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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The government's enlightened rep speaks

Storm Allah's wrath over obscenity: CM

KARACHI - Chief Minister Sindh, Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim on Monday termed the weekend storm and resulting loss of lives and property as wrath of Almighty Allah against commonplace obscenity in the society. He expressed his regrets over loss of lives and property because of weekend storm accompanied with rains and said that falling of sign boards in large number was wrath of Almighty Allah as the same contained ‘obscene pictures of women.’ In a press statement, the CM said each company has installed signboards in the provincial capital with ‘lewd’ pictures of women for publicity of their products, which was in violation of Islam and Sharia and a shame for an Islamic society. “I do consider thunderstorm as wrath of Allah against this immoral and un-Islamic act,” Dr Rahim declared.
Of course, the billboards - complete with the lewd pics - will be resurrected now. The people who became collateral damage by being buried under them will be resurrected much much later. Sounds a trifle unfair, if you ask me...

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Blogger kinkminos said...

I suppose if and when I go I'd like to be flattened under the oooooversized cleavage of a buxom female model hocking an orgasmically multifunctional mobile phone, or a similarly pointless device.

I wonder how the illustrious Doctor Rahim would like to go?

27 June, 2007 13:29

Anonymous Omar R. Quraishi said...

this is an editorial we ran in our
paper today on this --

Unnecessary remarks

The Taliban would have had to tear “indecent” billboards down if they existed when the fanatics overran Kabul. Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Sindh’s pious chief minister, required no physical effort here — “divine wrath” did the job for him. If last week’s unprecedented rains and storm hadn’t assisted, we could have thought Mr Rahim could work miracles at least where destruction was called for. “Almost all the companies advertised their productions [sic] through obscene and vulgar pictures of women in Karachi,” the chief minister opined in a statement on Monday. Then, this Taliban-like remark: the use of the billboards was “an Islamic act in our Muslim society”. It has to be said that the chief minister’s remark was in extremely poor taste, particularly for the families of the nine people reported so far who were killed by collapsing billboards during Saturday’s fierce rain- and windstorm. Name one sinning company that folded up that day as punishment from the gods. The chief minister doesn’t say why, on the other hand, all the victims were innocent passers-by and bystanders — none of them a CEO, to our knowledge and certainly no one was a model whose face appeared on any of the signboards. In fact, in all probability, those who died were honest hard-working middle-class (or perhaps not even that privileged) Pakistanis trying to get by on what is arguably a very hard life. Also, for the sake of argument, if falling billboards are a sign of divine wrath, what should one make of those who die as a result of electrocution, particularly since the number of people who die this way every year is far more than those who have been killed as a result of billboards falling on them.

The fact of the matter is that such remarks are really nothing but a crude attempt to hide the abysmal failure of the provincial as well as the Karachi city government in this regard. The people died not because of any divine intervention but because the government agencies responsible for regulating the erection and maintenance of billboards, to ensure that they are safe and conform to standard building regulations and that they do not fall over in a storm, failed to do their job. And it’s not as if the government had not been warned over this in the past. Urban planners, environmental activists and concerned citizens in particulars have frequently criticized the city government for not following a uniform policy with regard to construction and allocation of billboards and accused it and the provincial government of sacrificing public safety at the altar of corporate profit and greed. Holding the corporations whose products were advertised on these boards or the outdoor advertising agencies that placed the adverts in the first place responsible for the deaths without holding accountable those government departments and officials that overlooked the rules and bye-laws is only going to reinforce the public perception that as usual their will be an attempt to shield the latter. In fact proof of this has already taken shape in the fact that cases have been registered against those who put up the billboards but not against those government officials who gave the required legal go-ahead.

The Sindh chief minister’s remarks remind one of comments made in a similar vein by many a religious ‘leader’ and cleric following the October 8, 2005, earthquake. Then, many such people called the virtual wiping out of the town of Balakot a manifestation of divine wrath. Even at that time, it was difficult to understand how the rural, mostly down-to-earth people of that town could have done anything to provoke such a dreaded fate. In fact, if anything all such remarks did was to deflect the debate away from the fact that so many people – particularly thousands of children – had died simply because structures built in the region did not conform to a proper earthquake-resistant building code and/or the material used in such construction was probably third grade and suspect.

27 June, 2007 14:17

Blogger Faisal said...

Jesus! what a wanker this CM is.

28 June, 2007 00:19

Blogger Vic said...

This reminds me of a remark someone I knew (WWII veteran) made about one of our many 'border conflicts' (probably also due to divine wrath, we are now enlightened) - "We will fight to the last drop of our jawan's blood", said he, paraphrasing one of our learned leaders in Parliament.

I am pained to read Mr Quraishi's remarks about engineering standards. He obviously doesn't realise that engineers would be much more competent if they were only given suitable instruction in their colleges, instead of wasting their educational opportunities with all that rubbish about Strength of Materials and Load Calculations.

