“They say if you are good at something never do it for free”. I don’t believe in this quote. Also, because a majority of my readers are Pakistani and I am not looking to make money off them like some new kids on the block who like to sell a twisted version of cross-fit by putting fit in their programs’ names or any other fitness trainer therefore I usually give all the secrets of my trade for free. Also, I may not be the best or fittest of them all but my dedication to fitness is surely up there and so I can surely advise people on how to keep going.
I’ll admit first off that the primary reason I am writing this article is because my parents were bugging me that I was not getting any studies done these holidays, so I had to grab my laptop and start typing to create the illusion that I was actually studying. (It’s been three months since I wrote the above paragraph and it’s on a cold January night after I slept through my workout time that I found the time to complete this article.) With that off I will tell you this time around what keeps one addicted to fitness and the gym and how to be more consistent and take less days off. I’ll keep this article short and to the point.
No matter whatever Men’s health magazines or bodybuilding.com tells you trust me there is no fast way to big muscle unless that is you are genetically very gifted (or on roids). My primary ambition in life has been to turn ordinary into extraordinary. I try to do it with people, my pets, things, etc, etc but principally with myself. When an ordinary person believe that he or she is extraordinary that’s when the magic happens. But for that to happen he or she has to see it in someone else’s eyes that they are extraordinary. My weapon of choice to make myself stand out has been bodybuilding even though my family had told me for a long time it’s my academic credentials. Everybody has to find their weapon of choice firstly to make them extraordinary even it’s such an easy choice as perfecting your hair. This article is for those who aim to make bodybuilding their weapon of choice. I have heard good reviews about my previous article (even though some people told me I had taken body shaming to another extreme but those were the ones who had not properly read the whole article and misconstrued its primary purpose). Those reviews both online and personally have been a great source of inspiration for me to continue writing about this topic. I choose this topic because it is hard for people to keep going in winters and I don’t wish to see empty gyms anytime soon.
When a 17 year old me first hit the weights, my primary motivation was that I have one life to spend and I am not going to waste it. Bodybuilding soon turned into a passion. Every day when a teenage me would come back done and dusted from another day of a mundane life, I knew I could look forward to hitting the gym. 6 years later the gym hits me more than I hit it. It’s intoxicating and en-grained in me in ways I never imagined it would be. The most number of day I take off consecutively from working out is probably one or two patches of 5 days in a year when I am vacationing and/or at some place that doesn’t have a gym. But let me tell you how I have sustained this craze. I never took pre-workout or black coffee till 10 months back, however I admit after that it’s been a daily show of these two except for my rest days. And I know how many people out there are against taking these caffeine based drinks. So I won’t dive into the pro’s and con’s of taking or not taking a pre workout. Rather I am going to focus on what kept me going for the 5 years before taking a pre workout or black coffee.
Imagine an 18 year old kid huddled beneath 3 layers of clothing in subzero temperatures with snow falling like it does in early January Mid West U.S and this kid sneezing and coughing because it was his first snowy season ever. Now imagine that kid making his way to the gym and putting in 2 hours of a grueling workout. Now repeat that cycle daily for almost the entire season. This is the kind of passion you need. Otherwise, I have seen many come and go. White & black, desi & non-desi, men & women, skinny & fat, athletic & bulky, old & young you name it. I have seen people spend a good deal of money and time and then give up, I have seen people specially design workout and meal plans to follow for a couple of months and then give up & I have seen people put in so much effort that it even bewildered me but those also left and I am not writing this for them. I am writing this for you. Those of ‘you’ who wish to stay. Because to say you will keep going is one thing but to commit to gym for an indefinite period of time requires a certain degree of senselessness as well. That irrationality might just stem from a belief (and let me delve deep for a moment) if you imagine all those who died untimely without putting in their maximum effort in life. If you put yourself in that moment right before an unintended demise and foresee what you could have done with your life than you would never give up no matter how low your energy reserves or how long or busy your day has been or how bad the weather conditions out there are preventing you from going to catch a workout.
