Tagged with " Lahore"
Jul 4, 2012 - Sargodha, Shahid Kapoor    17 Comments

Braving bijli crisis with crap Bollywood

Do you know what is the worst thing ever! Your local cinema not updating their website.
I mean you check the schedule, you go there and you find out that the film you want to see will be screened three hours later! I mean why have a bloody website when you are not going to update it at least 24 hours before the screening.
S and I have been wanting to catch this particular film but when we went to the cinema, we found out that the film we wanted to watch will be screened hours later and the only two films starting within next 45 minutes were Rowdy Rathore and Teri Meri Kahani. As S refused to watch Rowdy Rathore ( I did not probe her deep seated loathing for Akshay Kumar but I am sure she has a good reason for that) the only other option available to us was Teri Meri Kahani. S thought it would be better than Rowdy Rathore, but was she wrong or what! I actually wanted to come back and watch the latest episode of Masterchef (yes, I am obsessed like that) but then realized that there won’t be any electricity at home for a couple of hours so there is no point in coming back. I decided to endure the next two and half hours of misery that passes for a Bollywood film these days for a chilly air conditioned hall (yes, I have my priorities right – mental agony must be endured for bodily comfort – that’s what one has got to do when the mercury hits 46 degree Celsius).
For starters, how in the God’s name can Shahid Kapoor be an A list actor? His teeth are more crooked than my neighbour’s paan eating 80 year old grandfather, what’s the point of making all that money if you cannot invest some of it on decent dental veneers! Would have been better if he had invested money in teeth instead of a chin implant, but I digress.
There are three alternate stories where Shahid Kapoor gets to romance Priyanka Chopra and they are all so lame that I was physically cringing every time he gets amorous. In the first one, Priyanka is a Bollywood actress in the 60s who fell for a struggling musician while bonding over kachay aam! I mean it is just 1960s not dark ages where women would fall for guys who will get them 5 slices of kachay aam! And she was a film actress FFS!
The other story is set in 2012 England where two students fall for each other over BBMs, MMS, tweets and facebook updates because the girl was a student at Nottingham and the guy was going to a university in Stratford-upon-Avon. Wait! Does the town of Stratford-upon-Avon even has one? No, it does not, the nearest university is Warwick but Kunal Kohli – the idiot who wrote this crapfest – was too lazy to google university towns in England and chose Stratford-upon-Avon to use some cheesy lines about Shakespeare and romance and what not! I have a feeling that the Bard must be turning in his grave like crazy over this one.
The last story was set in 1910 Pakistan – or part of Punjab that now constitute Pakistan – and the place they mentioned was “Sargodha, Lahore.” Seriously Mr. Hot shot Bollywood writer, how long does it take to google either Sargodha or Lahore to find out that they are two different cities and were two different cities even back then. I wonder who will take more offense at this, the Lahoris or the Sargodhvis that they were bundled like this! The hero, a Muslim stud muffin who was sleeping with all “alhar mutiyars” (village belles for lack of better translation) of all kinds – Sikh, Hindu and Muslim – fell in love with this girl and joins the protest against evil colonizers to impress her dad. He was jailed and under some really strange law, the village girls were allowed to hang out, make out and sing & dance with the inmates in their finest clothes. Sargodha had some really messed up permissive jail laws back then, I am sure the inmates in 2012 are turning green with envy for the fun those guys had back in 1910. Even though her dad was Sikh, the heroine was referred to as “Yeh Hindu Bewa Aurat” (yes, the stud muffin was the reformist who wanted to get nikah-ofied with the Hindu widow lady)
Oh and someone needs to tell all the Bollywood wallahs that being a Muslim does not turn Punjabis ghabroo jawans from Sargodha and Lahore into paan eating, poetry spewing young men from UP who throw adaabs at every random person, use sentences like ‘Hazoor tabiyat tau nasaaz naheen’, ‘ama apkay kya kehnay’, ‘miyan purzay wurzay tau theek hain na’etc. I am sure India has enough Punjabis that they would know how they behave and Punajbi men speak the same way whether they are Muslim, Christian, Sikh or Hindu, Islam does not turn them into hardcore Lucknow bwoyz!
Did I regret watching the film? Not really, I got to sit in an air conditioned room for two and half hours – something that has become a distant dream with hourly load shedding. Hai Allah Mian ji, bijli ki adam dastiyabi hum se kya kuch karwatee hai!
PS: This post has too many exclamation marks, yes, it was deliberate.

