Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Smashing Pumpkins Always Know What To Say

Sleep will not come to this tired body now
Peace will not come to this lonely heart
There are some things I'll live without
But I want you to know that I need you right now























Come on guys, let's get this done. Marion and Bell for Kobe. If the Lakers balk at that (they shouldn't), throw in next year's Atlanta pick as well. Let's get this shit done.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Oops

This, my friends, is brilliant.

Quote of the day
You can't at whim and fancy convert from one religion to another.

Malaysia's Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz underlining the hypocrisy that exists in Islam regarding conversions. Converting to Islam? You're actively encouraged. Converting from Islam? You're simply not allowed to, and in some instances, are threatened with death as prescribed by state law.

Remember, kids: there's no compulsion in Islam.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Excerpt of the day

You see, this is why I love Pakistan.
The battle-lines between the Sunni sectarian groups and the government were now drawn and throughout 1999 there were thirty-six extra judicial killings of activists from the SSP [Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan] and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The police were told that anyone who managed to kill Basra [Riaz Basra, head of LeJ] would be given a 5 million-rupee reward.

Despite this, the security forces proved incapable of controlling the militants' activities. Riaz Basra showed his contempt for the police's capabilities when he turned up at one of Nawaz Sharif's political surgeries. Having slipped in with the petitioners who wanted to see the prime minister, Basra positioned himself directly behind Nawaz Sharif and got one of his accomplices to take a picture. Three days later staff at the prime minister's house received a print of the photograph. The faces of Sharif and Basra, within a few feet of each other, had been circled and underneath there was an inscription: 'It's that easy.'

From Owen Bennett-Jones' book, the best 16 dollar investment you'll ever make.

Shameless quotes of the day

But if the only way to prevent Iran from being a nuclear weapons power is to destroy one or more facilities that will give them that capability I see no moral basis for rejecting that option.
______

Even after recognising that some of the information [on Iraq's WMD] was wrong, the judgment that Saddam proposed a threat and a serious threat was right.

Richard Perle, living up to that most neoconservative of proverbs: once bitten, never, ever, EVER shy.

'Oh I'm very religious. Got Milk?'

The record for bumblefuckery has been smashed, yet again. And kudos to Al Dastur for the last line, I loved it.

CAIRO -- A professor at Egypt's Islamic Al Azhar university Monday retracted a controversial religious edict which states that a woman can only be left alone with a strange man if she breastfeeds him.

Ezzat Attia, president of the university's Hadith department which studies traditions based on the Prophet Mohammed's words and deeds, withdrew his fatwa and apologized for any inconvenience he caused, in a statement distributed by Al Azhar, Sunni Islam's main seat of learning.

Attia's edict, which sparked an uproar in the media, stated that a woman can only be alone with a man to whom she is not related - such as an office colleague - if she nurses him "directly from her breast" at least five times.

In his retraction, Attia said the fatwa had been a result of his personal analysis of Islamic texts and was in fact "a bad interpretation of a particular case" during the time of Prophet Mohammed.

According to Mabruk Attia, a professor of theology at Al Azhar, the Prophet had advised a woman to nurse her adult adopted son, to become his wet nurse, following an Islamic ban on adoption.

The woman gave the man her milk from a bowl, and not directly from her breast, Mabruk Attia said.

The fatwa sparked a furore in Egyptian and Arab religious circles and in the press.

"If the country's top cleric himself had made the same statements, he would not be considered respectable," Malika Yussef, a professor of theology at Al Azhar told the weekly Al Karama paper. She said even debating the issue was "insane."

"When you walk into a government building, you should not be shocked to find a 50-year-old civil servant suckling his colleague," the independent daily Al Dustur said ironically after the fatwa was issued.

The World's Subways


This is one of the coolest websites ever. It details, on a uniform scale, some (most?) of the world's subway systems. A few quick observations:

1. Damn, London is bigger than I thought.
















2. Damn, Tokyo is smaller than I
thought. Really well connected though (obviously).



3. Paris! Tu me manques!



4. I feel very inadequate living in Chicago, comparing our subway system to others around the world. Come on, CTA, let's add some lines just for the hell of it!













5. Atlanta's subway looks like the L.A. subway's younger brother.






6. Beijing's subway is hilarious. It really is an ode to minimalism. I guess Confucious wasn't kidding when he said that there is "one single thread binding my way together".




Monday, May 28, 2007

Photograph of the day

I've seen plenty of accidents in my time, but I don't think I've ever seen one where a car looks suspicously like it's raping another.

Photo credit: Khanana's photos, via Metroblogging Karachi.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Is This Really Funny Or Really Sad?

Disclaimer: This post constitutes an effort by me to keep Five Rupees as something less than completely depressing.

So I was surfing Slate as I'm wont to do on a lazy Saturday morning and I clicked on their advice coumn which is called Dear Prudence. Now, I have a strong distaste for advice columns because I remember reading one in Young World when I was a kid (note to non-Pakistanis: Young World is a weekly children's magazine that comes with Dawn). Anyways, the Young World woman always had the same answer: concentrate on your studies. It really didn't matter what the question was, the advice was the same. "I'm thirteen, have acne, and everyone else makes fun of me." Solution? "Concentrate on your studies." "I'm eleven, I like this girl in my class, she doesn't know me, what should I do?" "Concentrate on your studies." ""I broke my leg trying to save my mom from my dad who beats her, any ideas?" "Concentrate on your studies." Anyone who read Young World in the early 90s knows exactly what I'm talking about. The point being, I have a natural disinclination to read these bullshit advice columns based on what transpired in my childhood.

Anyways, as I said, I clicked on this advice column, and honestly, it was the best decision I've ever made. For one thing, it convinced me of how normal my life is, which is always nice. More importantly, however, was the sheer comedic value of some of the things in there. I think this particular plea for counsel took the cake.
Dear Prudence,
My ex and I divorced nearly 10 years ago; we have two children and share custody. We have both since remarried, and our relationship is very friendly. Now that our children are older and busy, family time is harder to find, so we've decided to share beach week this year. He and his wife will take the first three days along with our two children and his stepdaughter. My husband and I will take the last four days. All the kids (his stepdaughter also) will stay for the entire week. He will pay for three days, and I will pay for four. If it were only our children going, that would be fine with me, but his stepdaughter will also be there, so I feel that he and his wife should pay for his stepdaughter's portion of the vacation. I prorated the costs, having him pay for one of our children's time at the house, me paying for one of our children's time, and he and his wife paying for his stepdaughter's time. I also included a proration schedule for the adults so that he pays only for three days for himself and his wife, with me paying the remaining four days for me and my husband. He thinks I'm nitpicking and we should not worry about the kids. Well, that's nice for his stepdaughter to get a free four-day beach vacation! How would you break down the pricing for this vacation?

