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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Time Travel Legalized.

Dear friends.

We've fixed it!

If you don't know who Justin Bieber is, if Lindsay Lohan has remained sober for six months straight, if over 5,000 people have liked and commented on this post, it will be the proof we succeeded!

Posted by Jawwad Daud on January 01, 2074.

Time Travel Warriors.

Dear friends.

We've finally found out how this started. Tomorrow, a handful of us will travel back in time to the day it all started and will fix this.

Don't give up.

Power to the future!

Status updated by Jawwad Daud on December 31, 2073.

Time Travel Problems.

Dear friends.

We've just discovered that corrupt governments are burning history. They're doing it so we can't go back in time to fix the future. But we will prevail.

Power to the future!

Status updated by Jawwad Daud on July 31, 2042.

Time Travel Fight.

Dear friends.

It has been six five months since governments of the world banned time travel. I have joined a small rebel group and we're fighting the tyrannical powers for our right - your right - to travel back and forth in time.

Hang in there because this will 'take time.'

Status updated by Jawwad Daud on December 31, 2024.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Time Travel Banned.

Dear friends.

Time travel has been banned by our government. So please cooperate and voluntarily burn down your equipment.

This blog entry was made by Jawwad Daud on July 31, 2024.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day ..... But Not to Men!


Friday, May 10, 2013

My Predictions for Outcome of Elections 2013.

First of all, please allow me to clear one thing: I am not voting in these elections because I support Musarrat Shaheen and unfortunately Election Commission of Pakistan refused to transfer my vote to her constituency.
Second of all, these are just analyses / predictions and don't really reflect my support (or animosity) towards any political party.
Third of all, don't vote because it's your responsibility: vote because it is your right.
Without further ado, following are the predictions for the outcome of Elections 2013:
PML-N's Prediction: We will return to power Insha Allah.

PPP's Prediction: We will remain in power Insha Allah.

JUI-F's Prediction: We will be part of the new government as well Insha Allah.

PTI's Prediction: We will secure landslide victory Insha Allah.

My Prediction: PML-N will form a coalition government in center with the help of PPP. They'll re-elect Zardari as president for the next five years. Things will deteriorate over the years but the president will keep on intervening and saving the day for the next five years. PTI will secure 40 to 60 seats in National Assembly and will form a strong opposition.

On provincial level, PTI will secure provincial government, maybe Punjab. Imran Khan will make radical changes and concrete improvements in the province. Based on his performance, he'll have his victory in the elections of 2018.

Or maybe there will be another election in 2015 where PTI will win and form a coalition government.

Please take this for what it is: an analysis / prediction.

Thank you for the time you've spent here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Resolution Causes Revolution

Following is the original text of the feature I wrote and the edited version of which was published in DAWN Supplement under the title 'Renewing the Pledge' on March 23, 2013. Unfortunately, an online link doesn't appear for the published feature but I'll upload a scanned image of it at a later date for comparison.
Resolution Causes Revolution
            Unlocking the future in present through past
Jawwad Daud
The key is in the Past, the lock is in the Future, and the only place from where we can access them both is the Present. For us on this day the key is Resolution of Pakistan that was presented passed and pursued some seventy-three years ago and has since become a date marked on calendars in red, announcing it as one of the national holidays. What would be celebrated as a holiday should rather be commemorated as a chance to F5: refresh. Refresh the memory the pledge and the faith.

     Insecure Muslims unsure about the future. Agitated Muslims livid with the government. Concerned Muslims alarmed by the political situation. It is happening today and it was happening in 1940 but that’s not where the similarity ends: even at that time Muslims made the mistake of seeking comradeship with an entity that wasn’t sincere to their needs: Indian National Congress (INC). Interestingly, this propensity to look outward for a savior is as recent as tomorrow and dates as far back as the eighth century when an Arab girl, taken into captivity by Governor of Deebal Pratab Raye, wrote a letter to Hajjaj Bin Yousuf, beseeching him to rescue her.
By the beginning of twentieth century Muslims had grown somewhat skeptical of outside help. Following the stance of INC over partition of Bengal in 1905, Muslims felt a need to form a political party that would give voice to their demands.
In 1906, All India Muslim League (AIML) was formed. In 1947 it will transform into Pakistan Muslim League (PML), it will be disbanded in 1958 after the first martial law, and it will Phoenix in 1962. Thereon, PML will splinter away at every important juncture of history and a century later it will have several offshoots with an assortment of alphabets, idioms, and phrases attached as suffixes. The political party that won us this country would be handled as callously as the resolution that united the Muslims as if both had served their purpose and were redundant. By the time we’ll reach today, the nation will have learned - or will have been trained - to grow dispassionate and indifferent to politics while politicians will have broken new grounds in privatizing it. Or maybe the nation went numb after losing East Pakistan in 1971 and disintegration of the political party that brought vision of resolution to reality seemed trivial in comparison. Meanwhile INC would adopt new strategies adapt to circumstances battle any such contamination to its ideology or existence and go from strength to strength.
     Sad but true but sad.
For almost thirty-four years after its inception, AIML struggled to form an alliance with INC but it couldn’t make any headway as it didn’t hold many bargaining chips. AIML had the engine but no driver; thinkers can draw the map but only a true leader can maneuver around bends bumps and barricades to drive a political party to destination. It was only after Muhammad Ali Jinnah joined AIML that things started coming into focus. Jinnah, himself a staunch supporter and believer of Hindu-Muslim alliance realized in 20s that all attempts to form a bond with INC were futile. Hence, AIML decided to shift paths and gears.
Like all major revisions to geography that have taken place under the sun, this shift also began as innocently and as simply: with a resolve.
On March 23 in 1940, AIML held its annual session at Minto Park now known as Minar-e-Pakistan. The then chief minister Bengal A K Fazlul Haq moved the then extraordinary resolution that would first become historical and would later be reduced to a mere holiday. The Lahore Resolution (later known as Pakistan Resolution) demanded sovereignty and autonomy for Muslims in ‘geographical contiguous units’ where they were in majority. Clearly our leaders then had what our leaders now lack: vision. The power and potency of that vision was so palpable that Muslims across India united under AIML for the next seven and a half years until Pakistan became a free nation.

