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

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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

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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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Champions Trophy 2017, Yet another fairytale in Pakistan’s Cricket

                                      An account of a famous win and way forward…

Pakistanis were so jubilant and swamped with the occasion that none of us wanted end of victorious mood; just fancy this fervor continues for ever… Everyone had a story to tell about celebrations of this victory over India. The same night, we (here in Doha-Qatar) also went for Sehri Treat in a Pakistani restaurant named Punjab restaurant and witnessed an awesome atmosphere. Big screen was showing Pakistani channels presenting stats of final match and you could well hear commentary from each table. A large group of about 30-35 people were especially out there having party time. Giggles, itching here and there poking each other with some meaningful jokes enjoying Pakistan’s victory. Smiling for no reason! We could well see that people belonging to almost all provinces were present there united under the cause of cricket. This is a very special thing related with sport of cricket. It’s a rare sight seen after the Pakistan’s triumph of World T20 in 2009.

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Miraculous Phenomenon!

When our team started playing as a unit, you could easily see the unseen forces working in our favor. Rain rescued our weak batting lineup against South-Africa. Sarfaraz survived 2 dropped catches in a must win against Sri-Lanka where it was almost over for our team. Famous NO ball by Bumrah and Fakhar Zaman got a new life to post a maiden TON. Then Muhammad Hafeez’s stumps got in tact despite being hit by the ball. Allah (SWT) helped when team got united and put all their efforts for winning matches in holy month of Ramzan. And they were humble enough to recognize this unseen phenomenon thanking first Almighty Allah and then explaining all formal tactics and strategies behind their performances. What a sight it was for Pakistani fans and cricket lovers all over the world to see unpredictable team Pakistan, emerging from lowest ranking and shaking confidence of best teams of the world.

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Humble Boys!

A very unique aspect of this young Pakistani team is the simplicity and innocence displayed by players including the captain. No attitude, no arrogance! Short interesting videos started erupting from the very next day and still continuing. They respectfully entertained all the spectators greeting them at all places and were seen with their old friends. Captain came out of his home to gift his cricket shirt to a blind special child, we saw his simple wear and Ulti Topi. Sarfaraz kept on praising his boys wherever he went, that’s a sign of a true leader. Rumman Raees was spotted assisting common people on a street Iftari organized in some old area of Karachi. Hassan Ali celebrating with people of Gujranwala, land of Pehalwans now introduced as hometown of a hardworking fast bowler. Fakhar Zaman enjoying a causual full dressed Shalwar Qameez bath in a canal with his friends. Shadab Khan hugged by a random passionate fan at a petrol station and this boy respected elder person giving all due time to speak whatever he wanted to say. All of this is in itself a big delight to watch. Hoping that such attention and fame shall not get on to their minds and they do not get too much carried away. I wish they all remain the same even after gathering more success in future.

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Our Amir is Back!

A day before Final match, just randomly I was thinking who could be a match winner for Pakistan in this match. Muhammad Amir was the one name which came into my mind and I tweeted as:

And what an amazing day he had, picking up 3 big players of India. This effort and his excellent batting effort in the game against Sri-Lanka may well be regarded as his complete return to international cricket. He is one of lucky people who played crucial roles in Pakistan’s win in World T20, 2009 and Champions Trophy, 2017. Best wishes to Muhammad Amir from this point, may you have a long, clean and successful career for Pakistan.

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Amir, Junaid Khan, Hafeez, Babar Azam and others should also get attention of people and media for their efforts.

Merit, Merit & just Merit

After the first lost against India, it was an amazing turnaround for Pakistan team especially in the fielding department. The way all players were backing up each other and marshaled by Sarfaraz was just awesome. It was a rare sight for an ever suffering Pakistani supporter. Runs they stopped and amazing catches they took were exciting for spectators around the world. They played as a unit! You can not have this thing when there are issues within the team or when some villain is doing his own politics. Within 3 days gap to final, Amir Sohail’s viral statement shocked all of us. Whether we accept it or not, the useless Karachi-Lahore or Karachi-Punjab divide is often seen in Pakistan’s cricket.  But the good thing was that Ex-players like Wasim Akram & Basit Ali came to rescue our boys with their positive messages. The special thing in this Champions trophy is the overwhelming response from all corners. Whole Pakistan owned this team throughout series of events.

