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Archive for the ‘Zia’ Category

On Freedoms And Memories Of Another Day On Memorial Day – IMRAN™

Posted by imrananwar on May 26, 2014

I was still a final year student at University of Engineering and Technology (LahorePakistan) when Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, the owner of the media empire in this NY Times story ( http://j.mp/1r9rVO6 ), invited me to work directly for him. I was 22 then. 

 

I had met him a few times before, mostly as a student leader leading protest marches into his office when Jang, the leading Pakistan newspaper but that would cave in and give greater coverage to the Taliban cousins Jamate-Islami fundamentalists party. So it was an ironic twist to become one of his key people. 

 

He originally invited me to write on a Youth page but in my first day visiting his office I saw how IBM people in Pakistan were about to rip him off by selling electric typewriters with changeable font balls as “desktop publishing systems”. I made a comment about that. 

 

Yes, I always spoke my mind regardless of the “stature” of the people in the room and continue to do so. 

 

Shakil didn’t sign the contract and immediately said, forget the youth page, I want you to sit with me here every day and advise me on anything you want. He had the foresight to see that my vision of technology changing media changing society changing the world was the missing piece in his media/society part of the equation. 

 

I learned a lot of lessons from him, 90% of them good, and just 10% of them disappointments. That is a pretty amazing ratio in a world full of us imperfect people. And I am sure there have been times I must have disappointed him too. But I consider him one of the best teachers in my life besides my parents. 

 

He did his best to dissuade me from going to Columbia Business School on a full scholarship, saying I would learn so much more as his right hand man. I have no doubt that would have been true, but I am glad I left. Yes, it would have been an amazing journey with Shakil, but I would still be an employee of a tycoon. I am blessed and grateful for all that life has brought my way on my own. 

 

Our friendship continued over the last 25 years I spent in America. I literally flew in on a PIA flight carrying several thousands pounds of equipment for the well known News International which I was involved in the launch of. I literally flew in minutes before the newspaper went to press.

 

Shakil left the press building even as plates for the very first copies of the paper were being mounted onto presses. Even though it was a lifetime dream of his family coming true, he drove from the Jang Karachi building to the airport to personally receive me inside the terminal and then drove me to the press with him to see the very first copies of the newspaper roll off the press. I always honor him for how he has always honored me over the years.

 

Though we are not related at all, we used to look alike a bit. (Maybe the prominent nose LOL). He always treated me like a younger brother he did not have (unless I happened to ask for a raise LOL). And he would always laugh when I would affectionately mimic his distinctive manner and style of speaking. 

 

One day we were in his magnificent office on the top floor of the Jang Building in Lahore when I did my impression of him. He was laughing out loud when his assistant (Fayyaz) said a well known but obnoxious person (son of a national leader), who had not personally met Shakil before, was there to visit. 

 

Like in a comedy movie, Shakil thought my impression was so great I should meet that obnoxious person acting as Shakil and Shakil would become Imran. We both moved to the “drawing room” part of the office when the guest came in. And I have to say, I was so flawless in doing my Shakil impression the guest (who had spoken to MSR before on the phone) had no clue what happened. Shakil and I had to do everything in our power not to crack up laughing. We did not do that again, but I remember that and many other adventures, mid-day or midnight, that we shared with love, trust and affection.  

 

Though Shakil and I do not get time to speak regularly now, I still consider him one of the smartest, most forward looking businessmen in the world. Yes, Jang, and the GEO channel, are brilliant commercial media organizations. But not once did I ever see action or hear any words come out of the mouth of Shakil (or his late father the great Mir Khalil ur Rehman, brother Javed, or his brilliant sons or daughters) that would ever be remotely considered anti-Pakistan or anti-Islam. 

 

I laugh at former Playboy, by now probably Viagra-needing pro-fundamentalists, like Imran Khan (whom I once admired) and others making accusations against Shakil. It amazes me how many dumb idiots, especially on Twitter and FaceBook (places they exercise right to free speech), foaming at the mouth about wanting to have GEO shut down. 