Post independence much has changed. A lot of dust has gathered over our collective memories and spirits. The euphoria and gratitude for having our own homeland has eroded away. ‘Pakistan,’ a word that at one time quickened pulses, illuminated faces, filled hearts with joy has become a taken-for-granted nationality and in some sad cases one of the dual nationalities. ‘Resolution’ has become a word we associate with promises that we make with ourselves at the beginning of a new year to quit smoking, lose weight, gain personal excellence. The ‘Day’ is more part of manuscripts than memories and the people who witnessed it are too weak too old or too dead.
Since 9/11, most of the world has grown to be unsafe and Pakistan has become one of the favorite destinations of Arms manufacturers: current situation has helped solve their problem that was highlighted in the opening monologue of film Lord of War, ‘There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?’
Precious lives lost, private properties destroyed, national assets threatened. Growth in energy, travel, education, and other sectors has come to a grinding halt. If it had happened anywhere else, chaos calamity and catastrophe would have become order of the day but this is Pakistan and Pakistanis are nothing if they aren’t resilient resistant and rugged: the Americans have The Declaration. The French have The Revolution. The Pakistanis have The Resolution.
Thankfully, everyone has pitched in. Politicians, media, and judiciary have somewhat come of age. The talk shows on news channels have educated people about their rights, empowered them with solutions, and enriched them with perspectives. Even an uneducated layman today is more aware and wary of the international conspiracies that imperil Pakistan than he ever was. Hence, people of Pakistan are ready.
Ready to make a new resolution.
Deep down we recognize the might and magnitude of a resolution, whether personal or national. A Pakistani resolved to turn Pakistan into a nuclear power. Another Pakistani resolved to achieve excellence in his field and won the Nobel Prize. Yet another Pakistani resolved to win the Cricket World Cup. A resolution doesn’t guarantee success but it gives direction. The key is to believe, have faith, struggle without respite.
The leaders of AIML knew they wouldn’t be around forever to guide and guard us from the perils. They did their job with the confidence that the nation would be able to keep on making and taking the right decisions the right choices the right steps. The onus of proving them correct is on us.
     So let us resolve. Let us resolve not to vote. Not to vote for people, parties, or promises but instead let us vote for vision. Let us resolve not to stay indifferent on matters of national interest. Let us resolve to be as loyal committed and defensive of this new resolution as those hundreds of thousands of people in 1940.
And then let us take a leap of faith.
We share the same insecurities anxieties and concerns with Muslims of 1940 and we must share the same commitment determination and devotion with them. To unlock our future we must reach into the past and luckily we are at the right place: the present.
Today is the time to make a new resolution as only resolutions cause revolutions.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


To read the published version in DAWN Images of today, please go to DAWN Website here

To read the original version, please scroll down.

Foreign Content on Pakistani Television, its impact on local industry, and the positive percept

There is a lot of panic, pandemonium, and press conferences. The Pakistani Television Drama Industry (PTDI) has ‘united’ and ‘unanimously’ demanded a ban on foreign content (Indian, Turkish, Spanish, and so on) on local television during prime time. There is an immediate need to save and rescue the PTDI or it will collapse within a year. Thousands of jobs will be lost and it will be years before our drama recovers. This trend will cause a chain reaction so putrid in its nature that the whole space-time continuum …..

Wait! This can’t be real. We’re talking about an industry, not a house of cards. There must be method to this madness. And there is. On closer inspection, this ‘crisis’ appears to be so deep that one can dip a matchstick in it and the level would still be below its head.

First off, most of the industry believes this is a boon, not bane. What we need is positivity, not panic. The identical arguments and repeated phrases meant to help us appreciate enormity of the calamity are so frail that they can’t hold water.