—Wanting Fairness

Dear Wanting,
How would I break down the pricing? I'm having a breakdown just thinking about your spreadsheet. What do you say to the stepdaughter at breakfast? "Caitlin, please, you've taken all the cream cheese the prorating allows." Your ex is right, you are being ridiculously nitpicky (could this have been an issue in your marriage?). Be glad everyone gets along, make sure they all wash off their feet before coming into the house, and leave the proration schedules for the office.

I think it's safe to say that Dear Prudence has found her way to my permanent reading list. The column has the added benefit of being named after my favorite Beatles song, so it's a no-brainer, really.

Goodbye Cruel World...


Don't paricularly want to add to the gloom currently enveloping the blog, but just read this story (courtesy metroblogging karachi)and fuck em all, seriously, fuck em all...
Here's an excerpt:

"Nobody came to collect the body of the elderly driver of an Edhi Ambulance, Serive Faiz-ur-Rahman, 65, to carrying out his funeral. Rahman was murdered in cold blood by rampaging terrorists on May 12 when he refused to throw out the injured man in his ambulance, who he was shifting to the hospital from in front of Karachi airport, which was one of the day’s battle grounds.

After keeping the body in the Edhi morgue for three days in the hope that some family members or relatives would come up to collect the body for his funeral, Faiz-ur-Rahman was buried as an ‘unclaimed’ person by his friends and employees of the Edhi Trust at the Mauch Goth graveyard in Karachi on Tuesday, hundreds of miles away from Naushehra, his ancestral town in the NWFP.

“On May 12 noon, terrorists were firing even on ambulances and no ambulance driver wanted to take the risk of moving injured and the dead from the battle ground. They were shooting at ambulances to keep them at a distance from the sites of their killing sprees,” an Edhi Trust employee recalls.

Faiz volunteered for the job and reached Wireless Gate near Karachi Airport despite intense firing, from where he picked up two injured, Zubair along with his two relatives as well as another unidentified person in critically wounded condition.

“At Chota Gate, some armed terrorists stopped the ambulance and asked Faiz-ur-Rahman to throw them out from the ambulance and let them die on the road. He refused, arguing he would even shift them (terrorists) to hospital if they get injured,” another Edhi ambulance driver and a colleague of deceased Faiz-ur-Rahman told The News requesting anonymity.

“On his refusal, one of the armed terrorist shot Faiz in the head from point-blank range. He was shot three times, once in the skull, then in the neck and later in the abdomen. It was a cold-blooded murder instead of what media reported as an accidental killing,” he claimed.

The merciless terrorists even went a step ahead and did not allow another Edhi ambulance driver to transport Faiz’s body to hospital. There was an attempt to burn the other ambulance, he informed adding that on intervention from one of their accomplices, they (terrorists) allowed him to remove the body."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Children

I saw a baby sitting on the road alone yesterday. She was about 8 months old. I was in my car, standing at an intersection. I looked around and couldn’t see her mother. There was just one other beggar on the street, which was a 5 year old girl. The baby girl just stared at me while I stared at her. It depressed the hell out of me, and made me hate Karachi a little bit more. The light went green and I drove off like everyone else.

A while back, I met a 17 year old who said he had been picked up at random by the police on a false FIR (First Information Report). He had been hung, and electrocuted for around a month if my memory serves me correctly. They asked him for information on 2 or 3 of Karachi’s most famous gangsters. Having no connection, he obviously didn’t have any information. They then asked him for Rs 30'000, an amount which he did not have, and refused to stop torturing him until he paid. I recently investigated his story, and it is in fact true.

On Sunday, a friend’s son asked him if Mohajirs are Hindus, and if that was why they were killing Pathans in the city. My friend was horrified, and has since considered moving back to his village so that his children's minds are not poisoned. I reminded him that we grew up here in Karachi during the 80’s and 90’s through some of the worst ethnic fighting, and we turned out fine. As long as he was sure his own mind would free from prejudice, I estimated his children’s would as well. But I did say there was a chance that his children would be part of a shrinking minority of reasonable citizens when they became older.

I saw another boy today. He was about 8 years old. He was swinging about on the iron fencing that separates the Forum from the road/parking strip ( The Forum is a shopping centre in an affluent neighborhood). A guard came to him while he was swinging from the fence, and grabbed the boy’s arm. He twisted it around with severe force, and made the boy cry, ostensibly for swinging from the Forum fence. He held the boy in that position for some time. My friend went to him and asked what he was doing. The guard just looked at him in the eye, let go, and walked off. There were about 50 people on the street who sat and watched, and most lost interest within the first few seconds of the boy being hassled. The kid then asked us for money, and we said no.

Its been a bad few months in that way. I am hoping Karachi will stop giving me reasons to fear and hate it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Obama And His Prospects

Andrew Sullivan gets all fellatial over Obama and his chances in '08, saying that America yearns for change and that Obama best represents the notion of change.
The overwhelming first impression that you get - from the exhausted but vibrant stump speech, the diverse nature of the crowd, the swell of the various applause lines - is that this is the candidate for real change. He has what Reagan had in 1980 and Clinton had in 1992: the wind at his back. Sometimes, elections really do come down to a simple choice: change or more of the same?

Look at the polls and forget ideology for a moment. What do Americans really want right now? Change. Who best offers them a chance to turn the page cleanly on an era most want to forget? It isn't Clinton, God help us. Edwards is so 2004. McCain is a throwback. Romney makes plastic look real. Rudy does offer something new for Republicans - the abortion-friendly, cross-dressing Jack Bauer. But no one captures the sheer, pent-up desire for a new start more effectively than Obama.

There's just a couple of points to be made about this, points that are so obvious I feel stupid making them. One, Obama is going to have quite a time just getting the Democratic nomination. While pundits all around the country may have a strong dislike for Hillary, the fact remains she's the front-runner. The latest polls give her a 15 percentage point lead (38-23) over Obama with Democratic voters. Now, it's patently true that it's waaay early and that at this point, poll numbers matter little in the larger scheme of things. But the presumption that Obama is more popular with "the base" than Hillary really needs to be revised. He's not, and merely wishing it will not make it so.

