Friday, November 27, 2009

Umeed-e-Bahar

I am a florist. My flower shop is located in one of the finest hotels in the metropolis. There are some 20 shops in the main lobby of the hotel and my shop is centrally located and well placed among other shops of gourmet, articles & souvenir, Afghani rugs & carpets, jewelry, travel agency, book & magazines and perfumery outlet.

A question might come to your mind that why did I opt for the profession of floristry or floral trade as my source for livelihood? Well, while doing my MBA from a local university, my favorite subject was entrepreneurship. Aaliya was also the reason to have interest in entrepreneurship as we first time met in the class of the said subject. Later we decided two things before the closure of our final semester; first we will marry soon after the completion of our MBA and second I will not do any job and will start my own business. Our final project on setting flower shop was the reason to join this business. And for the last 9 years I am in this business.

My shop ‘Jamal’s flower shop’ is one of the most famous flower shop in town for its floral arrangements in vases, bowls, baskets or other containers, or making bouquets and compositions from cut flowers, foliages, herbs, ornamental grasses and other botanical materials. It’s really a form of art. Knowing how to cut, treat, and arrange flowers and other stock plants so they will remain fresh as long as possible as per requirements and expectations of the customers for the various occasions ranging from birthdays to anniversaries and from wedding sessions to seasonal greetings.

The flowers sold in florist shops typically represent the varieties abundantly available in the season but also include blossoms flown in from around the world. Basic varieties include gulab, motia, gainda, tulips, orchids and lilies. Fashion sometimes plays a role in floristry and I have to maintain enough stocks for the flower that everyone needs to buy.

But you know besides bloom days one has to face gloom days too. Apart from all the blissful years of robust growth I am standing at the point of uncertainty and business recession. With political and social chaos in the country and frequent suicide attacks the hotel industry is in doldrums. The hotel’s lobby which remains crowded with tourists & visitors almost throughout the year is looking deserted and barren. This is not only my shop which is suffering economically we all shop owners are facing the deepening crises.

For the last three days hardly any visitor came to the shop for flowers. Though I am a seller of hope & bliss but each day my flowers are getting dry and dead awaiting their buyers. It’s a really painful phenomenon to dispose of decomposed and dried flower arrangements. Increasing burdened expenses and low revenues giving its toll on my pocket. Today I remained open for the whole day and managed to sell only two bouquets. Upon closure of the shop my mind was hopeless to find solution for electricity bill payment, rent of the shop, my son’s english medium school’s two months’ voucher, daughter’s milk and likewise list of expenditures.

I reached home as a warrior who lost everything in the battle field. Aaliya welcomed me like any other day at home. My son and daughter met me with loud out slogans of “Abbu aa gaye”. I went into the bed room and dropped my whole body to the nearby sofa. Aaliya, the pacifier, was there to listen everything. She comprehended all my miseries without any verbal communication and said: ‘I know you, you are extremely good in business, you are honest and dedicated, you sell happiness and delight to the people and you know God is with those who distribute bliss & pleasure to its mankind. Have faith in God! App pereshan na hon everything will be fine!’

I saw the assurance and confidence in the Aaliya’s eyes. With Aaliya as my wife I felt like the most lucky man on earth. The ‘Hope’ somewhere inside me has been rejuvenated by my shareek-e-hayat. I looked at my ever encouraging Aaliya. She gave me inspiring smile and I got enough strength to reopen the shop tomorrow with same zeal and enthusiasm.

Adam’s dream of having Eve’s companionship seems to be materialized and I once again opened my flower shop with the same set of floral arrangements, the aroma and fragrance in the air in the search of selling hopes to my prospective customers.

P.S: With this King Sheheryar asked Princess Shahrzad if he got success in selling flowers the other day. In hope of living another day Shahrzad smiled and replied gracefully, “Hazoor! Iss ka zikar agli nashist main ho ga” (My Lord! I will let you know this in the next sitting)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Complete KYC requirements!

She looked at the cheque received through Admin Officer. The cheque was crossed “Account payees only” in favour of Hajira Bibi amounting to PKR 283,450/-. Her eyes watered and the wording of the cheque got jumbled. Two months earlier her only son died while serving on duty in a suicide attack by an ‘unknown’ suicide bomber. He was serving as government employee in Elite Force, Punjab Police and cheque was the payment for accumulated funds & end benefits. Admin Officer also told her the ‘good news’ that she will receive pension of PKR 3,130/- per month for his son.

Hajira Bibi has been through a lot of turbulent times in her life cycle. She migrated to Lahore from Ferozepur, India in 1947 and was one of the very few survivors in the family when other members were brutally butchered by Sikh rebellions. She was married to Mairaj Din who was a local street vendor. Life for Hajira Bibi was not a bed of roses since Mairaj Din’s earning was meager and insufficient to cover the very basic necessities.