 

They do not know what it is like not to have these basic freedoms of expression. They do not know how to exercise the freedom of switching the channel if they do not like something. They want things to be exactly how they want them or to be shut down.

 

These idiots did not serve in newsrooms that were raided by scummy crooked military officers of evil dictator General Zia‘s regime to rip out stories being put in the next day’s paper. They did not know journalists whose fingernails were ripped out by “security services” as we knew.  They did not get court-martialed as an engineering student leader for leading marches against the military regime as I did.

 

They did not fall sleep on the floors of newspaper press buildings at 4AM to make sure nothing kept the presses from running. Shakil did, and I was proud to have been next to him in those times. 

 

Long live democracy, freedom of speech, and a free Press, in Pakistan as well as USA

 

And long live my friend Shakil and his family.

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Posted in Columbia, Democracy, Dictatorship, Jang, Karachi, Lahore, Media, Pakistan, USA, Zia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Which Country Threat To Neighbors, Unstable, Terrible To Women?

Posted by imrananwar on April 12, 2009

The cell-phone video of three “brave” strong males holding down and ravaging a young northern-area woman (who may be Pakistani or Afghani) with a public flogging was shameful by any standards of decency, morality or humanity.

Even more shameful was the timing of the video’s release. It was apparently leaked not to call attention to a serious crime, and dozens of atrocities like it that are committed by spineless, dishonorable, Taliban every day, but to complicate Pakistan’s nearly complete peace deal in Swat.

The Internet communities like Twitter are, for lack of a better word, atwitter (!) with this particular video being used as an example of what must be happening to every woman in every part of Pakistan.

Don’t get me wrong. The scourge of the Taliban, the cancer of AlQaeda and the repulsive puss-filled sore of Pakistani-killing terrorists brazenly attacking people in Pakistan are serious threats to every Muslim, every Pakistani. But they are, in many cases, byproducts of other fundamental problems that need to be solved by Pakistan and Muslims.

For example, a history of letting some parts of Pakistan being somewhat exempt from the laws of modern Pakistan may have seemed like ceding power and control to local warlords and ancient tribal traditions. But, in many cases, there were also arrangements in place that suited older governments of Pakistan.

They found it easier to buy the peace with a warlord or Maliks or Emirs of the region, even at the cost of not giving the local populace there a vote or a voice in its own destiny.

Even the money given to areas where natural resources were found, and consumed nationwide, the “royalties” did not go to benefit the people of the area, but to enrich the tribal leaders, who became even stronger and more vile forces, somewhat like Stone Age Godfathers even without the semblance of a competition or law above them.

They ensured that murder, rape and other heinous crimes remained their tools of administering their subservient population. Ensuring lack of education, lack of basic facilities, even medical care for the poor was another way to keep a population barely surviving and not daring to speak up, or even knowing that speaking up was an option.

That is why, though I went to school with many scions of such “wadera” or “tribal chief” families sons, I did not shed a tear when a certain Nawab, who was as much an enemy of Pakistan as of his own people, was wiped out by General Musharaff (in one of the few good things he did as Chief Dictator Officer in Pakistan).

My hope was that many of the tribal leaders’ kids going to school with me at Aitchison College, Lahore in Pakistan, would one day go and become the new chiefs of their tribes and maybe change things.

I guess power, especially generations old almost godlike power, has its own power to corrupt. Many of my friends went on to have professional careers but I did not see or hear of any of them being the power of change I had hoped they would.

Thus, it is easy to see why the international media, the global community, including God-fearing, law-abiding, everyday Pakistanis, being horrified and angry at the crimes being committed by the sewer rat Taliban fanatics. It is easy to see why decent people around the world, especially on the Internet, would distribute the story to everyone who would hear.

But what gets my riled up is the way the tragic story is used not to influence positive change or to discuss the reasons such groups exist. There is no talk of the role of the United States in creating yesterday’s mujahideen (today’s Taliban).