The second point to make is that even if Obama gets through Hillary (and John Edwards, don't forget about him), he's going to have to win two of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida to win the Presidency. That assertion is based on the assumption that all "true" blue states will vote blue and all "true" red states will vote red in 2008. I think that assumption is a reasonable one to make because politics in America is increasingly a team-game, i.e., people vote for whoever is on their "team" even if they can't particularly stand them. In other words, no matter what evangelical Christians have to say at this point, if it comes down to McCain/Hillary or McCain/Obama, they're going to vote for McCain. So when it comes down to it, all that matters is Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Now, can Obama win two of those? Sure he can. Will Obama win two of those? Who the hell knows? All I do know is the following: if the election were held today, Obama would lose Ohio to both McCain and Guilani, by six and eights points respectively. In Florida, he would tie with McCain but lose to Guilani by a massive 11 points. In Pennsylvania, he would lose to Guilani by four points and beat McCain by a meager two points, well within what I would imagine is the margin of error. The lesson? He better hope he's not going up against Guilani. Even beating McCain would be really tough.

Look, I love Obama. He's a great guy, he's a great speaker, and most importantly, he's a leader, not a politician. It's not often that Charles Krauthammer, Tom Friedman, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks and Nicholas Kristof agree on something, but they all agree with the assertion that Obama would be a great President. I back that contention completely; if I was American, I'd vote for him. But that doesn't matter, the facts on the ground do. And the facts on the ground tell you that Obama will, in all probability, not even win the Democratic nomination. If he does win the Democratic nomination he will, in all probability, not win the Presidency. So can everyone just chill out please?

Rashid Latif Says Shoaib Malik Reminds Him Of Salim Malik

And not just because they have the same last name. He seriously said this and what's more, he meant it as a compliment, saying he batted just like him in the recent ODI series against Sri Lanka and that he hopes Shoaib gets the same respect as a batsman and captain that Salim Malik did. For those with extremely short memories, allow me to remind you that on that ill-fated tour to South Africa and Zimbabwe in 1995, Rashid Latif and Basit Ali retired from the game because they suspected their captain, Salim Malik, was throwing games. That episode began the still-alive saga of matchfixing allegations, counter-allegations, investigations, indictments, bans, book deals, and whatnot. It basically ruined both Rashid's and Salim Malik's careers. And now Rashid is comparing someone to Salim Malik and means it as a friggin' compliment? Um, does this make sense to anyone? Anyone at all?

Well, the comparison is appropriate on one level. Both did intentionally throw games, right?

Quote of the day
I would tell everyone: Come and learn from us. We are sitting here knowing exactly what is happening on ground. You sitting in the West don’t know anything. So, don’t teach me, come and learn from us. Come and understand the environment. And then decide on what has to be done and what doesn’t have to be done. We are doing more than any other country in the world.

Unfortunately the people in the West think that their lives are more important than our lives ... they think the gun fodder should be from these countries like Pakistan and developing countries. If their soldiers, one soldier, dies, there is a problem, but 500 of ours have died. And then, yet they are blaming us. Isn’t 500 important? ... And yet Pakistan is blamed for not doing enough.

Pervez Musharraf. I wonder if this New York Times editorial has anything to do with his little outburst.

Adam And Eve. And Dinosaurs.

Every time I read something like Supreme Court justices hearing cases on whether it is Parveen or Prameen that is salty, or religous fanatics burning DVDs and demanding the closure of barber shops in NWFP, I shake my head. Why are people in my country so dumb? Really, there's no other word for it. They're just...dumb.

Which is why this story was such an enormous relief to me. It reminds me, if one needed reminding after the Iraq war, that Americans (and the rest of the world, no doubt) can be pretty stupid too. It details a museum opening in Kentucky. Boring, right? Well, hold on. The museum is a creationist museum, built on the principles that there is no such thing as evolution and that, well, I'll let the writer tell it.
Outside the museum scientists may assert that the universe is billions of years old, that fossils are the remains of animals living hundreds of millions of years ago, and that life’s diversity is the result of evolution by natural selection. But inside the museum the Earth is barely 6,000 years old, dinosaurs were created on the sixth day, and Jesus is the savior who will one day repair the trauma of man’s fall.

The museum also has a display in which prehistoric children play around near a waterfall, with dinosaurs chilling not too far away. Frankly, I cannot get over the irony that these most unscientific of opinions are being permanently enshrined in the most scientific of places - a friggin' museum.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Doesn't He Have Anything Better To Do?

Amidst perhaps the greatest judicial crisis in our country's history, acting Chief Justice Rana Bhagwandas is ruling on...this:

Ibrarul Haq was summoned to the Supreme Court in Islamabad over his song that apparently contained words "Parveen you are so salty".

The move came after a girl called Parveen had claimed that the lyrics embarrassed her and her family.

But Mr Haq said the song did not use the name Parveen but Parmeen - which is not a recognised name in Pakistan.

"It's a misunderstanding - the general public has misunderstood... it's not my fault," Mr Haq said.

...

Parveen is a common name in Pakistan, and a number of girls are reported to have been teased about the song's words.

The court case began after a university student from Lahore called Parveen wrote to Pakistan's acting Chief Justice Rana Bhagwandas, claiming that Mr Haq's lyrics embarrassed her.

The song has proved to be a hit in Pakistan, with roadside stalls and cafes playing it repeatedly.

"This matter is very sensitive and such things cannot be allowed in Pakistani society," Mr Bhagwandas was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

"Nobody can be allowed to hurt the sentiments of others," he said.

I just have one question. "Parveen you are so salty"? Seriously?


Monday, May 21, 2007

Quote of the day
The iron is hot, but after a few weeks or months it will start melting and I will go when it starts melting. He can put the handcuffs [on me] if he wants -- he put me in jail for 14 months earlier.

Nawaz Sharif, mangling metaphors like there's no tomorrow.

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's Time To Say Goodbye To Shoaib Akhtar

Tap, tap. Your bat rests just behind your right foot, between middle and leg. You squint your eyes. He begins his run, from what you convince yourself must surely be at least a hundred meters. Tap, tap. You tell yourself to loosen your grip; the tension is making you hold your bat too hard. Tap, tap. He's closer now, about ten steps behind the umpire. His eyes are focused, his hair streaming behind him. Just before your bat taps the ground for the last time, you remind yourself: Keep the backlift low. Don't get stuck on the crease. Leave on length, not line. Tap, tap. Your bat lifts. His right arm goes behind his shoulder. The slingshot, the one that reminds some of Waqar and some of Jeff Thomson, is ready. So are you. Back and across. It's full. You get your left leg out of the way. Bring your bat down.

Too late.

