Rorschach Test

In many ways Pakistans Imran Khan is like a Rorschach test for the upper middle class and overseas Pakistanis. They project onto him the deep imprints of their own psyche. Since he is like a blank canvas & loves to play to the gallery the love affair is potentially endless…


Neither of these hallowed groups need fear the financial grind of the stunning incompetence of the PTI government. When your petrol is flowing, your fridge is full, your AC is on, you are gainfully employed & your children are in tolerable schools & you have access to healthcare you need not worry too much.


So while the majority of Pakistan can barely afford staple food items the PM can blithely announce on TV that hes not concerned abt the price of potatoes & tomatoes hes here to build a great nation. How dare the peasants interrupt his Magnum Opus with demands for food & shelter!

Technically it was thought that the PTI government should be able to complete its term. However this deadly & bloody Clown show needs to be called short for the collective sanity of the nation. Whatever has been happening in Pakistan since 2018 can be called very many things but certainly not governance by any stretch of the imagination.

The activation of sinister political players and the pandering to the lowest denominator of extremist religious clerics has sent chills down the spines of Pakistan’s completely dwindling religious minorities and even the large Shia population. Calls to evoke the blasphemy laws that usually involve vigilante mob lynchings and extended jail terms for the innocent are used to wreak vengeance and settle scores in personal non religious disputes.

The sky rocketing inflation coupled with the perpetual political musical chairs have shred Pakistanis last nerve. The nightly television offerings of weeping brides (often facing violence) or political talk show shouting matches (which have also resulted in violence) have completely disillusioned the public. The lavish food and clothing displayed on Pakistani television is a dream world for the majority of citizens.

Pakistani politics is like Pakistani cricket; the final outcome can rarely be predicted and the journey can be rocky to say the least. The ruling party has been seen preparing their trademark red and green bats by upping the threat level and inserting steel nails into them. It is extremely concerning that such weapons of bloodshed have been shown on Samaa TV but none of the Purely well intentioned government members (or indeed opposition) has objected.

A reckoning is coming with the impending no confidence vote. Imran Khan who repeatedly threatened he would bring a tsunami brought one in 2018. The effects have been devastating, and the economy lies in tatters. Foreign debt has exceeded records and finally there is the PTI foreign funding case and scandalous financial scamming that exposes the sitting PTI government to be at least as shady as the main political opponents that were alleged to be to corrupt to run the benighted nation of Pakistan.

Why do Pakistanis Criticize Pakistan?

Manzoor Pashteen, center, a leader of Pashtun Protection Movement waves to his supporters during a rally in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday April 22, 2018. Thousands of Pashtuns from Pakistan’s tribes have gathered in the eastern city of Lahore reiterating their call for the release of tribesmen being held by authorities on alleged links to militants. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

People with privilege are actively destroying Pakistan. At dinner parties they smile sweetly and say that Pakistanis just love to criticize Pakistan. As if theres no reason. As if people arent displaced & dying & discriminated against like outsiders.

The lottery in Pakistan is being a Sunni Punjabi male.

All else must submit to the whims of this *majority* that has re colonized a post colonial nation. All discourse, art, politics, writing, TV shows are measured through the gaze of the Sunni Punjabi male. What he approves of is glorified, What he discredits is finished.

Privilege does not just mean class & financial wealth. Gender, ethnicity & religion can guarantee either a relatively blissful existence or a very difficult & troubled one. Political identity is also a great marker of how you will fare in Pakistan. It can make you *untouchable*.

If youre in the ruling party you are untouchable in the sense that most people cannot reach you, if you are in the fringe opposition deemed too *dangerous* to the ruling class you are untouchable as a social and media pariah.

There are two Pakistans, *mainstream Pakistan* – the status quo, the majority sect, the ruling ethnicity. The place where all is well and rabble rousers are looked down upon. The place where mashAllah people are always proud of our heritage our culture, our government & our military…

That status quo place could be called La La Land because a simple daily perusal of the newspapers will shatter it.