Building and maintaining a physique is hard. I didn’t take a proper whey protein supplement till my 3rd year of working out. But I saw results without it even and that’s what kept me going. In my previous article, I wrote how important these supplements are but now I will refine this for you. Supplements give me results after I hit a plateau from natural bodybuilding. Protein shakes came in the 3rd year, creatine came in the 4th year, aminos & preworkout came in the 6th. The results that each of these gave me have kept me going. So, why do so many trainers tell everybody who is starting gym to go without these supplements: because once you get on these the results you see with them cannot be attained without them therefore it is better to go naturally for as long as you keep seeing the desired results ‘naturally’. A rare few have told me how their physiques have bettered after they have come off supplements but then again there are exceptions to the rule. I am not saying these things are ‘unnatural’, for that you obviously have the roids but these products are still ‘supplementary’ to natural bodybuilding hence the name bodybuilding ‘supplements’.
There are so many tricks of the trade to keep the motivation level going. Once you finish your first 3 or 4 sets, it’s easy to keep going. It’s all about getting into the groove and continuing that momentum. There will be days in which it is extremely hard to build this momentum and there will be days when you feel like the 1 to 2 hour workout is just not finishing. But the key is to keep going. As they say “when you’re going through hell, keep going”. But this hell isn’t a permanent phenomenon, most days are enjoyable and some days perfect. However, there will be tough days even with a pre-workout particularly in the cold winters.
I have seen people hitting the gym at 6:30 a.m on a freezing winter morning and at 11:30 p.m on a Saturday night. I have myself been to the gym at all the times between these two extremes. However, I’ll admit I prefer to the go in the evening as my motivation and energy levels at that time are more attuned to the gym. Those who go to the gym later in the day are usually better at working out. However, those who go the gym early in the morning are better at life.
Pain is a part of this process. One has to psychologically prepare themselves to overcome this pain. Because as long as you don’t convince yourself that this pain is defeat able you won’t be able to overcome the ordinary/extraordinary threshold. However, once you do overcome it, you will realize that anything is possible. No matter how many repetitions left to do, no matter how heavy the weight is or the number of drop sets/super sets left to do you will realize that everything is within your reach. It’s about creating the mindset. It’s about falling in love with working out no matter how hard and detestable it may seem initially.
If you are doing it for snapchat stories or Instagram uploads then don’t do it. I am not saying I don’t upload physique photos on Instagram or post the workout grind on snapchat sometimes but that isn’t the primary purpose of me going to the gym. The primary purpose is to tunnel that raw cannibalistic energy and desire to succeed that is present in each and every one of us. If you can picture yourself going hard in the gym before you even enter the weight room that is pretty much all you need to kick start your workout for that day no matter whatever the odds are.
I really respect overweight people at the gym because it shows that they are at least making an effort. If a girl or a guy thinks he or she is fat than he or she IS FAT period. There is no point in pondering over your misery. The best solution is to pick yourself by the boots and hit the damn gym. Even if you are just able to do a short cardio session or work a small muscle group like the calves or forearms, do it. But try not to miss a workout.
I used to note down my every workout on a pad. Later I computerized it and made an excel sheet of my diet, workout and sleep cycle. However, now I am at a stage where I can say “F**k it, I know what I am doing”. If you’ve got to take a pad and pen to a gym and note down your workout to keep going, don’t be embarrassed do it. It’s part of the process. If you have to remember the set, exercises and repetitions you do at the gym to jot down later, remember it. It’s also part of the process. If you have to count the calories through a mobile app of everything you eat, do it. You have to go through all this procedure until the time all of this becomes a habit and en-grained in your brain and this process doesn’t take weeks or months it takes years. It takes years until you reach the “F**k it, I know what I am doing” stage.
Just remember when you are young the odds are heavily stacked in your favor. The T level is high aiding in muscle development, you have time by your side, no family to tend to and most importantly the energy and willpower to build the best physique of your life. Later on life gets complicated and the dream of getting fit remains a dream. Again, there are exceptions but the youth is definitely the prime age in terms of getting big, lean muscle gains. You never know what life hits you with so as long as you have the time smash that gym session , have the resources, buy the supplements, have the energy, lift that iron. There is no point in making excuses, I have told you how to develop that mindset to get to the gym and how to keep going. Take black coffee or pre-workout if you need to, miss that party or wedding if you need to, cut back on Mickey D’s & Nutella’s and live life like there’s no tomorrow. That is all you need to keep going.