You don't want to look behind you; it's too much carnage to bear. You don't want to look up either; it's too much joy to bear. You keep your head down and slink off. Make yourself feel better. You remind yourself: I'm not the first, and I damn sure won't be the last. As the incoming batsman walks by, you want to warm him about what's coming but don't want to discourage him. You search for the correct advice to give. All you find yourself saying is: Keep the backlift low. Don't get stuck on the crease. Leave on length, not line.
_____________________________________________________________________________


Over the last decade, Shoaib Akhtar has provided more exhilarating moments on the field than any other cricketer. It's not even close. Since I started watching the sport around the 1992, no one, I mean no one, has possessed the capabilitity of sheer destruction that he has. Quicker than Ambrose, more bounce than Waqar, more accurate than Lee, and more menacing than Donald. Whenever I break away into fantasy-land and imagine I'm an international cricketer, I always snap back to reality with the following thought: "Yeah, but guys like Shoaib would fuck me up." Can you think of a more intimidating force with the ball in hand than Shoaib Akhtar? Don't shake your head, it was a rhetorical question. No one with even a cursory interest in the game will ever forget his spell against Australia at Colombo when he got Ponting, both Waughs, Gilchrist and Warne in fifteen balls (all bowled or LBW), or the Dravid-Tendulkar double at Calcutta, or the Fleming or Giles yorkers, or the bouncer that hit Lara, or the multiple decimations against New Zealand.

Shoaib's immense talents are exactly why it hurts me to say that he is bad for Pakistan cricket, and that he should no longer have a future in the international game. I say this because the endless drama of whether or not he will play series X against team Y, and the endless questioning of his attitude and commitment to the team, have a seriously deleterious effect on our team, and the benefits of having him around no longer outweigh the costs.

Before I go on, I should say I don't hope to convince anyone to change their position on Shoaib. Actually, let me rephrase that. I don't anticipate that I will convince anyone to change their position on Shoaib. He elicits such passions, and is such a divisive character, that neither people who love him and think he's Pakistan's greatest asset after the Indus River, nor people who think he's a cancer and should not just be thrown out of the team, but also of the country, will ever be persuaded they're wrong. Stopping your love affair with Shoaib is like quitting smoking: no one can do it for you, the feeling has to come from within. I can speak to the matter because I've done both.

First, let's deal with his injuries. When you google "shoaib akhtar injured" you get more results than you do if you google "kargil bad idea," "wasim akram great," "islamabad uk student visa," and "nusrat fateh ali khan fat". I would venture to suggest Shoaib could have made more money being a consultant to/walking advertisement for sports medicine than he has playing cricket. According to this timeline, Shoaib suffered a rib injury, as well as a side strain, as well as shoulder, knee and ankle injuries in 2000. That's five serious injuries in one calendar year. The next year, he played one ODI against New Zealand and broke down with a hamstring injury nine balls into the next one. He missed most of the England tour that summer because of what the story calls "injury and poor health". In 2002, he had a knee injury just before the test series against South Africa, a few weeks before the World Cup. In the winter of 2003-04, he missed the first test against New Zealand because of calf and groin injuries. At the beginning of 2004, he injured his back against India. At the end of 2004, he injured his shoulder against Australia. A few weeks later, at the beginning of the 2005 ODI triangular series in Australia, he pulled up lame because of a hamstring problem. He missed most of Pakistan's cricket that year, including tours to India and the West Indies, until he returned against England, a seris during which he injured his ankle which was aggravated in the 2006 series against India.

I think it's safe to say Shoaib gets injured a lot. What's almost as damaging as the frequency of his injuries is the severity of them. You never hear of Shoaib missing two weeks because of a broken pinkie or something. With him, it's always a three-, four- or sometimes nine-month break from the game. With such long hiatuses, it becomes difficult for him to keep himself in tip-top condition, which adversely affects his chances of staying fit when he finally does recover from the injury, and the cycle repeats itself. Though I could have done the following calculation for all the years Shoaib has been an international cricketer, I did so only for 2006 because of a lack of time. What I did was relatively simple. I counted the number of days Pakistan played an international game, including tests, ODIs and 20-20 games. If a test ended in four days, I counted it as just four days, not the whole five. I then found the number of days Shoaib was present on the field. What did I find? In 2006, Pakistan played cricket on 79 days. Shoaib played 23. For those who don't have a calculator handy, that works out to a smooth 29%. Twenty nine percent! If cricket was school, and Shoaib was a student, he would have been expelled for attendance by now.

What about his attitude/commitment? I'm afraid to say this might be an even more inexorable problem than his fitness, or lack thereof. At least with his injuries, you can argue (though you'd have to be one of stupid or blind to) that if he just gets himself fit, works out, takes care of himself, eats right, watches his body, and listens to doctors and nutrionists, that he can turn the corner. But personalities are more etched in stone that physical condition. Simply put, if Shoaib hasn't changed by now, he isn't about to any time soon. Or ever.

One of the things that really riles me up is when Shoaib's defenders straw-man the argument that Shoaib lacks commitment. "It's none of your business what he does in his private time," they say indignantly. "If he wants to party and sleep with every woman he can get his hands on, he should be allowed to." To that I say: no shit. No one, least of all me, is concerned with what this man does off the field. He can try to work himself in the playboy hall of fame for all I care. (One quick aside: someone who I know very, very, very well once saw him at a New Year's party in Karachi about five years ago. Wasim was also in attendance, though they didn't necessarily hang around. My informant told me that while Wasim had a constant stream of people walking up, both men and women, to talk to him, Shoaib was by and large by himself the whole night sipping his scotch. Some playboy, eh?)

No, what really bothers me is not that Shoaib likes drinking and fucking, but that Shoaib is not a team-man (except for an ever so brief period between October 2005 and March 2006). His problems with Inzi and Woolmer are well-documented. Of all the incidents that took place in that relationship, the one that bothered me most was when Shoaib came out right before the World Cup saying he's going to pull out because Woolmer and Inzi offended his honour, that they've ruined his career, blah blah blah. This was after he had shoved Woolmer in South Africa; the arrow of disrespect actually pointed the other way. Furthermore, he never felt any compunction at throwing in the towel in lost causes (remember our last Australia tour?). He questioned the talent of others in the team when he felt like he was fighting a lone battle, something bowlers with twice his talent and similarly abject backups (Murali, for one) never did. He lied about injuries. And the list goes on and on.

I remember the exact moment when my distaste for Shoaib crystallized. The moment best exemplified the two concerns outlined above - his lack of fitness and his lack of commitment. It was some time in December, a few weeks after he'd been cleared of the nandrolone charge. I went to the National Stadium to watch a 20-20 game to see Shoaib live. I was sitting about as far as you possibly could from the action, and even from that distance I could tell the following two things. One, Shoaib was huffing and puffing, and was having trouble finishing his quota in a friggin' 20-20 game. Two, Shoaib was fat. Not oh-he's-put-on-a-few-pounds or hmm-he-looks-different. No, he looked fat. F-A-T. I remember asking myself: even if he was banned, why didn't he try to keep himself fit? As a professional athelete, shouldn't you be in the gym five days a week regardless of circumstances? And then I remember admonishing myself, for being so stupid as to think Shoaib was committed to keeping himself fit. For him, it was all about the glitz and the glamour, the 35 yard run-up, the headlines, the women, the middle stump knocked 25 feet behind the crease. It was never about the nut and bolts of being a fast bowler, of working hard in the off-season, of being an athelete the way Imran was, of constantly looking to improve. He compared himself to a Ferrari and a 747 jet without realizing how much work went into creating and maintaining those machines.