Ignored is the double standard of Washington in making speeches about democracy but always secretly praying for, and playing for, a powerful but controllable dictator in Muslim countries.

The worst examples include the repulsive and thankfully long dead General Zia and moderately pleasant but still Constitution-raping General Musharaff in Pakistan or the Arab thug Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

The most disgusting to me personally is the concept of all American administrations supporting a monarchy in Saudi Arabia, where Islam brought the earliest concept of people deciding who would rule them after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) passed away.

During this time, the fact is that online communities like Twitter have a flood of messages screaming that the sky is falling in Pakistan. They are crying hoarse about how Pakistan is on the verge of a breakdown.

They are maligning Pakistan as if every young or old woman in Pakistan is beaten at the smallest excuse and the rest of the country applauds. They feel Pakistan is a threat to its neighbors.

If you ask a loaded question, “Which Country Is A Danger To Its Neighbors, Is Unstable And On The Verge Of Breakdown, And Is Terrible To Women?” I am sure Pakistan is what most of them would quickly jump to answer.

The triple irony is that just today’s news shows three of America’s stalwart, and supposedly stable, allies are the worst examples of what Pakistan is accused of being.

The vile Zionist state of nuclear-armed Israel continues to show it has no desire for peace, with its own Foreign Minister blowing off agreements they had made with the American governments in recent years for a two-state solution to the Occupation of Palestine. They treat their Palestinian occupied territory slaves, men and women, worse than the worst Pakistani tribal crook chieftain treats his subjugated poor serfs. And they have an unstable coalition government increasingly run by right-wing fanatics.

Saudi Arabia, where the thankfully gone George W. Bush could not get enough of kissing, and lip-synching policies with the equally hypocritical and un-Islamic Saudi monarch, (and where President Barack Hussein Obama was also bowing in deference) is in the news. How they mistreat women and have no civil rights for migrant workers is not even news.

The latest repulsive news from Saudi Arabia was that a man gave his 8-year old daughter to be married to a 47-year old man to settle a debt. I repeat, to settle a DEBT. In the year 2009 AD the Arab Muslims are literally selling daughters to settle business debts. I wonder whom they would sell to settle a mortgage loan.

Lastly, the mother of all daughter-selling countries, Thailand, a favorite destination for child-porn seekers and pedophiles from Europe and America, not only continues to peddle its wares, and its daughters, it is also now in a state of emergency, in addition to political unrest in various regions around it.

Let’s be fair. All these nations also have insurgencies of one kind or another. It is time that America sends in the drones. But this time let’s send them to bomb civilian areas in Tel Aviv, Jeddah and Bangkok and deal with the far worse crimes against humanity committed by those three American allies every day.

Imran Anwar is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com . You can respond to his live comments on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

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Posted in 2009, Afghanistan, AlQaeda, America, Barack Obama, Bush, Danger, Democracy, Dictator, Dictatorship, George Bush, Hypocrisy, Immigrants, Imran, Imran Anwar, Islam, Israel, Jihad, Kashmir, Marriage, Muhammad, Mujahideen, Musharaff, Muslims, Obama, Pakistan, Palestine, Prophet, Taliban, Terrorism, Twitter, USA, Washington, Zia, Zionists | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pakistan Democracy: The Long March, The First Step

Posted by imrananwar on March 25, 2009

What a difference a day makes. What an even bigger difference a week can make.

What an amazing and exciting week this has been for Pakistan as a nation. Its elected leaders had just recently squandered a historic opportunity to set Pakistan boldly and directly on the path to institution and nation building.

On more than one occasion, on TV and radio, I had compared Pakistan, as a nation and especially as a government, to the ship Titanic, except that this one had deliberately hit every iceberg it could find.

Just when it seemed that the current government in Islamabad had completely forgotten the lessons of history – of merely one year ago – something changed. It had appeared that the policies of Islamabad were surely and not so slowly pushing Pakistan in the direction of chaos and eventual return of martial law.