Then there is the second Pakistan, one of the main problems here is money & the lack therof. Equal access to the government is denied to provinces except Punjab. The labour class is distressed (their homes have been razed to the ground as part of a program to *beautify* Pakistan)…

In other Pakistan, women are worried abt ranking 5th in the world of worst nations for women to live in. Some of these women decided to march (some of them are rich – they shd obviously shut up?!). Last year rocks were hurled at them, this year blasphemy allegations & police cases.

In other Pakistan the #PashtunTahaffazMovement is lead by 3 brave men Manzoor Pashteen, Ali Wazir & Mohsin Dawar. Two of these men are members of the National Assembly. These parliamentarians get jailed for audacious reasons.

One of the defining characteristics of #PTM is that it is a grassroots movement that believes in enacting change through Peaceful protest like the great leader Bacha Khan (Abdul Ghaffar Khan) he was an Afghan leader known as Frontier Gandhi. He lead the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement.

Another primary defining characteristic of the #PTM is that they are vehemently Anti-Taliban #PTM Rejects All Terrorism & indeed blames it as the main cause of problems in Pakistan. Members families have laid down lives due to their vocal opposition of the Taliban.

The shameless government repeatedly books PTM members like Ali Wazir on trumped up terrorism charges based on a perverse manipulation of the FATF laws which also heinously allow the draconian govt to abduct and disappear “anyone” in Pakistan for 180 days without disclosing Where they’ve gone.

Sindh status is possibly better than KP at least in their covid response thanks in part to Sindh Government which is lead by the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Balochistan is the alleged Voldemort of the nation. Aside from being treated as villainous like the Pashtuns, they too must not be named. When PTM members try to enter there to meet with their brethren they are literally arrested & ushered away as happened with @mjdawar recently.

Part of the magic of this government is making problems & people disappear. The Pakistan Democratic Movement initially a coalition of 11 parties including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif & President Zardari & Maryam Nawaz & Bilawal Bhutto were deprived of media oxygen.

PTM is never featured on the 20 plus Pakistani news channels though thankfully @mjdawar assembly speech clips on Twitter are heartening. Balochistan is such a no go subject that it is the black hole of Pakistan. People disappear there, & if you protest that you can disappear too.

Some of the greatest & urgent emergencies in Pakistan sadly face minorities here. At partition over 23% of Pakistan identified as non Muslim. Now the figure is under 4% Scary statistic but whats being done to the ones that remain is horrific. Forced conversions, lynchings, jail.

It is sadly not an exaggeration to assert that Pakistan is guilty of Ahmadi apartheid. Ahmadi graves are desecrated, their entire community is villified, and places of worship are routinely destroyed. There are outlandish rules disallowing Ahmadis from reading the Quran. Pakistanis fall into the trap of engaging in the details or contradictions of their theology, but what is patently misunderstood is that religion should not be the business of the state.

Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah a Shia Muslim who married a Parsi woman and upheld many “Western” values would be rejected as a man in the Pakistan of the 21st Century. Attempts have been made to narrate his life as a hagiography but we dare to deny his very clear instructions about the secular nature of desired governance in the Islamic Republic.

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” – Muhammad Ali Jinnah August 11th 1947 1st address to the constituent assembly.

Freedom of religion requires freedom of thought. Those who are not free to think are doomed to be slaves to the worst of humanity.

The bizzarre blasphemy allegation culture in Pakistan has lead to lynchings & murder & endless languishing in jail of innocent people. #JunaidHafeez remains in jail since 7 years. He was a respected lecturer at Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan, he is a Fullbright Scholar. #JunaidHafeez has been sentenced to death by Pakistani courts.

Paedophilia & child sexual assault & rape is a Pakistani epidemic. The documentary Pakistan’s Hidden Shame features the Prime Minister speaking in the beginning of the film, but like much of his governance Imran Khans speeches rarely translate into visible improvement of anything.

