Tag Archives: inspiration

Sadequain forever

IMG_7301بول کے لب آزاد ہیں تیرے

بول، زباں اب تک تیری ہے

تیرا ستواں جسم ہے تیرا

بول کہ جاں اب تک تیری ہے

دیکھ کے آہن گر کی دکاں میں

تند ہے شعل، سرخ ہے آہن

کھلنے لگے قفلوں کے دہانے

پھیلا ہر اک زنجیر کا دامن

بول، یہ تھوڑا وقت بہت ہے

جسم و زباں کی موت سے پہلے

بول کہ سچ زندہ ہے اب تک

بول، جو کچھ کہنا ہے کہہ لے

Like mother like daughters

Every day is women’s day.

The International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been coming about for well over a century – and continues to grow from strength to strength.

This day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975. The General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be remarked on any day of the year by Member States.

Obsession is, the domination of one’s thoughts or impressions by a persistent idea, image, or desire. Since I met with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, I am obsessed with her fearlessness, her vision for democracy, her views on human rights and freedom of speech. Today Pakistan is celebrating the International Women’s day, I would like to share not a pleasant incident, but it is linked to her bravery.

On Nov 27 1991 a friend of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Farhana Veena Hayat was assaulted by five gunmen at her residence in Karachi. Ms Farhana Veena Hayat was the daughter of Sardar Shaukat Hayat, a prominent member of the All India Muslim League and granddaughter of Sir Sikander Hayat, chief minister of united Punjab.

She accused the province’s home affairs adviser, Irfanullah Marwat, a son-in-law of the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, of having ordered the violation. She claimed the rape was politically motivated because of her friendship with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. There were two other cases set out the limelight because of Farhana Hayat’s case, Khursheed Begum and Rahila Tiwana, a Pakistan Peoples Party student activist. All three women were connected with PPP.

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She was raped to send me a message. This is the worst sort of male prejudice, male chauvinism to send a message to a woman political leader by raping her friend, her supporters: Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto led her Pakistan People’s Party, chanting “Fascists,” in an unprecedented walkout from President Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s ceremonial address to a session of Parliament. Firing tear-gas canisters and swinging batons, police later drove 2,000 Bhutto supporters away from the heavily guarded Parliament House. Ghulam Ishaq Khan denied any official complicity. He told the reporters that the charges against Irfan Ullah Marwat are nothing more than fabrication.

Initially, the Sindh. The government tried to sink off the case as one of audacity and assault. The police even refused to lodge an FIR. Benazir Bhutto, along with several political parties and women’s organizations, established a countrywide campaign demanding the arrest of the offenders but no arrests were made. Protests over the rape of Farhana Hayat reached a peak on 12 December 1991 when rallies were called in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi

On Dec 12 1991 the Sindh government formed a one-man tribunal consisting of Abdul Rahim Qazi of the Sindh High Court to test the case. The tribunal’s report, presented to the Sindh government two weeks later and made public. The tribunal cleared Mr Irfan Ullah Marwat of any engagement in the rape and also concluded there was no political motive behind the rope.

Mr Irfan ullah Marwat remained highly controversial during the term of office of all powerful Sindh Chief ministers, the late Jam Sadiq Ali. The two, along with the former DIG CIA, Samiullah Marwat, were blamed by Benazir Bhutto for unleashing a reign of terror on the PPP leaders and workers, which reminded her of the days of the late General Ziaul Haq.

Mr Irfan Ullah Marwat, who was elected from the PS-114 constituency on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) ticket, met Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari on 24TH February 2017 at the Bilawal House and announced joining the party. I just got blanked when I heard this news, couldn’t understand how to respond.

While I was in shock BB’s daughter came to the deliverance;

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All faiths and all societies have given parents an honourable status. From a purely material standpoint, we find ourselves indebted to our parents, I am sure it must have been very difficult for Miss Bakhtawar Bhutto and Aseefa Bhutto to show their disagreement publicly, but it was the training of their brave mother who taught her children how to show your disagreement without being rude. Our indebtedness to our parents is so immense that it is not possible to repay it in full. Bakhtawar Bhutto and Aseefa Bhutto you are an inspiration for millions this year and years to come. I hope you always will stand strong for the women of Pakistan.

