Mustafa’s trip to Lego Land in Denmark

Pakistan’s participation in FIRST Lego League European Championship


Yeah, you guessed it right – couldn’t resist doing this blog before the end of this year! Something I’ve been dying to share with you.  Felt bad that every time we planned the interview, something would crop up. It is now 12.25 a.m. and I’ve just completed the interview. It is okay, as winter vacations are on, in school. My friend Aisha brought her thirteen year old son Muhammad Mustafa Zahid for the interview. They had just come after attending a wedding, and reached my place at 11.15 p.m. I’ve met this young man often. He also read out the poems of Iqbal  for my book launch last month, remember? So, let me not come between you two.,

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Compromise for Peace.

How we made the Out of Court Settlement.

My latest painting of magnolia flowers still blooming in a storm. – Isn’t that what we all are doing in real life?

Recently, Humans of Pakistan have shared our story once again. Also, UN has shared it as part of a sixteen day session of sharing strong women’s stories. This has brought it all back, once more. What we went through was so horrific that I wish it doesn’t ever happen to anyone  else. That is why I shared my story with HOP. Many of you must be wondering how we are now. My parents moved in with us the next year. We all are fine with Allah’s grace.

Here is the epilogue to that story.

First of all, thank you – each one of you – who prayed and supported us for our well-being, and those who shared their stories with us. Special thanks to Humans of Pakistan for sharing our story with their readers, so others could also gain hope from it. Yes, it is vital for us to believe in ourselves first. Know that the power of our intentions and the blessings from God are enough.

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Water issue in Islamabad


Seriously speaking, this is the most serious topic of our times in Islamabad. If we don’t take steps now, things will get very bad here. In the past we have seen entire towns and villages getting desolate due the the turning of a river. In the present times, with education and facilities, people have usually faced the problems well in time, to avoid such situations.

Islamabad was begun in 1960, so it is a very new city of our times. Saidpur village was probably the only habitation here in recent history.

Now, suddenly, with the onslaught of thousands of people coming to settle here, and the latest CPEC agreements, hundreds of thousands more are expected to come and stay in this beautiful city. Suddenly, with this news, the water got even more depressed and the level went down very rapidly.

The first thing that is analyzed before construction of a house, is the availability of underground water. The underground water level in Islamabad was easily reached by going around 140 feet deep. That is how it has been for many years.

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Problems or opportunities?

 Why am I telling myself not to write a blog this week?


(“Stop everything else and concentrate on my studies?”)

But still, I am writing a blog post, telling me that I’ll just do it in a jiffy? (Is that going to the computer lingo too?) … just like so many words, like apple, window, now it is gif? GIF?) oops.  Back to my blog… so I was saying…

What I learnt during my MBA was that you can replace the word ‘problem’ with ‘opportunity’ and it really works. Come to think of it, every problem in life has taught us something. If nothing else, it taught us which problems to run from and which problems to face and solve.


So, here I am, giving myself one hour to get this blog done with. I’ve written regularly for 27 years. Yes, actually! Ok, so many of you, my cute readers, are not even 27 years old ?!! No problem. You have better opportunities now than I imagined. Being lessor than 27 is one of them. See what I mean?

So, all these years, I’ve been a freelance writer for several dailies and magazines. Writing is a habit for me. Now, my blog has turned into an addiction! If I don’t write,  I feel I’m doing my reader out of an … opportunity????…. to learn something else, that I have recently learnt too.

So, I am studying Financial Accounting because I flunked in it. All the other papers went very well. So was my Project, but this is beyond me. I’ve got to work hard now. But, still I can’t forget you. So, here I am loving studying and learning new aspects of the subject. (Love it when it clicks. Hate it when it doesn’t!) While trying to focus on my studies, there are so many ‘problems’ and ‘opportunities banging on my door….

Water problem in Islamabad.

I’m sharing a couple of pictures with you of a pond near my home. These pics were taken three years ago. If you see it now, it is more rugged with much lessor water.