As someone who has told his share of lawyer jokes, for the last one year I have had nothing but praise and kudos for the barristers and attorneys of Pakistan. Theirs is a career dependent upon daily earnings, made from daily work outside the court houses of Pakistan. One could not have been imagined that profession as the consistent and unstoppable source of the year-long protest movement. What the lawyers of Pakistan carried out was doubly special, as they did it against not one but two tyrants within one year.

Besides self-inflicted wounds, almost exactly of the kind that General Musharraf suffered from, perhaps there was some hubris or misconception in Islamabad. Maybe there was a feeling that people in Pakistan have become immune to tyranny. Perhaps it was felt that when push comes to shove Pakistanis are so used to having people in power do what they please that nothing would come out as protest against any power grab carried out by Islamabad.

But just when it seemed that our ship PNS Titanic was headed straight into a minefield, surrounded by icebergs, in the midst of the perfect storm, the most amazing opposite perfect storm arose in response. The nation became a nation.

The Long March, as it was called, was the best example of a peaceful (at least by Pakistani standards) uprising by the people of Pakistan to have their way with an elected ruler trying to cling to, and expand, his power.

I was in Lahore in 1977 when it happened the last time. I remember driving past puddles of blood covered with ash in dozens and dozens of locations on The Mall where anti-PPP protesters had been killed by the government at that time. This time however, thankfully, the perfect storm that arose was one of common sense, decency, courage and people power.

In particular in addition to the lawyers of Pakistan, there are many people I, even as a New York-based Pakistani, want to give thanks to.
This includes Prime Minister Gilani for his understanding of which way the wind was blowing and helping President Zardari see some light. General Kayani must have had to fight the urge not to take over the government. It must have been difficult when the elected leaders were themselves creating a situation that was going to endanger not just law and order in Islamabad but bring chaos across the nation.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has grown in stature not just within Pakistan but also abroad. He is being praised for taking a stand on principle, showing patience and then being very statesmanlike in his response to broken promises from Islamabad. To then show courage and refuse house arrest to march upon Islamabad put him on a much higher level of leadership than he was at before.

Even the police officers who, after some “kaarwai“, showed common sense and decency, either to resign or to let the protesters begin their march towards Islamabad, should be considered heroes of democracy. As most of my readers and fans know from my background, during my days at the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore, in the early 1980s,

I was a student leader and chief organizer of QSF. The Islami Jamiate Taliba, as well as its parent, the Jamate Islami, were considered the mortal enemies of liberal organizations like ours. They even murdered Anas Choudhry, a final year student member of QSF, the year I joined UET.

But, today, as during the previous year, I am happy to give credit to this party for its principled stand against tyranny and dictatorship.

I never thought it possible, but even a member of the very political party and inner circle of Islamabad, Ms. Sherry Rehman, deserves praise for her decency, courage – and good timing – in resigning her position. It can be argued that she did it because there were others interfering in her ministry rather than what the government was doing to the independent media. But I, and the people, still give credit for her resignation.

Many of these things would not have become possible had it not been for the courageous, first-time in the life of our nation, stand of the real Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Choudhry, and his fellow judges, who resigned under General Musharraf.

They stayed out of office and jobs, despite pressure, incentives and other tricks that governments have at their disposal in Islamabad. I will avoid passing comment on the people who sold out their souls to get the appointments that they got. But I hope that this new chapter in Pakistan’s history will also be the time when we start naming our villains for future generations to remember and spit on the names of.

Another hero, an entire industry really, that is among the less respected professions around the world these days, including America, was the Pakistani media. I say this not as a member of the media but as a proud Pakistani American who was ashamed of the silent acquiescence of American media in George Bush and Dick Cheney‘s shameless rape of the American Constitution and human rights around the world.

American media cannot be shut down by any government. Yet the media here quietly let the Bush government do whatever it wanted.

