Stories about VIP

Tahir Malik: VIP culture destroying lives, again

Tahir Malik, 23, was a BCom graduate and was planning to study further and join a lucrative job perspective in Dubai. He was shot dead by the private security guard of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son, Abdul Qadir Gilani, while Qadir was on his way to distribute sacrificial meat. The story is not news anymore in Pakistan. We have been insulated by insensitivity and have started taking such killings as mere statistics. We have all been victims of bigwig security protocols and the process of harassment occurs at many levels. We are harassed on a daily basis. The first level is psychological, when a caravan ...

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In Pakistan, the #VIPCulture has to go

Commuting in metropolitan cities like Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad often bestows upon you the unforgettable experience of being reminded how ‘ordinary’ you are. You may only use the road when it isn’t being used by a Very Important Person (VIP). When a policeman raises his hand or puts a picket to stop you, he may only be saying ‘stop and wait’ but what you actually hear is, “Wait, you ordinary, worthless citizen! Your time, life and business are of no value. Wait while the all-important VIP passes”. It is quite similar to how when kings and queens passed through markets and ...

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Karachi Sea View: The sun, the sea and … harassment by the police?

A friend of mine was visiting from Lahore and asked me to show him the beach in Karachi. So, on a nice Sunday afternoon, December 1, 2013, I took him to the Clifton beach. He had never seen the beach before and was quite excited. Two of our other friends also accompanied us. I parked my car in the service lane by the beach and we started walking along the promenade. My friend purchased some souvenirs made from seashells for his family and as we were walking back towards our car, we were greeted by three men wearing white shalwar kameezs’. One of the ...

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To survive at NADRA you must (not) obey the law?

NICOP and Smart NICOP facilities were started by NADRA in an attempt to assist overseas Pakistanis who send a considerable amount of their income to Pakistan and invest in the country despite the deplorable situation here. Here is the sad story of my pursuit to get this card.  My first attempt:  On October 20, 2013, I made my first attempt to acquire the Nicop. For that, I went to the Nadra office at Deans Trade Centre in Peshawar. After having spent two hours waiting in the queue at the token counter, I was told by the officer that the Nadra Dean Centre office did not accommodate applications for the ...

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The point of snap checking

On the eve of Muharram, a colleague and I were on our way home in a company car. We had just passed a bakery in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Karachi when we noticed multiple security vehicles parked along the side of the road. About 10 officers were randomly motioning vehicles to pull over. It never crossed my mind that they would stop our vehicle as we were not speeding or breaking any other law that I was aware of. Our vehicle also bore, quite distinctly, the name of our media organisation. But then one policeman directed us to pull over and exit the ...

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Can’t have it your way

I once worked as a customer service agent for a reputable airline out of Chicago’s international airport. My job was to board the aircraft and resolve issues like lost children, racist groups and controlling wives and suited men throwing tantrums. I saw people of all breeds. Because Chicago is called the Windy City, flight delays due to weather were frequent. One night, a 7:00pm flight was given a 12:00am departure time. Passengers screamed and roared and we repeatedly apologised. Close to departure, the flight was cancelled. “I regret to inform you, Flight 2345 has been cancelled. We apologise for the inconvenience. Please ...

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The Hajis from our tax money

Dear readers, I would like to share my experience with all of you about my journey back from Jeddah, after performing Hajj, which transpired on our very own national carrier; Pakistan International Airline (PIA). Contrary to our journey there, the way back from the holy land was a bit different. It was different because due to some reason -better known to our tour operator – we were bumped up to the so called VIP flight carrying our royalty (parliamentarians and bureaucrats). The flight got delayed, like any other flight on PIA, but to my utmost relief and disbelief, the seat ...

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VIP protocol: Thanks for the extra sleep!

Over the last few years, Pakistanis have become accustomed to measures that are routinely taken to ensure security for VIPs of the land. Of these measures, blocking roads to ensure safe and free flow of traffic for our VIPs while the general public is stuck in huge traffic jams for hours has now become an accepted part of our culture. This indignity, inflicted on us in the name of providing foolproof security to senior political and military figures, has no roots in Pakistan’s original culture. It has been imposed on the citizenry, much like inflation, corruption, unemployment and poverty. However, ...

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Capital encroachment: Laws, promises and a delicious piece of pie

“Silence is a source of great strength” – Lao Tzu As an optimist will confirm, waking up is supposed to be the best part of the day. It doesn’t matter what time you wake up, or what sleep cycle your body follows, waking up full of energy is part of the charm of facing a new day and the new challenges that come with it. So why this weak feeling? Maybe it’s the school up your street. Maybe it’s the office next door. Maybe it’s the VVVVVIP next door (they love their V’s don’t they?), or maybe even ...

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Police force: Where are they in times of need?

They stand tall and sharp in their starch white uniforms, guns ready in hand, next to the fluorescent orange cones dividing us and them. “Of course, the president must be in town,” I thought as I glared at the ever-ready police officers. It’s funny to see these police officers and rangers come out of nowhere every time the president or prime minister is in town. Not only are they out on the streets, they look clean, vigilant and pose to be doing their jobs well. Clearly, the government has the resources to protect the common man, yet the only time you ...

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