Pakistan vs Australia

The fourth day of the first test match between Pakistan and Australia at Dubai will see the former in a strong position.
Pakistan will resume their second innings on 38 runs without loss. They are leading by 189 runs, after bowling out Australia at a score of 303 on day three. At the crease will be Azhar Ali 16 years of age and Ahmed Shehzad, who is 22years old. Significant lower totals were expected in this test match, but the batsmen have surprised us showing good resolve. There are several people who will show disbelief in the fact that Pakistan is on the lead and a target of 300 might already be enough to secure the win. It seems as if Pakistan’s Captain Misbah-ul-Haq is likely to get at least a 400 runs lead before the announcement. The ability of the wicket keepers, Yasser Shah and Zulfiqar Babar will play a huge role in helping Pakistan win over Australia.


The Deadly Ebola Virus

This is with reference to the article titled “Steps taken to keep Ebola virus out” by Ikram Junaidi published on October 22nd, 2014 in Dawn.
Pakistan and World Health Organization (WHO) have collaborated to ensure that Pakistan is immune to the Ebola Virus. The Ebola virus has affected three regions of West Africa. WHO has confirmed that Ebola cases have occurred in a few countries. However, Pakistan is safe.
WHO also commended the hospitals and doctors who played an active role in keeping the deadly virus out of the country? It is a remarkable effort on behalf of both parties and deserves appreciation.
Well done to all the doctors out there.


The CREATED water crisis

The CREATED Water Crisis
Water crisis is a major issue in today’s world. It is a created and not a real issue.
Let me first observe the issue in detail.
What are the major sources of fresh water-rivers and underground water? Where does water come from in rivers? Of-course through rainfall and the melting of glaciers.
Let us look at the situation in our own country first i.e. Pakistan. Despite heavy rainfall which is supposed to be a blessing of God, why then has this become such a major threat? Why is it that despite having an abundance of rainfall in our country, it is suffering from natural disasters such as floods? It is because Pakistan has not built enough dams. The two major dams Tarbela and Mangla are not sufficient to cater to the needs of the heavily growing population.
The traditional methods of farming such as tube-wells, cattle and canal irrigation system have been abolished.
I am not against scientific inventions because evolution is a natural process and as suggested by Darwin’s theory of evolution it is the ‘survival of the fittest.’ However, if these scientific developments are displacing so many villagers, robbing them of their basic source of income then it should be reconsidered. Floods are inundating the rural areas making thousands of people homeless. What should be done?
The logical answer is that dams should be built. But is that the correct answer?
Should not the government first put a ban on population growth. Building dams will mean cutting of trees. Trees are a major source of oxygen and food. They are home to several animals. Moreover their roots hold the soil together in case of heavy rainfall. The rainwater automatically collects in rivers. The extra water is absorbed by the trees. Henceforth, silting a process whereby the riverbed rises due to soil erosion does not happen. Silting is a major cause of floods.
The Indus Basin Water Treaty (1960) signed between India and Pakistan stated that Ravi, Chenab and Indus will be accorded to Pakistan whilst Beas, Jhelum and Sutlej will fall in India’s share. International Monetary Fund (IMF) allocated both countries a significant amount to build dams. India built them whilst Pakistan did not.
Dams are built in valleys. They do not affect the trees that are planted usually on mountains. So dam projects being taken up by Pakistan should be completed. I appeal to the governments of both countries, India and Pakistan to consider the matter and take steps to complete the ongoing projects in Pakistan.


The CSS Dilemma

The Central Superior Services exam abbreviated to CSS is highly competitive. There are four parts to a CSS examination- a screening test, a written examination where medical fitness tests and examination is executed, psychological assessment and the viva.
“According to notification of Federal Public Service Commission, 439 candidates have qualified in the written part of CSS Competitive Examination out of 13,170 candidates appeared. The number of male candidates passed is 294 and female 145 and pass percentage is 3.3 percent. Candidates who have passed the written examination will be intimated of schedule of medical examination, psychological assessment and viva voice.”
The CSS exam is merit based. There are only 240 vacancies. This year around 400 students cleared the written exam. After the written exam, the next two parts will be carried out. The final result will be announced in May/June of 2015. The psychological exam is perhaps the toughest of all. The examiners ask all sorts of personal questions to assess the personality of the candidate.
Once all exams are cleared and the unsuccessful candidates are screened out, allocation of seats takes place. The candidates are allocated seats according to their first and second preferences respectively.
There are various posts such as Foreign Service, Police, Passe, Income Tax, etc. The candidates who have cleared the four stages but do not hold a position, however, are not entertained.
CSS is an extensive exam and requires heavy concentration and preparation. It is very difficult to accept the fact that one has failed. However, acceptance rather than denial is the key to move forward in life. Instead of weeping over your failure look at the positive side- your knowledge has increased beyond your imagination and with this knowledge you can surpass all obstacles.
To all those candidates who have not made it- put your head up and take a fresh start. Congratulate yourself on having reached this level instead of being depressed. So come on and hold yourselves high. Hooray!