Good cricketing facilities should be provided all over the country and Deserving talented players to be given fair chance because if you do not give them chance, favoritism will doom everything because there is no replacement for merit. I would request that anything that happened in past should be buried and national team to be selected on merit and supported from all cricketers regardless of their belonging to any city or region. That’s the only way forward!

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Role of Pakistan Super League

To be honest, one should give due credit to all people who were involved in organizing Pakistan Super League (PSL) from which we got some exciting players. PSL franchise owners also seem to be passionate about the cause. Like Karachi Kings, other teams should also arrange Talent hunt camps within their regions and present talented players at PSL stage. I suggest few more teams like Hyderabad, Faisalabad & Sialkot etc should be added to PSL. A final topping to PSL; Cricket team named ‘Kashmir’ representing whole Kashmir valley must be added in PSL.

There is no doubt that India has played a big role in bringing our cricket down. We can also not forget how Pakistani players were humiliated during action in the initial versions of Indian Premier League (IPL). That later led to formation of PSL and now we got talented players who beat India in the Champions trophy final. I would strongly suggest, Pakistani cricketers should never be permitted from our side to play in IPL and we must strive to make PSL a world’s leading cricket league with innovations and Pakistani talent in action.

Future Steps

Winning the Champions trophy is not the end of achievements, it’s just a beginning. Lot of things needs to be fixed within our cricketing system. PCB should not be running under government ruling, it needs to be an autonomous body. Reforms should be made to Domestic structure, sponsors should be invited and attractive atmosphere to be created for public viewing. School and college cricket should be revived as a campaign enticing our young generation to spend more time on ground activities rather to be engaged to social media all the time. We always had a weak and vulnerable batting lineup. I am of a belief that it is due to lack of big play grounds, children play in streets and constrained environment with local rules of street cricket so batsmen cannot play their shots freely. Another reason is expansive kit for batsmen and majority of us are happy in bowling rather than exploring our batting skills. So, some serious measures need to be taken to produce quality batsmen with good techniques, power hitters in particular.

It was so romantic to see Pakistan team overcoming their fears and play like Tigers. I hope all of us are mature enough to capitalize on success from this point onwards. Thank you team Pakistan for giving us MOKA MOKA & providing unforgettable moments of joy…

Article No. 58

Please note that this Article has been published at following websites:

https://www.pakpositive.com/pakistanibloggers/celebrating-champions-trophy-2017-in-qatar-t2206.html

Pushups Controversy, please do not kill our Inner Child! #54

In this troubled world, there are fewer moments of joy left for public. Sports are always considered a healthy activity and teams dominating sports become source of lifting their people. After decline of many sports in Pakistan, cricket now remains as sole source of entertainment which is followed from all segments of our society. Dipped with premium performance; when our cricketers smile, we all smile with them. We have often seen our cricketers doing Sajda after achieving centuries,5 wickets hauls and victories. We all got electrified when Waqar Younis used to celebrate clean bowleds in his own roaring way. We all got that bird’s feeling while Shoaib Akhter celebrated his wickets spreading both arms like a bird. Shahid Afridi’s own style of standing with raised open arms became very popular all over the world.

 

When Misbah-ul-haq celebrated his ton in a unique style by saluting and doing pushups thereafter; we felt a strange delight. “Hey you all out there; look I am still young at the age of 42, I am not exhausted at 100 runs and I want much more” this was a first impression that many got until he further explained it later in the day.

 

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Misbah said that his hundred was dedicated to the instructors at an army boot camp in Abbottabad where his team spent two weeks training before flying to England.“That was my promise to the army guys when we did our training camp,” he said. “We used to have an honor code where we were told to step into the ground and do ten pushups. I promised them whenever I got hundred I would do that to remind them (Army) we were there. That was for them and the salute was for the (Pakistan) flag. That was what they asked us to do so I did it for them.”

 

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After winning the first test at Lords, whole Pakistani team got lined up in the ground and celebrated their victory with 5 pushups which was cheered all over the world. Captain further explained this at the post match press conference “They(our team) sent this small tribute to all those army men who were working really hard with us at the boot camp so it’s a good message and one thing that we learned from them; those army people they are not getting much salaries but for this flag, for Pakistani nation, for Pakistan they want to sacrifice their lives so that’s a big motivation for all of us and I think everybody is now putting effort for that flag and nation and really try give their 100% and try to win all the games”.

