Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pakistan Bans the Internet.

Hey everyone. I haven't been blogging for a long long while. Mostly because I started working in August and since then have had this unrealistic image of my not having time to blog. A whole lot has happened since then. Much stuff relating to the band, work, my ACCA (I'm done!) and quite a few other topics. However, right now what I feel is most important is Pakistan's currently ongoing Internet censorship. This is an email I'm sending out to everybody I know. I thought I'd post it here too.

FYI. I can't access Facebook and stuff so any comments over there will not get to me anytime soon. Comment here please. Here we go:

"Hello, fellow countryfolk.

This is a manually generated response to the plethora of msgs I recieved initially urging & then celebrating the ban on Facebook. A ban that now includes Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and for a short while had Google too. Apart from 450 other websites.

Some stats regarding Facebook are in need, I feel.

1) Facebooks ANNUAL revenue stream is around $1.1billion. This makes it logically IMPOSSIBLE for them to have suffered a €2billion loss in 2 days, that'd become €40billion in a week. €40billion is more than Pakistan's national debt. Therefore all the messages and/or news reports claiming so are one thing: FALSE.

2) Facebook has 400 million users. Pakistan has little more than 2 million. We hence represent less than 0.59% of Facebook and are therefore NEGLIGIBLE. Our boycotting/banning/quitting Facebook will have little to no effect on their lives/careers/business.

3) Till last weekend the controversial page over which this whole mess was created had around 4,000 fans. The night before the ban, our overhyped, insecure, overreactionary measures took that number upto 40,000. Also, this ban removes access to the many pages and groups SUPPORTING Islam and its related subjects like Islam, Salat, many pages devoted to celebrating the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBuH), the Ka'aba and many others. Also, The Guardian and Dawn News report that the page in question now has more than 100,000 fans. Can we, with a clear conscience, say that is not our fault in any way?

4) Finally, we are the only muslim nation in the world to have gone the extra mile and banned all these websites. Even the generally strict countries like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE have only gone so far as blocking the webpages in question.

Now for some background information:

The page "Lets Draw Muhammad Day" came in response to a South Park episode where such a concept was introduced in response to what non-Muslim people view as irrational and overzealous reactions of Muslim people when such a concept is introduced and also as a reaction to the Danish cartoonist who's house was the victim of an arson attack recently.

It is completely justified to consider their actions a result of ignorance but do you really think violence and such banning of information and protesting is appropriate? When the Danish cartoons were published, there were protests throughout Pakistan that left 5 people dead. Why did Pakistanis die? Why were the protests so ugly? Is that what the Prophet(PBuH) himself would have done? Are we honoring his name, work and example by doing things he himself not have approved of? Have we even stopped to consider as much? Or did we just take everything that's been happening to and around Muslims and jump to the conclusion that this is part of a broader conspiracy against us, like we are so quick to do?

Also, why did the LHC/PTA/whoever ban all the other sites? Is there a source of knowledge as comprehensive as Wikipedia, online? Sure it's not always right and is open to malicious/incorrect editing but still. When was the last time you read a REAL encyclopedia when you really needed to get information? Update: As of last night I find that Wikipedia is accessible again but the page about "Lets draw Muhammad Day" is not.

And Youtube. How many videos are now inaccessible as a result of this ban? Youtube is 5 years old and is estimated to run 2billion videos A DAY. How many of those do you really think are anti-Islam? Really. How many of those will you come across on an average day, UNLESS you go out of your way to look for them? A negligible amount, surely. I've been on Youtube for a couple years now and have seen thousands of videos thus far. Literally thousands. Not one of them was anti-Islamic. Educational? Sure. Entertainment? Most definitely. Anti-Islamic? Not one. Sure I saw plenty of thumbnails but I didn't feel forced to go there and watch and hence be affected. Youtube and Facebook and such places aren't really forums where such discussions are taken seriously, anyway. Is is really so hard to ignore people we ourselves are so quick to deem "ignorant"? Should we ignore them at all? Should we not try to engage them in sincere debate? Did you do that? Chances are, no. Even if you did, you started and ended with anger and hate, leaving your point worthless.

