Posts Tagged ‘ Pakistanis for Peace ’

Indian Chronicles and the Fifth Generation Warfare

As reported By Nayab Fareed for Safety & Security Today Pakistan. WWW.SSToday.com.pk originally on 1/27/21

#Narendra #Modi, Prime Minister of #India

Is Pakistan grappling with the fifth generation warfare? The question has long been scoffed at by the who’s who of Pakistani intelligentsia. For the longest time, these warnings have been dubbed as fear and paranoia promulgated by the Pakistani militablishment to squash dissent.

The state’s efforts against the threats of an unprecedented kind have time and again been discredited with little to no heed paid. However, the recent investigation carried out by the EU DinsfoLab, an independent Europe based organization, has made some startling revelations about the threat Pakistan faces; thus, vindicating our decade long fears. Let’s first attempt to understand the nature of fifth generation warfare before scrutinizing the report’s findings.

As the US Army Major Shannon Beebe once put it “fifth generation is a vortex of violence, a free-for-all of surprise destruction motivated more by frustration than by any coherent plans for the future.” The strategy of fifth generation does not revolve around direct armed confrontation, it rather employs social, economic and psychological tactics to impose mayhem. It employs non-uniformed atypical warriors who exploit fault lines of a state using terrorism, propaganda, religion, and public grievances to wage wars against the state’s institutions. Waged from within and abetted from outside, Audreas Turunen elucidates fifth generation as a cultural and moral war, which distorts the perception of the masses to give a manipulated view of the world and politics.

Non-state actors, more importantly, media which in recent past has emerged as the most powerful medium with widespread influence, has a crucial role to play in shaping perceptions. Unfortunately for Pakistan, the media has shown extreme irresponsibility in identifying and acting as the first line of defense against the propaganda. To an extent, segments of Pakistani media have also played into the hands of the enemy.

While Pakistani media failed to acknowledge the brazen disinformation plastered all over media and shrugged off the warnings mockingly, the Indian media, often dubbed as an important pillar of the world’s largest democracy, incessantly reposted and amplified the odious anti-Pakistan propaganda from fake media outlets, abetting the Indian state in its massive disinformation campaign.

The executive director of EU DisinfoLab claims that it was by far the “largest network the organization had exposed”. Indian Chronicles investigation uncovered more than 700 fake media outlets covering 116 countries, operating under dubious news agencies called “Big News Network” and “World News Network” both showing opaque ties to the Indian based conglomerate Srivastava Group. It was found that some of the most prominent Indian media agencies, such as ANI, ABP group, Zee, Republic News and Yahoo India reproduced and recirculated anti-Pakistan and, in few cases, anti-China rhetoric initially posted on the sham news websites.

More than 400 domain names were bought through Mr. Srivastava’s private email to register these websites. The articles and op-eds posted on them were often exaggerated, reworded and mainly used for the purpose of discrediting and reproducing negative iterations about Pakistan which were then repackaged by the Indian media for the consumption of millions of Indians at home and abroad, while also attempting to give legitimacy and credibility to the disinformation network.

Considering this sly process of layering, recycling and republishing of fake news from one source to another, the term ‘Fake News Laundering’ to put it mildly won’t be too far off.

If these findings are not staggering enough, this is where it begins to get increasingly malicious. The investigation also found that the campaign used not only fake media outlets to grow influence and taint India’s adversaries’ image, but also revived more than 10 defunct NGOs accredited by the UN for the same purpose.

One such example that has stood out the most for a variety of reasons is the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace (CSOP) that had been an inactive organization since the 1970s and was suddenly revived in 2005.

Not only did the organization come alive, it turns out the former chairman of CSOP, Professor Louis B Sohn, miraculously participated at the UNHRC session “Friends of Gilgit” in 2007 and attended another event in 2011, all while being deceased since 2006. CSOP, like the rest of these Zombie organizations, led a very different life from the first one. Once revived, the original purpose of their genesis completely changed from the environment, peace, education & even canned foods to furthering Indian interests.

These UN accredited NGOs also work in coordination with the non-accredited think tanks and NGOs based in Brussels, Geneva that were repeatedly given the floor at the UN on behalf of accredited NGOs. Amsterdam based think-tank called the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) for instance, was given the floor at the UNHRC’s 40th session in 2019 on behalf of the hijacked UN accredited organization United schools international (USI) which was then used to attack Pakistan.

The investigation noted that several of these think-tanks and NGOs including Baluchistan house, European organization for Pakistani minorities, South Asian democratic forum, World Baloch Women’s Forum, Gilgit Baltistan Studies, Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC), Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) have been given the UN floor via the accredited NGOs that have shown direct links with the Srivastava group. These propaganda Think-tanks and NGOs also used Pakistani dissidents such as Mehran Marri and the SAATH forum led by Hussain Haqqani to undermine Pakistan at Geneva on several instances.

Not only were the accredited NGOs misappropriated, but many of the speakers at UN were also misrepresented by the Indian media, primarily ANI.

Identity theft is another modus operandi where several editors, journalists’ identities were made-up, non-existent addresses and fake phone numbers were used to register websites, media outlets were impersonated and former members of defunct NGOs appeared at events they had no knowledge about. Right-wing MEPs, including former diplomat Hussain Haqqani, were given space on fake media outlets such as the ‘EU Chronicles’ & ‘Time of Geneva’ for exclusive Op-eds against Pakistan.

This opportunity served as a honeypot for the MEPs as they were invited on free trips to Maldives, Bangladesh and more recently Kashmir which was falsely reported by the Indian media as the official EU delegation.

The purpose of this modus operandi was to fake or misappropriate the reputation and status enjoyed by the original source in order to avoid radar and gain credibility in the reader’s view.

The operation does seem to have been a success considering how easily it exploited and abused UN’s loopholes and hijacked its organizations for more than a decade going completely unnoticed.

