It seems that the unexpected political activism in Karachi for Elections 2013 has caused serious consequences for Muttahida Qaumi Movement, once the most popular political party of the Urdu speaking community. The apparent reaction to PTI, JI and civil society’s massive protests against rigging has resulted in cold blooded murder of Zehra Shahid Hussain, Senior Vice President of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf on 18th May 2013 and the murder of Abid Ilyas, former nazim union council Liaquatabad Town affiliated with Jamat-e-Islami on 17th May 2013.
Perth: I have always been a great advocate of IPTV and have remained a key part in setting up various IPTV channels in Pakistan. But, i’ve seen a really good and productive use of IPTV set top boxes in Australia, an idea that originated from the USA. BTV Box is one such device that is readily available in Australia and USA, which provides access to broadcast quality television streams for almost all Pakistani Television Channels. It is very easy to set up and can connect to wi-fi or LAN to access the internet. I have been using this device on a wireless 4G connection and the stream quality is too good for an IPTV.
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I was comfortably seated at an event by Mera Passion Pakistan at Royal Rodale Club in Karachi with Abid Beli and Faizan Lakhani in order, when suddenly Fiazan handed over a bunch of visiting cards to me. I looked at him with curiosity … “Keep one and pass it on!” I followed the orders and passed on the visiting cards to Saad, who was sitting next to me. He smiled and then furthered the ‘cause’ to an unknown lady next in line. Receiving visiting cards out of nowhere, she shouted at Saad and asked “Why should I pass them on?” and threw the cards on the empty seat. Feeling embarrassed, Saad looked left and right and after being satisfied that no one noticed, he calmed down.
Some of you, who are familiar with these social gatherings, might have already guessed that the visiting card was from none other than our famous techno-entrepreneur Rehan Allahwala. I started pondering that why this guy with such a remarkable IQ and achievements make a fool out of himself by adopting such marketing acts. I discussed my thoughts with few of my close friends and found out that they were equally irritated of such acts, but acknowledged Rehan’s “success” as an entrepreneur.
A few days later, I came across a series of videos posted on YouTube and Facebook, in which Rehan Allahwala had challenged Imran Khan for a Twitter Cup. In one of the videos, Rehan explains that “I can do a better job than Imran Khan’s team in using social media and I can get more followers than Imran Khan in 4 months!” In another video which was more of a response to criticism on him, he clarified that “I don’t plan to contest elections, my main mission is to eradicate poverty from Pakistan and I think the power of mobile can do that. I want to show the power of social media to people!” Some people termed this act of Twitter Cup crazy, while others loved it.
To add to the craziness, one of my friends told me that he was in a short meeting with Rehan Allahwala when Rehan asked for his mobile. Not sure what Rehan could do to the device, he handed over the mobile to Mr. Allahwala. Few minutes later, he found out the he was following Rehan Allahwala on Twitter because Rehan had sent F RehanAllahwala to 40404, which is the short code for Twitter. This is the same guy, Saad, who smiled when he received a cold reaction from a lady in the MPP event.
After digging more into the campaign and other promotional links from Mr. Allahwala’s Facebook profiles and pages, I came across the website for the Twitter Cup and saw both contestants, Imran Khan and Rehan Allahwala, on the main page. Being a fan of Imran Khan more than Rehan Allahwala, I opted to vote for Imran Khan. Not because I don’t like Rehan Allahwala, but because I don’t know him much.
But, wait; I couldn’t see any link to follow Imran Khan on Twitter on the Twitter Cup website. Neither was I able to find a clue about Imran Khan’s Twitter ID! Isn’t that cheating? You can vote for one contestant, but not for the other. I paused for a while and then I decided to review Rehan Allahwala’s social campaigns and online marketing strategies on pure philosophical grounds.
After giving many thoughts, I decided to share my findings on blogs, because I thought that the ‘problems’ identified were not individualistic, but applied to our nation as a whole. Rehan Allahwala might be a super genius and is of course a successful entrepreneur; He wants to be famous, like everyone, but I believe that he and other charged Pakistanis like him, with the exception of few, are missing the core and taking the wrong directions.
People who are remembered throughout history have intrinsic value and they are able to influence history or change its course, not because of the power of technology, but because of their social vision and realization of obligations to society. They are least bothered about themselves, but are more than concerned about their cause and their willingness to uphold the society for that cause. Money and marketing plays a role, but it’s the crust, not the core.
