Tag Archives: helpless

‘They can shoot me, but I will not let them in with shoes’

Karachi – When Laxman saw four men entering the Hindu temple with their shoes on, he instantly yelled at them to stop in their tracks. But the only reward he got for trying to protect the sanctity of his place of worship was a beating. With every punch and kick, he was called names like Bhangi (sweeper) and Kafir (infidel).

“I can’t explain how I felt at that moment. I was both enraged and terrified,” said the 35-year-old resident of the Shri Rama Mandir compound in Soldier Bazaar.

The demolition of the century-old temple stirred a sense of insecurity among the already frightened Hindu community in the city and reaffirmed its belief that people practicing the religion existed as second-class citizens in Pakistan.

“I said they can shoot me if they like, but I won’t let them go in with shoes,” said Laxman, a man partially paralysed by a stroke.

Half of my body does not work, but at that moment, Rama Pir gave me the strength to fight, and I did what I could,” he said.

The men put the statues and tridents from the temple out on the ground. Then a bulldozer reduced the pre-partition Mandir to rubble. A number of houses in the compound were also demolished, rendering around a dozen families homeless. They even pried opened the donation box and took away the cash and jewellery, the residents alleged.

“We have been living in this compound since the British era”, said Maharaj Badriram, the priest of the Shri Rama Pir Mandir. “We never had any problems with the larger community, but the treatment meted out on this occasion was inhumane. People look to me for help, but now, I find myself helpless,” he said.

A 17-year-old Hindu boy, who took video footage of the planned demolition, claimed that some bearded men associated with a political party oversaw the destruction. “I don’t understand how people can insult the religion of others and expect respect in return,” he said.

The President of the Schedule Caste Federation Pakistan, Kalidas Khandara, said that people in the country take Hindus for granted. “They think we are weak, so they can intimidate us, but this time, it won’t happen.”

Protest

Hundreds of people from the Hindu community staged a peaceful rally from Doli Khata, Soldier Bazaar, to the Karachi Press Club to protest against the demolition of the Shri Rama Pir Mandir, which was illegally demolished on Saturday.

“Every time a temple is threatened, we have to run to the courts. It is the third time it has happened this year,” said Ramesh Kumar Wakwani, the head of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

“There should be a stipulated policy for our properties in this country; we are also a part of Pakistan.”

The protestors demanded that the government immediately restore the temple with all its dignity.

Wakwani said that the double standards against Hindus in the city could be gauged from the fact that those coming from outside and building shanty towns in Karachi get leases, but Hindus living here for more than a century were still considered illegal.

Speaking about the demolished temple, Kalidas Khandara of the Scheduled Caste Federation said that Ramapir Mandir was restored by the government in the year 2000, which went to show that the place of worship was not only registered, but received government grants as it was a\deserving heritage site.

Continue reading ‘They can shoot me, but I will not let them in with shoes’

ANALYSIS : For whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait now? – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Merit is a word made completely irrelevant by the successive regimes ruling the province for several years

The Minister of Petroleum informed the National Assembly that out of 1,584 positions filled in the oil and gas public sector, only 10 had gone to Sindh. Does the news bother anyone? And does another report that only two officers from rural Sindh have been hired out of 448 positions filled during the last three years in the same ministry perturb anyone of the 180 million conscientious people living in Pakistan? Considering Sindh produces around 70 percent of the total gas and oil in the country and the majority of sites are situated in Sindh, how this is justified is anyone’s guess. Why should it bother the majority? It is happening to Sindhis. So be it. When it happened to Bengalis, we did not care. Why should we now?

About 10 years ago, during the first Nawaz Sharif term, my friend Shah, son of the legendary Sindhi poet, Ustad Bukhari, was in Islamabad. Like the multitudes of Sindhi youth roaming the streets of Karachi and Islamabad looking for the men in the assemblies to help them find a source for subsistence, Shah too, having earned his engineering degree, was in Islamabad searching for a job. One day, he was lucky to have secured a pass to enter the National Assembly. Waiting in the lobby looking for someone to beg for a job, he spotted one of the most powerful ministers of the time. Shah rushed to the minister and handing the minister his application, he made his submission. The minister sensed from his accent where he could be from, asked him if he was a Sindhi. Shah replied affirmatively. At which the minister shoved the application back into Shah’s hands and walked away saying, “Then to get a job you should wait for the ‘Peepul Party’ to come to power.”

