anwer

Age had caught up with Nawab saheb and he was unable to fulfil his conjugal duties. He got his young Munshi to perform in his place. He would sit and watch admiringly and keep repeating, ‘Wah Munshi jee, Kya khoob Munshi jee’.

Our Munshi is screwing the opposition to the great delight of friends and foes who are thumping the tables and shouting ‘Wah Munshi jee, Kya khoob Munshi jee’.

In their wide eyed admiration they forget that he is screwing not only the opposition but also the country.

He is screwing the state enterprises by using them as parking places for his cronies in their dozens, and his jialas in their thousands, in each entity.

The cronies are there to do his dirty work. The only work the jialas will ever do is to cast their votes. Fat chance these entities can ever become productive. Fat chance they can ever be off loaded. They will keep digging a 400 billion hole in the economy every year – ‘Wah Munshi jee, Kya khoob Munshi jee’.

The Munshi is also screwing the State Bank by getting it to print 2 billion rupees, not every year, not every month, not every week, but every day. This is for funding the other vote churning machine, the Benazir Income Support Machine.

Space does not allow to enumerate the many other areas where the country is being screwed by the Munshi amidst our adulations.

However all praise to the Munshi for clinging on to power by hook or by crook, more crook than hook, and for protecting the interests of his party at the cost of the country. Yet many of us are bending over backwards to chant – ‘Wah Munshi jee, Kya khoob Munshi jee’. 

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PTI & Imran Khan must get their priorities right

PTI & Imran Khan you MUST consider, apart from #Justice, #Protection of the rights of every individual as an equal Citizen of Pakistan WITHOUT discrimination #Legal & #Social equality MUST BE PRACTICED and SEEN TO BE PRACTICED! Not just given lip service! #Education needs a revamp!

Start with a major overhaul of education, make it compulsory and train professional teachers whose wages are equal to the Civil Servants cadre to build a quality delivery system in EVERY school of Pakistan, ensure and equip every student to be a responsible citizen, give each child health support and soon you will have citizens who will do what is BEST for Pakistan!



For a change, something to celebrate


by Ayaz Amir
Friday, March 09, 2012

Banana republic, client state, dictation from the US? This is not how puppet states are supposed to behave. Following the American attacks on two of our border outposts, leaving 26 of our soldiers dead, Pakistan has held off the United States and – would you believe it? – the heavens have not fallen.

The Nato supply route across Pakistan remains closed, not a container getting through, and it is the Americans who are sweating. US envoy Marc Grossman wanted to visit Pakistan for a damage-repair operation but he was told the time was not opportune.

Time was when the sound of clicking heels was a regular feature of life in Islamabad. The new reserve is something vastly different. It comes as a result of the realization dawning in the corridors of national security early last year that instead of any appreciation coming Pakistan’s way for what it was doing to help the US in Afghanistan, in support of a mission seen increasingly as running into the sand, American behaviour was cocky and arrogant.

The Americans may put a brave face on the suspension of Nato supplies but it doesn’t take much to figure out that it would be a serious problem. Pakistan, however, is playing it cool, having made it known that a parliamentary committee is reviewing relations and whatever emerges from the exercise will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. Seldom in Pakistan’s history have the Americans so eagerly awaited a joint session of our parliament.

As everyone understands, parliamentary oversight is a bit of a fig-leaf. Government and GHQ will decide and parliament will go through the motions. In any event, the one-phone-call relationship is a thing of the past – although, to be fair to Pakistan, even that was greatly exaggerated. Whenever Pakistan has wanted to stand its ground it has been able to do so. When it has jumped into America’s lap it has done so on its own.

No one had to force or convert Gen Zia into backing the so-called mujahideen. It was his own decision. Gen Musharraf did not have to be threatened to fall into line post-Sep 11. In the wake of that occurrence Pakistan’s newly-discovered importance spelled the end of Musharraf’s international isolation. So he welcomed it.
Another issue on which Pakistan is sticking to an independent position is Iran.

Hillary Clinton did not so much warn Pakistan as state what she thought was the obvious: that the Iran gas pipeline would entail financial and economic consequences for Pakistan as per US law. But the riposte from Pakistan was quick, Foreign Minister Hina Khar – a lot smarter than her famous uncle, the once-upon-a-time Loin (sic) of Punjab, Malik Ghulam Mustafa Khar – saying that Pakistan would take a decision in its own interests.

