December 18, 2012
August 5, 2012
It was mid night of January 2007 at Wazirabad Railway Junction (Pakistan). I had missed a train and the next train to my destination was due hours later. The night was severely cold and the waiting rooms were locked. I had to take shelter on a bench in passengers’ shed. The shed was nearly as cold as the open platform. In a few minutes, I felt that a huge number of mosquitoes were attacking every passenger waiting under the shed. The passengers were continuously moving their hands and legs to avoid their bites. For me it was not possible to fight them for very long. I preferred to face the below zero atmosphere of the platform. I kept walking to and fro to kill the time. To resume energy and get some warmth, I consumed two cups of hot tea one after the other and started my walking again. Suddenly I caught sight of a gentleman of about sixty years of age, who was searching something in row of rooms of various offices of railway, one after the other. I kept watching him for a few minutes but his movements did not stop. He had been opening and closing doors of the rooms, one after the other, but it appeared that the occupants of the rooms were not helping him. It was a very interesting movement by a normal gentleman. Considerably surprised by the mode of his search I finally approached him for any help. I asked him straight away about his problem at such cold mid night of January. He smilingly introduced himself to me and explained to me as under:-
“I belong to a village situated between Pasroor (a Tehsil headquarter of Sialkot district) and Narowal (a district headquarter). I am a retired headmaster (Principle) of high school. Some of my relatives travelled over to my home and stayed with me for some days after which they decided to travel back to their own town. The train that they had to catch used to leave my village railway station after sunset. On the appointed day I accompanied my guests to the railway station. Out of courtesy I purchased tickets for all of them and the tickets clerk returned to be the remaining money. When I received back the remaining money the train reached the railway station where it used to halt only for one minute period. At the ticket window, I started counting the remaining money but the tickets clerk alerted me saying that the train may leave the railway station. So I put the money into my pocket and asked my guests to follow me for boarding the train. After departure of the train I returned home and comfortably started counting the remaining money. Here I found that it was short by an amount to Rupees 50. Now since the village railway station man does not hear me, so I have travelled over to Wazirabad Junction but here they also do not help me. They say that the station master who issued the tickets to me, had retired from service and that they will try to locate him to give his point of view on the issue”.
I felt that there was something extraordinary in this whole statement. So impatiently I asked the gentleman, “How many days before your guests left for their town”. With a courageous grin on his face, he said, “It was 25 years ago. During all this period I did not have time to visit my village railway station. Now finding time I have started pursuing the case, because you know that my money is mine, even with passing of so much time”.
The second gentleman met me in a local minibus during November 2008. My home is ten kilometers from Sialkot city (Pakistan) center. Sitting next to me was a gentleman of about 65 years of age. He told me that he belonged to a far off village of Sialkot district and that he was a farmer. In the moving minibus I, by the way, remarked that he must be going for shopping. His reply was negative and he started telling me the reason of his visit to Sialkot city market. “I met a shopkeeper (as he stated) to prepare eye glasses for my eyesight. The shopkeeper told me that it will cost Rupees Seven Thousand. I asked him that if the glasses failed, what about my money? The shopkeeper assured me that in such a case he will return me the full money. On the appointed day I reached the shop for taking over the glasses. So far as the checking at the shop was concerned, the glasses were alright for my eyesight. I paid him the money, took over the glasses and returned to my village. After a few days I felt that the glasses were not serving the purpose. With passing of a few more days I became sure that the glasses were useless for me. So to recover my money as promised, I kept waiting to find time to visit the man’s shop in Sialkot. Today I found time and I am going to visit the man to get my money back”. He paused and then resumed his statement, “Unfortunately, this deal was done seven years ago, but you know a deal is a deal and he must return my money as he assured me”.