Disabled does not mean less abled

I have got a bad habit of watching news first thing in the morning ,most of the time there is always one bad news which causes stress for the rest of the day, last year on doctor’s advice I have stopped watching news and talk shows to avoid stress, for a change few week ago I tuned a news channel which was showing a protest of the people with disabilities, who were demanding from Balochistan government to ensure implementation of quota in government services and few other demands and in few minutes Police started manhandling the protesters to clear the route for a government official. The disabled persons have been protesting for five months to press the authorities for acceptance of their demands but none of their demands are met.
This was not the first incident, in December 2014 and 2016 on International day of people with disabilities a group of blind protesters who were protesting to increase job quota for them in government institutions were brutally manhandled by Punjab Police.
When I tried to find some statistics of people with disabilities in Pakistan I got surprised after finding out that the last census in Pakistan was conducted in 1998 after a gap of 16 years. Holding census is a constitutional requirement which is not being met. In March 2015 Prime Minister of Pakistan with the consent of four provinces announced country’s sixth census to be held in March 2016, unfortunately it has not been conducted to date. Now Federal Government is willing to carry out census in March 2017. If the government does not have the statistics of people with disabilities the budgetary allocations will always be wrong. So, the first hindrance that persons with disabilities encounter is statistics.
It took me some time to find an institution who can provide statistics, after putting some efforts I managed to contact Helping Hand for Relief and Development a private NGO who produced a detailed report about the People with disabilities Statistics in Pakistan.
According to 1998 census Pakistan had 3.28 million people with disabilities. According to Helping Hand’s report of 2012 population of PWDs in Pakistan was 5.035 million, which is more than the population of any of the individual countries population of Norway, New Zealand, Lebanon or Kuwait. From within Pakistan, PWDs population is more than the combined population of three cities i.e. Multan, Hyderabad and Peshawar. It is estimated that around 1.4 million are the children of school going age including 0.6 million girls.
The data incorporated in publication at district, provincial and national level should’ve facilitated the researchers, policy makers, planners, government departments and welfare organizations. It should’ve helped the governments to address the issues and vulnerabilities of PWDs but after witnessing protests in Quetta and Lahore subsequently I believe provincial governments have wasted the efforts of Helping Hands.
Disabled Persons’ Employment and Rehabilitation Ordinance initially promulgated in 1981. The declaration established responsibility of the State toward the prevention of disabilities, protection of rights of persons with disabilities and provision of medical care, education, training, employment, and rehabilitation to the persons with disabilities.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. Pakistan became the 101st country to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities when former President Asif Ali Zardari signed the Instrument of Ratification on UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in September 2008.In 2009 PPP government took some measures by launching special CNIC scheme for the special persons. The main purpose was to identify special people throughout the country and provide them facilities.

Special Citizens Act, 2008 seeks to provide the accessibility to disabled citizens at every public place, with regard to allocation of seats in public transports, provision of facilities on footpaths for wheelchairs and blind persons. Similarly, while crossing the roads special citizens must be given priority. Under this act, government shall make the concerned authorities bound, before the construction of buildings in public or private sectors particularly in Educational Institutions, Banks, Hospitals, Shopping Malls, Police Stations, Airports, Railway Stations, Bus Stops, Hotels and at every public place to provide the facility of access of wheelchairs. After the 18th  Constitutional Amendment in 2011, the provincial governments have been empowered to take further initiatives.
We cannot force the governments but we can at least raise awareness through different means, social media can play an important role to educate people. Our overall cultural apprehensiveness on how we treat and interact with disability is questionable, let the change begin at primary level. Let us educate our children from young age to respect without discrimination. Let us educate people to stop calling them with ugly names certain terms that were once considered politically correct are now offensive. The terms “retarded” was once considered correct, as so many people use in impertinent fashion but not any longer. We need to celebrate our co-equals for their differences. As a society, we have the responsibility to promote the inclusion of our differences. When interacting with someone with a disability, we can be respectful in both our words and actions. It may be easier to understand how to interact with people who have disabilities if we imagine having a disability ourselves. Think about how we would want people to talk to or treat us?
Let us discourage discrimination and create a more tolerant world.

Women : face of Islam

Aerial view of Hijr e Ismail,picture credit googleimages

I travel to open my heart and eyes and learn more around the world than our books will accommodate.I travel to bring what little I can in my ignorance and knowledge,to those parts of the globes whose riches are differently dispersed.Six years ago I travelled to Mecca to perform Hajj in search of few unanswered questions.

Hajj is one of mankind’s most enduring rites for more than 1400 years.The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their household during their absence. There are about 3 million Muslims from all over the World perform Hajj and approximately 4 million Muslims perform Umrah every year.The present form of Hajj was established by Muhammad with its roots in the chronicle of Abraham, the Hajj is a set of rituals performed every year for five days in the month of Zia-Hajj. Pilgrims follow the route of Muhammad, who went on only one Hajj. It begins in Mecca, before moving to the desert of Mina, then to Arafat, for a day-long vigil, then to the rocky plain of Muzdalifah, a few miles away, where pilgrims collect pebbles to ritually stone the Devil, and then brings back to Mina for three days. Back in Mecca, pilgrims bid farewell to the Kaaba.

