Friday, July 21, 2006

Lecture by Dr. Atta-Ur-Rahman - Wednesday, July 26

Invitation to a special Lecture by Dr. Atta-Ur-Rahman @ Pakistani Consulate

The Consulate General of Pakistan, New York
The Promotion of Education in Pakistan Foundation, Inc.

are pleased to invite you to a special evening Lecture:

"HEC (Higher Education Commission) Current Plans and Future Programs"


Dr. Atta-Ur-Rahman
Federal Minister/Chairman HEC

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Science & Technology

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 7:00 pm

The Consulate General of Pakistan, New York
12 East, 65th Street, New York, NY-10021

Please R.S.V.P. by contacting:

Ms. Rudina Xhaferri
Tel: (212) 255-5399
Fax: (212) 633-2220

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Beirut burns...

I've copied my column below that has just been published online here. I've got so much to say about the whole issue, but I feel like I haven't been doing enough research. I've relied on selective media outlets which, thankfuly, are trustowrthy and reliable, so I feel secure in knowing that I am in the know and am cognizant of true ground realities.

Meanwhile, the thoughts expressed below should suffice. Please do leave comments. And please do pray - for all.

In the short life I have lived thus far, only one thing has ever been constant: change. It is also unfortunate that the clearest manifestation of this “change” takes place when we are no longer at peace with “others”. A perfect example of this scenario is the current events that are unfolding as I type this column far away from the lands of the Middle East, an area that has experienced wars ever since it was deemed holy. Some of these wars were holy, but I think we can quickly arrive at the consensus that any vicissitudes that result in the shedding of innocent blood are, in essence, sacrilegious.

It is natural, then, that my energies are constantly focused on what is going on in Israel and Lebanon currently. While the entire region is precariously on the brink of war, all I can think about are the innocent civilians being killed, one after the other. The destruction takes place on both sides, and the first casualty is not always human, but usually truth and justice. No suicide bombings are taking place, yet the media coverage is conspicuously geared towards the suffering of Israel and its citizens. It is almost as if Lebanon is only of secondary importance. The people (or the country) are not worthy of extensive media coverage. Instead, the focus continues to be on Hizbollah and the dozens of rockets it has, and continues to fire into Israeli territory. Even more important (to CNN at least) is how Israel is responding to the situation.

But why is the media so focused on Israel and Israelis? Isn’t Israel the recipient of almost $ 3 billion in foreign aid? Isn’t Israel the country with far fewer civilian casualties (approximately 10)? Isn’t Israel the country with thousands of army personnel and an equal number of tanks and machine guns? How can such a country even compare itself with Lebanon, itself still trying to stand on its own feet after years of internal conflict? Lebanon’s capitol city Beirut was only beginning to reclaim its title of “the Paris of the East”, when it was reduced to rubble in a mere few days. How easy it is to destroy, but so hard to construct.

Beirut burns and I mourn.

At this point, I do not remember and cannot even recall who the initial “aggressor” was, and who might even care? Innocent lives and destruction of property continue to take place. The question we must ask is: where do we go from here? What must be done to prevent a further escalation of violence? I asked these same questions at the outset of last week’s conference on the Future of Western Muslim World Relations at the CUNY Graduate Centre. I end with the same response I used in my opening comments: I wish I knew the answers.

The political situation is changing every minute in the Middle East and thousands of innocent lives hang in limbo as their fates are decided by warring factions on both sides. My heart tells me that there are people without adequate military forces that need moral and even physical support that I may not be able to give, but my mind also tells me that this war has another battlefront: the media. I have great faith in the jihad of words, and not the jihad of swords, or guns and bombs. People do not realize that there is great power in words. It can be instrumental in the path to peace, if they so choose to use them constructively. Letters to the Editor of community newspapers, Op-Ed pieces, and even blogs all have a positive impact in this “war”. If sanity and serenity must prevail, then this battlefront must be used effectively. And what better way than with words?!

For the rest of the column (which I borrowed from my speech on July 8th!), click here...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Brook's Qawwali Party concert - Wednesday, July 26th


I can't believe i'd live to see the day my favorite fusion band would lose its most prized member, but alas - the time has come!

Brook of Brook's Qawwali Party is leaving. I dont know what the future of the band is because Brook had a deep understanding of Sufism (Islamic mysticism), but more importantly, loved Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with a fierce passion. I hope whoever takes his place realizes he not only has large boots to fill, but a great responsibility upon his shoulders. Im fairly certain the quality of the music will not change, but it's the pasion and the message which deserves publicity as well. It's not all about the talent!

In any case, Brook is a gem and BQP has lost its lustre in my view, but I will continue to support unconditionally!

