Shakir Lakhani

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (twitter.com/shakirlakhani)

96 children from three fathers because birth control is a “heinous sin” – do you understand what’s happening, Pakistan?

When I read about Gulzar Khan, Mastan Khan Wazir and Jan Mohammed, the three Pakistanis that fathered 96 children, I was reminded of a man in our neighbourhood who had 17 children (from one wife) in the 1960s. Most men in those days had six children, though one sometimes did come across couples with 10 or 11. In fact, I know a few even today who have nine or 10 offspring. Now these are not average illiterate Pakistanis. Some of them are engineers and doctors; one is a chartered accountant, while the rest are executives in banks and offices. If you ask them why ...

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Dear Murad Ali Shah, do you even know what Sindh’s tax collectors are upto?

Dear Murad Ali Shah, It is well known that if you want to get anything done in your province, you have to pay the right people. In most cases, the right people are the ‘baboos’ as they are the ones who can skilfully insert whatever you want in any document knowing that the person who approves it will do so without reading it. Sometimes, if a baboo is not paid anything or not paid what he wants, he can do the opposite; he can get a tax imposed or increased on a particular commodity or service. This is what seems to have happened in the recently announced Sindh budget. ...

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If you want to survive in Pakistan, don’t stop at the red light!

A few years back, I stopped at a red light and my car was hit in the rear by a taxi driver. A crowd soon gathered and a traffic policeman came over and blamed me for the accident. “You’re not supposed to stop at traffic signals, even if the light is red,” he said. “You should slow down, look left and right and go across without getting hit, or hitting another car.” “But what about the traffic rules?” I protested. He laughed contemptuously. “Rules are made to be broken. If everyone followed the rules, the country would collapse.” By this time, the crowd was baying for ...

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Brace your wallets, Ramazan is coming

I first heard the story many years ago, and every year I hear it at least once.  Most Pakistanis are probably familiar with it, but it bears repeating, for those who’ve never heard it. It goes like this: In the early years of Islam, a preacher from a town sent his assistant to tell the people of a distant village in the mountains about Ramazan. He told them how they would have to get up before daybreak, eat food and drink water, then go without water and food until sunset, beginning with the appearance of the new moon and ending with the appearance of the ...

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Why honest policemen can’t survive under the existing Sindh set-up

The following is an old joke about the police in Karachi. The police chiefs of London, Tokyo and Karachi were discussing how they tackle crime in their cities. The London police chief said, “When a robbery occurs in my city, we solve the crime within 24 hours.” The Tokyo police chief said, “We catch the thieves within 12 hours.” The Karachi police chief responded with, “We cannot arrest anyone, as it’s our policemen who commit most of the crimes in Karachi.” In 1984, I visited a police station in Karachi to see someone who had been arrested. As we were talking, the phone rang and the SHO picked ...

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If Jinnah never asked Ruttie to change her name to Maryam, why did you, Pakistan?

Those of us who were born before Partition know that Muhammad Ali Jinnah could not speak Urdu, except perhaps a few broken sentences. His speeches were always in English, sometimes with a translator to make the crowds understand what he was saying. But sometime in the 1980s, the government dubbed all his speeches in Urdu, apparently under pressure from those who thought a highly westernised Jinnah would make today’s youth doubt that he wanted an Islamic state. One result of this is that an entire generation of Pakistanis have grown up believing that Jinnah was fluent in Urdu, and always dressed ...

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Dear Pakistan and India, stop trying to convert your minorities

My attention was recently drawn to a news story according to which non-Muslim employees of Mian Mir hospital in Lahore are forced to recite verses from the Holy Quran daily at the morning assembly. The news further stated that those who refused to do so were penalised by being marked absent for the day (and thereby losing a day’s wages). If true, this is indeed shocking news. Once a non-Muslim says the words of the Kalima, he or she automatically is converted to Islam, and cannot go back to his or her original religion. It goes without saying that such men or women cannot continue ...

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Dear Murad Ali Shah, why have you suddenly taken interest in the gas situation now?

The normally calm and composed Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, surprised everyone recently by losing his cool and shouting at the top of his voice in the Sindh Assembly. The reason for his outburst was that a power plant in Nooriabad is not being supplied natural gas, as a result of which the said power plant was not able to produce electricity. He threatened to stop the supply of natural gas from Sindh to other parts of the country if the Nooriabad power plant is not immediately supplied natural gas. Are you serious, Mr Shah? Apart from the fact that your ...

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Why are you celebrating, Nawaz Sharif? It’s not over as yet!

The long wait is finally over. The honorable judges have announced the verdict in the Panama Leaks case, and the overjoyed followers of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are distributing sweets under the assumption that their leader has been exonerated and declared innocent of any wrongdoing. Dear Nawaz Sharif, they are wrong. It was a split verdict, and you escaped by the skin of your teeth. Two out of the five judges ruled that you should be disqualified, because you are not “sadiq” (honest) and “ameen” (upright) as required by the Constitution. The other three judges stated that further investigation is ...

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Dear Imran Khan, if you want justice for Mashal, then start with your councillor, Arif Mardan

I was pleasantly surprised to see Imran Khan visiting the parents of the slain student Mashal Khan, who was lynched for reasons which will perhaps never be known. 1. This morning I condoled with Mashal's family and was moved by their amazing courage and dignity pic.twitter.com/AkZFdqxyIp — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 18, 2017 So congratulations, Mr Imran, you knew that you would offend your coalition partners, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government by openly condemning the brutal murder of the innocent student. Even your chief minister, Pervez Khattak, said that there was no written or verbal proof of him committing blasphemy. ...

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