The Pakistani government, through many of its Stone Age laws curtailing freedom of expression and press, can shut down almost any Pakistani media entity. The bigger they get in Pakistan, the more the government can squeeze them. Even as a teenager I know how many magazines Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bhutto, whom I then admired, shut down for being critical of his policies. Urdu Digest was one that frequently had to reappear under other names.

I was a member of the press in Pakistan when vile dictator General Zia-ul-Haq gave many journalists a taste of what a dictator can do. He had writers’ nails pulled with pliers to make them stop criticizing him.

For the Pakistani media to have stood up, first to General Musharraf and then to the current Zardari government in Islamabad, at great risk and financial loss to themselves, is another element to celebrate in this great victory of the people. A lot of credit goes to GEO TV, Jang and many other media.

Lack of space and time prevent me from individually thanking every single group or individual, like Mr. Aitezaz Ahsan, who played a central role in this great turnaround. God bless you all, for being the new heroes of a new democracy that can still rise in our nation.

The long march may have been intended for Islamabad, but it may turn out to be something far more important.

The Long March may have become The First Step in a thousand-mile journey – to the true destiny of Pakistan – as a great, free, democratic society ready to take its place in history.

“Qadam Barhao Saathio, Qadam Barhao”

Imran Anwar is a New York and sometimes Florida based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com . You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

Posted in America, Army, Benazir Bhutto, Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, Dictator, Dictatorship, Elections, George Bush, Imran, Imran Anwar, India, Judges, Justice, Musharraf, Pakistan, Prison, Zia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CLICK! 40 Years Of Photography – FLASH! A Lifetime Of Memories

Posted by imrananwar on January 6, 2009

CLICK! My 40 Years Of Photography

By Imran Anwar

I wrote the following words on December20, 2008 to celebrate nearly four decades of photography and to salute my father for setting me on this hobby, and many other great paths. I am sure readers will recognize some of the items and gadgets I mention in this trip down photographic memory lane; no pun intended.

My Father gave me a camera when I was 6 years old. It was a small 35mm film camera, made in Japan. It was a time when cameras were expensive, and processing film even more so. At that time I had to start with simple black and white films. I had to use pocket money in Karachito develop photos taken with that camera as I grew up in Karachi, and attended St. Paul’s English High School in Saddar.

In four decades I sure have come a long way. From that startup Japanese camera to today’s amazing Nikon D300 DSLR that I received on my 46th birthday, a lot has happened.

Forty years of life, 40 years of photography, a lifetime of memories.

I hope to see and capture a lot more, God willing, and to share with my family and friends the many unforgettable sights I have seen.

So, as I said, I started with a nice little Japanese camera my dad gave me as a kid going to Karachi. He also had the confidence in me to let me use his more expensive and also more breakable camera, a really reliable Argus (that still works!).

From his passion for photography and traveling to new places with us, he and I captured our memories and our lives as I grew up in Pakistan.

After my O’ Levels exams I moved to Aitchison College, in Lahore. By then I “borrowed” (ahemmm…. somewhat permanently!) the camera Abu had started using. It was a truly awesome (for it’s time) Yashica Electro35 camera.

That camera was amazing in its own right – telling over and underexposure by its orange and red LEDs! A “Wow” back then is something even 10 years old kids expect to see in cell phone camera these days! The amazing progress of technology and photography does not cease to amaze me even today

I then found myself studying (well, that is a liberal use of the word!) for an Electrical Engineering (Electronics) degree.

Unfortunately, some of my work from the late 1970s to mid-1980s is lost forever, turned to ashes when USA and ReaganBush Sr. backed Taliban type right-wing fundamentalists ransacked and burnt my stuff in my hostel room at Lahore’s University of Engineering & Technology. (Ironic how similar people are now called terrorists, back then they were “mujahideen” supporters of Zia and the US policy of promoting Islamic fundamentalism against the Soviet Union).

The Yashica Electro 35 was stolen and not recovered. Even terror(ist)s know how to use a camera.

