How to use Facebook if you are above 45

Unlike many of my friends, I have my parents and quite a few of my uncles and aunts as my facebook friends. This results in pre-filtering, access lists and resisting the temptation to share. This also results in seeing a lot of things I would rather not see. My older generation has embraced the social media with great enthusiasm. But Facebook can be a difficult medium to grasp. Following is an attempt to guide them through this process

  1. Passwords: Your social media is an important platform. A lot of personal data is there. Therefore make sure that your password is not password123, 123password or Password. If remembering a password is difficult, try remembering a phrase like “AamirLiaquatIsA100%Idiot”. Don’t use this phrase.
  2. Posts are not Messages: Unless you have mastered access lists, which I assume you haven’t, please do not post private messages on your wall or your friend’s wall. Messenger is for private conversation.
  3. There is no internet in Jannat. Therefore, doesn’t really matter how many times you type ameen or subhanAllah or mashaAllah, chances are that it won’t really count. What you end up doing is help other people make money. Every like or comment you make, increases the value of other people’s facebook page. This allows them to make money on Ads. You have no idea where this money is going or how it’s going to be used. This is a digital form of chanda.
  4. As Abraham Lincoln once said “Not everything on the internet is true”. A lot of times people would lie. A lot of times it would be a convincing lie. Do not believe everything you see on the internet. A quick search through the comments would tell you if the information is true or false. Do some research.
  5. Do not click on random links. For the love of God please do not click on random links. It’s unbelievably uncomfortable to see a 60 year old relative sharing stuff about models caught doing indecent things. And if you do click and there is a popup asking you to give the website access to your Facebook, do not click Accept.
  6. If a relative complains to you that your son/ daughter/ nephew/ niece hasn’t accepted their friend request, end that relationship and tell the relative to go get a life.
  7. Not everything is shareable. Please don’t share everything that you see on your wall. It is equivalent to a baba ji who sits at the corner of the road and comments on everyone who passes in-front of him. Sooner than later, people would start avoiding that intersection. Don’t be that baba ji.
  8. Stop getting so hyped up about people who aren’t even aware of your existence. Relax.
  9. Quality vs Quantity. Not every picture you take should be shared. Always take 2 or 3 pictures and then filter them. You will get more likes. Trust me.
  10. Join groups. The true value of Facebook are in the many groups that exist in Facebook. There is bound to be one group that matches your interests. It will help you connect with more people and you can experience the benefits of social media.
  11. Don’t use Facebook all the time. It’s already a pain to have the current generation fascinated by the palm of their hands. Please don’t become your kids. Read some books.
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A eulogy that has come too soon

I once saw a movie scene in which an old man is returning from a funeral. He enters his apartment, dejected and in visible grief and sits on a chair in his living room. After a moment’s pause, he picks up the address book on the coffee table and opens it. He flips through the diary pages and sees a few crossed out names. Every crossed out name brings back memories until he finally reaches his friend’s name. He takes his pen and after a brief pause, crosses out the name.

The first thing that crossed my mind, after watching this, was that when I get old, and God forbid lose someone close to me, what would I do. The concept of address books has already been made redundant. I imagined that by then there would be some electronic system to do this. However, given the taboo that we associate with death, I stopped thinking about that and figured that I would face this when the time comes. I never imagined that I would have to think about it so soon.
I knew Shoaib Sehgal for about 6 years. We started working a few months apart in Microsoft Vancouver. It was my first time out of Pakistan and it was quite a change to get used to. Luckily I had a group of friends that I knew from Pakistan so we become a close knit community. We would gather almost every night at a friend’s place, drink tea, watch movies and play FIFA. Our gatherings were not intellectual in nature, infact they were as far away from intellect as Nasir Jamshed’s abilities are from Brian Lara’s. Then a couple of months later, a friend of ours informed us that there are a couple of people who had recently joined Microsoft and they were, as he put it, “bohat parhay likhay” – quite learned. One of them was Shoaib. He had earned a PhD from Monash and had joined Microsoft from Pfizer. A few interactions with him were enough for us to give him the nicname “doctor sahab”. He was kind of out of place in our group but quickly become an integral part of it. Some of our jibes – jugtain which were an integral part of our conversations – would fly over his head and most of his mathematical observations would fly over ours. We never got him to play FIFA but he was always up for binge movie watching, though he was almost always the first one to doze off while sitting on the couch. Tea was our chosen beverage for these sittings. I remember that once we made tea out of expired milk but that’s where he drew the line. Among us uncouth people, he was the reasonable one. I think the only time I saw him do anything rash was when we took a trip to Banff and doctor sahab decided to drive really fast. And when he was pulled up while driving 50km above speed limit, he managed to talk himself out of a speeding ticket by using his Aussie accent.

