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Archive for category Shining Pakistanis

LUMS Professor and an Imran Khan (IK) apologist. By Mansoor Hamid,Professor at LUMS

LUMS Professor and an Imran Khan (IK) apologist. 

Mansoor Hamid




– No matter what happens from here on in, I would always believe that IK is arguably one of the greatest living Pakistanis for what he has done in sports, social work and then politics. His talent charisma, perseverance, integrity and accomplishments outshine all of his peers and he can rightfully claim to have left a lasting impression on a couple of generations.
Supporting IK is not easy. He is definitely obstinate, perhaps not politically shrewd, does not articulate his vision well enough and is most likely not a democrat at heart. Is he the best politician around, most definitely not. Is he the best leader that we have had in a long time, hell yea. And he has proved time again in his career(s) that he will not be the leader you want him to be. Like it or not, he will be the leader than he thinks he should be.

We (IK Supporters) realize fully well his shortcomings and we are not crazy or delusional to support him. We support IK not because of him, we support him because of us. There is not a thought as ghastly as the thought that my son will be ruled by the sons of shareefs, zardaris and maulanas. It absolutely rips my heart out.

And that is why many people like me who had never voted before in our lives, made the effort to support IK by actively going out and voting for him. All of my friends who have their allegiances with other parties, how many of you have gone out to vote? That’s right – Not many. But that is not a problem because these parties are so popular that they are going to win anyways (see something wrong here?). I know thousands of people traveled from Manchester, New York and Dubai to vote for IK because they knew he will need each and every one of those votes. This vote is different because it matters…to us and to IK.

So next time you unleash the keyboard warrior, please also have the moral courage to go out and vote for your party and attend their processions. Sitting on the sidelines will not help anybody and in anycase we need good people in every party if we need to change our fortunes. For all others, get your immigration papers sorted because the future is anything but bright.

The elections do not belong to IK, NS, PTI or PML. I do not care if IK loses more seats in a re-count. Elections belong to the people of Pakistan and specially the tax-payers who funded these elections. And they are demanding justice and reform. So what if they are in a minority, so are the tax-payers.

Can the government, as a beneficiary, provide electoral justice and accountability? With the plethora of political (60+ family members) appointments in ministries, judiciary, police and civil services the chances are bleak. There is still no FIR for the 14 shot dead by the law enforcement agencies.

We need electoral reform and we need expat votes. We also need desperately for 100% of urban population to vote and attend processions of the parties they support. We all know what you oppose? I would like to know what you stand for? And perhaps this would make us realize that the leadership choices are very limited to match our lofty aspirations.
As someone said already: “we keep private guards, drink bottled water, avail private medi-care, send our kids to private schools, buy generators and UPSs to have electricity at homes and offices, the list goes on ”. We do not need IK to tell us that we are not getting good value for our tax money.
Wrong tactics by IK. What guarantee do we have that this march would work out for the better? Well, our future is not pay-per-view and there is no money back guarantee. We can be sure that his agenda will not endear him to the beneficiaries of the status-quo. So yes, he will lack support from the power brokers.
Here is hoping that next time a candidate will think twice before barging into a ladies polling station to dictate how votes should be cast. Here is also hoping that next time when we face an injustice, we will come out on the streets in numbers and demand our right.
They (NS, Z, MFR) will always stand with each other. Will we ever stand for each other? It is clearly more important for us to defend our leaders than defend ourselves.

‘Youngsters dancing to national tunes’ is not zina. And memes showing our leadership as dogs, transsexuals, beggars, etc are not classy.

Mob: a large crowd of people, especially one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence.

Anarchy: absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.

Red Zone: what red zone? There is no red zone around White House, 10 Downing Street or Lok Sabha. What use is democracy if common people cannot have access to the Parliament of ‘People’ of Pakistan and the Supreme Court of ‘People’ of Pakistan?

Protests: We might disagree in principle, but must RESPECT the people who have decided to leave their comforts to stand up for their rights. If anything, we do not protest hard enough to demand our rights. Scrap the military parades on Independence Day; we should bring the system to a halt once every year to demonstrate that the people of this country are the source of all power. That would put some fear of God and fear of People in the hearts of our leadership.

I have not seen anyone win an argument or a war on facebook. Yes we are stubborn and yes facebook is not real life.

Mansoor Hamid

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Struggling from age six, 24-year-old Bachal finally catches up with her dreams

Published: July 14, 2013

Pop singer Madonna with activist Humaira Bachal and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid.



In the densely populated cluster of houses in Baldia Town’s slum settlement of Mawach Goth, residents believe that a young woman in her early 20s has the potential to pave the way for their future.

In this neighbourhood, where education was deemed worthless merely a decade ago, now stands a one-storey building in Bohri Muhalla, where over 1,200 children, receive formal and vocational education by 25 volunteers in 11 spacious rooms.

The school is named Dream Model Street School and residents of the neighbourhood know only one face behind the change – 24-year-old Humaira Bachal – whose incessant efforts, spanning over a period of 12 years, they have witnessed, opposed but ultimately welcomed.

A long journey

Bachal’s journey started back in 2001, when she was merely a grade six student. Along with her sister and three friends, she took up teaching the neighbourhood children at her house on her own expense. At that time, her higher education was at stake in the face of stiff resistance from the elders of the family, whom she grew up with in the feudal setting of Tando Hafiz Shah in Thatta district. Bachal’s father moved with his family to Karachi and settled in Mawach Goth but could hardly break free from his family traditions.