So, there is this water problem in Islamabad caused by the lowering of water table in this region. As Gp. Capt. Jamil – a friend of my husband and myself – just remarked, “had the CDA (Capital Development Authority) thought about it earlier, and built some ponds in and around Islamabad to contain the rain water, this problem could have been avoided.” Instead, I’ve seen CDA send tankers to take out water from the natural pond near my home.


So, I’ve been going frantic trying to brainstorm how to solve this water issue.

Continue reading “Problems or opportunities?”

Transitional phases in life.

It is like being thirteen years old again. There is an uncertainty in it, a confusion of identity and a physical transformation along with an emotional one too. Yes, lots going on here!


It starts with that familiar ‘unfamiliar’ feeling. When you don’t seem to fit in with your environment or you feel you would fit in if you were older, bigger, thinner or better in so many ways. Right now… you don’t!

You feel that feeling many times in life. – Starting with the ending of your college or university life, the end of any era in your life.  A time when you are not sure where you’ll end up.

Continue reading “Transitional phases in life.”

The end of an era of my life.

15826449_1388968774469744_2048956202139122988_nIt is that time of the year again.

The time of horrible flashbacks and remembering moments of pain, the time before and after my husband left this world – exactly five years ago.

“You must have been mentally prepared.” a friend of mine remarked.

“No, I wasn’t. It was the greatest shock.” I told her.

Continue reading “The end of an era of my life.”

Post election scenario…. Leaving America?

Clinton, Trump pick up big wins

After my fourth visit to the USA, I’ve come back to Pakistan on America’s election day, with mixed feelings. Somehow life in today’s world is rather mixed and transitional.


I visited earlier in winter of 2007/2008. Then again next winter again;  In 2009 I went to Washington DC to see preparations to receive Obama then – the first black president.

Distinctly, I remember the bleak times in which Obama became the president. It was one of the deepest depressions in the history of modern USA. After every few weeks people were getting downsized. Announcements were heard like ‘tomorrow names of 3000 or 4000 employees shall be announced – in such and such company to be fired. There was an air of uncertainty everywhere. People (including whites)  who had worked for over fifteen years in one company were getting booted out too. The value of property everywhere had reached its all-time low. Persons paying mortgages were paying higher amounts while their properties were becoming lower in value.

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Negative propaganda hurts …. life can get scary anywhere.

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 Scenes of places around Seattle, when it got heavy snow during winter of 2008

(An article which I wrote while I was in USA in December 2008).


Pakistan. Does the name ring a bell? Does it remind you of something you saw on television? Something which has some other words attached to it like ‘terrorists’, ‘blasts’, killers, Muslims, fanatics’?” You are not to blame if these are the only words that come to your mind. -If any at all. It is because that is all you heard about it. Media made sure of it. You got nothing else from the media. So, how could you think of anything else? So, why do I feel bad? It’s because I know that your information is incomplete, and so far from the target. Ahem, sorry, that slipped out! See, what I mean? It reminds me of that episode of Friends which was filmed just after 9/11 and had not been aired due to the hype of the world. One never knew how it would be taken.

So, I was saying, I’m living in the most dangerous country in the world. And yet I do have a wonderful life there. And I would love to share it with my readers. I’d like to remove their fears about it. Fear only happens of the unknown. When I came here to US, travelling alone, all the way from across the world, I brought my own special brand of shampoo and hair color and medicines. (You’d think I was going to Eskimo land!), but with some things you don’t take chances, and these were of that category. -If you know what I mean.

