Pakistan lost to India in Asia Cup T-20 match in Bangladesh last night (27 Feb 2016). Definitely India proved themselves as a better side and won the game. Afridi once again proved himself as a failure. Our ‘Chinese mobile’ once again ditched us at the time of need.
For last five years I have been unable to digest that why Shahid Afridi is still part of Pakistani Cricket Team. This man has given some good performances definitely in the past but it doesn’t mean that he has got the rights of playing forever in spite of his worst performance.
If he has got right to play for the country despite his continuous failures then why were many capable players removed from the squad on just one or two bad performances? Then Salim Yousaf, Muhamamd Yousaf, Ejaz Ahmed, Aqib Javed, Shoaib Akhtar, Imran Nazeer, Yasir Arfat and many others deserved playing more for the Pakistani side.
In fact Mr. Afridi has got some links with the culprit officials in Pakistan Cricket Board who always keep him in the team. These culprits have nothing to do with our country’s respect and pride. They damn care about people’s feelings and keep Afridi in the squad without any justification. We demand that this person must be kicked out from the team immediately without any second thought. He always brings disappointment, embarrassment and humiliation for the nation.
Year 2016 has finally brought some success and achievements for me….. I went through very tough phase in my personal and family life in the recent years. After the unfortunate death of my beloved younger brother Majid in 2009 I, in spite of my best efforts, couldn’t focus on my music. Not even a single composition I made after his demise.
In January 2016 however I decided to produce something that could help me in returning back to music and the normal life. I had written and composed a beautiful Urdu song “Jaan-e-Jaan” (جانِ جاں) in 2006, which I always wanted to record. I worked on the song and improved lyrics. Then I contacted Hasan Turk in Lahore, who is the real music maestro, for arranging the music for my composition. Hasan did a great job and gave beautiful colour to my creation. I then recorded the vocals on the track in Sydney at Swish Factorie studio. My young friend Shayan halped me in recording the vocals which was a real tough job for me. Later Hasan Turk mixed and mastered the song. I am highly obliged to Hasan, Shayan and Aaron (Swish Factorie) for turning my dream into reality and providing great assistance in creating a masterpiece. Song has got great appreciation from the friends and music critics.
I would like to say that I am not a singer at all. It was my first ever chance of recording a song as a singer. There may be some flaws in my vocals but I am determined that if I continue singing I would improve my singing skills with the time. I am highly thankful to Allah Who gave me an opportunity to do some creative work after a long time. I am also very much obliged to all those who supported and appreciated me. Criticism is always welcome and it helps me in improving.
Soon we will be working on the video of this song. Keep your fingers crossed!
Mobeen Butt (late) with his younger son Haroon
Since my early youth I have been watching Pakistani stage dramas live in Lahore, and on CDs. Pakistan has got the best comedy artists that include late Moin Akhtar, late Albela, Omar Sharif, Iftikhar Thakur, Muhammad Ali Mir, Shakeel Siddiqui, Sohail Ahmed, Nasim Vicky, Honey Albela, Saleem Albela and Sakhawat Naz. No doubt that all of them are gems of comedy and no Indian artist can compete with them in comedy and mimicry.
However there is one name that can be declared simply as the king of comedy and mimicry. Aman Ullah is the recognition of Pakistan. Wherever in the world people live who understand Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi, are his big fans. His dramas and programmes are watched everywhere. These days he appears on the Dunya TV show Mazaaq Raat, where he with his fellow comedians Iftikhar Thakur, Jawad Waseem and Sakhawat Naz, participates in social and political discussions and spreads smile on the faces of audiences.
Aman Ullah’s observation is just remarkable. The way he mimics lower, middle and upper classes, is highly commendable. His sense of humour is amazing and he sometimes really touches your heart with his though provoking sentences and judgements. In addition to this he has a great knowledge about the legendary artists like late Mehdi Hasan Khan, Madam Noorjehan, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and many others. Aman Ullah has a very good control over the tone and pitch of his voice, and sometimes when he sings in the programme on request, his vocals are just amazing.
Pakistani nation is very lucky that we have got such an amazing and highly talented artist who always has brought respect and recognition for our beloved country.
I feel sorry to say that Bangladesh has become the worst Islamic country. Current government lead by the female Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has set new records of inhumanity and brutality. They have started killing elderly members of opposition parties Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Nationalist Party without meeting the legal requirements and carrying out due investigation. Recently they have hanged two very old men just because they were not in the favour of getting independence from Pakistan in 1971. Their names are Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid and Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury. Both of them were aged persons and were spending their last few years of life.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has always been sparking hatred against Pakistan through her silly comments. In 1999 when Pakistan lost a one day cricket match against the Banali side in the World Cup, which helped getting them test playing status, Hasina said that it was a revenge of 1971 war crimes. On the other side Pakistani skipper at that time legendary Waseem Akram showed happiness on another Islamic country getting the status.
