Pakistan Visit, 2017 

                                                          From diaries of an expat

After living about Nine years abroad, I recently finished yet another annual visit to Pakistan and as usual it left many impressions.

Meeting a Stranger, route to Karachi
I landed in Lahore from Doha and right away my next destination was Sargodha. In Daewoo Bus, a man sitting next to me gave me his British visa rejection letter (written in English) to tell him translation. The main highlights of that letter were:

• The man was declared a Lawyer with a certain monthly income in his visa application but his bank account transactions record was a bit suspicious for British embassy.
• British embassy was doubtful about how he would mange his living during his stay and showed their concern that he would slip inside UK as illegal immigrant.
• Any future visa application with similar application was most likely to be rejected.

I explained him about the idea of letter and he nodded his head in reply. He was termed Lawyer in the letter, so l was thinking why a qualified person would ask anyone for translation of a letter. Soon I found out that the document processor only showed him as lawyer which he was not in reality. By conversation I found out that, he was Desperate to get out of country by hook or by crook. He gave examples of his brother and other acquaintances who made impressive progress after getting abroad. I said “ What wonders a person would do abroad if he could not anything here in Pakistan”. He replied “A man would do anything abroad, we all have dreams for our children”. He was repeating that “There must be some wisdom from Allah(S.W.T) and I will find my way outside as I am trying my best” but the amazing aspect was that he was not concerned about the deception/fudging in papers at all. To avoid guilt afterwards, I conveyed the importance of avoiding foul play but with very less use. Fraud and Tawakkul side by side, Ahhh. He went on his own way and me on my own at the Bus station…

From Sargodha, I went to Faisalabad for a 1 day brief stay. I found unusual support for the ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif who was on roads during that time. I was so surprised to see a complete difference in opinion where all issues related to him & his rally were somehow given favored shape by his supporters.

I had booked my tickets via Pakistan railways mobile application few weeks back, a good facility for train travelers. Journey from Faisalabad to Karachi through Karakoram Express was as smooth as a whistle. Hat’s off to railways management, keep doing good work.

Winning a Lucky Draw
Only after few days of stay in Karachi I received a phone call in which a person verified me my full name with NIC and mobile number and gave me good news of winning a Toyota 2017 GLi model. This was due to purchase of Sundar foods item during last year and filling a lucky draw form, back of the mind I was thinking I never filled such form. Anyhow, he further explained their presence in Pakistan forwarded me an sms asking to contact their manager within 3 days to claim my car. I never contacted them and they never came back thereafter. Why an Organization giving away such an expansive prize was unable to deliver it at my doorstep, a definite scam attempt spot-on exactly during my Pakistan visit.

Karachi, city of Garbage

garbage

City of lights is now city of Garbage. I was most of time roaming around in Landhi-Korangi area. Most roads and streets were flooded with Sewage water, which become worst during raintimes; everywhere on the outskirts, garbage was present.  The shortest journey of 1.5 kms from my home to Babaer market was occupied with two dangerous ditches filled with sewerage water, vehicles had to slow down and proceed through the notched area and Motorcyclists were almost sure to get some dirt on their clothes.

Me and my wife somehow managed to survive and  passed through reasonable health condition but Kids were severely effected due to all the filth around. I had to make at least 10 visits to nearby Awadh Hospital. Awadh’s staff was also amazed at our situation and frequent visits/issues.

System is not working I Karachi. Governments sweepers and Garbage is scarce. Most areas are having privately managed garbage pickers. Even they get absent very often stopped by Party walay. What would Kachra Politics give to smart politicians?? ”Party Walay and Establishment” are two strange terms I am unable to fully understand since my childhood.

Heavy Rainfalls

rainfall

I saw perhaps the biggest Lightening and Thunderstorm during this visit. It was a contrast situation when it was raining. The residents of new houses were enjoying inside their cozy setups while the inmates of low levels houses were throwing water out with the help of buckets. There was no issues inside my new house but this difference of situation hit me quite deep down as I recalled my school days when me and my family had to do the same to throw water out of our home to save out appliances and other households. Above all cruel realities, innocent children were running from here to there in the street making a lot of fun and enjoying the rain time.