Please do not take this email or any similar sentiments to mean people can't live without Facebook/Youtube etc. It's quite easy and more than possible. Arguably even better than living with them. Still, harbor no delusions. Leaving all of them WILL NOT make your life less filled with time-wasting. That's like saying there was no time-wasting before them. Youtube is just 5 years old. Facebook even less. Were you super efficient 5 years ago? Is your life a downward spiral since then? The truth is; no.

The real issue is not that all of this is unavailable. The real issue is the lack of choice in the matter. YOU didn't choose to boycott them. We were all given no other alternative. While we are so against their "freedom of speech" that allows them to say such things, our being blocked from it all is proof that our freedoms are limited. What happens if tomorrow you disagree with the government? Will you allow yourself to be silenced? Chances are, you won't have a choice. UPDATE2: Dawn reports that a total of around 800 websites have been blocked by the PTA on instructions from the government. Did you know of 800 websites that could have hurt your faith?

Wikipedia, Youtube, Flickr, Twitter have very little to do with the said page and its supporters. Blocking them does not achieve global Muslim harmony and respect. Blocking them means the government thinks it knows better than you what you should or should not see/hear/read. The possibility of the government covering up information they do not want the average Pakistani to read is not a new one nor one that is inconceivable as proven by this Wikipedia article and Dawn's reporting of what the chief of Google thought about this current scenario. This widespread banning is most probably a facade. An excuse to cover up all that they public may think is negative about the government while hiding behind the righteous curtain of defending the sanctitiy of Islam. That is a world I refuse to be a supporter of.

Thus, in conclusion; we learn that the ban HELPED those who made the page by swelling their ranks and proving their view of our being close minded and incapable of debate. We learn that the ban is probably not about the issue of Islam and the Prophets(PBuH) honor anyway. We learn that while freedom of speech and expression are guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan our government, the PTA and the LHC have somehow seen fit to take this pathetic step. Also we cut off our links to entertainment, communication and information leaving there no losers on the playing field but us. Just like when PAKISTANIs in PAKISTAN died over the Danish cartoon publication.

Good job oh ye 'faithful'. Pakistan's been screwed. Again."

My name is Ali Hasan Abbasi. I am a citizen of Pakistan, a believer of free speech and a possessor of common sense. I stand against this ban, and all other forms of censorship. I believe people are more than capable of knowing what is right and wrong and what they should or should not do. I consider this ban an insult to my intelligence, my status as a Muslim and my status a citizen of Pakistan.

You should too.

Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust;

And whereas it is the will of the people of Pakistan to establish an order :-

Wherein the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people;

Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed;

Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah;

Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practise their religions and develop their cultures;

Wherein the territories now included in or in accession with Pakistan and such other territories as may hereafter be included in or accede to Pakistan shall form a Federation wherein the units will be autonomous with such boundaries and limitations on their powers and authority as may be prescribed;

Therein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality;

Wherein adequate provision shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes;

Wherein the independence of the judiciary shall be fully secured;

Wherein the integrity of the territories of the Federation, its independence and all its rights, including its sovereign rights on land, sea and air, shall be safeguarded;

So that the people of Pakistan may prosper and attain their rightful and honoured place amongst the nations of the World and make their full contribution towards international peace and progress and happiness of humanity :

Now, therefore, we, the people of Pakistan,

Cognisant of our responsibility before Almighty Allah and men;

Cognisant of the sacrifices made by the people in the cause of Pakistan;

Faithful to the declaration made by the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah], that Pakistan would be a democratic State based on Islamic principles of social justice;

Dedicated to the preservation of democracy achieved by the unremitting struggle of the people against oppression and tyranny;

Inspired by the resolve to protect our national and political unity and solidarity by creating an egalitarian society through a new order;

Do hereby, through our representatives in the National Assembly, adopt, enact and give to ourselves, this Constitution.

-Preamble to the Constitution of Pakistan.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

the ADP analysis.

