Month: March 2016

Nothing would affect MQM’s control

In political discourse, usually, the public, for whom democracy actually exists, are forgotten.

A new political party has been declared against the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM). But as yet we do not know the name, manifesto, how many members it consists of or who funds it, for that matter.

What we know is that war has been declared and ample of allegations made on both ends.

DNA went around asking Karachiites, to know what they thought of Mustafa Kamal’s return.

The return of the beloved mayor

Mustafa Kamal was one of the most, if not the most, popular mayors of Karachi. The people fully appreciated his efforts in building the city into a metropolis.

“I hope this is the last nail in MQM’s coffin. Yes, in Kamal’s tenure the conditions of Karachi weren’t good. But now they are very safe and sound. We have lived through a time when MQM’s terror was enough for people to sit at home. But when he was the mayor he developed Karachi into a beautiful city, it was clean and the infrastructure was well built. We loved him,” said Bina Saeed, a housewife.

People who were pro-MQM some years ago have changed their mind now. They feel what PML-N is to Lahore, MQM should have been to Karachi. Alas, those days are far behind and now terror is all that prevails. They feel MQM is ruling over them as a monarchy and not like a democracy.

“When they were in power, Karachi was at its finest. MQM knows the reigns of Karachi very well and does it best to flourish it during its rule. Case in point; when Mustafa Kamal was the mayor. All the developments people now see are thanks to MQM and him. But unfortunately when they are not in power they will go to any length to ruin the rule of the party in power,” said Hiba Akmal, an associate in the USA.

Power

“From a tender age, youngsters have always been brainwashed. I have been living in an MQM controlled area for the past 20 years. I am used to seeing karkuns (workers) go about their daily violent activities. At a point I admired them and that did half the job for them,” said Majid a banker.

Youngsters do not even know what they are doing, while they are doing it, as they are intoxicated by the power that being an MQM worker brings with it.

“People had no freedom of speech about 15 years ago. My uncle was murdered by someone from MQM, I know of many others who have faced the same situation. But even after all these atrocities people remain blindfolded and they still support MQM,” a resident of Karachi who didn’t want to be named told DNA.

MQM won’t be affected

Some feel that Mustafa Kamal’s entry won’t be a hassle for MQM. The MQM-Haqiqi was formed in 1992 but so far it hasn’t been able to affect MQM’s following so Kamal’s party won’t leave a mark either.

“The Rangers always construct parties against us; first it was Haqiqi then PTI now it’s Mustafa Kamal. He too will run away once people find out about his corruption money which is safe in his brother’s bank,” Amir Ahmed, an MQM worker told DNA.

People who do not support MQM also feel that the party has marked its territory and is here to stay.

“MQM is deeply rooted into its voters and it can’t be affected easily. Having said that it would hurt the party psychologically, MQM has always shown heat when it comes to such statements rather than dealing with them calmly. Mustafa Kamal’s party will only get media hype but on grounds of vote it won’t go too far,” Junaid Akram, who lived in Karachi for 28 years before moving to the UAE for a job, told DNA.

Some feel that MQM is being targeted on all levels; conspiracies and strategies are being formulated just to bring it down.

“Whether using Saulat Mirza or Mustafa Kamal, the agenda remains to defame MQM. Kamal enjoys massive respect and admiration as the sort of work he has done is praiseworthy, but one should never backfire and disrespect the people who have been your stepping stone,” said Bisma, an IBA student.

Traitors

Coming out on national television and spilling the beans on one of the strongest parties of the country is not an easy task. In the process, Mustafa Kamal has claimed responsibility for many crimes, some a matter of national security.

“The new MK party is a waste of time. To build a new party from scratch a lot of public support is needed. He has been an accomplice in all the crimes he claimed. If he really wants to do something, he should surrender. He is a traitor too for keeping all this to himself for the past three years and for that matter even Altaf Hussain is a traitor,” Shehroze Khan, a graduate of accounts and finance, said.

What we have to wait and see now is how this new party does, if at all, and how it actually affects MQM and Karachi.


Originally Published in Pakistan Today 

 

What do the city of lights and the city of culture have in common? Their eat festivals.

