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Friday, December 01, 2006

The Not-So-Sweet Side of the Business

The following piece was blogged only after calling up two people ... one, a newspaper editor, and the other, someone who knew Faisal through a friend. I am now in Lahore and have had time to hear the other side from some of my friends. While there are still many unexplained parts, it is only fair that the judgement you make should be after hearing the other side, too. So, read the original post and then go the link at the end.
A few posts ago I had recommened Nirala Sweets - originally of Lahore, but now with outlets nationally and internationally - with reference to my craving for sweets and my diabetes. Now that a friend has sent me this newsclipping I have decided to give their products up. It will not dampen their sales, despite the tons I used to eat, but wtf; I just will have to find alternatives. The email acompanying the report, was titled 'Unbelievable' and said: "It's amazing that only one newspaper covered this. This is the Nirala Sweets chap who was racing his Porche and killed a 2 month old baby. They've managed to stop the police from registering a case. This guy should be strung up and Nirala should be boycotted. He studied abroad and the Daily Times even profiled him which makes it stranger that no other paper covered this. Maybe advertising revenues are more important than the truth..."
Ex-blogger bluecheese (who now only lets off her organic steam via well-composed photos) says that Nirala does very little newspaper advertising for the press to worry about revenues from it. She thinks it's just 'connections', and she is probably right. The world over, it's 6 Degrees of Separation. On the subcontinent, its generally 3 degrees. But in Lahore it's 2 !
I did not find the incident unbelievable at all. Stuff like this happens all the time. Here and the world over. The rich and the powerful get away with bloody murder. Often literally. But it need not always be so. While unable to support 'stringing' anyone up, I would certainly wish to see some justice done and fervently hope human rights activists and others in Lahore will keep the pressure on, in this case.
Another gruesome tale: ATP has a post about an 'accident' in Islamabad that is even more shocking. [Apparently now resolved!] NIRALA UPDATE: Read Faisal's side of the story!

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Blogger sam said...

This is disgusting and a very commonplace example of what happens in Pakistan. At least this time the perpetrator's name is out there. Usually, they manage even to keep that under wraps. You're right, in Lahore it is just a matter of a phone call.

01 December, 2006 14:28

Blogger sage said...

Those with money and connections always get a "fairer shake" than those without...

btw, what is Lahore like today? Recently I read about how it was a popular tourist destination during the British era, is it still a place for foreigners to travel?

01 December, 2006 19:11

Blogger the olive ream said...

what an absolute sick f%*king world we live in where bastards like this can get away with murder. He well qualifies for the IDF's sniper team targetting Palestinian children.

I hope he gets what he deserves (when he is least expecting it).

02 December, 2006 01:07

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Yes, sage. It's still a place to travel to. It still has some of the best examples of Mughal and British Period architecture - but in disrepair and now in the company of totally incongruous modern buildings and fast-food joints. The best time to visit is during the Basant Festival.

As for foreigners, yes, I guess so. There are the odd stories of kidnappings and killings that make headline news abroad. But, on the whole, far fewer foreigners have faced problems in Lahore than Pakistanis have recently faced in the UK/USA - both at the hands of the authorities and the public.

If you do wish to travel, I'd strongly suggest putting your itinerary on your blog and leaving a comment on the blogs you visit often. You will then get to enjoy the local hospitality and be assured of knowledgeable companions to take you around.

02 December, 2006 08:01

Blogger Zakintosh said...

My sincere apologies to the 3 whose comments have been deleted, but mere 'hate-speech' isn't fun to read.

02 December, 2006 08:24

Blogger Poo Poo Head said...

Why dont you ask lahore metro blog to cover this.

02 December, 2006 08:27

Anonymous asad said...

Disgusting actions by the authorities.

02 December, 2006 16:39

Anonymous Trekker said...

Setting aside the wrongness of the Nirala guy's actions, one wonders if the baby would have had a chance had he been secured in an infant car seat. Surely some company in Pakistan could introduce safe locally made or cheaply imported car seats for the masses and make money on it.

02 December, 2006 21:12

Anonymous abbas halai said...

pics from the crash are posted here.

02 December, 2006 21:18

Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

There has been more than one such road-accident in the recent past in India, involving the rich and the powerful, with the only major difference being the massive media coverage that has followed.

02 December, 2006 22:30

Blogger cheesoo said...

thankyou for this... nirala is a huge thing in my family as well as my in-laws and i'll do my darnest to make sure no one frequents it anymore... hit the bastards where it hurts

just a thought though: are we a 100% sure this guy IS the owners son?

03 December, 2006 08:50

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who know about the story and continues to buy nirala's products does not have a conscience. For those in Lhr/Khi or wherever Nirala Sweets has branches...I say organize protests outside the their shops. It will not do to condemn it verbally and not take any action.

04 December, 2006 06:48

Anonymous See_the_Light said...

