Mar 11, 2009 - published work    44 Comments

Profits in times of recession


The global recession and liquidity crunch is making things difficult for everyone; small fish like us don’t stand a chance when giants like Coca-Cola are announcing dips in their profits. Job sites and Labour department and employment exchanges, especially in the United States of America and UK, are busy advertising the kind of skills that are still in demand and locations where people can retrain for those skills in order to get a job.

Things work a little differently here in Pakistan. The government is busy pacifying the militants, establishing governor’s rule and ensuring the availability of riot police for the impending long march. The opposition, on the other hand, has to make sure that they riot as much as they can during the long march, protest against the aforementioned governor’s rule and criticize government on every television channel that asks them to voice their opinion. The employment of common people is not something that is high on the agenda of either the government or the opposition parties.

However, after much deliberation, a new list of occupations is devised which can bring in richer dividends for the people, even in times of slump and economic decline.

Flag and Banner Industry: Whether it is election time, Muharram, Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, political rally, long march, short march or just the month of March, there is always a demand for a banner or two. Whether you are in business of providing cloth to the banner-and-flag maker or work as the darzi who sews the jhandas, there is steady employment in this business. Occasional employment is also available for hoisting the flags and banners across the length and breadth of the country.

Crowd provider: Just like flag and banner industry, potential for running a human resource agency for providing crowds for political meetings, marches, jalsas and dharnas is tremendous. Not only the possibilities for providing general public for rallies are enormous, one can create a niche speciality for providing people who are good at slogan chanting, rallying the mob and flag bearing. Of course the charges for specific human resource would be much higher than just general crowd provision.

Hijab Industry: Hijab industry is the fastest growing industry in the country. With imposition of Shariat in Swat and Fata and its probable spread to other areas, burqas would be mandatory for women if they are to leave their homes to go to the weddings and funerals of relatives. Quite a few people have already built empires out of manufacturing and selling Hijab-related clothing. Hijab not only has a huge market in the country, but it sells like hot cakes in other countries as well and can generate much needed foreign exchange for the country. Canada is one such country where the business of hijab is booming, thanks to the immigration of Farhat Hashmi to the greener environs of Mississauga. Toronto and Vancouver are the new hotspots for the trendiest in hijab wear. This scribe met a sister duo in Rabi Centre Karachi who were buying tonnes of black georgette. One of the sisters is running a very successful hijab boutique in Vancouver and the other sister is the manufacturer who exports the hijab wear from Karachi; both of them are doing very well while busy in God’s business. If your business if affected by anti-dumping duties or you cannot compete with the low cost of production for knitwear, you can always switch to hijab wear and make loads of money for yourself and your country.

Madrassa teacher: As more and more people are facing the axe and their purchasing power is declining, they will soon be pulling their children out of the regular schools and put them in Madrassas funded with Saudi petrodollars. The higher the enrolment in such Madrassas would be, the demand for teachers would accelerate in the same proportion.

Disclaimer: Invest your time and money in the aforementioned occupations at your own risk; we cannot guarantee that the market for them will stay stable.

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  • you might also add the following:

    suicide bomber: with a consistent and steady supply of targets who are responsible for destroying the fabric of our pure islamic society there is always high demand for an effective suicide bomber who can take out a theatre, police van or mosqueful of heretics.

    girls’ school destroyer: with the government’s stated resolve to keep building girls’ schools and the taliban’s stated resolve to keep on blowing them apart (and we all know who’s more resolute among those two) a qualified school destroyer need not worry for lack of opportunity.

    because of the depreciation of the pakistani rupee against all major currencies, employers are paying the above staff in jannatdollars.

  • Oh Isnt there a place for Media Professionals?
    Television & radio Preachers trained by Mulana Radio’s Preachers Training Academy where Zaid Hamid & Imran Khan give honorary lectures? Maybe we could even have religious composers making catchy soundtracks on religious themes, make up artists to bring the best out the hijab clad women. Set designers who can conjure up images of heaven and hell.

  • very funny xille and ibteda,

    I have a word count limit. I initially wanted to concentrate on darzi related occupations, such as stiching jhandas, hijabwear, suicide jackets, bulletproof jackets, kifayas, topis and whatnot but decided against it. I promise to do one specially on religious TV.