Similarly, the working of government servants (pardon the oxymoron) would be much improved if they only spent all their time in heavenly contemplation.

As it is, government papers move much faster when other government papers are slipped with religious punctility into government briefcases, so all right's with the world.

btw, the honorable and venerable CM didn't have anything to say about the urging (of the banks) in colorful billboards to faithfully borrow, borrow, borrow, for the latest Home Theater systems, daughter's wedding, son's education da da da da da da da?

28 June, 2007 07:20

Anonymous omar r. quraishi said...

dear vic -- if 600 billboards are going to tumble in a wind storm it may be fair to deduce that perhaps some of them were built in a more than shoddy manner - i dont think in 600 words or so, one can go into the merits or demerits of engineering education when the main point of the argument is what the chief minister said

28 June, 2007 11:13

Blogger Vic said...

Dear Omar

Please read my comment again, this time more carefully - I entirely agree. But does the honorable CM?

Incidentally, I am amazed that only the 600 billboards with lewd pictures of women fell down, leaving all the thousands of others, presumably sturdier and more faithful to their task of spreading the good word about buying more blessed goods. Undoubtedly the skyline of the city is much improved, and those sinful people who rather unexpectedly now await resurrection must also be blessing Dr Rahim for pointing out the error in their ways. One must piously hope that their bereft families also agree with him, and will vote for him with renewed vigor as soon as they are given the opportunity.

28 June, 2007 22:40

Anonymous the olive ream said...

I believe the chief minister Sindh needs to be invited to the open mic night at t2f. He's genuinely a true comedian - He certainly had me in stitches.

28 June, 2007 23:56

Anonymous rahmat masih said...

DEAR Mr Qureshi - Are you finding that your writings and editorials (not particularly good, generally) need readership among Bloggers, too? Wonder why --- since judgig by your posts on ATP and elsewhere you seem to be fairly at loggerheads with that community and hold no regard for them.
BTW, providing a link to the editorial (which you did) is enough. Posting the whole piece of mediocre writing is redundant. (Zakintosh, can you not edit the whole chunk out and leave just the URL in? It adds to unnecessary scrolling to get to the other comments. Thanks.)
Oh. OMT. Mr Qureshi, since you are always quick to retort with even more verbose nonsense, you will probably say Zakintosh, too, provided the link as well as the News story. Please understand that Bloggers do this to assure readers that the quotation is real and, often, to let readers read the longer piece from which the extract is taken. Your comment needed neither.
Vic: You are just being funny and proddy to irritate poor Mr. Qureshi, I think.

29 June, 2007 07:44

Anonymous Ghazala said...

@Zakintosh, surely you should be moderating comments made on your blog. The rantingly mediocre Mr. Qureshi has found another spot to further advertise his claims to editorial writing and more. I agree with Rahmat Masih, when he says you should have simply left the link to the url so anyone who really wanted to read his otherwise unread editorial in the news could have avoided it and scrolled down to other better written comments.
As for the Chief Minister's ministerings - what can one say - except that he should have known of the Divine wrath that would fall on this metropolis because of the 'obscene' billboards, cause they've been up for ages!

29 June, 2007 10:25

Anonymous Omar R. Quraishi said...

vic -- no all of them did not have pics of women -- but thats what prob the chief minister thought -- i knew you were agreeing but i was trying to tell you that a point on engineering education would be unlikely to come in an edit on a topic such as this -- because it would be peripheral to the main debate

rahmat masih/ghazala -- your case for moderation on this blog is very strong -- i think it is best illustrated by your own respective posts --

btw rahmat masih, if i were at loggerheads with the people at ATP, the person who runs ATP would not have been introduced as a columnist at The News -- with due respect rehmat sahib i dont think i am the one talking nonsense here

kidvai -- so much for discussion on blogs eh?

29 June, 2007 15:04

Blogger Ali Kazim Gardezi said...

this is same like saying that earthquake 2005 was because of sinful acts of people of northern areas. this is rubbish. i dont understand y do v always have to justify such natural disasters like this.

in future we might b able to predict and avoid such disasters... as we are doing to some extent now. how would "God" punish the sinfuls... i wonder? :)

the irony is that he is CM and a doctor. he is supposed to be more intellectual.

29 June, 2007 18:37

Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

Going strictly by the principle of free speech, I'd say the chief minister has a right to air his opinions.

The solution, perhaps, lies in the formation of some kind of a self-regulatory body by the advertising industry, where those, like the CM, who find any form of advertising offensive could file complaints.