All of you are being swayed by the Media which is mis-characterizing the whole thing just because the guy was rich and driving an expensive car. Also, Mobilink a large mutlinational company is using all their ligitimate and illegitimate powers to get back at the Guy.
I happen to know that the guy who got hit suddenly made a u-turn without looking at on coming car which had the right of way. All of us have seen how people just barge in without paying attention to on coming traffic and expect others to watch out for them.
Now since the guy is rich and has accomplished a lot of business success, obviously us unfortunate loosers have to feel jealous and think he must be the Devil incarnate, he must be drunk and all that crap.
For those who are advocating the boycott of Nirala sweets without getting your facts straight, please think through the impact on hundreds of Nirala workers.
I happen to know the guy indirectly and he does not drink and has very few vices that almost all of us are indulging in nowadays. he has a track record of 20 years of good driving and has biult his company up from the ground along with his fore-fathers.
Infact, he was assaulted when he visited the family in Defense National Hospital with his ailing father who happens to have Parkinsons desease and was confronted with a gun and threats. He was advised to launch an FIR but out of decency and sense of loss for the family he chose not to push charges. To his dismay the other party immediately launched another case. He could have just as easily said his driver was driving the car just like the parliamentarian's wife did in Islamabad after hitting and killing an afghan child.
Please wake up. The Media and these large corporations are twisting the facts to get the mileage and objectives that serve them best. If a poor guy had hit another poor guy, no one would have known. Just because of he happened to work for Mobilink, the whole of Mobilink went crazy.

04 December, 2006 16:25

Blogger hushed said...

I sent out this email this morning in response to the quoted email which was forwarded to me.

Hareem Sumbul writes:

Okay a lot of stuff has to be set straight
I PERSONALLY know the guy and have been receiving information of the incident and subsequent false allegations made on Faisal himself. The guy has a 20 year record of SAFE driving (including that of sports car-driving) all over the world, this is his first ever MAJOR accident in his life. He has never drunk or engaged in any malicious activities. He was on the Main Boulevard of Defence going from Lalik chowk towards masjid chowk when this other chap made a U-turn without seeing where he was going and rammed into the porsche which had a right of way. The car spun and hit a tree on the side and the 2 and a half month old baby flew out of his mother's hand out of the open window and landed a few feet away from the car on the mid-divider green belt of the road. Faisal Farooq called the1122 ambulance and stayed there for an entire 45 minutes (which magically seems to be erased from the appalling accoutns being spun around the city, by the way). Later he also took his old father to the hospital to grieve and condole with the family who had faced the trauma on which THEY took out a gun on an unarmed old man who was there to share their sorrow. I repeat, I personally know all this is true and this being an only reason that I'm replying to a forwarded email for the first time ever in my life. It is tragic beyond words could express, a family who have lost a baby and faced such a huge trauma but we as a nation have to GROW UP and realise that sometimes accidents happen and it's not always the party that bears the greater loss is the one that has to be right. No doubt the loss is irrepairable but slinging mud at someone who doesn't deserve is certainly not on. Boycotting Nirala Sweets won't bring back the child or lessen the grief of the bereaved but yes it'll cause some 1300 plus people to go out of work overnight over something that is being blown out of proportions and is not based on facts. Yes there was an accident and YES a baby died which is teh worst form of agony for the parents and family, YES Faisal Farooq was in the other car but NO IT WASN'T HIS FAULT. If people out there have the audacity of forwarding out emails and short messages then I think they should be forwarding this email out because it bears the whole truth not just bits and pieces out of an evening paper. Trust me if he were my best friend and was guilty i would've been the first one to throw rocks at him.

04 December, 2006 17:45

Blogger Zakintosh said...

@hushed & see_the_light: i am glad to see another point of view on my post. sure, faisal - like everyone else - deserves a fair chance. and the hype and support may well be all wrong and tainted by a mix of malevolence and indignation and sorrow. i do not wish him any personal ill. i really hope that the trial will exonerate him if he's not guilty.

i only wish both of you were not as semi-anonymous so that conversation could continue outside of this post, too. i truly think dialogue can help clear misunderstandings. problem is that we now have two totally opposing stories ... and are unable to acertain the truth. the media will use the controversy as an attention getter. and those who know euither party will continue to tell stories that seem one-sided.

my suggestion: identify yourselves, meet some of the chld's family friends - slightly removed from the immensity of thetragedy - and sort things out.
this is going nowhere.

04 December, 2006 20:35

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you saying he has a Porsche and he wasnt driving it around at top speed like a maniac?That has to be a first in Pakistan.

04 December, 2006 21:38

Anonymous Darwaish said...

one of the problem with rich and influential people in Pakistan is that they dont want to go through same legal procedure (or any other rule or regulation as a matter of fact) which is there for poor and ordinary people. this is clearly visible in the tone of two of the comments here. may be faisal is not guilty, which i seriously doubt, but he must prove that in court like any other ordinary person. A two months old child has been killed forheavensake!