Just a little statement before the main course, I'm going to try and post a bit more and keep the posts short. Easier for me, for you, for the world.

DISCLAIMER: This is just going to be one long episode of uthaoo-giri. If you don't what that means you need to chill in Gulshan or with Gulshan-ites a bit more. If you don't know what/where I'm talking about, you need to die in Karachi or never come.

ADP is without a doubt my favourite underground Pakistani band. To the extent that they occupy all the positions on my top5. No one else even comes close.

Analysis has revealed, at least to me, that their secret is in their absolute tightness. The band is one being. Let's start with OmarBilalAkhtar.

OBA is basically a kickass vocalist who really knows what he sounds good at, what he likes to sing, and what's in between. Which, as the Venn diagram below illustrates(people on Facebook, you need to head over to the blog to see this); is what matters. Or so Simon Cowell says.

He isn't a guitar virtuoso, which is a common requirement for many a Pakistani maila listening to MATULL. I do not think he can shred. I do not think he wants to. Which is absolutely fine. But then there are going to be idiots who say "MAGAR YAAR MIXOLYDIAN RUN DAAL DETA TU MAZA AJATA". Look up "chullu bhar paani" you shitbrained pansy.

Also he's funny. Gets the girlies laughing. The dudes too. With none of the "Oh you think he's funny?? Well, fuck him!" nonsense that usual recipients of female fandom get. Frontmen should be entertaining. Keep the people interested. It's either that or he grows his hair long, straightens it, and shows up in a leather banyaan. I don't think that will help but that's all I've got.

Plus he has a Line6 Pod X3 which is absolutely mindBLASTING.

OK is solid as shit. Which is a vague simile at best but that's just the way it is. He will drop a stick at EVERY show but Holy crap on a snare I have never seen anyone play as hard as he does. His face will be like Steven Seagal, expressionless, but you know he will kick your butt. His damn face wobbles with every bang(heehee) and the drums look like they're going to collapse and cause a hydrogen bomb to go off too while they're at it. No fancy tricks, no showboating. Just a nuke on your balding head. That's the OK style.

I am Photoshop illiterate. So sue me.

Every band should have a signature of sorts. With the Red Hot Chili Peppers it's Flea and his crazyness, with GnR it was Slash, with Nirvana it was some punk ass druggie moaner identifying with people who'd be emo except the term wasn't popular then. You get the point. At the start, with ADP, it was Yasir Qureishi and his darbuka. The middle-eastern madness he stirred up in songs like Sultanat or ADPs cover of Rock the Casbah made the experience absolutely insane for first time listeners/viewers. He's expanded his arsenal to include other percussive instruments as well, like a tambourine, egg-rattles(or whatever they're called) etc. The darbuka is to ADP what, say the violin is to the Dave Mathhews Band. You take it away, the song still stands, but with it; it's golden.

Ali Alam is one of our very own singer/songwriter people who's been blackmailed/coerced/fooled into joining ADP(if oba's blog is anything to go by). As a result ADP has acquired a real asset. Ali plays guitar, hence he can provide the rhythms that were missing whenever OBA soloed and hence fills up the sound very nicely. He also has his own songs which I'm a big fan of too. As much as the ADP original originals actually. Hum Na Rahey(Mere Masoom Dost) is amazing. There is no other word for it. Plus his vocal talents help in the backing vocals department too when OBA does his songs and again, fuller sound, greater impact. So much so that now ADP shows involve an audience being hit by a wall of sound in nearly each song. Ali Alam's songwriting skills are also spot on and his coming into the fold as it were, will help ADP in churning out good songs with more ease as compared to a situation where only one person has to do all the writing.

Finally, Rahayl Sidikey. He does bass. And backing vocals. And he does them well.