I feel hurt and sad about my country getting a bad name, because you miss out on that part of my country which I know. And it can be really beautiful. It’s a great country, from a geographical and people point of view. These people are simple, intelligent, not so highly educated, sweet tempered and very hospitable. As a woman, I am educated, I’ve got the right to vote, I have done jobs, conducted workshops, attended seminars and meetings. I drive all over. I’ve driven in Karachi, Islamabad, Sargodha, Lahore, and Peshawar. I drive mostly alone or with my daughters with me. We move around without fear of any sort, as we are comfortable in the knowledge that if anything happens, there will be plenty of people to help us. I know, that if I go and ask for help from any household. Specially, the poorest of the poor, they will take me into their homes and offer me all that they have. This is why, when an American journalist was deported last year from Islamabad, when he was leaving, he said “I hope my wife and I can come back here again, as these are the worlds’ most hospitable people!’And how true it is! You see them smiling, in spite of the hard lives they have, you see them caring, in spite of having very few people really caring for them, you see them hospitable, in spite of such few belongings, and having hardly any food to eat, but still they will offer you all they have for the day, and not mind going hungry.

Believe me, I’ve moved in storms, and late nights in Karachi and found people helping me as they were concerned I was alone with daughters. (not having a man with you seems strange to them!), But they are helpful. Once in Austria, I met an American. When he heard that my husband and I belonged to Pakistan, he said “I’ve always wanted to go there!” We were surprised. He said “My friend went there, and speaks so highly of your country and its people, that I want to go there too!” Yes, that I can believe. When I reached here in US a month ago, I felt safe. And yet not that concerned about safety of my family in Islamabad. As we have been safe all our lives. And one can hope God will continue to be kind. And now, this storm coming up here in Seattle is making me feel more scared than I’ve been in my country. Today, I’m writing this article, when there is this scare of a storm coming up which will have gusts of wind of 90 miles per hour. The electricity will go off too. Now, in my country electricity keeps going off, and its staying on is the big news. But we use gas for cooking, so it does not affect us. The weather is harsh, but tolerable. But here, to have a power failure means, no heat, no cooking, no light. So, this is real trouble. Then the houses here are so fragile. Whereas the houses in Pakistan can usually, bear a big storm. Fire too can do nothing to the structure. So, this is all new to me. It’s scary. And I realize, ultimately, its God who saves human beings where ever you are. And all this illusion of safety is just an illusion really! One is as open to danger here, as anywhere else! Is it mostly in the mind?



Media Power – eventful two weeks of July 2016


How their ‘coverage’ has exposed the media of the world.


Within the last couple of weeks, so much has happened.

First, Abdul Sattar Edhi – the greatest philanthropist in Pakistan, passes away on 8th July 2016.  We were still reeling from that, and we hear on 12th July that Agha Nasir, the great man of Media in Pakistan, passes away. This information wasn’t fully realized when in Nice, France, on 14th, a truck driver killed 84 persons with his truck. We were still reeling from that, and there was this failed coup attempt on the Turkish Government on 15th July, by a segment of the army and the entire people of Turkey stood up in front of the rebel soldiers and tanks, and helped their country regain their Government. Social Media helped most of all. We were hardly recovering from that jubilation and admiration for the Turks, when Qandeel Baloch was murdered on 15th July, 2016. BBC and CNN who didn’t consider Abdul Sattar Edhi worthy of mentioning, wholeheartedly mentioned Qandeel Baloch’s murder.

“Who is Qandeel Baloch?” I asked. When I explored, I realized, why I had no idea even of the existence of this person.

Now, I’m just moving my head side to side, and wondering what all has happened? Why am I feeling all these different emotions and feelings?

Out of all this, something very vital and vibrant has emerged.

The Media, and the social media.

How powerful it is, and yet how it can be manipulated, used, and abused to suit the user’s ‘purpose’ – whatever that maybe. It may be an individual or an organization, government or country.

When Abdul Sattar Edhi passed away, I expected BBC and CNN to make documentaries of this great philanthropist of Pakistan. What to say of a video, not even his name was mentioned- not as far as I saw. I kept switching to BBC, CNN and DW – three of my ‘favorite’ channels! No mention of Edhi in the Western media, because to mention a good man in Pakistan is not their ‘policy’. Thank goodness, in spite of our own rather myopic media, he was given his due place in Pakistani media and the government. A State burial was given to the worthy man.

