Hazara! Lambs to the slaughter and Imran’s Shame!

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

They are said to have been part of the great Mongol hordes of Changez Khan as they swooped down from Central Asia into South Asia!

Now mostly living in the heartland of Afghanistan and contestably comprising berween 9% to 20% of Afghanistan’s population, the Hazaras as they are known have a history of being violently persecuted, because of their religous beliefs!

From being serfs and living in slave like conditions to the highest political offices in Afghanistan and an occasional high military office in Pakistan, Gen. Musa being one, these people have been over centuries been repeatedly subjected to persecution, violence and mass killings both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, where they number about half a million, mostly in and around Quetta.

Converted to 12 Imam Shiaism during the Safavid rule in 16th Century Iran and living in predominantly Sunni Afghanistan and later Pakistan, they have been singularly targeted because of their religious beliefs and their distinctive physical features distinguishing them from non Hazaras!

Their targetted killings in Pakistan and of other Shias have been the natural consequence of the terrible, violent, obscurantist, exclusive, militant interpretation of Islam adopted by extremist groups, funded by petrodollars, mainstreamed by Gen. Zia ul Haq and violently propagated by militant preachers originating from the terror following the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the Saudi Iran proxy war, both in that calamitous year of 1979.

The Hazaras of all communities are the most vulnerable living in an extremely hostile environment in Quetta, Baluchistan, because of the extremist sectarian militant outfits that appear to operate with impunity in a province which in all manner of speaking has been under strict military control for over 20 years.

Hence it is extremely strange for such a terrible, tragic, cruel, heartbreaking incident to take place in supposedly the most militarized province and city of Pakistan.

Where is the State?

Where are the Security agencies?

Where is Prime Minister Imran Khan?

Where is the PM who would tweet and roar and shout at the then Prime Ministers for their indifference, their lack of empathy, their lack of sympathy,  their lack of courage and spine when the Hazaras were earlier targetted by sectarian terrorists?

And all our “brave” PM could come up with was a pitiful tweet? A Tweet?

He should be ashamed of himself!

Some say he was advised against travelling because it would be a security risk!

A security risk?

He should be ashamed of himself if he listened to this advice. He should have said “I’m going, you take care of security” boarded his plane and been there the same or next day.

What sort of PM are you Mr. Khan?

Where’s your courage?

Where’s your Spine?

If ever the Nation wanted you to grasp a leadership moment, it was now!

If nothing else, you could have helped wipe their tears and shared their sorrow!

What a fall, PM!

“A little piece of Heaven” in Pakistan

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi*

While the chattering, thumbing, typing, opinionated, full stomached, overly wealthy, overly stupid and ignorant, so called elite of this country bitches and moans every day on WhatsApp and Facebook in drawing rooms and meeting rooms, many angels quietly slog away at making a difference in the life of the extremely vulnerable, poor and most at risk, in Pakistan!

They impact the lives of the very very poor who belong to a socio economic status that perhaps may shame even the shameless.

Mohra Fatima is a small hamlet on the road to Chakwal, where a dedicated team of local and foreign qualified doctors have been providing free health care to people suffering from severe emotional and mental disabilities.

“80% would either commit suicide or kill somebody if they hadn’t been treated by us” says Dr. Shakil, Consultant Psychiatrist at Sussex Hospital, UK, the person behind this effort and now based in Pakistan.

I spent a day there a few weeks ago. What I saw would melt the hardest heart. These were people who were extremely poor and in great mental and emotional distress.

“Many were tied in chains by their families, because they didn’t know what was wrong and how to deal with them”.

“Then other doctors take advantage of them prescribing wrong medicines, keeping them hooked as potential earning assets, till these poor people run out of money, and either kill somebody, commitv suicude or end up in chains and die.”

“Pakistani Society is suffering from serious psycho -social toxicity. The violence and trauma we’ve suffered these last 40 years has corroded our society, destroyed families and normal social interaction. And the most impacted are the poor and the underprivileged who have no safety nets, financial, family, social and emotional”

How can we fix it, I asked? Is there a solution?

“Yes, we can.”

“We have to address this at the levels of our schools, colleges and universities. We have to equip our teachers on how to address this phenomenon, how to weave it into our teaching curriculum.  Federal and Provincial education authorities, Higher Education Commissions, University Vice Chancellors etc, should seek advice from people like us on how to weave this into our curriculums.”

“We must educate our political, public and private sector leaders and our military leaders about this terrible social bomb which is exploding all across our country.”