A night before EID when it was last heaviest rainfall of the stretch, I was in the Babar market for monthly shopping with family. It started raining when we were in the middle of the market. As we made our way out, water was flowing like a river. No Rickshaw or Taxi was ready to drop us, there were dozens people sorting out how to escape this situation. At last, I decided to move on my bike. I was quite confident on my Super Power 70 CC bike which once saved my in a similar situation from Defence to Landhi; but that time I was alone…I managed to start my bike but biggest problem was ponded water on road under which the uneven road and open manholes were hidden and you never knew what’s going to happened next. I switched ON all of my senses and followed the wheel path of vehicles ahead of me. Occasional thunder , heavy rain, haphazard traffic, wife and 2 kids doing their own things and above all all unseen and unexpected hazards ahead; it was one of scariest ride. At last we reached our home crossing all dangerous waters and/or rain mixed with sewage water with a fear factor of some broken live electricity wire…

K-Electric
In our area, scheduled load shedding is being practiced but during my visit K-electric showed all its hidden talent to us. Some days were normal load shedding, some days unexpected breakdown. A day was amazingly free of load shedding. There were shocks of 2-3 brief switch-offs on Eid’s 2nd day. Our old house which is vacant these days was labeled as “ Kunda Use along meter” on the Bill and I cannot explain amount of pain felt due to this thing as we have never done such a thing. Whose problem is to make fully recovery and avoid losses? What about those honest users who never steal electricity but face load shedding due to losses in their area? Such discriminant behavior must end soon!

Qurbani
I decided to only go to Mandi one day before EID and so was materialized when we moved from our home to Bhains Colony for Jaanwar Purchase. We were 7 people and got onto a messed up open to sky Suzuki. Cloudy weather and uneven roads made it like an adventurous Safari ride. Market rates were down due to rainfalls and we manged to purchase escape goats on reasonable prices. Qurbani was smooth, we cousins and family did justice with numerous goats on the day upto 2:00 pm before getting too tired. Area was free from any fear of snatching animal skin. Relevant people were gathering remains of animals. The painful thing was to do Qurbani in between sewage waters as gutters were overflowing everywhere. Young boys spent a lot of time in visiting Mandi, puchasing animals and taking care of them right till the end. They had to provide security Guard services too for the animals at night.

Government must make big slaughter houses to avoid hygienic issues emerging after the Qurbani. The Festivity, activities and mess Qurbani practiced in Pakistan is perhaps the one of its kind in the whole world. You can not imagine anyone doing private Qurbani at their homes elsewhere…

End of Trip
On last day, we attended a decent ceremony of Bismillah and Ameen of kids arranged by our cousin and his family. Similar to all passed years, I was once again saying good bye to loved ones with some cheerful memories sensing some unsaid words in their eyes, leaving some undone tasks; leaving my beloved country…

Whether I am back to reality or have I left reality; I do not know at this stage. Pakistan Zindabad, Hamehsa!

Note:

Article No:59

This Blog has also been published at following links:

https://www.pakpositive.com/pakistanibloggers/impressions-of-visiting-pakistan-after-9-years-abroad-t2222.html

http://www.zemtv.com/2017/09/20/pakistan-visit-2017/
 

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“TIP” that sinks the Ship! #55

“Despite of doing justice with work &caring for quality of service,often certain workers solely work for fetching extra money from clients”… 

There is trend in Qatar for giving away amounts of money to people involved with low paid jobs like taxi drivers,waiters, cleaners and barbers etc at the end of receiving their service. Usually these people do not ask their clients; they provide adequate service and its up to the customer to either give something additional or just go away.I have bad experienceat Barber shops where there is visible pressure of giving some TIP amount. After hair cutting or shave, they start to give un-necessary elongated final touches and also starts massage without asking. The customer usually getscompelled with this and gives some TIP thereafter. After roaming around and seeing lot of disturbing people, I settled with one barber who had just one bad habit i.e rather than deducting amount as per charge rate; he used to return change for the money note given by the customer asking them to give amount oftheir own will. Anyhow, I managed togo along with him after taking promise that he will deduct exact price of service and giving TIP would solely be on my discretion and I just forbid them to carry out massage after hair cut…

In 2014, we found a very gentle and seemingly holy lift operator on the Lahore Airport who started giving a lot of prayers and well wishes to me and my family. His style & voice were so touching and it seemed that his prayers were something special of us; I peculiarly gave him Rs.100. “What a nice man, I feel personally connected with him” I told my wife. Interesting after having lunchwe were returning close to the same lift again when we saw that same man blessing another family in a similar tone and affection. “Ahh so this was a professional thing not anything personal” we thought!

