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Is Bilawal The Right Choice?

December 30, 2007 Leave a comment

Bilawal Bhutto 

Yes…possibly.  I say possibly because we barely know anything about him.  There are people that have said that he is too young and doesn’t know enough about the country and all of this.  My response to that is simply this:  Perhaps for the first time in the history of the PPP, there is the potential for a leader to emerge that is void of corrupt elements, is a fresh, new, young face that has the potential to unite the country the way his Mother had.  And this is one thing I have to concede, Benazir is perhaps the only actor in Pakistan that has united all four provinces.  Bilawal has the same potential.  He brings to the table a slate that is clean.  My only fear is that Zardari (seen to the left of Bilawal in the above photo) will take him astray and corrupt elements will follow.  If that is the case, he will have been no better than anyone else.  But the thing here is this, it is perfectly ok that he lacks experience and that he is of a young age because the fact of the matter is, the traditional politician has never really succeeded in Pakistan.  Bilawal brings something different to the table, as did his mother.  When Benazir was trust into the political theatre she was 26 I believe.  She did not have any experience either and today the PPP is the largest political party in Pakistan.  Bilawal has a great foundation that has been set by his mother.  He needs to take advantage of that, be principled, be his own man but at the same time listen to key people in the party and take on as many mentors as possible.  I believe Sherry Rehman has the potential to emerge out of this and become a good minister when Bilawal one day becomes the leader of Pakistan.  Zardari himself admitted that he is a divisive figure in Pakistan and it appears that the PPP didn’t really have an alternative other than Zardari so I think the PPP has taken a positive step in naming Bilawal co-chair of the party.  Time will tell how well all of this plays out.

*fingers crossed*

The Case For Musharraf – The National Post

December 30, 2007 Leave a comment

I came across an interesting article written by Conrad Black that essentially outlines the notion that despite the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the United States must continue to support Musharraf so as to further their interests vis a vis the war on terror.  I am not a fan of Black at all but its an argument worth reading.  Who knew I would share the same opinion as Conrad Black!

Read here.

Thoughts on Bhutto’s Asassination and Nuclear Weapons

December 29, 2007 Leave a comment

When leaders get assassinated, there is a tendency for people to immediately begin romanticizing the individual.  This is certainly the case with Bhutto.  Over the past few days since her assassination, I have heard bloggers and other people claim that she was the only hope for Pakistan, she was the path for Pakistan’s progression and all this other stuff.  Although I do not condone by any means her killing, we must put all of this into perspective.  From my observations, I would attribute this romanticism to her campaign.  As we all know, it is/was election time in Pakistan and for the most part, politicians or those that are running for office always say things to appeal to the most number of voters.  Let us Keep in mind all the corruption that Bhutto was alleged to have been involved with.  Let us not forget Asif Zardari, Mr. 10/40% the man.  Let us not forget that she was elected twice and deposed twice for these allegations of corruption.  Whether or not she was herself corrupt or was in the company of corrupt elements, it is her that was ultimately responsible for these allegations. 

Some of the dirtiest leaders Pakistan has ever had have been democratically elected.  But having said that, I do believe that her assassination was not right at all.  First off, Pakistan could have had another go at democracy, which isn’t really a bad thing.  Assuming Bhutto had one the election, I do not foresee the future of the country getting brighter.  But if Bhutto were to be elected and she messed up or didn’t perform to her expectations (really, which leader does?), at least the people of Pakistan would have nobody else to blame but themselves.  And I think that’s what Pakistan really needs to some extent.  They themselves have to start being accountable for the decisions that they make.  Patience in Pakistani politics is something that lacks severely.  Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe any democratically elected leader in Pakistan has ever served out their full term.  Elections have never been allowed to hold the status quo to account.  There has always been some element that would depose the leader at hand.  This gets to my cyclical theory of Pakistani Politics.  The politics of Pakistan are dictated by cyclical patters of dictatorship and democracy.  Right now, as we speak, we are just in the transition from dictatorship todemocracy.  Assuming that Bhutto would have been elected (she was the only one that had support in Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan and NWFP), give my cyclical theory, I am pretty sure that Bhutto would not have been able to serve out her term and Pakistan would be back to a dictatorship. 

