Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)

Posted on 19. Sep, 2014 by in Uncategorized

A Campaign Poster of the PTI

A Campaign Poster of the PTI

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf commonly known as PTI (Urdu: پاکستان تحريک انصاف‎; Pakistan Movement for Justice) is a nationalist, communitarian and  centrist political party in Pakistan, which was founded by former Pakistani cricket captain and philanthropist Imran Khan (Imran was the captain of the 1992 world cup squad when Pakistan became world champion in Cricket). The party boasts of being an anti-status quo movement advocating for a modern model of Islamic democratic welfare state It is the fastest growing political party in Pakistan by far. The PTI claims to be the only non-family party of mainstream Pakistani politics. With over 10 million members in Pakistan and abroad it is claimed to be Pakistan’s largest party by membership. According to the 2013 elections results PTI is Pakistan’s third largest party, second largest in Punjab and Karachi while the largest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where it currently has formed the provincial government. It received the second largest popular vote in the country, with a little over 7.5 million people voting for it on Election Day. It also leads a coalition government in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Pakistan Tahreek e Insaf’s agenda articulates and spells out the vision of a modern Islamic republic that advocates individual’s welfare through community’s co-operation. PTI wants to set Pakistan on a course to political stability, social harmony, and economic prosperity for all religious, ethnic and racial communities. PTI has an agenda to blend traditional social and religious values and cultural and ethnic diversity of Pakistan into common goals and aspirations for a just society based on Illama Iqbal’s and Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s (founder of Pakistan) vision of Islamic democratic culture providing Social security, Welfare and the Rule of law.

These days the party has staged demonstrations in key cities of Pakistan including the capital city of Islamabad where hundreds of demonstrators have been in front of the Parliament for the last 30 days or so demanding the resignation of the current Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif on the charges of wide spread election fraud and corruption.

Hookah

Posted on 16. Sep, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Hookah

Hookah

The origins of the hookah come from the north western provinces of India along the border of Pakistan in Rajasthan and Gujarat nearly a millennium back. These hookahs were simple, primitive, and rugged in design, usually made from a coconut shell base and tube with a head attached. They were designed to smoke opium and hashish. The hookah made its way through the Persian Kingdom which also included Pakistan, Afghanistan, much of Middle Asia and Arab parts of Northern Africa. The hookah acquired tombeik on its way through Persia. Tombeik is a dark tobacco grown in modern day Iran. Tombeik is rinsed and packed in the large older style heads where hot coal is applied directly to the wet tombeik, which gives it a strong flavor. These heads and style of hookah, referred to as “ghelune” in Persian. The hookahs designed in the Persian Empire are still hand crafted with each one being cut from a piece of wood. In the 19th century, cigarettes were made easily available and mostly women smoked the ghelune because they were not on the go. Women used the ghelune in the home for entertaining and as a past time.

When the hookah made its way into Turkey about 500 years ago, it endured a surge of popularity among the upper class and intellectuals and thus changing in design. The hookah grew in size and complexity and became similar to designs that we are more familiar with today. Brass and glass were added to the design and less wood was used. Intricate paintings and mosaics were added for beauty and elegance. The popularity grew into hookah coffee shops in Turk society two to three centuries ago. A hookah bar waiter was treated similar to a chef because of the preparation for hookah smoking. The packing and moisture was a skill, and it was considered rude to touch the coals. Hookah smoking migrated south into the Arab world from Turkey to Lebanon and Syria where it got the name argile. It then spread into Egypt and Morocco where it is known as shisha. It is also known as the hubble bubble in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Today, hookah bars are social places where many people get together to discuss politics and local events. In Kuwait and Saudi Arabia the hookah bars are for men only.

Most hookah smoking countries serve Naklia shisha. Naklia shisha is a combination of foreign tobaccos, honey molasses and dried fruit. The smoke is filtered through ice cold water to make the smoke cool and soothing. Older generations smoked hashish and opium, which has created a negative stigma for the hookah that is smoked today. Slowly society is accepting the hookah as more of a pipe for tobacco instead of illegal drugs. The hookah has been growing in popularity in the United States and Europe since the experimentation of the 60’s. Smoking hookah can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers. The cooled and sweetened flavor of hookah tobacco makes it more enticing to kids and they falsely believe it’s less harmful. Ongoing use can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or other diseases, including but not limited to tuberculosis, respiratory illnesses and long-term use can lead to heart disease and many cancers. Though the water-pipe device with its series of tubes and mouthpieces looks nothing like a cigarette, it is almost always used to smoke tobacco, and as such carries many of the dangers inherent in cigarette smoking. According to the World Health Organization, one hookah session typically lasts 20 to 80 minutes and a hookah user may inhale as much smoke during one session as a cigarette smoker would from smoking 100 or more cigarettes.

 

Use of Naswar in Pakistan

Posted on 15. Sep, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Packets of Naswar (Pic from pashtuncultureandhistory.blogspot.com)

Packets of Naswar (Pic from pashtuncultureandhistory.blogspot.com)

Naswar is a moist powdered tobacco snuff consumed mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan but it’s use has spread to other countries and continents as well.  Naswar is kept under the floor of the mouth, under the lower lip, or inside the cheek for extended periods of time (15-30 minutes). There are two forms of naswar; powder, and a paste cake style mixed with lime. A very pungent and powerful smell, yet a subtle flavor as it mixes with the saliva. The nicotine effect can occur within 5 minutes after intake producing a slight burn to the inner lip and tongue. Naswar has a very distinct smell resembling that of a fresh bale of coastal hay.

The funny thing is that most people who use it think that Naswar is a safe drug. They are perhaps not aware that the WHO found this smokeless form of tobacco has a minimum of 28 cancer-causing agents. They include compounds such as arsenic and nickel, plus radio-elements such as polonium, uranium, beryllium.

Naswar is a mixture of sun-dried, sometimes only partially cured, powdered local tobacco, ash, oil, flavoring agents (cardamom, menthol), coloring agents (indigo or yellow) and lime or calcium carbonate, water and guar gum. Ammonium chloride is added as a preservative and to give it bite. It is usually sold in round or square plastic packets held with a rubber band to keep it from exposure to the air.

It is a common misperception that only the Pathan are addicted to naswar. It has not spared any ethno-linguistic group, from the Sindhi- to the Hindko-speaking populations. Naswar, much like smoking, has a disastrous first encounter. Almost everyone vomits with the first intake and swears that they will never touch it again. These days in the KPK province of Pakistan it is considered being hospitable to offer Naswar to a guest and the best quality is often times kept for special occasions and gatherings.