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Archive for March 2011

Sitting with Old Uetians

with 7 comments

I believe we learn more from experienced person, than from books. It is always great to be surrounded with men, or women for that matter who have the world of experiences. And who can have experienced the world or reality of life than the older people. I really enjoy sitting with them who have worked, lived and experienced this world. I enjoy listening to them and just listen without saying anything. This is can be because I didn’t get much time to be with my grandparents. They left this world very early, when I was young and had no idea of life. May Allah bless all of them and give them highest place in Heaven.

So, what can be more educative sitting than with your old universities fellows? We surely can share some stories or experiences. I graduated from oldest and largest engineering university of Pakistan, which is University of Engineering and Technology Lahore. Historically, Lahore has been a centre of cultural heritage for many civilizations. It successively served as regional capital of many empires; the Shahi kingdoms in the 11th century, the Ghaznavids in the 12th century, the Ghurid State in the 12th and 13th century, the Mughal Empire in the 16th century, the Sikh Empire in the early 19th century, and it was the capital of the Punjab region under the British Raj in the mid 19th and early 20th century; and my university, short as UET is located at the heart of this cultural city.

Just like Lahore, the history of UET goes way back. It was initially Railway Workshops which was built in 1890s. Then for the training of its employees classes were also built. The technical education started in 1921 as the ‘Mughalpura Technical College ’, later it became the ‘Maclagan Engineering College’, a name given to it in 1923. In 1932 it was affiliated with another old University, the Punjab University and started awarding Bachelors Degrees. After independence of Pakistan in 1947 university grew more and in 1961 it was named “West Pakistan University of Engineering Technology, Lahore” with it’s another campus in Dhaka (now Bangladesh). After 1971 university was officially named University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore; abbreviated as UET Lahore which still exists.

You can guess that just like its history, university must have produced great scholars and professional with various experiences over the period of time. I had a chance to meet some of them, all together at one place. I was once invited to dinner at one of my relatives and to my surprise every person sitting there was ex-student of UET Lahore and had studied there at different times. They were sharing their university experiences with each other, it was blessing in disguise.

One of them graduate from UET in 1953, I wasn’t even born at that time. He spent most of life in Pakistan Railways and even after his retirement he is still respected in his field, still visiting and providing consultancy even outside Pakistan. One of them graduated in 1987, I was 3 years old at that time. It was time when political tension was high in Pakistan and politics have entered in universities. He talked about protests, boycotting of exams which led to delaying of his degree.

But most interesting experience was from the one who graduated from UET in 1971, the time when East Pakistan was separated and became Bangladesh. He was bright student; though he was admitted in UET Lahore but was transferred to UET Dhaka as exchange student on scholarship. According to him, his provisional passing certificate says East Pakistan University of Engineering and Technology Dhaka but his degree is awarded by University of Engineering and Technology Lahore.

He shared while reminding his past, when he took his final exams in UET Dhaka; the 1971 war broke out between Pakistan and India, which ended with creation of Bangladesh. At war-time Pakistan Air Force took all the Pakistani students from Dhaka in C130; the large cargo airplane used by air force which flew them to Srilanka as India was not allowing Pakistan to use its air-space. After couple of days he was taken to Lahore. Then University of Engineering and Technology Lahore decided them to award degree with its new name.

Amazing! I was surprised to learn that time make you experience so many things which we never imagined of. One day may be, I will be retired 70 years old engineer and sharing my university life experiences with my juniors. Who knows!? Life is a big university of its own teaching you at every step.

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Written by Junaid

March 9, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Pakistan 2011- Democracy or Dictatorship

with 4 comments

It is very unfortunate that after 63 years of creation of Pakistan added to the 200 years of struggle against foreign intruders, we are still debating over Democracy and Dictatorship is Pakistan. We were able to get an independent state but failed to give freedom, equality, tolerance, social justice and democracy to its people. Iqbal’s Pakistan was never achieved; we got Jinnah’s Pakistan but lost part of it in 1971. It’s up to us whether we blame it on failed democracy or thriving dictatorship; but truth is that we lost the identity of largest country achieved for Muslim minority of Indian subcontinent.