 

 

This further jubilated the nation who felt more proud and connected with armed forces who showed their metal turning over a losing squad into winning; very much evident from the social media posts/speech during that time. Lovely moments of team Pakistan doing celebratory pushups; everybody was so happy, emotions of nation just cannot be explained in words. I myself replayed those pushups many times to pump myself!

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Until last week when the National Assembly standing committee objected to press-ups performed by the Pakistan team players after victory and even asked ‘whom did the players were giving message with those push-ups.”
Rana Muhammad Afzal of the NA committee raised quite an unusual objection, saying players did push-ups after the triumph and remained silent after the defeat. “What’s actually the matter,” he asked.

Above statements raised anger among the public as these were such meaningless questions; Misbah had already explained the story behind all that. Social media trolled the government in their own style and we saw their mockery all over the place”
People reacted in many ways as:

 

Pakistani Democracy, So Insecure that 11 men doing #Pushups can “Lahaq Khatra” to it. What If They Start Doing This Again. #PakFaujZindabad

 

Nation is burning out because of terrorism, NAP is napping, NACTA is dead, corruption is legendary but #pushups banning is an urgent threat.

 

New danger to the Democracy #Pushups

 

Misbah bravely reacted and said players can still celebrate in whatever manner they want. “It was simple and there was no controversy in our minds,” he said. “It’s (up to) everyone’s discretion, but we know there is no negative thing in our minds.

 

Whether it was directly ordered from somewhere OR the minister tried to become ‘Shah se ziada Shah ka wafadar’ the whole episode just bring another chapter of disgrace to the government. Mr. Nawaz Sharif should keep a close check on such people. There are so lean chances of happiness left in our lives, why do you want to steal them too? Why are you so insecure? Doing #pushups does not mean anybody is trying to sack Jamhooriyat and bring dictatorship. We want to see them play and raise the flag, we want to dance with them; please do not kill our inner child, please!!!

I hope that team Pakistan will continue to win more, cheer up the grounds much more and such useless objections will do nothing but glorify the Green boys and their #pushups!

References: Quoted statements from various web links.

Article No.54
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A SWEET AND SOUR PAKISTAN VISIT #53

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From diaries of an expatriate

EID-UL-AZHA September,2016
I had to make a rather urgent program of visiting Pakistan this EID-UL-AZHA and packed my bags with the same conventional excitement to meet and mingle with my loved ones. After one day of rest, I visited Baqra mandi of Bhains Colony on Sunday the 11th September,2016 with my uncle and cousins. It was fine cloudy afternoon and people from all trades were out to shop for qurbani. After much struggle with high rates and seeing variety of behaviors we found our destined man who insisted on giving us Baqras and deal was settled shortly; what a fine gentleman from interior Sindh he was…Thereafter we carried our Bakras in an open Suzuki run by 3 persons one of which was an apparently educated young man.I felt a strange attraction in him specially his calmness and deep eyes; we talked in from of short question and answer all along the way and then both of us got lost in our own businesses after delivery…EID-UL-AZHA remained a busy day as all family members got together to do justice with 8-9 Baqras and distribution of meat was the next task. People were quite happy and relaxed as fear of snatching animal skin was no more; again #thankyouRaheelSharif

Dealing with Utility Providers

I ran from post to pillar for carrying out some documentation and formal procedures for my new under construction house. As a Semi-Outsider, it was real experience to see different flavors of people working in these authorities. I visited SSGC office 3 times for a meter shifting issue. People got more active when they came to know that I was a Qatar resident; one of them said “I am completing this task as you are living abroad or else you will go and spread negative word about us”. I am really thankful for this kindness. Pursuing my case aggressively, being calm with them and being an expat, I was able to finish my obligations and now wait for their action. Everybody seem to be happy and smiling in SSGC itching and pitching with each other; more focused on enjoyment and taunting less on work. I am pretty sure this work would have been buried for months if it was not followed up properly.