This also raises many questions, most importantly; why has UN as an independent global entity overlooked the dubious activities of its own NGOs for so long? How was India capable of carrying out a pronounced campaign against its adversaries right under the UN’s nose for 15 years without raising any alarm? And why has India exhausted its resources and time to carry out a decade long disinformation campaign against its rivals rather than seeking dialogue through diplomatic channels? India’s Chanakyan schemes only reaffirm its position as a regional bully who can go to all lengths to bring devastation of colossal degrees in a nuclear zone.

Pakistan is evidently being targeted by its neighbor due to the decades old unresolved conflicts, mainly Kashmir, as well as the constantly evolving regional dynamics making it almost impossible for both nations to pursue common interests.

Indian quest for regional hegemony coupled with its conflict with China makes Pakistan all the more vulnerable to chaos, making its nuclear might the only deterrence for the enemy.

Despite these appalling findings, the EU DisinfoLab suggests there’s much more yet to be uncovered implying that the report is just the tip of the iceberg which makes one wonder how massive the scale of this network really is.

Today, the fifth generation warfare is a concrete threat that the states are finally beginning to acknowledge and understand.

It is in fact not a boogeyman created by the state to scare the dissidents into submission; on the contrary, it is a bitter reality capable of threatening our very existence.

Unfortunately, the genuine grievances of Pakistani minorities have been exploited for sinister purposes, enemy has utilized divisive politics and fault lines to plant and agitate subversive elements to cause discord. However, amid the unrest, an opportunity has presented itself for Pakistan to correct course.

The state must address the grievances of those aggrieved while also dealing with the miscreants who threaten the states sovereignty at the behest of enemy with an iron fist. It’s time to separate truth from falsehood and make matters more transparent in order to gain trust of the populace.

Additionally, Pakistan must focus on improving its soft power in order to dismantle bogus campaigns by its rivals; the present government seems to be making efforts in the right direction but a lot more needs to be done to counter propaganda with facts. The matter must be raised on international forums highlighting India’s nefarious designs which could lead to dangerous consequences if not addressed promptly.

Half-baked truths, manipulation and deception may serve a petty purpose temporarily but will result in devastating consequences in the long run.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, tricks and treachery are practice of fools, that don’t have brains enough to be honest.

Happy Pakistan Day!

#PakistanDay

Happy Pakistan Day!

Pakistani girl Zara Naeem beats over 50,000 students, tops global accountancy exams

Reported by Jabeen Adil, Gulf Today 2/16/21

Pakistani student Zara Naeem Dar has earned an honour for Pakistan by scoring the highest marks in the world in the global professional accountancy exams conducted by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

The ACCA qualification is considered the gold standard in accountancy; 527,000 students from 179 countries took part in the exam. With the achievement in this exam, conducted in December 2020, Zara won an important award for Pakistan. 

Zara Naeem, a resident of Lahore, thanked the nation for this encouragement and appreciation. She especially thanked her father for her success, the education, training, and encouragement she provided.

The ACCA Pakistan congratulated her on her achievement in an official tweet and said, “Pakistani students continue to make proud by impressing the world with their excellent exam performance in the global professional accountancy exams conducted by ACCA.”

The Government of Pakistan official also commended her in an official tweet and said, “A very proud moment for Pakistan as Zara Naeem has been declared the global prizewinner for scoring the highest marks in ACCA.”

Zara credits this success to her father who’s always encouraged all the girls in the family to pursue their dreams and smash all artificial barriers.

Zara has said that her father is a military officer and he is her real hero. Zara said on her Instagram account that she has seen her father rise to the heights of his career and that is why he is an important beacon for her.

Follow @pakistanisforpeace on #Facebook, #Twitter, #TikTok and #Instagram for more positive news from #Pakistan 🇵🇰🙏🏽

Home

By Tabzy.Wordpress.com

My heart has been aching for the last 7 days.

As I unpack my suitcases on day 1. As I put the laundry away on day 3. As I pack lunch for my kids on day 5.It’s always there, that hollow throbbing ache, in the exact spot where I think my heart is supposed to be.

My 7 yr old daughter has asked me at least two dozen times in the last seven days, as she often does at least once a month since she started talking, “Why don’t we live in Pakistan?” Today my three-year old son told me; “Your house is boring Mama, I want to go to Pakistan.”

The questions don’t help, they only make me realize their little hearts ache too, for the country they were not born in but I guess the love for which runs through their veins.

The silence in my house reminds me of the constant sounds that my home in Lahore is abuzz with. The silence only makes the ache grow stronger. I decide to go to the mall to get away from the silence after sending the kids off to school. I turn on the CD player as I settle behind the steering wheel in my car. The song that starts blaring reminds me of my sister’s wedding, the endless dance practices, the clothes, the colors….I turn it off and force myself to concentrate on my driving. The ache is still there. I look around and try to be grateful for the big clean roads, the stop signs, and the fact that no one is driving towards me on a one way road. But I miss the frenzied state of panic that all the drivers seem to be consumed by on all the roads in Lahore. I miss blaring horns. I miss the elated feeling of having defied death simply by changing a lane without being hit by a car.

At the mall I just walk around purposelessly.Nothing catches my eye. I miss the obsessive trips to the mall in the weeks before leaving for Pakistan, in the quest to hunt good deals on gifts. I walk into an expensive store, deciding I will treat myself to a statement necklace that I had my eyes on before my trip,it surely must be on sale by now. I inquire with the sales lady about the necklace and she brings it to me, I got lucky she informs me in a chirpy voice, it is 30 percent off bringing the price down to around $150. I look at it and suddenly I feel a tug at my heart, the ache is there again, only stronger. I tell the lady I changed my mind and walk out of the store feeling miserable. I miss the 20 minute haggling session with the “choorion wala” in Liberty over Rs 300 bangles. I miss the random aunties who would strike up a conversation in bazaars and doctor’s offices and beauty salons, making you reveal your entire family history in a matter of 4 minutes. I miss the beggars praying for my happy married life in return for a few coins. I miss the fact that most “bazaars” don’t open till noon and everything is closed on Fridays for prayer.

