Even when the skies are gray, you have to think positive, even if it means forcing yourself to think positively, as it can alter your state of mind.
Karachi will always have a special place in my heart. I was born in Karachi and moved to Canada when I was very young. I have a lot of family there and I visit every few years or so.
I have fond memories of Karachi. Ramadan in Karachi are the best! Going early morning to seaview for the traditional Pakistani puri breakfast. Hearing the adhan five times a day is beautiful. At night the city comes alive…no wonder it’s called the city of lights! Camel rides or horseback riding on the beach…ah the beaches. Going crabbing/fishing on a boat is just too serene. Visiting the farm is a nice escape from the hustle bustle of the city. I love the city, I love the people.
It’s sad that a city that has so much heart could be riddled with so much corruption. Politicians openly threatening the protesters and journalists is just ridiculous. These politicians threaten journalists and their families and make good on their threats as well.
I am so proud of my fellow Karachiites for staring fear in the face and going out to vote despite living in constant threat. You believe in a better Pakistan, as do I. InshaAllah some day when we think back to Karachi we’ll only have fond memories and instead of the newly dubbed ‘city of terror’, Karachi will regain it’s title of ‘city of lights’.
Today is filled with anger, fueled with hidden hate.
Scared of being outcast, afraid of common fate.
Today is built on tragedies which no one want’s to face.
Nightmares to humanity and morally disgraced.
Tonight is filled with Rage, violence in the air.
Children bred with ruthlessness cause no one at home cares.
Tonight I lay my head down but the pressure never stops,
knowing that my sanity content when I’m dropped.
But tomorrow I see change, a chance to build a new,
build on spirit intent of heart and ideas based on truth.
Tomorrow I wake with second wind and strong because of pride.
I know I fought with all my heart to keep the dream alive.
Aslam Ali became the managing director of Pakistan Press International at a time when the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was bent on destroying the privately-owned national news agency. Believing that a free and independent media is essential for the development of democracy in his newly created country, he fought at every stage for almost 20 years to maintain the independence of PPI, suffering innumerable indignities in the process. Years of harassment irreparably damaged his health and he died at the early age of 54, but not before laying the foundation for the development of professional journalism in Pakistan and restoring PPI’s tarnished image after almost three years of government management.
Ali joined the news agency in 1964. Since its founding in 1956 by Ali’s brother, Muazzam Ali, PPI faced many threats to its existence. The imposition of martial law under General Muhammad Ayub Khan in 1958 put the agency to its first severe test. Despite constant pressures from Ayub’s regime, which ruled Pakistan almost absolutely for more than ten years, PPI managed to maintain its independence while playing an important role in providing Pakistanis with balanced news coverage of, among other events, the widespread civil unrest that eventually forced Ayub to resign in March 1969.
The news agency next incurred the wrath of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto when it refused to toe the line of his Pakistan People’s Party in the run-up to the country’s first general election in December 1970. During the elections, PPI gave full and fair coverage to all political parties, irrespective of their ideological orientation, although Bhutto openly threatened that Muazzam Ali and his news agency would be “fixed up” when he came to power. On becoming president in 1971, Bhutto was true to his word and immediately began harassing Muazzam Ali, eventually forcing him into exile.
When PPI continued its policy of independent political coverage under Aslam Ali, who took over from his brother and became managing director, Bhutto set out to destroy the agency through financial pressure, ordering the suspension of the agency’s service to government-controlled radio, television and newspapers. Other forms of pressure included the disconnection of telecommunications services, harassment by the tax authorities and denial of foreign exchange for making payment to foreign news services. Against all odds, Ali succeeded in maintaining the independence and efficiency of PPI’s news service during this period.
Having failed to destroy PPI though financial strangulation, Bhutto ordered the agency to be taken away from its owners and transferred to a member of the Pakistan People Party. In March 1975 Ali was directed by the Chief Minister of Sindh Province, Ghulam Mustapha Jatoi, to transfer the shares of the agency to Latif Ibrahim Jamal, a businessman and member of the PPP. Ali refused although he had been warned that if he did not transfer the agency, Jatoi had orders to proceed against him under the country’s draconian emergency laws.
After this refusal, telephone and teleprinter lines were disconnected without notice. Threats of arrest and assault became a painful routine. Ali would receive telephone calls in the middle of the night, telling him that police had been dispatched to arrest him. In a matter of just a few months, Ali lost almost 50 pounds, as well as most of his hair, and his family feared for his life.
When the government realized they could not subdue Ali through financial pressure or threats to his person, they resorted to threatening his family. After the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, S.N. Qutab, openly threatened his wife and four young daughters, Ali finally gave in and agreed to transfer the shares for a paltry sum to the PPP nominee on April 11, 1975.
PPI became an integral part of the official information machinery, changing its mission from serving the press to serving the Bhutto government. Not content with getting the agency, the new management continued to harass Ali in an attempt to snatch other family assets. The new chairman of PPI, Latif Ibrahim Jamal, even boasted that he had Bhutto’s blessings in his harassment of Ali.
Ali was advised by his doctors to go abroad for treatment of diabetic complications, but when he was informed that his name was on the “exit control list” and that he would not be allowed to leave the country until he apologized to the government, he refused to do so.
After Bhutto was deposed by the armed forces in 1977, the original owners applied to the martial law authorities for the return of PPI. When the transfer of the news agency was ruled illegal and returned to its rightful owners, Ali was elected chairman. He reorganized the agency and re-established its policy of giving coverage to all political parties - including the PPP. Years of harassment, however, had taken its toll on his health, and he died on Feb. 13, 1978, just three months after the agency was restored to its original owners.
Ali was widely mourned throughout the country. Mir Khalilur Rehman, then president of the All Pakistan Newspaper Society, called his death “a great loss to the profession and the nation,” a sentiment that was echoed in the editorials of almost every newspaper in Pakistan.