Sunday, December 30, 2007

Afganistan Enters the Internet Age...

A little while back I was browsing through RabitaZone's sitemeter account. You can see site visits from all over the globe - from Australia to Europe, including the Middle East. All looks normal, however there was one country you don't see a whole lot to often - Afghanistan.


Until today, I was unaware that there are Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in this desolate land, let alone Web users.

Upon further investigation I found to my amazement, at the Afghanistan Ministry of Communication and Information Technology the following "somewhat surprising" statistics,

Statistics

The following statistic updates every after 3 months.
Last updated on 02, Oct 2007
Landline Phones: 39,608
GSM Subscribers: 32,85,332
CDMA Subscribers: 43,646
ISP Companies: 17
GSM Companies: 04

Who would have imagined, a nation such as Afghanistan would have 17 ISPs! This may seem like a small number, it however shows great promise for this nation - paving the way for innumerable entrepreneurial opportunities.



Copyright C. AbdulRahman Rafiq

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bilawal Zardari to be named PPP Chairperson


It is rumored that Bilawal Zardari, the 19 year old eldest son of Benazir Bhutto, will be named the new PPP chairperson, as per Ms. Bhutto's will.

Personally, I think this is ludicrous. Democracy starts at home. First democratize your own house, then the country. Nominating Bilawal, Benazir Bhutto's son, goes against everything she, and her late father Z.A.Bhutto have worked and died for. This would be a reckless move, not to mention a severe set back for the party as a whole. How can you talk about democracy for a nation, when your own party is run in an authoritarian fashion?

I would urge the PPP Central Executive Committee to reconsider, hold internal party elections, as is done in other such organizations around the world. It's time the Party open it's doors, and truely become the Peoples' Party - no more dynasty rule!




Copyright C. AbdulRahman Rafiq

Friday, December 28, 2007

Situation Update - Karachi Tense - December, 29, 2007


Word from the journalist community: About 75% of the rioting that has occurred in the aftermath of Ms. Bhutto's assassination, was out a sense of genuine rage by supporters. The remaining 25% is suspected to be the work miscreants.

Saturday, December, 29, 2007, 4:30 pm PST

I just got back from urgent grocery shopping, the general feeling outside is tense, a few general stores have opened, prices on major commodities items are jacked up, as expected. People are out and about but there is a sense of nervousness in the air.

There are signs of the rioting all around - on Shamshir, Defence Phase V you have quite a lot of damage. Traffic lights smashed and burned to the ground, the UBL bank in the Khada Market has all its windows smashed. The road to Gizri Village is closed - there are reports of sporadic rioting. There is a strong Makrani presence in Gizri, many of whom are PPP supporters.

Saturday, December, 29, 2007, 1:30 pm PST

Following is a situation update from one Syed Asif Alam, President and Founder of the Association of Pakistani Professionals (AOPP).

Saturday, 1:30pm PST..
...and two days after I am still in a shock; I was stuck in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, had to stay there overnight. We put our two kids in the car the next morning at 7 am and headed towards my parents house in Defense Phase V. We found pockets that could easily depict a war zone. Long lines of burn cars, at times more then 80-100 cars. I asked my wife to keep both the kids in the kneel down position in the back seat.

I ventured out few minutes ago (Saturday) and all the shops are still closed! Defense is usually unharmed by the Karachi violence but this time all the shops in this area is also closed. You can see few burned cars, broken banks and some shops that were attacked..
More Karachi updates can be read at Karachi MetroBlog.

To submit addition updates, email arafiq786@yahoo.com, or submit a comment to this post.

Bhutto Laid to Rest....The Country Mourns it's Slow Death...


At 4:45pm Pakistan Time, the body of the two term Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest at Ghari Kudha Baksh, the Bhutto families ancestral graveyard.

A sad day for the nation, the death of a leader, mind you the only charismatic leader who was loved by many. Such leaders are hard to come by in the world, in Pakistan they are virtually non-existent. That is, leaders who can rally the crowds, give the people a feeling of purpose and belonging. With the demise of Ms. Bhutto, there is no one who can match her dynamism as a leader of the people.

Democracy is dead, whether the elections continue as scheduled, or are postponed what does it matter? The results have been predetermined? No Benazir, no Nawaz, who else is there other than the Religious right, and Musharraf's King's group. Pakistan's future is a bleak one, with little hope, illadvised policies by usurping ruler and authoritarian men at the helm have left the nation destitute. We are our own worst enemy, slowly digging ourselves to a slow death - from constitutional tampering to the destruction of the judiciary - what good is a nation without it's core democratic institutions?



Copyright C. AbdulRahman Rafiq

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shattered Hopes - A Nation Cries!

The nation weeps at shattered dreams and aspirations. Lost hope for a better tomorrow, a democratic Pakistan. None can deny the fact that Benazir Bhutto represented a symbol of Hope for the nation - for peoples rule. Now who will step up to the plate and fill the power vacuum?

With the demise of Ms. Bhutto, the leader of the most popular political party in Pakistan democracy seems like a fallacy. "Illadvised policies of the past, and severe polarization under Military rule have led to the circumstances behind today's tragedy. We have become accustomed to violence, to suicide blasts, and the usurping of rules and rights by strong men at the helm. Today, the nation paid a price" commented by SupportPakistan.org. As Nawaz Sharif correctly stated, something unthinkable has happened in Rawalpindi this evening. The country appear to be on the brink of disaster. Hospitals and Government buildings are up in flames, roads are littered with burning cars, buses and tires. Enraged, and emotionally charged political workers are swarming the streets of Pakistan. from Karachi to Peshawar, the nation is semblance of a war zone.

Today the people made an outcry. It is time for the nation to wake up from it's slumber, rise up as a united front against injustices perpetuated against them.

While many may disagree with Benazir's ideological beliefs, or argue her tenure was short lived with little to show for. Undeniably, she was the most capable leaders who spend 25 out of 30 years of her political career in the opposition, championing the cause of democracy with extraordinary fervor against Military dictatorships. This is the legacy Benazir will be remembered for.

Todays tragedy have left many in a state of shock and utter disbelief. Nerves have been touched hard, people, whether they be friends or foe acknowledge the symbolism Benazir represented.








Copyright C. AbdulRahman Rafiq

Monday, October 15, 2007

A letter from 2070.

October 15th was Blog Action day (http://blogactionday.org), bloggers from around the world wide web united to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. The aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

Here on RabitaZone the theme is conservation. Following is a video letter written in the year 2070 on water scarcity.



Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Thursday, October 04, 2007

U.S. Congress Passes Ramadan Bill

Recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and expressing respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this occasion, and for other purposes.

[House of Representative transcripts from 101st congress session]
























Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

U.S. Congress Passes Ramadan Bill

The United States congress passes H.RES.635 in recognition of the commencement of Ramadan the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and expressing respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this occasion, and for other purposes.

This is HISTORIC for American- Muslims and Muslims around the world. This is the first time in history that the United States Congress will commemorate and recognize the month of Ramadan as the Islamic holy month. The language from the bill text is below for your viewing.

One question I have, before the passing of this bill, was Ramadan not considered in existence ? I saw bush throw an Iftaar party few years back, what was that all about? Not forgetting that under the Clinton administration the White House threw an Iftar dinner for eight consecutive years.




Ramadan Bill: Urdu Translation
















There are 2 versions of Bill Number H.RES.635 for the 110th Congress, here’s the text:

1) Recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and commending Muslims in the United States and throughout the world for their faith. (Introduced in House)[H.RES.635.IH]

110th CONGRESS
1st Session

H. RES. 635

Recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and commending Muslims in the United States and throughout the world for their faith.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 5, 2007

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas (for herself, Mr. MEEKS of New York, and Mr. ELLISON) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and commending Muslims in the United States and throughout the world for their faith.

Whereas since the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, threats and incidents of violence have been directed at law-abiding, patriotic Americans of African, Arab, and South Asian descent, particularly members of the Islamic faith;

Whereas, on September 14, 2001, the House of Representatives passed a concurrent resolution condemning bigotry and violence against Arab-Americans, American Muslims, and Americans from South Asia in the wake of the terrorist attacks;

Whereas it is estimated that there are approximately 1,500,000,000 Muslims worldwide;

Whereas Ramadan is the holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal for Muslims worldwide, and is the 9th month of the Muslim calendar year; and

Whereas the observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan commences at dusk on September 13, 2007, and continues for one lunar month: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That–

(1) during this time of conflict, in order to demonstrate solidarity with and support for members of the community of Islam in the United States and throughout the world, the House of Representatives recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world; and

(2) in observance of and out of respect for the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, the House of Representatives acknowledges the onset of Ramadan and expresses its deepest respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this significant occasion.

2) Whereas it is estimated that there are approximately 1,500,000,000 Muslims worldwide; (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)[H.RES.635.EH]

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

October 2, 2007.

Whereas it is estimated that there are approximately 1,500,000,000 Muslims worldwide;

Whereas since the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, some threats and incidents of violence have been directed at law-abiding, patriotic Americans of African, Arab, and South Asian descent, particularly members of the Islamic faith;

Whereas, on September 14, 2001, the House of Representatives passed a concurrent resolution condemning bigotry and violence against Arab-Americans, American Muslims, and Americans from South Asia in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States;

Whereas some extremists have attempted to use selective interpretations of Islam to justify and encourage hatred, persecution, oppression, violence and terrorism against the United States, the West, Israel, other Muslims, and non-Muslims;

Whereas some Muslims in the United States and abroad have courageously spoken out in rejection of interpretations of Islam that justify and encourage hatred, violence, and terror, and in support of interpretations of and movements within Islam that justify and encourage democracy, tolerance and full civil and political rights for Muslims and those of all faiths;

Whereas Ramadan is the holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal for Muslims worldwide, and is the 9th month of the Muslim calendar year; and

Whereas the observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan commenced at dusk on September 13, 2007, and continues for one lunar month: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world;

(2) expresses friendship and support for Muslims in the United States and worldwide;

(3) acknowledges the onset of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and conveys its respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this occasion;

(4) rejects hatred, bigotry, and violence directed against Muslims, both in the United States and worldwide; and

(5) commends Muslims in the United States and across the globe who have privately and publicly rejected interpretations and movements of Islam that justify and encourage hatred, violence, and terror.

This bill was sponsored by Democrat Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice along with 30 co sponsors.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

YES to Jalaibi...NO to War!


Jalaibi is a sweet meat from Pakistan and India. Made from flour, sugar syrup, and deep fried in oil. Great when it is pipping hot and dripping in its sugary syrup! The crusty surface, and the mushy syrupy innards makes it a delicious treat for any occasion!

Jalaibi goes well with a hot cup of Pakistani mixed-tea, or Chai. Don't forget to throw in a couple Aloo (Potato) samosa's...thus maintaining a health pH balance, between sweet and savory.

On September 13/14 Muslims from around the world will fast in honour of the Holy Month of Ramadan (Ramzan). You may be wondering why I say, September 13/14 - the answer lies in the fact there are two groups of Muslims, on the most part they are Sunni. One group is following a "fixed lunar calendar" concocted up by ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) and heavily skewed towards the Wahibist of Saudi Arabia. The other group are those who follow a somewhat more traditional calendar, based upon real time lunar observations. (see Hilal Sighting Committee).

For the next four weeks, Muslim's will refrain from eating and drinking, and as many Islamist scholars like to emphasize, refrain from sexual relations, from Dawn to Dusk.

So back to Jalaibi ! A delicious sweet...soak it in milk, or have it with dates, mix-tea, and samosas. Jalaibi and Ramzan go hand in hand. Without Jailabi, Ramzan is incomplete.

Following is a recipe for making Jalaibi:
http://www.desicookbook.com/recipes.aspx?RecipeID=140

Ingredients:
1 cup maida
½ cup rice flour
2 cup water
2½ cup sugar
1 tsp. soda
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
6 green cardamom (Chhoti Ilaichi)
2 tsp. Rose water
Saffron (Zafran)
Yellow/orange food colour
Oil/ghee for frying

Instructions:
Mix maida, rice flour, soda and water and keep the mixture overnight in warm place.

Mix sugar, water, ilaichi saffron cream of tartar and cook to make it into thick syrup.

Deep fry the mixture in the curls using a nozzle like the one used for icing of cakes. Fry till light brown and pour into the syrup. DO NOT OVER SOAK.
Remove and let the excess syrup drain out.

Serving: 10 to 12 persons

Eat your Jailabi, sweeten your soul from the harshness of the sweltering conflicts in the world. Conflicts, which could so easily have been avoided. From the Oil Wars to the wars between religious sects. All appear pointless after a pipping hot, sweet Jalaibi!

