Monthly Archives: January 2012

Time – Australian takes issue over skewed article on Pakistan

Editor’s Note: A rejoinder to the article: Karachi (Pakistan) – A doomed city in TIME. A worthy response. THANK YOU Tony Lazaro for a very balanced view.,9171,2103706,00.html republished by PAKISTAN TODAY:

The Editor, Time Magazine

Dear Editor,

I recently returned from a charitable trip to Pakistan, whereby I visited both Karachi and Islamabad. I spoke with several universities, key businesses, prominent business leaders and several religious people from all generations….

On the day I returned to the office, someone had placed your magazine (January 16, 2012), on my desk. I read with interest your article on Karachi and the city in doom. For a person to have just returned from the very same place that your magazine described was somewhat bizarre, so I read with great detail your writer (Andrew Marshall’s) account.

Let me begin by saying that I often flick through your magazine and find the articles of great interest, but on this particular day and this particular article, I found certain comments to be both one sided and indeed very negative. I say that because I saw a different Pakistan to what was portrayed in your article. I do not and will not comment on the political or religious problems that the country faces, but I will go so far as to say that not everything is as bad as the image that your magazine paints.

Sure there are deaths in the cities. Please show me a city in the world, that is free from political fighting and unrest.

Sure there are differences in the political party opinions. Please show me a country in the world where the political parties agree.

Sure the innocent are suffering. Please show me a country in the world where wealth and power is equal and the innocent don’t suffer.

Sure corruption is in Pakistan. Please show me a country in the world that is corruption free.

My list could go on, but my point is that Pakistan does have problems…but so does every other country in the world in some way or another. However, in the case of ALL other nations, there are often good things to report and the media goes out of its way to promote these good things across the globe, whenever possible. The ridiculous amount of shootings in the USA are balanced off by the success of Google, Microsoft and Apple. The financial dilemmas of Greece are lost in the marketing of the Greek Islands as a holiday destination of choice. The child slave industry of India, is brushed under the carpet in favour of the nation’s growth in the global software boom. What I am trying to say, is that someone needs to look further into Pakistan and see that there are millions of great stories to write about, which would portray the country in a different light, to that what is being portrayed by your article.

When I was in Pakistan, I visited a towel manufacturing company (Alkaram Towels). They produced some $60million in export in 2011 and are aiming at $85million in 2012. A substantial increase in sales…in a recession I would remind you. The company was started by the current Chairman, Mr. Mehtab Chawla, at the tender age of nine, after his father passed away. Today the very man employs 3000 staff. Now that’s a story.

I visited universities of NED, Hamdard, Karachi, Szabist and NUST. The students are unbelievably intelligent. They spend their spare time developing APPS for android and apple. They are involved in cutting edge technology and no one in the world knows this. Why not send a reporter to Pakistan to look into this. Why not research good things in this nation, rather than just the bad things. At NUST (National Institution for Science and Technology – Islamabad)) there were 38,000 applications for medicine. There are only 83 seats for the medicine course  on offer. The competition is unbelievable. In  short it pushes the best to be even better. But the world doesn’t know this. Why ? Because no one wants to report on it, or no one knows about it…or both !!

Please do not get me wrong. I understand that news is news, but it is high time that the western world stopped promoting these terrorists and political wars in Pakistan and started to write something that would help the nation. Something positive. If we really care about global partnerships and economic growth, then I suggest we try and give Pakistan a helping hand. There are 180 million people in Pakistan, 65% are under the age of 25. The youth of Pakistan is its strength.. it is like a sleeping giant. If you think that India is a booming nation. I suggest you stop a second and look at Pakistan. Given a little help from the western world, Pakistan can become a dominant economy. She doesn’t want aid and she doesn’t need money… she just wants the chance to be seen in a different light.  I believe we have a fundamental obligation to assist. The only question is, who will reach out first.

Warmest regards,

Tony Lazaro
Managing Director
Rising Stars Management Group

Tel:  02 8824 7000
Fax: 02 8824 7766



Christians in Punjab: Once Again!

Editor’s Note: It is with deep regret that I write this piece. Regret at the  happening. I sincerely wish, more people to speak up against this.

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: Yasmeen Ali

Adding to a series of targeting against the Christians in Punjab was the incident in Lahore on 1oth January 2012 when bulldozers razed to ground, at 6.30 am, a Church, a girls school for improvished families and at least seven houses. The families reportedly, had no opportunity to remove their belongings before their humble abodes were bulldozed. The bulldozed area is a two acre site which the Catholic Bishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore claims to belong to the Catholic diocese. He claimed that the property is owned by the Church since at least 1887 and has documentary proof of the same. (

The institution, ”Gosha-e-Aman”situated at Allama Iqbal Road, Garhi Shahu, Lahore was run by a board of Catholic Church and managed by CARITAS Pakistan. The institution is registered in the name of Lahore Charitable Association established in 1887. The officials supervising the demolition claim the property was transferred to the Punjab Government. The Catholic Board claims this not only the ownership of the property is wrongfully being claimed by Punjab Government , but also, that no notice to evict the property was served to the legal property holders.(

Father Emmanuel Yousuf Mani, the NCPJ national director, told a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Tuesday that the demolished compound was home to three families and worth billions of rupees. He also stated that the litigation over the property was in court and a stay order had been taken against the demolition (

Families, evicted, were literally turned on the streets, losing their roof and worldly possessions.