    PS: dont you think depiction of hell and heaven would be Haram?

    PPS: Has anyone heard Junaid Jamshed on Geo on 12 Rabi-ul-Awal? That man is losing it by the second.

  • I couldnt bear to watch Junaid Jamshed.
    It might be haram, but then I would have thought Naats & Hamds on Bollywood tunes would be haram too.
    The real sad thing is, there is no way, these guys can have shows showcasing the hoors. I’m sure they’d have lured in a lot of recruits that way.

  • Bonjour Tazeen,

    Very funny, a pleasure to read. You deserve many, many readers.


  • Public speaking. If u r an ex-dictator.

  • or may be Farhat Hashmi herself should develop a women army and ask for a grant from Mid East Royalty..I live in Canada and have had enuff of her disciples.They waste no time in branding each and every of your action as a Bidaaa.. jeeeeeeeezzz ..( did I just say Jesus))

  • Isn’t Junaid Jamshed a singer in Pakistan? What is he upto now?

    And Tazeen, do recommend some jobs for people who’ll be the hardest hit: Barbers, conventional school teachers, people in the Music Industry, conventional lawyers etc…

  • Awesome post.

    forgot to mention the IT industry????

    We are seeing an IT boom throughout the world.

    IT is such a hot career option these days.

    We are seeing a never ending supply of IT professionals.


  • That was funny. Adding the disclaimer made it all the more fun!

  • I love your posts. They are funny, well-thought, well-written, and meaningful!

    Lol @ Xill’s additions to the list! In my recent anesthesiology class (of all places!), before demonstrating the use of the ventilation machine, the anesthesiologist advised us all to pay attention. To add emphasis, he even showed us a cartoon of a suicide-bombing school in Afghanistan where the instructor, before blowing himself up, says, “Pay attention, students! I will do this only once!”

  • I might invest my money in Hijab swimsuits, the Burkinis, if you will.

  • I have a suggestion for you Tazeen. Please write a book on how hijab and Islam have oppressed you or women of Pakistan…it can be a fiction…as long as it is against Islam and Shariah, I am pretty sure it will be a best seller on New York Times. Please join the Rushdie-Hersi-Manji club. It is a way to make loads of $$ as well as “earn” popularity!

  • Thanks a lot Mariam,

    I was wondering why anyone has not made the Rushdie-Manji connection (I only mentioned Rushdie-Manji because they are Desi and a lot less attention seeking than Ms. Hirsi).

    I only have one thing to say, any nation that loses the ability to laugh at oneself is doomed, I just want people to notice things, laugh at them and ponder about that.

    I wrote this piece for Dawn, if you happen to check out the newspaper, you must see that inflation has shot to 21 percent last month but do anyone, be govt or opposition give a rats ass about that, No. They dont.

    Instead of raising your voice against such elements, you decided to criticize me and bracket me with Rushdie and Manji who you think are evil creatures. Honestly, I have not even read Manji’s book. It was boring and I couldn’t go on after 2nd chapter.

  • 🙁

  • Very well written. Your post provides an interesting insight into the current environment of your nation, which unluckily ias facing much graver issues than economic recession.

  • Taz read the comments section on your dawn post to learn how to put down an indian by F.K lol

    great read btw 🙂 i think phajlu got the hiccups after this.

  • oh dang. it is my dry sense of humor that always gets me into trouble. i thought we were talking about making profits. on a serious note, my suggestion has some validity as well (or so i think…from my experience) < --humor alert. However, i thought it was slightly judgmental to say that I am not raising my voice against such elements AND consider Rushdie and Manji as “evil creatures.” I am no God. But can’t I have some liberty to poke jokes too? Sorry, if they aren’t funny.

  • Mariam,

    You were not joking.
    I have a pretty strong fun/wit/humour radar and I can spot anything even remotely funny from miles.
    You have liberty to do whatever you want but if you are trying to poke jokes – as you say – please make sure they are at least understandable if not funny.

  • 5 words…or is it 6? You’re a woman with balls!

  • Excellent post!

    I think Flag and banner industry, crowd provider, agency to teach women self-protection against moral policing, teaching communication skills to politicians who put their feet in their mouths, pink chaddi manufacturers would thrive very well in India too.