India versus Pakistan

However, coming back to the topic, the line of control issue is a grave concern. Pakistan, the land of the pure is the land of its citizens. The Pakistani flag which is green and white represents the minority and majority. It respects the rights of both.
The ongoing enmity between India and Pakistan over various issues (Kargil, Kashmir, Mumbai carnage) has become a matter of laughter in the foreign circles.
The present issue of the firing on the line of control in Sialkot has raised many eyebrows.
I remember when I was a student of the O’level our history teacher taught us from Rabbani’s book. It had the basic facts and was an easy read.
However, the feelings of mutual hatred between the countries existed since I was old enough to comprehend the situation.
My trip to India, (Amritsar,Delhi,Agra) changed my perspective about the educated Indian public. The Sikhs were extremely hospitable whilst those in Delhi led a simple way of life. The Taj Mahal was a beauty. Although it had yellowed because of the pollution in the Ganga Jamna, yet it had been preserved.
Comparing this to my recent visit to the Lahore Fort, I was extremely disappointed to see the fort in ruins. However, I was pleased to see that restorative work was being done on the Badshahi Mosque.
However, coming back to the topic, the line of control issue is of grave concern. I think immediate talks for peace should be given another chance. The USA has supported Malala Yousafzai, giving her the Nobel Prize for Peace. It is important that we as responsible citizens of Pakistan pick up our pens and make the unaware aware of the negatives as well as positives of the situation in Pakistan. Apart from militancy, extremism, there is good work being done also such as the recognition of Edhi and Malala who work for the well- being of the poor and fight for peace and education respectively.
India is an important and immediate neighbor. Trade can be carried out very easily between the 2 regions. To sit back and observe the killings of innocent people is a sin in itself. The world will only respect you if you respect yourself. The pen is mightier that the sword. So spread awareness and write rather than fight.
Long, Live, Pakistan.