The important thing remains that even as war-talk relating to Iran from Israel and the US is on the rise, Israel desperate for a US strike on Iran’s nuclear installations, Pakistan is not backing off from the Iran deal.

To say that Pakistan is breaking out on its own would be another exaggeration. But it is fair to say that the Americans are learning the limits of their influence in Islamabad. This is a good thing. Even close friends should not be taken lightly and the feeling had grown in Pakistan that the Americans were taking us for granted.
But here’s a remarkable thing. When official Pakistan was supposed to be in America’s pocket, or dancing to America’s tune, anti-Americanism at the level of public sentiment was strong and virulent. But with the relationship going a bit cold, the psychological necessity for overt and loud displays of anti-Americanism has diminished. On the banner of Pakistani patriotism America-bashing has slipped several notches. Pakistan seems a more relaxed place as a result. Long may it remain this way.

Pakistan must think long and hard before allowing a resumption of the Nato supply line although the best thing would be for it to remain closed.
Notice one thing more. Imran Khan’s rhetoric has gone a bit flat, the fizz having gone out of it. This is not because other parties have suddenly hit the comeback trail but because the American relationship has been downgraded. Some of the wind has been taken out of his sails.

In order to reignite popular anti-Americanism two conditions have to be met: more drone strikes and more American visitors descending on Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Who’s really standing up to the Americans? Popular folklore would have it that it is the army which is calling the shots. But this is too black-and-white an explanation. The government and army are on the same page on this. On each and every matter – Raymond Davis, May 2, Salala, etc – if the army has taken a position, President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani have unequivocally backed it.

On Afghanistan, and on what happens next there, Zardari, Gilani and Kayani are one. Indeed, Zardari started cultivating President Karzai of Afghanistan when it was bad form in Pakistan to do so. And on Iran at the height of Memogate Zardari said something, this in Naudero, which wouldn’t have gone down too well with the Americans: that Pakistan would not be drawn into unwanted conflicts. He did not name Iran but the meaning was clear.

No one has been dealing separately with the Americans, which is one reason why General Headquarters, for all its Memogate fulminations, really has no charge against the political government. It also says something for the unwitting sophistication of the present diffusion of power – with no single power centre able to have its way in all things – that despite the friction between GHQ on one side and the political government on the other caused by the memo caper, the two sides are back to a working relationship.

Solitary dictators, under no compulsion to look around, have been the death of Pakistan. The present model of government suits Pakistan best – a decentralized system putting a premium on negotiation and consulting. But working this model requires flexibility and exceptional political skills. To the growing surprise and dismay of their detractors, Zardari and Gilani possess both in sufficient measure.
But not to put too fine a point on it, Pakistan is also being well served by its army leadership. How stereotypes crumble. Kayani was supposed to be an American creature.

Yet here it is him and Gen Shuja Pusha as the head of the ISI who have stood up to the Americans. Imagine the kind of pressure – congressional hearings, senatorial warnings, etc – they have had to face. But they have stuck to their guns…and, it should be noted, without undue horn-blowing or flag-waving.

Memogate was an exercise in folly but then the best men make mistakes. Zardari and Gilani seem clever today. But the imposition of governor’s rule in Punjab back in 2009 was their Memogate. The only thing to be said in their favour in that context is that they quickly recovered. Kayani and Pasha too will recover from their governor’s rule, if they haven’t done so already.

ISI chief is one of the key posts in our security hierarchy, one especially important in view of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. We have had sinister figures and not a few outright dunces standing at the gates but, the memo intervention apart, Gen Pasha has been a clever head of the organization.

Let’s not be blinded by bias or prejudice. This is the freest democracy in our history, not because of any Abraham Lincoln but because of circumstances conspiring to bring about a diffusion of power and authority. Let us keep it this way, hoping all the while, and trusting to our good fairies, that the coming elections lead to a smooth democratic transition…this at a time when the Americans are cutting and running from Afghanistan.

The torch of government and democracy safely handed over…this will be a first in our history. If there is an occasion for some champagne that will be it.

Memories of our daily trip to Edwardes College Peshawar…!