Throughout Shoaib's career, Pakistan has not been able to rely on him, for whatever reason. No one can ever be sure that he will play in any given game. If he does play in a game, no can ever be sure that he'll make it through. I've lost count of the number of times Shoaib has pulled up in the middle of a game. The last time pretty much summed up his career: taking four cheap wickets in the first innings, he helped skittle out South Africa for a low total. He, of course, got injured half way through, and forced Pakistan to go the rest of the way with three bowlers. Pakistan's two most prized assets - Asif and Dani - the guys who should be wrapped in cotton wool, bowled ninety overs between them in the second innings. Ninety! The point is, this was a situation that was (a) all too reminiscent and (b) all too preditable. Shoaib, once again, had proved himself unreliable.

It is because of this unreliability that we need to cut the cord. We cannot be held hostage by this endless drama of whether or not he'll be fit, whether or not he's carrying an injury and lying about it, whether or not he's 100% behind the captain and coach, and whether or not he woke up on the right side of bed any particular morning. Don't forget all the shit we have to put with because of his problems with drugs, ball-tampering and chucking (anybody who watched the South Africa series and did not conclude he's chucking is blind). All this is simply not worth it, not for someone who plays 29% of our cricket. We should thank him for his services, wish him the best and give him the nickname of Godot.

One last point: in the hysteria over our World Cup exit and the tough loss in South Africa, people are forgetting we have in our ranks, in my opinion, the best quick bowler in the world (Asif), another who's among the world's six or seven best (Gul) and a quality leg-spinner. Our bowling lineup, in other words, is fine. We should preferably find a young quick bowler from our domestic scene to be the third seamer. Failing that, we should stick with the Rana-Shahid Nazir-Najaf-Rao gang in the hopes that one of them puts their hand up in the next six months and really cements a spot. But make no mistake: Shoaib is not irreplaceable. Hell, we play more than two-thirds of our cricket without him anyway, so how much will we really miss him? I submit: not much. Now is a good time too, what with a new captain, a new coach and, I presume, a new slate.

Come on, Pakistan, throw away those Bensons. It's time to move on.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What Can You Say?

Here's the famous part of that famous speech by Jinnah, three days before independence:
You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State. As you know, history shows that in England conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some State in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.

Here's a story from the BBC:
Christians in north-west Pakistan are demanding government protection following threats of bomb attacks if they do not become Muslims.

An unsigned letter received 10 days ago said they had to convert by Thursday.

...

"Only the few policemen who patrol there on the motorbike are watching the Christians, but no significant security is provided," said religious minorities spokesman Shabaz Bhati.

"We are very much in fear that due to the lack of security these extremists will find a way to attack our people easily."

Mr Bhati also asked government officials to publicly condemn the threats but says he has got no response.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ah, Pakistani Men

You've heard of driving-while-drunk. I now present to you rallying-while-horny.


Suddenly, NB's post on google trends is a lot clearer. Many thanks to reader Faraz for sending this in.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Karachi: Day 2

It has been a long while since I have posted on this blog, but if ever there was a time to write something, anything, this has to be it.

Is it overly melodramatic to state that Karachi bleeds when I can see blood stains on Shahrah-e-Faisal?

At this moment I am sitting in my office that is located on main Shahrah-e-Faisal, between the Kala Pul and Baloch Colony bridges. There are cars on the road and people walking about, having ventured out of their houses to carry on their lives as usual. It is rather surreal seeing the city return to normal as it has. The normalcy however, is superficial. Scratch the surface and there is a great deal of tension and fear. Amazingly the eerie silence has compounded the fear much more than the echoes of unremitting gunfire. Nobody is quite sure what will happen next, or where the next flare will be.

This fear for me is highlighted by two events.

One

As I write this, a friend of mine is traveling with her mother – two women, from Hyderabad to Karachi. They had gone on Friday and were meant to come yesterday, but obviously could not. In Hyderabad they sat all of yesterday, in front of a TV and watched Karachi burn. They could’ve come tomorrow or day after, but they simply can’t bear being away from Karachi. My friend’s mother has been physically sick watching the TV and just wants to return to her home, for being away, even though safer, remained much more frightful for them.

Two

My sister flew in from the US yesterday, she had no idea what was in store for her, she did notice that there was something wrong when the plane flew from Dubai earlier than scheduled, but almost completely empty. Throughout her journey nobody from the airline told her what was going on, and she landed in Karachi at 1 P.M. The Chief Justice had landed 15 minutes earlier.My parents and I left our house around 10, trying to go to the Airport. We had to turn away from the Korangi Expressway after people started coming wrong side, we did not try and see why they were doing that. Next we went off to Gizri to go to Clifton Bridge, we couldn’t get on to Gizri let alone Clifton Bridge. Kala Pul the next stop, beckoned. As we going we saw an increasing number of MQM flags, in cars and buses all around us, still we continued. No police anywhere. We reached the main Korangi Road, on the side lanes we could now see white flags, then right before Kala Pul starts, we saw a large group of people with white flags – they all read MMA. They had been ripping off the banners that the MQM had put the night before. With MQM all around us and MMA in front of us, we knew this was not going to end well, so we turned around speeding on the wrong side. This left us no choice but to head home.On the way I stopped at a bakery and bought some brownies and saw Expresso (a cafe) on Khy-e-Shahbaz doing roaring business – in Phase 5 it was business as usual!

It was not till 6 p.m. that my Parents, having heard that the roads were clear, headed to the Airport. My sister sat at the airport all this while, exhausted but rather lucid she decided in these few hours to become an Investment Banker and live in NYC – that’s one way of picking a career! My parents ran into some ruffians who were braking apart a jeep in front of FTC but nothing more. My mother though was mortified throughout the entire journey. She was afraid because there was no one, not a single car on the entire stretch of Sharah-e-Faisal from Kala Pul to the airport. She was much more afraid at this time than she was when she could see the MMA and MQM clashing.

I did not go to the Airport. I was shadowing my parents, as it were, in NB’s car. We went up from Baloch Colony, on to an empty Shahrah-e-faisal and reached FTC. By this time the jeep my parents had seen 5 minutes earlier had been overturned and was being burnt (NB post the picture). There were stones and glass everywhere. We retreated to Defense and had chai at CafĂ© Clifton.