A recent journey enticed me to write this article. I had a chance of extensive traveling from Qatar to Pakistan and then back within about 30 hours and observed many faces of this forced TIP thing. Airport taxi service was having a tight schedule the day I reached Karachi and I had to take a yellow cab who overcharged by taking Rs. 950 and I had to go in a very bad conditioned taxi; so there was no question of any TIP. On the same day I went to Lahore and took a taxi from airport to Daewoo Bus stop. Driver was a sleepy,fat,seemingly lazy but witty character who recounted types of services he could provide including private travel between the cities of Punjab. At the end of journey, further to telling Rs100 extra (which ultimately was rectified by me) with respect to mileage he refused to accept Rs.50 TIP, he insisted on Rs.100 as according to him was a usual and must thing. I somehow managed to get rid of him giving away Rs.100.I had around 1 hour of waiting time at Daewoo stop’s waiting area; whenI used washroom, cleaner there was doing the similar duty i.e. offering toprovide special care to customers enticing for as much TIP as possibleAs I left washroom/ablution place, he presented Tissue Paper box like waiter style and honored me with a attentive army styled salute and obtained well deserved Rs.20. Daewoo travel from Lahore to Sargodha was a great one indeed commanded by a fine hostess who was in total control of proceedings and carried out a wonderful jobI specially thanked her for great effort. I again had to travel back within 2 hours but performance of  the hostess this time was nowhere near to the former one. “Doing justice with your duty is really scarce” I thought! Then I went to Lahore airport for finally traveling to Doha-Qatar; 2 converse examples were waiting for me there. After our baggage screening, while we went to the officer doing baggage inquiry. He asked about amount of money we had in our pockets to keep by Pakistani rule of maximum amount of money while on the move. “ I hardly have Rs. 1000-1200 and wife likewise”. “Alright open thatbag” he asked and while I was about to bring my bag he said “Why would you take so much headache,leave it Sir jee give us Rs.400-500 and go ahead”. This was something unexpected for me but I insisted to him to do his work and said” I am already short of cash and can not give you money”. “Alright then open your bag” he remarked and as I carried my bag down, he left us without checking. As we moved towards the Check-in counter, my wife saw him doing similar things with other customers as well. Authorities must check such black sheeps who do not obey their duties and leave the baggage without checking for Rs. 500 only or so. We can very well judge the opposite situation at foreign good airports where they treat families as preference and do not keep an eye on their pockets like this. Thereafter, when we went to the Polio Vaccination counter, we found a very nicely behaved gentleman who gave me a good advice as per his past experience to make vaccination certificate for myself despite of not staying for a month or more in Pakistan.

As per my experience/understanding, people would still continue giveaways to people involved with such jobs as we have majority of kind hearted customers understanding financial constraints involved with low-paid class. But having such behavior of fetching maximum out of the customer’s pocket and treating client as per expected amount of TIP wastes whole effort and ultimately loose goodwill of clients. Instead of pleasing the customer, such people become a headache for them and ultimately earning disrespect for their profession.

One of the main thing to curtail such behavior is that companies should take care of their employees maintaining rational wage standards and government must also take some measures to flourish balance in society. Various job related training programs can be arranged and moral training for on job behavior should be arranged for a pleasant dealing with customers. A well trained individual deserves to charge as per his/her standard and would certainly not be interested to pump extra payment. People complaining about bad reputation of particular professions should take a note of such teasing behavior which infiltrates earnings with dubiety.  