Going through the pages of political history of Pakistan; rather take out just a moment of your time to remember the names of all the “Democratic Premiers” and all the “Democratic Presidents” who ruled us over the period of time. I am emphasizing on “Democratic” because we have seen dictators also produced their own presidents and ministers; I bet you can’t remember them, at least I can’t. On contrary if we start naming dictators; not only names, their time of rule, their duration of rule, even we can write books on their personal lives; why is that? It is not criticism on our general knowledge, rather it is the reminder sad truth we have been living all our lives.

I can talk on behalf of today’s generation, the first news we ever heard about politics was the 1999 military coup over democratic government. And then we spent our age of growth and learning under military rule. The other day I was discussing with my father and he told me that when he was in school, Ayub Khan ruled Pakistan; at his professional age Zia-ul-Haq ruled our country and when they got more senior Musharaf came. Just look at history of all the major events or major achievements we ever got were at the time of dictatorship.

Don’t think that I am in favour of Dictatorship … no … never ever ever … its not possible; my mind refuses to accept the basic and fundamental concept of dictatorship. How can a country like Pakistan, with its population of more than 18 crore, where more than 70 languages are spoken, where people belonging from various religions, cast and nations be ruled by ONE person with its whole sole powers. Experience has shown that in a working democracy mistakes can eventually be corrected before the society breaks down. The history of dictatorships on the other hand shows that they end all in violent and bloody mess. We have seen in Tunis, in Egypt and now witnessing in Libya. Dictatorship is not made for Pakistan.

But the Pakistan’s most successful 5 year plan of 1960-1965 was during time of military dictator Ayub Khan. This plan earned Pakistan 200% profit and it was copied by countries like South Korea. USSR lost its respect as super power at the time military dictator Zia-ul-Haq, that’s separate debate what we got in return but we did it. So-called freedom of press was awarded in another military dictator’s time i.e: Pervaiz Musharaf. On contrary democratic governments failed to give us any constitution for 9 years after creation of Pakistan, we got but it was brutally torn apart many times. Democratic government played with it by making silly amendments. It was during democracy when we lost East Pakistan in 1971. It was democratic government who ordered police to open fire on protestors rallying against electoral fraud of 1977. Army action was taken place in Balochistan during democratic government and city of lights had blood bath because of so-called democratic government claiming to be representing majority. And now during democratic time we are still arguing whether Pakistan needs democracy or dictatorship.

So this means, something is wrong and has always been wrong which made Pakistan to see the times in which we are living today. May be we never really understood the meaning of democracy. Seems like just completing your count to show majority is democracy, it’s just a number game for us to have the might of majority; whoever they may be and whatever they do. The objective resolution is 1949 states that Pakistan is a sovereign independent state “Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed”, the classic example of Dasti with fake degree and winning election confirm the democracy as number game. My point is we got the democracy but we were not able to create any democratic system in which democracy flourishes and don’t remain mere number game.

What about an example to make it more understandable. A murderer kills someone and was then caught by lets say 20 men. Voting was held to decide the fate of the killer, 15 among 20 votes in favour to hang him and 5 opposes the decision. If democracy is just game of numbers to favour majority then according to this definition of democracy he will be hanged. On contrary if democracy is a system to govern the country where principles of freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice prevails, the murderer can claim it rights and ask the Judicial system, part of democratic system to prosecute him and decide his fate.

Let me put forward to you what I believe real democracy is and what it requires to flourish. Concept of democracy existed in 508 B.C with Greeks, but there has been no final definition on which political science students agreed. That’s why we see many different kind of democratic systems with its own way of selections came over the period of time; famous being presidential democracy and parliamentary democracy, wikipedia can list other for you if interested. But there has been points, some basic structures and some basic requirements everyone have agreed upon; the most important being “Separation of Powers”.

The state is divided into branches, each with its separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that no one branch has more power than the other branches. The normal division of branches is

  • Executive
  • Legislature
  • Judiciary.