After Mairaj Din’s death, her son was the only asset she had. With loss of life of her son she lost every thing. She gathered all her energies and efforts and went to a local bank branch around 8 K.M away from her poor home by changing two wagons for opening of an account for respective credit of cheque.

An officer sitting at the front desk was recently trained on KYC & AML (Know Your Customer & Anti Money Laundering) measures to be adapted to curb any illicit, illegitimate placement, layering and integration of funds as defined under Financial Action task Force (FATF) recommendations and SBP Prudential Regulations on KYC & AML measures.

At the front desk that officer told her: O Khala je! You know only cheque in hand is not enough to open an account. You have to fulfill KYC & AML requirements. Bring your Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) in original, attested copy of CNIC and list of documents required to open a pension account. He handed over the list along with the account opening form.

Hajira Bibi looked at the officer, at the cheque in her hand, list of documents & account opening form. She has yet to prove her identity to be known for customer due diligence.

(All the Characters in the above mentioned story are imaginary & fictional work and resemblance to any actual incident is merely coincidence for which blog-writer is not responsible)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Who is the judge?

Born into severe poverty and witness of considerable hardship in early life, Oprah Winfrey is an American media personality, actress, television producer, literary critic and magazine publisher, best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history.

She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the most philanthropic African American of all time, and was once the world's only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.

In year 2007, she produced a film The Great Debaters about the struggle of “colored” Americans for civil rights. The film is based on a true story. The plot revolves around the efforts of debate coach Melvin B. Tolson at historically black Wiley College to place his team on equal footing with whites in the American South during the 1930s, when Jim Crow laws were common and lynch mobs were a pervasive fear for deprived blacks. The Wiley team eventually succeeds to the point where they are able to debate Harvard University.

In the movie, the mentor & coach Mr. Tolson manages recitation of chorus in front of debating team:

Who is the JUDGE?
The judge is God.
Why is he GOD?
Because he decides who wins or loses, not my opponent.
Who is your OPPONENT?
He does not exist.
Why doesn't he EXIST?
Because he is a mere dissenting voice of the TRUTH I speak.

Pakistan is the country which came into existence in the name of God. We the Pakistanis trust in God. We believe in His supremacy and His Day of Judgment. Today we are facing turbulent times. Our opponents are many. Our opponents are external & internal. But we believe in Truth, we believe in good days to come, when we will win. We know our opponents do not exist. They are mere dissenting voices of the Truth we speak.

Long live optimism!

Information courtesy: wikipedia

P.S: I wrote this blog on October 28,2009. The day more than 120 men, women & children died and more than 250 severely injured in lethal car bomb blast at women’s market Meena Bazar, Peshawar (Pakistan). Almost 75 dead bodies were unidentifiable and dozens of shops & buildings completely destroyed including one mosque. Till writing of this line no one accepted the responsibility.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Thousand Splendid Wounds

I want to salute US Think Tanks. Over the years & decades they learned good skills of intervention, interference, intrusion & destruction. I guess they learned these skills from history of British Empire. They research on ideas, plan & project. They work & re work over strategies and then masterly execute their plan of action.

They believe in ‘Rule on the people by the people’. They always give due weightage to the indigenous natural & human resources in order to implement their plan. Khaled Hosseini is one of the feathers in the US cap.

Currently citizen of United States and Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Khaled Hosseini is a novelist and physician from Afghanistan living in Northern California with his wife, Roya, and their two children.

Hosseini was born in Kabul where his father worked for the Afghanistan Foreign Ministry. In 1970, Hosseini and his family moved to Tehran, Iran, where his father worked for the Embassy of Afghanistan. In 1980 they sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California.

Hosseini graduated from Independence High School in San Jose in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1993.

His 2003 debut novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller, selling in more than 10 million copies worldwide. His second, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was released on May 22, 2007. In 2008, the book was the bestselling novel in the UK with more than 700,000 copies sold.

In A Thousand Splendid Suns, with use of God-gifted skills of story telling Khaled Hosseini superlatively narrated story of two women of Afghanistan, Mariam and Laila, whose lives become entwined in back drop of War, hunger, anarchy, and oppression. He left no room to tell about the dark face of Afghanistan, The face which US Think Tank wants to show the World. The gloomy dark era of Russians & Taliban. According to writer the only hope for every living Afghani is to migrate from Afghanistan to the dreamland of Northern California.

I want to suggest and recommend Mr. Khaled Hosseini to rephrase the title of the novel as “A Thousand splendid Wounds” because with this new title I anticipate & foresee manifold increase in sale of novel all around the World.

