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The Return of the Blog

April 30, 2011
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Anyone who has read my blog would know that what I try to do is point out how ridiculous some of the things we do in Pakistan are (try being the operative term here). There are attempts to inject humour into these situations and try to observe them as what they really are: astoundingly stupid.

Unfortunately, things stopped being funny (at least to me) some while back. It all started with the Taseer assassination. What followed, in terms of media and public reaction is, what I hope, the lowest point in our nation’s history. May we never sink to those depths again.

But the point I’m trying to make is that the lens through which I was viewing things changed. News articles started propping up on the death of liberalism in Pakistan (a patently strange idea, since liberalism had already been killed and was at the time of Taseer’s assassination already a zombie. Now it’s one of those zombies without a mandible that can’t even bite some unsuspecting asshole to transfer the zombie strain to them. That’s how pathetic we are now.)

The subsequent Shahbaz Bhatti assassination was my white flag moment. ‘They’ were on a marauding rampage, and nothing was being done to stop them. A new status quo had emerged, which can be summarized thus, “shut the fuck up chootiya kaafir.” Being both a chootiya and a kaafir I acquiesced. “Yes sir. May I tell you that your flowing beard looks particularly ravishing today, I hope you’ve been using the Katrina Kaif approved Pantene on it.” The response, I imagine, would be, “Why yes I am chootiya kaafir, thank you for noticing. Seen those Slice juice ads with her in them? We’re getting those banned soon.”

In the midst of my permanently bent over position where I was taking and loving it, this whole Raymond Davis saga exploded. Some fat ass decided he was going to Jason Bourne his way out of a double murder. Fat ass did not realize that a) he was a fat ass who doesn’t have parcour knowledge, and b) Lahore traffic is not amenable to car getaways. So, he got his ass landed in jail.

Suddenly, all we could talk about was diplomatic immunity and to borrow terms that I increasingly detest the “Ghairat Brigade” and “Middle Class Mentality” had begun salivating at the mouth. We got the Amreekan. He’s in jail now. We’re going to hang him and then have a big party.

And so out came the Ansars, and the Mirs The Saleem Bokharis, and the Orya Maqbools. Clasping their hands together and acting very Three Witches from Macbeth like. A bubbling cauldron in their middle (peppered with some Shan nihari masala I hope) prepared to slowly braise a Raymond Davis calf or thigh. A tandoor had been set up in the environs too, because White Man nihari without roghni naan is unthinkable. (Just ask those two Punjabi cannibals. Borderline blasphemous.)

But, out of nowhere and from the unlikeliest source, the humour came back. Our lords and masters in their starched uniforms, polished boots, and sometimes lathay-ka-shalwar-kurta-because-plain-clothes-are-important-too pulled the rug from under our Nihari preparers. Some cheered, other booed. I laughed. I laughed until my sides hurt. The same people so convinced that they were running the country came to learn of the status quo themselves. It can be summarized as thus, “Shut the fuck. And resize your britches. Your hips look enormous in those.”

And thus the humour returned, and everywhere I look I see ridiculousness. The PPP and the PMLQ’s waltz, the PMLN’s soiled panties at the sight of Imran Khan, Imran Khan and the MQM kissing and making up, Imran Khan leading massive (for him) political rallies.

Yes. Pakistan is back. It’s ridiculous again. Certainly, it’s also a very sad place still, if the Sakhi Sarwar attacks and the Supreme Court verdict on the Mukhtaran Mai case are anything to go by.

But the menace, the all encompassing menace.

I don’t feel it anymore.

And so, I shall return to the blog.

Thanks for listening. Now shut the fuck up chootiya kaafirs.

Best Cabinet Ever

February 5, 2011

Senior PPP Leader Jehangir Badar has informed the nation that President Zardari has allowed Prime Minister Gillani to dissolve the cabinet. Following this dissolution, I’m assuming (or at least hoping) that we’ll have a new one.

In my capacity as know-nothing nobody I’m going to make some serious recommendations for the various ministerial posts that effectively lie vacant. This will, undoubtedly, be the best cabinet ever.

Interior Minister

Job Description: Sheer incompetence.

Incumbent: Rehman Malik

Replacement: Babar Awan

Rehman Malik, he of the wondrous tie collection, has excelled at doing absolutely nothing, and when he has tried to do something it’s been useless.

Babar Awan, he of the wondrous two-tone beard, has excelled at doing absolute nothing, and when he has tried to do something it’s been useless.

Perfection.