Wake up citizens of the world, wake up and taste the sweatiness of the Jalaibi. A sweetness that resides within us. A sweetness that is eternal, it is a sweet power that will wash over the harshness of the world. Bringing about order and serenity to chaos.

Wake up and taste the Jalaibi !





Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wake up San Francisco - Paki's in town!

On Aug 19th, Pakistani-Americans from the Bay Area and greater Northern California region flocked to the Civic Center in San Francisco to commemorate 60 years of Pakistan's independence.

The event was hosted and organized by the Pakistan Association of San Francisco, with support from various other individuals and organizations. Some of the name brand organizations that were represented here were APPNA (Association of Pakistani Physicians), Pakistan Link, OPEN SV (Organization of Pakistan Entrepreneurs and professionals of the Silicon Valley), and several other kindred groups such as Hidaya Foundation who have been tirelessly providing much needed relief to the 2005 Earthquake and 2007 Cyclone victims in Pakistan.

The event was well attended, with lots of fan fare, music, dance, and ethnic Pakistani food catered for a nominal charge by local Bay Area restaurants. A successful event it was, though I must point out a few areas of improvement.

Firstly, the event agenda appeared disjointed. Second, the Music was way too loud, louder than what San Franciscan's would have anticipated. Not mention the program appeared fairly ad-hoc.

This is an annual event put up by the Pakistani Association of San Francisco. Year after year they ably draw in crowds numbering in the thousands. It is about time PASF concentrate it's efforts on quality, rather than quantity. The people will come regardless of what type of event it is. Other than OPEN SV, PASF is the only Bay Area organization that has successfully, year-over-year drawn in people, in the droves might I add.

Following is a video clip taken with the Flip Video device.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

IN THE NAME OF GOD !

Khuda Kay liye, or translated as In the Name of God made its debut in Cinema's across Pakistan on July 20th. It made headlines around the world, amid opposition from Islamist clerics who have madly been issuing fatwa's, or religious edicts in opposition (see MSNBC's article, Defying the Fatwa) the file has become one of Pakistan's film industry, Lollywood's, biggest blockbuster hits.

The film is about the difficult situation in which the Pakistanis in particular and the Muslims in general are caught up since 9/11. There is a war going on between the Fundamentalists and the Liberal Muslims. This situation is creating a rift not only between the Western and the Muslim worlds, but also within Muslims.

The film depicts the educated and progressive Muslims are in a difficult situation because of their approach towards life and their western attire. They are criticized and harassed by the fundamentalists and on the other hand the Western world sees them as potential suspects of terrorism just because of their Muslim names. The movie revolves around a Pakistani young man (Shaan) who goes to the United States of America for higher education.

The interesting thing about the film is how it connects the happenings in the three continents. Unlike the usual Indian and Pakistani films based on romantic saga, dances and songs, this film is based on some very serious issues, raising a lot of controversial questions boggling the world around.

The Cast of the movie includes Shaan,Fawad khan,Iman Ali,Naseeruddin Shah,Hameed Sheikh, Austin Marie Sayre,Larry Neumann, Rasheed Naz, Naeem Tahir, Seemin Raheel, Humayun kazmi, Najeeb Ullah Anjum, Ayub Khosa, Rufus Graham, Angela Williams & Alex Edwards.

BackGround Music: Rohail Hayat

Vocals : Ahmad Jahanzeb, Shuja Haider, Farah Zala, Ammar Hassan Khawar Jawwad, Faiza Mujahid, Saeen Zahoor, Zara Madani

Lyrics : Shoib Mansoor; Bhule Shah; Faiza Mujahid

Songs Composed By : Ahmad Jahanzeb, Shuja Haider, Lagan Band, Khawar Jawad, Jawwad Bashir.

Trailer of the Movie:









Search for other clips and sound tracks on the movie here.

50-Minute Discussion on Movie on GEO TV:
Guests- Hina Jilani, Robina Sehgal, Molana Ahmed Ali Qasoor, Dr Farooq Khan

Part 1/4



Part 2/4



Part 3/4



Part 4/4



AAJ TV Discussion on Controversial parts of the Movie:
Host - Dr. Aamir Liaquat, Guests- Shabir Ahmed Azhari and Dr. Shakeel Ouj

A mockery of a discussion this is. How can you have a discussion when the entire panel come from the same view point?

Part 1/5



Part 2/5



Part 3/5



Part 4/5



Part 5/5

Friday, July 20, 2007

A State of perpetual numbness!

It has been quite sometime since I last made an entry here. I have been wanting to post on several dozen topics. From the Cyclone disaster in Pakistan to the pathetic social state of the Silicon Valley Pakistanis. And now the recent landmark Supreme court decision overturning Musharraf's dismal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry.

Each time I would site down and attempt to write a post, I would be overcome by a state of perpetual bluh'ness, for lack of a better word. A Feeling of what for, who the heck cares would overwhelm me. Be it the desi community of the Silicon Valley, particularly the Pakistani and Muslim communities that tend to be passive to all things other than Religion.

This is a phenomenon I find most prevalent amongst Silicon Valley Muslims, who come from diverse cultural, ethnic, predominantly middle class backgrounds. But have chosen to adopt a new cultural identity that revolves around the Mosque, and all things Islam. For crying out load there is more to life other than the Mosque. I am not saying to stop attending the Mosque. I merely want point out that there is a serious imbalance in our community, which in the long run will prove detrimental.

It's either work or religion around which life for many Silicon Valley Pakistani revolves. The other day I was talking to a friend, who is fairly active in this community, runs a weekly email digest, he was complaining that their is no culture here. The Silicon Valley in itself is quite dead, in terms of a vibrant social life with concerts and plays. He further went on to comment that the people of the Valley are extremely one pointed on their respective careers, leaving little time in day for social and community interactions. If you want culture, be it art exhibitions or musicals your best bet would be to visit San Francisco.

The current Corporate buzz these days revolves around "The Human side", from Cisco's " Human Network" to Dows "Human Element", you are left with Corporations mouthing almost Utopian sounding words, yet what effect is that having on the people you live and work in and about this area we call the Silicon Valley?

We in the Valley live under this false pretense of being connected, sure we are connected technologically. Getting a hold of someone through email, instant messenger, or your social network of choice. You can connect to people, share pictures, mini applications called wigits, these various communication tools have done more damage to society as a whole than good.