I once again want to show tashakoor to US Think Tanks for such a talent hunt in the shape of Khaled Hosseini. They should consider him for promotion and higher ranks in UNHCR, because he really deserve for the position. He is the person who highlighted such an agony and grief of the Afghan awam in true sense to the international audience. The story of a thousand splendid wounds…

For the third novel yet to come by bestseller writer Khalid Hosseini, I want to remind one trait of the Afghan to him. Khud-dari…Khuddar Afghan men & women can compromise poor, pathetic, deprived living but will never bear the grief of someone’s own finger point over their own sore. The art of marketing their wounds for good money.

As far as US Think Tanks as concern while learning from history of the great British Empire they forget one thing…The great British Empire is part of history so will they!

My sincere wish for Arm-free world and peace for every single living being! Long live global citizen!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ranjha - Destiny & Free Will

Of all earthly pleasures, Ranjha was used to enjoy thinking of Heer (Tasawoor-e-Janaan) all the time. But Ranjha was really confused this time. This new break through made him completely in the state of indecision & irresolution. Though the idea was new for Ranjha but the matter was actually a centuries old, Old enough to match with the existence of first man on earth. The question of destiny & free will.

The question of fate and free will is one of the most intriguing topics in metaphysics and religion. Indeed the question of pre-destination and free will has haunted Man for so long. Man feels absolutely powerless, regarding many of the circumstances in which he/she finds him/herself. One might feel that there are so many givens, which one has to take for granted, and nothing can be done about them. On the other hand, there are many areas where one feels free to act.

Keeping in view this question, Ranjha was upset because he was unclear regarding his fate about Heer. If the destiny meant to rule Ranjha does not need to exert efforts for Heer and she will ultimately be with Ranjha on the other hand if free will exists Ranjha has to look into all the forces against his will for union with Heer since his strengths were mere peanuts in front of Qaidu Chacha & other family members.

Ranjha approached some local cleric for consultation. The cleric smiled and said: Ahan! I see, you know your Masla is of “Jabar o Qadar”. Look at the marvelous progress of humanity through the centuries. If humans were mere puppets, could we have managed all these wonderful achievements, which have made us so proud of human potential?

God is the creator and we are the created. Our knowledge is limited in ways that God's knowledge is not. It is our very lack of knowledge which gives us free will. We cannot know our future and to a large extent we cannot control it. Our decisions are based on our understanding of the way the world works. Are these decisions free from God's command? Not really, but for all practical purposes we inevitably see them as free choices, we cannot do otherwise – that is our nature. We are held accountable only for things we understand. Our deeds are judged by their intentions.

From the Qur’anic point of view, Man is not completely a master of his fate; nor is he a puppet subject to the hazards of destiny. It is true that God’s sovereignty is all pervading and nothing falls outside its purview. This means that God knows everything and it is according to His will, things happen here. The universe is completely subject to the overriding power of God, and nothing happens without God willing it to be so.

However, God not only created everything, but He determined its nature and scope. In His infinite wisdom and mercy, He gave Man limited power and great freedoms, including the freedom of choice. It is because of this autonomy, enjoyed by Man, that he/she is held accountable for the individual deeds.

Destiny as conceived by Islam, therefore, does not take away our freedom of choice and action. It is our willful choice of those actions from our inherent possibilities that are in harmony with God’s will that earns us our reward from God. Thus, qadar can be a source of inspiration and encouragement for us, and it really opens up vast fields of human activity. It need not make us utterly powerless or helpless; on the contrary it can be a source of inspiration and encouragement.

Indeed, when God has set certain rules in his decree as to how things evolve, even these things can be changed through prayers. The prophet stressed that only sincere prayers can change the way events unfold, and that true worship and sincere submission to God can raise the believer above the normal ways of nature: Prayers can and do result in "personal miracles" - events or experiences which we consider almost impossible and certainly highly improbable.
From an Islamic point of view, Man is free for all practical purposes. He/she has no excuse for making the wrong choice and then blaming qadar or fate, any more than a man punching his fist into a wall can blame the laws of nature. He knew the consequences of his actions for all practical purposes and he shouldn't expect a miracle!

The foregoing means that we should not worry about what God has written for us, since we can never know it; but our duty, here and now, is to strive for the best in this world and the next. Then, good results will follow, Insha’Allah. And Allah knows best.