personally, I am one of the few people that actually likes Musharraf.  I think he probably one of the best leaders Pakistan has ever had.  Pakistan was truly on the path to progression with him in power.  Even if he wasn’t democratically elected, I really don’t care.  Pakistan was doing much better in my opinion under his dictatorship than Bhutto’s and Sharif’s terms in office put together.  Now that Musharraf is a civilian, I still believe he can make positive changes for the country.  But at the same time, I think that it is time for the country to turn onto the path of democracy.  As much as Musharraf has done for Pakistan under his uniform, I come back to the issue of accountability.  The people of Pakistan under democracy will be ultimately responsible for the success or failure of their nation-state; just as how the people of the United States are responsible for the failures of their country by electing Bush. 

I quickly want to touch upon the issue of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and the fears that it may fall into the “wrong” hands.  This is all nonsense.  The nuclear weapons program is the most expensive investment that Pakistan has ever made.  The country has put an amazing amount of time and effort into their program and they aren’t about to let it go anytime soon.  I mean afterall, its a friggin nuclear weapons program.  Pakistanis know what the hell nukes are.  So they won’t readily allow non-state actors to just walk in and have their way with these weapons.  There was an analyst on television a few nights ago (forgot his name) who advocated fears that our weapons would fall into the hands of rogue elements.  He kept claiming that the United States does not know who guards the nukes, what kind of security measures are taking to guard them and all this other speculative question begging.  The fact of the matter is, just because certain foreign elements do not know how our weapons programs are guarded, does not automatically mean that they are unsafe.  If the country has invested so much time and energy into acquiring such weapons, they are going to spend at least, if not more time and energy safe guarding them.  The nukes are something that are near and dear to the army.  Even if there are elements within the army that cooperate with the Taliban or whoever, the upper echelons of the army are interested in Pakistan and nothing but Pakistan.  So to those that fear that our Nukes will fall into the hands of the crazies do not fully understand the extent to which the army is involved in the affairs of the country.  Even if there were rogue elements that took over the country, they would only have so much power because the army is the one that really controls access to weapons.  The army will not willingly allow any actor to breach the security of these weapons.  So to those that have these fears, I say to them, you do not fully understand Pakistan and I think you should really sit down and do your research and educate yourself as to what Pakistan really is.  Pakistanis are not stupid that they would just let anyone walk in and take their weapons away from them. 

Barenaked Ladies and Winter.

December 21, 2007 Leave a comment

I was just reading an article posted on Derivative. Here is part of what it had to say:

Perhaps Canadian culture is marked then by the myth of winter? I will not deny that. It is completely plausible that we’ve all bought into the idea, or have at least been fooled into thinking that this is the way things are (here, too, is a subject for another day). Some recent time I have wasted on YouTube, however, has left me reconsidering the place of winter in the shared borg-like Canadian conscious. Maybe I’ve spent too much time grumbling about the lack of snow that we all long for and then complain about when the real importance of winter on the Canadian soul is its short days of filtered sun or overcast afternoons of long shadows before the even longer night falls. The winter does force Canadians to run indoors and stay there, unless they’re willing to bundle up in either wool or synthetic knits for “winter sports.” Maybe something has happened to all of us, then, by spending too much time in our parents’ rec rooms and dens, that has altered the way our synapses fire vis-à-vis other national cultures? The time spent on YouTube wondering about this was based around a flurry of Canadian music videos. Many that I watched offered long shots of grizzled Canadians in the middle of winter, bundled up against the cold, wearing touques, singing while their breath condenses in front of them. Of course, a couple music videos featuring the Canadian winter does not mean that all Canadian music videos feature the Canadian winter. But at the same time, I hardly think that there has been a cabal of record label managers, artists and musicians who have decided over the ten years ago that Canadian culture must be developed by way snow and ice and wool and faux-fur on Super-8 film. There’s something organic to this trend that shows in the way in which our musicians visually display their aural art.