Article No. 55:

This article has been published at following:

http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/blogs/tip-sinks-ship/

Special cases need special attention! #51

image

Last year on 18th September 2015, my sister in Law gave birth to quintuplets(5 kids at once including 3 boys and 2 girls) in C.M.H. Sialkot-Pakistan and this news was catched by almost each news channel. The family tried to keep this news as secret but the media somehow came to know about it and almost forcefully reported this as special news story of the day. News reporters were so desperate to win the breaking news race that some news channels reported false facts and figures. For example, a news channel reported 3 girls and 2 boys but in fact they were 3 boys and 2 Girls. They named childern’s father as Atif whereas his name was Asif. They reported that father of these babies was residing in Qatar but in reality he was living in Greece.One channel even promised that they will give special gift for these children but that promise was never honored.

The whole family was so happy but as the news spread around via TV, situation was somewhat difficult to handle. Few “Bay Awlaad” random people approached  this family and requested to give away 1 baby to them. An awkward scenario was created and was difficult to avoid.

Practically speaking, having 5 kids at once can shake budget of any typical family. And the same happened with this family as well; anyhow few family individuals came up to the cause and provided their best support realizing their responsibility towards this unusual situation. Soon-after one baby boy out of 5 passed away; now 2 kids are with their mother while 2 are being raised at maternal grandmother’s home.Worthy to mention, the baby boys have lately gone through eyes treatment due to ailment. While observing the whole episode; it was so painful to see the role of media and society as a whole who took it as a juicy news story but no one thinking as to what would happen thereafter? Nobody came forward to support this blessed family.

I have a very firm belief that special children and other special cases like the one discussed above arise due  to definite reasons; as exam for normal blessed human beings like most of us. Nature tests us to how we respond to the call of duty. How well we accommodate special cases within our society. We should play best possible role within our domains so that nobody feels lonely or dejected in this world.
Surprisingly,there have been quite a few cases of multiple child births lately in Pakistan. Government, news channels and related child products companies(making diapers,clothing,toys and Milk etc) should take initiative to provide support for at-least 2-3 years as a good will gesture. Providing few hundred thousands to people in need is like peanuts in comparison to huge amounts spent on advertisements. Later, they can add this work under their publicity campaigns which would certainly encourage others to get their act together for serving society at large. Such social issue does have an opportunity of community service and well being.

Particularly speaking regarding the news channels, I strongly feel that some boundaries need to be established as regards to respecting privacy of people. Big question is that “Is just reporting a story enough or do we need to go an extra mile to issues related with a particular story?”. Media may appeal and direct suggested measures/steps to related authorities and individuals.A grand review/followup TV program could be arranged at the end of month to review status of news reported in passed month. As an practicing Engineer, whenever we highlight any issues on our project, we always come up with probable solution or options of resolution. This must be trait in all other trades as well. Why can not our media adopt similar practice?

Apart from our professional routine life roles, we have a greater part to play towards the community; and you would definitely feel on a much higher ground after considering above suggestions affirmatively.

Article No.51

Please note thus article has been published on 11th June,2016 at following links:

Special cases need special attention

Special Cases need Special attention!

JIGAR KHAMOSH HOGAYA… #48

Jigar

Aslam was a loud and shout boy during our academic days; he was always participating during the lectures. Some people thought that “He is trying to become one and only of the class”. Slowly and gradually, he made a huge circle of friends and adopted few new habits like smoking. We then realized that he was a very social person and our initial perspective for him was not that right. Later, as his ship of friendship got too much occupied, he stopped participating in the class. He was known everywhere having good Salam Dua with everyone in a short time and people started to call him Aslam Jigar. How he manages such a huge circle of friends? We often thought this…

I discovered his various characteristics with the passage of time. Soon, I developed a strong feeling that apparently lively and socialized Jigar is somewhere empty inside his heart. Aaah!

As life moved foreword and Social media became an integral element of our lives; Aslam carried same Jigar type passion forward into the online world.  He was out there in most of the friends circle related discussions; intense presence in the outings and gatherings snaps. But at times, I felt that he had become an object of humor and absurdity where each comment relating to him was made in a casual manner. Serious and considerate attitude was scarcely found regarding Aslam Jigar. Main question for any sane person studying Aslam was that; ‘Will all this continue for the rest of the life?’