I guess the point of this entire post, was not only to retell my experience of yesterday but to convey the sentiments of the city. The city is not back to normal nor is it simply recovering from its wounds. There are people on the roads, our and about, but it seems as though the entire city speaks in hushed whispers, awaiting something worse, soething more gruesome. This silence is mortifying. That is why my friend and her mother are about to cross Sohrab Goth and NIPA. That is why my mother could bear violent clashes and not the silence. Nobody can bear the silence that has enveloped Karachi, because nobody is quite sure as to what will follow next.

The Day After Yesterday


For a long time, I simply could not understand why what was happening was happening. I understood the
immediate causes but for the life of me, I simply could not grasp why the protagonists responsible for yesterday's tragic events acted the way they did. I think I have better idea now. For me, there are two possibilities, depending on how far I am willing to grant intentionality to yesterday's players.

Limited intentionality
One possibility can be best captured by the game of Chicken, popular in game theory. As you know, the game essentially consists of two players driving towards each other on a one-lane road. If I'm player 1, these are how my outcomes rank in terms of preference:

1. I drive straight, Player 2 swerves (I'm the hero, Player 2 is the chicken).
2. We both swerve (We're both chickens).
3. I swerve and Player 2 drives straight (I'm the chicken, Player 2 is the hero).
4. We both drive straight (We're both dead).

What is the key to this game? In a word, intimidation. Each player is going to be hoping that his resolve shows through and that his opponent swerves. This may have been what happened yesterday. On the one hand, the Musharraf government and his MQM allies had had enough of the political player Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary had become. Throngs of people gathering wherever he went, showering rose petals, slowing down his motorcade to the point where it took him 24 hours to make the trip from Islamabad to Lahore. When you add to this show of political force the prospect of the rumoured/confirmed deal between the government and the PPP - which put into serious question the role of the MQM in Sindh - you suddenly have two very aggrieved political actors. Both want to remind everyone they're still the boss. So after the massive success that was the rally in Lahore, the government and/or the MQM decided to hold a counter-rally the same day as the Chief Justice, using many of the same roads both into and in Karachi, hoping to intimidate the Chief Justice and his many supporters into postponing/cancelling the rally. This would have put both the Chief Justice and the PPP in their place and resulted in some much needed political capital for both Musharraf and the MQM.

Meanwhile, from the point of view of the PPP/MMA/other parties involved yesterday, Karachi would not just be the icing on the cake to a whirlwind tour of government agitators, but the filling too. Lahore may well be the center of Pakistani's legal fraternity but show your strength in Karachi, the lion's den so to speak, and you're half way to a legitimate revolution. Both sides, then, were hoping to intimidate the other side into backing down in order to score political gains. Neither side did. The result was a head-on collision which nobody really wanted.

High intentionality
This view puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of Musharraf and the MQM. The argument - fairly unsophisticated it must be said - goes thusly: arrange the counter rally. Block roads. Arm MQM wallahs. Wait. Watch explosion. Blame violence on Chief Justice and those "politicising a judicial issue". Break momentum of gathering political storm and maybe even turn it around.

Which version do I believe? I have to say the evidence is pretty damning. First of all, Musharraf wasted almost no time in using the she-was-asking-to-be-raped defense, saying "If you really feel sorry over what has happened in Karachi, then stop these protests." He went further still, holding the Chief Justice culpable, saying, "But what has happened today in Karachi is because of the chief justice who went there ignoring the advice of the government over the issue." Secondly, there was this statement from a policeman on Shara-e-Faisal, who wasn't even armed: "There were some orders and our weapons were taken from us. It was as if we were put here just to watch." It seems Musharraf was only too happy to have 34 people die as long as his power-hungry political goals were served.

What about the MQM? What can you say? I don't think I was alone in thinking they'd turned the corner from the drilling-holes-in-knees-and-elbows days of the mid-1990s. The generally sensible rhetoric, the generally peaceful disposition, the mega projects in Karachi, and most of all, the strong voice for secularism all convinced me that this was a new political party, one that I could support. Fuck me, was I wrong. Here's part of a story in the Daily Times.
The third major incident took place at Baloch Colony Bridge on Shahra-e-Faisal. ANP workers said their bus was stopped by armed men who forced them to get off and walk back, upon which they were shot at from behind.

Here's an eyewitness account posted in the comments section of one of the posts on Metroblogging Karachi:
I am a doctor. I work at a tertiary care, govt run, large and very well known hospital in khi. Forgive the short hnd style of typing here. I am, and hav been here at work for more than 32 hrs, and am surfing/typing on my cellphone. I rode with my ambulance drivers, was in the hastily set up emergency room in our lobby, attended multiple gunshot wounds victims etc. but nothing struck down my soul more than what 9 fully armed workers of MQM alongwith 2 sector office bearers did. They tried to drag out the wounded and dying body of a Sunni Tehrik worker (we later learnt he was sunni tehrik) for presumably finishing him off. Whn my junior residents said we could not allow that, they slapped my junior, dragged us both by our legs to the back of the gurney alley and with shotguns, pistols and ak-47's in hand, ran in to our lobby presumably attempting to search whr the man in question was being treated. I ran out to the rangers and police a.s.i. some distance frm our front gate who when approached by myself said, and i quote 'jaante ho inn logoun ko phir bhi kyon larta ho...hamain upar se order hai ke inn ko 4 baje tak karne do jo karna hai. 4 baje ke baad kuch dekhainge' [Why do you fight with these people knowing who they are? We have orders from above to let them do what they want until 4 o'clock. We'll decide what to do after 4]. I recognized the sector office bearers of the MQM, bcoz I have made the mistake of voting for the MQM in the past. I called a friend in Bohrapir, who is related to Farooq Sattar. 5 mins later the sector charges recieved a call on their cell, and they left, one with a bandana threatening me with 'naam dekh liya hai tera. Koi shor sharaba karne ki zururat nahi hai baad main warna samajh ja kya hoga' [We've seen your name. There is no need to create a hullabaloo about this; understand what will happen if you do]. He also took my junior residnts mobile fone saying 'chikna set hai' [It's a sweet set]. The guy they had come looking for had been shot one more time in the head. The o.t dress we had dressed him in 10 mins earlier was freshly bloody.

Let's also remember that the MQM was responsible for blocking the roads with tankers and trucks with their tyres deflated so that when the carnage actually began, ambulances could not get to them. In fact, an Edhi ambulance driver was actually killed too, though it's not clear by whom. All I'll say is: once a terrorist political party, always a terrorist political party.