I’ve been hitting the gym for a good 6 years now and there is one thing I can say with surety i.e. the hardest result to get from working out for the majority of the people is core definition or in lay mans’ term ‘abs’. I have maintained a fit physique for almost the entirety of the last 6 years baring a few blue patches here and there. However, I got a proper core definition only a couple of months ago.
It was partially because I was preparing for the university physique competition, Mr.lums and partially because I wanted to test the limits of my body and test I did. Monetary and time costs aside , the physical toll was exacerbating. It was almost as hard as some of the hardest commando courses on earth and definitely more challenging physically then a soldiers boot camp. From balancing a rigorous 20 credit course load to meal preps to perfecting the sleep cycle to an extremely strict diet plan to of course the gruesome low Carb-high intensity gym sessions, it was exigent to say the least.
I have always been a proponent of the following theory but these couple of months reinforced my firm belief in it. The theory is that body shaming and fat shaming is totally deserved except in a few rare cases. You weren’t born fat, even if you have a genetic predisposition for fat accumulation , you still have the same 24 hours that Steve Cook or Anlella Sagra have and burning that fat by taking out 1 hour or managing your diet consistently shouldn’t be a problem. Even if it is a problem, embrace it. Sipping on Cream filled frapuccinos and eating Nutella rich naans won’t cut it. Fine to everyone his own choice but then don’t cry about that why the less prettier but fitter guy or girl is gettin it. It’s because he or she wasn’t lounging around in cafes or eateries but sweating it out in the gym and eating a salad and spice less chicken breast piece while you were getting your death by Chocolate fix at Butlers or CTC.
Lets see another common excuse/way out that the less fit people have, a lot of guys come to me with the argument that they don’t want to buy supplements because they have a concern about its side effects. The few people whose genuine concern is these side effects are naive to say the least. Majority of the others don’t want to buy them because they can’t afford it. Right, but these are the same kids who are daily visitors of Mickey D’s and Hardees. If they cut out their eating out for a month, they would definitely be able to afford their stack of supplements and trust me Supplements (Whey, Pre Workouts, Creatine, Amino’s, etc) are a total game changer when it comes to body building.
The only fast food I used to have in months leading upto Mr.lums was brown bread (Roasted, smoked chicken or tuna ) sandwiches from either Subway or Jalal sons (sometimes due to its proximity). I am not saying that the only healthy food is that cooked at home with your own wish. There are healthier choices out there (Like grilled fish and some steak options) but the healthiest will obviously be the home cooked, salt less, sugar less, oil free food.
I am going to be straight up with you because I am not here to make money or sell a fitness program or some diet plan or product to you. The fatter you are , the uglier. Fat can never be beautiful unless if you are a toddler. Secondly, getting fit and staying fit is a long, arduous process. There are risks of injuries & your hands may get dirty with the calluses; your backbone discs may get dislocated, you will definitely have muscle tears. Lastly, there may be blood and definitely a lot of sweat. It may seem like a never ending journey and there may be days when you just want to give up and not workout but trust me when you start seeing the results , it becomes an addiction.
There is basically one golden rule to getting six packs and that is ‘cut out the damn carbs one way or the other’. It’s not to say totally cut them out because in the long run that can lead to memory loss, hair fall, tooth decay , etc. But what I am saying is gradually minimize them. You want to get those abs you will have to go on a 24 hour struggle. You will have to discipline your diet, get at least 8 hours of sleep and sweat it out in the gym. If it was easy everyone would have been walking around shirtless but that we know is not the case. I really feel bad for those people who are afraid to take off their shirts even when they go to swimming pools. It’s a pity that a person is ashamed of their very body. That body is who you actually are and imagine being ashamed of just your ownself. I sometimes wonder how guys with beer guts hanging or girls with a high fat % even get the confidence to go through each day. More pitiful are those who don’t do anything about it. You want to get fit you will have to go and get it. Nobody was born with a perfect physique. They are sculpted just like a piece of art. From getting taut to bringing out cuts; Even if you are just looking to pack raw muscle or planning to cut a few pounds, everything needs to be worked for, meticulously moulded.
