Tag Archive | "Pakistani People"

PTCL Telephone Complaint

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PTCL Telephone Complaint

Posted on 31 December 2009 by PakBee - Total hits: 176,298

PTCL Complaint Center

The banner in the picture reads:
We have been trying to get out PTCL number 042-6371795 fixed for the last six weeks, but without any success!

It is not clear whether putting up a banner to register your telephone complaint worked or not. But one can only imagine how desperate this person had to be that he resorted such extreme measures of spending money on the printing of this banner and then hoisting it on a busy city road. Or, maybe, he is just trying to make light of what has to be a really frustrating situation. As they say, “Lahore, Lahore hai!”

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Countrywide CNG strike

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Countrywide CNG strike

Posted on 31 December 2009 by PakBee - Total hits: 2,830

All CNG stations in big and small cities across country including Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad and etc. are closed on Thursday following a strike call on Wednesday by the All Pakistan CNG Association to suspend operations for an indefinite period, Geo news reported.

All CNG stations have remained closed since yesterday while a few company-operated pumps continued supplying gas, with some supplying at higher rates. The APCNGA called for commencement of a countrywide strike to protest an increase in CNG prices and gas load shedding from Wednesday, December 30.

CNG stations in Township, Garden Town, Johar Town, Faisal Town, Model Town, Iqbal Town, Gulberg and other areas in Lahore are still closed. Motorists and transporters were forced to opt for petrol, resulting in higher transportation charges for the public.

Although a few company-operated stations were supplying CNG, but motorists had to wait for hours in long queues to get their tanks filled. Some CNG stations even started supplying gas before sunrise, but at higher rates. CNG is normally available at Rs 42-45 per kilogramme but was sold for Rs 50 per kg after the strike.

“I was going for a morning walk when I saw a CNG station open. I returned home immediately and took my vehicle to the station and got the tank filled,” said Sadeed Ather, a banker, adding he was running his vehicle on petrol due to non-availability of CNG.

Rickshaw drivers also increased their fares, as they were forced to run their vehicles on petrol. “We have not increased the fares but were forced to run our rickshaws on petrol,” said Saleem Salamat, a rickshaw driver, adding passengers also argued with him for charging high rates. “Petrol is at least 30 percent more expensive than CNG, so the fares automatically go up,” he added.

APCNGA Punjab President Shuja Anwer said the strike call had been given for the benefit of the people, who suffer the most when CNG prices are increased. He said the strike was successfully observed in Punjab.

APCNGA will launch protest march from Lahore Chambers to Governor house today meanwhile, All Pakistan Petroleum and CNG Association (APPCNGA) continued sale of CNG in some parts of Lahore, insisting that they are remedy to public sufferings at this juncture.

More than 250 CNG stations in Peshawar and over 450 CNG stations in Karachi are closed as part of nationwide strike but nonetheless, some CNG stations owned by petroleum companies are still selling gas on their stations in Peshawar, sources revealed.

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Lal Masjid Islamabad

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Lal Masjid Islamabad

Posted on 19 December 2009 by PakBee - Total hits: 11,505

maulana-in-burqa-lal-masjidUPDATE: Reports in the Pakistan media suggest that the Lal Masjid leader has finally been arrested while trying to escape wearing a burqa. According to a BBC update:

The leader of a radical mosque besieged by Pakistani security forces in Islamabad has been caught trying to escape wearing a woman’s burqa. Security forces seized Abdul Aziz as he tried to leave the Red Mosque amid a crowd of women… He was wearing a burqa that also covered his eyes,” a security official told the AFP news agency about the cleric’s escape bid. “Our men spotted his unusual demeanour. The rest of the girls looked like girls, but he was taller and had a pot belly.“

ORIGINAL POST: Things are moving fast and the showdown at Lal Masjid, Islamabad that began this morning is now ready to turn into an even more real battle. The day took the lives of at least 10 people, possibly more. These included policemen, soldiers, by-standers, a journalist, and a number of Madrassah students. (For details see our earlier post and update comments on it, here).

Lal-Masjid-Operation

The latest – and this keeps changing by the minute – is that in a mid-night press conference the government has given an ultimatum to the management of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) to surrender. There is no indication that they will. In the past things have always ended with ‘negotiated settlements.’ This time the likelihood of this happening is much less. A curfew has been imposed in the area. Tanks have been called in. So have special forces.

Metroblog Islamabad is doing a wonderful job of keeping abreast with breaking news. It reports, through Dawn TV, that 111 Brigade (Army) from Rawalpindi has already assembled around the mosque. Ambulances have been fully stocked. Hospitals are on alert. An ultimatum for time has been given (3.30 PST… NOW!). The entire area has been cordoned off.

Here is a news clip from ARYOne, broadcast earlier.

In an article written last week for The News, I had argued that inaction was not a solution and because of so many delays and policies of apeasement some confrontation was now becoming inevitable.

This episode [i.e., the Chinese massage parlor case] will further embolden the already violence-prone brigands at the two madressahs and we are likely to see an escalation in their demands as well as their tactics. Meanwhile, the government has once again demonstrated an inability and/or unwillingness to act decisively. The much-cherished ‘writ of the state’ continues to rot in tatters.

This, it seems, is what happened when earlier the Lal Masjid management incited this escalation in response to the government’s build-up of force around the mosque. In that article, I had gone on to argue that:

Just like standing still in the middle of the road at the sight of the blinding lights of a truck speeding towards it does not save the life of the stunned deer, doing nothing about this escalating crisis out of fear that doing anything will only make things worse is not going to help the government, or Pakistan. Something needs to be done, and done fast.

