Sajjad Zaidi's Blog
Friday 31st March 2006
Pakistan's women combat pilots
Here is a good first for a country which was, until recently, opposed to having women in all but a select few professions (though we did spawn the first female head of state, Benazir Bhutto, of a Muslim nation in modern times).
A lot of traditional males are very disturbed by the growing role that females are starting to play in our society with complaints about it being against our religion, but that is a very myopic view and has nothing to do with Islam. Anyway, that's going to be a lengthy topic so will stop here. All I'll say is that it's encouraging to see some positive change such as this.
Tuesday 28th March 2006
Bird flu precaution
Monday 27th March 2006
I just realized today that comments on this blog were broken. After a little digging, the culprit was found to be a little change in the templates that worked with the rest of Pylogger, but broke the comments. Now fixed.
Saturday 25th March 2006
Fresh tremors and disposal of quake rubble
More tremors of high intensity (around 5.0 or 6.0 magnitude) were reported in Pakistan's northern areas a couple of days ago though we in Islamabad didn't seem to feel them. If I'm correct, this whole region has suddenly become seismically more active after the October quake and that was just the beginning.
Though it's highly unlikely we'll see quakes on the same scale as the first any time soon, I'm not surprised by these more frequent, smaller tremors. In fact, smaller quakes should mean the pressure isn't building up which should hold back bigger ones. Let's hope this is true.
Though work to repair the damage caused by the Oct quake is continuing, only a fraction of the rubble has been cleared and this is becoming a major health hazard, as this BBC article states. Materials used in building houses in this country are already laden with all types of hazardous materials. The uncleared rubble means it is all out in the open. The rivers passing through this area go on to feed larger rivers which are the main water source for most of the country so this could have devastating consequences. Then again, there are already enough pollutants in this country to wreak havoc so this would just be a drop in the ocean.
Friday 24th March 2006
It looks like the annual 23rd March parade has been abandoned. Whether for security reasons or as an austerity measure, I would say it is a good move since the whole thing must have cost a fortune. The award giving ceremony that was a part of it is still in place though it now just takes place within the presidency.
Though there have been a number of arts and cultural events lately, I think there should be more (affordable) happenings and ways you can productively use your spare time. I still remember how much we used to enjoy the trade shows and other such events while in England and though not as grand, the expos in Japan and Singapore were a nice way to spend the day.
Wednesday 22nd March 2006
23rd March Parade
As Light Within's latest entry states, tomorrow is Pakistan Day, a day celebrated to mark the occasion when the Pakistan Resolution was passed in Lahore in 1940. The main event of the day is a parade in front of the Presidency by all the armed forces, attended by the President, Prime Minister, other officials and a sizeable public. It also consists of many other units representing the country's arts and crafts, cultures of different provinces and various parts of Pakistani society.
I remember how when I was much younger, soldiers would start arriving over a month before the event for rehearsals with tanks and heavy vehicles coming in a bit later. Air Force jets would start practicing days before and we would regularly go to watch all this and the full-dress rehearsal a day or 2 before the final event. Living and going to school close to the parade area made us feel really lucky.
Though it seems to have lost the zeal and excitement of past years, maybe due to more pressing issues for everyone and partly due to us having grown up and lost interest, it still is an event not to be missed if you haven't seen it yet.
Tuesday 21st March 2006
H5N1 confirmed in Pakistan
Just heard the news that Bird Flu has been confirmed in some areas of Pakistan. Though everyone says that poultry is not being eaten, it's extremely hard to avoid it here. Wherever you stop to eat, all you're likely to find is chicken burgers, chicken soup or some other form of chicken. There is so much chicken in the average Pakistani's diet that I was quite sick of it a long time before the flu scare.
Maybe now we'll see the demise of it, at least for a while. But that seems quite unlikely. Lots of people think the way we prepare food here kills off anything harmful (and the good stuff, I should add). But a flu is something different. I doubt you can kill it off just by overcooking food or drowning it in masalas (spices). I, as a beef lover, can only hope there'll be more beef available now.
Saturday 11th March 2006
I haven't blogged for a while since couldn't really think of what to blog about and also because I decided to get away from it all for a while and go into "hibernation". I didn't even check my email for close to 10 days and the most browsing I did was on my phone.
In the meantime, I thought it's about time I changed the design of this site. While configuring Pivot for my language blog which I mentioned earlier, I stumbled upon Agua Fria, a nice, award-winning style by Tim Samoff which I really liked. Took some effort to customize it and I'll still be making changes to it, but good to see it working.