The typewriter I used to get published in the then popular newspaper The Pakistan Times was also stolen but later returned. Terrorist supporters, even the jeans-wearing ones in Mumtaz Hall who hung out with the hot babes of UET didn’t need no stinkin’ typewriter. Why use words when you can use guns, I guess?

Anyway, even before I finished my engineering studies, I was invited to, and was thrilled to join the owners of Jang Group‘s (especially the brilliant owner and publisher of MAG Weekly as well as Jang and News, Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman) team in Lahore.

Even though I came on to write a youth page, within a few days I was privileged to become Business Manager, and also started writing weekly articles in MAG Weekly in Karachi. I would rush them to my then colleague, later friend, and now a fond memory, the late Wahab Siddiqui who was Editor of MAG.

Since I drove around in Lahore a lot, I also started carrying a portable camera in my car and took ‘slice of life’ photos called PIC(K) OF THE WEEK with a caption that made people think about the ironies, absurdities and tragedies of life we see everyday and just drive on by.

My late mother, Mrs. Nargis Anwar, had always taught me to be sensitive to those moments of life’s drama that unfold around us every day. My father taught me how to capture them on film. I still hope to “some day soon” put together some of my tongue in cheek articles (a dangerous thing to do under then dictator General Zia) and photos with captions from back then into a book. Yes, one day

But, life has it’s own plans. After a few years of working at Jang, I picked and packed my proverbial bags and came to America; exactly 20 years ago (January 1989 to be precise). I was fortunate to come to America on a scholarship to get an MBA at Columbia University in New York City.

My parents came to visit me a few months later (Abu had to go for some higher studies on a fellowship of some sort). When he went off for studies (somewhere in Utah I believe) my mother and I went around town (Manhattan) from my Columbia University apartment. Our favorite visit together was to the top of the World Trade Center in New York. It was one of the best times of my life spent with my mother, whom I lost just 2 years after her return to Pakistan at around age 50.

When we were in New York, my then current model camera stopped working so I was saving up for the camera I badly wanted. She wanted to buy it for me but my dream camera at that time, the MinoltaMaxxum 7000i, was too expensive for me to let her buy for me in 1989. Maybe I should have – as I could have captured many more memories of my parents’ only trip to America together.

I did buy it a few years later and took some stunning pictures – of beautiful places, gorgeous faces – during my Manhattan years.

I loved taking these photos especially when I was living a blessed life at The Monterey (on the Upper East Side of Manhattan overlooking one of North America’s largest and very beautiful mosques) and when visiting loved ones in Washington, DC and friends in California.

Life, time, lifetime friendships, captured in memories in the heart and on film.

(continued…)


FLASH! A Lifetime Of Memories In A Blink

By Imran Anwar

In last week’s article I mentioned how I came into photography, thanks to my father inspiring me in every way a father can inspire his son.

He loved photography, and got me a camera at age 6. I mentioned how I progressed from a small, simple 35mm camera in the late 1960’sto one of my favorite film cameras in the late 1980’s.

The 1990’s brought along a new revolution. Along with the 35mm film Minolta Maxxum 7000i, I became one of the earliest users of digital cameras when the first Apple QuickTakedigital camera came out. I even have some of its pictures on my web site, at IMRAN.COM .

I later upgraded to the next Apple model and I still have it as a memento. It seems so ancient now! It’s part of my Apple collection of Mac IIfx, ColorOne scanner, StyleWriter and LaserWriter printing equipment that still reminds me of my love affair with Apple and its technologies. Maybe I will give it to a museum some day (if I don’t end up having to sell everything to survive this economic downturn, that is!!).

Not much later 2 Megapixel cameras were coming out so I invested in, and loved, a Minolta DimageX 2MP. My flickr photo-sharing page ( flickr.com/imrananwar) has some taken with that camera. That camera was unfortunately lost but it was impressive both technologically (a marvel in how it “double-turned” light rays to provide an actual optical zoom lens without having a lens protrude from the camera body!) and color quality.

