Lahore needs serious action to revive its showbiz industry

Lahore is known as the cultural capital of Pakistan. This great city produced artists and writers like Mehdi Hassan, Noor Jehan, Ashfaq Ahmed, Bano Qudsiya, Nadeem, Shabnam, Robin Ghosh, Muhammad Ali, Zeba Ali, Syed Noor, Umaira Ahmed, Mustansar Hussain Tarrar, Reema, A. Nayyer, Tariq Aziz, Naheed Akhtar, Nauman Ejaz, Shaan, Moammar Rana, Ali Azmat, Jawad Ahmed, Hadiqa Kiani, Tahira Syed, Atif Aslam, Nayyara Noor, Abid Ali, Uzma Gilani, Afzal Ahmed, Rahat Kazmi, Qawi Khan, Khalida Riasat, Jameel Fakhari, Irfan Khusat, Sarmad Khusat, Tauqir Nasir, Roohi Bano, Babra Shareef, Saba Hammed, Janan Malik, Saba Qamar and many others. Even Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan also got recognition from this great city. Theatre artists like Aman Ullah, Sohail Ahmed, Iftikhar Thakur, Nargis and Deedar also are from the showbiz industry of Lahore. Pakistan’s small film industry Lollywood also has its base in Lahore.

Lahore artists

Karachi and Lahore always have been enjoying a healthy competition in making TV serials. At the PTV Awards there used to be always a very good competition between the artists of these two cities for winning awards on their performances. In the last decade however gradually the music and drama industries in Karachi got stronger and many TV artists and singers from Lahore relocated to Karachi. The reason was that in Karachi many production houses and private TV channels were formed that offered more opportunities to the artists. On the other side directors and producers there are more serious and committed than those working in Lahore. This affected the showbiz industry of Lahore badly.

On the other side, producers from the Lollywood kept producing low quality films thinking that they had no competition from Karachi in this area. However recently young TV artists and producers from Karachi have come up with some heavy budged high quality films and showed a new face of Pakistani cinema to the people of Pakistan. Today Lahore is left only with stage dramas where families cannot go because of the cheap comedy.

I am from Lahore and feel very sad over this situation. I request Lahore based artists (from TV and film) to sit together and develop a strategy for getting Lahore its status of the ‘cultural capital’ once again. We must remember that healthy competitions are necessary for improving the quality of artworks.

We have to promote harmony between people having different religions and sects

Unity

Pakistan has unfortunately been used by other Islamic countries for promoting their religious school of thought since its creation. If we look into our past, I feel surprised to see that in 70s our ladies were more liberal and in parties they used to wear modern dresses and interact with men more frequently as compared with today. After 1980 when General Zia ul Haq was the president and the army chief; Pakistan was forcefully converted into a Sunni state where Shiites, and Qadianis (who are non-Muslims but claim to be a sect of Islam) were targeted especially. With the time this thing aggravated in the society and our people started going away from each other just because of their religious or sectarian differences.

Similarly Christian minority in Pakistan was always mentioned in an insulting way. I remember that many people used to call a Christian person as Choorra (چوڑا) which in English mean sweeper just because most of the Christians in Pakistan belong to the poor families and many have to do the low paid jobs.

Today we see that Pakistanis have become more unsecure. They fear from each other just because of the religious, sectarian and the cultural differences. A Punjabi is not safe in Baluchistan. Residents of Interior Sindh face racism in the job market of Karachi. Balochis don’t like to live or work in Punjab. Urdu Speaking community of Karachi is not comfortable with Punjabis and Pathans. Similarly people of the Southern Punjab feel less fortunate as compared to the people living in Lahore.

This problem is the one that is not helping our nation to become a united one.  Our leaders including the current ones have their own motivations and have no sense at all that we could expect anything from them. We have to take this responsibility and must start bring people together belonging to different cultural and religious background so that we could promote the message of love and unity. We also need to tell the world that we are a peaceful nation whose each member shows tolerance and respect for the others.

Pakistan needs a large cleanup

Happy New Year to all our readers. Wish you all the very best for the New Year and your coming life.

I watched the spectacular fireworks in Sydney live on TV where around 1.5 million people peacefully welcomed 2015. I was feeling sad that why Pakistani people cannot welcome the New Year in this way. After Sydney, Dubai welcomed the new year by having fireworks from the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa. A large number of people were present there as well. Peoples living in other developed countries also welcomed 2015 in large gatherings arranged by their governments.

