Saturday, August 19, 2017

Friends of Pakistan Celebrate Pakistan's Independence Day

On 14th August this year, Pakistan celebrated its 70 Independence Day as it was on this day in 1947 when the British Indian empire finally came to an end and resulted into its division into Pakistan and India. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, commonly known as Quaid-e-Azam (the great leader) was at the helms of the affairs to win over Muslim majority areas of the British India in the shape of Pakistan.

However, the Indians with their tacit relations with the then Viceroy of India Mountbatten had the roads leading to Kashmir amd included city of Gurdaspur in India - thus creating a long standing rivalry between Pakistan and India, which still continues till date. Pakistan supports the just struggle of majority Muslim population of Kashmir but the world concious continues to sleep to keep their eyes closed on the atrocities committed by the Indian Army to curb the just struggle movement of the Kashmiri Muslims to join Pakistan.

While we in Pakistan celebrate our independence day, Kashmiri Muslims in the Indian Occupied Kashmir also celebrate the day with Pakistani flags hoisted all over Kashmir despite brutal efforts by Indian government and army to silence their support and love for Pakistan. We in Pakistan hope that one day Kashmir will be free from the Indian yoke and join our part of Kashmir, God Willing.

This year, the 70th independence day celebrations were joined in by our Turkish and Saudi friends who sent their air force contingents to participate in the biggest air show in Pakistan ever and show their love for brotherly Pakistan.

The grand show started with excellent air show by Pakistan Air Force Mirage, F-16 and JF-17 Thunder air craft, followed by Puma SA-330, Augusta and Mi-17 helicopters of Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Army.

JF-17 Thunder, pride of Pakistan Air Force and a joint venture of Pakistan and China
The appearance of “Solo Turk”, the acclaimed Turkish aerobatic team of Turkish Air Force with Pakistan flag's crescent and star painted on their under bellies won the hearts of thousands of spectators below including the president of Pakistan, diplomats and other dignitaries.

The acrobatic show by the famous “Saudi Hawks” of Royal Saudi Air Force was simply spectacular and awe inspiring. The colours of coloured smoke and the roar of the Hawks filled the arena and dominated the show.

At the end, the para troopers of all three services of Pakistan Armed Forces after having had the free falls landed in the arena to end the day of heart winning festivities joined in by our Turkish and Saudi brethren.

About the Photos: All photos above have been courtesy Faisal Khan, a wonderful photographer who has been gifted with the aesthetic ability and the eye for the right moment and shoots it with a professionals eye. 

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dr Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau - a Eulogy

I heard the sad new today that Pakistani lepers' messiah Dr Ruth Pfau passes away early this morning, 10th of August 2017. Many may not have heard name of this great messiah who spent life treating lepers in Pakistan. Although she was heavily decorated for services to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan, we never eulogized her at national level and acknowledge her selfless services.

For quite some time I had been thinking of writing about her life and great services to Pakistan and it was just last night that I started writing this post - but left it half to complete it this morning, not know that seriously ill Dr Ruth will be no more when I wake up this morning, the 10th of August. Thus with a lamenting heart, I complete the rest of the life time achievement services of Dr Ruth Pfau.
Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau at the age of 34

I had heard of her right from school days as a general knowledge inquisitor and of her Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre established in Karachi. Born in Leipzig, Germany on 9th September 129, Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau studied medicine at Mainz in 1949. But she always wanted to do something different to cure the sufferings of the humanity and came to newly created Pakistan, where she though health services would not be adequate and her helping hand will be an addition. And certainly she made the difference.

She started her small clinic in the then slums of Karachi and started the treatment of Leprosy patients, a disease which at that time was one of the most incurable disease with very few doctors or facilities for its treatment. With the help of Doctor I K Gill, she laid the foundation of the  Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre and formal treatment of leprosy started for patients in Karachi initially and then for the rest of Pakistan.
In her prime youth, she devoted her entire life to fight leprosy

In addition to treating patients in Karachi, she visited far flung areas of Pakistan to treat patients who could not afford to come to Karachi and later added a center in Rawalpindi. In 1060, Dr Ruth decided to live rest of her life in Pakistan and continue curing the leprosy patients and rehabilitating them in normal stream of life. While getting donations from locals, she also used her German connection and collected donations from her native country to boost her services network.
Consoling a patient

In recognition of her service to the country, she was awarded Pakistani citizenship in 1988. In 1996, Pakistan was declared by the World Health Organization to have controlled leprosy, one of the first countries in Asia to achieve this goal. She was also awarded with some of the highest awards of Pakistan like the Hilal-e-Imtiaz (HI), Nishan-e-Quaid-e-Azam (NQA) and Hilal-e-Pakistan (HPk).