Originally coming into the spotlight as the only member of Mizraab who looked like a metalhead and not a nerd, Rahayl was asked to join ADP after he played a gig with OBA as part of The Big Cheese and was set to play at the Shanaakht festival with ADP. The fellas liked his chops and 2+2=5, he's in. This guy is badass. I mean he just looks it.
Plus since ADP now has a dedicated bass player, their live act is tighter and sounds bigger than before. Add that to the larger number of people shouting their lungs out in big choruses(THREE!!), the wall of sound thing applies more than ever. Being a bass player myself, I think Rahayl's addition was a real coup for the others since he's really solid and now everyone has a chance to just do their own thing without worrying about any other member since everyone has a dedicated job and they're balls up awesome at it.

And thus we reach the end. This originally started out as a port about when Flam! opened for ADP but it sortve veered off in the start and I thought I'd let it go where it wanted to. No apologies for the cheap pictures. I shall use the "I'm too punk rock for.." Photoshop, excuse. Works everytime.

Mere masoom dost
Tum kyun gum sum rahey
Jese main, jese tum
Jese hum na rahay

Iss khamoshi se
Tum kyun lartey rahey
Jese main, jese tum
Jese hum na rahay

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Oh Holy shit..

One day Saad Khaleel calls me and tells me the Aunty Disco Project have an upcoming show and I should ask OBA if we can open for them. My immediate reaction is "we suck they rule this is not going to work nor happen". Regardless, I call OBA and he says, being the nice guy that he is, that he doesn't see any major issue and will get back to me tomorrow after he's gone over it with the others because the only consideration at the moment is that bands in the past have not really helped because they dampened the mood and were sort've boring which he hoped we wouldn't be. My immediate reaction to this is "okay he's not turning me down straight up because he doesn't want me to cry in a corner and then die of suck-caused shame". He calls me tomorrow and says we're good to go.

Oh shit.

Enter Shikari.
No. Wait.

Enter Farhad Khalid. Drummer dude from IBA(and LUMS, yeah double majors in drumtasticality, biatch!) who's wrapping up his internship at Engro Foods(Owsum!) and wants to jam. How conveniently timely. We say yes. We rope in guitar cheeta Ali Ahsan, student of the student of Faraz Anwer, who's only purpose with a guitar is to rip like there's no tomorrow and even if there is he's not going to play some cheap-ass John Mayer bends while he's Waiting on the World to Change(which isn't that cool since I'm a huge Mayer fan, but chalo).

And so it is settled. Saad, Ali, Farhad and yours truly. Flam! version 1.47(...beta). We're scheduled to open the show for the awesomely bombtastic A.D.P. at the Rangoonwala Hall on Sunday the 16th of August.

When I started to write this entry, I planned to talk about how nervous I was and how I hoped we'd do good and how I hoped we'd sell some tickets and not look like douches when I return the two booklets ADP's manager Aamir Rauf(really helpful guy) gave to me, untouched.

Now I'm not so sure. Now I'm thinking I should just focus on what the priority is, the gig. The actual show and the preparation leading upto it. Don't get me wrong, opening for ADP is serious business since they are at the top of their game with a new lineup and everything and have blastacular songs to boot. They are going to be overshadowing us from the get-go without even having played a single song. We have to go fucking nuclear and abosolutely kill every song and even then we might not benefit in any tangible way. But it is doable. Our songs might work. I'd be more sure about that were they not untested, like our rearranged lineup. But hope remains while we stick to our shit and unleash sonic Flam!alities on the unwitting audience.

That's what I'm placing my bets on. Come sunday, we kick ass and make sure that ADP don't even come close to the mere thought process required to begin to regret giving us the green light.

Clean shirt, new shoes
And I dont know where I am goin to.
Silk suit, black tie,
I dont need a reason why.
They come runnin just as fast as they can
Coz every girl crazy bout a sharp dressed man.

Monday, July 27, 2009

NFP meets Sean Kingston

Nadeem Farooq Peracha is this journalist/social commentator person who's articles are featured regularly in the Dawn newspapers. He often writes articles involving some sort of conversation, usually exaggerating truths and situations and nearly always seeming nut. Sean Kingston is this black american singer/rapper/something dude. I heard Sean's song and somehow this is what my mind came up with.

