Archive for February, 2010

Sad entertainment?

In a country where human rights are blatantly ignored, there’s not much heed paid to animal rights. But today I was forced to right this post. I heard the sound of bagpipes playing somewhere in the street so I thought there was some “baraat”. Yes I know it’s a holy day but that’s what I thought. But when I went out, there was a “bear show” caravan on it’s way. People were paying the madari to watch the bear “dance’. Now to some it may be very entertaining to see an animal dance. But most people don’t know what goes on behind drawn curtains.

“The bear show in I-8/3, Islamabad”

Taken from the PETA (people for the ethical treatment of animals) :-

“No animal should have to endure this type of abuse. Never patronize roadside bear shows, and when traveling in India and Pakistan, if you see tourists encouraging such a show, speak to them about the cruelty. If you see someone forcing a bear to “dance,” report the incident to the closest police station.

Even though it is illegal to capture bears in both India and Pakistan, more than 1,600 sloth bears are being forced to “dance” by madaris—the people who capture and keep the bears. Bear cubs—who are barely 1 year old—squeal in agony as red-hot needles are jabbed through their noses and thick ropes are forced through the throbbing wounds. When the ropes are tugged, the bears lift their legs and “dance.” Most of their teeth are pulled out, and they are forced to perform for up to 12 hours a day. Bears are “trained” to dance through a regime of pain and starvation. Many cubs die before the training begins because of the stress of capture, the terrible transportation conditions, starvation, dehydration, and rough handling. Although bears used in these acts would live up to 30 years in the wild, they rarely live more than eight years in captivity.”

PETA

Go to the website mentioned above and see a video of what is done to these poor animals, also there’s a petition there for you to sign to do something about it.

Rana Market walay samosay, pakoray aur jalabian!



Rana Market, F-7/2. Islamabad. Yum. Yum.

Somehow, rain and samosas/pakoras/jalaibies just go hand in hand. So when it rains, drive to this very place and have their yummy samosas, jalaibis and pakoras

p:s: If you notice hard enough, you’d see a mullah giving me the “WHAT A HARAM THING YOU DO BUSTER” glare lol.

Fishing


Once again, the parking at the dam side of Rawal Lake is open for all. And I suspect it wasn’t crowded when I went there because few know about this and that it’s free. And just because I am posting it here does not mean you can spread the word.

Red boat

Nageena Burger

If you live in the vicinity of I-8/3 or F-10 then you must be familiar with the extremely excellent Nageena Burger. For those of you who don’t, this is an informative post. Go to either F-10 Markaz or I-8/3 Sangam Market and try it out. These people make the best burgers. Anda shami, chicken or beef. With or without cheese, scrumptious and delicious is their middle name.

An affordable meal and tasty as well. Hashim recommended :)

Judicial Crisis and the Missing Good Governance

On Saturday, the clash between the judiciary and the government was surfaced once again despite the fact that on various occasions earlier both the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice denied publicly of a confrontation between the judiciary and the government. As this drama unfolds, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, in a sou motu action, has suspended two Presidential orders pertaining to the elevation of Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Khawaja Sharif to the Supreme Court and of appointing Justice Saqib Nisar as Acting Chief Justice Lahore High Court.

The prime reason for this suo motu action is that the presidency has not ‘consulted’ Iftikhar Chaudhry, Chief Justice Supreme Court prior to the issuance of aforementioned presidential orders and therefore is a violation of Article 177 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Nevertheless, the government’s stand is that the formal consultation was held with the Chief Justice and judges’ appointments were as per constitution. So far, government has failed to provide a documentary proof of any such ‘consultation’ on the issue of appointment of judges of the superior court.

The above-stated news has already become the ‘lead’ story of all the Pakistani national newspapers. Different newspapers have used different vocabulary to the nature and severity of this incident. For instance, one English daily newspaper calls the Supreme Court’s verdict as a ‘stinging rebuke’; another English newspaper discusses it as ‘dangerous escalation’ and an international newspaper calls it as a “simmering power struggle”. Undoubtedly, it is a worrisome development for the nascent elected government in Pakistan, who presently is also confronting the looming security threats within the country and a Taliban insurgency on country’s western border. Many political parties have already reacted strongly by categorically calling the presidential act as “unconstitutional”. However, some opposition leaders such as Mr Nawaz Sharif (Chief PML-N), is using it as an opportunity to pressure the government, particularly Asif Ali Zardari. The News on Sunday reports PML-N Chief as saying:

“It is the biggest disservice to the democracy by a person who claimed to be a democrat and happens to be the elected president”.