The ‘Peepul Party’(Pakistan People’s Party) has been in power twice since. The party is in power today and so is the minister, ironically. The minister in the above story is none other than Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Chaudhry Sahib may not remember the incident, but Shah does very well and so do all his friends, including me, to whom he related the episode. As jobless and helpless now as during Mr Sharif’s two terms, whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait for now to get jobs?

Continue reading ANALYSIS : For whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait now? – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Dying to Tell the Story

By UMAR CHEEMA

Islamabad, Pakistan: WE have buried another journalist. Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter for Asia Times Online, has paid the ultimate price for telling truths that the authorities didn’t want people to hear. He disappeared a few days after writing an article alleging that Al Qaeda elements had penetrated Pakistan’s navy and that a military crackdown on them had precipitated the May 22 terrorist attack on a Karachi naval base. His death has left Pakistani journalists shaken and filled with despair.

I couldn’t sleep the night that Saleem’s death was confirmed. The fact that he was tortured sent me back to a chilly night last September, when I was abducted by government agents. During Saleem’s funeral service, a thought kept haunting me: “It could have been me.”

Mourning journalists lined up after the service to console me, saying I was lucky to get a lease on life that Saleem was denied. But luck is a relative term.

Adil, my 2-year-old son, was the first person in my thoughts after I was abducted. Journalists in Pakistan don’t have any institutionalized social security system; those killed in the line of duty leave their families at the mercy of a weak economy.

When my attackers came, impersonating policemen arresting me on a fabricated charge of murder, I felt helpless. My mouth muzzled and hands cuffed, I couldn’t inform anybody of my whereabouts, not even the friends I’d dropped off just 15 minutes before. My cellphone was taken away and switched off. Despite the many threats I’d received, I never expected this to happen to me.

Sure, I had written many stories exposing the corrupt practices of high-ranking officials and pieces criticizing the army and the intelligence agencies. After they were published, Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s prime security agency, always contacted me. I was first advised not to write too much about them and later sent messages laced with subtle threats. But I never imagined action was imminent.

On Sept. 4, I was driven to an abandoned house instead of a police station, where I was stripped naked and tortured with a whip and a wooden rod. While a man flogged me, I asked what crime had brought me this punishment. Another man told me: “Your reporting has upset the government.” It was not a crime, and therefore I did not apologize.

Instead, I kept praying, “Oh God, why am I being punished?” The answer came from the ringleader: “If you can’t avoid rape, enjoy it.” He would employ abusive language whenever he addressed me.

“Have you ever been tortured before?” he asked.

“No,” I said.

“These marks will stay with you forever, offering you a reminder never to defy the authorities,” he replied.

They tortured me for 25 minutes, shaved my head, eyebrows and moustache and then filmed and photographed my naked body. I was dumped nearly 100 miles outside Islamabad with a warning not to speak up or face the consequences.

The following months were dreadful. I suffered from a sleep disorder. I would wake up fearing that someone was beating my back. I wouldn’t go jogging, afraid that somebody would pick me up again and I’d never return. Self-imposed house arrest is the life I live today; I don’t go outside unless I have serious business. I have been chased a number of times after the incident. Now my son asks me questions about my attackers that I don’t answer. I don’t want to sow the seeds of hatred in his heart.

When Saleem disappeared, I wondered if he had been thinking about his children, as I had. He had left Karachi, his hometown, after receiving death threats, and settled with his wife and three children in Islamabad. From there, he often went on reporting trips to the tribal areas along the Afghan border. Tahir Ali, a mutual friend, would ask him: “Don’t you feel scared in the tribal areas?” Saleem would smile and say: “Death could come even in Islamabad.” His words were chilling, and prescient.

The killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad is yet another terrifying reminder to Pakistani journalists. He is the fifth to die in the first five months of 2011. Journalists are shot like stray dogs in Pakistan — easily killed because their assassins sit at the pinnacle of power.

When Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered by militants in Karachi in 2002, his case was prosecuted and four accomplices to the crime were sentenced. This happened only because Mr. Pearl was an American journalist. Had he been a Pakistani, there would have been no justice.

Today, impunity reigns and no organization is powerful enough to pressure the government to bring Saleem’s killers to justice. Journalists have shown resilience, but it is hard to persevere when the state itself becomes complicit in the crime. Now those speaking up for Saleem are doing so at a price: they are being intimidated and harassed.

Pakistan is at a crossroads and so is its news media. In a situation of doom and gloom, Pakistani journalists offer a ray of hope to their fellow citizens and they have earned the people’s trust. Even the former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has admitted that people who once went to the police with complaints now go to the press.

But this trust will be eroded if journalists continue to be bullied into walking away from the truth. News organizations throughout the world must join hands in seeking justice for Saleem and ending the intelligence agencies’ culture of impunity. An award for investigative journalists should be created in his honor, as was done for Daniel Pearl. No stronger message could be delivered to his killers than making him immortal.

Umar Cheema is an investigative reporter at The News International, Pakistan’s largest English-language daily. He was a Daniel Pearl Fellow at The Times in 2008.

Courtesy: The New York Times

Animal Sacrifice or Blood Orgy? – By Syed Rizvi

Once again, Muslims around the world have “sacrificed” millions of animals in a three day period during the month of Eid-ul-Adha to please God.

Sacrifice inherently means that you part with something that is very close to your heart and experience a certain degree of pain during the process.

Abraham proceeded to sacrifice his son who was very close to his heart and with whom had great attachment.

This act of Abraham can be seen as a spirit of true sacrifice.

Today, if I say that I sacrificed an old sofa for a greater cause, I will be laughed at, since the sofa doesn’t mean much to me. However, this hypothetical act of mine is not much different from someone slitting the throat of a goat to please God and call it a sacrifice, since the person has had no attachment to the goat except a few bucks that he would soon forget.

I am just wondering if that is what God had in his mind when he asked us to follow a path in remembrance of Abraham’s devotion to God. Today what we do on the streets of Karachi during the Eid-ul Adha is a mockery of Abraham’s devotion to God.

It is beyond my comprehension that our God, whom we regard as compassionate and merciful finds pleasure watching a helpless camel with one of his front legs tied off the ground and two of his hind legs so closely tied together that he becomes incapable of using those legs independently. And apart from that, his jaws are tied with a rope that he cannot even brawl. And then, a pious looking person sticks a knife into the camel’s throat. The camel bleeds for tens of minutes and suffers excruciating pain until he dies.

Here are some examples:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oIbT6Plio8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3R6qhjplHM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws8ub3wo_hM&feature=related

To read more : newageislam

What is depression?

Depression is common illness that affects 20- 30% of world population. Depression can change a person’s thoughts, feelings, body and behaviour. It is treatable.

Common Symptoms & Signs: There are many symptoms associated with depression including: Feeling depressed, sad or empty most of days. The person no longer interested in or enthusiastic about things normally like to do. Lost interest in sex. Often feel agitated, restless or irritable? Feeling of helpless. Experiencing weight loss or gain or change in appetite. Feel tired or have little energy. Feeling of worthlessness. Feeling of guiltiness. Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions. Have recurring thoughts of death or suicide. Feeling of anxiousness. Have low self-esteem. Using alcohal or drugs to deal the problems. Productivity decreased. Problems with morale. Problems with cooperating. Frequently absent from work. Frequently experience unexplained aches and pains.

Causes of depression: Different theories about the causes are as following: Genetic- it runs in your family, Childhood circumstances, Biological causes- changes in body chemistry, prolonged periods of stress, Personality/attitude- pessimism, low self-esteem or worry can increase your vulnerability, other chronic medical conditions- such as stroke, heart disease, thyroid disorder, diabetes and sleep apnea. The consumption of sugar also contribute to multiply the depression. Typically these factors are interwoven and more than one may give to depression.