Today her death saddens me for I think we did not recognized her lifetime services like India did in case of Mother Tressa and failed to gave her the highest honour barring a few medals compatible to her services. This post of mine is just a small drop in the ocean to write this eulogy - but she surely deserves much more while she was still alive.

May she rest in peace for surely at the back of her there are silent prayers of thousands lepers who are now living health life.

Photos Courtesy Express Tribune | Resource Reference Wikipedia
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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Butt - What ??

While I was coming home today, a wagon suddenly overtook me with big word BUTT written on its rear screen. Although the word has a wide range of meaning like the end or extremity of anything, especially the thicker, larger, or blunt end considered as a bottom, base, support, or handle, as of a log, fishing rod, or pistol as defined by the, it has some other foul meaning too.

And I just wondered that what if some English speaking tourist reads this and may find it rather offensive for its relation with the human back and may wonder why someone chose to write this at the back of his vehicle. And I thought to clarify for those English speaking tourists who may read this before coming to Pakistan

OK let me break the secret out: Like many castes in the world, BUTT is also a caste in Pakistan. This caste originates from the Kashmir where it belongs to the Muslim natives of Kashmir Opposite to it is Bhatt, which is a caste of Hindu Kashmiris. 

So next time you visit Pakistan and someone displaying Butt on one's car or home or even visiting card, he is not really offending anyone but displaying one's caste.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Exotic Women Fashion Ware in Pakistan

The women fashion wear in Pakistan has gone a long way from ordinary two pieces matching suits to a wide variety of un-stitched and stitched suits consisting of many pieces and elaborate, eye catching designs in exotic and vivid colours. Now the trend among women in Pakistan is visit big retail shops of a number of leading outlets and designers' tailor made suits for all occasions.

Recently at the opening ceremony of a leading retailer, the women thronged the place much before it was opened and had to wait both outside the store for hours to get in. And once inside, the queues were so long that the trailing end customers had to wait for more than two hours to reach the counter.

And that was not all - the shopping bags were overflowing with suits - some even boasting to have collected three to four dozen packets - ostensibly for those back home but actually for their own self or to get these exchanged when the crowd thinned after the opening sale was over. Another such showdown has been announced for 14th of August and the potential buyers are already planning to come closer to the outlet by spending an overnight stay with friends and relatives living closer to the outlet.
The variety available is not restricted to women only - now the leading retailers have also added suits for men and kid beside pottery and decoration pieces to add to the galore of the outlets. The business is so thrivingly in that the leading retailers have opened their outlets in the Arab countries or even UK and USA.

For working women who do not have time to go to the tailors for their suits stitched, there is a wide variety of stitched suits, shirts and trousers abundantly and readily available off the shelf.
The suits are so displayed to attract attention of one's choice from a distance and the racks and suits are in abundance to choose from. But on sale days, one cannot even see the racks as these are obscured by the women trying to select their choice and grab the suits from the tables before someone else picks up the most liked suits.
Due to their quality and designs, Pakistan's exports have registered a positive grown and everyday one finds a new competitor entering the women fashion ware business to make hay while the sun shines. Making use of one of the finest quality of cotton and textile in Pakistan, the business is thriving and continuing. 

The unstitched suits are not restricted to shirt/trouser and dopatta only. Now the suits also include embroidered strips that can used on sleeves or right on the shirt itself as add on to add to the galore of the suit. The suits come in cotton or lawn fabrics with chiffon dopatta or cotton dopattas - one thus has a wide variety of combinations to choose from.

It is the time for fashion design in Pakistan and the industry is thriving. If you happen to be visiting Pakistan, do visit some of the leading retailers like Khaddi, Sapphire, Ethnic, Nishat Linen and many more which can be easily found in every city, specially large shopping malls or at a place where you find lot of women thronging a store!!!