Pakistan is a country full of passionate and energetic people. However our political and religious leaders have failed in grooming them. Our youth is deprived of tolerance, mutual respect and positive approach. They fight with each other over the political and sectarian differences. They spread hatred rather than promoting love.

After Peshawar attack, whole nation stood beside Pakistan Army to support them for their war against the terrors. However some so-called intellectuals like Zaid Hamid started promoting hatred against followers of the Deobandi school of thought (a sub-sect of Sunnis). On his Facebook page he is sharing unreasonable biased material against the Deobandis. Pakistan Army and the government must take serious action against such culprits.

Pakistan at this time needs a massive crackdown against those who play with the emotions of our people and bring them to such a level of stress that they become violent. Such culprits must be hanged in open spaces in front of huge crowds so that no one could ever dare to do such nasty acts in the future. After controlling law and order situation, government must start arranging healthy activities for the people so that they can enjoy a happy and normal life again. Government should arrange concerts, funfairs and other social events like exhibitions and friendly sports events for the people. Punjab Government must start National Horse and Cattle Show, Spring Festival and Lahore Marathon again at their earliest. Government can get the services of well built young boys for providing security at such events after getting their Police clearance. They will not only control the security but will also earn money.

sports and fares

Lahore Marathon

Pakistan Army has been granted with the permission for establishing their own courts where terrorism cases would be dealt. These courts should decide the cases swiftly so that the culprits get punished in an exemplary manner. Our normal courts should also decide the terrorism cases within minimum time Pakistani nation will then have faith in the justice, which will boost their confidence in the system. I wish that Pakistani nation will definitely welcome 2016 just like peoples do it in other countries of the world.

Horrific incident at Army Public School Peshawar

I am writing today after a long struggle as it took me time getting the courage for writing on the topic that has shaken my soul. Pakistani nation always remembers 16th of December as a black day because on this date in 1971 East Pakistan announced their separation from Pakistan and became Bangladesh. This year on 16th December, the day started with the same feelings. Nobody in Pakistan knew that on the same day the nation would experience the worst tragedy that would never be forgotten.

Peshawar Massacre

Our country has been fighting against the terrorism for more than 20 years. Taliban were created in the 80’s with the help of USA for using them against the Soviet Union which attacked in Afghanistan. These tribal people were told that they had to do the Jihad (جہاد), Islamic war, against the invaders into an Islamic state. General Zia ul Haq, that time President and the Army Chief of Pakistan, could not visualize that these Jihadists would start destabilizing their own motherland. After 9/11 when USA invaded Afghanistan the same Taliban declared war against them as they took them just like the Soviet Union.

For several years TTP have been fighting against the NATO forces in Afghanistan. Pakistani government assured the US and its allies to support them fully in their so called ‘war against terrorism’ and allowed NATO forced attacking the terrorists in Afghanistan from Pakistan using our air bases in. This action created unrest in TTP and they started attacking the innocent people in Pakistan. General Musharraf’s decision of allowing US Army to use drones for attacking the TTP terrorists in Pakistan added fuel to the fire. This decision proved the worst for our country. Many innocent kids and families got killed in these blind attacks. After the starting of these attacks TTP increased the level of their attacks and started attacking the armed forces in Pakistan.

During the last few years they attacked the GHQ, police and Intelligence centres, Wagha Border, army bases, shopping centres, and mosques and shrines in different corners of Pakistan.

Yesterday Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) did the highly inhuman act and attacked the school going children in Peshawar. They attacked Army Public School in Peshawar Cantt and killed 132 young students and 9 staff members including the female principal and teachers. The inhuman terrorists burnt one teacher alive after knowing that she had helped the students in rescuing.

After this national tragedy the whole nation announced that they are united against the bloody terrorists and have no sympathy with them. All political leadership sat together and vowed that they put their differences aside for fighting against the culprits. Imran Khan immediately stopped PTI’s protest against the rigging in the last election and announced that PTI would support the government in their war against TTP.

Prime Minister lifted the ban from the capital punishment and after three days two convicted terrorists were hanged. Indeed it is a good step and will prove pivotal in creating a better impression of the government and the judiciary.

I suggest that Pakistani government should now take serious steps in eliminating the terrorism from our land. Police must be trained properly by the Army and international law enforcement agencies for controlling the terrorists and finding their hideouts. Their cases must be preceded in the special courts which should give their decision within 2 weeks. Their verdicts must not be allowed to be challenged in any superior court at all. After the verdict the arrested criminals should be hanged in public. Identity of the judges of these special courts must be kept confidential and their families must be provided with the additional security. Terrorists captured with the clear evidence must not be provided with any legal facilities, i.e. lawyers etc.

