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It has been a bitter-sweet week.

It started with Asad Umar’s startling decision to leave Engro Corporation and join PTI.

Ever since, I started working in Pakistan I have followed Asad Umar- the CEO who gave the word dynamic a Pakistani dimension by taking Engro Corporations to heights unknown to Pakistani companies. He came across as a true visionary- a person whose speeches inspired actions.

Recently his writings and speeches reflected a dilemma – it was evident he was looking for frontiers beyond Engro.  Reading and watching his thoughts; I wondered whether he aimed to be a politician.

I have to confess I never thought he would join politics. I am one of those many highly educated middle class professionals who do exceptional things that make them believe that what we they are doing is making a gigantic difference to Pakistan. No one deserves our vote because no one thinks as imaginatively and passionately as we do for Pakistan. Recently we have found a hope in Imran Khan and proudly declare we will vote for him, be his party members by sending SMS, follow him on social media  but nothing beyond it – politics are not for spotlessly clean people like us.

To me Asad Umar was one of us – the tribe leader. His announcement to abandon the tribe left me pathetically stunned. How could he desert us? Was he not making a difference by talking at conferences, writing pieces and doing his bit with Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives at Engro? He was.

Hmmm… ….. .do individuals make differences or do institutions make differences? Does individual excellence change national destiny or do individuals coming together as a nation change national destiny?

I do not know but somehow I feel like saying Asad Umar- well done!

Well done Imran Khan too on leading the incredible public gathering in the naturally mesmerizing city of Quetta. Pakistan stood tall on that rainy day in Quetta.

I could have watched your speech, the enthusiasm, the energy for hours on end but alas – as typical of life as a Pakistani.

Moments of happiness were crashed by the devastating Bhoja airline crash and the subsequent shocking reporting of the crash. Imran Khan – as you said it was a bitter sweet day – from the joyful public rally to the sorrowful public outpouring of intense grief.

I sat dumbfounded knowing fully well tomorrow will be another day –Pakistanis would bounce back once again and they did. A dear highly accomplished friend of mine (whom I know will prefer to remain anonymous) called to say she is moving from Lahore to Swat to set up a school for under privileged children.

Incredible for a lone woman to think of living in Swat but she is keen to do it.

People like her need to go Asad Umar way- think big- make Pakistan big in my lifetime Insha’Allah!

As for me- prefer to blog- it is making a difference? Hits are increasing!




May Cricket Win!

You know you are not happy. You know things can be different. You want to change things but you cannot. You can either accept things beyond your control and act as if nothing has happened or you can resent the situation. If you resent you become angry frustrated person. If you accept the situation you live with a smile.

Behind that deceptive smile is an internal agitation,resentment,anger that you suppress by laughing appearing brave. There are many un-shed tears that over a period of time can be lethal but you want to show the world nothing has happened.

Then one day the situation changes and takes a turn for the positive. What you wanted happens. Tears flow down your cheeks. World thinks those are tears of joys but you know those are the hidden tears- as they flow you realise in acting brave you have caused yourself some pain.

Maybe you would have been better off being an angry person but no- you were the optimist your optimism was source of hope and maybe the reason for change. You thank the change agent with words that you struggle to find just like I do not have the words to thank Bangladesh cricket team for agreeing to visit Pakistan.

Bangladesh – do you know all these years when no one wanted to visit us I pretended we were better off without any cricket in my country. But every time I passed the cricket stadium something within me died. I did not want to accept it.

But I found myself questioning whether one of the harshest punishment suffered by Pakistanis has been the international cricket ban.

Memories would come flooding when Pakistanis cheered Indian victory on their soil, applauded Sri Lanka as the world champion, sympathised the beginning of the decline of West Indies, gracefully accepted the victory of Australia in the World Cup semi final of 87. By all means what happened to the Sri Lankan team was to be condemned but maybe the punishment has been too long and harsh.

But now it is all past. One must not remember the past except to learn from its mistakes when the opportunity to positively change the past is given.

It is time to welcome the Bangladesh cricket team, to cheer them and us, for new records to be made. Importantly hopefully as always it may be cricket that would help Pakistan come out of its isolation and how fantastically fabulous it is that Bangladesh is the country supporting Pakistan to do so and that also in Pakistan’s beloved city of Lahore.

Lahore-this is your chance to show your historical hospitality and contemporary enlightenment. Celebrate cricket!

I know you will do it pity I will not be there to see a dream come true. To see the passion of Pakistanis return to the passionate city of Lahore.

May the best side win but more importantly may cricket win!




Will You Please?

Your determination is inspiring. Odes can be written on your resilience.

You are an embodiment of persistence in the face of aggression and suppression. Where many would have surrendered, you stuck to your principles.

You remind me of someone who was once my ideal – a young girl who braved deaths, exiles and imprisonments with a smile. The one who when she spoke would ignite dreams, one who when she waved at crowds could wave off their nightmares of suffering. The one who when she smiled would make us laugh just because her sincere warm smile made us believe in her resolve to change our destiny. When she hugged people, cried with them, consoled them, motivated them I would think she is the messiah!

As a twelve year old, I saw her shake the foundations of dictatorship by amassing a crowd of millions in my beloved Lahore. I had never seen democracy before that day. I did not know what democracy was. She taught a child the meaning of democracy. She made me dream of democracy and revolution. She made me fall in love with the poetry of Habib Jalib and Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

My elders said a product of feudalism cannot bring democracy but there was something in her youthful charisma and passion that made me believes in her resolve to change our fortunes.

I still recall the day when dressed in green she took the oath. How earnestly beautiful she was? How a nation had danced with dreams in eyes? How great it was being a Pakistani? She was our pride. We had shown the world we can also be democratic.

Recalling those days bring tears – of joy turned tragically sour?

If she gave me hope she taught me what is daunting despair. If she made me believe in democracy she made me wish for dictatorship too. If she taught me how national interest is far above personal interests she showed me how personal interests can ruin every national interests. If she made me dream me of power of vote she is the reason I have never voted.

She was so full of contradictions that she left a nation confused, contradicted and defeated. No wonder the nation reacted to her death by not silently but violently mourning. Was this a befitting tribute to a leader who had every chance to give her nation a perpetual peace and prosperity? Was the nation in her death telling her looted and robbed we feel – thus we resort to it?

The say bury the dead with their deeds.

Benazir Bhutto- I have tried to do it but failed. How do I bury you with your deeds when your deeds continue to affect national destiny and that too not positively?

Why did you not live up to my country’s hopes? Why did you deceive us?

Aung San Suu Kyi- your determined exuberance, your compassion for your people, your story of triumph of resolution reminds me of the young Benazir Bhutto who I thought cared for people.

Unlike her, let your triumph be your people triumph, let your decisions and actions be dictated by people’s will. Let national interest be paramount and your only genuine concern.

Let Burma not become Pakistan. Let your people not be as disillusioned and despaired as we are.

Do not test their resilience as hard as ours have been.

Let me live and die thinking democracy is a fairy tale – not a horror movie!

Will you please?