I miss I miss I miss…

I miss the all night chat sessions with my sisters, I miss the halwa poori breakfasts, I miss the tea time which occurred every two hours, I miss the constant chaos and craziness at home which would sometimes make me fantasize about checking into a hotel for a few days just so I could hear myself think. I miss the non-stop parenting advice from everyone who has ever had a child; I miss never EVER being alone. I miss the phone ringing after every three minutes and the door bell ringing at least 60 times a day. I miss the un-announced family visits and hugging my aunts and uncles tight, as if I had not seen them in years even though they had been over the night before and left well after midnight.

I miss squeezing into one car with all the siblings and their kids and making the long drive to Upper Mall just for a “cup” of Chaman ice cream. I miss acting unbelievably silly, the way you can only be around your family, totally and completely free. I miss constantly bickering with my siblings. I miss screaming at all our kids for making so much noise but only adding to the noise by screaming so loud.I miss the uncontrollable fits of laughter even at the most serious of moments. I miss lugging my camera around everywhere. I miss the stray cats at my husband’s home who would not even blink as my son pulled their tails. I miss having to clean my kids’ hands 15 times a day. I miss driving through half of Lahore when I had to get from my kids’ “dadu’s” house to “nano’s”house, joyfully inhaling the sights and sounds of Lahore with my eyes every single time. I miss the sound of Azaan. I miss the joy rain brought to everyone. I miss wearing my sisters’ clothes every day. I miss having so many opinionated people to ask how I look or what I should wear. I miss complaining about the load shedding. I miss being annoyed there is not enough hot water to take a shower. I miss speaking Urdu with everyone.

I miss the aura of hope in the air, sometimes so palpable I could taste it.

I miss the impossible amount of love and attention my kids receive until they are spoilt rotten by the time I come back, how everyone believes they care for them the “mostest”, even more than I do, how the whole household will gather around like a flock of hens, three people will volunteer to go to the hospital with you at 5 in the morning if you or your child is sick. I miss the utter lack of privacy and independence. I miss the cheekiness of family listening in to your phone calls and then discussing your entire conversation over tea afterwards as if they were invited to listen in to an important conference call! I miss everyone that I managed to meet and those I could not…

I miss the things that drive me up the wall and I miss the things that I have never stopped missing in 10 years. My heart keeps on aching…

The thing about leaving home is; you never get over it. You make a new life, you make new friends, you live happily ever after… until you go back home again. And every time you say your goodbyes and turn your back as you walk through those glass doors at the airport, the ache starts all over again. And then from time to time, you feel it, at the most unexpected of moments. It’s almost like how an amputee must feel; as if your hand was torn off your arm and even though it is no longer on your body and you have embraced life without it, you still feel your phantom fingers press into your phantom palm every once in a while and the reality of what’s been torn away hits you all over again. And the heart aches, all over again.

I don’t know why exactly we leave our homes. To find a better life I guess. A life where our kids are safer, our roads are cleaner, our bank balances; higher. I can’t quite remember just this second. Because right now, still in the throes of nostalgia seven days after walking away from my family through those glass doors, all I know is, there is no place like home. And in my heart of hearts, “home” will always mean Pakistan.

Why Most Pakistanis Can’t See The Film Pakistan Is Submitting For An Oscar Nod

By Zuha Siddiqui and Diaa Hadid for NPR

With Oscar nominations just a day away, Pakistan is hoping its picture gets one of the slots for best foreign film. But it’s a film that most Pakistanis aren’t able to see.

The 2-hour, 15-minute long movie is called Zindagi Tamasha, or “Circus of Life.” Set in the hazy old quarter of the Pakistani city of Lahore, prostitutes, devout families, drug dealers and men hustling a living live side-by-side. It is the fictional story of a devout, middle-aged real estate agent and performer, Rahat Khwaja, whose life capsizes after a guest at a wedding films him sensually swaying to an old Pakistani song, “Zindagi Tamasha” (the film is named after the song) as he sings it for the audience.

The video goes viral and Khwaja, who is respected in his crowded quarter for his singing of devotional Islamic poems, is suddenly viewed by his community as vulgar.

Religious events where he once starred as an esteemed singer are now off limits – he is literally pushed out of one event by other performers who are enraged by his wedding performance. He finds his face plastered across tawdry memes on the internet. Children who once loved him for the sweets he handed out in their crowded alley call him a pig and a pimp. A cleric threatens to accuse him of blasphemy – which can be a deadly accusation in Pakistan. Worse, his beloved daughter turns against him.

The film was banned in Pakistan after an extremist religious group watched the trailer and became enraged at its portrayal of the cleric in the movie. Not only does he loosely hurl accusations of blasphemy against the protagonist, the cleric is painted as a sneering, arrogant man who turns a blind eye to child sex abuse in his seminary, even as he leads the charge to shame the protagonist. And the group rallied against the director.

“Who are you to talk against scholars?” demanded Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the then-leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan at a rally last February against the movie, which gathered thousands of angry, chanting protesters.

“The prophet did not delegate the faith to you!” he said, referring to the film’s director, Sarmad Khoosat.

So just like the protagonist of Zindagi Tamasha, Khoosat faced a whirlwind of hatred.

“I would be added to these WhatsApp groups where mysterious people would just send me messages with gross, horrifying images of beheaded people,” he tells NPR. “On social media, Twitter was on fire with ‘ban Zindagi Tamasha‘ and ‘kill this bastard.’ “

He says other users accused of him of blasphemy, which can trigger vigilante attacks and even lynchings in Pakistan.

Following the outcry by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, the Pakistani government postponed Zindagi Tamasha‘s release. They also asked the country’s Islamic advisory body to conduct a “critical review” — effectively shelving the film.