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Special Prayer for all times

Many of us have a belief that if we offer a prayer with true heart and conviction, it is most likely to be honoured and accepted by the Almighty God ad that our wishes will come true.

But in order to pray, one must first repent one’s sins and ask forgiveness for the wrong deeds one has committed in one’s earnest and then expect God to redress our grievances.

Here is one such prayer that I pray every day and I am convinced that one Day I shall be pardoned of my sins and wrong doings. Here is how it goes:
O’ my God and Creator, If we have erred or have sinned, please do not punish us
Please do not burden us as were sinful people burdened before us
And do not put that burden on us, which we do not have the strength to lift
Please forgive us
Please bless us
And please have mercy on us
For verily we are the weak, sinful and the wrongdoers
Remember, one has to really mean it when praying - simply reading down without establishing a contact with the Creator does not pay back. So mean every word you utter and then be assured of forgiveness. Try it!!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Leaning Tower of Pisa - is still leaning

Our next day destination was Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Just like the Eiffel Tower, I have heard of this historic monument since my childhood. In fact when I heard of it being leaning, I wondered whether it would be there when I grow up as then there were predictions of its falling down one day. But thankfully, it is still leaning and has no signs of falling and I finally had a chance to see it in all its grandeur and might.
My wife and son standing outside our Motel before leaving for Pisa
 The early morning deserted roads of Milan
We left Milan by road and headed towards Pisa - distance of some 285 kilometers and took us three and half hours to reach the town of Pisa. As I mentioned in my previous post, the roads in Italy are not of very quality. But road leading to Pisa was very pathetic - specially the last 20-30 kilometers and the speed limit was 30 KMPH due to its patchy and bumpy road. I wondered why the Italians could not have it repaired as Pisa is one of the famous tourist attractions of Italy.

The Pisa Tower (Torre di Pisa) or the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre pendente di Pisa) is a campanile, or freestanding bell tower which is part of the city's cathedral surrounded by high rising walls. The tower rising to a height of some 55.86 metres developed a fault while it was still being built but for unknown reasons it continued to be built the same and was leaning right from the outset. Thus on the lower side, it stands 55.85 metres (the leaning side) and 55.67 metres on the higher side. Many efforts have been made, specially between 1990-2001 by putting counter weights to stabilize its unintended tilt. As of now the tower is horizontally displace 3.9 metres from its center.

We entered the Pisa town and the sign posts took us to the compound where the cathedral and the Pisa's Tower are located. Vehicles, other than special, are not allowed to enter the compound, so we parked our car outside the compound in a large car park. And it was here that I first caught a glimpse of the Tower for the first time in my life.
As we started moving towards the compound, the view of the Tower became cleaerer and seeing it bit by bit added to our enthusiasm till we reached inside the compound and saw its full might.

As per Wikipedia, the construction of the tower occurred in three stages over 199 years. Work on the ground floor of the white marble campanile began on August 14, 1173. The tower began to sink after construction had progressed to the second floor in 1178. 
The cathedral compound was already full with tourists and visitors enjoying the Pisa's landmark in full bright sunny day and mind you even in October it was quite hot and precipitating.
 My family and me joining them in a slefie

 The architecture from the close quarters - the entrance to the right is used for those adventuring to stair up to the top 

 The Pisa Tower side by side the city's cathedral
Like all historic and tourist intensive places, there are shops selling souvenirs and clothes exclusive to the city besides a number of eateries selling local Italian cuisines, pizza being the most sought out dish by the tourists. We too bought a few souvenirs and ate freshly baked pizza - something that we had never tasted like before.
 My wife poses in front of one of the souvenir's shops
 A homemade tram for the city tour of tourists

The old building dating back more than two hundred years now house motels and shops on ground floor

We had to travel to Florence to see the famous statue of David and thus hurriedly packed up our visit to Pisa - adding yet another nostalgia to our memory lane for it may not be possible to revisit Pisa again as there are many other destinations in Italy yo visit. But it is not all for Pisa visit as I will talk about the bronze man of Pisa in my next post. 

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