I went out tonight with some friends and it wasn’t bitterly cold outside but the wind that was blowing made it seem so.   Minus the wind, I actually like winter.  It is probably one of the most peaceful times of year. And the silence that lingers on a winter’s night is something that is rare to find on most places on earth.  Winter always reminds me of Bruce Cockburn’s “Lovers in a dangerous time.”  As it relates to the article above, the version that the Barenaked Ladies sang especially reminds me of winter.  This is partly in due to the fact that the music video that they shot for the song was during the winter times.  I find the video to be so lovely.  This is because well, once you watch it below, it is a simple video.  Nothing too fancy or special.  This is probably because they had a low budget to shoot.  But even having said that, it takes nothing away from the song.  Once you watch it, you’ll come to realize that it is authentically Canadian, not only for its simplicity but for the images of Canada and its winters that it explicitly invokes.

The first time I ever saw this video was back in the day when I was in grade 4 if I remember correctly. It aired on Much Music, back when Much Music was actually good.  I remember too that it was a cold winter night and I was cuddled up in a blanket.  Ever since that night when I first saw the song on TV, I have always associated it with winter.  Its a winter song.  I find that I can only truly appreciate this song when I listen to it in the winter season. I am actually reminded of another song that I can only really listen to in winter and that is “Bobcaygeon” by The Tragically Hip, which was also shot in winter. The lyrics of these songs only heighten this “wintery” feeling I get when listening. Unfortunately, I can’t find the video for TH on youtube right now otherwise I would have posted that as well. But watch BNL and tell me what you think.

Paul Chowdhry – Stand Up Comic

December 16, 2007 4 comments

My random time wasting on youtube led me to this: Paul Chowdhry, an Asian comic from the UK. This guy’s style is really funny. His deliveries are really good and well…he just makes me laugh. His interactions with the audience are especially hilarious. I’ll give you guys two clips to watch. Good stuff.

I Wish I Could Go Back In Time

December 15, 2007 11 comments

Lately I have had trouble sleeping.  Its these thoughts…these vicious thoughts that hit you like a brick wall. Literally…the type of thoughts that will wake you up just like that…as if a there was a loud sound or noise that just wakes you up.  These thoughts have robbed me of my sleep.  And its one of the sickest feelings in the world.

During these sleepless nights, I have come to this harsh realization.  I truly lack discipline.  I am completely void of any discipline in my life, especially my school life.  And this got me thinking.  How and why did I lose this discipline? Because I did have it once.  I had it all throughout Junior high.  For three years, I excelled in almost every class I had took.  But then high school came around and I guess that’s where it withered away.  By the time University came around, I had pretty much lost all of it.  And each and every semester its gets more and more ridiculous. 

As bad as it was, I wish I could go back to high school and start all over again.  I wish I could go back and develop proper study habits and actually learn how to study properly.  Then that way, I wouldn’t have had to go through the hell that I had to to get into University.  I wouldn’t have had to go through all that depression that I had suffered through.  I would have been happy in University. I would have had good, proper, efficient study habits and discipline…which would have given me motivation and determination to do what I had to do to get a good GPA so that I wouldn’t lay in bed awake, terrified at what my future will hold for me.  I wish I had taken opportunities and more chances.  I wish I lived in a dorm, by myself.  I wish I could have taken a semester abroad.  I wish I could have met a girl.  Life could be so much more easier if I could just go back in time.  They say that your teens and your 20s are the best years of your life so you should enjoy them because they are not coming back.  Do you know how scary that phrase is? Just say it back in your head…”those days are never coming back…” You have no idea how scared that phrase made me a few nights ago. The more I thought about it, the more panicked I got.  My stomach began to feel sick, my legs got numb.  These days that go by me everyday are never coming back.  As much as I may have accomplished throughout the years, I really feel that the majority of the days that have passed me have been a waste to one extent or the other. 