What is so special about the Hajj that it is expected to produce close to significant changes in the personality, attitude, and outlook of a person? Is there anything magical in the rites and rituals of the Hajj that produces the changes, or is it the constant conscious effort on the part of the performer to inculcate in himself/herself the spirit of those rites and rituals which brings close to the desired changes?What is the most significant aspect of this adoration?

Since my return from Hajj I have consulted many accounts written on Hajj to learn the essence and core lesson from Hajj.Majority of the accounts discuss about the rewards of Hajj , seldom scholars have pointed out towards the literal message.

While browsing many accounts on Hajj I came across a quote from Jaffer Sadiq;

“Ismail buried his mother Hajr in the area of Hijr e Ismail and then constructed a wall over it so that people would not step her grave.”

The whole practice of Hajj hides in these lines ,this tradition is further explained by Dr Ali Shariti in his account on Hajj,he elaborates;

Toward the west of Kaaba there is a semi-circular short wall which faces Kaaba. It is called Ismail’s Hajar. Hajar signifies lap or skirt. The semi lunar wall resembles a skirt.Sarah, the wife of Ibrahim had a black maid called Hajar. Here was a woman who was not honoured enough to become a second wife to Ibrahim yet Allah connected the symbol of Hajar‘s skirt to His symbol, Kaaba.The skirt of Hajar was the region in which Ismail was raised. The house of Hajar is there. Her grave is near the third column of Kaaba.

What a surprise since no one, not even the prophets, is reckoned to be buried in mosques, but in this case, the house of a black maid is located next to Allah’s house! Hajar, the mother of Ismail is buried in that location. Kaaba extends toward her grave. There is a narrow passage between the wall (Hajar’s skirt) and Kaaba. When circumambulating around Kaaba, Allah commanded that you must go around the wall not through the passage otherwise your Hajj will not be taken on.

Those who believe in monotheism and those who have accepted Allah’s invitation to travel to Hajj must touch this skirt when circumambulating the Kaaba. The grave of a black African maid is now a part of Kaaba; it will be circumambulated by man forever! Today the infection of social profiling still remains where we are judged on the colour of our skin, caste, social class or even beliefs.  How wonderful is this symbol that Ismael planted?A flag of equality at the entrance of the all knowing, all seeing Great creator’s household. Now we can affirm the Kaaba is humanity’s bastion.

Allah, the Almighty  needs nobody and nothing. However, among all His countless and eternal creatures, Allah has chosen one, mankind, the noblest of them.From among all humanity: a woman, From among all women: a slave, And from among all slaves: a black housemaid!

The weakest and most humiliated one of His creatures was given a place at His side and a room in His house. He has come to her house and become her neighbour.. Hence now, there are two, Allah and Hajar, under the ceiling of this “HOUSE”!

The rites of Hajj are a memory of Hajar. The word Hijrah (migration) has its root in her name as does the word immigrant.

Hajar‘s grave is in the midst of man’s circumambulation of Kaaba. You, the immigrant, who has disassociated himself from everything and accepted Allah’s invitation to go to Hajj, you will circumambulate Hajar’s grave and the Kaaba of Allah simultaneously. The planets rotate around the sun, the electrons around the nucleus, rotating around such a center mean allegiance with love. Tens of thousands circumambulating around the Kaaba and Hajr like the galaxy turning together with billions of stars.

Although the history of hajj goes back to Ibrahim’s era, but Islam contributed furthermore towards Hajr.In the second year after Hijrah according to some traditions Prophet Muhammad was  commanded to change direction of prayers from Mosque Al-Aqsa to The Holy Kaaba.Prayers have become a constant reminder about  the importance of women. Stand in respect when you embark on your prayers and bow down to bury your ego to acknowledge the status of WOMEN and thank Almighty God in Sujood for giving you this chance to infer.It is hard to realise.But for those who think they live in freedom and defend humanism, the significance of these incidents transgresses the scope of their apprehension.

 

 

Esteem is an unassuming resounding force. It means being treated with consideration and esteem and to have a regard for other peoples’ feelings, listening to people and discovering them, i.e. giving them one’s full attention. Even more importantly, respect means treating one with dignity. Respect is the opposite of humiliation and contempt. Hence, where the latter can be a cause of conflict, the former and its opposite can help translate it. How do you feel when you are appreciated , honoured and respected ?

Do women need any legislation to protect themselves under such commandment ?

be respectful to women,for they are the mothers of mankind.”

This article first published in The Nation