Check them out when you get a chance!

Dear Friends,

After two years of nuturing BQP into what it has become today, I, Brook, of Brook's Qawwali Party, am stepping down from my role as leader and drummer of the band. I have recently decided to partake in a one year-long internship offered by an Abbey in Connecticut in which I will be working on their farm and living with their community. It was quite a difficult decision for me to make, as I am choosing to leave my baby (BQP, not an actual baby), but it's something I feel I need to do for myself at this particular juncture in my life.

But, ALAS, do not fret, BQP will continue without Brook. How, you might ask, is that possible, especially with a name like "Brook's Qawwali Party"? Well, it just takes three letters (lyn), an enthusiastic trumpet player, and a drummer named Conor Elmes to fix.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce: BROOKLYN QAWWALI PARTY!

But before I do, I will have one FINAL blowout Qawwali Party of my Party to end an era and begin a new Party so huge you'd be crazy to miss it...your last chance to say goodbye to yours truly, as I will leave for Connecticut soon thereafter!

So, in order for this event to occur properly, we've decided to expand our venue size and give y'all the dance floor you've been waiting for, while keeping it real in Brooklyn...where else but...

125 Fifth Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn
btw Sterling and St. John Place.

Wednesday, JULY 26th
Two (different) sets - 9 pm and 10:30 pm.

Please come and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event, and also to bid me farewell! Don't forget to mark your calendars now!

Thanks so much for all your support for the past two years!

Much Love,

Monday, July 17, 2006

Dr. Shazia Khalid - Thursday, July 20th

Dr Shazia Khalid will be speaking in New York City at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies from 12 pm-2 pm on Thursday, July 20th.
23rd and Park Ave.
Phone: 212-777-4800
This event is open to public and free of charge.

Dr.Shazia Khalid

Many Pakistani girls dream of becoming physicians and helping the poor and needy of their nation. Dr.Shazia Khalid is the one of the few who overcame the hardships imposed by a male dominated society and made her dream of becoming a doctor come true. Inspired by the desire to provide medical services where they were was most needed, Dr.Shazia accepted a job with Pakistan Petroleum Company (PPL) in the remote rural outpost of Sui, Balochistan. Working among villagers, many of whom had rarely, if ever, received medical attention, Dr.Shazia exemplified the ideal of a compassionate and altruistic caregiver.

However, on the fateful night of January 2, 2005, Dr.Shazia’s dreams and ambitions came to a cruel and tragic end when she was raped and severely injured allegedly by an army officer. Her ordeal did not end with the terrible crime. After she reported the incident to her employers they kept her sedated and untreated in a cruel and concerted effort to prevent her from speaking out. Within days of the incident they shipped her to a psychiatric hospital in Karachi where she was prevented from meeting with family and friends and also from reporting the incident to law enforcement authorities. Despite the seriousness of her injuries, Dr.Shazia was not given medical attention until almost two weeks after the incident at which time all evidence related to the incident was confiscated.

The grotesque sequence of events continued and the violation of Dr.Shazia’s body became a flashpoint of unrelated political struggles between the military and the Baloch ethnic group that dominates Balochistan province and resents the presence of PPL in their territory. Hundreds of people died as a result of skirmishes between the tribes and the military. In the adjoining Sind province, tribal jirgas branded her a “kari” or “dishonored woman” and ordered her to be put to death. Accordingly, grandfather of Shazia’s husband’s family called for a mob to kill her in order to redeem the “lost” family honor. In a hasty attempt at a cover-up, the Government of Pakistan ordered Dr.Shazia and her husband to either leave the country or face death. Currently, Dr.Shazia and her husband Khalid have been awarded asylum in the UK. To this day the Government of Pakistan has refused to make any effort to either apprehend the rapist or to rehabilitate her.

Despite the horrific treatment meted out to her, Dr.Shazia has courageously chosen to speak out so that other women in Pakistan who face similar violence may know that they are not alone. She hopes to open a Legal Aid center and Women’s Shelter in the poorest area of Karachi so that women are left destitute after being victims of violence can have a safe place to turn to. Her story is illustrative of how women’s bodies have become pawns in political warfare between feudal warlords and military generals both of whom treat them as chattel unworthy of respect or security. In speaking publicly about her horrific ordeal, Dr.Khalid is focusing international attention to the plight of thousands of women who are forced to suffer in silence. Her voice represents the incredible courage of a Pakistani woman whose commitment to the women of her country remains unshakeable despite all odds.

Inside Musharraf’s Pakistan: Assessing Reform Efforts - July 26th

My friends at Rising Leaders are doing some great stuff for young Pakistanis who want to actively engage in the political process, and the info below is reflective of just that. If not anything, go just to hear these high profile speakers who are truly geniuses!