Somebody call 911
Shawty fire burning on the dance floor
I gotta cool her down
She won't bring the roof to ground on the dance floor
She’s fire burning, fire burning on the dance floor
That little shawty’s fire burning on the dance floor
Shes fire burning fire burning on the dance floor
That little shawty’s fire burning on the dance floor
Fire burning fire burning

911: Hello, please state your emergency.

Me: Um yeah, I've been requested to notify you of a potential safety hazard..?

911: Yes sir, please go on.

Me: Okay's one of two things.

911: Okay...

Me: Yeah see, theres either a midget covered in plasma(the hot liquid gas kind) on the dance floor causing things to spontaneously combust or theres somebody who's not very tall with an out of control arson fetish. Also on the dance floor.


Me: Hello..?

I believe the world is burning to the ground
Oh well I guess we're gonna find out
Let's see how far we've come
Let's see how far we've come

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

a day in the life of... Pakistan..

It is close to 9 am on Thursday the 18th of June that I start writing this. Power has just been restored to my locality after an outage of some 8.5 hours. Many areas in Karachi remain blacked out. Well, not so much since the night has passed and the sun is up but you know what I mean.

Usually I don't get up this early, I sleep at around 6 or 7 am and wake up sometime in the afternoon and on occasion, in the evening. Practicing to be a rockstar, you see. Since however, there was no power all night, there wasn't much for me to do while staying up hence I pseudo-slept the night away. I woke up at around 8am and started looking for things to do when I spied the newspaper lying at my door. Feeling this would be a good way to while away some time while I waited for the KESC, WAPDA and GOD..I mean, God, to concentrate their efforts in a way that power is returned, I thought I'd look throught it.

Depression ensued.

The following is a list of notable reports and excerpts as taken from the Dawn website.

Storm robs Karachi of electricity for hours:

All but entire Karachi plunged into darkness for several hours on Wednesday evening after a thunderstorm hit Pepco’s Jamshoro-Dadu and Jamshoro-Hub lines.

All generating units of the KESC, IPPs and KANUPP collapsed, disabling the city’s link with the national grid.

...According to KESC sources, the tripping in transmission lines at about 6.30pm robbed the system of about 600MW fed by Pepco’s network, crippling the entire generation, transmission and distribution network.

All units of Bin Qasim thermal power station, Korangi thermal power plants, Korangi gas turbines, independent power producers and the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant stuttered to a halt.

..The Bin Qasim plant generates over 1,000MW at a de-rated capacity while Wapda supplies about 700MW to KESC daily. The shortfall in KESC system was 1500MW late on Wednesday night.

The sudden power failure brought work at the Karachi Airport and major hospitals to a halt. Vehicular traffic faced gridlocks and congestions on major arteries of the city as traffic signals stopped working.

With maximum temperature at 35.9 degree centigrade and humidity at 62 per cent on Wednesday, people in various areas suffered at least two spells of loadshedding till evening.

Government announces phase-wise increase in power tarriff

ISLAMABAD: The government announced on Wednesday that till the end of the next fiscal year, electricity tariff would be increased in phases by at least 17 per cent as part of a condition in the IMF bailout package.

During a post-budget briefing to Senate’s standing committee on finance, Finance Secretary Salman Sadiq said: ‘We will take up the issue of allowing subsidy on electricity for lifeline consumers with officials of the International Monetary Fund in a meeting in Dubai on June 28.’

Governor State Bank Saleem Raza hinted that mark-up rates might be reduced in the wake of a reduction in inflation. The decision is likely to be announced in July along with the monetary policy.

However, he warned that low interest rates, ‘huge allocations for development projects and increase in wages’ might spur demand, leading to an increase in inflation. The annual inflation is expected to come down to 12.5 per cent by the end June 2009.

Govt, opposition spar on budget in NA

ISLAMABAD: The Opposition in the National Assembly on Wednesday blasted the government for making budget ‘overly dependent on foreign aid’, and lawmakers from treasury benches defended the government’s economic policies.