The shelving of the film reflects a decades-long trend of Pakistani authorities appeasing the religious right, says Raza Rumithe director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, and the editor of a liberal outlet called Naya Daur.

“This is a trend that has been there for a long time, and it’s been growing over the decades, with more and more pressure from the religious lobbies,” Rumi says. “Every government attempts to appease them, because it’s a risk to anger the mullahs.”

“The mullahs have street power in Pakistan,” he adds.

But critics argue that the current ruling coalition of the prime minister Imran Khan appears even more obsequious than previous governments. That’s because of a perception among some Pakistanis that it is indebted to the country’s powerful military establishment for being propelled to power.

“This government has the unique distinction that it is probably the weakest civilian government in a long time,” says Murtaza Solangi, a colleague of Rumi at Naya Daur. “It’s easier to blackmail them and put them under pressure.”

In response to a request from NPR for an interview about the shelving of Zindagi Tamasha, and the banning of other media products, the information minister Shibli Faraz denied the government was in the business of censorship. In a statement, he wrote: “The government neither believes nor practices any kind of censorship or press advice. What it does believe in is encouragement of self-regulation by all forms of media. Further, it strongly believes in the preservation of our cultural and moral values.” Faraz declined to answer specific questions.

In any case, the government is sensitive to the criticisms of turbaned preachers, conservative viewers – and even an influential newspaper editor, Ansar Abbasi. He successfully demanded a jaunty biscuit advertisement be banned for showing an actress performing folk dances.

“Wasn’t Pakistan built in the name of Islam?” demanded Abbasi, as he complained in October about a Gala Biscuit advertisement to his 1.7 million Twitter followers. “Will biscuits be sold through mujra dancing now?” he demanded, a pejorative that refers to sexualized dancing.

Within hours, Abbasi’s tweet was shared thousands of times, and the ad was taken down for review by Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. “We received tons of complaints,” Muhammad Tahir, a regulatory authority official, tells NPR. “A certain segment of our society definitely thinks dances are vulgar.”

Zindagi Tamasha and the biscuit ad are among the flurry of items that were banned or prevented from circulation over the past year. They include books, social media apps, television shows and even video games.

As the triggers of offense appear to broaden, content makers have been left uncertain of how to work. The Gala Biscuit advertisement was a case in point: the director Asad ul Haq said it was meant to be family-friendly, celebrating local folk traditions. The actress who danced in the ad, “was fully layered up, there was no skin showing.”

The fear is that the country is creeping back to a repeat of its darkest days, under dictator General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who tried to reshape Pakistan in his stern image after he seized power in the late 70s.

He stopped movies from being screened and effectively choked the local film industry. Actors stopped finding work. Movie houses shut down. Musicians who provided their scores packed away their instruments.

The military dictator Zia-ul-Haq died in 1988 in a plane crash, and it has taken years for the industry to recover. It was only in 2013 that Pakistan submitted a film for Oscar consideration: Zinda Bhaag, which followed the path of three young men who try smuggle themselves to Europe to start a new life. The committee responsible for picking the entry has submitted a film for consideration every year since.

One committee member, Hamza Bangash, told NPR that Zindagi Tamasha was selected in November because it “really kind of upends a lot of hypocrisy within our society,” he says. “It does so with humor and it’s so gentle.”

But Bangash says he doesn’t expect the nomination to change anything — in fact he calls Zindagi Tamasha “a cautionary tale, because it tells you you can pour your heart and soul into a film,” he says, “and you might face death threats at the end of that.”

Happy MLK Day 2021!

vm.tiktok.com/ZMJTbbm1v/

Happy New Year 2021! Year of the Ox

By Manzer Munir for #PakistanisForPeace

Happy #NewYear to all of my friends and family around the world! As we welcome the #YearoftheOx, #Covid19 notwithstanding, we should ponder how our 2020 ended and how the next one can be even better, both for ourselves, our families and our communities.

Do you sincerely want 2021 to be better than the years of the past? In that case, forgive someone who you believe has betrayed you, let you down or wronged you in some way. Move on in your life from past events. Make new but REAL friends. Reach out and touch someone, emotionally, mentally or in another non-physical but more deeply memorable way as these memories end up being more priceless than our worldly possessions.

Remember that material things and or accomplishments will come and go but it is the “quality of your human relations that determine the overall quality of your life.” Happy New Year to you all and best wishes from the Munir family to you and yours!

Awakening With Rumi

By Kabir Helminski for Medium

I have always imagined the quatrain above as being part of an intimate conversation between Rumi and his legendary friend, Shams of Tabriz. We live at a time when those “sweet words” are needed to rain down more than ever upon the soil of our universe.

Those who have discovered the heart-penetrating words of Rumi sense their beauty and urgency. And yet we may struggle to express, let alone explain, their importance. Poetry can be the language of the soul, communicating through image and metaphor something beyond tangible realities. It can lead us to where our footprints disappear into the Sea.

We are starting a collaborative blog, Awakening with Rumi, to share the incomparable richness and universality of Rumi’s legacy. This is not meant to be a scholarly project, but a platform for a living tradition of spiritual exploration. Our approach will be to write about our everyday life experience, incorporating, when appropriate, selections from Rumi that guide and illuminate our experience. We are students on the way, humbly attempting to understand and embody the spiritual truths Mevlana, “Our Master,” lived by.

Rumi belongs to the honored category of wisdom teachers that would include: Plato, Ecclesiastes, Lao Tzu, the author of the Gospel of Thomas, Meister Eckhart, Shakespeare, Goethe, and in America, Whitman and Emerson. He can stand with any of them in terms of his intellectual contribution, and possibly beyond any of them in spiritual depth. Once, when the great German scholar Anne Marie Schimmel was asked to compare Goethe and Rumi, she responded: “The great Goethe is like an immense, majestic mountain; but Rumi, ah… Rumi is like the sky itself.” Her words capture the essence of what Rumi offers: an opening to a spiritual Reality even beyond the majesty and beauty of the physical world, a transparency that allows the spiritual Sun to shine upon us.