In fact Bangladesh is being controlled by the enemies of Pakistan. Current Indian government lead by Prime Minister Modi has strong influence on the Bangali government. Same time Muslims in India are facing state sponsored discrimination. Both Indian and Bangladeshi governments must realise that such moves of hatred will result in unrest and they can expect a strong reaction from the religious extremist groups who can start terror attacks there.
On the other hand I feel that Pakistani government should immediately quit all diplomatic ties with Bangladesh as this country has always taken us as their enemy in spite of that fact that our soldiers were martyred there with the cooperation of Indian army. We need to stand up as a united nation against this state sponsored brutality.
I visited USA in the first fortnight of November 2015. When I got my Australian citizenship in June this year I planned to celebrate it by visiting great places. First I spent two beautiful days in Australian entertainment capital Gold Coast in July. Then I visited Auckland, New Zealand in October. My parents also accompanied me during this three day tour which was a memorable one.
On 6th of November I left for New York by a Qantas airline flight. During my stay there I was asked by many of my friends to compare the New York lifestyle with that of Lahore, Karachi and Sydney. I however replied that I would like to compare NYC with Sydney as it can’t be compared with Lahore or Karachi. It doesn’t mean that Lahore and Karachi are not good cities, but the reason why I can’t compare NYC with them will elaborate itself in the following paragraphs.
- Roads, rails and transport
Roads in both cities are generally good. However in New York there are lot more bridges, intersections and flyovers than those in Sydney. In all over USA you will find distances measured and written in miles rather than kilometres. However one thing that bothered me during my driving was the lack of speed limit signs in NYC, whereas in Sydney we see them quite often. In Australia we drive right hand cars on the left side while in the USA they drive left hand cars on the right side. Traffic rules are almost the same.
NYC has a much bigger metro train network as compared with the Sydney’s one. Trains in NYC are extra-long and have single deck. Many lines run parallel to each other and there are too many junctions. Even in Manhattan (NYC business and financial hub) there are countless stations. Sydney has a smaller train network but Sydney has much better double decker trains. NYC subway stations are not very good and present a poor impression whereas Sydney train stations are much cleaner.
Taxis in NYC are quite cheaper than those in Sydney. Uber is legal in USA and Uber drivers display a ‘U’ sign on their front screen to identify themselves. NYC also has a large number of private companies who have Lexus and other high brand cars which they rent out with their own drivers. They charge very reasonable fixed amounts for them.
- Manhattan Vs Sydney City
This is the main difference between these great cities. Manhattan is perhaps the biggest central business district (CBD) in the world. It has countless number of high rise buildings and departmental stores. Many head offices, branded stores and attractions are located there. Manhattan is divided in three areas, i.e. Uptown, Midtown and Downtown. Times Square is the heart of Manhattan. You can check it on YouTube. Sydney CBD is at least quarter of the Manhattan in area.
- Shopping and cost of living
USA as a whole is much cheaper for shopping especially if you are a traveller from Australia. Branded clothes are available at very good prices and you will find a very good variety there. House rents are almost the same. Sydney suburbs are much cleaner than the New York City neighbourhoods. Fuel prices are good in the USA and remain constant. Train fares are also cheaper in NYC and you pay fixed US$2.75 per journey regardless of the length of journey.
- Dining and Grocery stores
In New York I could not find a single fast food chain that serves halal food. Whereas in Sydney Nando’s and Oporto serve halal chicken. We also have many halal branches of KFC, McDonalds and Hungry Jack’s (Burger King brand name in Australia) in Sydney. In Manhattan however you will find many carts serving halal food. There is no cart culture in Sydney and in CBD halal food is not available easily.
In USA offering tip to the waiters and taxi drivers is a culture whereas in Australia there is no such culture. In Sydney we have a very large number of grocery supermarket stores managed by Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. In New York there are few stores managed by Safeway, Vons, Ralph, Food 4 Less and Aldi. Due to this small grocery stores are found in abundance.
Soft drink became Soda water in the USA. There is free refill on every McDonalds there. Coffee at the McDonalds is priced US$ 1 regardless of the size. Coffee cups at the cafes have a bigger size in USA.
7-Eleven have different types of coffees in both countries. In Australia you get coffee from machine, whereas in USA coffees at 7-Eleven are placed in containers that include Hazelnut, Vanilla and Caramel Lattes, and you have a large variety of different creams to mix.
- Lifestyle and culture
I liked NYC because markets and stores remain open till late there and families hang out till late on the weekends. In trains you will see African boys showing dances and difficult acrobatic tricks on fast music. They of course demand tip at the end. However undercover Police arrest them if they are patrolling on the train. Sydney in comparison is a quieter city for the families and after 5:00 pm there is no activity for them except dining out. Shops and stores keep open till 9:00 pm only on Thursday nights. Another thing that I noticed in NYC was the large number of Jewish community members. You will especially notice them on trains, and in Manhattan. In Sydney Jewish people mostly live near Bondi beach.