PML-N Chief has been very vocal for the past two or three years on ‘independence of judiciary’ despite the fact that in 1997 in his term as Prime Minister, he also made a disservice to democracy by ordering an assault on Supreme Court building. Certainly PML-N Chief’s above stated comment elucidates that he is using a different yard stick to check incumbent government’s performance relating to independence of judiciary.

This whole judicial crisis highlights the need for a crucial missing element which is called ‘good governance’. Good governance which as defined by the OECD is “the management of government in a manner that is essentially free of abuse and corruption, and with due regard for the rule of law”. But do our institutions comply with the principles of good governance? Our history suggests that good governance is either used in elections to win people’s votes or the term appears in political speeches of opposition leaders, meant to destabilize the ruling political party.

One of the slogans of our elected government was certainly ‘good governance’ in February 2008 elections. But the current situation of the country (price hike, electricity shortage, security situation etc) has already nullifies the claims made during February 2008 elections by of our elected representatives. The worse of it is that the elected officials and appointed officials, legislatures and executive, at the moment are at war against each other. The recent politico-judicial turmoil is a clash between two personalities, Asif Ali Zardari Vs Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry’, which has been shaped up by now as a clash between the ‘executive and the judiciary’, and as rightly said by Asma Jehangir in her article dated December 19, the clash which began after the Supreme Court’s NRO judgment, has resulted in disturbing the equilibrium of power and an imbalance has been created in favor of judiciary.

Regardless of Prime Minister’s assertion that the country’s institutions will work within their respective domains, political experts of the country view it as “escalating political tension’ in the country which could have dangerous consequences for the incumbent elected government. Mr. Hussain Haqqani, Pakistani Ambassador in the US has been reported as saying that Pakistan would experience massive economic set-back if the democratic process is derailed in the country. This implies that to prevent Pakistan from going through another series of crises, both the legislatures and the judiciary should focus on constitutional provision, responsibilities and institutional integrity.

Siyasiyaat with Ejaz Haider on Samaa tv

I don’t claim to be much of a fan of political talk shows or shows on news channels related to politics, but one show I love to watch is Siyasiyaat. I recently came across their Facebook fan page and thought I’d share it.

“Siyasiyaat with Ejaz Haider is a news discussion, debate and analysis show.

Airs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10 pm Pakistan time on Samaa TV, and streamed live at www.samaa.tv

Past shows will be posted on the fanpage regularly.”

Siyasiyaat Page on Facebook

Ejaz Haider is a veteran journalist and is also a consulting editor for:-

The Friday Times

And so it rains..

rain

Assault of a Professor at the National University of Modern Languages

Across the world, Universities are a place where anything can be debated at length and professors are respected due to their scholarship and grasp of the subject matter. But is it the case with the Pakistani universities? On February 4, 2010 in Islamabad, the registrar of the National University of Modern Languages beat-up a university Professor Tahir Malik at a students’ reception ceremony organized by the International Relations Department of the university.

The registrar of the university is an ex-military serviceman who got maddened after hearing the criticism on General Musharaf’s role in power brokering deal with the PPP through the National Reconciliation Ordinance. The registrar also got enraged when Professor Tahir Malik questioned the registrar’s appointment which was made without any advertisement or following the prescribed selection criteria. The registrar is neither guilty of his act nor the university administration has taken any disciplinary action against him as yet other than calling for an inquiry of the incident.

According to “The News” this is not the first incident at NUML where a University professor has been assaulted because of criticizing army. At another such incident, Azaz Syed, a journalist teaching in the NUML’s Journalism Department, was sacked from his job because of criticized ISI’ chief. The News also reports that after these two incidents the tension between NUML’s civilian and military staff (retired army officers) has grown to a great extent.

Surely, NUML is one of the many military businesses or “MILBUS” in Pakistan and as Dr Ayesha Siddiqa Agha discusses in her book “Military Inc.”, the purpose of these MILIBUS like NUML is to ensure a very dominant social presence as well as gain political and economic control. Besides, the recent incident of assault of a professor by the NUML administrator also suggests that criticizing army can not be tolerated by any means if you are being employed by any of the MILIBUS. But then where goes the fundamental constitutional guarantee of “freedom of speech and expression”? Or probably freedom of speech and expression is only limited to books and it has not yet been accepted by the masses and institutions. Or probably we are not that democratic yet and therefore freedom of speech and expression has not become a norm here.

Update: The President of Pakistan who is also the Chancellor of the NUML has ordered an inquiry into the incident. More Details can be found here http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27097

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