Rumi is not a self-help guru. He offers more than consolation to our neurotic anxieties. The ecstatic love he extols is not a form of mystical eroticism. He is not an iconoclast, a breaker of tradition, but an inheritor of the wisdom and revelations of the Prophets.

Using all the rich means of literature, and especially poetry, he awakens our imagination to the presence of the Divine. And as we gradually integrate the images, metaphors, and stories, our sense of reality is transformed, our place in the universe is clarified.

Underlying the vast and complex tangle of his vast work is a clear and coherent metaphysical understanding. The Omega point of nature and all existence is the complete human being. All the laws of the physical world are perfectly in balance, proportioned to manifest the heart-consciousness of the human being who has transcended ego limitations and distortions, and has been so humbled in love as to become an expression of the Divinity itself!

However, if we search on the Internet for Rumi quotes, much of what we find will be a mere caricature of the Master. By the time Rumi appears on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, his profound and nuanced wisdom has sometimes been reduced to one-liners, watered-down clichés, lame truisms, and misleading over-simplifications.

Everything in the universe
is within you. Ask all from yourself.

What this quote, for instance, seems to suggest is that the individual should be his or her own arbiter of truth and not depend on second-hand knowledge, theologies, and dogmas. This sentiment fits well with our postmodern era in which all certainties are dismissed, in which the sacred is just one option among many of equal or no value.

Rumi would never let an assertion like this stand alone without taking us a further step. He says, for instance:

Listen, open a window to God
and begin to delight yourself
by gazing upon Him through the opening.
The business of love is to make that window in the heart,
for the breast is illumined by the beauty of the Beloved.
Gaze incessantly on the face of the Beloved!
Listen, this is in your power, my friend!

[Mathnawi VI, 3095–97]

What must be sought is a portal that can be found within ourselves, but like a window redirects our vision to something beyond ourselves, the Beloved, the Divine Reality. When that window opens, our sense of ourselves is transformed; we see the artificial nature of what we thought was ourselves. This is a great discovery and a great mystery which cannot be contained, or adequately described.

Since the Internet rarely acknowledges who the translator is, I don’t know whose translations I’m commenting on, perhaps even one of my friends, but bear with me for a little bit longer.

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. 
Unfold your own myth.

There is no doubt that Rumi was a master of authenticity, but personality development was not the aim of his teaching, and the word “myth” is not a word to be found in his work. And yet it may have appeal to those creating online identities through social media. Contrast this with the “bitter medicine” that Rumi sometimes hands out:

Unless the seeker is absolutely erased,
in truth, he will not come into union.
Union is not penetrable. It is your annihilation.
Otherwise anyone would become the Truth.

[Quatrains: 800]

Often these “internet quotes” are partial truths that can be misleading if one has little knowledge of the spiritual universe Rumi inhabited.

You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.

Rumi would never say this either, because he understands that the individual ego cannot undo itself; rather when the false self faces the consequences of its own ignorance and denial, it is the Divine Mercy that offers a solution, a remedy. And sometimes the true “Breaker of Hearts” is offering us a lesson, the bitter medicine that is needed:

The gate of union has been closed to me by the Friend.
My heart has been broken by the sorrow and pain of the Friend.
From now on I and my broken heart will wait at the gate,
for those with a broken heart have the favor of the Friend.

[Quatrains: 245]

But it seems that once a “quote” is elevated to Internet heaven, it gets repeated and repeated, confirming that many people only read him online. Furthermore, some of the most popular are not from Rumi at all, as far as I can tell, and I’ll be happy to be corrected if I’m wrong:

Yesterday I was clever and wanted to change the world
today I am wise so I am changing myself.

Who is this? Gandhi perhaps?

Your task is not to seek for love but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Actually, this is from The Course in Miracles.

I point these things out, knowing that there are well-meaning people who have found meaning and beauty in Rumi, but have not encountered the true range and depth of his legacy, or have not had the opportunity to experience the living tradition which he represents. And all of us, after all, are students, seekers, incomplete in encompassing the vast universe of spiritual knowledge and human possibilities.

So, if you will allow me to conclude with some words from “our master,” Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, just one of many possible examples that expresses that more comprehensive meaning to be encountered in his work, a vision of the “possible human” from Discourses of Rumi (published as Signs of the Unseen): Discourse 16:

The “person of heart” is the All. When you have seen such a person, you have seen everything. “The whole hunt is in the belly of the wild ass,” as the saying goes. All the people in the world are parts of him, and he (or she) is the Whole.

All good and bad are part of the dervish.
Whoever is not so is not a dervish.¹

Now when you have seen a dervish you have certainly seen the whole world. Anyone you see after that is superfluous. A dervishes’ words are the most complete words of all. When you have heard their words, whatever you may hear afterwards is unneeded.

If you see him at any stage, it is as though
you have seen every person and every place.
O copy of the Divine Book which you are,
O mirror of awesome beauty that you are,
nothing that exists in the world is outside of you.
Seek within yourself whatever you want,
for that you are!²

This is an amazing view of what it means to be a complete human being, and this view is reflected in Rumi’s own work, especially the Mathnawi, encompassing so many aspects of earthly life — saints and sinners, dervishes and the kings, creatures of every sort, humor and metaphysical reflection, humble fables and sublime supplications — all of these revealing the Divine Love and Intelligence at work.

We hope that Awakening with Rumi will likewise reflect the Divine Love and Intelligence at work in our lives, in matter-of-fact and miraculous ways.