I recently logged into my Facebook account, and the first thing I saw was a number of friends had been busy installing various wigit, or mini-Aps. For what? What do these tiny bits of code do for you, or how does it help you interact with people better? Does it? I personally am feeling the internet has been determinantal to society. It has isolated us even more than before.

Where is this Silicon Valley Pakistan and Muslim community headed? in a state of perpetual numbness they are, if something is not related to your career or Islam they are not interested. For crying out loud there is more to life that all this. What about enriching yours and your children's lives with art, poetry and music? How about encouraging your children, in addition to their school work to taking up (e.g) a musical instrument, be it guitar, violin, or tabla, dhol, harmonium.

Further, how much longer will this community remain passive, Your motherland is drowning from the after effects of a violent Cyclone, however there is not a wink from anyone. And I mean anyone. Apart from a few emails flying about, appear for donations from Hidaya, Islamic Relief, OPEN there hasn't been any discourse on the topic.

Millions of people have been either displaced from their homes or killed, the least one would expect is some constructive dailogue on the subject.

The bottom line is where is this community headed? Where are the thinkers, philosophers, poets, musicians, artists of the Silicon Valley? Can this ever evolve into a vibrant community engaged at levels of life. Or will it continue to remain passive and impervious to all things non Technology, Business or Religion? These are questions we all, the denizens of the Silicon Valley need to reflect. What will you do? How will you change your life?

Wake up my fellow Wadiwallahs, wake up!


Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Saturday, May 19, 2007

5/12 - A Black Day for Karachi - A video post-mortem SCRAP BOOK

Justin Timberlake Song - 5/12 Karachi Violence


May 12 - a black day for Karachi, a day when Karachi came under attack ...a deadly attack it was - a senseless and tragic one. Karachi the pulse of the PakLAND, a City of 14 Million on 5/12 found itself in the midst horrendous blood bath....

Following is a collection of media footage post 5/12 - An attempt by this Karachi denizen to help answer the unanswered question as to WHY, WHY Karachi? What did Karachi, the City of life do to deserve such an atrocity?

Karachi Became Gaza (GEO TV) -
http://youtube.com/watch?v=HUcKNRo2A5g
http://youtube.com/watch?v=68izAKzBX0c
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Vf2jw44kSXw


By BBC Urdu -
http://youtube.com/watch?v=z4Y5cajturs
http://youtube.com/watch?v=cNxbLkR7As8

By KTN News -
http://youtube.com/watch?v=nWqd_KewBvw

GEO TV -
http://youtube.com/watch?v=SEO55_8dZ-0
http://youtube.com/watch?v=JT39quPNJMU

AAJ TV (President Musharraf on Karachi Attach) -
http://youtube.com/watch?v=amGh2ymyHD0

Attack onBusines Recorder, AAJ TV -
Part 1: http://youtube.com/watch?v=METr2vAtObs
Part 2: http://youtube.com/watch?v=NzSXOkiYUPQ
Part 3: http://youtube.com/watch?v=BFeFu8tq7w0

Musharraf Address on dismissal of CJ -
http://youtube.com/watch?v=mtZdK4CnIA8

Karachi Oh Karachi, the City of Cities - The City of life...who dare inflict harm on this City ...the City of life KARACHI OH KARACHI the magnificent - The Jewel of the Indus Valley!

5/12 the BLACKEST of BLACK days for Karachiites - A further blackening of the Cities Global brand image.

A vibrant city, of 14 Million has survived against all odds....

The true picture of Karachi - The City of Life!

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Friday, May 18, 2007

Keeping Company of Giants - Richard Feynman

"I am just doing for the fun of it." Richard Feynman did what he did for the fun of it, for the pleasure of find things out - a Scientists extraordinaire.

"The hounors are unreal to me...I don't believe in honours...I don't do things for honours I do for the pleasure of finding things out".

Monday, May 14, 2007

Karachi Carnage - Real Time Video Footage

You may not want to miss this KTN video clip. Please do not forget to observe the political affiliation of people carrying redflags and running away from the automatic gunfire. Last 15 secs are specially interesting.

Starts out as a peaceful demonstration down Shara-e-Faisal...


Ends up in a senseless and tragic masacre - torching of Cars...

KARACHI - Glimmer of Hope ! Life goes on.


Amidst the chaos, confusion of the recent TERROR attach in Karachi we have a glimmer of hope, a glimmer that life goes on in the City of Lights - seconds after after a deluge of Postings on the Karachi-Metroblog about the carnage we see an announcement for The 2nd Floor Cafe opening on May 15th. This is Karachi indeed - where no matter what the political climate is, socially it continues to remain the vibrant metropolis that it is.

The 2nd Floor Cafe is founded by Zaeeir Kidwai and Sabeen Mahmud of B.I.T.S.


Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Sunday, May 13, 2007

TERROR strikes at Pakistans heart - KARACHI CRIES




May 12: Karachi cries after the horrendous attack on its denizens. No words can adequately describe the senseless and tragic attack on the the City of lights. The pulse of the nation. This city has seen many tragedies - from Bomb blasts to sectarian riots, but never something this outrageous, not to mention a planned attack on the city by a select few pro/anti government elements. Who were theses f**kers, what was there bloody objective?

Unaiza Naseem a blogger titled her post at Karachi Metroblogging as "Bandar Ka Tamasha" (Translated as Monkey's Show). Take a look at the following photos by a Jamal Shamsi - Bandar Ka Tamasha indeed it is...insanity at its hight if not vandalism of public property. The crowds appear to be cheering at a group of ruffians attempting to tare apart a KESC truck - this is pathetic, and sickening.





Moving on All-Things-Pakistan has as usual done a phenomenal compilation of the days event, though perhaps not a complete one. But then does anyone know the entire reasoning behind these horrendous terror attacks?

Further we have some extremely enraged Karachiites speaking out in disgust, take one Furshid a web developer by profession has posted on his blog: "Karachi situation and opinions about it" . An extremely expressive blog this is - he has attempted to portray the rage of the average Karachi denizen. How dare these hooligans violate our beloved Karachi.

Most of the blogs on Pakistan's blogosphere depict the anger and rage of the average Karachiite. A deliberate attempt, perhaps by a select few power mongers attempting to silence a highly vocal opposition force.