Well, they can’t even hold air.

All this started midyear last year when Urdu 1 started airing a Turkish play – already an international hit - dubbed in Urdu. Alarms went off when it reached TRP (Target Rating Points) of 10 as most local plays struggle at 4 or below. For the uninitiated, TRP are the industry standard through which channels and advertisers assess popularity of a show and decide whether to extend or end it.

At least in theory.

Overnight, phones were ringing in Turkey and eager employees scouted for the next ‘Isk-e-Memnu.’ Eventually, Liras changed pockets and teasers for several ‘foreign’ plays for primetime went on air. Primetime means more money and absence from primetime means less money and for the ‘initiated’ this meant ‘Our Drama’ had to be ‘saved’.

By creating panic.

Able minds of PTDI went numb with fears as they were fed ‘what-if’ scenarios. They asked ‘what if people stop watching local plays?’ instead of wondering why would that happen? Is it because our stories have become monotonous or because the content of some of our plays has become obnoxious? Is it because same faces appear in different mix across all channels or because we attach more value to production than content?

Are people attracted to it because it’s ‘foreign content’ or because it has ‘content?’

We worry about invasion of alien cultures but are we depicting our culture in our plays? Since when has crass language, objectionable plots, and offensive characters become our culture?

And then there is the most arrogant argument of all: foreign plays are popular because of semi-nude women and we don’t have a ‘level-playing field.’ At best, it insults intelligence of our viewers by implying they neither have the sense nor sensibility to choose what to watch: show them a little skin and they’ll drool. And they’ll keep drooling for the next 200 episodes. If this argument had any substance, why these plays would become major hits in country of their origin as they must be used to this ‘nudity?’

Secondly, it entails our viewers have no sense of story and they just want to watch beautiful people driving expensive cars living in luxurious villas. At the heart of every popular show is a conflict so engaging that people can’t help but root for the good guy and berate the bad guy. Humans have an innate need for an emotional journey they can relate to at the caveman level. Characters they can like, conflicts they may have craved, issues they want addressed.

Even more appalling were the videos that went viral on social media stating characters in foreign plays drank, wore skimpy clothes, and acted immorally. The promoters of these videos pleaded we don’t have permission to show all that. Subtext: what we can rather show you is an amorous 50-year old chasing his daughter’s best friend. Or a husband pursuing his sister-in-law. Or a mother forbidding her son from sharing bed with his wife thereby causing tension of the sort that’ll make Lolita appear safer in comparison.

Rumor has it channels are scouring Iranian markets for drama. What will we have to say when viewers get hooked on to hijab clad women living in smaller houses than ours and discussing issues that plague the world, not just them?

Some believe it’s a passing fad but recent popularity of ‘Fatima Gul’ and ‘Minahil Aur Khalil’ has proven otherwise. Turkish plays have exposed a major flaw, a void in our system that has long existed and grown over time: we’ve turned this business into fast food. Writers are expected to write at jet speed, talent and technicians are required to shoot 25 to 30 scenes a day, serials that take 18 weeks to air are shot in 4 weeks. Investors have replaced the ‘+, -, and ÷’ buttons on their calculators with ‘X.’ It’s all about profits, economies of scale, and collusion.

Well, mostly.

There are exceptional individuals whose vision, drive, and determination is inspiring. Private producers like Abdullah Kadwani, Abid Ali, Asif Reza Mir, Humayun Saeed, writers like Anwar Maqsood, Faiza Iftikhar, Umera Ahmed, Zafar Mairaj and freelance directors like Kamran Khan, Mehreen Jabbar, Shahid Shafa’at, Usman-Zulfiqar and countless others have given us such remarkable, memorable shows that we all feel proud, secure, and sure about the future of PTDI.

So what is the silver lining?

Essentially the same situation existed between 2000 and 2006 when most of our viewers were hooked on to Indian soaps. Then came HUM TV with all the novelty and might of its drama, reinventing the landscape of local television. Consequently the industry grew so wide that hundreds of new actors, technicians, writers, and directors found innumerable opportunities to work and grow. Actors became millionaires and producers became production houses. This was possible not because of semi nude women, shiny cars, lavish bungalows but because of superior content.

There is an outcry for protection for the PTDI; industry that has had time to grow for almost fifty years. Its members, the most creative, most passionate, most dedicated people are being painted as a scared, anxious, and uncompetitive lot. Protection is for the weak, for the helpless, for six-month old babies. 

PTDI has a lot of self respect and pride. It doesn't need protection. It just needs focus. And unity.

All we need is to stop panicking, admit our mistakes, and cut down on number of productions. We should focus on content and revive industries in Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta, and Peshawar. Their local talents and technicians must be employed by channels and producers so we can offer ingenious indigenous assorted tales to our viewers instead of rehashing ‘Urban Karachi Stories.’ This is the only way to unite the PTDI and restore our drama to its former glory.  Otherwise, the only saving drama industry would need would be from us.