*”Institutions like the Civil Services Academy, the Pakistan Institute  for Parliamentary Services,  National Defence University, Staff College, Pakistan Military Academy, Police Training institutes, Pakistan Institute of Management, etc must get insights. We are also planning to establish an institute to take this forward!*”

What about children suffering from mental and emotional disorders?

“They really are the most at risk. Many are abused.  They are unable to participate and learn. They cannot become productive members of our society. So in a humble effort we’ve started a school, free of cost for such children.

I visited this school yesterday in Gulzar Colony, Rawalpindi and saw my little piece of heaven.

Children with severe disabilities being looked after, cared for and taught by people with hearts of gold, the patience of Hazrat Ayub and the virtues of Saints.

How do you support this?

“Our own funds, friends and family and well wishers.  One lady in the UK didn’t use her car for a month and biked to work, and then donated the fuel money she saved.”

“You don’t have to be wealthy to donate or care, just have to have a heart that cares!”

Any support from our government poverty alleviation organizations. BAIT UL MAL etc?

He just smiled and offered me a cup of tea!

*-Haider Mehdi*

A short note on the CJ LHC reprieve to Hamza!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

In a truly messed up society like ours where either nothing or everything works depending on who you don’t know or know!

Anything is possible! Including Hamza’s reprieve !

Where a PM can drag on a never ending nasty feud between his minister (Fawad) and his Special Assistant (Naeem ul Haque) involving his own personally hand picked extremely honest and competent PTV MD (Arshad) without intervening!

Anything is possible! Including a totally screwed up narrative of your own creation!

So why blame your opponents!

Where a PM appoints idiots and carpetbaggers to cabinet, advisory and special assistant positions while brilliant honest people from his own party are sitting on the sidelines, because he has no idea about the skills required. And because he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

Anything is possible!

So why not the continous disasters one after the other?

Why pick on a Judge, who’s clearly biased, when every morning Imran calls for a razor sharp axe to hack at his own foot!

Therefore anything is possible!

So why blame the opposition for having a go at you when you do it to yourself, every day!

I dont blame the Judge or the putrid screwed up system but the PM who we voted in to do the right thing.

And I’m talking about the many many things that he could have done right, but isn’t because he’s inexperienced, ignorant and incompetent and refuses to listen to sane and good advice!

So anything is possible, when you don’t know, you don’t know!

Including turning a blind eye to the obvious!

Buzdar is a royal disaster. So is Mahmood in KP.

Even his closest advisers can’t figure out why he’s continuing with these.

So anything is possible!

So why blame others! When you insist on insisting that your decision was right!

So forget a small fry like the Punjab CJ. He’s part of a terrible system which has been tainted, poisoned and destroyed by decades of institutional decay!

But focus on Imran who really is his own worst enemy!

So anything is possible!

One hope and prays his learning curve and understanding of governance, management and identifying the right people, out runs the disasters chasing him. Many of his own creation!

And hopefully then perhaps, good things are possible!

One piece of unsolicited advice, Imran.

*Get someone like Shafqat Mahmood as your Chief of Staff, so you can get at least some sane piece of advice, currently completely non existent from the Qaseeda Khwaans you’ve gathered around you.*

For me, I give up!

Somewhere between….we grew up

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

The following inspired by a Facebook post!

Somewhere between knowing a dear one will break your fall and knowing they were the cause, we grew up!

Somewhere between a sibling opening their hearts to closing them and their homes, we grew up!

Somewhere between dropping in unannounced and being welcomed with open arms to “you should have called” we grew up!

Somewhere between accepting a yes as a yes and then as a no or a maybe, we grew up!

Somewhere between open hearts and closed doors, we grew up!

Somewhere between getting up at 2 am to help a friend to “yaar may bohath busy hoon” we grew up!

Somewhere between real love to a pretentious “how lovely” we grew up!

Somewhere between unsuccessfully having to choose between clamouring relatives demanding we stay with them, when visiting another city, to a hesitant you should have stayed with us and to a cold room in a hotel or club, we grew up!

Somewhere between a dozen dinner invitations to a cold pizza in a hotel room, we grew up!

Somewhere between Khuda Hafiz and Allah Hafiz, we grew up! (Kind courtesy Jamil Janjua)

Somewhere between pithu garam and candy crush, we grew up!

Somewhere between a “Kulli Sawari” Tanga and a Careem, we grew up!

Somewhere between hope and hopelessness, we grew up!

And somewhere between everything and nothing, we grew up!