Ethical journalists in Pakistan are a truly endangered species. 50 journalists & media workers were killed in connection with their work in 2020, the majority in countries that are not at war, – via Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

A nation that regularly needs the hashtag #JournalismIsNotACrime is in dire straits indeed. @bilalfqi @Razarumi @TahaSSiddiqui@Matiullahjan919@AbsarAlamHaider@AsadAToor & @HamidMirPAK are some of Pakistans top journalists who are also survivors of violent attacks on them…

Moon Sighting, Murder and ongoing Madness

It is July 31st 2020 and Muslims Worldwide are Celebrating Eid ul Adha today, except for Pakistan as usual which is a day late, a dollar short and predictably off schedule.

The moon was sighted by members of the public in alignment with Eid scheduled for 31st July, but the leader of the Ruet e Hilal Committee Mufti Muneeb threw a spanner in the works, as he does, especially when challenged by Fawad Chaudhry the otherwise unlikely Minister for Science and Technology.

On July 29th a man was murdered in Court in Peshawar in front of the judge. The man with a possible condition of mental illness had suggested he was a prophet. He was accused under Pakistan’s Spanish Inquisition reminiscent, blasphemy laws. They were formulated by the British at a time we should have moved forward from by now.

Tahir Ahmed Naseem was shot dead on video in court by Khalid Khan who is now unsurprisingly being hailed as a hero or “Ghazi” (warrior) by the right wing extremist religious psycopaths who are collectively destroying Pakistan since before its inception.

The incident has Dark deja vu due to its similarities to the glorification of Mumtaz Qadri the Murderous “guard”. He put 18 bullets in the Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer for protecting the rights of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of 5 who was falsely accused of blasphemy due to a dispute over drinking water.

Meanwhile in Parliament, the selected, ineffective government of PTI tried to pass a FATF bill with a clause allowing 180 day enforced disappearances of “anybody”… Fortunately the opposition prevailed, but not without being smeared for caring about basic human rights.

“A cursory look at the bills passed today suggest that the opposition has successfully blocked the most draconian measures under the pretext of FATF and upheld fundamental rights protected under the constitution. Let Imran & Co huff and puff all they want. Full marks 4 opposition.” Murtaza Solangi

1 in 6 Pakistanis believe they are immune to Covid 19 without taking precautions, although numbers are fortunately dropping since June the inexplicable calm before a potential storm indicates that its too early to celebrate in the face of such an unprecedented threat faced globally.

Anyways, Eid Mubarak, Pakistan, we are all likely going to Hell in a hand cart at this rate. Pakistan’s distortion of Islam is Legend. Pray for us, and God Save us All from some of his rabid fans. Also fasting on Eid is considered satanic, but so is getting the Moon Calendar wrong every single year. The day of Arafah was Yesterday…

U Turn Imran Khan & Corona Virus Lockdown Hesitancy

It is interesting to note Imran Khan’s extreme hesitancy to Lockdown Pakistan amidst Corona Virus panic and how much this behaviour is in contrast to his determination to Lockdown Pakistan during his infamous Dharna of 2014.

A casual glance at a Twitter handle created to memorialize the online chatter at the time is both eye opening and infuriating

 

Why #ShutDownMosques Needs to be Pakistan’s Battle Cry Against Covid19

It is a Truth universally accepted that Pakistani Clerics are not the easiest gentleman to reason with. Since the last known Muslim Politician to Openly Defy Pakistani Clerics is Salmaan Taseer one can say that the deterrents are clear and obvious. Unlike the Great Governor Salmaan Taseer few have the Heart, Soul, Brain and Courage to take on the Religious Establishment, Indeed he paid for it with his precious Life.

Pakistan’s President Dr. Arif Alvi has Tweeted about himself praying Friday prayers in seclusion at home while saying Astaghfirullah. He has also requested the nation’s Ulema to consider following the actions of the rest of the Ummat in response to Covid 19 and Saudi Arabia itself. Finally the President has specifically obtained a Fatwa from Egypt that endorses the abandonment of Religious Congregations as long as a pandemic is in effect.