Abdul Qadir Patel from Karachi said: ‘If none of the critics can say that the next year’s budget is worse than the one for outgoing fiscal year, it means there is an improvement in government’s performance’.

He prompted desk thumping by his party colleagues when he denied allegations of corruption and said that he had never encountered anyone who was trying to ‘sell any ministry’.

Khurram Dastagir Khan of PML-N said: ‘If previous government was a failure in achieving self-reliance in economy, this government is worse.’

He said: ‘In a country where 123.4 million people live below poverty line on less than $2 a day, provision of Rs1,000 under the Benazir Income Support Programme to 50 million people will not work wonders.’

Mr Khan said heavy increases in prices of gas, electricity and petroleum products had hiked prices of all essential items and food inflation had reached 34.4 per cent.

He alleged that Wapda had used only Rs31 billion out of Rs62 billion earmarked for it in the current year’s PSDP, negating the government’s claims that it wanted to resolve power shortage. He also criticised the government of sparing the agriculture sector from direct taxation.

Police, power distribution depts most corrupt

KARACHI: The money Pakistanis spend on bribes has increased from Rs45 billion in 2002 to Rs195 billion in 2009, according to a survey carried out by the Transparency International Pakistan.

The survey report entitled ‘National Corruption Perception Survey 2009’ —indicates that police and power supply departments maintain their position as the two most corrupt sectors in the country.

The judiciary’s ranking has improved in the period under review. It ranked seventh in 2009, third in 2006 and fourth in 2002.

Customs and taxation departments have also improved their rankings since 2006. Work on the survey, involving responses from 5,200 people, began in February and ended in April of this year.

According to the report, people believed that health and land departments were also quite corrupt. Sixty-six per cent of the respondents said the existing local government system was more corrupt than the system it replaced.

About 60 per cent of the respondents said government functionaries and armed forces personnel should not be involved in commercial activities.

According to its findings, Defence Purchase Division, Military Engineering Services and Defence Housing Authorities were largest violators of rules under the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Ordinance of 2002, which in itself was not performing its statutory obligations.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, the privatisation ministry and the State Bank refuse to be governed under PPRA Ordinance.

Petroleum products, CNG to become costlier

ISLAMABAD: Amid the rising trend on international markets, the local petroleum rates would be revised upward by over 10 per cent after the ‘carbon surcharge’ goes effective from July 1 after the budget 2009-10 is approved by the National Assembly. Compressed natural gas (CNG) would also become dearer.

Informed sources in the finance ministry told Dawn on Wednesday that the petroleum ministry had already calculated the new petrol price at around Rs62 per litre, high speed diesel at Rs60 per litre, HOBC at Rs78 per litre.

The prices of kerosene and light diesel oil (LDO) will also go up, sources in the petroleum ministry said, adding the CNG would be selling at Rs55 per kg.

Cell firms to withdraw SMS offers

LAHORE, June 17: After imposition of 20-paisa tax per SMS, the cellular companies are likely to withdraw their discount packages from July 1.

“It will not be possible for us to continue with the bundle package offers in the wake of fresh tax,” a representative of a cellular company told Dawn on Wednesday.

He said though the government in the federal budget 2009-10 had reduced the general sales tax and SIM activation charges from 21 per cent to 19 per cent and Rs500 to Rs250, respectively, 20-paisa increase on per SMS would not only burden subscribers but also affect the business of such companies that had introduced packages at cheaper rates.”

“At the end of the day it will be clear that the government has not provided us with any relief,” an official of another company said.

It is learnt that the cellular companies are joining hands against tax on SMS and will register their protest with the government shortly.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has welcomed the concessions given to the telecom industry.

“We do not see any major impact of SMS tax on the industry. However, we will conduct a study in this regard after a certain period,” PTA chairman Dr Muhammad Yasin told this reporter.

“It will be premature to say that 20-paisa per SMS tax has negative impact on the industry,” he said.

Though the cellular companies are perturbed over the new tax but they can only register their concern with the respective quarters through PTA.

The cellular industry had generated a revenue of Rs278 billion in 2007-08.

