Friday, December 22, 2006

Life in Pakistan, December 2006

I am in Pakistan after 5 months.... Almost the same time has elasped since mother's death... While I write, I can't help but notice how dusty the city has become, due to the construction of roads and massive deforestation.... I have already caught a cold. I Feel tired, fearful and frustrated.

Mother's legacy is still continued.. And her second husband is trying his best to deprive me and my sister of any share in her insurance and other funds.. First of all, the government of Pakistan "discovered" that in the land of the pure, personal Will and nominations do not hold valid, and everything is divided according to "Sharia"... Which means that husband gets 1/4 of the total, parents get 1/6... And the rest is distributed among the children in such a way that boys get double the share of girls... According to that distribution, I would get 6% (if I get anything).. But the latest is the discovery that insurance is distributed according to income, and hence anyone earning Rs. 2,000 (~35US$) is not eligible to receive anything. I fear that this stipulation has been highlighted by the husband of my mother who has been consulting lawyers since the day she died, to get the maximum benefit, by hook or crook. So wherever sharia is beneficial for him he will bring that forward and wherever it is not, he will come up with some other intricacies of the law. I don't understand how can he even claim to be the husband whereas he got a second wife 7 years ago and since then was not living with my dead mother... And she is the one who suffered financially and emotionally because of him.. he did not provide her with any money, and they did not have any physical relationship for the past many many years (because he could easily get younger bodies for that)... In that situation, we the sisters were there.... Of course, our presence was not enough for her happiness, but we did what we could do best, because we felt it was our responsibility... Now when she is dead, we are being treated as if we did not have anything to do with her.. Even the law of Islamic Republic of Pakistan is siding with this corrupt man.. Had it not been for Ashfaq, who works for police, I would have felt threatened for life in this country... Now, I know that God forbid, if anything happens to me... My friends know who my enemy is and they are powerful enough to take him to justice.. But alas, they cannot help me now, because to deal with corruption you need to be more corrupt!!!!

Another legacy that poor woman left was a big piece of land in the outskirts of Murree, a district close to Islamabd... The land is worth 3.5 million rupees. The papers were with the property dealer when mother died.. He has been saying that the land will be sold any day.... But we are still waiting for the last 5 months.. He faces threats for life as well from Mr. Bahauddin.. But let's hope that he can sell the land.... We intend to distribute the money according to "Sharia"... (To avoid any complications)...

The land of the pure seems to be land of the man, where not only the social but the legal structures side with men.. Women, who do not have support of any (strong) man can be exploited to the extreme.. And to prove my point I just want to note what the whole cases of Mukhtaran Mai and Dr. Shazia.. Who were raped but when they created a fuss they were branded as enemies of the state and the religion.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Saving mothers of Pakistan

Safemotherhood Pakistan Alliance, the brainchild and passion of Dr. Farid Midhet partnerd with the globbal white ribbon alliance, recently. The launching was celebrated yesterday in Pakistan Isntitute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad auditorium. I was lucky enough to join my colleagues on this auspicious occassion.

Here is am em from Dr. Farid about the event:

Dear Friends,

Today we launched the White Ribbon Alliance, Pakistan, to join the global struggle to save mothers' lives.

The simple ceremony was held in the MCH Training Center Auditorium of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad.

We started with recitation from holy Quran by Fayyaz. Fayyaz was also our moderator, and did a superb job at that. Dr. Nabeela and I then presented a brief scenario of maternal and neonatal health in Pakistan, and a history of our Alliance. Then four real life stories of maternal deaths were shared by close relatives of the deceased women. This was followed by recognizing all mothers present in the audience by presenting them with garlands. In the end, Imtiaz Apa recited her famous poem on Mother.

All participants pledged at least three actions they will do to promote safe motherhood in Pakistan.

The ceremony had no Chairperson, no Chief Guest, no Kenote Speaker. The stage chairs remained empty throughout the ceremony.

We will share with you all a detailed report shortly. I could not resist to share with you all the first report.

This ceremony was made possible by Dr Gahzala Mahmood's genoursly offering the premises, and by the efforts of Dr. Nabeela and her excellent team of professionals. My personal thanks to the organizers and participants.

Best wishes,

Farid Midhet
Phone: +92(0)51 265 0523 (Work) 447 0563 (Home)
Mobile 0300 856 3072;