Ranjha seems to be satisfied with what cleric said but still his mind was in state of indecision working & shaking what cleric said and what he is meant to do now. He called his friend and both went to milk shake shop at Kirshan Nagar (now destined to call as Islampura, Lahore) near Chowk Noori Building. A friend in need narrated how he recently managed to play tune of Hallelujah (Praise & thanks given note for God by Jews & Christians) over his mouth organ. A friend being true Lahori give pat over Ranjha’s shoulder and said: O Yaar Ranjhey! What happened to you? Are these things worth thoughtful? Leave the crap. Just drink healthy & rich Mango Milk shake and enjoy. You know what Baber the Emperor said once: Babar ba Aish Kosh ki Alam Doubara Neest (O King! Live lavishly on this earth since you will not be coming to this earth again). With this he started playing newly rehearsed Hallelujah.

Puzzled Ranjha was looking at the waving black flag across the road over the Imam Bargah. The silver hand of Panj Tan Pak and the zero watt bulb over it brightening the silver hand. Physically sipping concentrated Mango shake Ranjha was mentally far away from real. The destiny, the free will, Heer, the cleric, Hallelujah…The symbols were yet in search of their meanings.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Holoucast Rememberence Day

Maimona!! Maimona jaan!! Dukhtar ask your Agha jaan about dodhe khourey (Meals taken)…After a while a seven year old girl came to mother. No, Agha jaan is saying that he is waiting for Baba jaan and take meals with him upon his arrival…Maimona has all valid reasons to rejoice since morning as she got the news that Baba jaan Afzal Khan is coming from Peshawar after 3 months. Afzal Khan was a loader to Rustam Khan @ Karkhano bazar, Hyatabad, Peshawar and also earn some money for his services to purchasers.

The exciting news about arrival of his father gave her extra enthusiasm to work with Bibi jaan in milking the goats, feeding the hen & collecting eggs, kneading dough etc. She said to Bibi jaan, “ Are you sure Baba jaan is coming today? What he said over telephone? Did he asked about me? Did he told you about promised doll?” Her querries remained unanswered by Bibi jaan though replied with a smile. She looked at Maimoona and asked her to complete the asigned task for cleanliness so that father feel better. Bibi jaan may be not expressive but the excitement & bliss on account of arrival of Afzal Khan was not different from Maimona Jaan.

In waiting Maimona sat on nearby stone at rah-dari outside house so that she will be first to see Afzal Khan. Finally she saw Baba jaan coming towards home. With sheer excitement she started running for his father’s hug. At a distance of two meter between father & daughter fierce blast erupted. Two of the missles ripped through the house adjoining Madrassah killing 9 people. Their bodies were charred beyond recognition and could not be identified. Alongwith Dada jee (Agha Jaan) Bibi Jaan was a beneficiary of recent drone attack by US non-pilot aircraft killing Maimona jaan & Afzal Khan. Maimona’s mutilated hand was hanging on the nearby tree in good hope of justice.

After one hour of the incidence the breaking news flashed around the globe about Drone attack in Waziristan killing important Taliban leader. In further three hours news item came out from lead stories/headlines.

Next day besides accustom sullen news of drone attack a major news item in the major national newspapers reads “The World celebrated Holoucast Rememberence Day around the globe against adversities & genocide Jews faced during World War II by Nazi Germany, under Adolf Hitler.”

(All the Characters in the above mentioned story are imaginary & fictional work and resemblance to any actual incident is merely coincidence for which blog-writer is not responsible)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Raja Gidh

Bano Qudsia has experienced innovative form of Novel writing. Her novel usually based on three core values. First being the philosophy introduced which she tries to justify through her narrative style. Second being the city she opts for her story telling and on which plot of her novel revolves and finally parallel to the main plot allegorical story of animal which supports her philosophy and trace out the existence of animal character in human being.

Raja Gidh by Bano Qudsia is one of the most widely read and acclaimed Urdu novels offering the said trilogy bonanza to readers. Gidh is the Urdu word for a vulture and Raja is a Hindi synonym for king. The name anticipates the kingdom of vultures. The metaphor of the vulture as an animal feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals is employed to portray the trespassing of ethical limits imposed by the society or by the religion.

The philosophy is the concept of Halal & Haraam & hereditary transmission of Haraam genes. Naturally the plot is woven to support the thesis. In the opinion of many readers and critics she manages to convince them that the pursuance of Haraam, be it financial, moral or emotional, results in the deterioration of a person's normality in some sense. She seems to suggest that the abnormality is transferred genetically to the next generation.

The city is Lahore. The nostalgic narration of the historical Government College Lahore and of the Lawrence Garden Lahore (Bagh-e-Jinnah) lights upon the days of seventies and eighties. Every sensitive reader who has attended a college or a university in a Pakistani setting is bound to find some similarities between him and one of the characters.

In my early days of Jehalat (present being post Jehalat era?) when I was a University students I met a scholar to discuss Raja Gidh. He said you know reader of Raja Gidh has two lives one prior to reading and one life hereafter.