Read more…

Revolution Here, Revolution There

February 4, 2011

“Inqilaab aaye ga” (the revolution will come), is an increasingly common refrain in Pakistan these days. By “these days” I actually mean since time immemorial. You see, we’ve been hankering for a revolution for the longest time. We’re not quite sure what we want to revolt against, but we want a big ol’ French revolution up and down the Indus (guillotine optional, but strongly encouraged).

My job today is to organize our myriad revolutionary thoughts into a coherent whole. I will call this treatise “Revolutionary Thinking on A Revolution in Pakistan.”

What kind of revolution do we want? Let’s take some suggestions.

Read more…

Ghuttan

January 6, 2011

I’m really not sure what I want to say right now. Many excellent blog posts and op-eds have been written in the wake of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassination, and I don’t know what I can add to that. What I mainly feel alternates between anger and an odd feeling of suffocation.

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, at least for me, was terribly upsetting. At the same time, she herself and her assassination were larger than life. She was killed because some believed her to be part of a great American conspiracy or it was the result of some grand establishment conspiracy. Either way, these are things that I doubt I’m going to be the recipient of in my life.

Salmaan Taseer’s assassination, on the other hand, hits a lot closer to home. He wasn’t said to be a part of some international conspiracy, and from the surface of it there is no establishment involvement in his murder. The Governor was killed because he voiced his opinion. That’s it. Until now I’d taken it as a given. We’re part of a fairly free country, where we at least have the right to say what we want to say. I’m afraid that no longer holds true; and that’s probably where the suffocation comes from.

Hours can be spent dissecting what led to the Governor’s murder. Religious parties exploiting the religious sentiment of people, the media giving outsize coverage to religious parties and organizations, the political abandonment of the Governor, and large sections of the media out and out supporting the stance of the religious parties, have all contributed to the murder.

Read more…

Paki Leaks

December 9, 2010

I don’t want to say how I got my hands on these. Just read them.

DATE: 2009-01-01

SOURCE: Embassy New Delhi

SUBJECT: MANMOHAN REVEALS SUGAR PLANS

1.     Ambassador to New Delhi met with Prime Minister (PM) Manmohan Singh for tea and to discuss issues pertaining to bilateral issues with the United States. Topics on the agenda included Pakistan and how to best neutralize terrorist threat emanating from there.

2.     PM Singh revealed recent Indian plans to bring into play a massive ‘sugar crisis’ as he called it. Having heard from multiple sources that fundamentalist clerics are also known as ‘halwaais’ (confectioners), PM Singh was of the opinion that striking at the heart of these halwaais was necessary.

3.     Ambassador acceded to his demand and proceeded to place a few hasty calls to Ambassador to Islamabad. Requests included: stock up on sugar, don’t offer more than one cube to guests, and do not indulge in unnecessary baking.

Read more…

Nawa-e-Waqt? Still Disgusting

December 5, 2010

Nawa-e-Waqt published this editorial today (thanks to @shahidsaeed and @beenasarwar for pointing it out), essentially siding with an Imam in Peshawar that placed a Rs. 500,000 bounty on the murder of blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi. I don’t think any snark is necessary to realize how patently disgusting this whole thing is.

A translation of the editorial (of which the original you can find here) follows:

Imam of Masjid Mahabbat Khan Peshawar, Maulana Yousuf Qureshi, places a Rs, 500,000 bounty on the murder of Aasia Bibi

Should the Imam of Masjid Mahabbat Khan Peshawar position himself as the leader against the repeal of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, the entire nation would undoubtedly support him. In his role as Imam of his mosque he has offered a bounty of five hundred thousand rupees and additional rewards to anyone who murders Aasia Bibi. Juxtapose this to the actual leadership of Pakistan which has pressed the mute button on this issue and is sitting silently.

Be that as it may, the initiative taken by the Imam cannot be stopped. In fact, devotees of the Prophet Mustafa will descend into the field as an army, and will complete the work that the government has been unable to after the verdict against Aasia Bibi. The punishment handed down to Aasia Bibi will be carried out in one manner or the other, and who knows whose position and rank will be terminated as a result of the debate on the repeal of the blasphemy laws.

The Wikileaks reveals and Aasia Bibi’s blaspheming against the Prophet are an opportunity to bring about a revolution in Pakistan. The populace should take advantage of this situation as there are now two causes for revolution. Had the Nizam-e-Mustafa (loosely Shariah Law or ‘System of the Prophet’) been in place, we would not have to hear talk of amendment or repealing of the blasphemy laws.

Perhaps the mission which was begun in Masjid-e-Nabvi will come to its conclusion at Masjid Mahabbat Khan.

