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Revolution Please; Why should the Pakistanis be asking for one?

The jasmine revolution in Tunisia stirred the silenced, paving the way for a struggle in the Arab world, where people have had enough. With some fed up because of lack of democratic representation, unemployment, oppression by their rulers, while others under a king rather than a president. What is common to all these ‘revolutions’ is the cause. Dictatorship. These dictators have been in power for decades, unable to satisfy their lust for power and wealth sowed years of resentment among the people. But why is it that some ‘sense,expect or hope for’ a similar revolution in the land of the pure?

Ripple Effect

Pakistan cannot possibly have a revolution along these lines.One cannot present a logical reason as to why toppling the government will resolve our problems. For firstly what is our motive, have we forgotten that we already have our long advocated democracy? Or is it that we seek to tackle unemployment, poverty, corruption, prejudice against minorities, unaccounted abuses against women, target killings, terrorism, extremism and many other problems all in one.

Would the Sindhis be willing to unite with the Punjabis who have a constant rift over governance or wouldn’t the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa feel that they are the ones who suffered the brunt of terrorism the most and that now uniting as Pakistanis overshadows their sacrifices. And would the Balochis even consider themselves part of the revolution for they have completely different problems that we are not even bothered about. The divisions in our society are so deep-rooted and go beyond religion, status, beliefs, culture and problems. So much so that in the end what one will stand up for, will be completely against the other.

Another distinctive factor in these revolutions is the involvement of the youth and technology. In Pakistan where even the basic necessities seem luxuries to the masses and the never-ending struggle to get ‘roti, kapra, makan’ continues, the use of technology on a widespread level, be it for any purpose seems farce.

As far as the youth is concerned, although their strength cannot be undermined for they are the ones with the will to  make things better. However a collaborative effort is unlikely owing back to the divisions. On one end is the educated Pakistani who wishes no more to catch the next flight out of the country while on the other end is the barefooted minor working ten hours a day to feed his family. Who is to answer where these two ends will meet ?

Before even thinking about transforming this country with one violent storm of revolution, we need to look into the intricacies of the issues that the every sect of the society faces, work on at the grass root level to establish a common ground to stand, to fight and to rise. For nothing can be possibly be achieved by overthrowing a ‘weak’ democracy and replacing it by another.

Asking for too much?

Asking for too much with too little ?

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Posted by on March 7, 2011 in Politics

 

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Harvard Model United Nations

An Unreal Experience.

It seemed impossible, every step of the way. I was selected as part of a ten member delegation which was to represent The Lyceum School and Pakistan at the Annual Harvard Model United Nations 2011. It seemed impossible then.

I had four days as my deadline to submit my passport and interestingly not only was my passport expired, I was without an NIC card too which had brought the entire process to a standstill. I still remember my numerous visits to the newly opened NADRA office which was apparently made for the business class who could get their Id cards in a week [with additional price of course] but for me, a week was too long. I went through the process which I’d always imagined to be a very interesting one with rather confusion, fret and stress. I could give you the details further, which are very amusing [my online data was transferred to Islamabad without my fingerprints and hence I went through the process again.YEAH. and did I mention Eid holidays were in two days? ] yet too many for this blog!

I held the invitation letter from Harvard University with my name on it and I just thought, ‘WOW’. Everybody would say the same thing to me, this is too big an opportunity to miss so don’t let the problems get in your way. But it was my mother who said to me that if God wants to me to go there I will get there, no matter what.

And soon after, things started falling in place. I now had my passport ready and although I was separated from my team during the visa application, I got the date before them. It was the 13th of December and a three-hour delay, I was called for my interview which went smoothly. I had been issued a five-year multiple visa.

Now all that was left was getting the money to get there. Half of the team needed sponsorships and in this day and age when businesses are barely covering their costs, asking them to sponsor students who promote the soft imagine of Pakistan on such a platform all seemed very noble but not profitable. And so fellows, this is one major roadblock. But like I said, everything was meant to be and so happened. After a number of unsuccessful meetings, no call backs, rich people being out-of-town, we finally collected enough amount to fly, travel, eat and drink in Boston.

Our flight was in transitions, from Bahrain to London and then Boston. Travelling for almost thirty-two hours was excruciating at times, tiring yet extremely fun and memorable.

However I knew nothing would go as expected and that every step of the way new surprises would be waiting. This soon became true when after a smooth flight from Bahrain to London, when we were informed that our flight was cancelled due to excessive snow. Luckily we were transferred to British Airways with just one hour’s delay but unluckily leaving us without our excessively packed luggage. This was just one day before the conference. So naturally we were freaking out.