You can read the mainstream press they will tell you that this was all to prevent the ousted Chief Justice Iftiqhar Chuadry from delivering his speech at the Sindh High Court in Karachi.
Which prompts one to ask:prevented by whom? Naturally the only place the finger can be pointed to is the Musharraf lot. But then what about the MQM how do they fit in? Didn't the MQM officially claim to support the ousted Chief Justice? But then it they appear to be the ones on the offensive - so whats going on? What is the real picture - is what the average Karachiite, blogger and web user has been trying to figure out. From ranting and venting pieces of the larger puzzle are slowly trickling in.

What about the police - according to the mainstream media, particularly a report on AAJ TV the police were on the sidelines observing, yet taking no God dam preventive measures.

The general talk from the street is that these attacks were planned and orchestrated well in advance. Though to what ends? Was there any clear objective? Who are the benefactors? Are all questions people are asking - from the mainstream press to the individual blogger and Karachiite.

Amidst all this we find a report by Daily Times quoting Musharraf "The People are with me", a subscribed from the AOPP Pakeditor mailing list commented, and I quote:

"What a shame? President of a country, in uniform, supposed to be above politics as an Army Chief as well as President, boasting about a drama and not feeling remorseful of what happened because of their stupid rallies for show of strength .I strongly feel cases of murder should be registered against President Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz, Goverment of Sindh and all others responsible for allowing such a massacre.If it was some responsible nation, such an incidence would not go uninvestigated and unpunished."--M.A.

Yet within the chaos, confusion and anger there is a glimmer of hope a Karachi trait indeed where Ejaz Asi, a fellow blogger has designed a banner "I Love Karachi" which has fast become popular throughout the World Wide Web.



Ejaz Asi's reason for creating this banner is easily found on his blog, reprinted below:

Why I created these Banners?
In my understanding, Love is ever too great and powerful and forgiving as to let go of your false ego, your fears and insecurities. When you say I love Karachi, you are determined to seek every possible way to keep your city healthy, peaceful, good place to live and grow together etc… That’s the idea of Love towards your city, people and country, of course.

Loving Karachi, in my sincerest hopes, will instill a pride among its users to bring about a positive and healthy change and most importantly “tolerance” towards others. The stronger your tolerance level will be, the weaker your enemies’ ambitions and their cruel natures will succumb to the democracy of people and their deepest desire of living happily and freely without any fear.

When I say, I Love Karachi, I make an oath to myself, I make a commitment to myself that I will not let any negative force come between my integrity, my right of freedom and respect and my inalienable right of happiness and the prosperity of my city. That was the general idea, which, thanks to you, have come into words now.

P.S. An idea of possible car-stickers and t-shirts is also there. It’s only a matter of time and continuous motivation that you shall soon see them live.

Indeed Love is the most contagious of all human attributes. Love can overpower hate, and anger. I would personally call on all Karachiites and Friends of Karachi to take Ejaz Asi on his proposal to spread the Love around, show your fellow Citizens how much you care about your beloved City. Lets use to the POWER of LOVE to diffuse an already volatile situation. Build Karachi don't Destroy it needs to be our motto. Make it heard loud and clear.

This day, the 12th day of May 2007 will be remembered as a sad day for Pakistan. A pitiful day as one subscriber to the SV-PAK list described in the following poem:

Pity the Nation

"My friends and my road-fellows, ( even if you don't live near Share-ra-Faisal )
pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.

"Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave,
eats a bread it does not harvest, and drinks a wine
that flows not from its own winepress.

"Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero, and
that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.

"Pity the nation that raises not its voice save when it walks in a funeral,
boasts not except among its ruins, and
will rebel not save when its neck is laid between the sword and the block.

"Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
whose philosopher is a juggler,
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.

"Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with
trumpetings, and farewells him with hootings, only
to welcome another with trumpetings again.

"Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment
deeming itself a nation.

"Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.

Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and
whose strong men are yet in the cradle. Khalil GibranThe garden of the
Prophet (1934 )http://www.quotewor ld.org/category/ men/author/ kahlil-gibran
--By Kidwai @ SV-PAK

Long Live Karachi - the City of Lights, the City of Life!


Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq 2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Bush blooper - Address @ Queen Elizabeth II Ceremony




At the white house welcome ceremony for HRH Queen Elizabeth II, the audience laughed aloud at a verbal slip by Bush when he said the queen had dined with 10 U.S. presidents and had helped the United States "celebrate its bicentennial in 17.." though I am 100% sure I heard him say 'seventy-seventy-six' 1776 . Bush caught himself and corrected the date to 1976."

Bush joked that the queen just "gave me a look that only a mother could give a child."





Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

To LIFT or NOT to LIFT



Lift is the British/Indo-European colonial term for what the Americans call an Elevator. This sign is a real sign posted in a Karachi office block.

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Monday, April 16, 2007

HardBall..To BE or NOT to BE...


Are Mush and Pinky actually being led by the uncertainty principle? Therein resides the fate of 160M+ people? Who will lead them? The Wadira Shahi's, Generals or is it Heisenberg, in whom rests the fate of a 160M+ people?

"Top emissaries of President General Pervez Musharraf and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairwoman Benazir Bhutto have finalized a draft of a deal between their bosses, Daily Times has learnt." [Click to Read further]
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"Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Monday claimed that contacts between the government and the Pakistan People’s Party had entered the ‘final round’, but State Information Minister Tariq Azeem ruled out the possibility of any deal," [Click to Read further]
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"The PPP on Monday denied that party chairwoman Benazir Bhutto had told Sunday Times that she would back President Musharraf’s attempt to get re-elected through the present assemblies. PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.." [Click to Read Further]
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" In an interview to The Sunday Times, she also confirmed that the PPP was in "negotiations'' with President Parvez Musharraf on working together in case her party won the elections, proposed to be held later this year." [Click to Read Further]
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"She showered praise on Musharraf for his policies to protect minorities and women. Benazir was convinced that Musharraf would secure a second term as president by seeking re-election from the current parliament. However, she said it would be difficult to work with the general in case she becomes prime minister." [Click to Read Further]
-------
Back-channel talks between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto have reached the "final stage" and the "good news" would be announced soon, Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Monday. [Click to Read Further]


Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq (ARR)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Insanity at its Hight....Unchecked construction....


This is utter madness, to construct a Flyover at the Shameer and Hafiz intersection is ridiculous. First the Defence Housing Authority allows flats and high rise constructions in Defence, as a result we have traffic congestions on Shamsheer - Shamsheer a road which is a narrow dual carriage, two lane road. See recent post at Karachi Metroblogging.