Then I remembered, when men like Stephon R. Covey and Dr. Wayn Dyer passed away, even then CNN and BBC hardly gave them their due coverage. Men of God, and people who serve humanity are not their cup of tea!

What happened in France was another tragedy. Of course it received its due coverage, I felt like saying to people in Europe “Welcome to a glimpse of life in Pakistan during the last three decades!” After living through so much terrorism, we are also accused of causing it! Why don’t they understand that there is no religion of a killer? When innocent people get killed in a brutal way it is unacceptable. Wherever it happens and who-ever it happens to. Countless numbers of people praying in mosques in Pakistan have been brutally killed. That is what we have suffered. So, we do sympathize with people of France for all they have suffered lately.

We know exactly how it feels. I wish they also know how we feel!

Now, don’t start more bombings on Iraq and Afghanistan, for God’s sake. May I just suggest: STOP IT! That is the only way to tackle violence. Stop it.

–          A complete ceasefire is what is needed. All round.

So, back to last few days: Then what happened in Turkey. Pakistan knows all about coups. Pakistan has had several bloodless coups. We are quite expert at the job. In fact, we could conduct workshops on these! Only difference was: Our people were with those who were attempting the coup. – Hence the silence and support to the generals, each time!

Then we come to Qandeel Baloch. Frankly, I’d say ‘no comments’, either on what she was up to on the media, nor of what happened as a consequence of it. All I can say is that it is all a very very sad thing that happened. Can you imagine the trauma that the parents are going through? – That too, at this old age? So, suddenly, their daughter (who was like a son to them)  is murdered by a son of theirs. Suddenly, they have no children. All their lives everything that happened, seems to have been in vain. She was a girl who was forced into marriage at an early age. She tried to make a life for herself, in whatever best way she could.

Media played a role in the winning over of the people of Turkey, by its president. Media played a role in the murder of Qandeel baloch. It was what she was putting online, which aggravated her brother to feel justified to do what he did. Media also egged on others …. How the brother confessed on television that he did it. That was it. No remorse, nothing.

The West bombs people in Iraq and Afghanistan, no remorse, no feelings. A saint of a man dies in Pakistan, but the West doesn’t even mention him. – Because, media will not talk about someone who was wonderful and great in Pakistan. So, we know, the news they give is all biased. Who knows, what other ‘policies’ they harbor against which other countries of the world? -BBC, CNN you have lost your credibility!

In-between was the news of passing away of Agha Nasir. A man who worked in Radio Pakistan, and later headed Geo TV. A man who brought out writers like Haseena Moin, and spent a lifetime devoted to media the way it should be:  telling the truth and promoting the talent that  needs to be promoted. Geo TV was shut down many times, due to its truthfulness. I met Agha Nasir, at the book launching of Uxi Mufti’s book on Allah, in Serena, a few years ago. I asked for an interview and he gave me his card, so I could interview him.  Somehow, it never worked out.

So much that is important in life, somehow never gets worked out, while so much somehow gets worked out, which should never have worked out.

It brings me to realize, how alone a person is. How friendless, and how much without protection. The Turks realized this, they did not wait for any ‘outside’ help. Because none would have come anyway

Observing all this that happened in this world in the last few days, I’m realizing everyone (and every country) is actually very alone.

When we in Pakistan, were going through all this terror, no one was with us. In fact we were being blamed for it. When we were helping millions of Afghani refugees, by giving them a shelter, we were alone, (I do confess, many people in the West came and gave us aid to provide for them.) We suffered heavily for this gesture of providing refugees a place to stay indefinitely. We are doing so, to date.

As individuals and as a country, we are alone. It is up to us to become economically strong. Do not expect any ‘help’ or even media coverage for anything good happening here.  Just understand that it isn’t anyone’s ‘Policy’.

However, as far as our own ‘policy’ is concerned, let us be guided by our Allah who tells us: “O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.“  – Surah Maida, Ayat 8.

This is what should define, our media policy. To be fair and just, as writers, editors, film-makers and channel owners.

Stay blessed and watchful.:)