Imran Khan

The Imran Khan Jalsa was impressive. Regardless of whether you choose to support him or not… one has to give credit to the man for people showing up to show support from every walk of life and economic strata with no one misbehaving. Goes to show how hungry Pakistanis are for change and for a leader to bring them out of the abyss that Pakistan has fallen into. On Twitter it was amusing to see so much dialogue on whether he is the future or not. PTI supporters are quick to aggressively cut down and /or humiliate anyone who dares question the great Khan (which is worrying…after all we are all pushing for democracy….right?) while the anti Khan’s were hanging on every word hoping that some solid strategies and policies would be clearly marked out as to how the Khan wants to achieve what he is promising to do. Mr Khan’s speech was a bit disappointing to say the least. And though entertaining in a private setting… a potential world leader to be calling Mrs Clinton Chachi Clinton was not the way to behave. Playing to the galley one can understand but surely if one is expecting change, then one would hope that the change would be right from the beginning and teaching the awam that being respectful while having intelligent discourse is something Pakistan and Pakistanis are capable of .

Don’t get me wrong. I have admired Imran Khan for his cricket and of course his fabulous work with SKMT. Not sure of his abilities to run a country. But … if he has that much support…then maybe it may be a good idea for people to come on board to support and hold him accountable so he doesn’t make the same mistakes and fail the way Musharraf did. He clearly is popular… we ALL want change…. we are happy to watch and criticize but that’s a good thing. Imran Khan would do well to listen to all the critics and sift out the valid rational concerns from the rabbit “I hate because I love to hate him” critics. I for one would love to see someone come and turn this country into the kind of nation one feels proud to be a citizen of at the international forum instead of only being known for our weaknesses.  If that is to be Imran Khan … and I say IF…. then please… take note of the genuine concerns of those who also want change… and address them too.


ah Mondays are always tough… Its getting started in one’s work week after lazing for two days if you’re lucky to have the weekend off…

Today  on Breakfast At Dawn we had Hasan Askari… a senior political analyst and we were discussing the visit of John Negraponte to Pakistan and what it means for us… a very interesting discussion no doubt but something he said really struck me…

The situation in Swat is worsening day by day… we have a bit of a war going on in our North West Frontier Province.  Now a new flashpoint has erupted with the sectarian violence that has started up in Parichinar. With so much trouble up there Askari pointed out that the govt needs to have the stability to focus on handling that problem.  But with the confrontational stance that everyone is taking… Benazir won’t talk to Musharraf… Musharraf locking everyone up… everyone bashing Musharraf with or without the uniform. In fact even Askari pointed out that even if the govt does take a valid step our automatic response is to bash it because that is our first reaction. Lack of confidence in the govt has become habitual whether justified or not. My personal opinion is I sincerely hope Mush sees sense and lifts the emergency asap and that the politicians put Pakistan first for a change and work together rather than confrotational tactics with each other to bring stability back into the country.

I was browsing some other blogs and added Pak Tea House to my blog roll… thought you may be interested in what’s written there… and pasting another article I found on his blog…. but also pasting the link so you can see the source directly for yourself. For those of you who read the Newsweek article… there is my case in point about media responsibility… Its not just Geo or ARY …its global… anyway…here is another perspective from the BBC


How to take a holiday in Pakistan


By Hugh Sykes
BBC News, Pakistan

Suicide bombs, battles in tribal areas, and states of emergency tend to put off casual tourists. But the impression such events convey can often be misleading and unrepresentative of a country as a whole.

A few days ago I was sitting in a cafe sipping best Italian espresso and reading a news magazine.

The front page was full of furious faces and clenched fists under the headline, The Most Dangerous Nation in the World isn’t Iraq, it’s Pakistan.

A view over the isolated Chitral Valley in north west Pakistan

Hugh Sykes journey took him to the Chitral Valley in north west Pakistan

The cafe was in a smart bookshop in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.

I sighed and turned to the article inside.

It was a revealing analysis of some penetration of a few places in Pakistan by the Taleban and al-Qaeda.

I pondered the magnifying-glass effect of dramatic news coverage.

The suicide bomb attack on Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming parade in Karachi in October, which killed an estimated 140 people, and the assault on a Taleban pocket in the Swat valley, a tourist destination, took place while I was in Pakistan.

But neither event had a noticeable effect on the general sense of security and stability where I was in Islamabad or on the road.

The notion that Pakistan is more dangerous than Iraq is absurd.

Until recently suicide bombs, murder, and kidnapping were routine in Iraq.

And there is no way I would do there what I have just done in Pakistan: take a holiday.

Never alone

I hired a car in Islamabad and headed out onto the partially completed M2 motorway that will eventually connect Lahore (near the Indian border) with Peshawar (the last city on the road to the Khyber Pass and Afghanistan).

But motorways are boring, so I left the M2 and re-joined the ancient Grand Trunk Road, which links most of the main towns of northern Pakistan.



We advise against all travel to areas where there are reports of military or militant activity…

We advise against all but essential travel to Quetta (Balochistan) and… against using the rail network or bus services in the whole of Balochistan

There is a high threat from terrorism and sectarian violence throughout Pakistan…

You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people

Full FCO advice for Pakistan

For much of the route it is lined with eucalyptus trees, their almost-autumn leaves and silvery bark shining in the clear October sun as I drove along.