Doc was always into sports. When we were in Vancouver, he would always be up for a game of volleyball. However he really came into his element once he moved to Seattle. He became an integral part of our “Very Tough Team” cricket team. It was always a treat seeing him bowl, running in, almost always in slightly loose track suit, throwing his arms wildly in the air whenever he gets a wicket and enthusiastically hugging his teammates.

Doc was always great with advices. Any discussion with him would go on for hours. He would always treat your opinions with respect. I remember that I would pitch him some weird idea and he would rephrase it into something much better. Doc never spoke ill of anyone. When we both reported to the same difficult manager, he would always talk about the positive aspects while I would be complaining. When I moved down to California and call him up to discuss something, we’d end up talking for almost an hour. Even when he had been diagnosed with cancer, he would still hear me out and offer advice. He didn’t tell anyone about his illness except a select people. I only knew that he was sick and when I called him up, he just asked me to pray for him. And when I got a call about his death, I couldn’t believe it. I just sat in my apartment waiting for the tears to come, waiting for someone to call me back telling me that he was fine and that he hasn’t left us. It took me almost an year to finish this eulogy because I couldn’t bring myself to write about him. I just hope that when his children grow up, they could find this feeble attempt of mine and realize what an amazing person their dad was. Rest in peace doctor sahab.


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Muhammad Amir needs to be punished for his anti-Pakistan activities




  1. the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government

This is how Oxford dictionary defines treason. I would like to ignore the part of overthrowing the government or killing the sovereign, because that is not relevant to the current discourse and concentrate on the first part of the definition – the crime of betraying one’s country. This means that anyone who brings a bad name to our country has basically committed treason. And if the law is naive enough to ignore the gravity of their crime, then it is the responsibility of the citizens to ensure that the criminal is made to suffer for the rest of their lives. We the citizens of Pakistan take this crime very seriously and apply it to everyone who has brought disrepute to our beloved country. That is why when Abdul Qadeer Khan sold nuclear secrets to other countries and publicly accepted the crime, we made sure that he is never revered or held in high esteem. When Molana Abdul Aziz spearheaded a revolt in Lal Masjid and was later caught cross-dressing, we made sure that the only gathering he ever gets to address is an ensemble of papier-mâché made out of newspaper that he gets in his prison cell. This is precisely the reason why our country’s parliament has won “World’s most honorable parliament” for the past many years, just because we as a nation decided that anyone, who has been convicted, is not worthy of being a representative of our virtuous society. We take pride in our impartiality and apply this policy without prejudice.

But we don’t. In our society, prison sentences are worn as medals and talked about as accomplishments. As long as the person retracts their initial admission or lambastes the institution or entity who punished them, we are willing to forgive them, honor them, elect them and serve them. And that is precisely why we need to punish Muhammad Amir. We cannot let him resume his life just because he admitted his guilt and served his time and showed remorse. Infact, it is precisely because he admitted his guilt and showed remorse that we need to make sure that he never gets to repair his life. Because a true Pakistani hero never admits guilt and never shows remorse. A true hero holds press conferences and accuses courts to be biased or corrupt. Rehabilitation is a western conspiracy to trick us in allowing tainted individuals resume normal lives in the land of the pure. The nation should unite behind Ramiz Raja and Rashid Latif and declare with one voice that anyone who admits their guilt and serves their time, is unworthy of being called a Pakistani. Amir needs to be punished for his anti-Pakistan act. Pakistan Zindabad.


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I think birthdays are useless. When you are a kid they seem awesome because you get to have gifts and people are celebrating but I think birthdays were invented because some guy was tired of his kids wanting stuff all the time so he brilliantly made it into an annual thing. So throughout the year the kids are looking up to this event and eventually they get something which costs significantly less than sum of all the things they could’ve gotten if they were allowed to ask for them throughout the year. It is unfair to the kids because what is actually being done to them is that they are being prepped to celebrate something in which they didn’t even have a say in, for the rest of their lives. Though I must admit that this also counts as sound fiscal training that allows them to indulge on an annual basis instead of treating themselves whenever they want like a moron, but it still feels unfair. It’s also a lot of stress because now there is an expectation to do something notable on your birthday. “What did you do on your birthday” “Nothing. Same routine.” “Oh I am so sorry”. Why? Imagine you ask this question to an astronaut whose job is to do space walks. The routine is pretty damn amazing than your miserable life but now the astronaut is stressed so he makes up things. “I did a flip when I was outside. It was pretty damn exhilarating.” What’s funnier is that as you grow old, you try to do even crazier things just so that you can answer that question. If you go to bars, you can’t do that because that’s routine so you better pass out on the street because that’s a good story to tell when some moron asks you this question. I’d like to be a spy in that case because then I can say “I can tell you but then I have to kill you, so why don’t you walk away, hmm”.