Fitness and bodybuilding are not trends , they are life choices. It doesn’t matter whatever your age, gender , lifestyle or starting point , you can always make the choice of getting fit. If you are blind, without a limb or have some other disability it’s not your fault but if you are fat or on the other extreme skinnier than a trees branch then it’s your fault. If you are fat you can’t wear any cloth you want with the fear of looking fat, you can’t strike any pose in a photograph , again because of the fear of looking fit, and you definitely can’t take off your shirt in front of people. Same goes for skinny people with almost everyone around them asking “don’t you eat anything?” Yes they do but they don’t know how to channel that eating or properly hit the weights. I have seen some of my competitors go from muscular to skinny in a matter of days after Mr.lums but I guess that’s none of my concern.
The fitness models are not from another planet. Recently, Zac Efron went from teenage girls’ favorite to single moms’ heartthrob in a matter of months. Hugh Jackman as the wolverine became a household name partly because of his role and partly because of the chiselled body that he rocked. Dwayne the rock Johnson has gone from huge to massive to undescribable. In bollywood, Ranveeer Singh has taken the audience by storm due to his six pack abs. We already saw this effect with Amir Khan in Ghajini. What all of them had in common was following a carb restricted, calorie monitored extremely strict diet and that solely is the biggest secret to what will get you that abdominal definition. Otherwise if you want to remain undisciplined then I guess it is fine me or anyone else fat shaming you.
Let’s get down to the business end of the article and let me tell you why this Ramadan is the best opportunity for you to get in shape. Let’s admit it is extremely hot out there and on the other hand it’s a pretty long fast we muslims have to endure given you are fasting. These two seemingly daunting unfavorablities can be moulded to your advantage. 16 hours without food will burn your calories reserves faster than you down that first glass of liquid after iftar only if you keep yourself active DURING the fast itself too. The best strategy would be to go half an hour before iftar to the gym, do some light training, have iftar with black coffee, pre workout and a couple of bananas and resume a regular workout for another hour. That would totally kill the fat reserves because of the calorie deficit created. But let’s admit it , we dont like this strategy at all, partially because we don’t have the energy at that time and partially because we want to do our iftars in a relaxed setting with friends or family around. So I give you the second strategy. That is to have your iftar ( but totally avoid the fried stuff like pakoras, Samosas,rolls and high sugary foods like gulab jaman, jalebi, etc) and instead go for a low fat milk shake with no sugar added preferably of mangoes. For solids add a couple of dates, any kind of grilled or olive oil cooked meat with a healthy serving of fruits like melons, plums, watermelons, apples , etc. This should help you fill up. And also remember to drink lots and lots of water and eat your veggies. On a side note water melons have a high satiety level so if you have a handful of them with a couple of glasses of water (no high calorie liquid like Rooh Afza or Iced tea) than you wont feel the need to have anything much. Even if you do feel the urge, try continuing with the fruits preferably or if they are not there some milk based dish or drink but NOT the sugary or fried stuff.
Keep your fibres maxmimized (I prefer Weetabix and oatmeal for sehri to fill up my fibre requirement), drink as much black coffee and green tea (made with herbs) as you can and eat a lot of protein particularly after a grueling session in the gym. I use egg whites and protein shakes for this part. For beginners ON Gold Standard is a great protein shake option. If that doesnt suit you than Nitro Tech of MuscleTech should be another option (Do not try Nitrotech if your blood group is negative). For Pros and those looking to get shredded, I would recommend Dymatize Nutritions Iso 100 or for extreme cutting I used Scietic Nutritions’ ISOGREAT. For Pre workouts NO-Xplode by BSN remains the standout for me. However, if you are in colder weathers than C4 is the better option. Pump HD by BPI is another great option. Grenades’ preworkout sucks and overpriced, dont try it. On the other hand F2 preworkout is a lighter option that I would recommend beginners to start with. Aminos and Creatine are also a must in ones supplement stack. Fish oil and multivitamin should also be supplemented. Use olive oil if you need to fry anything.