All mosques and madrassas (religious schools) must be monitored by the government. Their contents must be approved before they share it with their students. Government also should pass the law for punishing the culprits in the worst manner that accuse non-Muslims without any evidence for carrying out the blasphemy against the Islamic personalities and literature, and promote unrest in the society that results in killing of the innocent accused persons.

Pakistan has to change now. Otherwise we will never be able to come out of this worst crisis that has now resulted in murder of the innocent kids. My heart is bleeding with pain in the memory of those little angels who were our future. WE HATE TERRORISTS. WE HATE TALIBAN. WE LOVE PAKISTAN!!!

A beautiful religious get together in Sydney with Najam Sheraz and Junaid Jamshed

Noble Mission Australia is a non-commercial organisation run by Brother Bashar Asadi and other Pakistani friends living in Sydney. They preach Islam to the non-Muslims by providing them published and verbal information in a very friendly environment. They organise weekly stalls in Mt. Druitt (a western Sydney Suburb) regularly, and also arrange open days in the masjids (mosques) where non-Muslim people are shown how we pray.

JJ and Najam Najam Sheraz and JJ

Yesterday (22 November 2014) Noble Mission Australia (NMA) organised a fundraising programme at the Rooty Hill Masjid for collecting funds for the construction of Slacks Creek Masjid in Brisbane. This Masjid will produce Islamic Scholars and will be the first of its kind in Australia. For this noble purpose NMA especially invited famous religious scholar Junaid Jamshed sahib. With him for the first time former pop singer Najam Sheraz also graced the occasion with his presence.

I know Najam since 1989 when he was a second year student of Civil Engineering in UET Lahore, which is also my alma mater. Najam later left engineering and started his career as a singer. He has a real melodious voice and we always loved attending his concerts. Initially he was the lead singer of a band Wet Metal (formerly known as Jupiters II). Later he got solo and gave many super hit songs. Junaid Jamshed was also a very popular singer in his youth.

Yesterday I met Najam after many years. He told me that two years ago he left music completely and now tours the world for preaching and fundraising for the Islamic cause. After the Maghrib prayer Najam was asked to deliver a brief speech about the change in his life. Najam shared his great experiences with the audience and told that how much comfortable he feels now when he has found Allah – the Lord in his life. He said that he got busier after getting into the new ear of his life. In last two years he has made so many journeys which he had never made being a popular singer. Junaid also shared little bit of his journey towards real Islam.

After the Isha prayer both were requested to recite (sing without music) their nasheed’s (religious poetry). Najam sang a beautiful nasheed “Alhamd ul Lillah” both in English and Urdu. Then he sang another one in Punjabi and Urdu “Allah Hu”. He was also explaining the thought behind the lyrics during the nasheed’s. Then Najam performed his most popular one “Naa tera Khuda koi aur hay” (نہ تیرا خدا کوئی اور ہے). All the people present there joined him in singing this beautiful nasheed and the atmosphere got extremely soulful.

Najam told us about the mercy of Allah SWT and requested everyone present there to bring real change in their attitude towards life. He advised that all of us must become example for the non-Muslims through our good acts.

I had to leave as it was too late. I could not listen to Junaid Jamshed unfortunately. However it was a very beautiful experience for me seeing Najam after a long time and finding him in such a great role. Allah bless both Najam and Junaid with His special mercy. Ameen!!!

In respect of Honourable Abdul Sattar Edhi

Edhi the great

Edhi

Pakistanis face lot of problems in their everyday life because of the uncontrollable terrorism, electricity load shedding and inflation. In these difficult  circumstances Edhi Foundation is a ray of hope for the citizens of our beloved motherland. Abdul Sattar Edhi is a living angel who established the world’s largest private ambulance service in Karachi in 1951. The great man didn’t get any assistance from any political party or the government and started serving the community with the help of donations from fellow citizens.

The Edhi Foundation provides 24-hour emergency assistance across the nation of Pakistan and abroad. The Foundation provides, among many other services, shelter for the destitute, free hospitals and medical care, drug rehabilitation services, and national and international relief efforts. Its main focuses are Emergency Services, Orphans, Handicapped Persons, Shelters, Education, Healthcare, International Community Centres, Blood & Drug Bank, air ambulance services, Marine and Coastal Services. (Source: Wikipedia)

Last week a very sad incident took place when some unknown robbers broke into a centre of Edhi Foundation located in Khara Dar, Karachi. Edhi sahib himself was there. The intruders were holding ammunition and asked the staff to hand them the keys. Edhi sahib requested them for not robbing charity money and jewellery but they didn’t listen to him and made him silent by giving the death threat. They looted a large amount of money and the jewellery and fled from the spot without any resistance.