The million dollar question is why doesn’t the President simply order the shut down of mosques and other religious gatherings? The one rupee answer is that he has very little power to do anything beyond Tweet in the self validating Echo Chamber of the Twittersphere. The President as Mamnoon Hussain illustrated is little more than a token figure although President Asif Ali Zardari showed that where there is a will there is a way.

The main reason among others is that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is a party built on the blood of Salmaan Taseer. They fight their LG Elections by plastering his murderer Mumtaz Qadri’s face next to otherwise “sensible” leaders like Dr. Yasmin Rashid. PTI made its initial alliance with Jamaat e Islami the same week that they were demanding the release of Mumtaz Qadri in 2013. While Imran Khan courted Westerners on CNN with his empathy for Salmaan Taseer he subsequently joined forces with the cheerleaders of his assassinator Mumtaz Qadri.

The last hope for the Masjid Lockdown was the Pakistan Army. One can only hope and pray that their Nuclear Power, Tanks and Guns can be a formidable opponent to Covid 19 in the ability to put a leash on Pakistani Clerics; who generally have very little to do with God and a Lot to do with Worldly Power and Political Games. Article 245 being invoked to potentially hand over executive powers to the Army would be scandalous in a less militarized country. In Pakistan the civil-military imbalance is so extreme that it is understood that the de facto Leaders are the Armed Forces. The millions that will unnecessarily die soon will lay at the feet of the Military that Pakistan prides itself upon so much.

Awami Workers Party Punjab Leader Ammar Rashid, a researcher of political economy of health, education, housing and gender has recorded a video message for the Ulema of Pakistan which sums up succinctly why staying home encapsulates the straightforward orders of the Holy Prophet in the event of an epidemic outbreak. He urges Ulema to think of others if they do not care for themselves. He has explained that Corona Virus patients often do not display symptoms for weeks and how even young members joining congregations will endanger entire families and the public at large potentially infecting millions. Ammar Rashid has also requested the District Commissioner of Islamabad to assist in the closure of Mosques in the city.

Pakistani Twitterati Member @Memzarma has simply shared a picture that is worth a thousand words.

 

Gardaab (Whirlpool) – a Film by Harune Massey

Gardaab (Whirlpool) by Writer and Director Harune Massey and producer Mazhar Zaidi is a grey and gritty though exciting film about two lovers entrapped amongst troubles in present day Karachi, Pakistan.

The two central characters Shahbaz (Fawad Khan) and Parveen (Amna Ilyas) are star crossed lovers akin to Romeo and Juliet and belong to warring families who fight violently for turf in the back alleys of Karachi.

The story begins with Shahbaz being unwillingly dragged by his gang friends to gatecrash the birthday party of Kabir the son of Abdullah Jaan (Arif Hassan) the head of a rival family.

Meanwhile Firdous Ali Khan (Khalid Ahmed), the Godfather of Shahbaz’s gang has returned after an absence.

Firdous chides the young men for tresspassing on the turf of their enemies and exhorts that peace is difficult to create and maintain but easily shattered by foolish shenanigans.

The story continues in a fast paced manner and doesn’t drag on anywhere as some desi films tend to do due to sheer length. This film is tightly edited and not too lengthy, 93 minutes long.

The Director deserves kudos for illuminating the acting skills of the relatively fresh cast although it does include stalwarts such as Khalid Ahmed and Nimra Bucha. The cast also includes Gohar Rasheed, Mohammad Javed and Adnan Shah Tipu.

The protagonist Shahbaz (Fawad Khan) is a character of depth and nuance and it is appreciated that the inner consciousness of a young male character caught up in the whirlpool of crime and violence exacerbated by poverty in Karachi is examined so artfully.

Two of my favourite dialogues of Shahbaz are that “death is the only exit out of this world of crime.” and another conversation he has where he suggests that life is a perpetual cycle of escape from one cage back into another. Unlike many typically male machismo characters this one has the crucial ability to introspect.

Amna Ilyas sparkles as Parveen. Apart from being very beautiful visually, in a culture where the female role is often just to “complement” the central male role it is safe to say that Parveen is also the protagonist of this story.