05 December, 2006 00:49

Anonymous PJ Oker said...

This is the Nirala Sweets chap who was racing his Porche and killed a 2 month old baby.

This reminds me of the software guy who wanted to start a new age business in Silicon Valley - after pounding the streets outside the big VC offices for weeks ... he came to a big industrialist's house and asked for a job as a handyman so he could pay his bills.

Mr Big Shot told him, "Look, I have a couple of pails of paint here, and need my porch painted. How much will you take?" The poor guy was hungry and said 50 bucks.

"Done," said Mr BS, and went back inside. His wife, who had been listening said, "Honey, the porch goes right around the house and it will take him two days to do the job. How can you feel OK just paying him 50 bucks for that?"

Mr BS was annoyed and brushed her off.

A couple of hours later he was surprised when the doorbell rang and the guy stood there saying, "The job's done. I worked pretty hard to finish it quickly and.."

"You've finished? You're a great worker! Listen, I'll pay you double for doing the job so fast!"

"Gee thanks, but I need to tell you a couple of things. I still have some paint left over and..."


"... and you know something? It's a BMW, not a Porch!"

07 December, 2006 14:31

Anonymous Anonymous said...


After reading the other side of the story and the link posted by zakintosh, I must say, this might be the case!! I remember back in 1992 when I was YF&S (young, free & single) in living in Karachi (currently in Houston with wife and 3 kids) I going in a fast lane on University road accros PIA planetorium, sudddenly a guy on a Motorcycle try to cross the road in the middle of a rush hour with full fast traffic coming from either sides!! I stands on my brake but still mangae to brush the back of this Guys bike and he crashed on the ground. As a 21 year old boy driving a charade with (rims etc) I knew that every person whose around gonna show his sympathy toward the guy on a motorcyle. So first thing came to my mind is RUN!! but then its too many people around and that guy was slightly hurt (like nose bleeding due to no Halmet ofcourse) so I decided to take him to the Hospital and I even call his family to let them know that some >>stupid<< guy hit their son and he's gong to get little late :/

So, I think we should always consider looking on both the sides of the story before making any comments!! We always blame the System or the society but unfortunately we played a pretty vital role by forwarding these type of news without getting to the bottom of the story or waiting for the truth to prevail :)

12 December, 2006 21:25

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me tell you something VERY HONESTLY!

I know Faisal personally as well!!

While we were studying in Crescent Model, Lahore in 1992, the guy had a Honda Hurricane CBR 1000, and he had the most notorious reputation in the entire city for driving the bike while being drunk with a gang of children of the richest class of Lahoriites, who used to think of themselves as GODS and were always found in front of Kinnaird College for Women, Esena Foundation & Lahore Grammer School Girls Branch Gulberg driving as rash as it could be.

I personally know this fact from our mutual friends, which includes Usman Baksh, son of Mr. Saeed Bakhsh of HKB, that Faisal doesn’t only drink, but infact is an ALCHOHOLIC. Get it checked from agencies like WADA, who have been criticizing Pakistani Cricket Board for letting its players escape the truth even after they were proven guilty by all international standards… you see this projects our national approach towards protecting some selected few and making them untouchables.

Last but not the least, tell me, is main boulevard defence, a racing track?? Who gave this guy a license to drive at 280KMPH on a busy metropolitan road?? And then pointing out that the victim took a wrong turn?? Even if he did, had this Porche’ guy not thought of a public main boulevard as his backyard race track, wouldn’t the consequences of this accident be much lesser than what they are now??

For God’s sake, its not about accusing a RICH MAN who happens to be the owner of a Porche’ or whatever, its about respecting fellow humans and obeying the rule of law!!!


13 December, 2006 13:04

Blogger Zakintosh said...

I have drwan no concluions and even put in abeyance those I drew earlier. But I DO have a question. Wht are all of Faisal's supporters ANONYMOUS or semi-Anonymous and all those writing against him providing names/links etc?

Please: If Faisal's story is true and you are trying to help him, don't leave 'anonymous droppings' in blogs that are trying to help bring out the truth. This does not help him at all, lacks credibility, and only makes things seem suspicious.

13 December, 2006 14:04

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Ah ... well ... now we have a really interesting case: An accuser who wishes to remain anonymous and yet decides to name two other people of HKB. That's a really sticky one!

13 December, 2006 14:07

Blogger bluecheese said...

And I just heard that Faisal's bail got cancelled and he has gone missing. The actions of a panicked innocent? Or those of a worried culprit?

13 December, 2006 16:17

Anonymous rayhan said...

Have any of you read The Blog That Refused To Die?

13 December, 2006 20:09

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, funny how a website called has suddenly popped up, complete with funky Flash animation showing how the accident happened and it was all the City car driver's fault. No mention of who made the website, where they got the figures, etc.

I think this faisal guy should be shot just for driving at that speed on the road-end of story.

24 December, 2006 05:58


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