In a politically charged air in Pakistan, with Supreme Court and Government embroiled in the NRO case, rumors of what next to come flying around and the Memogate controversy to name a few, the atrocity has gone uncommented by the self declared liberals and media at large. The talk shows are completely engrossed in calling anyone and everyone willing to indulge in the verbal diarrhea that leads to pointless discussions but on issues that effect the lives of the common man-there is quietness!

Where are the NGOs who claim to support all wrong actions? Where are the human right activists? Where are the liberals who claim equality for all Pakistanis?

When this scribe spoke with Brigadier Samson Sharaf® Member of Roman Catholic Diocese over phone, it was communicated that the property is owned by the Lahore Charitable Association. All bills have been paid by the Association since 1887 and all registration papers to the effect are also present in name of the Association. He stated this to be part of land mafia maneuver to take over the property.

The scribe was also informed, having questioned about the whereabouts of the displaced families, that some have been shifted to the compound of the St. Anthony’s Church in Garhi Shahu and some sit, under the open sky, on the rubble of their demolished abodes, waiting for a miracle to restore their homes to them.

Brigadier Samson Sharaf® says to have spoken with the MNA for the area, Sardar Ayaz who has assured Sharaf to help resolve the issue.

How does the good MNA for all his good intentions aim to resolve demolished buildings- is baffling. Who will be responsible for restructuring the Church, the school & the homes of these poor people? That of course, once the case is resolved which, the courts are notorious for taking years on end to settle. In the meanwhile where do these families go? Who will be responsible for providing them shelter, a LIFE?

This is yet another test for the judiciary, to give justice. I cannot but be reminded here of the all true saying of Ralph W Sockman,” The test of courage comes when we are in minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in majority”.

How long can we test the courage of the minority only? What about our courage as the majority? The courage to do the RIGHT and stand by the weak? The courage to be tolerant in spirit and deed?

The writer is a University Professor based in Lahore & may be contacted at:


Ethnicity: Basis for New Provinces?

Hardly anyone understands the historical implications &  impact of divisions f boundaries over time. This piece is an effort to explain the factors involved. Please also read:More Provinces:Good or Bad?

This is a Pakpotpourri Exvclusive

By : Yasmeen Ali

Looking into the very concept of decentralization, history proves, this has been a popular concept, well applied by earlier civilizations. That Pakistan should be divided into smaller administrative units is an attractive proposition. It should help in being in touch with the issues on ground, bringing together the governed and the governing, addressing the needs to the common man.

The question that arises is: what should be the basis of this division? Ethnicity? I would say, a resounding NO to that one. It can only lead to greater division, not unification and will  therefore,be self defeating.

Renaming provinces has its own bitter repercussions. Take the case of Old NWFP, now KPK(Khyber Pakhtunkhawa), but now Hazara, wants to have its own identity as we see in the lower reaches of KPK, the Sarieki speaker of Dera Ismail Khan, would be, more at ease in a Sareiki P rovince, as would also, be the Mainwali Sareiki speakers. Barkhan in Baluchistan,is a Sareiki region too. It should be kept in mind, that the Bahwalpuri ex nawabs are asking for their own province on basis of their last geographic boundaries of merger within Pakistan. The Chitrali presently in KPK, are thinking of rejoining their own linguistic group within Gilgit Baltistan. Within KPK, a strong resentment against the imposition of the Pakhtunkhwa, terminology exists, within the older inhabitants of the region, who are Hindkoh speakers. We find in Sindh, a brew fermenting within linguistic groups.



Geographic Administrative boundaries of our civilization have varied from time to time, but to establish a bench-mark, we start with that of ‘Ain e Akbari’ late 16th century. This continued till 1739,the invasion of Nadir Shah brought in a lot of changes ,he took the whole Trans-Indus land –mass ,the eastern Nara, or as the Indus flowed East of Omerkot in present Sindh, or the western fringes of Rann of Kutch Kashmir, and present Attock district too, which were Cis-Indus regions. It was Nadir Shah who in order to break the Kalhora Power, sliced off the western trans-indus, Suba of Multan,and created the Nizamate of Kalat. The Rising power of Sikh Misls devastated the fabric of Mughal hold over the Suba of Lahore. The death of Nadir Shah and Rise of Ahmed Khan Abdali,of Qandhar and his repeated raids further devastated, and depopulated the Indus regions. The British now entered with their own plans. The Kalhora dynasty had ceased in this turmoil. The Sikhs were established till Khyber. They let the existing order for the time exist by signing various treaties, with the various pressure groups, as they saw them. So the Khan of Kalat continued, as did the various others in Kech and Makran, as were Sindhi Talpur state allowed too Bahwalpur, Chitral and a host of smaller ones till Hunza.