It is refreshing to see a strong female character standing up to challenges of a misogynist society with some aplomb and chutzpah. It reminds me of the TV plays of yesteryears in Pakistan where script and dialogue were key and not a mish mash of cliches divorced from how people actually speak in real life.

There are definitely some sparks and onscreen chemistry between the two lovers and you find yourself rooting for them to overcome the many obstacles that they face. The script was developed after interviews with real people on the streets of Karachi hence the struggle depicted is and feels very authentic.

Harune Massey is also the co-writer of the script alongwith Saleemullah Nasir. They have teamed up to deliver us a story that is realistic and credible which seems to be a challenge with some mainstream Pakistani cinema at times.

In the background of the love story we hear that there has been another blast in Saddar a marketplace of Karachi by “those whose Islam is always in danger” a character comments ie the terrorists who declare all actions to be those of infidels. The uneasy background of terrorist strife throughout is subtly hinted at although not the primary focus of the film.

The soundtrack of Gardaab is notably eclectic and the electronic score includes international instruments such as West African harp and drums. Unlike many Pakistani films the music does not dominate but glides along with the action almost imperceptibly.

Two of the tracks were written composed and sung by Musadiq Sanwal a close friend of producer Mazhar Zaidi. Sadly Musadiq Sanwal has passed away now though not without leaving his signature and imprint on this poetic film.

After the film screening at the Stratford Picture House the director Harune Massey and Producer Mazhar Zaidi were both present for a question and answer session with Momtaz Begum – Hossain.

Notably Gardaab (Whirlpool) was filmed in just seventeen days after a script writing period of just three months. The budget was just $100,000 and the film duration is one and a half hour long.

The interviewer Mumtaz Begum – Hossain suggested the film had a dark Gotham like feel throughout. Writer/Director Harune Massey wanted to show how child soldiers fuel gang culture. Honour Killing was also a theme the film touched on as Parveen’s brother tells the family she needs to be killed for shaming them by her affair.

Harune Massey pointed out the strong female characters in this film especially Parveen and also performances by Nimra Bucha as Paris and Shama Askari as Miss Christina.

Gardaab – (Whirlpool) is being screened in London for its European premiere as part of the London Indian Film Festival thanks in part to the efforts of Satwant Gill the organizer of @LoveLiff.

The film was also screened on the 27th of June at Cinegold Leicester Square and enjoyed by a packed audience including other filmmakers. The next screening will be in Birmingham next week.

Gardaab is set to be screened in the USA again (after its DC South Asian Film Festival Premiere in Fall 2016) as part of the Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival in Fall 2017.

Director Harune Massey is based in New York City and Lahore and works in the film and advertising industries in NYC. He has worked as Assistant Director in Good Morning Karachi by Sabiha Sumar and Zinda Bhaag by Matteela Films. Gardaab is his first feature film as director.

 

Salmaan Taseer – Pride of the Nation

Salmaan Taseer

It is the 4th of January. That painful day when we lost one of Pakistan’s finest in his final stand against ignorance, bigotry and cruelty. Words cannot suffice to describe the sacrifice of Governor Salmaan Taseer Sahib. May God rest his soul in eternal peace.

Pakistan is a dark place where nuance is one of the hardest things to find. Where the simple fact that a discussion about blasphemy is not blasphemy can be lost on the relentless mobs of frenzied religious fanatics. We have a problem, the least of which is the details of section 295c of the blasphemy law.

We need to create a climate where discussion is possible. Yes it is progress that the case against Mumtaz Qadri has been upheld, but it is also a crushing defeat that Asia Bibi is wasting away in a wretched jail surrounded by extremist elements that may kill her at any minute. The threat is so real that she has been isolated and is carefully watched.

The Vatican itself has sent out prayers for Asia Bibi and Pope Francis has met with her husband and daughter in support. Her husband has also written to President Mamnoon Hussain to request a pardon for her sentence and to allow her to move to Paris where she has been officially offered refuge. May 2016 be the year where we persuade the President to pardon this distraught lady.