August 5, 2012
Concerning citizens’ welfare, there are numerous unattended priorities in Pakistan. The most important and most neglected top priority is solution of the problems of various sections of minorities, especially the Hindu minority. As a result of their own planning, management and hard work, Hindu tribes in Baluchistan are prosperous and happy. Their honor and wealth is also secure. Still they bear every impression that they are miles away from ‘Proud to be Pakistanis’ and this is something more than a challenge for the Pakistani governments. Every patriotic Pakistani will yearn to see them in same high spirits that was the crown of every individual of every minority enjoying easy courageous approach for justice and solutions to their problems, to Muhammad (PBUH), the very rules of Islamic state of that time.
In Khyber Pakhtoon Khuwa, the status of Hindus is well established and they are bold enough to get the problems solved by representation. For example, Balmiki Tribe is in high spirits to approach the authorities for solution to their problems. Fortunately they are heard and helped.
Punjab has a very small populations of Hindus scattered in all the cities and towns. Their relations with the Muslims are reasonably cordial.
Maximum numbers of Hindus form part of population of Sindh province and they are the category of minority, who need best of care. It is extremely unfortunate that the terms ‘Scheduled Caste’, ‘Low Caste’ and ‘Untouchables’ could not be abolished during 65 years period of Islamic Jamhuriya Pakistan in which no such discrimination was the part of the ideals of the state. Governments must take steps for even treatment to all in matters of rights, legally and constitutionally abolishing the inhuman terms related to the sections of the minorities.
Vast majority of so called ‘Low Caste’ or ‘Scheduled Caste’ or ‘Untouchables’, almost lead a life of slaves and treated like animals. Nothing is secure for them. There are appalling incidents of dishonoring them at every level at the hand of people with properties and riches. This is absolutely like dishonoring the ideology of finding the state of Pakistan. It is like inviting the rhythm of Almighty with outgoing courage. If Muslims majority continues to overlook such hate worthy cruelty, the consequences will be highly destructive. What to talk of only few hundred thousands of minority people, an Islamic country can never tolerate disrespect and dishonor of one single citizen of minority.
Totally neglected sections of Hindus lead a pitiable life of dearth and discrimination which is extremely shameful for every Pakistani. Here is a list of inhuman treatments faced by these Hindus, especially in Sindh:-
1- Teachers’ and students’ mad behaviour against the children in the schools.
2- Separate utensils for them in restaurants. When they go for haircut the barbers do not attend them.
3- They lead highly depressed life. A citizen of any independent state just cannot tolerate the meek and timid impression on their faces in this advanced era.
4- They were badly affected by devastating flood of year 2011, but they have not been provided with any flood relief. They continue to face discriminatory behaviours in temporary camps. They have been deprived of Pakistan Card. They do posses self respect. They are Hindus but they are not beggars. As un-helped flood affected, they have been brought to a situation to beg for survival.
5- They have been subjected to forced unpaid labour for the landlords.
6- Persisting terms of ‘Scheduled Caste’, ‘Low Caste’, ‘Untouchables’, squeeze their lives at every step.
7- Investigations are needed to discover, whether or not they have been provided National Identity Cards, and whether or not they are allowed to vote.
Overall situation concerning these Hindus is highly insult some for every Pakistani, especially for every Muslim believing in the contents of the Holly Quran, that preaches even respect for every human being of every religion and belief.
Jamat-ud-Dawa provided some relief to these totally neglected sections of minorities. They were hugged and petted by the members of Dawa team. It is difficult to express the enthusiasm, relief and happiness that these neglected people felt and displayed. It was the feeling of Dawa members that they gave the indication as if for the first time in life somebody afforded them respect that they had never dreamed of.
The government of Pakistan must do everything possible to redress the problems of minorities. Minorities must live in an atmosphere of perfect confidence for security to their faith and worships, with chins up for a secure future in Pakistan. They will be attaining ambitions to serve the state with best of their efforts. Faithful to their various faiths and modes of worships, they will prove to be contributing sincerely for the country, because a citizen without sincerity in his faith can never be sincere to state. Religiously insincere and faithless persons are never honest to their parents and members of family as well.