What now? I think, for at least the next couple of days, the nation is in too much shock and grief for anything to happen. I for one am simply really, really angry. Anyone could have seen this coming from a mile away and yet no one did a thing to stop it. What's making me even more angry is that instead of sympathizing for the victims and their families the way people do all over the rest of the world, we're witnessing the lowest form of political grandstanding. The MQM has the gall to actually have called for day of mourning for the "for victims of the firing on MQM’s peaceful rallies". The opposition isn't far behind, with the PPP, the MMA, the PML-N and Tehrik-e-Insaf all calling for a black day, though to be fair, they have more of a leg to stand on insofar as this matter is concerned than the MQM is.

The medium term is slightly more difficult to project. I can only say three things for sure. One, any deal between the PPP and the government is off. It's done. Finished. Two, the political turmoil in Pakistan will get a lot worse before it gets a lot better. I hate to be a purveyor of doom and gloom, but there's no way the PPP and the MMA are letting the MQM have the last word on this. Three, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry needs to chill out. He's proven his point. We get it. He's popular, probably ten times as much as Musharraf. For the betterment of the country, however, he needs to relax for a while. Please.

The long term? As Keynes said, in the long run, we are all dead. It's just a real shame 34 of us weren't allowed to wait.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Karachi:

Firing has now started on Sharah-i-Faisal at the Rashid Minhas intersection. Its the MQM vs the MMA/PPP, boths sides sniping at each other using TT’s and automatic weapons, one party from on top of a bridge and the other below according to Geo TV. The police and rangers have taken refuge in a local police station. The tankers and containers which were being used to blockade have been set ablaze. A kilometre away, the Chief Justice has landed at a very peaceful and relativley uncrowded airport, and is apparently heading to the city court in a rent a car under ranger escort.

And So It Begins

Two dead, and the rally hasn't even started yet. I have a seriously sick feeling in my stomach right now.

Quote of the day
The president’s legal team is considering filing another reference against the CJP.

That's great since, you know, the last one worked out so well. Keep 'em coming, Pervaiz Elahi!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Fear, Facts and Rumours

Karachi is pretty scared at the moment. I've listed some facts, and some rumours below which explain and reflect that fear. The question really is as to how much truth there is in any of the rumours or speculation.

Fact 1:

"The house of Munir A. Malik, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and a member of the panel of lawyers defending Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in the Supreme Court, came under a gun attack early Thursday morning."

Source: 'Gunmen Attack Malik's House', May 11, 2007 Dawn.

Fact 2:

There has been some
violence in the run up, and shops are already shutting a day prior. We even witnessed a pathrao (stoning) at Gizri on the night of the 10th of May around midnight, opposite the Saudi Counselate. (It's rumoured that the MQM and the Police conducted a joint raid on an MMA or PPP rally point where materials were being distributed for tommorows big rally, and the credibility for the rumor part of this fact rates High)

Fact 3:

The MQM has already started 'fortifying' the Quaids Mazaar (the expected flash point for tomorrow, as that is where the rival rallies intersect). MQM anners have been strung all across the city, with the rally routes particularly saturated.

Fact 4:

Significant numbers of party workers Haqqiqui, Sunni Tehrik and the MMA have already been detained.

Fact 5:

Buses are being Highjacked in both Karachi and Lahore so as to ferry people in to beef up the numbers attending the Karachi and Islamabad rallies respectivley.

Rumour 1:

The Government is considering closing down all Gas Stations in Karachi, in case of possible security problems.

(Rumour Credibilty: Medium - Low - How shutting all of Karachi's gas stations is really going to help matters is beyond me, but the gas stations on Sharah e Faisal have alread been shut and cordoned off by Qanaats.

Ahsan points out validly: "that shutting down gas stations is very useful because setting fire to them is really easy and makes news, which is part of what any rally wants." To which I would agree. Still, shutting down the entire city's gas stations doesnt really mean that they're un-torchable, and protecting them all from arson is impossible. I imagine its more likley that they'll shut down and protect the high risk ones.)

Rumour 2:

MQM party workers have been instructed to bear arms for tomorrow in great numbers, and are expecting to use them.

(Rumour Credibility: High, owing to our source)

Rumour 3:

The Army might be out in force tommorow.

(Rumour Credibility: Minimal, due to alternative sources + I havent seen any signs of this as yet + it escalates matters + the rangers and the police have already started being put in place)

Rumour 4:

Some people are actually 'expecting' 200 - 300 people to be killed tomorrow, as the Government is apparently looking for a pretext to impose an Emergency. Pir Pagara seems to fear as much as well, though what his opinion is worth is anyones guess.

(Rumour Credibility: Completely Unknowable - in my opinion low, in Ahsans opinion High.)

While scary as all hell, I personally have strong doubts that its in the interests of the Government to impose an emergency, just yet anyway. Ahsan agrees with me in that whether or not the government plans to impose an emergency is the most important issue. However he disagrees with me in that he feels that the Government has tacitly declared its intention to impose an emergency. I've posted his comment below.

"[Imposing an] emergency, is exactly what the govt wants to do. Witness the multiple statements given in the past three weeks on the matter. An excellent way of telling the government's intentions is to see:

(a) how much they talk about something and

(b) how much they confirm, deny, prevaricate and attempt to leave everybody in confusion about something.

For instance, when it came to the PPP deal, for about a year we witnessed mutlplie statements in the press saying it may be happening. We also witnessed multiple statements saying it wont be happening. Rumours and innuendo dominated the fray. The point to be made is that:

(a) they talked about it a lot and

(b) they confirmed and denied it a lot.

The same can be said of Musharraf's uniform issue in 2004, which if you remember observed the same general contours (lots of statements, nothing definite). The question of emergency has been the same. The Government has made sure to put it out there, but in a way no one can be sure of its intentions. That tells me they want to do it, and are looking for an opportune time. Well, the opportune time is here."

Personally I feel that while theres still not enough information upon which to draw conclusions, theres enough reason to be fearful. If there has already been a decision to impose an emergency, then theres also been a decision as to how much violence there will be tommorow, and how many people will die. I suppose we'll all just have to wait and see. In the mean time, in the unlikley event that this post came as news to anyone currently residing in Karachi, please buy your provisions tonight, fill your car with fuel and be extremely careful of where you step out tommorow, particularly if its in the vicinity of the Airport (the Cheif Justice arrives around noonish I beleive), Sharah-i-Faisal, and especially the Quaids Mazaar.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Donkey Pump: Excuse me and Screw You

Before I begin, there are a number of terms which I need to explain to non-Pakistanis. Pakistani readers can skip on past the italics.

Glossary:

Donkey Pump: Basically a water pump, named ironically after a jackass.

Muslim Shower: I'm not going to explain this. Just go here.