Recently, one of my students met me and said: Sir, I read your blog writings at Daastan Siraey. Mind-blowing, your entries were awesome! I had a very different image of yours before reading your blog but since then your image has changed in my perception…An image far different from the previous…Like a matter changed its physical state completely after some series of chain reactions.

Shariq, Shylock & Shahid saw each other…Our meaningful sight has reasons to share…Shariq looked at me and said “Show-off”…I & Shylock smiled like we have reasons for smile again like Taj Din had for opening of new Nirala outlet.

Characters:
Shahid: myself
Shariq: A student of National College of Arts for whom I am so called elder brotherly dictator and for me he is an incalculable critic for my calculated world.
Shylock: A character of Jewish money lender in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice portrayed by me in class of Consumer Credit Analysis as a case study

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Music has nothing to do with eyes

Although I have never figured out the balance affect of my extremes from Core Islamic to Secular frame of mind…The war within is unexplainable in words…with my most favourite hobby to search unseen God irrespective of religious beliefs to the looking glass of compulsory belief that God exists…like other things remain the same in economic theories…The variation some time leads me to the point like Sungam (Attock, Border of NWFP & Punjab) where clear water of Dariya-e-Neelam meets muddy Dariya-e-Kabul forming 3rd colour of water.

Despite of all the debates I adhered to about permissibility and non-permissibility of Music to date I am still unable to unlisten music in the name of Islam. That is the reason I am member of APMC (All Pakistan Music Conference) for the last many years. APMC was the brain child of Hayat Khan sb & his fellow friends for promotion of traditional music of sub-continent. After death of Hayat Khan Sb, Dr Ghazala (daughter of Hayat Khan Sb) doing all efforts to keep maintaining the pace of APMC. She teaches philosophy at LUMS.

Attending monthly sessions at Al-hamra Hall 3 to Bagh-e-Jinnah’s 3 day annual Rag Mehfils, APMC is contributing to great extent for quality listening of instrumental and Rag music. Once I was among the audience of very terrific & exceptional evening organized by APMC regarding Raag Dhurpad.

After soulful instrumental performance, Dr Ghazala announced the details of the performer Aliya Rasheed for singing Raag Dhrupad. A blind girl came out from back door to the stage. The person sitting next to me was stunned & shocked to see blind Aliya having generated disbeliefs that if she can perform over stage. I & Dr. Ghazala jointly felt the feeling of the person, suddenly Dr. Ghazala came over stage and while looking to that person said, “Music has nothing to do with eyes”.

Two performances by Aliya Rasheed on Raag Dhrupad were extremely exceptional & outstanding. Throughout the performance I remained thoughtful of impermissibility of music watching music with my deaf ears in praise of Allah (SWT) in colour of classic Hindu tradition.

P.S: Raag Dhrupad is a solo vocal genre in classical music said to be the oldest still in use in that musical tradition. Its name is derived from the words "dhruva" (fixed) and "pada" (words). The term may denote both the verse form of the poetry and the style in which it is sung. the musical background of dhrupad is commonly thought to have a long history, traceable back to the Vedas. Thematic matter ranges from the religious and spiritual (mostly in praise of Hindu Gods). Very interestingly under Mughal influence (courtyard of Emperor Akbar) the Raag Dhrupad was used to praise Allah (SWT) replacing Hindu spirituality of religious figures to oneness & greatness of God. The guru of music Mian Tansen, was a well known dhrupad singer.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

King Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Last Royal Mushaera

RBS Group PLC is one of the worst affected by the recent global economic downturn and posted an unprecedented loss of £24.1bn in CY08, the biggest in UK corporate history. Consequently, the group was forced to divest or curtail operations in 36 of the 54 operated countries including Pakistan to raise much needed distress funding.

MCB Bank’s board has approved the acquisition of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Pakistan. Following regulatory approvals and share purchase agreement, MCB is likely to acquire 99.37% or 1.71bn shares from the RBS Group while the remaining 0.63% stake or 10.8mn shares will be acquired by means of a mandatory tender offer. Pakistan's largest bank, MCB Bank, will pay around $90 million to acquire the local operations of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Muhammad Aurangzeb is a Chairman of RBS Pakistan Operations. At this juncture of uncertainty, ambiguity & grief he wrote an excellent & meticulous message to all of his colleagues. Every word of this master piece communication is worth reading and class in itself…A moral booster…graceful…emotional high note!!!

Message from Muhammad Aurangzeb, RBS Pakistan, Chairman
Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to confirm today that we have successfully entered into a sale agreement with MCB Bank Limited (MCB) for RBS Pakistan.This marks a new chapter in both RBS Pakistan's and MCB's history,which will give MCB an even stronger presence in their home marketfrom which to build their international growth plans. This creates anexciting opportunity for RBS Pakistan to become part of one of thecountry's largest and most ambitious banks.