Though lahories are known for their great appetite and love of food, the Lahore Eat festival came to the city three years after it had already started in Karachi.

“Our partners [Capra Khan Omari Events] contacted us [Latitude PR] to collaborate on the Lahore Eat 2016 event and I said wow, why didn’t we think of it ourselves,” Latitude PR’s Nusrat Jamil told Pakistan Today while talking about how the festival started in Lahore. Capra Khan Omari (CKO)  Events are the event organisers for Karachi Eat.

Courtesy Mino Nmv

But at least Lahore got to experience the joy of food that the event brings to the city – under strict security and with constant cleanliness measures in place. With the social media abuzz about the festival, its success was a bygone conclusion, but as it turned out it was not a complete walk in the park.

Mismanagement

Lahore’s food enthusiasts flooded Jillani park on the first day of #LahoreEat2016 and that’s when all hell broke loose.

While the management was ready for overcrowding, some mishaps did happen. Visitors claimed Lahore Eat’s Facebook page was not clear on the location, nor were there proper advertisements or banners near the venue to direct them and help them reach the location.

“We walked for about 4 km to reach Gate 3. Others, who just parked their cars and stepped in, were lucky and they said the entry fee was Rs 200 and we were charged 250 on the gate,” said Aisha Hassan, an attendee. The traffic was totally out of control, she added.

Jillani Park (formerly Race Course Park) had two major events happening simultaneously, the Lahore Spring Festival, happening at Gate 1 and Lahore Eat 2016 at Gate 3.

“We entered from the main gate and I thought wow no ticket, after looking around for a while my family and I realised this is the wrong event,” Aqeel Khuwaja, a banker, said.

While the event could have been a disaster on this count alone, the management learnt from its mistakes. and updated all their pages and informed all their future visitors about the location in advance.

The Food

Courtesy Mino Nmv

The event was set inside an enclosed area within the park, besides the lake, where big letters made out of plywood read, Lahore Eat. The ticket counter was huge to cater to a heavy crowd.

Within the enclosed space, there were more than 50 food stalls, a stage and a radio station stall.

The stalls comprised fine dining restaurants, home based eateries, old school food outlets and plenty of dessert choices.

“I hope to gain a clientele for my venture,” said the owner of a home-based catering operation, Dastarkhwan.

There were a number of unique food stalls like Huns Organic, Roshni Association and Magnum, to name just a few. Along with the usual food, there were fried oreo’s, churros, magnum ice-cream bar, sushi, burgers as well as desi food on some of the stalls. All the choicest foods under one roof, as only an Eat festival can provide.

“Every eatery we want to go to each weekend is here. So we are having tidbits of everything,” said Kashaf, an MBBS student.

“I think the stalls here are great and are selling their items cheaper than they usually do,” said Basit and his friends at the event, as they dug into a verity of dishes at their table from the various stalls.

Good, clean, family fun

Courtesy Mino Nmv

Some complained of the tickets being high priced, it was a good place for families to enjoy their weekend.

“The whole family time and the experience were amazing! Visited with friends on Friday and again on Sunday with my family,” said wedding photographer, Palwasha N Minhas.

Due to security reasons, open activities like the Lahore Eat are rare in the country. But at the Jillani there was another event, the Lahore Spring Festival was also being held at the same time.

“They have bouncy castles; they also have a hina stall. It did cost me a lot, but we hardly get open space fun for the kids nowadays,” said Mrs Khawer, parent of two.

“Anything we do in the public space which a lot of people can enjoy is very important. I think this country is going through some really bad times, and things like these are a sign of life and normalcy,” famous author, Mohsin Hamid told Pakistan Today.

With little to no entertainment left for people to enjoy in public, Nusrat Jamil said, organising such events isn’t an easy task, “It’s very hard to work here, so many departments to deal with and so many permissions to get, security, tax and excise and others. It isn’t easy for people without contacts,” she said.

But Lahore Eat does not end here. CKO events want Pakistani food to go global, with an Islamabad Eat on its way, Cyra Anklesaria of CKO events told Pakistan Today, “We want to take Pakistani food international after we cover the major cities, we will have Pakistan Eat in Dubai and Istanbul. ” The combination of food and Pakistan can never go wrong.


Originally Published in Pakistan Today