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Our unflinching faith in status quo

These days I have been reading “Coming back home”. It’s a collection of editorials written by Faiz while he was the editor of Pakistan Times, as well as a collection of his interviews from that time. If you want a small glimpse of what it was like during the early period of Pakistan’s existence, this would be a good start. The first observation that you will make is that our politicians haven’t changed. Not one bit. Faiz complains about the same political dynasties that still exist in our country. He talks about politicians doing whatever they can to hold onto power, their shameless pursuit of wealth and their utter disregard of political rights. Apart from a couple of editorials where he mourns the loss of Jinnah and Gandhi, every other editorial seems like it would fit into any current Pakistani newspaper if you swap a few names, and in some cases you would be swapping the name of a grandfather with a grand-daughter or grandson. The phrase “how times have changed” doesn’t echo in the annals of our political history.

Among many things that Faiz points out, the most resonating is his criticism of the “electables”. Faiz says that the concept of political parties giving party tickets to loyal politicians is the reason why change is such an elusive dream. This is synonymous to keeping the anchor down even when the ship is moving, just because it provided some sense of security when the ship was stagnant. In our current political setup, loyalty to the party is more important than loyalty to the constituents. The only thing that trumps this is another party that is in power. Then our politicians are allowed to have a crisis of faith only to find it in some other party that can help them maintain the status quo. The presence of individual-centric parties as well as dynastic parties also doesn’t help the situation; Imran Khan’s PTI, Altaf Hussain’s MQM, Shareef family’s PML-N, Bhutto family’s PPP. As a result the group of people supposedly responsible for safeguarding democracy are themselves undemocratic to their core. Ironically the only party that is somewhat democratic is the right-wing Jamaat-i-Islami. Now this is where you say FML.

In addition to this, it is our general public’s resistance to change that allows our corrupt politicians to continue to pillage our country. Any call to challenge the status quo is either met by a shrug of a shoulder or an allegation to destabilize the country. We criticize the system, yet we don’t do anything to change the pool of politicians from which we are supposed to choose our leaders. A while back I wrote an article where I suggested that the reason for our problems is our misinterpretation of “Insha Allah”. No matter how many times you say “Insha Allah”, you will still choose a corrupt person if the pool consists of corrupt politicians. “Insha Allah” doesn’t magically causes a slime ball to come clean. It just gives him more time to do more corruption.

However, the above doesn’t mean that I am supporting a scenario where the current system is replaced by an entity that is more disciplined – the army. More disciplined? Yes. Less corrupt? I don’t think so. The fact that the DHA is one of the biggest land-grabbers in the country, coupled with the fact that even though the army is going after rogue elements responsible for creating a state within the state, the army itself controls a vast area where the rule of army trumps the rule of the land, should make us a little apprehensive about the army. Add to this the fact that most of our country’s misfortunes can be traced to the evils of Yahya and Zia, and you would realize that army is hardly the solution.

Hence democracy seems to be our only option. But in the presence of corrupt politicians, lethargic and corrupt political parties and a partial judicial system, how do we actually get to a better place? I believe devolution of power should be the first step. Local body elections are necessary and more powers should be devolved to lower levels to empower people. I also believe that legislation should be in place that obstructs career politicians. All parties should be mandated to have primaries/ elections and the party chairpersons should be replaced after 10 years. A political party is supposed to represent people that believe in its manifesto. As time goes on, it is natural for people to change their attitudes about things. How is it possible for the party to truly facilitate this process if the leadership isn’t replaced with fresh blood and new ideas? Having one person indefinitely rule a political party forces the political party and its followers to be stubborn and insensitive to change. I also believe that the central investigative agency should be merged with NAB and IB thus combining the resources of the government and army and the overseeing committee should have representation from NAB, FIA, IB, Police and a representative from the Superme Court. Unrestricted access to rule of law and its impartial application is the corner stone of every successful society.

The problems that we face as a nation are grim. Parts of our country are still lawless. We are one of the few countries where polio still thrives. We are 2nd in the world for the number of out of school children and we are battling insurgencies, power outages and political incompetency on a regular basis. But after my recent trip to Pakistan, where I saw thriving cities and hopeful people, I realize that even though we have been battling the same battles for the past 50 years, we still manage to pull through. If we can just manage to do a little bit more, if we can hold our leaders a little bit more accountable, if we can focus our priorities on things that matter, we should be able to, as Faiz said, find the “sehar” (morning) which we were promised.