During the next few years I got the 5MP NikonCoolpix E5700, which took some of the amazing Palm Beach and Singer Island, Florida, photos you see on my flickr pages. You should take a look, too. Some of these have been enjoyed by more than three thousand people!

I still use it with an amazing panorama EyeSee 360 lens.

(Ooops, typed too soon, that beautiful camera and specialized lens were shattered a shortly after my writing these lines, when the Nikon strap slipped out of the hook, sending the camera and the lens sliding to hit the road and smash into little pieces! Note to readers, never assume that cameras and other things connected by straps will not slide off. Always check the straps regularly).

Hundreds of panoramic images of Europe, United States and other places are still to be processed and put online. I hope to do soon, so my family and friends can view them and feel like they were right there in the room or city or museum right beside me. It helps me bring the joy of going to the most remote places in the world and knowing I can share the experience with my father, and my loving family and friends.

For portability, and to get back to taking “slice of life” photographs as I used to take in Pakistan for MAG Weekly, I had also added another Nikon to the mix. I replaced the lost Minolta Dimage X with a Nikon S6 (slightly larger than the S1/S5 but WiFi built-in for ease of transferring to the Apple MacBook Pro laptop).

But for real SLR photography with changeable lenses I was in a quandary.

I did not know whether to move from Minolta (my Maxxum 7000i film and Dimage X digital) to another Minolta, their newest DSLR, or complete the migration to Nikon by adding another Nikon like the D60, to accompany the E5700. (As my photographer readers will know, it is not as simple as just picking up a Sony or Panasonic DVD player. Selecting cameras is almost as much a matter of taste and preference as wanting to be a Mac user).

Minolta made it easier by selling out their camera business to Sony. For a while I even found the Sony AlphaA700 a better deal than Nikon (you may have seen an old review I wrote) but I did not make the jump to Sony. I refused to indulge Sony’s choice of forcing us to buy expensive Memory Stick and not regular SD Secure Digital cards that are so great and cheaply available

Anyway, on the photography front, though I did not get the Sony Alpha DSLR, nor did I move to the Nikon DSLR ship right away. I found the Nikon D40 and D60 not enough of an advance to make the jump.

And, then, on my return from my recent trip to visit my father, I finally did. I had decided on the Nikon DSLR D30012.3 MP camera when it came out and I got it as one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received from a loved one.

I invested in some additional lenses and flash, etc. and I love it. Sheer magic and take a look at flickr.com/imrananwar. That page has just some of the photos to prove the magic. Some have already won awards, been used in calendars and traveling road shows by companies here and 2 will be used as “INSPIRATION” posters by another company.

Check them out and leave comments. I hope to be back in Pakistan soon and put it to use on photos of my family and beloved homeland of Pakistan. I have also selected some photographs to make a printed coffee table book for my father to see and show his friends the amazing magic I was able to capture from a gift he gave his son 40 years ago.

So, there you have it.

My 40 years journey in photography so far. It was started by my father’s gift of a camera. It developed from my mother’s gift of telling us never to miss any moment of the beauty in the world around us – before it is too late.

I try to do that, every day, in my own way, by living and capturing that incredible journey, for myself, and, I hope, online, for you and others. The photographs of that journey are online and on my computers, now and in my mind for as long as I live.

Forever? I hope so. The Internet and my “Live, Forever” project (at neternity.org ) give us a chance to leave coming generations a permanent record of our having seen the amazing world I saw, we saw, with our eyes. I hope our visions are seen, for an Eternity, if you do the same.

I emailed the first draft of this tribute and article to my father by email. He had just arrived back in Lahore from a trip. I spoke to him late on the afternoon of December 20, 2008, and had a wonderful conversation with him on the phone.

A few hours after my salute, Mr. Anwar-ud-Din, beloved father to my siblings and me, passed away from unexpected cardiac arrest early on December 21, 2008. ILWIR.

His smile, his love, his words, his sacrifices for us, his very presence in the lives of all that he touched – they are all etched in our hearts and memories for far longer than an eternity, far deeper than any photograph can capture.

