Sunday, April 30, 2017

Two Magnificent Mushairas in Irving, Texas

April 29, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi

During the ongoing week two marvelous Mushairas (poetry recitation gathering) were convened in Irving Texas under the auspices of “Al-Noor International” founded by Noor Amrohi. Noor Armohi is a literary figure who has to his credit arranging and conducting a trail of such literary and poetic congregation for over a decade.
Noor Amrohi is doing this splendid yet onerous task not for the money and material perks but because of his commitment to promoting Urdu language which is the leading literary and spoken language in the sub content particularly in India and Pakistan. It should be remembered that Urdu is the official and national language of Pakistan.
The first Mushaira was in honor of the local poets and was held on April 28 instant at the Atrium hotel in Irving. It was presided over by Madam Noshi Gillani a celebrated poetess who came all the way from Australia to grace the occasion.
The guest poets and Madam Gillani attended the first day mushaira as mere listeners as it was exclusive to acknowledge and honor the local poets who reside in the DFW region. Naheed Shad a female poetess with exceptional talent in communication and chaste expression was the compere. She had performed her job in an accomplished and highly decent manner that included a brief profile and background of each local poet.
The names of the local poets who participated in this Mushaira are Naheed Shad (who also was the compere), Mrs. Zuhra Chishti, Saeed Qureshi, Iqbal Haider, Dr. Suleman, Masood Qazi, Noor Amrohi and Umar Abidi. The Mushaira was preceded by a sumptuous and multi-dishes dinner.
The second Mushaira categorized as the international Mushaira was held on April 29. It was held at Jack E Singly Auditorium in the city of Irving. It was perhaps for the first in the annals of local Mushairas and literary events that very few seats were vacant and the whole auditorium looked almost filled by the audience including families some of whom came with their children. The Mushaira was wholly sold out except the special invitees and VIPs who otherwise remain instrumental in prompting such literary and humanitarian causes.
Mr. Noor Amrohi himself conducted the proceedings of the second Mushaira with exceptional skill, commendable expertise and poise that he possesses in abundance for such literary assemblages. He is an eloquent speaker and dispensed his role in an entirely professional and graceful manner.
The International Mushaira continued almost until midnight. The audience remained glued to their seats to listen to the poetic compositions of the illustrious guest poets who enjoy international fame and distinction. They were all seasoned and exceptional celebrities in the realm of poetry and their participation is considered to be the touchstone for the success and brilliant image of such literary and poetic congregations,
The name of these luminaries from India are Santosh Anand, Malik Zada Javed and Mazar Bhopali. As already mentioned Madam Noshi Gillani came from Australia while famed literary figure Pirzada Qasim arrived from Pakistan. Mr. Khalid Irfan an illustrious and most sought after poet of humor came from New York. Dr. Shamsa Qureshi who is a local noted poetess and philanthropist presided over the Mushaira. It was also for the first time that a female member of the community was given the honor to preside over a Mushaira of international fame.   
The immense service and role of certain members of the community was acknowledged and highlighted in making these Mushairas a grand success. One such eminent name is Mr. Irfan Ali. He is a thorough gentleman and a sincere and truthful member of our community. I am proud to be his friend and for his being my mentor and guide.       

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Zardari Deserves Appreciation for his Good Deeds

April 6, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi

Asif Ali Zardari the Co-chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) and the former president of Pakistan returned to Pakistan on December 23, 2016. Zardari had left Pakistan for Dubai in 2015, couple of days after he had delivered a hard-hitting speech that seemed to be negatively directed at the Pakistan army and specifically General Raheel Sharif with regard to his retirement.
With the return of Mr. Zardari, the PPP would once again, get a mature leadership. In his absence, the onus of leading PPP fell on the shoulders of his son and scion of Bhutto family Bilawal Zardari. However, Bilawal is too young, naïve and inexperienced in the art of politics and diplomacy. His main drawback is that he is not well-versed with the political culture of Pakistan.

