Tag Archives: accountability

Who will pay the ‘Qisaas’ of those who died yesterday?

While the country was busy in the Ehtesaab Rally and the Qisaas March, an innocent kid and a lady lost their lives in Lahore and Rawalpindi yesterday as both of the deceased could not reach the hospital on time for their lives to be saved. A few months back, another little angel was sent back to the heavens in her father’s arms in Karachi when Baby Bhutto’s protocol denied Bisma’s parents’ entry to Civil Hospital where Bilawal was inaugurating a Trauma Center; an inauguration indeed that came with a trauma for Faisal Mohammad Hussain (Bisma’s father) and his family. These are just 3 of the many deaths on roads, in ambulances and rickshaws this country has seen over the past so many years where politics, politicians and the elite of this country have cost the common man their lives. The very common man that makes them what they are through filling ballot boxes with votes for them for which they come begging to their doors before elections. The very common man that speaks in their favor in countless debates at roadside hotels, barber shops, meat markets and the social media without having met them even once in their lives. I wonder who will be held accountable (whose ehtesaab will be carried out) for yesterday’s deaths and who will pay the Qisaas?

I am all for fighting against corruption and bringing back the country’s looted money to where it belongs, but while we are at it, we also need to learn a few more things from the very nations that we aspire to become one day. That goes for both the ruling parties and those in opposition. This also implies to the bureaucracy in the country. Most importantly, this also holds true for the common man themselves.

Saying no to VIP culture is the ‘in’ thing these days. We see people taking out their cell phones and recording videos of such incidents and posting them online. Some of them have gone viral as well. But are we as a nation mentally sold to the idea of eliminating a VIP culture that also includes us? Are we aware and conscious of the fact that at some level and in some cases we may also be the VIPs ourselves and that while shouting out a ‘Say no to VIP culture’ slogan, we may actually be acting a little hypocritical . You see whenever we talk about a ‘No VIP’ culture, we’re generally talking about those who we consider VIPs and the influential strata of the society. What we tend to forget very easily is the level to which this disease has already spread. This includes, going to banks for payments and asking a friend who works over there to relieve us from the hassle of standing in a queue. This also involves people driving cars considering those on motorbikes inferior and therefore not important enough to be given way on the road. These are examples where we, the common people and citizens of this country take pride in breaking the rules and feeling special.

Generally, the fight against VIP Culture is more out of us being jealous than anything else. We have trouble seeing others being given VIP treatment while deep down inside we hanker ourselves to be treated the same way and whenever we get the slightest of chance of to do that, we make sure we do not let go of it.

So the next time you say ‘No to VIP culture’, make sure you believe in it and are ready to implement it in your own lives as well.

VIP-Movement

Make way! Important people are passing. Photo Courtesy: Insider.pk

As far as the elite of our society go, I completely understand the security situation of the country and also realize how valuable your lives are in comparison to a normal person walking on the streets. After all, you are the people who work day and night to protect, serve and lead us towards a brighter, better future. Despite all my understanding and the trust that I have in you no matter how contrasting the on-ground reality is, I’m still not comfortable watching people losing their lives just because you were busy working towards their well-being. You can do your Dharnas and Jalsas and Rallies and the common man will continue to keep filling stadia and flooding the roads but just give a little consideration towards not hampering the routine life of the same common man; the cobbler on the roadside who all of a sudden finds himself in the way of the rally, the ambulance on the way to the hospital with a patient in critical condition that is stuck either due to your VIP movement or road blockages, or the fruit vendor who earns only enough in a day to survive the next day and has to shut down his business as he is seen to be a potential security threat for the Jalsa. These are the people who only get negatively impacted from the positivity that you wish to spread through your actions.

Societies that we look up to and desire to be like uphold, promote, and practice equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels. This is something that demands equal amount of effort and seriousness from all stakeholders including government, opposition, bureaucracy, civil society and general public. Those who lead and those who follow need to accept the same set of rules and decide once and for all not to compromise on principles.

After all, those who block the traffic for VIP movements or place obstacles on the roads are also part of the same society from which both the ones for whom the traffic is blocked and those who suffer due to it belong.

Let’s start from ourselves and mend our ways. Take small steps but all in the right direction.