MCB recognized the strength of the customer franchise which RBS has built and with the investment they can provide RBS Pakistan will be better able to realize its full potential.

From today, we begin the transition to becoming part of MCB, one of the leading banks in Pakistan with a long standing banking history of over sixty years. MCB operates through a network of over 1,050 branches in Pakistan with more than four million corporate, institutional, personal, small business, agricultural, Islamic and asset financing customers.

Awarded in 2008 as the Best Bank in Asia, Best Bank in Pakistan andBest Domestic Bank in Pakistan, MCB has a record of technologicalinnovations and is focused on making substantial investments inthe banking and financial services sector locally and internationally.

Although many of us will feel relieved that a successful bidder has now been announced, it is important to remember that we are onlyat the beginning of another journey of transition of our operationsto our new owners. This phase will take some time and present usall with some continued uncertainty. It will require the same levels of patience and focus that you have already shown during the lead-up totoday's announcement.

I would also like to reiterate that today's announcement does not mean a change to our business overnight. It will take some time beforewe look and feel like a different entity, so we must continue to focus on building our operations and reassure clients that its business as usual with no change to their existing contracts, levels of service andproduct offering.

During this week, it is critical to stay close to your customers and keep the lines of communication open with your immediate manager. We all need to play a role in communicating to our customers, vendors and the market, that this transaction offers the possibility of greater opportunities, better products and services, and growth potential for our shareholders, clients and employees.

As we begin the process of getting to know our new owner, a seriesof informative town halls will be hosted soon across the country togive you more insight into MCB's culture, strategy and views on ourbusinesses going forward.

I encourage you to regularly review our intranet site to keep you informed as new information comes to hand. I would like to personally extend my thanks once again to you all, for your ongoing commitment to our operations in Pakistan and for your patience prior to today's announcement.

Yours sincerely,
Muhammad Aurangzeb
Chairman, RBS Pakistan

Year 1857: Mushaera was full of bloom, though everyone aware of the bleak future ahead everyone was trying to put his all notions of daad-o-tahseen for every sonnet & couplet being aired….kya kehney hain…Wah…Aah-haa-ha…wah jee…kya baat hai…ghazab hai…ah-wah…Subhan Allah!

That was infact the last episode of Royal Mushaera at the court yard of the last Mughal King Bahadur Shah Zafar in Delhi…Shama-e-Mehfil lastly sparked, blazed and finally ends up with grey coloured upsurge one liner smoke…Night after the Mushaera was darker & gloomy.

Dard minat kashe dawa na howa
Mien na acha howa boura na howa (Ghalib)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Largest runway in Asia

Recently constructed largest runway in Asia at New Delhi, India will be opened for air-traffic very soon. At 4,430 metres, Asia's largest runway will make the Delhi airport the first in the country with the capability of handling A-380, the largest aircraft in the world.

By 2010, all international and full service domestic carriers will operate from Terminal 3, while Terminal 1 will be developed as an exclusive terminal for low-cost carriers. In subsequent stages, the low-cost carriers will also move to the new terminal complex, according to the plan.

With an eye on the 2010 Commonwealth Games, DIAL will augment the airport's annual passenger handling capacity from 16.24 million to 37 million. A new high-speed rail link from Connaught Place, which will reduce the journey time to 19 minutes, will also be ready before the games.

The master plan has been designed in consultation with Moff McDonald, a leading management, engineering and development consultancy and HOK, world-renowned airport architects based in the UK.

Thanks to Army scheme houses alongside Allama Iqbal International Airport which grabbed the right of enhancement/expansion for Lahore’s international Airport to have larger runway.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Green Leaves Getting Yellow

Though Independence Day is near and everyone is glued to paint Pakistan green from corporate marketing campaigns to individuals with lavish spending on the cards very few people in the country are genuinely concerned about dryness of Pakistan.

Pakistan has to face another setback in attracting foreign investment as China has shelved the Coastal Oil Refinery Project at Gwadar in strategically located Balochistan province, and has deleted it from the list of Financial Development Programme 2009-10 agreed between the two countries during President Pervez Musharraf's visit to China in February 2006.

The proposed Coastal Oil Refinery was part of China's plan to invest $12 billion in multiple projects in Pakistan. The refinery was designed to reach a daily output of 60,000 barrels crude oil per day. Pakistan and China had also considered a feasibility study for an oil pipeline from Gwadar port to western China to bring oil from the Persian Gulf. This proposal has also been shelved after China's refusal to set up oil refinery in Gwadar

Former President Pervez Musharraf had also offered a "trade corridor" to meet Beijing's energy requirements and offered help for the construction of the strategic pipeline from Gwadar to its borders, enabling it to import oil from Saudi Arabia. China is heavily dependent on oil from the Gulf that currently passes via a very long route, through the straits of Malacca under United States influence. After this oil reach Shanghai, or the Chinese East Coast, it has to cover thousands of miles inland to west of China. By using Coastal Oil Refinery at Gwadar port, Karakoram Highway (KKH) could be much safer, cheaper and shorter route to west of China for oil transportation.