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Thursday, April 12, 2007

BHUTTO-MUSHARRAF Alliance ...warding off TALIBAN sympathizers


Is this possible? A Bhutto-Musharraf alliance, joining forces to defeat the Taliban'ites from the political arena. Sounds like a a great idea, perhaps the next best thing. Not only for Musharraf and Benazir but for Pakistan in general. According to the TimesOnline article Marriage of necessity men the least-wort option,

It does not look as though Bhutto is about to be prime minister again; under the Constitution, no one can serve a third term. But if Musharraf could strike a deal with her party, that would tackle some of the worst threats. It would mark an end to his dangerous courtship of the religious parties, which has boosted their influence above their natural level of support. It would also require him to step down as head of the Army.
It is hardly a done deal. But in a very difficult year for Pakistan, the possibility of the President bringing a large, secular political party into the centre of power is one of the few encouraging signs.
Though, then it may be wishful thinking on the part of the TimesOnline. As in a report in the HindustanTimes Musharraf says he introduced real democracy in Pak it appears like there may not be any such alliance taking place in the very near future.

As to the rumour about Musharraf stepping down from the post of Chief of Army Staff (COAS), it may end up taking permanent place in Rumors Galore, "
Though I am in uniform, I have introduced real democracy in the country. Those who were in civil dress did nothing for democracy. My government worked for women rights and gave them authority," said Musharraf.

Further the following statement by the General is indicative to the fact there is no intention on his part to relinquish his Uniform
Musharraf said he was concerned that his uniform was the chief subject and target of criticism of his adversaries, but vowed to serve the country whether he was in uniform or not.

With such a stance such an alliance may not be possible, Bhutto quoted by the Ireland On-Line
Bhutto acknowledged having talks with Pakistan's government, but said the resignation was essential before her party entered any political pact.....she said: "PPP will not accept anyone in uniform."

The ultimate decision may very well rest on the issue of Musharraf letting go of the uniform or not? As Bhutto appears adamant on this point....thus we find that one again Pakistan's fate hangs in the balance.



Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq (ARR)

Pakistani Women Entrepreuers...ensuing hope for a nation!

For those who despair about Pakistan: look at our heroine here and be proud of Pakistanis like her. To those who wonder what, if anything, can be done to make things better: think about what an entrepreneur like her would be able to do if she had real opportunities… An investment in social capital more than in venture capital. What if she could get a real store-front rather than be forced to encroach on government land. Maybe investing in a few entrepreneurs like her would have greater payoffs than building tall towers and seven star hotels!





Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq (ARR)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Narrowing of Silicon Valley Muslim World View

Over the past year, since I moved to the Silicon Valley I have been interacting with various community groups and organizations. Paying lip-service to many, and endorsing a few fully where I was able to engage with folks who were on a similar thought pattern as mine.

I wont name names here, but every organization or project I would attempt to dangle my feet in, I would very quickly start thinking on how to get out. Initially every entity looks attractive from the outside.

An openness to accept new ideas is missing in this community. If you try to make statements other than what is acceptable within the context of a certain ideological framework, you will surely find yourself out numbered and marginalized by the vast majority. It's as if there is a deliberate attempt by the Silicon Valley Pakistan and Muslim communities on a whole to shun out all-things-other, that is all things that don't related to religion and money.

Now I could be overtly generalizing, but take the recent Mohsin Hamid event at Stanford - Mohsin Hamid a renowned Pakistani novelist, author of two books "Moth Smoke" and "The Reluctant Fundamentalist".

The turn out was OKAY, but not great - I expected far more people, as there are a sizable number of Pakistanis in the Silicon Valley and Bay Area in general who have heard and read Mohsin Hamid's novels.

Further, in the recent Sahil Bachao campaign I helped spearheaded in the Silicon Valley, as part of the larger team effort in Karachi, Pakistan there was little interest displayed by the BayArea Pakistanis. My question is, aren't there any Pakistanis out here that have any iota of interest left for all-things-other than religion? If an event or cause doesn't make explicit reference to religion or making money, then it is not important. This seems to be the mainstream attitude amongst Silicon Valley Pakistanis and Muslims in general.

Many a times it is extremely frustrating dealing with the vast majority of the Silicon Valley Muslim and to some extent Pakistani communities who will brand you as "kafir" (unbeliever) upon the slightest notion that your views are not compliant to theres. This is a largely educated Muslim community, highly professional working in several of the fortune technology companies - however to much a due quite insular and impervious to listening to all-things-other than religion.

This intolerance to all-things-other, is a trait which is found in much of the Muslim world. Exactly the reason novel ideas aren't able to take root. How is a society to progress with such an attitude that shuns at all that don't see eye-to-eye with them. There is more to life than just religion and money, what about enhancing once culture, or rather cultures in the case of Muslims who come from a large cultural spectrum.

Culture is one of the all-things-other that has been shunned to the side, and replaced with religion. Religion is good, but not the only thing - there is much more to life. Your faith is merely a component, an important component mind you of your life.







Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

A dying breed - Baluch FisherFolk

The fisher folk living along the Karachi and Makran coatline are a dying breed. The are the the ingenious people of the region, their roots stem back to well before the 1947 partition of India and and Pakistan, further to the days of the sea faring meds that claimed to hijack an Arab ship in the 700 C.E. era. As a result the Abbasaid Khilafat at Baghdad, under the leadership Hajjaj Bin Yusuf and his son-in-law and nephew the 15 year old Mohammad Bin Qasim on the Sindh expedition.

These Baluch fishermen live of the Arabian Sea in their sturdy handmade wooden boats, which is an art in itself - that the design and construction of their boats is based on ancient oral transmittals a another dying breed of artisans.

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Benazir's new book has some startling revelations

I wont dispute the content of the latest chapter to her book, perhaps there is some truth in it. As it does tend to go along with what I personally have heard and read. However, the very timing with which this revised autobiography has been published is yet another sign that confirms the rumors galore that Musharraf is definitely on his way out. Starting with the changing of guard at GHQ to changes of guards upon Constitution Avenue.

The cats out of the bag, it is not a case of how but when the the the Islamabad over haul will take place. The strategically placed pawns have been set in motion, the game has begun. Get ready for a bumpy, yet fascinating ride through the the melodrama of Pakistani politics.

[The following has been cross-posted from the sv-pak list]

SV-PAK member wrote
Benazir's new book has some startling revelations
By Mariana Baabar

IN a revised edition of her autobiography, Benazir Bhutto's "Daughter of the East", which has been released in bookshops in London this week, some startling revelations have been made.

According to 'Outlook', which is carrying the entire new chapter, the revised autobiography had not been published before, and the preface and this chapter was specially written for the revised edition of the book, now available on bookshelves.

"Revision of the old book was necessary because many momentous developments had taken place in the life of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto during the last two decades", Farhatullah Babar, spokesman for the PPP told The News.

'Daughter of the East' was first published by Hamish Hamilton in 1988. The revised edition has been issued by Simon & Schuster, who also published Musharraf's autobiography last year. The new edition has a preface and a new chapter, 'Prime Minister and Beyond', which contains sensational revelations, providing an insight into the mindset of the Pakistani military and the ISI.

Benazir records in detail her conversation with Pervez Musharraf in 1996 when she was prime minister in her second term, and Musharraf, director of military operations as major-general: "I once again heard how Pakistan would take Srinagar if only I gave the orders to do so. Musharraf concluded the briefing with the words that a ceasefire would be in place and Pakistan would be in control of Srinagar, the capital of Indian-held Kashmir. I asked him, 'And what next?í He was surprised by my question, and said, 'Next we will put the flag of Pakistan on the Srinagar Parliament'.

"'And what next?' I asked the general.

"'Next you will go to the United Nations and tell them that Srinagar is in Pakistan's control'.

"'And what next?' I pushed on. I could see General Musharraf had not been prepared for this grilling and was getting flustered. He said, 'And you will tell them to change the map of the world taking into consideration the new geographical realities'.

"'And do you know what the United Nations will tell me?' I looked General Musharraf straight in the eye, as the army chief sat silently by and the room grew still, and pointedly said, 'They will pass a Security Council Resolution condemning us and demanding that we unilaterally withdraw from Srinagar, and we will have got nothing for our efforts but humiliation and isolation.' I then abruptly ended the meeting."

That was the second time an offer to conquer Kashmir was made.

Benazir writes she had earlier received "offers" for Pakistan to take over Srinagar during her first term as prime minister from December 2, 1988 to August 6, 1990. Then Indian prime minister VP Singh had told her that Pakistan was arming and training terrorists in Kashmir, an accusation she denied. "What I did not mention was the offer I received from the Afghan Arabs and the Pakistan militant groups in 1990. Using the good offices of the ISI, they informed me that 'one hundred thousand battle-hardened mujahideen were willing to go into Kashmir to assist the Kashmiri freedom movement and somehow were confident about defeating the much larger Indian Army. Knowing that any such transnational support would hurt rather than help the Kashmiri people, I vetoed the idea."

Then army chief General Aslam Beg had, she said, asked her to approve a new policy. "He said that if Islamabad went on 'offensive defence', it could capture Srinagar...General Beg told me, 'Prime Minister, you just give the order and your men will take Srinagar and you will wear the crown of victory and of glory.' I thought he had lost all sense of reality."

Benazir makes clear she never liked or respected Musharraf. When she was prime minister, she writes, "I declined to make him (Musharraf) my military secretary. We initially refused his promotion because of his suspected though unproven links to the ethnic, often violent party known as the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM)."

Equally revealing in her account is what the ISI and the military believed it can do, and presumably still does: they do not just want Kashmir, they want Afghanistan as well. Benazir okayed an ISI proposal during the days of the Najibullah regime in Afghanistan for the Pakistani military to take Kabul alongside the mujahideen.

"When I insisted that we explore a peaceful, orderly transfer of power in Kabul with Shevardnadze (then Soviet foreign minister), my intelligence chief said, 'Prime Minister, will you deny your men and the Afghan mujahideen the right to march victoriously into Kabul and pray in the Masjid together after all the sacrifices they have made?' This emotional plea worked...surely the Afghan parties and our military boys deserved to validate their victory with a triumphal entry into Kabul, which I was assured would take place within days."

It never happened, and soon the intelligence boys came back to her, suggesting a joining of Pakistan and Afghanistan so that 'there will be no borders between us'. Benazir writes: "I rejected the idea of a confederation with Afghanistan.íThis will give the Indians an excuse to intervene in Afghanistan. And without American, Saudi and Iranian support it will land us in bigger trouble,' I replied."

But support and money was coming to madrassas and the ISI all through the days of Ziaul Haq's dictatorship, Benazir writes.

"Fund-raising activities across the Muslim world were established where the faithful would make contributions for education, health and food for the poor and needy. The money went into the political madrassas that claimed they were teaching and feeding the orphans from the refugee camps, but in fact were proselytising hatred and terrorism.

International funds poured in but were diverted to the ISI headquarters." Not unlike what the Indian government has been saying for years.

One exchange gives some idea of the power of the ISI in relation to the Pakistan government. The ISI head, she says, proposed an intelligence corps to ensure continuity, make sure that all senior appointments are screened through the ISI so as to maintain security control to defend the ideological frontiers of the country.

Benazir writes: "I was being asked to authorise and legitimise the creation of 'a state within a state' that would manipulate every aspect of life in Pakistan, including subsequent elections. I refused. However, after my overthrow, the interim prime minister brought by the ISI, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, put their scheme in place."

Fighting off the ISI also meant taking on Osama bin Laden.

"Although Osama bin Laden had not yet formed al-Qaeda in 1989, I first heard his name when he funded a no-confidence bill to overthrow my first government. Though he had returned to Saudi Arabia following the withdrawal of the Soviets in February 1989, he was called back to Pakistan when I asserted authority over the ISI in May. Bin Laden was asked by the ISI, with whom he had long and close relations, to help overthrow the democratic government and install a theocratic rule in Pakistan." Osama, she said, paid $10 million to buy off her political supporters.

"Around this time I received a report that a Saudi plane had landed in Pakistan loaded with mango boxes. Since Saudi Arabia grows dates and not mangoes, we were quite suspicious. The civilian intelligence found that the boxes did not contain mangoes but rather money." One of the Saudi King's advisers, she said, "identified the source of the money as Osama bin Laden".

And then: "I went to the US Embassy and personally called President George Bush (Sr). I told the president that the military hardliners who had supported the mujahideen were attempting to bring down my government with the help of extremists and that foreign money was pouring into Pakistan." She writes elsewhere that she was often hesitant to use her own phone because it was tapped by the ISI.