Eid UL Adha:
This festival is celebrated at the end of Hajj. There are 12 Islamic months in all. Each month begins with the sighting of the new moon. The new moon is shaped like a crescent and marks the beginning of the month. Eid ul Adha is celebrated in the month of Dul-Hajj. It is celebrated to remember the sacrifice made by Hazrat Ibrahim, which is the Arabic name for Abraham.
From the Fajr of 9th of Dul-Hajj to the Asr of the 13th of Dul-Hajj, Hajj is performed. After Hajj is completed, Muslims celebrate Eid ul Adha.
Who was Hazrat Ibrahim and what was the sacrifice made by him? In a far off land in Babylonia, a boy named Ibrahim was born. His father made statues. The people of Babylonia worshipped the moon, stars, sun and idols.
Hazrat Ibrahim was an intelligent boy. He questioned his father about the statues. Why do you worship things that cannot move or speak? ‘Because our forefathers worshipped them’, he replied.
Hazrat Ibrahim was not satisfied and he smashed all the idols except the biggest one. When the people returned from a celebration they were shocked to see their Goda smashed. When they asked Hazrat Ibrahim, he said, ‘ask the biggest statue?” the people knew they could not defend themselves because the statue could not move or speak.
However, they were very arrogant and the King of Babylonia, Nimrod ordered Hazrat Ibrahim to be burnt alive. But Allah knew that Hazrat Ibrahim was saying what was true and so he cooled the flames for him.
Now Hazrat Ibrahim had a wife named Sarah and and a nephew, Lut. He did not have any of his own children. Hazrat Ibrahim left Babylonia with his family and entered Egypt. The wicked King of Egypt wanted Sarah as she was very beautiful. However, Allah did not let it happen and Sarah was safe. The Kings hands froze as soon as he came near Sarah. Fearful he freed her and presented her with a gift- Hajar (an old woman)
Sarah let Hajar marry Ibrahim. They had a son called Ismael. One day Allah asked Ibrahim to leave Hajar and Ismaeel in the desert of Mecca. There was no water and Hajar had no milk. She ran desperately between the hills of Safa and Marwa, looking for food and water. There was then a miracle and water started to flow from the ground like a spring. This water was called Zam Zam. A nearby tribe Jurham also shared the water with Hajar.
While Ismaeel was growing up to be a young man, his father Ibrahim had a dream to sacrifice him in the name of Allah.
Hazrat Ibrahim was sad but when he told of this dream to Ismaeel he willingly accepted. Ismaeel was a brave boy and had a strong faith. His father was sad but he knew he had to obey Allah. When Ibrahim was about to make the sacrifice , Allah stopped him. Instead Allah put a big ram there, because Allah is the Most Merciful.
Ismaeel lived in Mecca and chose a young wife for himself from the tribe of Jurham. After many years Ibrahim returned to meet his son Ismaeel. Hajar had died by that time. He saw Ismaeel seated near the spring of Zam Zam. They were delighted to be reunited. And it was then that Allah told them to build the Ka’bah, the house of Allah.
Adam and Hawwa were the first humans on earth. They were created by Allah. They lived in heaven until one day they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. Allah had asked all the angels to bow before his creation. All listened to Allah except Iblis who was arrogant and proud. Iblis or Satin misguided Adam and Hawwa. He fooled them by saying that if they eat the forbidden fruit they will live forever in the Heaven which is a beautiful place with fountains and fruits and rivers. Allah forgave Hazrat Adam and Hazrat Hawwa but sent them down to earth which was to be a place of test for them. Allah told them to be wary of Iblis who will guide them away from the right path.
Allah sent all his bounties-fruits, animals, birds and trees, sun and moon and clouds and stars to Adam and Eve. From thence own, Adam and Eve taught all their children to worship Allah. Many years after the deaths of Adam and Eve, Allah sent down many Prophets to guide mankind and keep him from following Iblis. Hazrat Gabriel, Hazrat Ibrahim, Hazrat Musa, Hazrat Esa, etc and the last prophet was Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w) with the final word of Allah in the shape of a book called Qur’an.
Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w) was born in Makkah to a noble family in the land of Arabia in which stood the Ka’abah, the house of Allah. Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w) was chosen to be a prophet like all other prophets. He was proected by Allah from birth to adulthood. Hazrat Muhammad was the son of Abdulla. His grandfather was Abdul Muttalib. His mother was Aminah.
Muhammad (s.a.w) was taken care of by his foster mother Halima who lived in the desert and had many children of her own. She was very poor. However, Allah sent his blessings on Halimah’ family and after many months of droughts came rain bringing with it plenty of food and water for the sheep and camels and for her whole family.
Muhammad(s.a.w) was orphaned at the age of 6. His grandfather also died when he was 8. Abu Talib, his ucle then became his guardian. Muhammad (s.a.w) was not happy with the Quraish’s way of living. They also worshipped idols.
When he was 12 years of age, his uncle Abu Talib took him on his firsttrade journey to Syria.
Muhammad (s.a.w) was known as Sadiq and Al Ameen (the honest and the truthful) in and out of Makkah. When Muhammad was 25 he worked for a noble woman Khadija, who sent hom to Syria on a trade journey.
She was very pleased with his success and soon after they got married. They had four sons and four daughters. Except for Fatimah, the rest of his children died before him.
The walls of the Ka’abah were damaged because of floods in the Makkah valley. The question of who should rebuild it caused a quarrel. I was decided that whomsoever enters the Ka’abah first will be chosen to perform the task.
It so happened that Muhammad (s.a.w) was the first one to enter. Everyone was really happy because he was known as Sadiq and Ameen. He was wise and he used his wisdom so that no disagreement would occur over placing Hajr-e-Aswad (the black stone) in the Ka’abah. He decided that a cloth be spread and the stone be placed in its center. Then the leader of each clan would lift each corner of the cloth and firmly place it in its position.
The first revelation came to Muhammad (s.a.w) in a cave in mount Hira. Angel Gabriel (known as Jibra’eel in Arabic) came to him one day when he was in deep thought and asked him to ‘Read.’
“I cannot read”, replied Muhammad (s.a.w)
The angel repeated his command thrice and then said:
Read in the name of thy Lord,
Who createth man from blood coagulated.
Read thy lord is wondrous kind,
Who by the pen taught mankind.”
Muhammad (s.a.w) repeated it after him. However, he was so sacred that he went home to his wife Khadija. He was shivering. Khadija believed his story without any question or doubt. She took him to her cousin Waraqa bin Nawfal, who was a knowledgeable man. Waraqa told him that Jibra’eel was the same angel sent to Hazrat Musa before him. After this waraqa died and angel Jibra’eel was not seen for sometime.
The first one to accept Islam was Hazrat Khadija. His free slave Zaid, his best friend Abu Bakr, and his cousin Ali all accepted Islam.
Muhammad taught the Muslims about Islam secretly in a house owned by Al Arqam.
One day Hazrat Jibra’eel came to tell the prophet to rise against the idol worshippers i.e. the Quraish.
Muhammad stood on the top of mount As-Safa and called to te Quraish. He asked them, if he said they were about to be attacked from behind, would they believe him? They answered “Yes.”
He then warned them of the terrible punishment for those who did not worship Allah alone.
Abu Lahab, his uncle, cried in anger “May you perish.”
Abu Lahab and his wife were the worst troublemakers. They would call him a liar, a magician. Hazrat Abu Bakr would free slaves being harassed by their masters. The orphans, the poor and needy and the slaves readily accepted Islam.
The Quraish approached Abu Talib, asking him to warn his nephew from breaking their families. Abu Talib vowed to protect his nephew.
The Quraish made the life of Muhammad and his followers difficult. They threw stones and made life very tough, especially Abu Lahab. The Quraish offered him all the wealth and to become king of their land if only he would stop preaching Islam. However, Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w) did not stop.
Finally when the Quraish made the life of the people miserable the Prophet asked them to migrate to Abyssinia with the permission of the King Najashi. The Quraish still bribed the king to return the Muslims. However, the king supported the Muslims and rejected their plea.
During this time two of the strongest men in Arabia, Hamza (the prophet’s uncle) and Umair bin Al Khattabwho originally came with the idea of killing Muhammad. The Quraish forced the Muslims to live in the eastern part of Makkah without any food or water. They spent three long and hard years in the eastern part of Makkah.
Finally the Quraish let them return. The Muslims returned with the help of Allah the Most Merciful. 10 years after his call to Islam The prophet lost his closest companions, Abu Talib and Khadijah.
He was very sad. He left for Taaif with his slave, Zaid. The people of Taaif were very harsh on Muhammad (s.a.w). They left Taaif and came to a fruit orchard. A Christian slave gave them some fruit. When he heard Muhammad (s.a.w) recite ‘Bismillah’ before eating he was amazed. He accepted Islam too.
Angel Gabraiel came and asked Muhammad if Allah should punish the people of Quraish. However, Muhammad asked him to pardon them and make their children good Muslims. They returned to Makkah with the call of Islam and amongst the new followers were seven from Madinah.