-Hammad A. Mateen

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‘Moor’: More than a just a movie

It is about time that cinema in Pakistan is looking to evolve and technology and young talent are being given their due importance. Like evolution in any other field in Pakistan, cinema too is experiencing difficulty in ridding itself from influence of other countries and cultures. A story no matter how well written would somewhere start ringing bells in the audience’s minds and they immediately identify the imprints of either Bollywood or Hollywood on the storyline. The same applies to cinematography where several shots seem completely reproduced with just the local cast as a difference. Pointless item songs, unnecessary slanging and useless characters are some of the few things that Pakistani cinema would have to learn to liberate itself from very quickly if it is to have any standing in the league of countries that produce cinema which is both impactful and original.

Photo Credit: P.C. Photographers

Photo Credit: P.C. Photographers

In an era such as this where there is bombardment of so much ‘inspired’ work, Jamshed Mahmood (AKA Jami) is keeping his head down and silently producing work that is in a league of its own. The nation was gifted this Independence Day with Jami’s second directorial venture, ‘Moor’. A movie which in fact is much more than just a movie. ‘Moor’ for many like myself is a long awaited project that has taken more than 5 years to have finally become a reality on the big screen. No matter what the box office collections say, for me, ‘Moor’ is arguably the best work of cinema Pakistan has produced till date.

This is why:

Original Story

‘Moor’ is based on the story of the decline of the railway system in Baluchistan. It is both original and eye-opening for the audiences and could even bring a tear or two to the eyes of some who’ve been to the places shown in the movie.

The dialogues are simple yet impactful.

  • ‘Yeh watan ka muhabbat, pyaar wyaar, bolnay mein tou buhut acha lagta hai, laiken milta kuch nahi hai.’
  • ‘Sauda karna hai tou jao apnay Allah se karo.’
  • ‘Hum jaisa kartay hain, hamari aulaad bhi waisa hi karti hai.’

Written by Jami, Nazir Ali and Riaz ur Rehman Saghar (Late), the story touches your heart and makes you wonder how little you know about your country and how is it being robbed each and every day in so many different ways and how families fall apart as a result of the circumstances created by the corruption around them and the greed for money.

Flawless Acting

With acting talents of newcomers such as Shaz Khan, Ayaz Samoo and Sonia Hussain etc. the casting department has done exceptionally well to include veterans like Hameed Sheikh, Abdul Qadir, Shabbir Rana, Sultan Hussain, Nayyar Ejaz and even a very special appearance by Akbar Subhani. Hameed Sheikh holds everything that there is in the movie together like durable cement and packs a punch with a memorable performance. He is extremely well supported by Abdul Qadir who has made an impactful comeback on the mainstream acting circuit after ages. Samiya Mumtaz doesn’t have a lot of screen time but whatever time she gets, she does justice with her role.

‘Strings’ attached

No, ‘Moor’ doesn’t have an item song in it. Instead, it gives you Strings and Anwar Maqsood joining forces together this time to give one of the best music albums of the year.

From ‘Gul Bashri’ in Pashto by Rahim Shah till ‘Talabgaar hoon’ by Javed Bashir, everything about the music of ‘Moor’ is close to perfect.

Shot Completely in Pakistan

‘Moor’ is visually stunning with jaw dropping locations shot in extraordinary fashion. Every single shot is original and an absolute piece of art. The whole movie is filmed in different areas of Sindh and Baluchistan and shot in a manner nobody has ever done before. There are moments when you completely give in to the idea that these are locations either in Russia or Switzerland etc. Well, they are not.

Kudos to the Director of Photography, Farhan Hafeez. You’ve done a fabulous job!

Jami

Writer-Producer-Director, this guy is a genius. From selecting a topic such as that of ‘Moor’ and doing so much of an in-depth homework and to finally having the guts to actually travel, live and shoot the movie in areas where there were serious law and order issues in those days is a commendable effort in itself. The weather wasn’t too accommodating either for the cast and crew during their stay in areas like Muslim Bagh, Shela Bagh and Khanai etc. In short, as captain of the ship, Jami has handled each area of movie making brilliantly well when it comes to making ‘Moor’.

The only thing better that could’ve happened was that they could’ve premiered the movie in a foreign film festival first, gathered a few awards internationally and then released it in Pakistan. It is only then, when the so-called ‘intellectuals’ of our country come to the forefront and appreciate somebody’s work, even if they don’t understand it one bit.