A last but not the least difference is the English accent. American accent is very different from the Australian one. They don’t twist the words like us and there is no ‘mate’ there. 🙂
Edhi family brought respect for Pakistan once again…. This time they helped a deaf and dumb Indian woman Geeta, who accidentally crossed over to Pakistan about 13 years ago. She was about 11 when she was found sitting alone on a train by Pakistan Rangers at the Lahore railway station. Since then she has been staying at Edhi Centre in Karachi.
In the recent weeks Indian government and their extremist Hindu citizens have shown ugly attitude towards the Indian Muslims, and the visiting Pakistani Cricket officials and stage drama artists. Members of Shiv Sina attacked the meeting venue of PCB and BCCI and asked Indian officials to announce that India would not play Cricket with Pakistan. Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) associated the much awaited Pak-India Cricket series with the dialogue between both Governments. Similarly Shiv Sina mob attacked a stage drama being played by Lahore based artists. Organisers hardly controlled them and continued the session.
A Pakistani author Kinza Jawed has been denied Indian visa who applied for the same for attending a literary festival. In another incident Shiv Sina put black ink on the face of an Indian organiser who had arranged book launching ceremony of Mahmood Qasoori there. On this even a large number of Hindu journalist returned their awards to the government.
In this difficult and hate-filled environment Abdul Sattar Edhi and his family once again won hearts of every Indian by protecting their daughter and taking her back to her motherland. I wish Indian prime minister Mr. Narindra Modi can open his eyes and see that how much positive Pakistani people are who are promoting love and peace with their actions.
We salute Edhi Welfare Organisation on promoting Pakistan’s image allover the world.
Pakistan government has established a foreign diplomatic office in Sydney which provides consular services to the Pakistani citizens residing in Sydney and other cities of Australia. About a fortnight ago an incident took place in this office which brought it under fire. A dual national Pakistani visited the office for applying for the Pakistani visa as his Pakistani passport was expired. Staff asked him to provide the photocopies of some of his documents. When he returned back after getting the copies he was asked to stay back in the queue once again. When he approached the counter finally the officer attending him took a personal telephone call on his mobile and started talking for long. This made the visitor angry as he had got too much late. Both had some unpleasant argument.
Applicant later approached the Consul General (CG) and gave his feedback. Mr. Uqaili assured him to provide his assistance and also committed that he would be granted the visa very soon. However the female Consular intervened and pumped the CG that he must not approve the visa. On this the office held the passport and after few days they wrote with pen the words ‘visa refused’ on his Australian passport.
Gentleman took very strong action against this poor performance and made a video with his mobile camera. He uploaded the video on social media in which he is seemed exposing the negative role of the Consulate General staff in Sydney. Pakistani community in Australia, especially in Sydney has taken serious notice of this incident and they are demanding that CG Mr. Uqaili must take strong measures to help the affected person and improve the working conditions so that the expatriate Pakistanis could get quality service from this foreign office.
In my opinion, whatever the matter is, writing ‘VISA REFUSED’ with a pen on a foreign passport shows personal grudge of the staff at the Sydney diplomatic office. I also have strong objection on the provision of very expensive accommodations to the staff here. Even highly successful Pakistani professionals in Australia cannot afford to live in such lavish houses and areas where Pakistani foreign services officials live.
Pakistani community has demanded that office hours of the Consulate General must be extended so that the community members could get their issues resolved conveniently. They are also demanding that the office must be moved from Martin Place Sydney to a cheaper and easily approachable suburb like Lakemba, Auburn or Parramatta where most of the Pakistani community members live.
Arshad Saeed is a Sydney based Pakistani poet, who is very well known among the Pakistani based literary community in Australia. He has recently published his first book of Urdu poetry titled as “Hudood-e-shaam se aagay” which in English means “Beyond the limits of evening”. All the ghazals and poems are wonderful that do not let the reader go away by putting the book aside. Arshad is one of the finest persons I have ever met in my life. He knows to acknowledge his friends and I always have found him as a very sincere friend. In his book launching ceremony on 16th of August 2015, he especially invited me for which I feel honoured. Literary people like Izhar Ul Haq, Ashraf Shad, Arif Rana, Muhammad Ali and others had gathered to join him at this great occasion. They recited different poems and lines from his book and the audience appreciated Arshad’s literary work with huge rounds of applause. I take this opportunity to greet Arshad on this achievement. Since the launch of this book I have been reading it regularly, and every time I read it I enjoy more. My best wishes are for Arshad and his loving family. I will be looking forward to see him reciting his kalaam soon at some mushaira.