Then came K-Electric which was found competent and active of all. I asked a very old question burning in my heart to one vibrant gentleman out there “Why are you doing load-shedding in some areas and not in others; when will load-shedding finish in my area?”…”Actually in your area there are considerable losses and regularizing people is also very difficult” he replied…”But what is my fault, me and my forefathers have never theft a single rupee of electricity?” I said.Then he opened up in-front of me. He shared his views on condition of Pakistan and specially Karachi in particular. According to him situation in Karachi was deliberately spoiled and king makers were destroying the city step wise as there were stages of decaying bread, first its attacked by fungus and slowly it becomes completely rotten and uneatable. “Me and my daughter are unwell for the last 1 month due to unbearable overflow of gutters leading to unhygienic condition in our area; perhaps people are right in leaving this country” he sighed…”Gentleman you do justice in your capacity and I will handle my area of responsibility; that’s the best we can do today” I uttered and left K-electric office after shaking hands!

Karachi water and sewerage board was an all different world. “I will not beat about the bush, honestly there are 2 ways of getting customer name on Bill changed” the officer said: “1) You pay me Rs.1000 and we will get everything fast tracked for you and you will get name changed by next month, I am taking only Rs200 share out of it. 2) You go by the book and we will post your application to the head office, may be the postman forgets your application or its missed somewhere in the middle; the procedure will take around 1- 1.5 years but its not guaranteed that your work will be done.” And I was thinking why government does not raise their salary packages and legalize fee/commission procedures so as to save everyone of us from Hell-fire…

Losing a dear Cousin: Unfortunately I lost one of my cousin Ms.Shahida Sultana during this visit and it was again a reminder that this world and all associated stuff is temporary and everybody will have to taste death one day. May her soul rest in peace and Allah increases her place in Jannat…

Roaming in Karachi
Karachi was a different place this time. I saw people moving freely in huge numbers along-with expansive mobile phones contrary to us expats who carry one phone for outside and other for inside home. Sea view was alive and people were having great past time enjoying horse, camel and caught bike rides.Observed overwhelming display of love for General Raheel Sharif as I moved on the roads of Karachi and saw many vehicles with Raheel Sharif and Baba Qaid posters with Pakistan flag background; and you know what, most of them were pasted on auto riskshaws. This buries theories of racism and provincialism; people love and support anyone who strive for betterment of Pakistanis does not matter to which place he belongs or whatever domicile he carries. Public care for those who care for public. As I left my home; like always my mother filled us with all sorts of food and saw us off with half gate opened reciting various Suras and Duas. She always watches me till last until my car is gone off the street!

Train Journey to Punjab
A man learns a lot while he travels this world; same happened with us while we travelled from Karachi to Sargodha with a brief connection at Faisalabad. A/C class was not available directly to Sargodha from Karachi therefore I booked 3 A/C seats to Faisalabad on Millat Express on 28th September,2016. We enjoyed sole compartment upto Nawabshah where we were joined by a seasoned journalist Mr. Aslam Munir, another gentleman from Rohri and the last one from Sadiqabad. It was a pleasure to travel with Mr. Aslam Munir having an overall 57 years of experience currently serving for Nawai-Waqt who treated me and family like his own family. Our discussion spanned form family life in Pakistani society, to journalism to evolution of various news agencies and condition of employees within news business. He shared his experience from various spheres of life to make our journey a real treat. Facilities within A/C class were quite good and system was working satisfactory. We switched from A/C to economy class from Faisalabad towards Sargodha and it like moving from Heaven to Hell. Nothing was in place in economy class from people to luggage. Fans were not working and dust from outside was fading everything.Luckily we avoided need to use toilet. Government should make efforts to raise standard of economy class in trains and provide respectable environment to lower income class. In contrary to witty Qulis of Karachi and Faisalabad, the one in Sargodha was a cool guy who shifted our baggage in reasonable rates without much argument.

City of Sargodha and end of journey
This was my 5th brief visit to Sargodha and as always it was found to be a peaceful ,neat, clean place with easy going people. My brother in law Ali introduced me to Doodh Wala from Karachi who was selling milk for drinking sitting by a footpath. I was impressed with cleanliness of the place having crystal clear glasses and no flies at all, milk’s taste was awesome; will definitely try again next time. Ali also showed me various landmarks of the city including Army Cantt area. Daewoo travel was comfortable to Lahore from where I eventually got flight to Doha-Qatar. Sitting inside plane, my mind’s screen was flashing with fast events happened to me in Pakistan, quiet faces of loved ones saying so many things with their eyes and my very own people who played their role by giving something and taking something from my life. Allah Hafiz Pakistan, meet you soon again!

Article No.53
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