I had called in the article for the government to “act to judiciously dismantle militancy at Lal Masjid.” This situation has to be responded to. But the key word remains “act judiciously.” What is really important is how that action is taken. Further bloodshed should be avoided. At least minimized. One hopes that any action is intelligent action and all steps are taken to minimize loss of life. Not just because one does not wish to create needless ‘martyrs.’ Much more so because all life – and everyone’s life – is precious.

The technologies to undertake low casualty offensives are available. The will and sagacity to do so is needed. The test for the government – acting with force in the very center of the Federal Capital – is not only what it does, but how it does it.

Photo credit: Associated Press, B.K. Bangash.

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1971: A Blot of Shame

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1971: A Blot of Shame

Posted on 01 December 2009 by PakBee - Total hits: 5,074

Stranded PakistanisEditor’s Note: This is the second in our series of lessons to be learnt from the events of 1971. This particular piece was written by the late M.P. Bhandara, then member of the Pakistan parliament, for Dawn in 2005. The intensity of the sentiment on stranded Pakistanis remains equally valid today.)

There is a blot of shame on the fair name of Pakistan. And each one of us, who has the means and the power to do something about it but chooses to be silent, bears the burden of this guilt.

The story is familiar enough. On December 16, 1971, the Pakistan created by the Quaid-i-Azam, was lost. A sizable population who had migrated from Bihar to East Pakistan at the time of partition were declared non-citizens by the new Bangladesh government. Being culturally and linguistically different, they had not fully integrated with the people of East Pakistan.

During the civil war in East Pakistan between March and December 1971, they readily opted to defend a united Pakistan. The army used (and abused) them as human shields for the more dangerous operations.

For this crime, they have never been forgiven by the people of Bangladesh. After the war, they were herded into unsanitary ghettos on a virtually prison diet. They were branded as “traitors”, and this mark of infamy remains on their children and even their children’s children to this day.

These “traitors” are now considered as “pariahs” by Pakistan that has stopped owning them for the reason that, on migration here, they are likely to settle in Sindh and join the ethnic political ranks of New Sindhis. The estimate of those now eligible for repatriation is said to be between 100,000 and 150,000.

How cynical can we get as a nation? We can tolerate the presence of a million plus illegals from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma and Afghanistan in Karachi but we shut the door tight on our “own” citizens.

We don’t recognize them as ours on the specious plea that they had migrated to East Pakistan. The logical tailpiece of this reasoning is that our eastern province was never considered part of the nation.

We accepted four million Afghan refugees in the 1980s and beat our breast in the name of Islamic solidarity. The truth is there was little solidarity but a case of push come to shove on a porous border.

Pakistan’s selective Islamic solidarity extends to Palestinians and Kashmiris, but not to Kurds in Iraq (when they were gassed) or the Sudanese in Darfur (currently in the throes of a genocide) and above all, to our own stranded “citizens” who made the mistake of their lives by siding with the Pakistan army and not the Mukti Bahini during the 1971 civil war, which is now commonly referred to as war of the Bangladesh liberation.

We choose to look the other way. This ugly blip is longer on our political radar screen. Islamic solidarity has suddenly vanished. Our rejection of these people exposes a visible crack in the mirror of Pakistan.

It calls into question the two-nation theory. Let us be honest and say that this theory was a means to an end and not an end in itself. The theory apparently died long ago when Pakistan was transformed “from a homeland for the Indian Muslims” to a theocratic Islamic state.

In any case, mass migration in the subcontinent is no longer possible and in the context of over 125 million Muslims in India, the two-nation theory does not seem to be operative for the time being.

This dichotomy on what Pakistan is or is not is the root cause of our carefully developed hypocrisy, double standards and sectarian violence. We have moved from one concept to another but find ourselves in limbo.

No wonder, the better part of our educated youth is alienated. The Quaid’s concept of Pakistan was a liberal, humanizing, outward-reaching modern state, which was a homeland for those Muslims of the subcontinent who chose to migrate at the time of partition.

The Quaid gave us the right direction, but instead, we have entered a black hole of pseudo-religiosity and are struggling to get out of it. Our amnesia on the stranded Pakistani issue calls into question our singular devotion to the Kashmir cause.

How is a suffering Kashmiri any different from a ghettoed Pakistani in Bangladesh? Both are Muslim. Does this not smack of hypocrisy and double standards? The former is regarded as a mazloom, the latter a “pariah”.

It must be heartrending to hear these “pariahs” sing the Pakistani national anthem and see them hoist our flag in the ghettos of Bangladesh on our national days.

The Rabita Trust Fund founded in 1988 succeeded in repatriating a few hundred families. It was frozen in 2001 and the process has since stopped. It is a shame that we must invite outside money to bring home our own citizens.

Have we lost all honour? We seem to have plenty of funds for all types of grandiose projects under the sun but cannot allocate a couple of hundred million rupees each year to recommence the process.

The government should meet the costs of improving the living condition in camps in Bangladesh, open schools and vocational centers and take immediate steps to repatriate 200 to 300 families annually and settle them in the Punjab. Where integration is possible in Bangladesh this should be encouraged by fiscal and other means.

Our parliament has a Kashmir committee on which millions are spent on members romping the globe to highlight the Kashmir cause with marginal results; the National Assembly can spend time to discuss the shortage of Sui gas in some remote town, it can spend hours to discuss the infringement of minor privileges of members, but it has never found the time to discuss the issue of stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh.

Not being true to ourselves shames all of us.

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Only in Pakistan

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Only in Pakistan

Posted on 26 November 2009 by PakBee - Total hits: 7,928

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