Asia Bibi maintains her innocence against allegations of blasphemy and remains steadfast in her belief that God will help her. She has magnanimously forgiven her persecutors but I find no such forgiveness for them in my heart. Ultimately this 50 year old mother of 5 children’s life has been destroyed due to a dispute over drinking water.

Every January the fourth Pakistan holds candlelight vigils for the brave man who dared to stand up to the forces of ignorance that would surely lead to his death, but every year we leave Governor Salmaan Taseer’s life’s work unfinished by keeping Asia Bibi incarcerated in a tiny filthy cell where her ailing health is killing her.

The Truth is we do not all have the suave swagger and carefree confidence of Salman Taseer, but it is certainly something that I for sure would like to emulate. Pakistan is a country where saying the wrong thing can get you killed, but isn’t that the whole battle ? I suppose the idea is that if a growing chorus of voices insist on being heard and refusing to be silenced then the Evil gets silenced and weakened.

We must Free Asia Bibi. We must do right by our minorities. We must stop slaughtering people in the name of religion. We must reclaim our mosques. We must not allow men to sell God Almighty and the Merciful Holy Prophet (saw) like carpet salesmen and we must insist that Asia Bibi is freed this year as a tribute to the Legend who stood up for her when nobody else would. I reject the cynicism of handing over my religion to hateful angry men.

Let us remember Taseer Sahib’s fine words about the measure of a man and a nation : “My observation on minorities: A man/nation is judged by how they support those weaker than them not how they lean on those stronger.” – Governor Salmaan Taseer

asiabibi

Anima State : Film Review

anima state pic

Pakistan has an exciting and bizarre new film to add to it’s collection of upcoming talent: Anima State. It’s as if a filmmaker was tied up, had his innocence and dreams ripped out of him, and is told to narrate a story on a diet of truth serum, opium and “brain masala”. Director Hammad Khan opens the film with the following explanation of the film title written on the screen:

“Anima: The part of the psyche that is directed inward and in touch with the subconscious
State: Condition, situation or country.”

In a tranquil scene of an outdoor cafe the opening scene of the murder of 5 is as mundane as the daily violence that plagues this country. The difference however is the targets who are usually safe from much randomness. Their blood speckled belongings show what they symbolize, Smart phones, shades, a designer bag and foreign clothing. The Elite of Pakistan hated by some simply for what they are born with and on occasion because of what they do with that privilege.

Interestingly the young group that gets shot are also the stars of Slackistan Hammad Khan the Director’s previous film that received mixed reviews a ban in Pakistan and some ire that it focused on the slackers in Pakistan. (Well it was called Slackistan) Later in the film “the tweeter” is entertained to meet him – the central character who is Hammad Khan resulting in him subsequently getting beaten up by the Keyboard Warriors, A similar fate that alternative art usually receives in Pakistan.

We have not been introduced to the characters murdered in the first scene so the audience feels little connection to them, instead we are immediately intrigued by the masked figure (with a completely bandaged face) who after shooting them in seconds is driven off in the cab that he arrived in to the upbeat sound of “do pal ka ye jeevan” (this brief momentary life) by The Vital Signs 80’s Pop stars of Pakistan whose lead singer left music and became a fairly radical and mysogynist preacher under the tutelage of the tableeghi jamaat.

The masked figure’s next stop is the Unity Faith Discipline Sign on the outskirts of Islamabad. It is the motto of Pakistan given to it by the founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the lack of all 3 in today’s Pakistan is evident, though the dreamers still aspire to “Jinnah’s Pakistan”. Retro radio news footage in the background reminds us that “Pakistan’s very existence depended on a powerful military”. The masked man’s encounter with the police officer in the next scene is telling though unsurprising to the average Pakistani. After hearing a confession of the crime of 5 murders the policeman is unperturbed and repeatedly tells the murderer to get lost though he is certainly not averse to taking money from him.