From a business point of view, I’m assuming that the makers knew already that they wouldn’t get money pouring in. Especially after the same team’s first effort, ‘O21’ was a bit too much for the audiences to understand.

No offence to any film makers of this country but as far as I am concerned, it is a shame that movies like ‘Wrong Number’ earn more than ‘Moor’ and are given more screens and shows in cinema houses. Unless this situation gets reversed, Pakistani cinema needs serious work done.

Hammad A. Mateen

Recipe: Pakistani Awami Biryani

To make a delicious Pakistani Awami Biryani, you need to :

  1. Take some yogurt of insecurity and beat it well.
  2. Marinate the awami chicken with the yogurt of insecurity, garlic paste of high fuel prices, ginger paste of electricity load shedding, unemployment turmeric powder, bus fares coriander powder, chilli powder of illiteracy, shortage of gas cumin powder and of course social difference salt. Let it marinate for some time.
  3. Take some target killing onions and chop them very thin. Deep fry them in law and order oil mixed with ¼ cup of clarified sectarian violence butter until crispy.
  4. Now its time to take some tension rice. Clean and wash them and then drain carefully and set aside.
  5. Clean and chop the mint and coriander leaves of Pakistan steel mills. In the same oil, fry the chopped Railway cashew nuts and PIA raisins until golden brown, drain and set aside. Slit green chillies of cell phone addiction, and mix into the marinated awami chicken.
  6. Put the awami chicken and marinade into a political pot in which the target killing onions were fried earlier.
  7. Time to add a little water from any unreliable source, cover and cook until the awami chicken is half done.
  8. Remove the Awami chicken pieces with a spoon of Police & Rangers and measure the stock. Add more water until diseases are inflicted.
  9. Put the tension rice into a rice cooker, add the whole spices of drones, arrange the awami chicken pieces on top, sprinkle three-quarters of the fried target killing onions and all the chopped PIA, Railways and other leaves.
  10. Pour in the measured stock into which the garam masala of intolerance has been added.
  11. Pour the remaining quarter cup of clarified sectarian violence butter over the whole mixture. Cover and cook until well done.
  12. Take some eggs of facebook and chatting and hard-boil them.
  13. Soak the saffron of distance from religion in the milk of fleeing the country.
  14. When the biryani is done, open the rice cooker, and sprinkle the saffron-soaked milk on top. Mix carefully and cover and leave on very low heat for a few minutes.
  15. Just before serving, mix in the juice of half a lemon of protests and strikes.
  16. Arrange on a serving dish and garnish with corruption.

The perfect Pakistani Awami Biryani is ready!

Note: Don’t forget to take proper medication after eating in order to digest.

From the cookbook of Chef Hammad Abdul Mateen

The Dooh Nibors of Pakistan

The term ‘Dooh Nibor’ is neither Latin nor Greek, it’s an English term spelled the other way around. Start reading from the right and you’ll find the word ‘Robin Hood.’  But as far as I remember, Robin Hood used to be the character that used to loot the rich and distribute the booty among the poor. Looking at how the country is being run these days, we won’t be able to find many Robin Hoods around; what we will be able to find however are ‘Dooh Nibors.’

A ‘Dooh Nibor’ is assumed by the writer to do the exact opposite of a Robin Hood. They loot the poor and distribute the valuables among the rich. We’re in luck; this place has more than one ‘Dooh Nibor.’

The adventures of Dooh Nibors of Pakistan are almost countless. Ranging from Rental power projects to Hajj Scandals, National Insurance Corporation to EOBI, they’ve done it all and they’re still going strong. The tax payers of the country are continually being robbed with such professionalism and perfection that they can’t even imagine. The RGST being the most recent example has brought up a new debate in all circles.

The Dooh Nibor of Water and Power very confidently stated that the rental power project does not mean that the price of the electricity will go up. Even an ordinary citizen like me is aware of the fact that for any project such as the rental power project, there must be cost and rent that has to be paid. In order to bear that cost, the government must either increase the electricity rates and collect it from the end user or provide subsidy on the project and later increase the percentage on tax and collect it from you know who; You’re right! ‘The End User’ and that is you and me again.