By Mizan Ul Mowla

During our stay at Warsak Camp…almost, 22 Bengali students of our camp were given free education by Edwards College Peshawar….The credit goes to our friend Haider. He discovered Edwards College for all of us…! Hats off to Haider…Hats off to the Principal of Edwards College, Peshawar…!

In the mornings…we would all reach the main gate of the camp…near the guard room. We had to log our names before boarding the military truck going to Peshawar every morning. The person who was in charge at the guard room…I still remember his name…Ashiq ! In the beginning he used to be very tough…and somewhat impolite…gradually, at a later period, he became very friendly and helpful. Our trip to the college …had to be made on this military truck only…..but very soon we had the liberty to use the public transport service…of course, we had to pay the bus fare!

The truck used to drop us at a convenient location…very near to Edwards College. We had to walk a little distance…and that stretch is still a memorable walk. We used to have lot of fun…walking to the college…pulling each others leg…cracking jokes …planning the time we had to spend at city center…Gora Bazaar after the college was over.

Though the principal of the college had waived off the college fees for almost 22 Bengali students….he had instructed all of us to put on the uniforms like all other students of the college. All of us got our uniforms stitched….white shirt and grey trousers. This was fine till the end of summer…..winter started and we had to wear warm clothing. The winter uniform was the same…white shirt, grey woolen trousers and a green Edwards College blazer! The first two… we could afford…..since our parents did not have enough money…we could not wear the blazer. During the college assembly every morning ….all 22 of us had to be away from the assembly…we were politely told by the Principal to abstain from the assembly…since we broke the uniformity!

We all used to stand under the trees….at the far end of the play ground. When the assembly was over…we would move to our class rooms. Here I would like to express gratitude towards the Principal….who had shown us lot of consideration and kindness! We are all indebted to that great personality….who rescued us! He helped us to continue our studies…..without paying any fees in a prestigious missionary college of Pakistan…where so many students aspire to seek admission…I would say, we were very fortunate to have been blessed with such an opportunity!

The class mates were excellent….we were never discriminated. I cannot recall any incidence…where we were bullied by any of the students. The teachers were all very nice too….though we had good class mates, the circumstances…and the mental frame of mind…plus the constraints of living in a POW camp never gave us an opportunity to get close to the other Pakistani boys. The saddest part….or the unfortunate truth is…I cannot recall even a name of one of my class mates!

Very sad… Though they were so nice…yet we did not mingle very closely with them.We had a nice cafeteria in the college….sometimes we used to spend moments of our time to have a cup of tea with delicious “samosas”..! I still remember the nice taste …at this very moment; I feel like going to Edwards College …and have a bite of those …tasty “samosas”..! I really don’t know…why I am thinking so much for those “samosas”…. perhaps, I want to visit Peshawar once again..!

Everyday,after the classes were over…all of us used to go to city center…Gora Bazaar! Most of us traveled from the college to Gora Bazaar by taking a ride on a Tonga…! Some would travel that distance by the public transport bus also. Our meeting point was at the American Centre (Library)…what a nice place it was..! We could read the daily newspapers…magazines…like TIME magazine, National Geographic and other periodicals. The most popular was…Time magazine…it always had lot of articles on Bangladesh and independence war. Very interesting and valuable for us..! We really enjoyed our time at the American Center.

It was indeed a well managed setup! Any person would love to spend some time in such a library…having a vast collection of reading material. At times….we tore off pages from various publications having articles and news on Bangladesh…! Though this pinched our conscience …yet we never refrained from such actions as we wanted to carry these informative material back to the camp and share them with all others who did not have the liberty to go out of the POW camp. We thought of the possibilities of getting caught…in case the librarian takes notice of the torn pages…all related to Bangladesh…Obviously, possible suspects will be the Bengali boys from…Warsak!

To distract the possible attention towards us…we started to tear off pages of other topics also. This practice continued till the last visit to the American Center!

There were other families in the camp who did not have big children going for college …..We were the ones to buy their commodities from city center. Although…we had some shops near the WAPDA and PWD colony on the other side of the camp….still the provisions available, were limited.

Every evening, list of provisions needed was given to us by the other families… along with the money for the purchase. All these requirements we used to meet after college hours….we used to have almost 2 hours free time for us since the truck used to pick us up from the location on the Mall Road at around 1.30 PM in the afternoon.