Killings and kidnappings: a day in the life of a Pakistani

While driving in Rawalpindi yesterday, I came across a series of wall chalking on Tulsa Road demanding the release of Mumtaz Qadri, the infamous murderer of one Salmaan Taseer. I was kinda sad with all things wrong with this country where people not only demand the honorable release of a murderer; they openly declare him a hero. I shook my head and drove on.  
Near Tulsa Road, Rawalpindi

Earlier this morning I discussed this with a friend and we both lamented the fact that even with repeated confessions, the murderer will probably get away with it because no judge who wants to live in this country would dare award any sentence to Mumtaz Qadri. We know that the cleric, Muhammad Afzal Chishti,  who led his funeral prayers had to fleethe country owing to death threats so no judge/judicial bench with an ounce of self preservation instinct would even think about going anywhere near Mumtaz Qadri. Such is the stateof affairs of Pakistan. 
As if this was not enough, Shahbaz Taseer, son of the late Salmaan Taseer was kidnappedearlier today. According to the police, there is no evidence linking the murder of the father with the kidnapping of the son. If a rich and well connected (they have connections with the men in two of the most powerful houses of the country; Presidency and PM House) family like Taseers is facing so much grief vis-à-vis security, rule of law and justice in the country, imagine the plight of a common man. Be it Karachi or Jamrud, the Taseers or any other poor family, the state is failing its citizens again and again and is doing it with impunity.
Here is wishing Taseers that Shahbaz makes it back unharmed.

Nov 4, 2010 - religion, Society, women    19 Comments

Women, not allowed


Women may not visit the mosques in Pakistan but they regularly go to shrines to seek divine intervention for things spiritual and trivial. The tomb of sufi saint Shah Jamal, in Lahore, is one such shrine which attracts a lot of devotees. Women are usually allowed to go to the general area and have a separate area where they can pray, sleep or eat. However, they are forbidden to enter the room which houses the grave of the saint. Shah Jamal is no exception. The entrance to the grave in the general area have this board which says: “Entrance of women is strictly forbidden.” I have seen such boards before but what I find humiliating is that now they have added the image of a young girl in pony tails with a red cross sign on it, really pushing the message that women are NOT welcome.

Sign of no entry in the general area
Sign of no entry in the segregated area for women. 

Interestingly, inside the segregated area, they have this sign which says: “This area is for women only, men are strictly forbidden to enter.” However I spotted a few men who were roaming inside. A couple of them were distributing mithaee (traditional sweets) but the rest were just loitering. I guess women do not enforce the edict as vigorously as men do.

I saw a lot of really young girls in the shrine and I was wondering what kind of message the silhouette of a young girl in in pony tails with a red cross sign on would they get. Not a nice one, methinks.  

Nov 3, 2010 - Uncategorized    7 Comments

I am from Karachi and I don’t know who they are


I was in Lahore over the weekend and knowing that I am/was a Karachiite, most people I met had asked me two questions; one of them was about who are the people behind the blog called Café Pyala.

For those who are not Pakistanis or the Pakistanis who have somehow missed out on Pyala, it is an anonymous blog run by a few journalists who generally write about the media industry in Pakistan, the people who run it and the people who think they are ‘it’.

Like I said to all the wonderful people I met in Lahore, being from Karachi and somehow linked to the media industry does not necessarily make me privy to that information and even if I had known, I would not have disclosed. Seriously, do we really need to know who they are? Come on, not everyone is born with the suicidal gene like I am that I go on writing about people, organizations, past bosses, botched up interviews under my real name and basically killing any chance of ever being employed. At times, even I wish to go anon but I am too lazy to get started all over again. The Pyala people are a smart gang with no obvious professional death wish, let them write in peace so that they can continue to entertain us.

Go Pyala!


May 29, 2010 - Shahbaz Sharif, terrorism    64 Comments

We all have blood on our hands!