The previous taxation rate on the cellular services (15 per cent) was already one of the highest in the region.

Owing to stiff competition among the cellular operators in the country, lower tariff had been introduced to attract maximum number of subscribers. Telecom sector, according to PTA, has attracted more than US$5.6 billion foreign direct investment during the last four years.

During 2007-08, the telecom sector attracted a sum of US$1.4 billion foreign direct investment which is about 30 per cent of the total FDI in the country. During 2007-08, the telecom industry ranked second after financial sector as major FDI recipient in Pakistan.

Swat residents are ‘short of everything’, warns ICRC

GENEVA: Civilians in the Swat valley are ‘short of everything,’ the International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday.

The ICRC, which claims to be the only international humanitarian agency currently operating in Swat and nearby Dir, said it was starting to distribute food for some 40,000 people in and around Swat’s main city, Mingora.

It cautioned that its ability to deliver food would depend on the security situation, AFP reports.

‘They are short of everything and will need help until the situation stabilises,’ he added in an information note.

Fighting has been continuing in Swat and Lower Dir districts, where Pakistani security forces launched an anti-Taliban offensive in late April.

About two million people have fled their homes and escaped to safer parts of Pakistan since the offensive began in the Northwest Frontier Province.


Pakistan zindabad.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Evolution of Dance.

A way to shirk blogging duties further. Who cares anyway?

Part 1

# Hound Dog - Elvis Presley Elvis Presley - Hound Dog - Hound Dog

# The Twist - Chubby Checker Chubby Checker - Chubby Checker Classics - The Twist

# Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees The Bee Gees Tribute Band - Smooth Sax Tribute to the Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive

# Y.M.C.A. - The Village People Village People - Disco Gold - Y.M.C.A.

# Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas Carl Douglas - The Soul of the Kung Fu Fighter - Kung Fu Fighting

# Keep On - The Brady Bunch The Brady Bunch - Man With a Movie Camera - Keep On

# Greased Lightnin' - John Travolta John Travolta - Grease - Deluxe Edition - Greased Lightnin'

# You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC AC/DC Tribute Band - Hip-Hop Tribute to AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long

# Billie Jean - Michael Jackson Michael Jackson - The Essential Michael Jackson - Billie Jean

# Thriller - Michael Jackson Michael Jackson - The Essential Michael Jackson - Thriller

# Oompa Loompa - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Harry Connick, Jr. - Songs I Heard - Oompa Loompa (not the EOD version)

# Mr. Roboto - Styx Styx - Styx: Greatest Hits - Mr. Roboto

# Break Dance (Electric Boogie) - West Street Mob West Street Mob - The Sugar Hill Records Story - Break Dance (Electric Boogie)

# Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles The Bangles - The Essential Bangles - Walk Like an Egyptian

# The Chicken Dance - Bob Kames Bob Kames and The Happy Organ - The Chicken Dance (Dance Little Bird) - The Chicken Dance (Dance Little Bird) [Instrumental]

# Mony Mony - Billy Idol Billy Idol - Billy Idol: Greatest Hits - Mony Mony

# Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice Vanilla Ice - To the Extreme - Ice Ice Baby

# U Can't Touch This - MC Hammer M.C. Hammer - M.C. Hammer: Greatest Hits - U Can't Touch This

# Love Shack - The B-52's The B-52's - Nude on the Moon - The B-52's Anthology - Love Shack

# Apache - The Sugarhill Gang The Sugarhill Gang - The Essentials: The Sugarhill Gang - Apache

# Jump Around - House of Pain House Of Pain - The Best of House of Pain and Everlast: Shamrocks & Shenanigans - Jump Around