UAE state run International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) has already suspended the work on the Khalifa oil refinery project after the controversy with Government of Pakistan. Due to shelving of Coastal Oil Refinery Project by China, Balochistan has been deprived of billions of dollars investment that could generate employment for local people.

In the era of darkness & gloom where domestic & international media is full of negativity about Pakistan, where our graph is going down & down in every social & economic indicator, I am still hopeful for good days to come, looking the sky for rain of blessing & prosperity so that our leaves may start getting green again. Inshallah!

Courtesy: News item appeared in Daily Business Recorder “China shelves refinery project at Gwadar” (05/08/2009)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kaiynat

I can’t understand anything, nor interpret & infer either. And believe me it’s not my fault or error, actually God made me like this. It’s often hard to comprehend what people are saying to me. My parents, siblings, teachers & friends I can recognize them but sometimes there faces mingled in my perception. If this kind of feeling happen I almost found myself lost.

Among all my teachers, Miss Nayyer is the most admirable personality I have ever had. She is an amazing person. When no one listens to my worries & my feelings I always found her caring, concerned & passionate.

Since last 2 weeks my teacher was preparing myself for a rhyme presentation. You know, rhyme was all about mermaid, swimming, move around in water, waving hands like fish as my teacher showed to me. She taught me each step & lesson regarding performance. We repeatedly performed steps with back ground music. Me & my teacher.

Then the day came when I had to give on stage performance. The presence of audience was making me nervous &tense. I was loosing control over my mind. My teacher was there to give me strength. She took my hand, caressed, looked in my eyes & said: Believe me! I am sure & confident that you can do it!

Finally my name announced, background music began, and I started performance in front of dinosaur audience. My teacher was there off stage to guide me about the steps. She was enthusiast. Her eyes were full of expectations & energy. I started swimming in the air. Wearing colourful attire of mermaid I followed steps of my teacher. My teacher was performing with me. And I concluded successfully. Hall was full of clap, full of joy and round of applause.

My teacher came up stage & kissed me in reward. And I found Kaiynat.

P.S: On August 4, 2009 I was guest at Annual function of Mother & child Rehabilitation Society (Alhamra Hall # 2). Mother & child Rehabilitation Society is an organization for handicapped & mentally retarded children. Kaiynat was 5 years old mentally retarded girl performed in certificate winning tableau. Miss Nayyer is my most beloved primary teacher lost in time. To give her honour & grace I am searching for her address or where about for the last 15 years and my search for her is fruitless to date. And I percept Miss Nayyer in every dedicating primary teacher.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ranjha – Aaj Kaal

Subsequent upon electricity break down, Ranjha was sitting idle at roof top. He just heard about some court decision about November 3 emergency by the court of law for which he was not sure what is actually the judgment meant for however to his level of expertise on politics which he has gained from listening evening political shows he was sure that there is something about impeachment of Ex-President Musharraf.

He aimlessly forwarded some of the recently received SMS in love with President Zardari excluding Heer. Since last 3 days he has not received any communication from Heer. This non communication was causing him frustration & distress besides humidity & bad weather.

Ultimately after loosing the battle of who will communicate first (winner being the last) he pushed the button to talk for Heer. After a one calling beep the bollywood song (recent hit) started. Despite of patience listening of the same song twice phone was not picked by Heer. He tried the Heer’s No. 3rd time which was picked by her finally.

Heer: Hello
Ranjha: Oh sweet heart! Where are you? Its been 3 days I have not heard from you?
Heer: Bus kiya bataoon, balance khatam ho gya thaa!
Ranjha: Abhi last week hi tu load karwa ki diya thaa??
Heer: Bus tumhien tu pata hai mie call kay bina reh hi nahin sakti & SMS voh tu mujhe pasand hi bohat hai, so khatam ho gya!
Ranjha: Aur ye aaj kaal tum ho kahan??
Heer: I have been volunteering for NGO serving IDPs (being fashion statement)
Ranjha: IDPs?
Heer: Don’t you know?? Internally Displaced Persons?
Ranjha: Oh I see! So are you going to Mardan?
Heer: No dude! We arrange protest by putting play cards for media attention and all such kind of stuff for rehabilitation & settlement of IDPs.
Ranjha: I have composed some special MP3 flute tunes in mobile for you.
Heer: Ahan! Be mature man! Can’t you do something valuable?
Ranjha: Any plans for meeting? I have arranged tickets for premiere show of new bollywood movie @ DHA Cinema.
Heer: I wish my friends also accompany!
Ranjha: How they are in number? (Raised eye brow)
Heer: 4-5 (Rabia, Maria, Sara & Ali)
Ranjha: ummm… ok! (With sheer gloom)
Ranjha: As you may please!
Heer: see you then, Bye!
Ranjha: Bye! (Thinking: Sasti call mehngi pur gaye)