29 June, 2007 20:05

Blogger Zakintosh said...

qureshi - i have chosen to remove none of the comments here, though I do find the comments by rahmat masih a trifle out of place with regard to his view of the quality of your writing, since that was not the topic under discussion. but if you write on a public platform you must learn to accept that not everyone will like your work and some may even dislike it. the answer does not lie in implying that the other's view is nonsensical.

as for the entirely separate suggestion by rahmat masih and ghazala about leaving just the url in, and not the whole editorial piece, it is a sensible one - especially the point about the needles scrolling. it is a method many bloggers and commentators follow. there are no rules but best practices and unwritten laws evolve with time ... and this is one of them. of course, i have left your full piece in to allow others to see the context in which their comments were made (in this particular matter). just like you, in your profession, bloggers do have editorial jurisdiction over what is posted on their sites.

while i will not defend rahmat masih or ghazala's views, i do find that you take rather quick offence at any comment that you deem even slightly abrasive, or not in keeping with your views. your responses become personal, too, and the discussions (there are several on blogs!) spiral into meaninglessness with each adding further fuel.

trust me, ignoring comments - at least until tempers have cooled enough for a discussion - is a far better reaction. after all, not every author bothers to send rejoinders to his critics in defense of his writings, produces testimonials from others, or calls them names.

misusing the comment space, however, is very common. and you have been as guilty as many others of such misuse, in my opinion, both here and at atp, by re-posting entire editorials or articles.

orq, this is not aimed at you personally but to all readers of this and other blogs: a request to leave just supporting links within their comments in future, unless the quotation is small and/or a more relevant selected portion of the original, or is not readily available via the internet.

30 June, 2007 07:34

Blogger kinkminos said...

phew, I thought he'd never finish, going on and on and on and on about the need to be terse and avoid superfluosities.

Glad that's over


30 June, 2007 11:17

Anonymous omar r. quraishi said...

excuse me kidvai sahib -- i have only taken offence at their personal remarks which were completely out of place and unnecessary because he chose not to comment on the editorial or the issue itself but wondered whether why i needed to post my editorials on blogs (which i think is an inappropriate question), and not in the manner that you seem to have understood -- criticism is fine if it is argued and calling someone an idiot is not a good argument

the umbrage is more relevant because the last time i was here people did the same thing and this time, when i mentioned something that could not be seen as controversial in any way, the same thing happens -- and no response from the moderator, rather a show of support for them -- no one minds criticism, but when its personal and without basis then its in poor taste -- what is in even poor taste is your response --

it is quite clear where your sympathies lie -- i wish you would stop this pretense of being unbiased in your moderation of this blog -- actually since you are the moderator you could have easily edited my post yourself -- to say that i abuse space by posting a whole article is a bit of a joke -- also i think any abuse of space at ATP is valid if it comes from ATP's moderator himself -- i didnt know that he did you to be his advocate kidvai sahib

i am afraid rahmat masih's and ghazala's taste are laced with unnecessary personal insinuations which are as clear as day to me but you think that my post provoked them! i think both you and your readers and me as well would be better if i stopped visiting your blog kidvai sahib --

30 June, 2007 14:28

Blogger Zakintosh said...

@ all readers of my blog, just a couple of clarifications arising from orq's comments:

1. i do not 'moderate' the blog. the 'comment moderation' option is 'off' and your comments are published directly. under some very specific circumstances I have removed a comment in its entirety, but do not 'edit' or 'alter' the comments in anyway (btw, blogger does not even offer this facility, which wordpress does).

i have, on only two occasions, requested the commenter to delete and re-comment after withdrawing certain portions that i deemed to be inappropriate. one did. the other withdrew and did not re-comment. that's the beauty of personal choices.

2. my blog is my blog. like a personal journal, it strongly reflects my opinions, likes and dislikes, loves and hates, and - yes - biases (c'mon ... we all have some). it is not, nor was ever intended or claimed to be, an 'unbiased' or neutral reporting space.



tho many responses come to mind, fortunately i have already made a decision that i have posted on kmb where we were engaged with others on another discussion. i quote it below for anyone who may be awaiting my response to you but is not interested in following the thread at kmb.

"Anyway, I am swearing off engaging with you on or offline, if I can avoid it, not because I do not enjoy debate or dialogue (I LOVE IT!), but because a meaningful discussion requires certain common frames of reference. It is obvious that we live on different planets.

As usual, you are welcome to have the last word."

Have a nice day!


ok, everyone: enough seriousness, for now. here's a link that's fun:

01 July, 2007 10:36

Anonymous the olive ream said...

"criticism is fine if it is argued and calling someone an idiot is not a good argument"

I hope Sabahat has read the above comment. I leave it to her to respond to it.


01 July, 2007 21:57

Anonymous Sin said...

"i think both you and your readers and me as well would be better if i stopped visiting your blog kidvai sahib"

*sigh* Promises, promises.

04 July, 2007 11:14


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