It is clear that Rumi did not take up a position outside the context of traditional Islam. His frequent references to the Qur’an and his love of the Prophet Muhammad are evidence of his alignment with the primary sources of Islam. In a future article, however, I hope to explore Rumi’s idea of the “Religion of Love,” to clarify that Rumi’s Islam is not a legalistic program ordained by a judgmental God, but a spiritual path leading to intimacy with the Divine Beloved.

Within the Ka`ba the rule of the qibla does not exist:
what matter if the diver has no snow-shoes?
Do not seek guidance from the drunken:
why do you order those whose garments are torn in pieces to mend them?
The religion of Love is apart from all religions:
for lovers, the religion and creed is — God.
If the ruby has not a seal, it is no harm:
Love in the sea of sorrow is not sorrowful.

[Mathnawi II, 1768–71]

1. The line is from Rumi, Divan, i, ghazal 425, line 4476.
2. A quatrain by Najmuddin Razi, Manarat al-sa’irin, manuscript at Tehran, Malek Library.

NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs Should Sign Both Alex & Geno Smith

By Manzer Munir for Pakistanis for Peace
Image
The Kansas City Chiefs should trade for Alex Smith, draft Geno as their #1 and still have possible 3rd stringer Matt Cassel for a QB heavy team with great starter between Smith and Smith. The Chiefs should not only take Alex Smith in a trade for a 3rd and possibly a 4th or later round pick from the San Francisco 49ers, but also will allow the Chiefs to still pick up Geno Smith or Matt Barkley as their #1 pick depending on who would be a good pick between the two.
Personally I would pick Geno over Matt Barkley and Alex Smith even though I believe Matt Barkley will also have a great chance to be a good NFL quarterback. Alex needs to reclaim being a good one but hasn’t had the consistency and more importantly since he is now coming back from a big injury an organization coached by Andy Reid should not put all their eggs in one basket. After all that is what happened with Trent Green under Dick Vermeil. Some guys are never the same after some hits, just ask Trent Green, the impressive stats guy during the regular season and either missing the playoffs entirely and not having 1 playoff win.
I believe I have confessed a long time ago that I am a longtime tormented Chiefs fan of this team. Initially as a Buffalo Bills fan in the early ’90’s didn’t work out as a fan and neither have so far my latest project, the Pakistani owned Jacksonville Jaguars, who by the way I will root for since they are owned by that ever successful Pakistani American job creator named Shahid Khan. However it is my beloved Kansas City Chefs whom I care for the most in the NFL, year after year. How fond of them am I, you ask. Well I love them so much that they will have to earn their “i “ with me. Till then, they will remain the Chefs to me. Till they win 1 playoff game, they are my Chefs.
Of course we really will not know at all exactly what the Chefs will end up doing right until and on draft day on 4/25/2013. However as a long suffering fans here in KC Chief land, we can only hope that Andy Reid and John Dorsey can in fact have a great situation with three great quarterbacks, a traded for Alex Smith fighting for a #1 starting job with either a Geno Smith or Matt Barkley as the back up and the 3rd stringer veteran Matt Cassel . This would be the smartest move the Kansas City Chiefs organization can make in my opinion, but will they? No, cause they will prove to somehow be still the Chefs. I actually think this draft is the make or break decision of Andy’s experiment in Kansas City. Only time will tell.

 

Manzer Munir is a long suffering sports fan who is a diehard Kansas Jayhawk, a proud American of Pakistani descent and founder of Pakistanis for Peace and blogs at www.PakistanisforPeace.com and at other websites as a freelance journalist and opinionist.

iPakistan- Rebranding Pakistan

About

iPakistan is simply an intitative to bring Pakistan to the world and the world to Pakistan.

WHO ARE THEY?

iPakistan ia a group of university students and young professionals who are done whining about Pakistan’s image and want to do something about it. Most of them are studying in foreign universities and so have first hand experience of various kinds of stereotypes that Pakistanis overseas face as well as the tarnished image of the nation is portrayed in other countries.

Sadly, terrorism has become synonymous with Pakistan. There was this one time when a team member of this group was asked as a serious question by a Chinese students : “Does your family have any Taliban?” IMAGINE!

So iPakistan and iLahore are collaborative efforts about changing this wrongly propagated image, and even if we the group members are only able to neutralize one person’s opinion, they will feel happy that they made a small difference.

THE TEAM

Founder – Rehman Ilyas

He is the guy most pissed about Pakistan’s image and hence the one who came up with iPakistan and iLahore. He studies Economics and Finance at the University of Hong Kong and is particularly interested in Development Economics. Reads up on Chinese economy a lot and plans to heavily promote Chinese recipe of economics success, and apply it to Pakistan with a few unique ingredients of his own, through the Business section of ilahore.

Mentor – Khalid Malik

Mr. Khalid Malik is a famous Business Studies A-Levels teacher in Lahore. He is a visiting lecturer at various top schools including LGS Defence, LGS Paragon, SICAS etc. Recently he has been gaining further acclaim for his efforts to get the beloved festival of Basant, back to the people of Lahore.

Mentor – Ali Murtaza

Mr. Murtaza is a visiting professor at Beacon House National University (BNU) where he teaches design and illustration. In addition he works for a social marketing company and does commercial web site designing. His awesome illustrations, animations & creations have earned him the prestigious

Fulbright scholarship recently.

Editor Health – Burhan Ahmad
MBBS
Founder & CEO Medicalopedia, LLC

Editor Tourism – Muhammad Zargam Arshad

“BBA Accounting and Finance student at University of Hong Kong. Zargam is fondly known as “Ziggy”. He has extensive travel experience: Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Austria, England and of course Pakistan! Fond of reading two diverse types of poetry: Modernist and Sufi poetry. Currently working with
“YES Network” on breaking down discrimination barriers in Hong Kong society. “

Editor Fashion – Khizra Wynne

Although i have crippled my four senses while Majoring in Economics and Finance but, the sense of sight still stands to fight because it’s all about living to look ravishing.