Suddenly electricity glimmered. Ranjha came down from roof top to living room. Ranjha switched on the wall hung LCD screen and after some thumb moves managed to have a stop over at GEO NEWS. GEO Network being found of promoting negativity of Pakistan showing yet another sensational breaking news: 40 houses torched, At least seven people, including four women and two children, have reported to be burnt to death and dozens others have received critical injuries when riots erupted in Gojra between Christian community and Muslims.

Azaan-e-Meghrib erupted from nearby masjid and Ranjha muted the LCD screen thinking of joining some NGO for the noble cause of serving IDPs.


P.S: I watched one of the premiere shows of newly opened “Love – Aaj Kaal” in nearby Cinema (The late night Saturday show was jam packed, overly booked)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Princess Zaib-un-Nisa's Mausoleum

When she was not treated well being remain unmarried on account of darbar politics, the treatment for her mausoleum is not different as such. Mughal princess Zaib-un-Nisa’s 350 years old Mausoleum at Samnabad, Lahore is a symbol of gross negligence of the concerned authorities as the Mausoleum is in pathetic & miserable conditions. The illegal occupation of the Mausoleum area by local woodworks is remained unchecked by the municipal or local government.

The Mughal princess was famous for her taste for art & craft and her love for nature & parks. Chouburji monument, the centre of activity & one of the busiest squares in Lahore was supposed to be a gateway for magnificent ladies park founded by the Mughal princess outside the walled city at that time. The princess
died in 1669 and the mausoleum was built which was piece of art & Mughal architecture.

Today Mausoleum looks shabby with broken floors. Painted & crafted wall interior is either damaged or lost in defense with harsh weather seasons. There is dare need to renovate the premises & protect the area from land grabbers.

When I was serving banker in close vicinity of the last araam-gah of the princess back in year 2007 I occasionally pay visit to the late Mughal lady. The silent whispers of the broken fa├žade have timeless stories to tell about miseries & agony of living & dead princess. In surroundings, being Noha-kana I was used to be the sole pacifier for the late princess.

Maatam-sira bhi hotey hain kiya khud-gharz Qateel
Apney ghamoon pey rootey hain le kur kisi ka naam

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Recession is a beautiful thing

It was bethak on 4thfloor we were discussing economic recession, unemployment, fall of capitalism waghera…I was trying to put all my knowledge outside to justify that recent economic balloon burst is all because of capitalism and consumerism seeking very less likely chances for recovery for at least 2 years more.

Then finally bethak concluded on account of unbearable hot & humid weather with electricity all gone and failure of UPS who was earlier reason for moving ceiling fan with inng zing sonnet asking for appreciation.

In amid darkness we started moving downstairs with mobile phone flash lights ON. I said to him “You see we are moving in dark in recession, are not we moving in gloom? We have been destined for darkness! (I tried to put last nail in coffin of my verbose dialogue)

He said, “I certainly disagree with all your theories & interpretation. Ups & downs are part of life, every boom faced recession, and every recession ends up with hope of recovery so Recession is a beautiful thing”.

The sentence keeps moving in around the corners of my mind “Recession is a beautiful thing”. Next day I accumulated all of my available cash & placed an order to buy discounted stocks considering “Recession is a beautiful thing”.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Prelude-Aghaz

So finally I have started out. When I thought of having a blog I was skeptical if I would be able to write what I want to? My inside out? My fear of how my reader/listener will think of me was the frontline resistance. Then in recent past I realized that for me more important is that how I feel about my writing. Everyone has a right to agree or disagree to own or disown my words. I am merely self centered narrator of my own. For my own choice and for my own will. You may feel egotistical but for this very purpose of blogging yes I am.

With a title of Daastan Siraey (Narrative inn) I will try to narrate my fusion tale of my inner outer world, my experience of being non-existent existent, my nostalgia, my kahi unkahi, synthesis of timeline, fabrication of articulation, blend of real & fantasy and their jugal bandi, my version of Alif Laila hazar daastan.

Welcome to my Daastan Siraey! Tapestry of woven tales

This blog is dedicated to all those who believe in classic form of story telling.