May Allah bless him and my mother with a great place close to Him in Heaven.

I thank you, dear reader, for saying a prayer for my parents, and all the great people who have left us and now live forever in our memories. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

(The End)

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Musharaff Out – Pakistan Gets Yet Another Historic Opportunity

Posted by imrananwar on August 19, 2008

Like the Democratic party in America, which is capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of certain victory, I have seen fewer countries in the world that have the ability to waste historic opportunities like Pakistan has.

Much that I have been a critic of President Dictator Musharraf in Pakistan, I do have to give him credit for not having been the evil dictator that General Zia had been about 20 years ago. On top of that, I must laud retired General Musharraf for having the decency to step down, and resign instead of facing impeachment.

In that, he has shown greater courage and decency than either president Bill Clinton did or that I wish President George Bush would show.

Some of the statements in his farewell speech were laughable. But, one also has to understand how difficult it must be for any president, much less a dictator, especially one who suffers from a savior complex that Musharaff did, to step down.

But all is well that ends well. And one has to say that the Musharraf presidency and role in Pakistani politics has run its course. For better or worse he is now a part of history. Now it is up to the Pakistani coalition government as well as the Pakistani population to decide where they want to go from here.

Will Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif, the two men in power for now, do the right things for Pakistan? Will they have the good sense, decency and moral courage to put their own political ambitions aside and focus on putting Pakistan on the right track?

In this case, the right track that Pakistan needs to be on is, in reality, a long and winding road – of several interconnected and sometimes opposing paths!

On the one hand Pakistan has to do everything in its power to curtail the evil of fundamentalism and lawless terrorism that has become the norm. On the other hand it also has to stand up for its national self-interest, even if that means standing up to United States pressure.

Pakistan has to ensure that education of the masses, especially in the rural areas is a high priority. But, it cannot be done at the expense of economic development in the major cities. It needs to ensure the provinces get their fair share of revenues and development funds, but not at the expense of idiots holding up building of dams and power plants needed to survive, much less thrive, in coming years.

I am personally a big proponent of considering dictators and their supporters punishable by death when they overthrow an elected government. However, we also have to remember that the so-called elected rulers of Pakistan generally have themselves been guilty of becoming “elected dictators”.

So, yes, there is some value to charging Mr. Musharraf with treason, which he did commit, in overthrowing the government of Mr. Sharif. This is especially true if the Pakistani people seriously want future generals and dictator wannabes to have the deterrent of death staring them in the face, should they decide to overthrow an elected government. But, at the same time, I realize that the Pakistani army is not going to stand by and watch one of its own actually be hanged.

I am also quite certain that Mr. Musharraf and his partners in crime, including bureaucrats, and people like Mr. Shaukat Aziz, have played a major role in plundering the economy of Pakistan, playing the stock market, and manipulating commodity prices to their own benefit. However, these are crimes that have been committed by every single government, and every single ruler, in Pakistan.

So, if we want to jail or imprison Mr. Musharraf, we should be ready, willing, and able to do the same for Mr. Sharif as well as Mr. Zardari. After all, neither Mr. Musharraf, nor Mr. Sharif, were ever given the name Mr. 10% that Mr. Zardari is commonly known as.

In the immediate future the biggest threat to Pakistani democracy and being on the right track does not come from the Army or from any external threat. The biggest internal risk to Pakistani democracy would come from the politicians starting infighting for greed and personal ambition.

Let us all hope for the best and make sure we keep the pressure on these new rulers to follow the rules. Let us pray that this historic opportunity is also not squandered by politicians, bureaucrats and illiterate followers of fundamentalist murderers.

What do you think?

Posted in 2 Centences Worth, America, Army, Bush, Clinton, Constitution, Dictator, Dictatorship, Economy, Elections, Freedom, History, Military, Musharaff, Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan, Politics, President, Terrorism, Terrorist, Zia | Leave a Comment »

 
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