This incident broke the heart of our beloved angel and he went into severe depression. Being a loyal Pakistani I also felt very sad and remained upset for some days after reading this news. However I feel sorry to say that unfortunately we have black sheep in our Islamic community. There are such brutal people in us who do the pickpocketing even in Holy Ka’aba during Hajj and Umrah’s. We have people in us who kill others without any reason, or for a mobile phone or a little money. We have people in us who rob jewellery from the bodies of dead persons. This is the reason of our downfall that we have no strong law and order in Pakistan due to which our nation saw this sad day when most undisputed and respectable man faced this bad incident.

Recently Malala Yousafzai has been awarded with the Nobel Prize and many Pakistani people on Facebook and Twitter are comparing her with Abdul Sattar Edhi sahib. They are of the view that Edhi sahib deserves this award much higher than Malala. Being an independent and unbiased writer I have concluded that Nobel Prize is not given justifiably. The committee is driven by some influential personalities.

Honourable Abdul Sattar Edhi himself is an organisation whose worth is much higher than Nobel Prize. I feel that Pakistani government must launch Edhi Award which should be given to the persons who work significantly for the community with full enthusiasm and dedication.

I salute Sir Abdul Sattar Edhi for all his devotion and passion for the needy persons. Allah may bless him with lots of rewards. Ameen!

Pankaj Udhas concert in Sydney – a night to remember!

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Urdu is the most beautiful language for poetry. That’s the reason that for last two centuries countless number of singers from the Indo-Pak subcontinent sings Urdu ghazals and songs. Even in the Hindi films most of the songs are written in Urdu words.

Pankaj Udhas is one of the most popular and highly talented singers from India. He has a beautiful voice and his albums are listened all over the world by the lovers of classical music. Yesterday I got a great opportunity of attending his live concert in Sydney. Beautiful theatre of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) was full with the Pakistani, Indian and Fijian migrants. Pankaj in this concert also launched his new album Khamoshi Ki Awaz (خاموشی کی آواز). He started performing at 9:00 pm and continued till 1:00 am with a half hour break in the middle.

Pankaj sang his favourite songs in the following sequence:

  1. Aap jin kay qareeb hotay hayn (آپ جن کے قریب ہوتے ہیں)
    2. Bay parda nazar aayeen jo (بے پردہ نظر آئیں جو)
    3. Niklo naa bay naqab zamana kharab hay (نکلو نہ بے نقاب، زمانہ خراب ہے)
    4. Dewaroun se mil ker rona achha lagta hay (دیواروں سے مل کر رونا اچھا لگتا ہے)
    5. Aur aahista kijiye baatayn (اور آہستہ کیجئے باتیں)
    6. Jiyain tou jiyain kaisay (جئیں تو جئیں کیسے)
    7. Dukh sukh tha aik sub ka (دکھ سکھ سب کا ایک تھا)
    8. Chandi jaisa rung hay tera (چاندی جیسا رنگ ہے تیرا)
    9. Sub ko maaloom hay mayn sharabi naheen (سب کو معلوم ہے میں شرابی نہیں)
    10. Koi umeed bur naheen aati (کوئی امید بر نہیں آتی)
    11. Amber ki ye oonchayee (mayee) (امبر کی یہ اونچائی۔ مائیں)
    12. Laa pila dey saqiya (لا پلا دے ساقیا)
    13. Yeh chithi bun ke aata hay (یہ چٹھی بن کے آتا ہے ۔ قطع)
    14. Chithi aayee hay (چٹھی آئی ہے)
    15. Aaiye baarishoun ka mausam hay (آئیے بارشوں کا موسم ہے)
    16. Dil daita hay ro ro duhayee (دل دیتا ہے رو رو دہائی)
    17. Naa kajray ki dhaar(نہ کجرے کی دھار)
    18. Aaj phir tum pe pyar aaya hay (آج پھر تم پہ پیار آیا ہے)
    19. Aey gham-e-zindagi (اے غم زندگی)
    20. Ghungroo toot gaye (گھنگرو ٹوٹ گئے)

He performed all the songs in a wonderful way and the audience enjoyed every single moment of his performance. Pankaj also introduced audience with his highly talented musicians. Nasir Sajjad Hussain on mandolin, Rajindra Singh on violin, Vishal on keyboards and Rashid Mustafa on Tabla gave superb performance and got huge applause from the crowd. During the concert Pankaj interacted with audience frequently and educated them about Urdu words used in his ghazals. I will remember this beautiful night forever.

