DECEMBER 2002




DECEMBER 2002 Contents


 South Asian Heritage

 Taxila - Dharmrajika Stupa


 Real Issues

 Biological Weapons
 - Fact Sheet



 Cultural Misperceptions
 'Why they hate us'



 Letter from Pakistan


 From the pages of History

 Maldive Islands - in 1884
 Part II



 2003 Convertibles

 Around us

 Coffee break



 New Tech-Toys


 South Asian Events in
 London & Washington DC


 the craft shop

 Lehngas - a limited collection

 the print gallery


 Silk Road on Wheels

 The Road to Freedom

Enduring Spirit

 Parsis-Zoroastrians of

The Moonlight Garden

Contemporary Art in Bangladesh




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Letter from Pakistan



Of Lotas ,Blackias , Blockias, Satan Imprisoned & State , Power and Load shedding & such things



It is the month of fasting here; in the cities of Pakistan no tea or coffee breaks in public and at sunset the familiar sight of stalls selling fresh pakoras [ chickpea flour paste covered potatoes and onions and seasonings of coriander and chillies] and aloo and chicken samosas; They say here that Satan is put in prison in Ramadan. Amen then, at least for the month of Ramadan…..

The newly elected civilian government is loaded with Members of the National Assembly – MNA’s called "lotas" [turncoats]. One of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s turncoat section called the "Forward Block" are referred to as the "Blockias" in the local idiom. One had heard of the term "Blackia" , used for calling a Movie Theater tout selling film tickets in the black market, such was the passion of the common man for movies here as in India , but the term Blockia is a new term along with terms such as a "Pippaliya" – which is referred to a Peoples Party (PPP) supporter [ note the pun on this word as the original word comes from the Peepal Trees , which is a majestic shade bearing tree in South Asian countries, similar to the Banyan tree.

But look again, carefully and you will see the newly elected civilian democratic government doing deals with the devil himself and the military brass [in the manner of Edgar Hoover who kept files on JFK and many others to suit the purposes of the military-industrial complexes]. C’est la vie, as they say in France.

The slogan of the hour is – ‘May a thousand lotas blossom……’ [ lota is a utensil made of clay or brass or aluminium, which is round hence unstable, and has a spout to deliver water to the parts of the body when involved in the ritual cleaning or " ablutions" before the prayers ].

One MNA Rao Sikander , a Pippliya [ PPP member and turncoat ] and a Blockia was showered or rather pelted with plastic lotas by his Sindh townsmen on his defection to the current majority party which itself is a breakaway party of the PML [ Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz Sharif , which was the Jinn/Genie created by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency – equivalent to CIA, MI5+MI6 all rolled into one term "Agencies"] .

Consider some of the Members of the National Assembly [MNA’s]. The Chaudharies of Gujarat [ Shujaat, Elahi, etc ] owe billions of Rupees in loans to the Banks here. The Military Intelligence [ a contradiction ? ] "ISI- Agencies" here has decided to add a couple of more P’s to the Pakistan Peoples Party [ PPPPP –a party of peas or pees ? ] and has honored Faisal Saleh Hayat [ a few months ago under investigation of corruption by the khakis of National Accountability Board NAB ] , with the key post of the Interior Minister.

The wrath of the great Khan [Imran Khan, Oxford cricket player and the most successful Pakistan cricket captain— and a born again muslim ) is being vented against the military with his holier than thou interviews singing the virtues of a neutral Judiciary [ when was that the case in history ?] .

Sheikh Rashid [ Sheeda Tully and not Mark Tully of BBC ] of Rawalpindi – the great eligible bachelor has finally sobered up, despite pictures of him in the local "The News" being surrounded with naikas stuffing sweets in his mouth after his election victory. He is now the [Dis] Information Minister. Sipahe-Sihaba leader Azam Tariq has been released from prison [ this man and his fanatics were going around on motorbikes a few years ago, dressed up in green colored turbans armed with AK-47 automatic rifles shooting Shia Muslims. They were banned after September 11. Some say some of these brilliant MNA’s may become small Trojan Horses and finally yank the gaddi [saddle] under the Generals on their high horses in their labyrinthine bunkers. [ Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, and all the kings [generals] horses and men could not put … together again…]

The Water and Power development Authority [ WAPDA] despite the danda [ stick] of the military meter readers and the general at its top has outstanding dues of Rs. 53 billion. People in the tribal belt of the Frontier [ Federally administered Tribal areas-FATA ] , farmers in Baluchistan and entire localities ( Karachi ) simply refused to pay the cost of electricity in the absence of jobs and the high cost of inflation.

Pakistan’s shipping industry was finally laid to rest by Ardeshir Cowasjee writing in his regular Sunday article in Dawn. Cowasjee , and a number of other Parsee business families whose business was shipping around 1947, is the best journalist on this topic if not on many other issues that he exposes.

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