In parliamentary democracy like Pakistan the responsibilities of executive is done by Prime Minister along with his cabinet, legislation is done by Parliament with its two houses of National Assembly and Senate whereas Judiciary is definitely a complete system of its own. In Presidential form of democracy the executive is President with his whole power, legislature is Congress and judiciary is judicial system. But we can see in Pakistan cabinet with its large number and corruption, parliament with its fake degrees and suppression of judiciary over the years destroyed and derailed democracy from time to time. Which confirms that whole bunch of other systems has to be defined to ensure proper governance with its real democratic system.

I want to put forward the components, rather sub-systems of any democracy but first there are some other basic points of on which different studies have agreed upon. The real democratic system should ensure Shared Respect and Shared Power within its citizens.

  • Shared Respect

Because we all are human and contribute to the society, we should be respecting each other point of view with tolerance and treat everyone equally. Everyone should be given fair chance to learn and develop some skills in order to be useful for the society. And we should all be recognising each other rights irrespective of profession, cast, creed or religion. Thus shared respect ensures thriving democracy.

  • Shared Power

A working democratic system ensures shared power between its citizens representing different group of societies. Students unions, factory labour unions, farmer unions and many others represent their respective community thus playing important is democracy of the country. Every citizen voluntarily votes for election of its representative without interference, thus every citizen is sharing bit power indirectly. And most importantly the opposition voices are respected and heard thus ensure their share of power.

Beside shared respect and shared power, some conditions of democracy are agreed upon by different political science students’ i.e: Economic balance and Enlightenment. Aristotle believed that the middle-income men contribute more to the society thus providing economic balance. Enlightenment is freedom of getting information which is done my public education, books, magazines and most importantly free media.

For shared respect, shared power, economic balance and for enlightenment different other systems are put forward in-order to have proper working democratic system which grows and amend itself. I will try to put forward some common and rather most important factors for working democracy.

Constitution is the most sacred document in any democratic country. The set of rules put forward by different group of society and agreed upon by the selective representative of society is very important for any successful democratic system. But constitutional history of Pakistan as we all know is very dark and dramatic. For 9 years since the creation of Pakistan we had no constitution, once we had it was brutally raped by dictators. And even last 1973 constitution has been disrespectfully treated by making 19 amendments to it and unfortunately mostly done by democratically elected men.

Judiciary should be independent, free from any outside interference. It’s no news for us that how judiciary has been treated. Social Justice is ensured by the judicial system and how it can ensured until unless judiciary is having trouble of its own.

Social Security is vital important in any democratic country and is ensured by the security forces or police. Unfortunately in Pakistan the political parties have been assigned different quota to hire its own policemen in-order to confirm the power which totally violates the fundamental concept of democracy.

Education system ensures the enlightenment condition of any democratic system. Citizens should be well-aware of laws, constitution and their right. The educational institution should also work as political institution where future leaders or political activist should be created. Student politics should be legal and well-governed by the institution itself, otherwise the Family politics will never in country like Pakistan.

Election Commission should independent of any political influence and is responsible for free and fair election. The voters list should be error free and encourage its citizen to take part in electoral system. Not only education system, election commission should also be involved in educating the citizens and realising them the importance of voting to decide their future.

Last but not least the Accountability. Umer bin Abdulaziz, who was caliph of Ummayid Dynasty and was famously called the fifth caliph once said, “Rulers usually appoint people to watch over their subjects. I appoint you a watcher over me and my behaviour. If you find me at fault in word or action guide me and stop me from doing it”. The accountability or the check and balance have vital importance in democratic system. This rules out the might of majority and ensures that democracy should not be considered as number game. NAB (National Accountability Bureau) of Pakistan is supposed to responsible for that but unfortunately this institution has never been given its deserved power and been played in hands of politicians.

Democracy or democratic system is not heavenly devised system; it is system of government of the people, by the people, for the people; which can have loopholes and can be played with, but proper democratic system grows with time differently from nation to nation. We Pakistanis as independent nation living in independent and sovereign country can, shall and will produce such a democratic system with justice for its citizen, rights of the people, accountability of empowered, education to its youth and proper economic system. No wonder Pakistan can become the country which Allama Muhammad Iqbal wished for. LONG LIVE PAKISTAN

An Interesting Taxi Driver

with 5 comments

I was assigned job by my current company in eastern region of Saudi Arabia. I stayed there for almost 6 months if I am not wrong, which made me come back and forth to my home after every couple of weeks. Either I take car or train or even sometimes go by flight.