Karl Marx, the revolutionary socialist, was born in a wealthy family. But as he furthered his cause and developed faith in socialism, he moved towards extreme poverty because of selflessness. Out of his 7 children, only 4 survived to adulthood, 3 died because he did not have money to buy medicines! The formation of Soviet Union and China on Marxists concepts was neither a result of marketing strategies, nor self-promotion. Western Philosopher Peter Singer has compared Marx’s widespread influence with Jesus Christ (P.B.U.H.) and Muhammad (P.B.U.H.), because his thoughts revolved around an ‘ethical core,’ rather than efficient use of technology or modern marketing concepts.
Similarly, Allama Iqbal, who is considered the ideological father of Pakistan, is one of the most undisputed leaders for Pakistanis. His remarkable influence on history, widespread acceptance of his poetry and ideas for a separate homeland were not a result of marketing or self-promotion, but the idea in itself was very relevant to the societal conditions and people were attracted to Iqbal’s words. Nehru once stated that the idea of a separate homeland was given so less publicity in press that very few people actually knew about it.
People like Karl Marx, Allama Iqbal and several others have considered self-promotion and getting undue importance a waste of their precious time and a distraction in achieving their goals. The visions of these people were so high, that they found time to be the most precious thing in their lives. They focused more on utilizing their limited time and best of their efforts to further the cause, rather than making a name for themselves. People were pulled to their ideas and thoughts, rather than they pushing their views on audiences. These people worked selflessly and never cared who took the credit.
The dangerous trend of self-promotion through social media rather than cause promotion will not make any difference in Pakistani society, as we were doing the same when we did not have social media. Self-publicity might have become fairly easy because of technology, but the ‘real’ change is change in our thinking and characters. We should have collective causes to further in which founders and owners with ‘celebrity’ status are hard to identify. Successful causes are owned by the society and each and every person participates in furthering it. This process can of course be made fairly efficient with the power of social media.
To strengthen my argument, we have Shoaib Mansoor’s Khuda Ke Liye, Bol and countless dramas that have made remarkable success in Pakistan’s art industry. Very few people had even seen Shoaib Mansoor till someone leaked his picture on Facebook few months back. He avoids self-promotion, publicity and does not even appear for interviews. Some people might take it as another extreme, but this is what our civilization teaches us.
Similary, the world record achieved by Abid Beli and his team has made a mark in Pakistan’s history and that will not be forgotten for ages. I’ve known Abid Beli for years now and have always seen a selfless willingness to serve Pakistan, rather than self-promotion. Even when he had not facilitated the world record last year, he tried to give a vision to people to promote patriotism in their own influential circles and always looked forward to do something that could promote the positive face of Pakistan in the world, and not himself.
Having said all that and with some ruthless criticism and comparison, our real focus should be to agree on a common long-term vision for Pakistan based on moral and ethical grounds. All social activists, entrepreneurs and leaders should participate selflessly in chalking out this vision and should focus more on furthering a national cause than personal causes! History jumps, it does not crawl and nations, not few individuals, should be ready to take the jump!
At least 10 more people were killed in Karachi on ethnic and sectarian grounds last week, amidst the heated debate of new provinces in the country. It seems that the waters of Karachi are being tested for another round of confrontation in 2012, as none of the actors involved are ready to step back.
The ethnic mix in Karachi has always been exploited by mainstream political parties. Likewise, the religious parties have also failed miserably to unite people from different origins on common grounds. They seem to be standing far away from the principles of unity and peace, propagated by the religion.
According to reports in international media, the deaths from targeted killings in Karachi have outnumbered the deaths due to suicide blasts in last few years. In 2010, Pakistan lost 1,028 lives due to 335 incidents of suicide bombings, whereas, in Karachi alone people assassinated by ethnically motivated target killers were 1,233. For 2011, the numbers are no different.
The top media outlets of Pakistan are equally responsible for the tense atmosphere of hatred and racism. Sometimes, it feels that the powerful ‘free’ media is playing party to fuel ethnic and sectarian violence in the city, by using inappropriate words, giving imbalanced coverage to either parties and setting agendas before and after incidents of violence and terrorism.
The ground realities have also gone far more bitter than what we perceive from media. Targeted irrational activities by unidentified people, from all ethnicities, in areas such as Abul Hasan Isphani Road, Gulberg, Gulistan-e-Johar and North Karachi are being continuously witnessed by residents.