The day of the conference arrived and still no luggage. Some were now off to shop to the most luxurious Nubury Street while the rest of us were suffocating with stress, preparing last-minute speeches and trying to calm our nerves.

So about the conference and what is model united nations ?

Model United Nations is simply a simulation of the actual United Nations which is an international body that brings together over 180 countries, giving each country a platform to express their view and their concerns over global issues. The United Nations has numerous ‘organs’ which classifies these issues into political, social  and humanitarian. The most highlighted being the Disarmament and International Security Council [DISEC], International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] and the Security Council among many others.

On similar grounds the Model United Nations has students taking on the roles of ‘delegates’ who are assigned countries and committees. Based on the country that one receives, we have to understand the dynamics o that country, understand its foreign policy objectives and then form our basis on the issue at hand. The next task is align with your allies and be diplomatic enough to convince everyone with your views and then pass a resolution, which is a formal document which states the problem and the solutions.

Harvard Model United Nations is organized by Harvard University, one of the most prestigious institutions  of the world. It gathers students from all around the world, with  3000 students from 37 countries taking part this year.  The conference was held at the Sheraton Hotel, Boston and was spread over four days, entailed around thirty hours of heated debates and discussions.

The Lyceum School was assigned ‘Kazakhstan’ and I was part of a special ‘Summit on Globalization’ in which the topics of Local Entrepreneurship and Flow of Capital, Information and resources were discussed. What an amazing experience it was, competing and working together with students my age, from all around the world.

MUNing requires thinking on your feet, being alert and attentive, negotiating , coming up with new ideas, bloc-ing, writing working papers and resolutions and coping with politics that may turn nasty any time. And with consistent hard work, perseverance, patience and dedication we managed to not just survive the conference but attain accolades too. With four out of eight team members winning awards, we had done it. We had represented Pakistan and our School on such a huge platform , reaching this far despite the many hurdles, yet never giving up.

After the conference we then went around the city of Boston, the highlight of the tour was of course, Harvard University which mesmerized us with its glory and beauty which was enhanced manifolds by the snowfall. A visit was also paid to the Harvard Book Store aka The Coop which with its magnificence and ambience, left me in awe.

The Coop

One of the many things that I was extremely excited about was yes, the Snow. For I’ve always been insanely inspired by it and had never gotten the chance to see it. And so when I reached Boston, densely covered in snow, everything seemed so soothing and mesmerizing, one of the many things on my wish list was complete.

And thus a team which started off with members without an NIC card, two passports, an expired visa and no sponsorship money was able to land in Boston even though all odds were against them. Achieving all this would have never been possible, had the team not stuck together as a family in good, bad and the worse.

There are a lot of people’s prayers and efforts that made it possible for me and the team to make it this far.Nothing would have been possible without the support of our parents, our school, our friends and family. So Thankyou everyone!

The Team

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Life as a Karachite

 

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In the news.

23 September, 2010    

When I read today’s newspaper, I was filled with grief, dismay and disappointment. It’s not that on other days the news makes my day brighter or gives it a positive start. But surprisingly today’s front page news was not about the militant attacks in North Waziristan, it was not about our cricket team making a fool of themselves nor was it about the millions of displaced flood victims. It was about the changes brought about in the budget.   

 Even before the first quarter of the fiscal year has ended, the government has made major changes in the federal budget, increasing defence expenditures by about Rs110 billion and reducing the allocation for development by Rs73 billion”- Dawn   

 
The government has brought about a Rs109.8 billion increase in the defence budget for a major military operation. It’s sad because instead of devising an efficient rehabilitation and development plan for the millions displaced in the floods, they are concentrating on the militants. I believe that the government should have given priority to the needs of the people of Pakistan first and the ongoing struggle that is going on should have been placed second for you have enough international backing for it.   

 For the affected 20 million people across the country the government has proposed a ‘flood tax’. The aim is towards the “elite” according to the Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.   

The Survivors

 

 Another disturbing aspect of the news was the fact that the Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj-Gen Athar Abbas completely denied of having any knowledge about the change in the budget and the major increase in defence expenditure.   

General Athar Abbas: The man with no "knowledge" of the situation at hand.

 

 I mean is it really possible that these documents have passed onto the IMF and this guy has no clue? It seemed as if the general wanted to keep his take and/or involvement in this decision out of the limelight. His statement was, “The increase in defence budget is not in my knowledge and matters related to military operations cannot be disclosed.”   

 One can never really judge or say who or what is the reason behind a certain political advancement or any other government decision for that matter. All we can do for now is to think , reflect and analyze the situation at hand.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2010 in What do you think of this?

 

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