And while switching gears of his career path; Aslam curtailed his social circle rather quickly. He was just vanished from the social media and also from all discussion forums. This whole change in attitude was really indigestible for me. Every now and then someone inside me asked me “Jigar ko kiya hogaya hai, why is he not vocal anymore?” I tried to express this feeling with some related people but got rather casual replies.

I personally felt that lack of proper care and concern from others forced Aslam to eradicate Jigar from his persona. Everybody else was progressing well in their careers with very smart planning; I was doubtful anybody bothered to discuss Aslam’s career path with him as he was there to only satisfy Buddy thing for all. While following his Jigri habbits, he perhaps reached that intense point from where it was impossible to return back. So he might have decided to mark an end to all this to start a brand new life.

I then decided to brake the shackles, wrote few pages of my perspective regarding turnaround in Jigar’s persona and send it to him being rather nervous. I wanted to know reason behind this 180 degree change in his behavior. My concern was right but surprisingly most of my apprehensions proved out to be wrong. In his response, Jigar open his heart out in front of me. I was now reading a genuine tale of transformation, from Jigar to a well mature gentleman. Aslam outlined distinctive phases of his life in front of me. From a Mummy Daddy boy raised in strict middle class to his path to educational institutions. Loosing some loved ones in a very young age with some added tragedies in life broke him from inside. With a passion to explore his individuality in life, Jigar faced a turbulent Professional life. Jigar traveled many parts of the world and as he says in his own words.

“The person who keeps on changing (or exploring) his paths face more challenges and difficulties. Perhaps this was the same for me. Love yourself first!! is the lesson which I learnt all along my life. Having said that, I can say that there have been times when my friends were there when I needed them the most. But somehow I feel that there are times in your life when you get to love yourself first.”

Jigar further tells me his story and says:

“Coming back to the “Jigar” part of my personality, I think I have it as a reserve but now I use it for only some selected people. A very important part of this is I now also want to fulfill my other wishes just as reading books, meditation to Allah, and even sports. I mean there is a lot in life than just to spend times in chit-chat with friends. Probably, the number of deaths I have seen in a very young age should be enough source of lessons to me. I will be insane if I don’t take lessons from those events.”

He then briefly explains his traveling experiences and becoming more mature with the passage of time. Jigar concluded as:

“I will do share with you one lesson. And that is in these times only few people will sympathize with you; few people will be honest in your terms with you. Alhamdullilah, there are not many stringent experiences that I have got like these but I have observed so many. Matlab kee duniya hai aur log pata nahi kiyun sirf apne aap k liye jee rahe hain…There are few who are really honest and really empathetic…there are few who will be there for you no matter what… The key to your happiness is don’t expect much from anybody. Yet make yourself available to help in the maximum capacity you can. That is something which you can mention to Allah while begging in duas.Serving humanity is the best exchange to ask something from Allah.”

Jigar showed me his inside with deep emotions; sadly not often we try to see how other people are fighting their battles…

This is only one case; I have seen 2-3 other scenarios as well where such kind hearted, sincere and friendly people gets their FULL STOP at certain stage each after their own experiences and circumstances. The readers must have witnessed quite a few instances within their social circles. But the irony is when people leave them at their own, forgetting things they had done for us and in process looses such pure people from our lives. This world is such a place where we do not value people who are giving value to us and keeps running behind those who are not much caring. As a result after sometime, we loose the real jewels from our lives…

We must give due respect to all Jigars, Janis, Yaars and Lalas. Need to be very careful in dealing such people as such people are very sensitive and have very intense feelings. As it is very well said by someone “Never take someone for granted, hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realise that you have lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.” Remember this always in life…

Ahh and life continues, we wake up in morning and run like machines for the whole day. Money is there, luxuries are there, I am there, rest everyone is there, Aslam is also there BUT Jigar is no more…Jigar khamosh hogaya!

Note:

This article was published at following in 14 April, 2016

http://blogs.arynews.tv/the-friends-who-make-us-laugh-often-need-a-shoulder-to-cry-on/

Article No 48