Complex Carbs like baked potato, baked rice, green leafy vegetables and fruits should be used as energy source during any time of the day when your metabolism is not that high. The only time that you should consume simple sugar carbs is In the 1 hour window prior to workout to 1 hour post workout. That is because the high metabolism you have during this time will burn off that high amount of energy released by the simple sugars. Have a cheat meal once a week to fulfill your desire but do not splurge in it and keep it at a moderation otherwise the efforts of the rest of the week will go in vain.
I would just like to conclusively say that if you monitor your diet well and do not fall into the scams that are these fitness and diet plans going around you can get those abs NATURALLY. Instead I can make you a free diet and workout plan and if you ever catch me around in the gym we can even do a workout session together. Just make sure you hit the gym daily and hit it hard. In the end I would like to leave you with a Muhammad Ali quote to kick-start your fitness journey or help it wherever it is:
” Don’t count the days , make the days count”
P.S : There were a lot of tips and insights I had to share but this article was getting too long.
More than 5000 women worldwide fall victim to these crimes and the average age of the victim is usually between 15-25. Let me shed light on one of the most shameful acts still prevalent in modern times. According to a defintion accessed from Aurat foundations’ 2010 pilot study on Honour killings,“Honour crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family.” Honour killings constitute part of honour crimes and are a worldwide phenomena that has taken on various names such as crimes of passion in Latin American countries, spouse murders in some U.S states and Honour killings in Islamic states. These crimes may be brought about when a person ( usually female) is convicted, suspected or in some cases even has the potential to conduct sexual acts out of marital bonds. So‐called honor killings are based on the conviction, profoundly ingrained in a few cultures, of women as objects and commodities, not as human beings endowed with dignity and rights equal to those of men. Women are considered the property of male relatives and are seen to embody the honor of the men to whom they “belong.” Women’s bodies are considered the repositories of family honor. The concepts of male status and family status are of particular importance in cultures where “honor” killings occur and where women are viewed as responsible for upholding a family’s “honor.” If a woman or girl is accused or suspected of engaging in behavior that could taint male and/or family status, she may face brutal retaliation from her relatives that often results in violent death. Even though such accusations are not based on factual or tangible evidence, any allegation of dishonor against a woman often suffices for family members to take matters into their own hands.
In Pakistan, honour killings are prevalent throughout the country. The concept traces back to Pakhtun and Baloch tribal customs. It has however since become prevalent in both Sindh and in Punjab, resulting in murders being committed across the country without any regional or class boundaries. The concept of Honour killings stems primarily from male patriarchal system in Pakistan and where women are seen primarily for care giving, child birth and pleasure purposes the notion of illicit sexual relations also involves economic reprucussions for the family besides the regular social and cultural stigma. These economic reasons are a prime driver of honour killings especially in lower income housholds. According to experts honour killings are one of the most prevalent forms of violence against women in the country and in some cases is even perpetuated with reasons other than honour being the driving cause which may include seeking divorce from an abusive husband or refusing to enter into an arranged marriage or in some extreme cases even being a victim of rape.
Honour killings constitute grave and serious human rights violations. Some of the most important rights that are violated include the right to life, the right to dignity, the right to equal treatment before the law and the right to due process of law. Right to life is a prime non-derogatory right and it has to be upheld even in times of emergency because if there is no life than other rights become meaningless. As this right is at the root of what is violated by perpetrators of honour killings and women are the primary victims of honour killings, therefore we need to delve deeper into the question as to why the life of a woman is considered cheaper in our society? The concept of ownership has turned women into a commodity which can be exchanged, bought and sold. According to Maliha, Honour in the traditional settings is a male prerogative, it is men who possess zan, zar and zamin (women, gold and land) that allows them to hold their heads up; women have no honour of their own. In Pakistan majority of the women are forced to stay at home and do housework rather than any economic (Bread winning activity). This forces them to adopt a more conservative approach. Moreover, whatever economic activity they do they usually do not get the compensation for that and are therefore completely dependent on their guardian be it their husband or their father for economic support. