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]
"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]
"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]
" 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]
"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

For more information or to find out how to volunteer in this campaign
contact Arif Hasan ( or Tehera Hasan (

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

Rockin' the Sufis Doc!

Sufi_Rock_Poster-1, originally uploaded by arafiq786.

Dr. Salman Ahmad (Urdu: سلمان احمد) is a Pakistani doctor, music artist and former actor, who used to be a member of Vital Signs but left after their debut album due to creative differences.

He went on to form Junoon, South Asia's biggest and the most senior rock band. While still enjoying the success of Junoon, Salman Ahmed has been involved in two documentaries with the BBC and is also the Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS. Ahmad is working towards spreading awareness about HIV in South Asia, and helping to bring peace between Pakistan and India as an artist. [Click to Learn more about Salman Ahmad]

Sufism is a mystic tradition that found a home in Islam and encompasses a diverse range of beliefs and practices dedicated to Allah, divine love and the cultivation of the heart.

The word Sufi is derived from the Arabic word Suf, or cotton. It refers to cotton garments worn by many sufi's, however to all. Sufism is to Islam like the trinity is to Christianity.

Though, some "scholars" of Islam may have you believe otherwise. You can say say who is right or wrong, as there is no right or wrong answer - both the Sufi's and Scholars have wisdom which needs to be looked in their own light. As one great Sufi mystic from present-day Pakistan said: 'The Mullah's have the bones of Islam, whereas it is the Sufi's who have the meat." The meat is where all the nourishment lies, where the bones are part of the skeletal structure that support the meat.

"Sufism" has been defined as a type of knowledge by the great Muslim Sufi masters. Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq, a 14th century Sufi who wrote "The Principles of Sufism" defined Sufism as, "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God.” Ibn 'Ajiba, one of the best known Sufi masters defined Sufism as "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine,purify one’s inward from filth,and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits."

Sufism essentially is about how a man/woman finds his/her love, that is God (Allah) in this case. Though, many people have misconstrued mystical love for the worldly lustful love, which from a certain point of view is one and the same. It is about creating a clear cut path, with the tools provided by Islam to reach a state of bliss - a high state where barriers start to unfold and the Truth of Reality is realized.

Once a great Sufi Master, Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Quaysiyya, or respectfully refered to as Bibi Rabi'a was seen running through the streets of Basra carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When asked what she was doing, she said:

I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God.

'Tis is the key to worshiping God (Allah), out of Love and not fear.

Copyrigt (c) Abdulrahman Rafiq (ARR)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

SAVE the BEACHES...Karachi's coastline under threat...

[Just In - More details to follow -ARR]

The entire Clifton Bay beach is to be developed and then linked to Manora Island by a bridge.
Manora Island has been sold for real estate development. This real estate development will continue along Sandspit and Hawksbay where the sugar city is to be constructed.

People owning huts in Sandspit and Hawksbay have already received notices that their leases will be canceled.

This is just to let you know that the issue is much bigger than just the DHA Project. Hawksbay Sandspit area will be developed 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.

Further, the beaches are public property, essentially a national asset which needs to be preserved. This latest sale of Manora Island is utterly uncalled for, developments along Clifton Beach and Sandspit is disastrous.

This is not an isolated incident, there are several such cases in other cities of Pakistan where public property is gradually being sold to private developers with no regard for the people and the environment.

The Sandspit Beach is also a nesting ground for Green and Olive Ridley Turtles, implemented by the Sindh Wildlife Department over the past two decades. In recent years the WWE-Pakistan has also become actively involved in turtle conservation activities by establishing a Wetland Center at the Sandspit beach.

Manora or Manoro (in Sindhi) is a small island (2.5 km²) located just south of the Port of Karachi in Pakistan. The island is connected to the mainland by a 12 kilometer long causeway called the Sandspit. Manora and neighboring islands form a protective barrier between Karachi harbour to the north and the Arabian Sea to the south.

Manora is a popular picnic spot because of the long sandy beaches along the southern edge of the island, which merge into the beaches of the Sandspit and then extend several kilometers to the beaches at Hawkesbay. At the southeastern end of Manora island is the tallest lighthouse (28 m or 91 feet high) in Pakistan. The island lies approximately 15-20 minutes by boat ride from mainland Karachi but there are no good hotels available for an overnight stay. [Pictures of Manora]

A group of distinguished Karachiites are organizing a campaign to SAVE the BEACHES. A petition will be created in the next day or to, along with an AD in DAWN.

[Sign Petition to SAVE Karachi's Beaches]

Copyright (c) 2007 Abdulrahman Rafiq (ARR)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Women on the frontlines...1982 WAF...Pakistan

WAF 1st National Convention, Lahore 1982, originally uploaded to Flickr by arafiq786.

The founding members of the Womens Action Forum (WAF) at the first convention in Lahore, October 1982. These are the women, who against all odds fought tooth and nail for the freedoms women of all ages enjoy today in Pakistan. From jalsas (peaceful protests) against Zia's draconian laws at Regal Chowk in Karachi to be being chased by police convoys in broad daylight. These women are indeed pioneers of Pakistan's Women's movement - the Mothers of Pakistan, Umahat-ul-Pakistan.

Standing L-R: Farida Sher, Najma Saedque
Second Row: Samina Rehman, Rukhsana Rashid, Fareeda Shaheed, Ghazala Rahman Rafiq, Fareeda Zafar, Nighat Saad Khan, Aban Marker-Kabraji
First Row: Humaira Rahman, Khawar Mumtaz, Sultanat Bokhari, Hilda Saeed, Nigar Ahmad
On the Ground: Lala Rukh

Click to learn more about WAF

Monday, April 02, 2007

Musharraf's Dillema...[Part 1]

The Recent protests challenging President Musharraf's authority have conjured up rumor after rumor with very little fact, or are there facts to back up all the rumors out there? This post is an attempt try and separate the fact from fiction.

Following are a number of news articles and blog posts gathered from the internet.

The RabitaZone (The RZone) will continue to monitor the situation in Pakistan and post any new data we learn. If any of our readership come across any thing new you may submit this via email or feel free to comment to this post.


Chief of Lal Masjid gives one month deadline to govt for closure ... - Pakistan
We have not forced the owners of video shops to close down their business nor our students have taken such step, he underlined." ...

Protesters urge Pakistan's president to step down
Vancouver Sun (subscription) - Vancouver,British Columbia,Canada
ISLAMABAD -- Thousands of flag-waving protesters rallied at Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday to urge President Pervez Musharraf to step down for ...

Musharraf under siege: Endgame for Pakistan’s Military Regime
Asian Tribune - Bangkok,Thailand
In the unlikely eventuality that Musharraf heeds the call to step down as COAS, he will follow in Zia’s footsteps and continue as Pakistan’s de facto ruler. ...

US Congress team meets Nawaz
LONDON, March 31: A four-member delegation of the US Congress met former prime minister Nawaz Sharif here on Saturday to what PML-N sources said get Mr Sharif's assessment of the ongoing political turmoil in Pakistan....
Complete Story

Baloch asks Musharraf to step down

Also see PublicGyna blog

U.S. Impatient with Musharraf

Blog: Battle brews over Military Rule

Blog: BB coming back to Pakistan

CBS News: Musharraf a Problamatic Ally
CSM: Pakistan: US Ally, US dilemma

Copyright (c) 2007 Abdulrahman Rafiq (ARR)
The RabitaZone, The RZone are copyright trademarks of Abdulrahman Rafiq (2007)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Misplaced Paranoia...

karachi port, originally uploaded by altamash.

This is a lovely post of the Karachi port in the wee hours of sunset. I can't believe someone asked the photographer, Altamash why he was taking pictures of 'sensitive' facilities !!! (See Atlamash's comments)

What in heavens name is sensitive about this picture? This is nothing compared to a photo I have taken of the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) as a backdrop to the Karachi coastline at the French Beach (Bulehjo).

Take a look at this photo, a misty haze in the foreground, the sea is calm as is common at this time of the year. The beach you see is a season one, that exists during the later months of the year. From November to March to be exact. For the rest of the year the sand and rocks you see are relatively under water. A picturesque view from Bulehjo (French Beach), conjures up memories of softer time - the younger more innocent days of this photo blogger.

Copyright (c) 2007 Abdulrahman Rafiq (ARR)