How To Be a Mohib-e-Watan, Kamran Khan ke Saath

December 4, 2010

In what must come as the greatest shock to anyone reading this blog, Salmaan Taseer is not exactly the favourite person of the Pakistani mainstream media. Recently, Kamran Khan ran a segment on his show highlighting the Governor’s Twitter stream. In the wake of the Wikileaks US Embassy cables reveal, particularly the revelations of Saudi King Abdullah’s remarks regarding Asif Zardari and his urging the United States to bomb Iran, Salmaan Taseer took to Twitter to post his riposte.

Kamran Khan, part of the brigade that defines Pakistan’s boundaries (moral, political, physical, all of them), was incensed at the Governor’s tweets. He dedicated the first segment of his show to these tweets and to remind us what is acceptable and what exactly isn’t. Embedded somewhere deep down in his show were valid arguments (for e.g. what exactly is the Governor of the Punjab doing commenting on issues pertaining to foreign policy in a public forum? How does the foreign office feel about this? etc, etc) However, this was all tossed aside for the sake of sensationalism.

A few choice moments follow:

The show begins with:

“That which has never happened in the history of Pakistan seems to be about to happen. Pakistan seems hell bent on destroying its relationship with its best Islamic ally that has stood by it through thick and thin – Saudi Arabia.”

Nooooo Kamran!! DON’T DO IT! Don’t offend Turkey, Iran, the UAE, Kuwait, THE TALIBAN!! Come on now, how do you think they’d feel if they saw your show? Let’s not play favourites. Offending foreign countries should just be the Governor’s job. Not yours.

Read more…

New Blog Banner

November 28, 2010

In case you’ve visited the blog before you may (or may not) have noticed that the banner up top has been changed.

The new image is courtesy Mr. Zaki Shaheen who generously gifted me the picture. You should definitely check out his Flickr stream here.

Those Meddling Minorities

November 27, 2010

Meray Aziz Humwatno,

Behno aur Bhaiyo,

It has come to my attention that we are facing a serious crisis from within. The Minorities of our great nation have banded together on an unholy mission to defame our beautiful nation and religion. We must do everything in our power to ensure the failure of their malicious plan.

While we have laws in place that already keep these minorities at bay, recent events suggest that they are insufficient in assuring us 176 million Muslims the dominance over the country we wish to have. Newer, more stringent laws must be put in effect to crush the 4 million people that comprise our nation’s Minorities.

I am detailing a plan here that, if followed in letter and spirit, will once and for all create the pure Pakistan we so ache for.

Step 1: Boycott Their Businesses

Though our great nation’s minority community is mostly involved in small businesses and menial work, it is still a significant lifeline that ensures their ability to live from day to day. This must come to an immediate stop.

If you have any Christians working for you, you must fire them immediately. It would be difficult for you to find a good Muslim sanitary worker, but we have bred poverty in our nation. This way we will manage to find Muslim sanitary workers quite easily too.

In case you consume Murree Beer (something which you should really not be doing, given our religious background) cease and desist immediately. The brewery is run by Zoroastrians. I don’t know what that means, but I know it’s not Muslim. Please shift to the moonshine made by impoverished Muslims across this great nation of ours.

Read more…

I AM MEHER BOKHARI, HEAR ME YELL (About Things I Don’t Really Know Much About)

November 26, 2010

Do you guys know who MEHER BOKHARI is? In case you don’t, MEHER BOKHARI is an anchor on Samaa where she hosts a political talk show called News Beat. The defining feature of the show is her penchant for yelling. There really isn’t much more. So if you tune into Samaa when her show is on you’ll get an earful of MEHER BOKHARI yelling about the latest political controversy in the country. Sometimes with a child in her arms. Oh, she knows her drama.

Recently MEHER BOKHARI had Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer on her show to discuss the Aasia Bibi blasphemy case, and in particular his effort towards getting her pardoned by the President.

And MEHER BOKHARI was having none of it. Our feelings have been hurt. We demand blood. Here are some choice moments from the show:

As part of the opening monologue MEHER BOKHARI says:

“…and upon proving the occurrence of the crime the district judge handed down the death sentence to Aasia Bibi.”

Yes. Once the crime was proven. This obviously had nothing to do with the baying mob demanding that Aasia Bibi be hanged, and everything to do with proof. After all, the word of a Muslim is likely to be more valid than that of a Christian lady.

Angered by the Governor going directly to the President for clemency MEHER BOKHARI says:

“Aasia Bibi still had two forums where she could have appealed. The High Court and the Supreme Court. Why go directly to the President?”

Let her languish in prison for a crime she may not have committed and where she may be killed like previous people accused of blasphemy. Mercy isn’t something we should show without due process.

Read more…