One interesting and poignant aspect of the film is the archetypes of woman that appear played powerfully by Malika Zafar. She alternately plays a beggar, a victim of domestic abuse, a speaker at a socio-political forum and a prostitute. I felt the archetype of woman was lacking in a fully empowered role for the woman, though there are few examples in Pakistan and an appearance as a Goddess would probably result in a blasphemy charge.

Returning to the central character played by Uns Mufti his mask of bandages is finally removed by the woman to reveal that he is a young film maker who still has demons to battle though the dream/ experience is behind him. The amount of emotion he has thus far been able to express just through his eyes is amazing, and he explains in one scene the reason for the bandages is that his head might explode. Perhaps the strangest thing about the surreal in this film is the ability of a Pakistani to easily relate to it.

The Perversity of the Television Anchor is played masterfully by Omar Khalid Butt. He is eager to portray a suicide (Live!) on TV is a good representation of the media fetish for violence, and the breakdown of the waiter in response to a lack of water, gas and electricity is a reflection of the daily miseries of the public. His dreams of a messiah leader and taking out his frustrations on his wife illustrate the cycle of horror that perpetuates problems.

Certainly Anima State is a Dark film, but the recognition and reflection of our fears on screen is almost a relief. When the character of Hammad exclaims that this story does not make any sense, you want to comfort him and emphatically agree. This film is so raw, and the expression of these themes so vivid that I truly wish it can be seen throughout Pakistan and Worldwide.

In the final scene the question seems to be where can we escape to? And is it a real escape if the demons are allowed to grow unfettered ? Won’t they follow us wherever we go ? Can we escape through film ? I was relieved to watch this film, because I felt my pain had been understood. If most films are prose, Anima State is a poem.
“Mujhe yahan se itni duur le jao ke mujhe yahan ka khwab bhi na aaye” (Take me so far from here that I am not even able to dream of this place). This is the final thought of this film, which seeks to paint a picture of Pakistan and the many horrors that plague it.

The desire to escape Pakistan is almost universally prevalent in the youth population and when this cannot be done physically the consolation is retreating to happier places via film as illustrated later in the story. Anima State is a window into present day Pakistan, and a journey into the terror’s of it’s soul. In Anima State Hammad Khan proves that it is better to shoot with a camera than shoot with a gun, it’s far more powerful.

Malala wins Nobel Peace Prize & Hearts in Pakistan

Malala1

One side of Pakistan and all of the World is Celebrating and Cheering on Malala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Regressives in Pakistan are screaming themselves hoarse that Malala is “a Western agent” and not deserving of her great honour the nobel peace prize which she shares with dedicated child slave liberator Kailash Satyarthi of Bachpan Bachao Andolan. As usual Real Pakistan, Offline Pakistan, Rural Pakistan, Working hard Pakistan is largely unaware of the existence of Malala which may change to day after TV coverage of the Nobel Prize win.

Everyone knows Christina Lamb wrote I am Malala. This is Her Manifesto. But it doesn’t Negate the truth of Malala’s original message. There are 2 valid sides to the story but Malala herself is an authentic young woman. Having read Christina Lamb’s book Waiting for Allah that was extremely contemptuous of Pakistan + Islam she’s tainting Malala. Christina Lamb = to Malala what Waiting for Allah was compared to Waiting for Godot. A cheap Hijack that ruins the Original Truth. Although I read a lot of Rushdie I was profoundly offended by Satanic Verses. Christina Lamb does not belong in our curriculum only because of the strategic insertion of controversy.

Now rejection of the Malala book will ultimately be used to prove we are “backward” and it will justify future hegemonic attacks on our sovreignty. But this is mostly what this nation deserves for not being able to logically and intelligently assess and analyze situations like this entrapment. For me its very simple = Taliban versus Malala and I am a HUGE supporter of All Anti Terrorism activists like SSP Chaudhry Aslam so it is a simple choice for me.