When it comes to religious affairs, the Dooh Nibors consider it their religious duty to loot the nation even there. People spend their whole lives saving their hard earned money to fulfill one of the most dearest religious duties they have to offer, ‘The Hajj’. But when they finally reach the Holy soil, they are forced to earn more ‘Sawab’ by controlling their anger and rage for the fraud these Dooh Nibors do with them.

The foreign aid that the Dooh Nibors beg for always reaches the needy on time. That’s because the Dooh Nibors themselves need it more than anyone else. Lavish lifestyles, designer clothing, foreign accounts, you name it and they have it.

There’s no sheriff stopping these high flyers.  But the Sheriff of all sheriffs is watching from above and the nation can only pray that He helps us very soon. InshaALLAH!

Hammad A. Mateen

Main Ik Din Laut K Aownga …. !!!

‘The nation is going through the worst crisis of its history at the moment.’ My grandpa heard the prime minister of his time utter these words, my father tells me he’s been hearing it too since he was a child; and now so am I. This ‘moment’ our heads-of-state refer to has elongated to a span of three generations now. Each chief executive of the country takes steps which they call ‘In the interest of the nation’ but alas, the successor calls them non-constitutional and tries to revoke them.

Today we stand at a point where uncertainty reigns and we hear about terms like ‘revolution’, ‘another martial law’ and ‘constitutional removal of government.’ Whatever the future holds in this regard, the common man is still confused about where to find sugar at an economical price.

Pakistan’s politics’ scene has never been something which would be pleasing to the eye. It’s been bloody and full of controversies. We are still in search of the powers which were behind the assassination of our first Prime Minister. The Bhutto family is yet to unveil its actual murderers. The infamous C-130 plane crash is a mystery unsolved to date.

Our ‘exile file’ also needs leafs to be added. Benazir Bhutto, Altaf Hussain, Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Pervaiz Musharraf are a few to name in the long list of politicians who have taken political asylum in countries like Saudi Arabia, UK etc.

Whenever ripples start to produce in the dirty pond of Pakistan’s political scene; our politicians become proactive all of a sudden. That is exactly what is happening these days. Rumors of people like Pervaiz Musharraf returning to Pakistan are circulating these days. ‘Mian Sahab’ strongly feels it should be his turn next in this game of musical chairs. Altaf Hussain is shouting for ‘Inqilaab.’ PML (Q) and PML (functional) have united to form All Pakistan Muslim League. Imran Khan they tell me has successfully doubled his supporters’ count from 10 to 20. The Prime Minister is busy in resisting orders from the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the President is as usual busy doing what he does the best (no need to elaborate.)

Eventually though, ‘wohi hoga jo manzoor-e-amreeka hoga.’ That’s how things go about in this part of the world. I’m not going to be judgmental about anyone over here but it seems as if every time the scenario seems to be starting to change, people forget all about the allegations (proven or still in court) regarding these politicians. A new leaf is turned each time for every individual and party.

I mean, this was the same Pervaiz Musharraf with whom people were fed up and wanted him to get the heck out of this place; and now he claims to be returning back on the basis of his fan following on a social network? Give me a break! In this case, Shahrukh Khan should be the President of Pakistan (he’s also on twitter I’ve heard, so that’s an added vote bank he has.) Have we all forgotten about the Laal Masjid incident? Or are we all clear about what actually happened to Dr. Afia Siddiqui? Has the Baluchistan situation been controlled after eliminating Akbar Bugti? Have we forgotten about the taxes we pay which got looted and then the NRO was issued?

The reason behind mentioning Pervaiz Musharraf is that he is a recent example. Other than that, our history is full of blunders where corrupt people have been given second and even third chances to hold the helm of affairs of this country.

We have just simply been unable to find an honest ruler and persist with him. Why do we forget our religion while choosing a ruler? Why don’t we refer back to how the Khulafa-e-Rashideen (RA) ruled the Islamic Empire? Democracy in those days meant to choose a ruler on the basis of his virtues and honest behavior in every walk of life. They ate what the ordinary man ate; they roamed around the streets at night (without the highest protocol) and they held themselves responsible for maintaining a respectable lifestyle for each and every citizen.

In short, unless people with clean backgrounds emerge from the grass root level of our society to hold responsible positions at all levels and a constant, transparent accountability is imposed (without anyone being exempted), it is impossible for this country (or for any country for that case) to have any standing in the sovereign nations of the world.  

Hammad A. Mateen