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Ban the mullahs

[In this article, the author doesn’t suggest that all mullahs should be banned. The headline was clearly meant to be a click bait for which the author profusely apologizes]

Suppose you go to a university. You wander in the science department and find yourself in the classroom of a physics teacher. You are sitting at the back and the teacher comes in and starts talking about Newton and how he ‘discovered’ gravity – the quotes were added by the teacher. He then proceeds to proclaim that the reason the apple fell on Newton’s head was primarily because it was the destiny of the apple to do so. The apple was chosen by God to fall on Newton’s head so that he can discover the principle of gravity. What would be your reaction to this? Clearly you would want to report the teacher and get him banned from teaching Physics simply because the teacher was clearly teaching against the fundamental principles of Physics.

Why can’t the same principle be applied to religion? If our religion is this religion of peace and harmony, why can’t we ban the mullahs who preach otherwise. Their sermons are about singling out who is the enemy simply because of their beliefs. They spew hatred and ignorance. Yet any talk of regulating the mosques and madarsahs is met with fierce resistance. It’s as if God, who is omnipresent, is restricted to these mosques and madarsahs and any outside intervention is basically an act against God. Doesn’t it say in Quran that those who benefit materially from religion are destined to be in hell? Doesn’t this mean that anyone who has made it his business to direct the religious lives of people, is destined to be in hell and hence shouldn’t be followed?

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CII : Council of Islamic Idiots

CII board taking an afternoon nap 

 A quick clarification first. CII is not Council of Islamic Idiots. It is a council, yes. It compromises of people who identify themselves with the Islamic faith, yes. And all of them are, predominantly, and we are being conservative here, idiots. But, sadly when they were naming the council, they decided that putting in the “Idiots” word would not leave anything for imagination and therefore they chose “Council of Islamic Ideology”. Hence, in addition to determining the ideology of Pakistan for all eternity, we now had a council to determine the ideology of Islam. This itself, goes against their Islam-has-no-borders mentality. Surely, if there are no borders then the self proclaimed protectors of faith – the Saudis – should have the council. Surely, the council can’t exist in Pakistan. In theory this is correct but there a couple of issues. Firstly, the people who are part of CII can’t really speak Arabic. I mean they can quote you the Quran perfectly, but if they are, say in Jeddah, they can’t go to a Halwa shop owned by a Saudi national and order 20 grams of Halwa. You will say that surely, the Halwa shop will be owned by a Saudi but the shopkeeper would be from India or Pakistan, but that’s besides the point. Secondly, it’s quite possible that almost all of the members will be put in jail if they try to do anything remotely similar to what they do in Pakistan; for example, question the government.  

For all intents and purposes, CII’s opinions dont really matter. According to the constitution, their rulings are not mandatory on the government. To understand what CII truly should be, imagine a group of rowdy 5 year olds who want the world to run according to their rules. They want the world to eat sand, treat them as kings and follow their commands. Now imagine that you have created a small corner in the house and told them that they are the rulers of that corner. They can do whatever they want there as long as they don’t bother the adults or try to force other kids to come to their corner and be their subjects. The 5 year olds will love this. They will embrace it with open hearts. And then eventually they would grow up. CII are these 5 year olds who, sadly, haven’t been able to grow up. Some say that CII was the inspiration behind Benjamin Button but that’s just horse manure.

Any news about CII riles me up. Their ruling about disqualifying DNA use in rape cases was idiotic. CII ruled that DNA is not the right way to determine if a rape had occurred and instead there should be a witness to corroborate the accusation.

what the reaction gif
Normal people’s reaction to CII rape ruling

The notion of having a witness for rape cases is an example of truly believing in the good nature of human beings; expecting one of the rapists to find religion and come forward as the savior to exonerate the woman. By doing so, the man will be absolved from all his sins and can happily reclaim his promised stash of 70 virgins.

Recently, CII caused another controversy when they argued against organ transplants. There was a conference held recently where people from different backgrounds came together and discussed the legality of organ transplant. Everyone agreed that organ transplant is perfectly legal in Islamic law – everyone except CII folks. One of the arguments put forward by CII representatives was that the scholars need to determine if Muslim organs can be given to a non-Muslim. Their reasoning was that since it’s written that on the day of judgment, every man and woman would be raised from their graves as they were in their lives, the organ transplant will mess up the process. This is from the group of people who believe that life is a miracle, that man was born from a grain of sand. Are they telling us that, God, as we believe Him, was able to create humans but won’t be able to figure out which organs belong to which human? How about we bury the list of donors with the body so that on the day of judgment, when angels come to pick us up, they can use the list to make the necessary swaps. In that case, we might also need to figure out the goat that was used to create Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani’s beard because, quite frankly, those beard hairs don’t look at all like human beard hair.

The chief idiot

the alleged goat

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