Regardless of attempts by less than scrupulous people like Christina Lamb to Hijack and pollute the purity of Malala’s Message the choice for Pakistan is clear; You are either on the side of the Taliban or Malala. Ordinary Pakistanis like the impoverished majority have no love or sympathy for the Taliban so the social media confused elements of broken ideologies are as usual on the wrong side of history. A young Girl who stood up to the Taliban and Won is the stuff of Legend.
Malala has become a Global phenomenon far bigger than just Pakistan She lit a Candle of Hope and the World is brighter for it. There are other heroes in Pakistan and the world over  like Abdul Sattar Edhi Sahib who are also deserving of great honour and Nobel Prizes. However, in 2014 as the prospect of ISIS looms over the world, as scholars like Reza Aslan are required to clarify the difference between culture and religion, it is crucial that Muslim Super Heroes like Malala who risk their lives for education and World Peace are Celebrated Wholeheartedly and Completely.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has hailed Malala as the Pride of the Nation, his main opposition leader Imran Khan a sympathiser of the Taliban has remained mostly publicly silent. Sadly the members of some political parties in particular are viciously denigrating her on social media including twitter and facebook. Fortunately they are irrelevant because even illiterate Pakistanis are now educating their daughters at school and even though the evil Taliban continue to make mischief they are being beaten in Operation-Zarb e Azb that has already hit some of Malala’s attackers.
In Pakistan the True fight is between Secular liberal Voices versus regressive Fanatical Voices and the Malala win just gave some much needed hope to the Freedom and Peace Loving Secular Voices. As a Believing Muslim I am Proud that Malala stands for Education for Girls All over the World.Pakistan is suffering a dangerous Education Emergency and we must speed up our efforts because we are running out of time and there is much darkness to Defeat.
The Government of Pakistan also needs to accelerate the speed of it’s education initiatives and increase the budget allocation of Education in a way that proves that Education is the number one Priority in Pakistan. Current Allocations are ridiculous and belie claims of a True Interest in Development and Growth.

Malala UN Assembly Full Speech 2013

“Thank you to Everyone who has prayed for my fast recovery and a new life. I cannot believe how much Love people have showed me. I have received thousands of Good Wish cards and gifts from all over the world. Thank you to All of them. My dear brothers and sisters Today is for every woman, every boy and girl who have raised their voice for their rights There are hundreds of human rights activists who are struggling to achieve their goals of Peace Education and Equality.”

“Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions hav been injured, I am just one of them. So here I Stand 1 girl among many I speak not for myself but for those without voice who cannot be heard. Those who have fought for their Right 2 Peace to be treated with Dignity to have Equal Opportunity to have an Education. On the 9th of October 2012 the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead, they shot my friends too. They thought that the bullet would Silence us. But they Failed Out of that Silence came Thousands of Voices”…

“The Terrorists thought they could Change my Aims and Stop my Ambitions. But Nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, Fear and Hopelessness Died. Strength. Power and Courage was Born. I am the same Malala My Ambitions are the Same My Hopes are the Same and My Dreams are the Same. Dear Sisters and Brothers I’m not Against Anyone neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other group. I do not even hate the Taliban who shot me, even if he stands in front of me and I have a gun in my hand I would not shoot him.”…

“This is the Compassion that I have learnt from Muhammad the Prophet of Mercy Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha.This is the Legacy of Change that I have Inherited from Martin Luther King Nelson Mandela and Mohammad Ali Jinnah. “This is the Philosophy of Non-Violence that I have learnt from Gandhi jee, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And This is the Forgiveness that I have Learned from my Father and my Mother. This is what My Soul is telling Me: Be Peaceful and Love Everybody” – Malala Yousufzai at the UN General Assembly 2013

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Malala’s Father Ziauddin Yousufzai’s Interview Post Win on BBC

My Hope has overtaken my Fear today because I am very happy about Malala but the Truth remains that Pakistan is an extremely dangerous place for women children and men. It is practically a murder zone if you do not belong to the mainstream religion or elite upper classes. We Need to Build a Pakistan that is Worthy and Able of Malala’s return to it without threat of death. According to Pew Research 86% of Pakistanis agree that boys and girls both have an equal right to education.