This time I decided to take plane to eastern region which is 1 hr 30 min flight and as the airport is almost 60 km out of city and heavy traffic on the road can keep anyone on the road for more than an hour from airport to city centre. I took taxi from King Fahad International Airport Dahran to my office on Khobar-Dammam highway which took me one hour, where I met a very interesting taxi driver.

Initially we talked in Arabic; he was trying to speak in a way so I can understand. He was from old eastern city of Hafouf and was dressed traditionally; the way normally eastern region residents do. After having brief introduction in Arabic my knowledge of Arabic reached its limit I gave up and told him sorry that I am not able to understand you.

Out of no where he said, “Do you speak English?” I was no doubt surprised to see an english speaking educated taxi driver where the core language is Arabic. From here we hit it of, he took much interest in Pakistani culture, he asked me from he can buy Pakistani stuff especially Pakistani clothes. I told him the thing I know. But the conversation got more interesting when he come to know about my telecommunication profession.

He took many ideas from me saying that he want to make his taxi a well-entertained ride by putting screen in his car with internet facility. He asked whether it is possible or not, I informed him the latest internet technology available these days and time might come that you will have internet everywhere in every single device. I did want to make the conversation much technical so thought this information might be enough.

But that was not enough; to my surprise he took one dairy out of dash-board and said, “This is my traveller’s diary.”  For the first in my life I met a taxi driver who is interested in making his ride more entertained and keeps travellers diary where every visitor put his comments. He told me to write whatever I want to and I can read the comments put by other riders too.

There were comments by south-african, by British, by Saudis, Pakistanis and many other nationalities with suggestion and even complaints about the problems they have faced during their stay in Saudi Arabia. Well I was so impressed by his concept of keeping his taxi that I wrote two page long letters, where I praised his work, put something about myself, my country and invited him to visit to know my people more closely.

Well in nut-shell, it was no doubt the most interesting one hour of taxi ride. And I started believing, no matter what you do, whatever profession you have; it’s up to you how you want to enjoy it and make it more entertaining for you and for people around you. May be his small contribution is just another small way to make this world a better place to live.

Written by Junaid

March 2, 2011 at 1:08 AM

Posted in Life

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Waste of time … !!

with 2 comments

This is Junaid, Pakistani by national, Engineer by profession, Muslim by Religion and human by nature. I started writing to sort out my thoughts just to understand why I have been sent to this world. I have always wanted to be a good writer to the level that people could understand what is buried inside me, how I see the world and how I want the world to be.

But it’s been more than 26 years since I put my first feet in this world; still my mind is not able to understand its creation and existence. May be my participation in blog sphere will pave a way for me to write, to meet and to understand the very existence.

This was my informal introduction. Formally, I was born in 1984 in my home city of Lahore, in the lovely country of Pakistan. This makes my constellation of Sagittarius and Chinese zodiac of MOUSE; I don’t know I shall be proud of it or … but one of my friend convinced me that MOUSE is considered as the leader zodiac animal in Chinese legend. Though I don’t believe in zodiac and constellations, but it was interesting analysis about my personality.

I passed my secondary school level in year 2000, just between us I scored highest in my school among boys and girls and was awarded scholarship for being in the highest 60 students all over Pakistan. After passing my higher secondary in 2002 with second position overall, this time one girl took over me, no hard feelings by they way; I got admission in the largest and oldest engineering university of Pakistan University of Engineering and Technology Lahore. I did my bachelors in electrical engineering with majors in Electronics and Communication in the beginning of 2007. No doubt these 4 years were most exciting and learning period of my life.

In 2007 I entered the so-called practical life, the real world where I met many people just like me. After doing small job in one telecom subcontractor I joined ZTE Saudi Arabia branch in March 2008. Woking in world largest telecom vendor with more than 80,000 employees around the world is definitely an exciting and thrilling experience. I hope working in ZTE, blogging and writing for ZTElite might help me understand the world.

Written by Junaid

March 1, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Posted in Life

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