The Quran tells the story of how Ibrahim was commanded by God to take his son, Ishmael, to the mountaintop and there to sacrifice him to Allah. Allah wanted Ibrahim to prove to him that he truly was obedient. Ibrahim took his son to the mountain with a heavy heart. He built a fire. He bound Ishmael. As he was about to kill his son, Allah sent Jibra’eel, a messenger angel, to stop him. He brought the message that by being obedient, Ibrahim had truly made a sacrifice. Muslim people gather in the Mosque to remember Ibrahim’s sacrifice. They gather in their homes later to feast and to share gifts.

Eid ul Adha is a public holiday in Muslim countries.
Today Muslims all over the world who can afford it , sacrifice a sheep (sometimes a goat) as a reminder of Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah. In Britain, the animal has to be killed at a slaughterhouse.
They share out the meat among family, friends and the poor, who each get a third share.
Eid usually starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers, dressed in their best clothes, and thanking Allah for all the blessings they have received.
It is also a time when they visit family and friends as well as offering presents.
At Eid it is obligatory to give a set amount of money to charity to be used to help poor people buy new clothes and food so they too can celebrate.


The zero footprint Qurbani.

This is with regard to “The zero footprint Qurbani”, October 5, 2014 by Sajida Ali.
The title is interesting and meaningful.
Islam is a religion that is based in the belief of being clean and observing cleanliness at all times as supported by the hadith “safai nisf imaan hai.”
Eid Ul Adha is a festival that is celebrated in the remembrance of Hazrat Ibrahim’s sacrifice. Muslims all over the world observe this festival with a high spirit and zeal. The sacrifice is made but without executing the rules for cleanliness.
The article outlines Zahrah Nasir’s significant suggestions to carry out a clean and environment friendly Eid. Sajida Ali has articulated with a visible clarity the steps advised by Zahrah Nasir to carry out a dirt free Eid.
If all citizens hold meetings within their neighborhood pointing out suggestions on how to carry out a pollution free Qurbani, the city/country would be rid of diseases such as dengue and swine flu that are spread by pests which feed on dirt.
The power to make a’ Naya Pakistan’, lies in the hands of the people of the country. If we become united as a nation and if Muslim countries take an oath to stand by each other through thick and thin, the world would soon become a war-free zone.
The power of the pen is mighty. It is enough to create a tremor if used correctly. Spread awareness regarding essential issues to attain peace. So become aware and use it as a tool to guide others.