Until we develop the personalities of the children of so called Low Caste Hindus exactly at par with the status and self confidence possessed by the children of any educated respectable family of the country, the minorities, especially Hindus will be considered to be absolutely neglected leading a life of worst shape of slavery, unknown to present days nations of the world. Achievements for this end will involve large scale scholarships with boarding the lodging facilities for children of these classes of Hindus for their education in schools and colleges in Karachi, Quetta, Khyber Pakhtoon Kkuwa, Lahore and Islamabad. These revolutionary steps must be taken at war basis, managing funds from philanthropists of Pakistan only. No foreign aid or subscription must be accepted as the beneficiaries are indigenous Pakistanis, whose self respect must not be hurt with any kind of foreign aid. During the whole process of such education and personality build up, care must be taken for religious worship of their children strictly according to their faith. They must be given free access to all the children of other religions. They must be provided with every facility for their participation in all categories of sports. Such efforts with sincerity and honesty are sure to have far reaching effects. Every discouragement during the process must be aggressively overcome. The efforts might provide incentive for India to take care of their suppressed and neglected classes of religious communities. On the other hand, we must manage jobs for adults of community under special arrangements as the depressed have been suffering for the last so many thousands of years.
We love children. Our own children share almost all of our resources. Dullet, Kohli, Magwar, Bheel, Udd, Bagri, Balmiki, etc, children of our country are as lovely, beautiful and charming as our own children. Prosperity and successful future is the right of all children of neglected minorities. We must provide them with attention that they deserve for all justifications. Let us start caring for them right from now onwards. This country will never prosper overlooking the prosperity and welfare of minorities.
When we had been eating our favorite pie, they have been suffering from hunger and dearth of everything in life. Neglecting their very existence during 65 years of Islamic Jamhuriya Pakistan is multiple times more condemnable than neglecting them for the last thousands of years. Believers of Muhammad (PBUH) and Quran are supposed to be far more sensitive for human respect as compared to any other school of thought. If we start giving them respect and regards right from now onwards, accountability for neglecting them during past 65 years will continue to stand. The insults and discriminations already suffered by them in Pakistan cannot stand apology for our past misbehaviour.
We have already invited fingers pointed at us. This is not India. This is Islamic Jamhuriya Pakistan, abode of justice to believers of all faiths.
Muslim gentlemen with sense of responsibility towards other human beings, are ashamed to be the citizens of Muslims majority country, where indigenous owners of the territory are termed to be Scheduled Caste, Low Caste and Untouchable.
August 5, 2012
To live and function among the company of engineers and staff of different nationalities was a beautiful experience, but first of my life. Engineers came from three nationalities or sectors i.e. Asia, Europe and Africa; extreme white, extreme black and the medium colored people of the world working together. So everybody enjoyed the company of others. In spare time we exchanged general knowledge with each other except for the Polish engineer, who was absorbed in his thoughts most of the time. He was, perhaps, absorbed in his own personal problems more than anything else. During that period Poland was a very poor country and even politically not very stable. Interference of Russian forces was another serious problem. Polish engineer’s family was in Poland and naturally he must be worried about their security during civil unrest. But he was a nice gentleman. Later when he was leaving for his country on the expiry of his contract, he had a long and very cordial sitting with me talking about his future programs in his home country. I would say that didn’t like him much before but I loved him at the time of his departure.