The sad thing is, I don’t know what to do…

Father Murders Daughter Allegedly Over Hijab – Commentary

December 11, 2007 10 comments

Aqsa Parvez If you haven’t already heard about this story, it can be found here, or type in “Aqsa Parvez”  into Google News.

As a Muslim, I find this extremely tragic and embarrassing.  Afterall, this is  Canada. Things like this are not supposed to happen in my country.  Moreover, although some may argue that Hijab is something that is compulsory in Islam, it certainly does not warrant murdering one’s daughter.  Afterall, in the Quran, it clearly states that if someone kills one person, it is as if they have killed all of humanity.  It is even more tragic to learn that the brother may have had a hand in this alleged murder. 

Aqsa Parvez

Daughters and sisters are gifts from God.  I have younger siblings, none of whom are sisters.  I have always wished that I had a older or younger sister because it seems like they always bring happiness and joy into the house.  And I am pretty sure I can attribute my desire to have a daughter once I get married.  Truly, they are gems.  I can understand a father’s desire to not only protect his daughter but to have her conform to a belief system which is in her best interest.  But to go to such an extent where one would be driven into a murderous rage is beyond comprehendable.  When this case will be heard in court, I pray to God that this girl’s father will not play the religion card and justify her murder by using Islam.  First of all, this is not true at all and secondly, it will continue to bring down the Muslim community as a whole.  And even if he does use that argument, I hope that people realize that these types of “honour killings” are purely based on twisted cultural practises that are not only outdated today, they were outdated hundreds of years ago (in the context of Islam). 

Aqsa Parvez Memorial

I know that this is very early but it seems to me that this man forgot one thing that Islam inherently teaches all of us: to use rationality and reason.  Islam is not a cut and paste religion.  Contrary to what both Muslims and non-Muslims believe, Islam is inherently philosophical.  We are taught not to follow anything blindly and to be critical so that we may discover its logic which in turn helps us understand Islam more thoroughly and bring us closer to its beliefs.  It seems as though this man, and indeed many others, fail to realize this or completely dismiss it all together.  There is no force in Islam.  Islamically, nobody can force a girl to wear a Hijab.  The purpose of the Hijab, among other things, is to remind the girl of her Islamic beliefs and keep her away from things which are forbidden.  If a girl has no desire to wear a scarf, the whole purpose of the meaning behind it is defeated.

Aqsa Parvez Teens will be teens.  They fight with their parents.  They rebel.  We have all done that when we were younger.  If she didn’t want to wear the Hijab today, it is quite possible that she would have chosen to wear it tomorrow.  It is all about the learning experience.  I have found that we are rarely taught how Merciful Allah really is.  If we sit and pray one night and sincerely repent for our past sins, we are forgiven.  Its as simple as that.  Mercy is bestowed upon us to the extent that when we perform ablution prior to praying, each drop of water that falls from our bodies during that ablution is one sin that is forgiven.  One cannot become pure if first they are not involved in some sort of impurity (not to be taken out of context).  Having said that, it is quite possible that given her life experiences she may have chosen to wear a Hijab somewhere down the road, as is the case with so many Muslim women.  Even if she didn’t end up wearing it, with proper teachings and guidance by her parents she could have become a very good Muslim and thus a good person and human being.  But to force someone, especially a teenager at that, to conform to a world view that she does not share is futile.  It seems as though, under the logic of the father, the image of the Hijab was far more important than the actual meaning behind it.  This is why all of this is so unfortunate. 

 Amandeep Atwal This incident also reminds me of Amandeep Atwal, the Vancouver teen who was also murdered by her father in a fit of rage in 2003.  Amandeep’s murder wasn’t strictly based on religion.  She was stabbed to death by her father because she had a white boyfriend and the father didn’t agree to the relationship. That case can be read about here.  In this case, the father received an automatic life sentence.  Lets hope the father in Aqsa’s tragic case recieves the same.