Driving in Pakistan is fast and sometimes chaotic, but not competitive.

They even hoot politely. And one great danger at home you hardly ever have to contend with in Pakistan is drunk drivers and people with concentration blurred by hangovers.

My destinations were Chitral, an isolated valley in the far-north-west on the Afghan border and Gilgit, close to China and Tajikistan.

The round-trip was more than 1,200 miles (nearly 2,000km) and included mountain passes almost half as high as Everest.

And although I was driving alone, I was hardly ever on my own.

There is public transport but not a lot. So, people walk long distances along these high stony roads and if a car passes, they hold out a hand hoping for a lift.

Twelve-year-old Kashif, one of Hugh Sykes' companions on his journey

Twelve-year-old Kashif, one of Hugh Sykes’ companions on his road trip

One morning, 12-year-old Kashif sat with me for a while.

He had been expecting to walk for more than an hour to the nearest town, to buy a new pair of shoes.

He showed me the pair he was wearing. The right shoe’s upper was half split away from the sole.

Kashif spoke almost perfect English, good enough to warn me as we turned a tight bend, “Be careful, uncle, road badly damaged round next corner from earthquake.”

Earthquake damage from 2005, still unrepaired.

I spent the night at a hotel next to the old fort at Mastuj, near the snowy Hindu Kush peak Tirich Mir which is 7,690m high (25,200 feet).

The hotel consists of small timber and stone cabins set in a wood of walnut trees and poplars and a plane tree reputed to be 200 years old.

I woke to autumn colours every bit as wondrous as anything I have seen in Kew Gardens or New England.

My next hitch-hiking companion was Mohammed, an English Literature student at Peshawar University.

“So you study Shakespeare?” I asked.

Mohammed, an English Literature student at Peshawar University

Mohammed, an English Literature student at Peshawar University

“Yes, and Wordsworth.”

And John Donne, I wondered?

“Ah, John Donne,” he raptured.

“John Donne… the poetry of love.”

I do not know any Donne by heart but when I attempted Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man from As You Like It, Mohammed completed every line as we bumped along the dusty road.

Parts of Pakistan are deeply conservative, devoutly Muslim places, and I was not signalled for lifts by many women.

But there were some.

A mother and grandmother, sitting in the back, their heads covered but not their faces and one-year-old Anis and his father Samir in the front with me.

He protested when I took a photograph of the two women but they did not object and posed happily as they waited for the flash.

When I delivered them to the Gilgit hospital where the little boy had an appointment with a heart specialist, his father was so pleased and grateful he gave me a bear hug, and a massive smile that erased his earlier stern objections to taking a picture.

I gave lifts to more than 20 people, learned how to say “no problem” in Urdu (Koi Batnahi), and had to hold back tears when two children said thank you for their lift and offered me money to help pay for the petrol.

From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Saturday 10 November, 2007 at 1130 GMT on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme schedules for World Service transmission times.

Ayeshah asks:
we all believe in freedom of speech, press… do you think the media has handled the freedom they did experience in Pakistan before the imposition of Emergency responsibly?

Sajid Ghafoor Sajid Ghafoor:

I think in some cases they went over board

Ali Raza:why dont we as a nation have patience to see things evolve….

Ambreen Haider Ambreen Haider:…the world is demanding of pakistan what some consider dreadful, myself included. why cant ouor media be as composed and pleasant as BBC? we try to be.. fox news and sky news! ’nuff said.Ambreen Haider:on top of that the media got freedom the press has nevver experienced in the country’s history. if it was responsible, it would present the pros and cons alike, which it did not. the world sees the emotional drama the media has to portray, based on which.Ambreen Haider Ambreen Haider:media is supposed to be factual, and unbiased. i feel some of the media did tend to get a bit carried away with the hullaballoo when there was none. they made it an emotional campaign instead. remember all the blood and limbs at each bomb over the years?

Ankur Tewari Ankur Tewari:A film maker is always as good as his last film. A politician as good as his last action. I think the media has conveniently forgotten the good the man in the uniform has done for the nation. It might not seem so but he has always put nation before self..





ah…finally got back to the BAD show…. that’s our inside joke for Breakfast At Dawn… I had taken 10 days off … one week was legal as i had a flu and couldn’t speak… and considering its a morning talk show, lack of voice meant I was redundant! By the time I was up on my feet was feeling kind of burn out and sorry for myself for my lack of a life with sleeping by 10 p.m to wake up at 4 a.m to be at work by 5:30 am…. do I hear violins anywhere? hmm… didn’t think so… oh well back to the grind… still feeling burnt out but taking a short break again soon which will be nice.

Felt good to be back at work and in the thick of things. Felt great to be talking to my colleagues and discussing journalists and their protests. I played the Devil’s Advocate (;)) and basically asked if perhaps the media had not acted responsibly at some points and did go overboard and therefore can we honestly blame the govt for clamping down on the media. Mubasshir Zaidi gave a fantastic response.. I was so proud of him ..I wanted to hug him… very rightly he said the govt has its own state channel…use that… get your spin doctors and tell the country your side of the story… our job is to report what is happening on the ground…

Problem is no one takes the state channels seriously because its known for its stance… with the result that ppl are generally watching the private channels for news updates and they only get that point of view… not the other side… is that fair too I ask?? how do you feel?? anyone out there reading?

Well time to take a cat nap so i can deal with my kids when they get home. later!