Complete cooking kit had been provided by the government including refrigerator. For the period during which the cook was on leave or absconded, we in groups cooked for ourselves turn by turn, keeping regard to the overall taste of the group as a whole. Abundant salad was consumed at meals times (Iraqis used to enjoy midway snacks, that is eating before of after lunch or dinner and it is common in Iraq, at least so far as the cities are concerned). In case there was no meat or vegetable dish, Samoon was eaten with salad. Rice used to be sure part of every meal. Except for Pakistanis, everybody liked tea without milk. Sometime later Pakistanis also became habitual to have tea without milk. I liked to take tea without milk. Meat and vegetable dish was extreme sour due to addition of a surplus quantity of tomatoes and tomato sauce, during the process of cooking. All Arabs like Yogurt very much, but only when it is extreme sour. Extremely sour yogurt is eaten that its flavour can be smelled from quite a distance. Onion is used mercilessly in all main and mini meals. The dish that I liked best was beef, mutton and chicken cooked only with oil, salt, onions and uncut lemons. I think it has a great diet value as also in so many ways beneficial for the body. This was the second item that I specially got prepared at home in Pakistan. Out of fruits orange was best liked by Arabs. They called it Purtgal. Local dates are also eaten for good taste. I was astonished to note that inspite of such a large local production, this fruit was at par in price with other local and imported fruits. Maybe they are consumed more then I could guess. Out of imported fruits were French and Turkish apples, Jordanian oranges and Somali bananas. Packed fruits in various forms including juices had a long list like the packed meat and other fruit items. On packs of frozen chicken I could read “Halaal according to Muslim faith”, but on pieces of beef I have not seen any such writing whereas, tons of it was consumed daily. I heard more careful Iraqi Muslims talking ill of it, calling it to be not Halaal.
Working hours were very comfortable or the Iraqis had made them so. The site of work was an hour drive away. Everybody observed no more than four hours of site work, including journey from and to residence. I felt it to be very unjustified. I made up my mind to work at least six hours daily in the field and I started doing that. To my amazement everybody disliked my working in the field for such long hours, not only the member surveyors but also the driver on duty with me and the local helpers. The driver and the helpers disliked working with me. At first I thought I am doing my duty in my own way, but the protest against me became stronger day by day. In the end they were forced to manage special squad and special driver (an army reserved) to be attached with me. So, ii gained my way to work at my own satisfaction for the job. Still that was not the end of the world. For me, seriously, it was just doing the needful. But for some of my companions, it was over doing. They gave indication of putting it in the line of “display merely to impress”. A Palestinian and two Egyptians secretly formed a group to prove that I was not competent to produce work. After a planning of days together, one fine day they came to me with news that job done by me was found to be wrong. I saw a great amount of satisfaction on the face of Palestinian and I myself was deeply shocked. In technical works, mistakes cannot be ruled out. I kept fighting with my own self for quite sometime. In my own mind I thought that I have been providing self checks due to which the chances of mistakes were eliminated. But on the whole I had been very much shaken and disturbed, thinking that although mistakes do happen but the two gentlemen were not pointing out the nature of the error for my future precautions. I felt that they have started a project of defame against me. There were so many Pakistani surveyors who had been taking instructions from me in Pakistan. What they should be thinking about me and my capabilities? I could very clearly see the calm on the face of Palestinian. He had a perfectly comfortable sleep that noon. Parties remained coming and going but I was not aware of anything else except my mistakes in work. In the afternoon, the same day everybody gathered for tea. They started the story of check to my job. Then a senior member of the team, also a Palestinian, started discussing the topic in a different way. He asked me that he wanted a deal with Mr. Falah (Egyptian) and myself. I asked him to explain himself a bit more. He said that he wanted to solve the problem by giving a check to my work with the electronic measurement machine. Proceeding ahead he said that if any work was found to be wrong, I shall be liable to pay such and such amount of money to the team for managing a party. On the other hand Mr. Falah (the person who located the mistake in my work) was found to be wrong, he will pay the same amount of money as a fine. I told the senior member that I do not have any objection in this way of checking and fine. At the same time Mr. Falah told everybody that he was not a party to such way of checking. The senior member Palestinian smiled and smiled and then laughed. He said that he had already given an electronic check to locate the mistake but Mr. Ashraf’s work found to be perfectly correct and had no mistake. He further said that Mr. Falah’s instruments of work were found to be defective and faulty.