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Paresh Rawal and Ismail Tara – two legends from Indo-Pak entertainment industries

Paresh Rawal

Ismail Tara

In my childhood I used to watch PTV super hit comedy programme ‘Fifty-Fifty’. Ismail Tara was the backbone of this very popular show which kept running for several years. Ismail also performed in some movies under the direction of Syed Noor, Javed Sheikh and Humayun Saeed. Recently I watched Humayun Saeed’s super hit Lollywood flick ‘Main Hoon Shahid Afridi’ (I am Shahid Afridi).  Ismail Tara in this film played role of a cricket club owner. His name in this film was Malik Khalid. Mr. Tara performed the role in such a perfect way that everything seemed to be real. Ismail in this role manages a team comprising of young cricketers from the poor families of Sialkot. This role was very challenging for Ismail being an Urdu speaking person who had to speak Punjabi in Sialkoti dialect in this role. Ismail proved that he can perform any role without any difficulty.

Now I would like to discuss about the Indian legendary actor Paresh Rawal. He is a great film actor from Bollywood. He most of the times has appeared in comic roles, but he has proved his mettle also in the serious roles. I am one of his greatest fans in the world. Paresh acted extraordinarily wonderful in the movies like Baghban and Aankhain. His role of Ilyas, a blind man, in Aankhain brings tears in the eyes. In Baghban he has performed role of a café owner where Amitabh Bachchan (playing as Mr. Raj Malhotra) spends his time while living away from his wife (played by Hima Malini) and writes his book ‘Baghban’. Paresh in the role of Himent Patel gave superb performance. He gave name of ‘Mota Bhai’ to Raj Malhotra and his face expressions, and dialogues with Amitabh were just amazing. He also has given tremendous performance in ‘Hera Pheri’, ‘Phir Hera Pheri’ and ‘Welcome’.

Ismail Tara and Paresh Rawal are the jewels of Urdu and Hindi entertainment industry. I wish both of them a beautiful life.

Breaking News!!!!

Breaking News 2 Breaking News 3

Today I was watching Australian TV channel ‘7 News’ live. In their morning show they were showing some police raids in Melbourne in which police had arrested some suspected criminals. However to my surprise there was no ‘Breaking News’ slide on the TV screen and only a limited information including a footage without showing faces of the captured persons and without any detailed description was shared with the public. After the news the newscaster didn’t call any of the TV reporters for getting more information. Also the news was not repeated or discussed at all again. I immediately got the essence of peace in Australia.

Breaking News

For last few weeks I have been following Pakistani news channels for getting knowledge about the PTI and PAT sit-ins (دھرنے) in Islamabad. ARY News deputed their anchors Mubashar Lucman, Kashif Abbasi, Dr. Danish and Waseem Badami for covering and discussing the situation in detail. Other TV channels also did similar things. All TV channels at this critical situation were just interested in breaking the news first of all. Even for very normal things they were showing ‘Breaking News’ slides in red colours. Then they used to repeat single piece of news again and again without any confirmation.

Last week SSP Islamabad Dr. Muhammad Rizwan visited me at my place in Sydney where he has arrived for attending a Policing degree. Dr. Rizwan is the same police officer who handled Sikandar issue in Islamabad last year on 15th of August. I asked him about the issue in detail. Dr. Rizwan criticised the electronic media in a very disappointed tone. He said that Islamabad Police could have easily taken hold of Sikandar if the media had not interrupted the action. Media in the form of different reports and cameramen was there to get ‘food’ for their channels. Dr. Rizwan added that the Police could not shoot Sikandar on his body because of the presence of TV reporters and cameramen in the immediate vicinity.

I really feel sorry to say that our media is playing the worst role in destabilising our beloved country Pakistan. I have live for three years in Dubai. Many times there were big accidents on roads and at the construction sides, but no newspaper or TV channel ever reported the correct figures of the causalities. Where 20 persons lost their lives, only 3 were reported over the media. That’s the reason that UAE is developing rapidly. I request Pakistani media to take a review of their own actions and play a positive role in educating and informing the people of Pakistan.