Benazir lost the elections in August 1990. "I believe that the age of the terrorist war actually coincided with the conclusion of the Pakistani elections in 1990 and the formation of the Nawaz regime." The ISI, she writes, chose Ramzi Yusef, who planned the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993, to assassinate her during her election campaign that year. He failed, and "was extradited, on my order, to the United States". That was after Benazir was elected prime minister for the second time that year, and found herself, she says, taking on the extremists again.

"I really do think that there is at least some degree of causality that most major terrorist attacks took place when the extremists did not have to deal with a democratic Pakistani government...this includes both the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre, the Bombay blasts, the Indian Parliament attack, the attack on the US embassies in Africa and the USS

Cole in Yemen." Her government was dismissed for the second time on November 4, 1996.

That, she said, brought in Nawaz Sharif. "Under Nawaz, the Taliban changed colour and character. They killed Iranian diplomats and allowed Bin Laden, in 1998, to declare war on the West from their (Afghanistan) soil." But Nawaz's "marriage of convenience" with the military and ISI did not last long. "They ostensibly fell out over fighting in the area known as Kargil, both blaming the other for the misadventure."

Pakistan suffered heavy casualties, she said. "An army-connected friend informed me that the dead bodies of soldiers were kept in frozen lockers and released in small tranches to prevent the news spreading of the high casualties inflicted during the conflict."

She sees Musharraf continuing the support to terrorism, though he's been trying to convince the international community that "he was the only obstacle in the way of a fundamentalist take-over of nuclear armed Pakistan", Benazir writes. "Tragically, there are still some that once again have bought into this charade." She adds, "The militant cells, meantime, are intact."

Finally, Benazir writes: "So as I prepare to return to an uncertain future in Pakistan in 2007, I fully understand the stakes not only for myself, and my country, but the entire world. I realise I can be arrested...I can be gunned down on the airport tarmac when I land." But return she will, she says. "I do what I have to do, and am determined to fulfil my pledge to the people of Pakistan to stand by them in their democratic aspirations...Democracy in Pakistan is not just important for Pakistanis, it is important for the entire world."
__._,_.___



Copyright (c) Abdulrahman Rafiq (ARR)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Saahil Bachao...SAVE Karachi's Beaches...Sign the petition


French Beach (Bulehjo), Karachi, Pakistan (Taken by AR Rafiq 2005)

Citizen's group will meet: 4 pm, Saturday, April 7 2007 @ PMA House, Karachi

“The entire beach and its back waters from Hawksbay to Manora is to be developed as real estate. The Hawksbay Sandspit area as Sugar Land City and the Manora ridge as a 20 storey five star hotel. Manora is to be linked to Keamari with a bridge and the development is to continue along the coast upto the golf club. There is nothing wrong with development but this will deprive millions of Karachiites and people from outside of Karachi, who visit the beach for recreational and entertainment purposes, access to the beach. I feel the Karachi "elite" must do something about this. " -- Arif Hasan



WE, THE CITZEN's GROUP DEMAND AN END TO DHA’s BEACH DEVELOPMENT PLAN: [Scroll down for link to the petition, and to contact the organizers]

1. We, the undersigned citizens of Karachi oppose DHA’s Beach Development Plan and demand an immediate end to its implementation as it prevents the common person’s free access to the beach, contravenes the law, and will cause immense environmental damage.

2. Land grabbers have planned to deprive once again the citizens of Pakistan, of their only sea front asset shared by millions of citizens. Their Development Plan consists of developing the area between the coastal road and the sea which at present is mostly undeveloped making access to the Beach possible. This development plan consists of seven zones in the 14 km strip between MacDonald’s and Creek Club.

3. All 14 kilometres of beach will eventually consist of commercial complexes, office blocks, multi-storey car parks, posh restaurants, amusement and theme parks (for which an entrance fee will be charged), a tramway track along the beach (whose fare has been estimates at Rs. 90 per trip, an expo centre complex, vocational dwellings, elite clubs, expensive hotels, high-rise condominiums, a water sports stadium, and a marina.

4. This development will destroy the natural environment of the coast and will make almost the entire beach inaccessible to the citizens of Pakistan, especially to the low and lower middle income communities who will not be able to afford the cost of the expensive entertainment being proposed and will be excluded simply by the nature of developments that are to be implemented

5. No one can take away the right of the citizens of Pakistan to access their beach. Under international and domestic law, the beach area is for public use and everyone, regardless of income, has the right to free access to the beach without obstacles or interference. This is a principle enshrined in the public trust doctrine.

6. We strongly oppose a development plan that will finish off the only natural multi-class recreational space available to Karachites and as a result will further socially fragment an already fragmented city. The beach is a public spot we share with the many hundreds of thousands of our countrymen who visit Clifton Beach every week and belong to all classes and ethnic groups. A plan that shuts out a majority of Pakistan’s population is unacceptable.

7. We have already seen the “gentrification” of the beach by the imposition of a fee of Rs 10 per person as entry to Beachfront Park. This Park controls access to the beach and therefore prevents low and lower middle income citizens from enjoying the beach. We can not allow any further such developments.

8. We are not against theme parks, marinas, expo centres and expensive hotels and condominiums, but it is our considered opinion that for environmental and social reasons the area between the coastal road and the high water mark should be unencroached, construction free and accessible to the public free of cost as is the case in other South and South-East Asian countries and in the developed world.

9. The Karachi Coastal Management Plan, prepared in 1989 by the KDA Master Plan Department with UN assistance, as part of the Karachi Development Plan 2000, had recommended a 50 metre construction free accessible zone beyond the high water mark. We feel that this Coastal Management Plan should be followed.

10. As children we have had free and unrestricted access to Clifton Beach as did our parents. Our children (in some cases our grand children) should also enjoy the same benefit.

11. We derive strength from the fact that 4,665 persons belonging to 73 CBOs and NGOs from all over Pakistan and individuals belonging to 89 low and lower middle income areas of Karachi have supported concerns of the Sahil Bachao Movement whose concerns are similar to ours.


[All Karachiites and friends of Karachi are welcome and encouraged to sign]

Click to view petition at petitiononline.com


For more information or to find out how to volunteer in this campaign
contact Arif Hasan (Arifhasan@cyber.net.pk) or Tehera Hasan (tahera.hasan@cyber.net.pk)



Printed here with permission from Sahil Bachao Movement. Organized by Arif Hasan.
The petition is being hosted at RabitaZone (RZone) as a public service.