Editor Wisdom – Hassan Riaz

Hassan is an engineering student at the University of Hong Kong and claims to be very ‘Wisdomistic’.

Editor Religion – Syed Abrar Ahamd

Abar is an active member of the Muslim Scoiety at the University of Hong Kong and wants to share his passion for Islam and peace through ‘religion’ ilahore.

Editor HumourAli – Mohiudin Ahmad

There is no single description which fits Ali, and you will get to more about him andh is personality based on his upcoming awesome humour at iPakitsan.

Editor ‘Read’ – Hinna Malik

Hinna did her Masters in Mass Communication from the University of Surrey and has worked in RBS for several years.

Editor Music – Muhammad Hamza Bukhari

Hamza is a Biotechnology major in the University of Hong Kong and claims that there isn’t a single article/ blog on metal music that hasn’t passed through his eyes.

Editor Food – Mahnum and Mahnoor

The awesome duo loves dining out and usually are present at every restaurant opening.

Editors, Romancing the Border – Pulkit Saneja, Shirin Soni, Sonica Dunichand, Rehman Ilyas

Sonica and Rehman are from Pakistan, Shirin and pulpit from India and they are typicals, fighting and arguing over Kashmir, Sania Mirza and other crucial issues on a day to day basis.

Editor The world and Us – Mark Gray

“Mark is interested in issues of law and international relations. An American and a graduate from Princeton, he is currently living in Asia doing legal research, and plans to go to law school. He enjoys travel, photography, and music.”

Editor Business – Minahil Haroon

Completing her BBA in Wealth management at the University of Hong Kong. Loves Pakistan and is hoping to represent the real Pakistan through iLahore.
But they are different too, in the sense that they love each other and want to extend their love to the entire region!

Ambassadors

UK ambassador: Bilal Mustafa(Kings College)
India Ambassador: Shirin Soni ( HKU)
Karachi Ambassador: Minahil Haroon (HKU)
Multan Ambassador : Iqra Amjad (Punjab College)
Lahore School of Economics Ambassador: Mehreen Saba
LGS (JT) Ambassador: Ahmed Awais
Salamat School group Ambassador : Rahema Hassan
And counting…

Pakistanis for Peace Editor’s Note–  Groups like iPakistan and Friends Across LOC are attempting to do the same things that we here at Pakistanis for Peace are doing as well and that is to bring the people of India and Pakistan closer together. We feel that the only solution to Pakistan and India’s problems and indeed over a billion people of the sub-continent is through a dialogue and peace. The neighborhood can not suffer another war between the two, which surely would be nuclear. Let’s hope that the our vision of peace between India and Pakistan succeeds and Pakistan is able to rid itself of a terrible image globally that its wonderful people do not deserve.

Haley’s Comment

As Reported By Robert Walker for The Huffington Post

Like a comet streaking across the heavens, Governor Nikki Haley’s comment on The View about women not caring about contraception is drawing a lot of attention. And rightly so.

Poll after poll suggests that women do care about contraception. Case in point: Mitt Romney’s plan to shut down the family planning clinics run by Planned Parenthood has cost him dearly. His support among women has dropped precipitously in the past few months as voters learn more about his views on family planning.

When Haley and other Republican leaders opine about the lack of voter interest in contraception, it’s more wishful thinking than political insight. They recognize that the positions taken by the GOP presidential aspirants on family planning may help them in the primaries, but it will undoubtedly hurt them in the general election. As a result, they want to change the subject in the worst way.

Unfortunately for them, comments like those made by Governor Haley do nothing to shift voter attention to the issues they want to talk about, like deficits and the economy. To the contrary, they reinforce the idea that Republicans are tone-deaf on women’s issues.

Haley’s comment, in particular, appears to suggest that Republican leaders, even women like her, don’t care about a women’s access to contraception. Before making her claim, maybe she should have checked in with another Republican leader, Senator Olympia Snowe, who earlier this week said that the political attacks on contraception were “retro.”

What’s even more “retro,” however, is the unspoken half of Haley’s comment. By suggesting that women don’t really care about contraception, she’s suggesting that men could care even less. So much less that it’s not even worth discussing.

Polls, of course, suggest to the contrary. While men may feel less strongly than women do, they also care about contraception. Most men recognize that they also benefit when women are able to determine the number and timing of their pregnancies. Some men may want to keep women “barefoot and pregnant,” but it’s a pretty small minority. This is, after all, the 21st century.

As governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley ought to appreciate the critical need for family planning services. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. According to the Guttmacher Institute, South Carolina’s rate of unintended pregnancy is significantly higher than the national average. In 2006, 52,000 South Carolina residents had an unintended pregnancy, a rate of 58 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. Guttmacher report that births resulting from these unintended pregnancies cost the state and federal governments $254 million in 2006.

And South Carolina’s teenage pregnancy rate, while it’s been declining in recent years, is still about 25 percent higher than the national average according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A poll released earlier this year indicated that 95 percent of South Carolinians believe that teenage pregnancy is an important issue, with 85 percent supporting school-based sexuality education. Maybe, Governor Haley should go on a listening tour in South Carolina before declaring that women don’t care about contraception.

Many regard Governor Haley as a rising political star in the political firmament. She’s frequently mentioned as a possible vice presidential selection. Given Romney’s “gender gap,” adding a woman to the ticket might be a smart move, but, maybe he should find a woman who understands how women — and men — genuinely feel about contraception.

Governor Haley’s comment, like the famed Halley’s comet, will soon fade from public view, but the issue of contraception will not fade anytime soon. The war on contraception is real. State cutbacks, like those in Texas, are forcing family-planning clinics to close their doors, and if GOP leaders succeed in their efforts to eliminate Title X, the federal program that provides low-income women with improved access to family planning, more shutdowns will inevitably occur.

That’s why it’s so critically important that women — and men — pledge to speak out in support of reproductive health and rights. Don’t let the Governor Haleys of the world speak for you.