The ‘actors’ involved in the game are exercising their restless efforts to fuel tensions in these areas by asking citizens to vacate their homes, killing long-settled residents and targeting them with extortion. Religious people with extremist mindsets and citizens with ethnic backgrounds are falling prey to the game. Most of the ‘neutral’ lot has started associating them with one side of the conflict, which is resulting in more polarization.
This emerging culture of hatred and hostility has finally started causing irreversible damage to Pakistan. To add to this, the not so sane political parties are actively tabling around demands for new provinces, just not at the right time. The pro and against ‘debates’ for new provinces in National Assembly and in public meetings are setting agendas for people. The political parties are striking hard when the iron is hot, overlooking the cost people will have to pay.
The civil society, youth and silent majority of Pakistan, which has not been so silent over the last few months, are far more sensible than falling into the trap of dirty politicians. Social media and other forms of communication have given them more strength than ever. They are indulging actively into shaping the future course of action for politicians and sincere leadership of the country. Its high time the civil society play a role in converging ethnic mix to strength, rather than a weakness.
If people know what they want, they get it!
Karachi: Pakistan Peoples Party (Shaheed Bhutto)’s chairperson Ms. Ghinwa Bhutto termed boycott of Bonn Conference a bad idea. “Pakistan should not boycott Bonn Conference. Pakistan should go there and tear the resolution in their faces, like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto did,” she said while speaking to the participants of a Youth Conference organized by PPP (SB).
“But, who’s going to do it? Hina Rabbani Khar?” she laughed. “We don’t have anyone to do it, not only that, we are not sincere about it.”
Ms. Ghinwa Bhutto heavily criticized the PPP government and said that the rulers are totally powerless, because they have nobody with them but themselves.
She said that the NATO attack came right after the All Parties Conference, in which the government said that they will never allow America to do anything against Pakistan, ever again!
Ms. Ghinwa Bhutto said that half of Pakistan’s establishment, majority of bureaucracy are working for institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. She said that, “When our President is from the CIA, half of People’s Party are on the CIA payroll, they are not going to implement the change. Its the people who have to do it!”
Responding to a question about the activeness of PPP (SB), Ms. Ghinwa Bhutto said that “We have not been silent, we have been silenced!”
She said that Imran Khan was an elite man and he has taken the symbols of the current system in his party, while raising a slogan for change. She said that Imran was working with all the wrong people and all the ex-ministers. “Imran Khan is not speaking about how to empower the poor,” she said.
“He is a very good candidate to keep things as they are, and to make you think that this is the solution. But you will soon realize within six months that he is a complete failure. I doubt that Imran Khan even has a manifesto,” Ms. Ghinwa added.
Responding to the discussion by students, she said “I also love conspiracy theories because conspiracies do take place. and that’s why there is a CIA … and the ISI.”
This news was published on The News Tribe.
Karachi: Energetic youth from Karachi University demanded an end of all services Pakistan was rendering to the United States after the brutal attack by NATO forces on Pakistani check post, in which at least 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed.
Students expressed their views at a Youth Conference hosted by Pakistan Peoples Party (Shaheed Bhutto) and passed a resolution against the NATO attack and demanded respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty from the United States. The students demanded an end to all such treaties that obliged Pakistan to render its services to NATO and United States for their dominance in Afghanistan and the region.
The Youth Conference was chaired by Ms. Ghinwa Bhutto, Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (Shaheed Bhutto), and facilitated by Mr. Omar Sial, Deputy Secretary General of the party.
During the discussion, some interesting comments from the participants reflected their involvement in state affairs and highlighted their concerns about the events happening across the region.
Humna Mehwish, one of the most vocal participants in the discussion, heavily criticized the government and termed the reaction from the armed forces and the government insufficient. She said that Pakistan Peoples Party was taking revenge from the people of Pakistan through democracy, as democracy is the best revenge!
Ahsan Umar, said that it were own mistakes that are leading to undesirable consequences today. He termed Pakistan’s foreign policy as a confused policy and said that the government did not have a world view of their own, it was importing that too from the US.
Saad, another student in the conference, said that the politicians were using the people for their own motives and were safeguarding the interests of foreign powers.
Most of the students agreed on the fact that relationship with United States should be reviewed and Pakistan should focus more on its internal economic development than fighting war for other countries.
This news was published on The News Tribe.
Some very basics of blogging and tweeting in simple Urdu.
Power is in the hands of youth of Pakistan. Let’s build Pakistan together!