Moreover, He cannot make a speech in the national language of Pakistan Urdu which is the main medium for dissemination of party’s manifesto, plans and policies. In an exploding voice, he simply reads from a prepared text which looks ridiculous. It would have been much in order if, in the absence of Mr. Zardari, a senior member from PPP should have been appointed as the interim head of the PPP. That would have erased the impression that PPP pursues the dynastic culture in the party.
Since his return to Pakistan, Mr. Zardari has lambasted the PMNL government in center as well as Punjab. He blamed the PMNL government for neglecting Sindh province which is quite an effective card to reestablish the political clout of the PPP.  The earlier friendly overtures between PPP and the PTI seem to be wrecked because of the irresponsible criticism of PTI chairman Imran Khan against Mr. Zardari and other PPP stalwarts. 

Lately Mr. Zardari has met various politicians including Chaudhry Shujaat, president of the Pakistan Muslim League and former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervez Ilahi. Chaudhry family from Gujarat is a known political adversary of the Sharif family. If Mr. Zardari is aiming at forming a coalition of the political parties to browbeat the PMNL, then such an alliance may not prove to be effective. Perhaps he is aiming at defeating the PMNL in 2018 general elections which by all reckoning PMNL would win. On the face, PMNL and PPP should be natural allies as both have served Pakistan better than others.

It should be kept in mind that Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Zardari are both friendly with China. Mr. Zardari has massive business interests in China. Both Mian Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari support CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor). Therefore, in the backdrop of CPEC, China may not encourage Zardari to dislodge Mian Nawaz Sharif by opposing him along with other political parties’ hostile to PMNL.  

Personally, I admire Asif Ali Zardari for his inimitable political acumen and excellent administrative guts. To me he is a maverick who, despite innumerable hostilities and roadblocks on the political path, excelled marvelously both as the chairperson of the PPP and president of Pakistan. He also proved to be a true successor of late Benazir Bhutto in leading the PPP. During his five years’ stint as president, he proved himself to be a superb negotiator with disarming logic and conciliatory skills.

I would not dwell on his insatiable avarice for money and the alleged questionable techniques and dubious tactics employed to gain and accumulate mammoth wealth. Tell me one politician in Pakistan who didn’t exploit his powers and exalted position and remained clean of the corruption, misuse of power in gaining wealth. I would also not delve in the unproven allegations that he is responsible for the murders of his spouse and prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto and his brother in law Mir Murtaza Bhutto.

I would simply confine my discourse to his historic and brilliant attainments for Pakistan during his presidential tenure of five years. I would solely focus on the positive side of his personality and performance that is unmatched by most of the presidents and the prime ministers of Pakistan. He is an extremely deft negotiator and possesses compromising disposition for give and take both in politics and business.

Despite being one of the most maligned person, on the national level, he has to his credit a litany of notable achievements for the good of Pakistan and the people. He is the one president who completed his tenure of five years as the democratic head of Pakistan People’s Party. Mr. Zardari made history by making peaceful transition of power.

Instead of hanging on to power on one pretext or the other, he established the democratic tradition by relinquishing the charge of the presidency to his PMNL successor President-elect Mamnoon Hussain. That decision, in fact, fortified the cult of democratic culture which otherwise has been ignored by several other prime ministers, the presidents and heads of political parties.

He voluntarily gave powers to the Parliament, built up consensus on the NFC Award and brought about unanimous passage of the 18th, 19th, 20th Constitutional amendments. These are laudable and historic achievements with no prior examples in Pakistan. Thus, he revived the Constitution of Pakistan in its original form which has been distorted by autocratic regimes.

Asif Ali Zardari adopted the policy of reconciliation and made far reaching decision through consensus and broader understanding among the political forces. During his presidency, he shunned the cult of confrontation with the judiciary and military leadership. Finally, he was the first head of state who gave the much sought after identity to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.

When Asif Zardari became the President of Pakistan, the forex reserves of the country were $6 billion. When he left the Presidency, the reserves had exceeded $13 billion.In his address to the party workers on his return to Pakistan on December 23, 2016, he sounded quite positive and determined to resolve the issues that he pointed out in his speech