r a week in Houston and almost three weeks in the US of A, I was beginning to miss home and thinking about returning. Why, I am not sure, but perhaps, as the old Sinatra song goes, 'It's so nice to go traveling and roam as gypsies will roam, but it is so much nicer to come home.'
I suppose there is no place like home and even Karachi, with all its trials and tribulations, is still 'home' to even those who have been living in the US for many years. If things like law and order, basic infrastructure, traffic, etc., were to improve in Pakistan, many 'American Pakistanis' who have good jobs and a comfortable life style, would still pack their bags and head home.
I rang up Farkhanda Ahmed, who is managing the affairs of Helpline and who, I hope will take over the full responsibility by next year, if all was well. She assured me that things were under control and our CSR Awards and Fund Raiser on the 28th of August were going well and there was no need for me to rush back.
So, I am off to Venice Beach for three days, where my nephew, Tanvir is joining me. I shall be back in sunny and noisy city of Karachi on 8th August, where I believe it has been business as usual or the lack of it. There are reports of riots in Islamabad due to the falling Stock Market, deaths and blackouts in Karachi due to the rains and ominous warnings from Uncle Sam on the misconduct of our ISI.
Farah and Shahid, their three children and ten suitcases finally left for Karachi last week, after spending almost three months in the States. It was a struggle to get all five of them and their baggage into the van, but they somehow managed to fit it all in.
And suddenly the house was empty, with an eerie silence and even Dhooki and Sukhi Ram were subdued for the next few days. Shaihid and Az have been friends since the age of three, while Farah was in Junior Grammar School with AZ and are like sisters.
Both are a lively couple and are fun to have around. We all had a great time, especially the kids, golfing, sailing and fishing. What a difference life is over here. In Karachi, the only place where one can take the kids is Park Towers and even there, there are the apprehensions of a bomb blast, because of McDonalds.
From what I read in the newspapers on the net 'Almost the whole of Karachi, including the posh Clifton and Defence areas, plunged into darkness for the second time last Tuesday after a late Monsoon outbreak. Seven people were killed and more than two dozen injured. The city's traffic was clogged after rainwater flooded roads, causing traffic jams and gridlocks lasting hours'.
As they say here - 'Welcome to the reality show'. If these reports are right, then what happened to the new massive drainage system, which was suppose to have solved the cities flooding problems and on which millions of rupees of the tax payers money have been spent and for which the entire city, including DHA and Clifton were dug up? Will anybody be held accountable and answerable or will it be the usual, money down the drain, instead of the rain water?
For the last few days, Pakistan was not in the news and was replaced by the deadly, senseless and mysterious blasts in India and Istanbul. But on Wednesday, 30th July, one of the front page news in the NYT read, 'CIA Outlines Pakistan Links With Militants'. This was followed the next day with another damaging headline: 'Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul'.
Our PM, who is on a visit to the US, but has hardly received any news coverage, has naturally denied the allegations, but was confronted with hard proof of ISI's links with militants. But more about Venice Beach, 'Controversies Galore' and politics in America next week.
Before I end, I would like to give you a follow up on the "Zinda Hai BB" saga. I had written about Naeem Sadiq's letter in my last article, urging political leaders to follow traffic laws. Naeem had emailed the letter to the top 25 PPP leaders and writes:
'I Received a rather disappointing response. Twenty four did not respond. 'Brather' Jehangir Bader was the only one who had the courtesy to respond, but adamantly insisted that a PPP leader could never be so irresponsible to violate the law so blatantly'.
According to Naeem, he had an encounter of a strange kind with the Hon. Minister on Tammy Haq's talk show. The discussion had been around the restoration of judges, but it seems that it was: 'completely overshadowed by the high decibel endless ramblings of the Sindh Law Minister'.
'As we walked down the stairs, we noticed that the minister was being increasingly surrounded by his coterie of guards, etc. and the minister's truck-size Prado, as expected, had two large-size flags. As also expected, it did not have the number plate'.
When Naeem told the minister that being the top law officer of the province, he was doing an irresponsible and illegal act of driving around without a number plate. 'But I am standing out and still not inside the car", came the prompt and ludicrously illogical response of the law minister'.
'I politely told him that he had arrived in the Prado without the number plate and would be departing in the same vehicle. This time he came up with yet another masterpiece, "the car has a number plate in the front, and only the rear number plate is missing". The honourable law minister then sat in his official Prado and merrily drove off with the missing number plate'. Such is the 'Rule of Law' in Pakistan, with one law for you and one law for me.
Tread softly and stay safe dear friend, as these are uncertain times, where heroes and villains are constantly changing places and it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. But quoting Nelson Mandela, as you have, let me also do the same: "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear". So be it and as they say, 'Que sera, sera, what ever will be, will be, the future is not ours to see'.
H. Maker. (email; email@example.com)