Humaira Bachal, 24, has finally succeeded in opening up Dream Model School in Mawach Goth. She had been pursuing this dream for the past six years. The school is open to both girls and boys. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

Mawach Goth comprises different communities, who cumulatively shaped a culture, which Bachal believed was not any different from that of rural Sindh. “Going out for girls even for the purpose of education was considered a taboo. The lone public school in the locality was not functioning as parents did not want to spend money on even educating the boys.”

In this setting, she mustered the courage to take responsibility of the education of other girls. An incident that cemented her determination was when she witnessed the tragic death of her cousin’s eight-month-old son. “The child turned blue one day and everybody believed the mother had killed him,” she recalled. “She had given the child an anti-fever syrup which expired around two years ago as she could not read.”

By the time Bachal got her Matriculation in 2004, she decided to expand her small home-school to a bigger premises. “It was certainly odd for  the elders that a 15-year-old girl was asking them for a place to educate others.”

Finally, they managed to acquire a two-room place at Rs1,000 monthly rent , which they paid for from their pocket money until 2007, when Shirkat Gah- a women’s rights organisation- took notice.

“The school managed to survive due to the books collected from public schools in nearby areas. We also organised door-to-door campaigns to counsel parents,” said Bachal. “On one particular instance, some people got so infuriated that they pelted stones at our school.”

Inspired by the title of a Shirkat Gah documentary, the makeshift school finally got a name in 2009 with Bachal also establishing Dream Foundation Trust through which she intends to focus on 114 similar slum settlements located across Keamari.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2013.

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Diana and Hasnat: A Mystically Transcendent Love Story

Diana and Hasnat

‘Diana wanted to know how I had adapted to life in Pakistan’: Jemima Khan on how late Princess was ‘madly in love’ with Hasnat Khan and planned to leave the UK for him

  • Diana appears on the front cover of the September issue of Vanity Fair
  • The interview sees Jemima Khan and Rosa Monckton share their own accounts of Diana’s relationship with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan

Jemima Khan has revealed that her late friend Princess Diana was so ‘madly in love’ with Hasnat Khan, she considered moving to Pakistan to be with him.


In a Vanity Fair article titled: ‘The Grandmother Prince George Never Knew’, Jemima says Diana, who dated the heart surgeon from 1995-97, sought her advice during fundraising visits to Lahore.


‘She wanted to know how hard it had been for me to adapt to life in Pakistan,’ Jemima told the magazine’s contributing editor Sarah Ellison.


True love: The September 2013 Vanity Fair features the late Princess Diana on its cover. Inside, the magazine discusses her relationship with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan


Close friends: Diana pictured with Jemima Khan on 21 February 1996 in Lahore. It was on visits such as these that Diana would seek Jemima’s advice on moving to Pakistan


‘Both times she also went to meet [Hasnat’s] family secretly to discuss the possibility of marriage.’ 

Publicity-shy: Hasnat Khan, pictured in January 1997, was in a relationship with Diana for two years

Publicity-shy: Hasnat Khan, pictured in January 1997, was in a relationship with Diana for two years


Indeed, Diana was apparently desperately keen to impress Hasnat’s immediate family, especially his mother.


But in spite of her best efforts, it would appear that this second love would see Diana yet again falling on the wrong side of an influential family.


Even though Diana had an aristocratic lineage, had married (and divorced) Prince Charles, and was mother of the heir to the British throne, Naheed Khan was unlikely to approve of her son contemplating marriage with an English woman.


‘[For a] son to marry an English girl is every conservative Pashtun mother’s worst nightmare,’ Jemima said. 

‘You send your son to be educated in England and he comes back with an English bride. It’s something they dread.’

Though the couple discussed marriage and children (friends of Diana told the magazine that she had wanted a daughter with Hasnat), the relationship fell apart around the time that she met Dodi Al Fayed. 

Diana’s friend Rosa Monckton says Hasnat was the one who initiated the break-up, but other friends argue that Diana ended it because the surgeon refused to marry her.

In fact, Rosa insists to this day that Diana’s relationship with Dodi was only to make Hasnat jealous.



On the silver screen: Diana’s relationship with Hasnat is at the centre of the upcoming film Diana, starring Naomi Watts in the title role


It would seem that marriage was certainly a point that divided the couple. According to Jemima, Hasnat ‘hated the thought of being in the glare of publicity for the rest of his life.’



And indeed, in his interview as part of the Lord Stevens inquiry into Diana’s death, he called marriage ‘a ridiculous idea’, adding that he ‘told her that the only way I could see us having a vaguely normal life together would be if we went to Pakistan, as the press don’t bother you there.’



Insider’s theory: Rosa Monckton pictured (left) with Diana in 1993, believes to this day that Diana used Dodi Al Fayed to make Hasnat jealous


Royal ties: Diana in 1995 on the VJ Day 50th Anniversary with sons Harry, William and ex-husband Prince Charles

Royal ties: Diana in 1995 on the VJ Day 50th Anniversary with Harry, William and Prince Charles



Diana’s relationship with Hasnat is at the centre of the upcoming film Diana, starring Naomi Watts in the title role.


Despite this fact, Vanity Fair reveals Hasnat refused to cooperate with filmmakers, remaining very much the man Diana once described to a friend as ‘the one person who will never sell me out.’


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