I had a very good taste of picking up clothes for the ladies…like saris. My mother had asked me to buy some saris…which I did. She had approved all the saris…and liked them very much! When the other aunties saw the saris which I had chosen…they also asked me to buy some for them as well. I used to enjoy…shopping! I became quite popular amongst the shop keepers. During one such visit to a shop…the shop keeper displayed many saris.

When I enquired the origin of the product…he told me that it was made in China…and showed me the printed label on the sari as well…It was printed as MADE IN CHAINA….immediately I reacted saying…” this is for sure not made in CHINA “…the shop keeper insisted that it was! He even took support of his colleagues to convince me. I kept on saying” I am sure that this is not a Chinese product…”…” how do you know that this is not a Chinese product…” he questioned. So I explained to him…” the printed label says CHAINA….WHICH IS INCORRECT….if this was truly a genuine Chinese Sari, it should be printed as CHINA and not CHAINA..!

He had no words to defend himself and honestly admitted…” Achha to aapko pata lag gaya hai….ye batao, aap kidar se hain… I replied …” main Bengali hoon…” His reaction….”Issi liye hum pakra gaya….pehle humko kisi ne nahin pakra…” This was certainly a compliment!

At times…some Aunties would give us gold ornaments to sell to the Gold Shops and bring them the money for meeting the household expenses at Warsak Camp…the officers were paid only a subsistence allowance…very meager amount, not sufficient for most of the families. What a pity…to have sold one’s favorite collection of gold ornaments…!

There was a joint for Chapli Kebab in one of the streets of Gora Bazaar. Very nice Kebabs were prepared there…Almost every day…when all our other assignments used to be over at Gora Bazaar….most of us would visit the place and enjoy a nice meal…Chapli Kebabs and Nan Roti…and later a cup of tea! This was not a proper restaurant…we had to climb up to the roof top, where the seating arrangement was made for the customers. If I remember correctly…the total cost used to be 50 or 60 paisas only! The smell and the taste of fresh Nan Roti was too good…and of course the Kebabs were the specialty!

After this…it was about time for us to walk towards the spot where the truck picked all of us….to carry us back to Warsak Camp.

The spot, where we had to wait for the truck, was on the Mall Road….a walk of 7-10 minutes from city center. There we could meet all the other boys from the group of 22 students. While waiting, the passersby …whether walking or in cars, would glance at us…They all knew we were Bengalis stranded in Pakistan. Everyday 3-4 GCs used to be at that spot…waiting for the truck to take them back to Warsak Camp. We used to feel much secured with their presence amongst us…while waiting for the truck to arrive.

Then one day…the worst nightmare happened! A group of 15-20 Pakistani students came out of a college bus…all carrying hockey sticks…in no time, they had surrounded us! “ Kal kis ne ishare kiye the…?” one of them enquired. They all looked so hostile and …all ready to give us a bashing!!! We were all very concerned….fearing what will happen if a fight starts?? Fearing…how would the public react in case such a thing happens??? Within minutes….5-6 GCs, who were also waiting for the Truck ride, intervened…they came in between us and the Pakistani students. The moment this happened…the Pakistani students backed out. They quietly left…but warned us of serious consequences in the future.

Later on, we found out that a day earlier, the Pakistani college students were jeering at some of the Bengali students while they were waiting for the truck. In response…the Bengali students made some gestures. That had provoked them..!

Anyhow, nothing serious happened that day…nothing happened in the future also… Thank God!

Coming back to the truck ride back to Warsak Camp… It used to take almost 20-25 minutes. The highway was somewhat uneven…bumpy at times. Passengers seated at the rear of the truck…could not keep them selves on their seats! On certain stretch of the highway…we used to bump off the seats, as high as 2 feet! The feeling was a weird one…we could not stop ourselves from a burst of laughter…! It was really fun…too good!

Upon arrival at the camp guardroom …we all would log our names once again. This was a measure to keep track of all who had gone out have returned back…! No attempts to escape to Bangladesh…through Kabul!!

This brief description is …….for all those who did not enjoy the opportunity of going out of the camp everyday…it was like enjoying freedom for 11 hours everyday in the outside world!