Oh Lahore!
On May 28th 2010, I was away from the TV and computer the whole day, a rare feat in this increasingly connected world. I came home around 10.00 pm and was inundated with images and sounds of what is called the worst ever assault on Ahmadis – a persecuted religious minority in Pakistan – during Friday prayers. While everyone from the Prime Minister Gilani to US State Department condemned the incident, no one is willing to look at the real cause of the carnage.
Ahmadis are the most persecuted minority in Pakistan. Although the other minorities do not enjoy perfect conditions in the country, Ahmadis are especially ill-treated, with constitution and penal code supporting those who perpetuate offenses against them. Following a violent campaign, led by the Jamaat-e-Islami in 1974 against Ahmadis, constitutional amendments were introduced by the elected government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Ahmadis were declared non Musilms. Ten years later, military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq (May he rot in hell for all eternity) promulgated the anti Ahmadi Ordinance XX in April 1984. The ordinance prohibited Ahmadis from preaching or professing their beliefs, it forbids Ahmadis to call themselves Muslim or to ‘pose’ as Muslims. They were forbidden from calling their places of worship mosques. They were also barred by law from worshipping in non-Ahmadi mosques or public prayer rooms, performing the Azaan (Msulim call to prayers), using the traditional Islamic greeting in public, publicly quoting from the holy book Quraan, preaching in public, seeking converts, or producing, publishing, and disseminating their religious materials. These acts are punishable by imprisonment of up to three years. In short, the ordinance was in violation of Article 14, 16, 19, 20, 22, 25 and 28 of the 1973 Constitution and denied them basic civic rights. For Ahmadis, living in Pakistan is just as bad, if not worse than Jews living under Nazi rule.
It is not just the state institution and right wing political parties that are out for a witch hunt of Ahmadis/Qadiyanis, it is all of us who are responsible for the persecution of Ahmadis/Qadiyanis. Popular talk show host Aamir Liaquat Hussain instigated violence against the community in September 2008, which resulted in death of 3 Ahmadis. MQM, the political party he belonged to, publicly condemned him and kicked him out of the party, but the TV channel he worked for never uttered a word of apology and he continues to spew his venom to this date. Hamid Mir, another popular talk show host on the same channel and a public opinion maker, expressed his intense hatred for Qadiyanis in his leaked tapes which probably have triggered right wing terrorist into taking upon themselves to kill as many Ahmadis as they can. What was that TV channel and state’s response to that? That man is still on TV, dishing out his maligned version of truth day in, day out. Do they have blood on their hands? I say yes.
The judges in our court are obviously sympathetic towards the alleged terrorists and most of the terrorists who were captured and brought to courts were released citing lack of evidence. I am sure like all other previous terrorists who were released, the courts in Pakistan will also release the one who was caught by the people yesterday, even though he was caught red handed killing people. Punjab’s law ministers openly consorts with supposedly banned terrorists outfits, the Chief minister of Punjab is retweeting film song lyrics on twitter after 22 hours of this incident instead of making sure that people who did this are nabbed. While Jamaat-e-Isalami blamed it on USA and Blackwater, Shahbaz Sharif blamed it on enemies of Islam and Pakistan and Commissioner of Lahore Khusro Parvez blamed it all on RAW a couple of hours after the incident without any intelligence report, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks. A text message sent to journalists said this: “This is a final warning to the [Ahmedi community] to leave Pakistan or prepare for death at the hands of the Prophet Muhammad’s devotees.” It was signed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Punjab wing of al-Qaeda, the latter a hitherto unknown group. Do all those who live in denial have blood on their hands? I say yes.
The common people are just as bad as our right wing and centre of right political parties; our talk show hosts and mullah sympathizers. In a public forum pkpolitics, many people were justifying the killing spree of Qadiyanis by repeatedly calling them wajib-ul-qatl (must be killed category of apostates) because they act and behave like Muslims. A friend, who works for education ministry in Punjab called and said that most of her junior colleagues were celebrating the death of many Qadiyanis, and these people work for the ministry of education! Do they all have blood on their hands? I say yes.
Every identity card and passport holder in Pakistan – including me – who filled out the form declaring themselves true apostles of the faith have denounced the basic citizenship rights of Ahmadis/Qadiyanis. Do we all have blood on our hands? I hang my head in utter shame and say, yes we all have their blood on our hands.
PS: The only public figure and politician who ever publicly supported the basic citizenship rights of Ahmadis is MQM’s Altaf Hussain.

All images via Time by Arif Ali / AFP / Getty Images