Abdur Rahman Mian
OUR biosphere has a tilted axis. ‘The Limeys’ of the ‘lost’ British Empire do call Netherlanders, as the Dutch. Alfred Robert Saak asks (on Queen Maxima’s web page regarding her visit: “Wat moet onxe Koningin toch in een dictatuur ala Pakistan?)” A Dutch lady of Pakistani origin Ms Ash Mirza advised him in Dutchas thus: “Het is green dictatuur, Zou beter zijn”. (It is not a dictatorship, would be better). So, should we not agree with Ms Ash Mirza of Holland? She knows better?
Long time ago, I had a great Dutch friend. His name was Kleer Maakar. Alas! Now he is resting in Peace. We had so much in common. He too, was a simpleton, with peasant background, like me. The following he narrated to me in a Japanese named hotel’s cafeteria built in Amsterdam Centrum: He once lived in his village located on the border, growing vegetables. Every morning he used to carry his fresh products into a nearby Belgium town. It was easy after both the countries had joined European Union.
The friendly border guards knew him and his routine to return to his own village every afternoon. So they would wink his passage with a pleasantry. One morning he was carrying vegetables loaded on a donkey. That day a French speaking border guard responded well to his: Good Morning and added: “Kleer Maakar you have today, a very nice donkey”. My friend was probing his French vocabulary. He took a little longer. The donkey, instead, responded in perfect Dutch: “I picked him up from the market. Sir.” The guard on the Belgium side winked both with a surprised smile.
That does sound surprisingly similar to LCCI Research Chief’s explanation! “We have over twenty thousand members. How one can respond to one asking about Her Majesty Maxima – the Dutch Queen’s added extra title; being the Special Advocate for ‘Financial Inclusion’ by the Secretary General of the U.N.?.” Thus has been told to me by a former President of LCCI, that Mr Mazhar, is overworked. He has the additional burden of being the Joint Secretary of the Lahore Chamber, too. To that my humble response was: “Sir please do me a favour. Please permit me to designate him as the Giant Secretary Incharge of the research, instead.
Like our ‘Political Inclusion’ popularly called: Charter of Democracy Lahore Chamber too has been ruled in regular turns by Founders Group and the PIAF Group in collusion! Hence Mr Mazhar’s verdict stands validated. After all what is good for two hundred plus millions, plebeians why shouldn’t it be applicable to an odd less than Zero point, Zero; Zero one percent of the petty traders. UN Secretary General Bang Ki-moon is Head Quartered in New York NY. He lives and works there — when not travelling abroad. Before he Okayed Her Majesty Queen Maxima’s good will mission to Islamabad the following near at home places, somehow escaped his notice for: “Financial Inclusion.” New York: NY is one of the top popular destinations of the World. The Statue of Liberty is installed at its entrance. It has the famous Time Square, in addition to Central Park, Broadway and of course Wall Street. As per GDP New York is considered at the one of the two cities of the world.
A percentage point short of half a million multi-milliners (in Dollar terms) live there. This city is also recognized for its 45% dire poor populations that lives barely on poverty line or below it! During the record cold winter of 2015, about 67,000 homeless were gravely effected on the streets! Within the first decade of the new millennium the house rents for a flat escalated to more than $3000 per month. In spite of Federal American Administration’s launch of several rehabilitation welfare projects since 2010, there were still more the 53,000 homeless, New Yorker on its streets — with no forwarding addresses. It is because the cost of living has gone up. The irony is that Nobel Laureate Prof Younus of Bangladesh have extended $1500 loan to fifteen thousand American destitute women of the famous city!
Seoul: Seoul the Special City aka ‘Teukbyeosli’ Seoul is called the Special City, is the capital of South Korea. It is also special, because it is the Capital of Bank Ki-moon’s homeland. It is the largest city of South Korea partially accommodating a quarter of the whole country’s population of twenty-three millions, with no refugees. And only having a microscopic minority of Japanese and of Chinese origin.
Seoul is the centre of the National and global commerce. And generates 21% of the national G.D.P. It is more than all the principal cities of the region. During 2007 it was declared the most expensive city of Asia and was rated at third position in the world. Post hosting the 1988 World Olympics, the poverty was highlighted when the South Koreans decided to relocate poverty struck slums out of the city centrum. They do not have any Social Security system. Culturally the young people would look after their parents and elderly people. Only fifteen years ago this custom was valid and applicable when most of the young People looked after the senior relatives. Because of the steeped up cost of living only one third of the younger population can afford to support their elders! And the majority of the senior citizens are miserable – to state it mildly.
Dubai: Dubai´ is considered the ultimate of the progress and prosperity in the Middle East. The city state has an enviable repute of having penchant for the tall buildings on this globe. The Dubai entrepreneurs invest billions of dollars for these landmarks. The Dutch reclaim a lot of lowlands to extend their national boundaries – into the sea. Dubai has reclaimed a whole island called ‘Palm Island’ and built beautiful structures on it. And that too at an estimated cost of 25 Billion dollars. Although Dubai manifests wealth and luxury, but it has seamyside clouding all the above. Extreme poverty is the not so latent factor.
Ever since the economic depression of 2008, it has got worse. More than 99% of population comprises foreign skilled labour. They do have obligations but no rights or claims to citizenship– with their fragile status, they are subjected to very harsh treatment by the local employers, – who enjoy all the rights and remedies. They too stands on front line to be blessed with: ‘Financial Inclusion?’ There must have some other good reason better than the ‘Financial Inclusion’ for Her Majesty Queen Maxima’s official visit to Islamabad from Feb 9-11 2016.
—The scribe is an 84-year-old ‘Jaanglý– from Chaj Do aab.