Phase 5: An affluent neighborhood in Karachi

Phattoo: A Phattoo is a wuss in Urdu. A person of weak constitution/will who is thereby ineffectual, and who usually merits a tight slap for being annoyingly wussy. I will not delve into its origins or literal meaning.

Water Tanker (Tanker): A ‘water tanker’ is a truck/lorry bearing a massive tank of water. In Karachi, water is sold by certain agencies (including paramilitary forces), and is then delivered by water tankers to private consumers at their houses. On arrival, the water is then transferred from the tanker to the internal water tanks present within the home.


The Issue

We live on a street. There are a number of houses on this street. Given that this is an affluent area, our houses are large, posh and occasionally gaudy. The people that own them and reside within are industrialists, bankers, lawyers, businessmen, corporate bosses, military officers and doctors. Our gardens are manicured, our family sedans are mostly Japanese but increasingly German. Our children are taught within good schools and by even better tuition teachers.

Despite our good fortune or perhaps because of it, we are also
selfish phattoo idiots .

I will now proceed to substantiate these allegations.

Steal My Flow:

There is a pipeline running below our street. In times of yore, prior to the manifestation of idiocy, the happy insulated residents of this community would receive an equal amount of water flow water from this pipeline. The Housing Authority would then charge us a flat rate for our connection to the pipe, and not based upon how much water we drew from the pipe. Some people used more water, others used less, but the flow of water was the same for all, and everyone received the same amount of water per hour.

As with most things, the problem began with scarcity. The flow of water in the pipe decreased for a time. It began to take longer for people to fill their tanks, as less and less water was distributed amongst the same houses.

This is where the selfishness comes in. Resident 1 (lets call him Amjad 1) installs a Donkey Pump in his house, and begins to suck water from the main pipeline into his own water tank.

The water flow to his own tank increases, and the flow to the other houses drops. Amjad’s tank fills up very quickly, but everyone else's fills up a lot slower.

Resident 2 (lets call him Pantshirt 2), also resides on the street. In addition to being a selfish bastard, he is also a phattoo. Two options are available unto him.

Option One: Pantshirt 2 can rally the residents of the street to petition Amjad 1, thereby shame him into stopping. If unsuccessful, they can subsequently take action against him, by complaining repeatedly to the Housing Authority that Amjad 1 is hogging the water. The complaint can then be followed up patiently for a period until Amjad 1 is irritated into submission and Donkey Pump disarmament.

Option Two: Pantshirt 2 can install his own donkey pump.

Being what he is, Pantshirt 2 proceeds to install his own donkey pump. He thereby diminishes the flow of water to everyone else on the street even more. He also strengthens the hand of Amjad 1 by being his ally in the Donkey Pump Camp. Now if Resident 3 (lets call him Banjo 3) wants to petition or complain, he’s got two selfish bastards to deal with.

Banjo 3 obviously has no desire to tackle the issue. He is also a phattoo, only wants his water and doesn’t care if everyone else's supplies are even further diminished, despite the fact that they’re all still paying the same flat rate every month. He installs a donkey pump, and is followed by Resident 4 (Macho 4) and his good friend Resident 5 (Parveen 69).

Soon, about 20 houses on the street have donkey pumps and are sucking up all the water flow. Assuming that their donkey pumps are equal, those 20 houses are effectively sharing the water flow amongst themselves after having appropriated the share of the remaining 10 houses. Any meagre water surplus is divided amongst the remaining 10 houses and basically amounts to nothing. Tragically, M
uslim showers everywhere run dry.

Given a choice between:

Option A: a lifetime of paying the flat charge, receiving no water from the pipe and then additionally having to purchase expensive water from a tanker service

Option B: a donkey pump


Eventually everyone gets a fucking donkey pump. And finally, when the last house on the street gets a donkey pump (which was my house today), then every single house on the street is receiving an equal share of the water flow, JUST LIKE THEY WERE BEFORE FUCKING AMJAD INSTALLED HIS JACKASS PUMP.

And that is why all this is really really stupid.

The Serious Bit

We as Pakistani’s make donkey pump choices all the time. Parents counsel their children to be accountants and lawyers, not leaders and artists and writers. Not enough people are voting or paying their taxes. Too many people are chilling on their armchairs while mullahs spout hate and hypocrisy or when our politicians and military leaders make stupid or corrupt decisions. We love to blame the system, go with the flow, excuse ourselves and screw each other.

Take for example, the school I attended during my O’Levels. There have been repeated instances wherein the administration behaved arbitrarily and unfairly. Personal lives were interfered with over petty issues, individual students were punished by having their prospects of university admission reduced, through expulsion, non re-admittance and possibly through tarnishing personal references sent discreetly to the child’s universities.

While it is beyond me to substantiate any of these claims or rumours, the fact remains that at the very least, there exists an unequivocal perception of unfairness and abuse of position amongst parents and students alike. Regardless, when some wrong is perceived to have been done to a student, nothing is done, and no action is taken. The children complain to the parents but are told to remain silent lest their own university and career prospects are jeopardized. The choice for parents is once again as follows:

Option A: Rally other parents to petition the administration and the school board, and to collectively decry what is perceived as injustice or unfairness against a student, until such point where the message has registered with effect or the situation is duly remedied (this process works within civilized countries)

Option B: Shut the hell up and tell your kid to shut the hell up too, and tell him to stay far away from the victimized child. This would be the Donkey Pump Option.


Everyone I know opts for B. Hence the parents deserve the education and school administrators their children receive. It is through this process that the school's administration has remained instated and incumbent for 20 odd years or something equally ridiculous. The same child who is counseled to abide by Option B may be the next to suffer unfairly, and when his or her parents look desperately to other parents for support, they will receive as much as they themselves were willing to offer.

Postscript on the Donkey Pump War


Where were we? Ah yes. Our whole neighborhood now has donkey pumps. At this point Amjad 1 will inevitably sit and ponder. He’s started a movement, a trend. He thinks to himself;

“All these bandwaggoning bastards have employed my clever idea, thereby neutralising its utility.”

Amjad now has another brilliant plan. He will install a bigger and more powerful donkey pump, with two horsepower this time! What’s more, it will possess two belts instead of one, and will come from Japan, or even Germany!

“Muahaha!” he says. “I’ll screw those assholes with my pump!” Amjad 1is kind of grossed out by what he has just said, but not really.

Amjad 1 installs pump. Pantshirt 2's flow is reduced. Pantshirt 2 then figures out what’s happened and upgrades to an even better donkey pump. The entire neighborhood follows suit and the same stupid process repeats itself again and again until were all left having spent billions of rupees installing thermo nuclear donkey pumps in our houses while still having achieved nothing more than the original pathetic trickle of crappy pipe water which if not boiled causes diarrhea, which is precisely what we deserve.