Rising Leaders, the World Affairs Council, and International Trade Institute


“Inside Musharraf’s Pakistan: Assessing Reform Efforts”

6:00 pm on Wednesday, July 26

The Rotunda
The International Trade Center/Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20004


Registration and Reception: 6:00 - 6:30 pm
Discussion: 6:30 - 8:00 pm


Akbar S. Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, Moderator

Shahid Javed Burki, Former Pakistani Finance Minister and Vice President of the World Bank

Frederic Grare, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Special Guest Speaker



World Affairs Council and Rising Leaders members: $10
Nonmembers: $15

Rising Leaders membership is free to individuals under 30 who are attending this event. Become a member on-site, or at

Special Thanks to the Pakistani American Leadership Center (PAL-C)

If you would like your friends to hear about Rising Leaders events and opportunities, please add them to our mailing list by emailing

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Prime minister's daughter in anti-Israel rally

Wow, I could never have imagined this could be possible! Olmert's daughter protesting against her own country's policies? The impression one gets in the mass media is that Israelis do not protest anything their government does. Be it wrong, or right, the people stand united. Apparently, not in this case.

The news item is from over a month ago when Palestinian civilians were ruthlessly massacred on a beach, but the excerpts I have copied below still tell us quite a bit about the Israeli Prime Minister's family.

Prime minister's daughter in anti-Israel rally
Jewish leaders deemed 'killers,' calls for intifada to prevail

By Aaron Klein
© 2006

JERUSLAEM – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's daughter this weekend took part in a demonstration against the Jewish state in which Israeli leaders were termed "killers" and calls were made for the Palestinian Arab intifada – or terror war – to prevail.

The demonstration took place outside the Tel Aviv house of Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff Dan Halutz following an explosion this weekend on a northern Gaza Strip beach that reportedly killed seven Palestinian Arabs and wounded more than 40.

At the demonstration outside Halutz's house, some 200 leftist activists protested the Gaza beach explosion, blaming Israel for the incident.

Dana Olmert, the prime minister's daughter, took part in the rally.

Protesters chanted slogans such as "[Tel Aviv] residents, there's a murderer in your neighborhood," in reference to Halutz. They brandished signs calling on the Jewish state to "put a stop to the murder of civilians."

Some posters called Halutz a killer and stated, "the intifada shall prevail."

Activists also reportedly shouted, "Neighbors, ask Halutz why he's killing children and how many."

A prominent member of the Israeli opposition Likud party commented Olmert's family has a history of left-wing activism.

"That Dana Olmert participates in these treacherous, anti-Semitic protests jibes with everything else we know about Olmert's family," said the Likud member, speaking on condition his name be withheld.

In the run-up to recent Israeli elections, which Olmert's Kadima Party won by a slim plurality, the Likud featured a series of television ads blasting Olmert's family as pacifists and army deserters.

One Likud broadcast began with a scene of Olmert at a speech exclaiming, "I want our children to have a better future." A background voice then asks which children Olmert is referring to. "perhaps his own children, Olmert's sons and one of his daughters, who refused to serve in the IDF; moreover, his sons live overseas and do not see their future in Israel ... if Olmert's children who live abroad knew of his withdrawal plan, they would not return to Israel at all."

Prior to elections, Olmert announced his administration would seek to withdraw Israel from most of Judea and Samaria – mountainous territory within rocket firing range of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the country's international airport.

Olmert's oldest son Shaul lives in New York full time. After he finished compulsory Israeli military service, Shaul signed a petition of the pacifist organization Yesh G'vul, which calls for soldiers to refuse specific orders or not serve in the Israeli military all together.

The acting prime minister's youngest son, Ariel, reportedly refused to serve in the IDF.

Israel has a mandatory draft for all Jewish men and women over the age of 18.

Dana, who participated in this weekend's demonstration, is active in Machshom Watch, an Israeli leftist organization that monitors and often acts against Israeli checkpoints in Judea and Samaria. The IDF says the checkpoints are necessary to stop terrorists from infiltrating Israeli cities.

Some politicians who ran against Olmert also pointed out in ads and debates that Olmert's wife Aliza long has been involved in extreme leftist activism.

Aliza Olmert reportedly is a member of Israeli Women in Black, an activist group that calls for Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem.

Articles in the Israeli media have stated Aliza has been involved in the leftist Peace Now group and reportedly has voted for the Meretz party, whose platform includes the division of Jerusalem.

Aaron Klein is WorldNetDaily's Jerusalem bureau chief, whose past interview subjects have included Yasser Arafat, Ehud Barak, Mahmoud al-Zahar and leaders of the Taliban