# Baby Got Back - Sir Mix-A-Lot Sir Mix-a-Lot - Mack Daddy - Baby Got Back

# Tubthumping - Chumbawamba Chumbawamba - Tubthumper - Tubthumping

# What Is Love - Haddaway Haddaway - Haddaway - What Is Love

# Cotton Eye Joe - Rednex Rednex - Malcolm In the Middle - Cotton Eye Joe

# Macarena - Los Del Rio Los Del Rio - Fiesta Macarena - Macarena

# Bye Bye Bye - N'Sync *NSYNC - *NSYNC: Greatest Hits - Bye Bye Bye

# Lose Yourself - Eminem Eminem - 8 Mile - Lose Yourself

# Hey Ya! - Outkast OutKast - Now That's What I Call Music!: #1's - Hey Ya!

# Dirt Off Your Shoulder - Jay-Z Jay-Z Tribute Band - Tribute to Jay-Z - Dirt Off Your Shoulder

# Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice ("Yo, let's get outta here. Word to your mother") Vanilla Ice - To the Extreme - Ice Ice Baby

# Bye Bye Bye - N'Sync ("Bye, bye, bye")

Part 2

0:00 Ryan Dalton - Introduction
0:10 James Brown - "I Got You (I Feel Good)"
0:31 The Temptations - "My Girl"
0:40 Ike and Tina Turner - "Proud Mary"
0:50 Van McCoy - "The Hustle"
0:55 The Hit Crew - "Hokey Pokey"
1:09 Otis Day and the Knights - "Shout" (originally by The Isley Brothers)
1:21 The Champs - "Tequila"
1:31 The Proclaimers - "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
1:39 Technotronic - "Pump Up The Jam"
1:57 Right Said Fred - "I'm Too Sexy"
2:12 Marcia Griffiths - "Electric Boogie"
2:33 En Vogue - "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)"
2:43 69 Boyz - "Tootsee Roll"
2:57 DJ Slide - "Cha Cha Slide"
3:17 Terror Squad - "Lean Back" (featuring Fat Joe and Remy Martin)
3:24 OK GO - "Here It Goes Again"
3:33 Fergie - "London Bridge"
3:43 Soulja Boy Tell 'Em - "Crank That (Soulja Boy)"
4:00 Otis Day and the Knights - "Shout" (originally by The Isley Brothers)
4:02 Right Said Fred - "I'm Too Sexy"

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I was reading this Reader's Digest article that's in the May 2009 Asia edition about this German dude who's been biking the shit out of the world and doing God knows what like running and climbing mountains and everything so as to raise awareness and money for AIDS victims. I mean, he covered literally 23 THOUSAND kilometers in 35 days. I mean, holy shit. I get tired DRIVING 60 kilometers in one day and..damn.

Then there's this dude who's making this boat out of plastic coke bottles and some other weird plastic thing and planning to cross the PACIFIC OCEAN in it so as to raise awareness about pollution and global warming and the shit it's causing.

That really makes me think about what my contribution to the world will be. I mean, what difference will I be making in the world at large if, and that's a significant 'if', I accomplish the goals I've set and have been set for me and shit? Sure the boat guy inherited a huge fortune but the German was an overweight smoker drinker person who worked in a VW plant! There are other stories too about people helping others and trying to make the world a better place. It's all well and good to have success and a comfortable life for one's self and one's family and stuff but by the time I've grown up there will be around 7 BILLION people on the planet. Even on a smaller scale there'll be 200 million people on Pakistan or smaller yet, 30-35 million in Karachi! What will I have done or what can I do for them? If I end up a filthy rich CFO/CEO/whateverthehell by the time I'm 60..what will all that mean in the broader view of things?

Flam! updates:

We did a gig at IBA towards the end of last month. Saad and I, that is. Instrumental only. Played this blues jam and an interpretation of Explosions in the Sky's style of music. Was pretty fun. Also, we're sort've recording our songs at the moment. Where and how I'm not sure if I should say.

Owais is leaving on the 17th to join the army, Anes is also no longer with us. Saad will do vocals until and unless a suitable singer is found, we might need another guitarist as a result. Hope stuff works out for us. I plan to turn this shit into high gear as soon as my exams are over.

Don't give this hate a chance
We've got all this love to give, you know
That this dream's alive, we’ll still survive
Until no more people have to cry

PS: I've grown a deep affection for Jamiroquai's work. It's a really nice band.