  • Tazeen! Yet another incredibly amusing post over a very unamusing issue.. needless to say, and well, sad enuf, but the characteristics are quite a copy-paste across your border o’er here in India too, as correctly pointed by Rachna, only, perhaps slightly modified according to the region and religions..

  • Tazeen my dear
    You are getting better and better… that’s a good sign. Someone needs to give you your own tv show ala Jon Stewart out here in the pardes.
    Loved this piece… love the additional suggestion by your admirers too.
    You deserve to be read far and wide. All the best. ♥

  • Brilliant! Very apt considering the times.

  • Perfect;-)

  • fabulous! 🙂

  • Hi Tazeen –

    Glad to see that the recession hasn’t effected your cynical sense of humour! Keep the posts coming, please.



  • I read your previous article in which some readers were insisting about the cartoon issue. Now I see those women are hiding somewhere and not bringing cartoon issue anymore. Amazing.

  • Errmm, okay so it is me, I found it, my apologies. (View holler)
    So on with the formalities:
    Thank you for visiting my blog.
    Nice blog you have here.
    Take care.

  • Umar: Now I see those women are hiding somewhere and not bringing cartoon issue anymore.

    So, lemme get this straight. You’re saying that you’d want to discuss blasphemy / insults to the Prophet on a socio-political satirical blog? You’re actually missing that ‘discussion’? And you say this despite knowing that the said insults to the Prophet are (a) untrue & evil, (b) deeply distressing to all Muslims, and (c) a cause for some nutters to exhibit their nuttiness?

    I know I’m but a wee simple lad, so please do enlighten me – why would you want to re-open that topic?

    Whether you love and admire the Prophet or not, that approach seems bizarre. Truly.

    PS: I am sure “those women” are not ‘hiding’, probably just chained to the kitchen sink, no? 😛

  • I like your wry tongue-in-cheek tone!
    How are write ups such as these received in Pakistan? Does it make for some brick bat throwing because the comment section comes up pretty clean here unless you’ve been doing some clean up operation on the side.

  • Rakesh,

    Junaid Jamshed used to be a very famous singer back in 1990s. Now he is a dress designer, Hajj and Umrah Tour operator, Naat khuwan and part time telly evangelist preaching the word of God according to his limited wisdom.

    No, as a rule, I do not moderate comments, unless they are extremely offensive. You can see the previous post, one gentlemen called all liberal women bitches and whores and that too in capital letters.
    I dont think there are many takers for my kind of writing. For one, I write in English and not everyone can read and write English, secondly, I write in cyber space, again limited visibility. And I guess only people who like my kind of humor come and post comments.

  • sarcastic best:)

  • Hahaha, good one. And awesome description of Junaid Jamshed!

  • a smile 🙂 …

  • May God bestow me with the wisdom that you possess(or have accumulated over time) : P~ …

  • Now he is a dress designer, Hajj and Umrah Tour operator, Naat khuwan and part time telly evangelist preaching the word of God according to his limited wisdom

    Why are you soooo jealous? :-). Shouldn’t this be appreciated that a “molvi” is trying keep both worlds together in alot better way? if a Molvi stays in masjid then you guys cry, if he tries to practice religion in his job then still you guys cry. In short you guys have to whine anyway 🙂

    And,limited wisdom is a lot better than unlimited ignorance- *grin*

  • I love it!

    I love it while simultaneously lamenting the condition of Pakistan.

  • lol, I did check out his videos where’s he’s upset about someone who cut his beard because of him. But it’s beyond me, as in why is music a crime?

    And Return of the Adnan!!! lol

  • hijab boutiques!! damn!

  • Watching the developments?

  • Its a bit sad that in this day and age we can accept women who think the world of themselves and castrate anyone they deem unworthy by what is supposed to be dry wit, but we cannot accept Junaid who is on the right path and frankly has a hell of a lot more knowledge about what he is doing rather than the writer of this asinine post.

  • its a humorous take on something so grave…must say you have the guts, living in a place like pakistan…kudos to you! good one 🙂

  • Wow, I do market reports for companies, but…I salute your innovation.

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