Pakistanis for Peace Editor’s Note– We profiled Governor Nikki Haley a few days before she was elected as the first Indian born female governor as well as minority woman governor of a US state and wished her well here. However, her party and ideals diametrically are opposed to ours as Democratic voters in the US elections as many Pakistani Americans now are. Thus, some of her ideas and beliefs are not necessarily our own, but we still wish her well as she is a fellow Desi~

A Nobel Prize for Edhi

Pakistanis for Peace and Manzer Munir cordially and humbly request you to please sign this petition to nominate Abdul Sattar Edhi for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel Peace prize is an annual prize awarded to individuals who have made formidable contributions to the pursuit of peace and have, through their work, changed the world for the better.

As the founder of Pakistan’s largest welfare organization, the Edhi Foundation and trust, Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi embodies the spirit of this prize, and is a deserving candidate for this honour. He has single-handedly served countless Pakistani’s and has left a lasting impact on his fellow countrymen and the world.

Quite simply, there has never been anyone more deserving of the Nobel Peace prize in its entire history than Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi. Please help us get him his dues by having him finally nominated this year.

Please sign this petition to show your support for the nomination of Mr.Edhi for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Pakistan Wins Its First Oscar

By Manzer Munir for Pakistanis for Peace

Pakistan won its first Oscar Sunday night when director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s film, Saving Face, won at the 84th Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

The film was directed by Daniel Junge and Pakistani born Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and won in its category for the Best Documentary (Short Subject), making it the first win for Chinoy and for Pakistan. Earlier in the evening, Asghar Farhadi of Iran won that country its first Oscar when his movie, A Separation, won in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Sharmeen’s film, Saving Face, follows London-based Pakistani plastic surgeon, Dr Muhammad Jawad, on his travels to Pakistan where he performs reconstructive surgery on survivors of acid violence. The short film features two women who were attacked by acid and their struggles for justice as well as healing. It is estimated that over 100 such attacks occur each year in Pakistan and many more are feared unreported as under-reporting of this ‘acid violence‘ due to the many inequalities that women face in Pakistan.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy earlier won an Emmy for her documentary, Pakistan: Children of the Taliban in 2010. “To all the women in Pakistan working for your dreams, this is for you”, Sharmeen said at her acceptance speech Sunday night in front of the packed star studded audience in the Kodak Theatre.

It is hoped by many in Pakistan that this Oscar win will bring more attention to the plight of women in their beleaguered country.

Gandhi and King- Two Martyrs Who Will Never Die

By Manzer Munir for Pakistanis for Peace

Today is MLK Day in the United States where it is a federal holiday commemorating the life and legacy of the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr, an icon who would have been 83 years old on January 15.

MLK was a great believer in the teachings of non-violence if Mohandas K Gandhi, the leader of India’s independence movement from Britain. King saw that Gandhi’s peaceful civil disobedience and non-violent methods of protest were very effective in bringing down the British Empire in India and as a result Pakistan and the rest of the Indian Subcontinent after some 300 years of direct and indirect rule. Gandhi had believed that people could resist immoral government action by simply refusing to cooperate. Gandhi adopted many peaceful resistance techniques in developing his concept of Satyagraha, which was a philosophy and practice of passive nonviolent resistance.

Gandhi had earlier used this resistance technique in his struggles for freedom and equality for blacks and Indians in South Africa where both minorities were subjected to second and third class citizenry. His methods and refusal to bow down to the injustices that Indians faced in colonial South Africa inspired Nelson Mandela several years later to start his own peaceful struggle that eventually led to the end of Apartheid in South Africa in 1990.

While at Morehouse College, King learned about Gandhi and became very excited about his ideas. He wanted to further educate himself and read many books on Gandhi and his life and beliefs. In his book, Stride Toward Freedom, King states that “Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. He further writes in his book that “It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking. I came to feel that this was the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.”

King felt that he had finally found a way to where oppressed people could successfully unlock social protest through Jesus’ teachings of love. In fact Gandhi himself had said “What does Jesus mean to me? To me, he was one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had.” He also once mentioned Jesus as the “most active resister known perhaps to history. His was non-violence par excellence” Therefore to the Christian minister living in the pre-civil rights era in the South in America, Gandhi appeared to King as a follower of Christ, someone who preached peace and love even at the expense of suffering. Martin Luther King once said of Gandhi “It is ironic yet inescapably true that the greatest Christian of the modern world was a man who never embraced Christianity.”

In 1959, King visited India and became fully convinced that Satyagraha could be effectively applied to the struggle by blacks in the United States for racial integration. He came back to the United States where he continued the struggle for freedom and equality for all Americans. Like Gandhi, King also talked about suffering as a path to self purification and spiritual growth. He not only experienced this suffering by being jailed, beaten and harassed by the authorities of the day, but he eventually ended up paying for this cause for freedom for all with his life.

Today there is a black man that sits in the White House, minorities are on the Supreme Court bench, and black heads of Fortune 500 companies who have reached the proverbial mountaintop in every possible endeavor. Yet there is little doubt that despite how far we have come as a nation, we still have a ways to go to achieve equality for minorities and women. Without Dr King’s struggle, leadership and personal sacrifice, the United States, and indeed the world, would be in far worse shape.

Mohandas K Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were arguably two of the greatest men of the last century. Both men believed that “injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere.” They both led their people and millions of others out of slavery and servitude against seemingly insurmountable odds to freedom and salvation. On what would have been his 83rd birthday, let us recognize that in the greatest democracy in the history of the world, and despite an assassin’s bullet, the spirit and dream of a King still lives on.

Manzer Munir, a proud American of Pakistani descent, is a practicing Sufi Muslim and member of Muslims for Progressive Values, he is also the founder of Pakistanis for Peace and blogs at http://www.PakistanisforPeace.com as well at other websites as a freelance journalist and writer.

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