The need for the British to step in the Indus region came with the threat of the Russian empires, movement to South. So the 19th century brought in a lot of new geographic names in its wake. In our west  Khurassan was changed to Afghanistan, and we lost our footage of Wakhan to this new entity. Kashmir too, was part of Defensive plan of buffer states protecting the Crown of the Jewel of the Indian empire. Bahwalpur state also survived on this account, as did Nizamate of Kalat and the Chitral state and of course all those smaller in the Gilgit Agency.


With the establishment of a Cantonment in Shal kot rechristened Quetta, a need arose for a new term, the creation of the British- Balluchistan entity, a safe Passage from Multan to Quetta, and onward to the new Afghanistan, through a hostile territory required to establish chiefs who would protect the route.

So came a long line of new Nawabs, from Dera Ghazi Khan to Pisheen.

The old Thatta  Sarkar Administrated from Multan, was renamed Sindh with annexation of Sikh state, in 1849,Sindh -Saghar and its Eastern Doaba’s were renamed ‘Punjab’ which was an extension, westwards of ,the, Actual Punjab by the British. So the present KPK, remained part of this Punjab till 1901.

The British in order to establish their own writ, created their own power zones. It will not be possible here to discuss each district or commissioner ship one by one, and give a background to each, though it is possible to do so , if required.


The present Punjab underwent a lot of changes, with Advent of the Nine Canal Colonies. The canal networks, regions once not under cultivation became the new markets, and so came the inception of newer tehsils and bigger districts.The boundaries of tehsils or the (Ha’ads) are the legacy of a bygone era and flow of old river beds, tribal area’s, or their grazing tracts, hence those curving zig zag lines.


In order to elucidate my point I will present a very brief case study of creation of District Muzzafargarh by the British.

Prior to Sikh/British, rule the Muzzafargarh  tehsil was part of Multan district, what is now Kot Adu tehsil, governed from Manekra, in the Thal, and was called ‘kachchhi shumali’,

The present Alipur Tehsil was called, ”Kachchhi Janubi”, this was with the Bahwalpur Nawab.

The present Jatoi tehsil was part of, later Dera Ghazi khan entity. The advent of Sikh and Dewan  Sawan Mal the most able governor of Sikhdom resulted in changes. He administrated these area’s from Multan by creating 23 Taaluka’s, each was Governed by a single Kardar, a Muharrir and a few Soldiers. In May 1849,the British laid foundation of a new district, making Khangarh Fort, the Head Quarter, at that time Garh Maharaja and Ahmedpur Sial, now in Jhang, were part of what later became Muzzafargarh, by the end of 1849,the district Headquarters were shifted to Muzzafargarh Fort with 4 tehsils, namely Rangpur, Khangarh, Kinjhar and Sitpur. The old capital of the region.

Kot Adu ,had its Tehsil Head Quarters in ‘Sanawan’.and was part of Leiah district. In 1859, Sanawan, became part of Muzzafargarh. In 1861,Rangpur Tehsil was abolished. Garh Maharaja and Ahmedpur Sial were given to Jhang District, however Rangpur itself remained part of Muzzafargarh. By now 140 square miles of Leiah had been added to Muzzafargarh and 17 villages of Multan District added also.

By now the” Kinjhar” Tehsil had been abolished and its area added to Muzzafargarh tehsil, as had been abolished, ”Sitpur” and Alipur named the new Tehsil. The changes in the bed of Chinab and Indus further added and subtracted areas, so 31 villages were transferred to, Multan district and 11 went to Dera Ghazi Khan, while 3 villages from Multan,4 from Dera Ghazi Khan,and one from Bahwalpur state were added in Muzzafargarh. In 1909,Leiah Commissioner ship was broken, and Leiah made in Tehsil and added to Muzzafargarh. Later we see, re-emergence of Leiah as a district. The point to state is that as per the need of time newer entities are created. The British carved out their own entities, it is high time we did away with this Legacy, which has become a ill-omen and recreate, our own Administrative boundaries.



From the very top to the tip of Pakistan:

1-The tribal belt which Punjab has with Baluchistan must be done away with, as should other tribal area’s ,in other provinces.

2-These stated above on Point 1 be made part of a newer setup. FATA AJK, GB (Gilgit Baltistan) etc be made part of a single Pakistan.

3-The state is the only power which can implement these goals, however by making models of new districts, based on the terrain of our country, mountains, deserts, plains and plateau-the area of Pakistan should be divided in Squares or Rectangles, as per lay of the land.

3-A fixed number of population area be kept in mind while making these Squares. In Each Square the main Town be named the District, with its minor squares being the tehsils. This should kill the rising linguistic and ethnic evil.


We should learn to live with different people of different ethnicities, they should not, be allowed to create their communities, with their own languages thereby states within a state. If provinces on current ethnic basis are allowed to continue, fragmentation will result. It is a matter of time.


Yasmeen Ali is a University Professor based in Lahore. She may be reached at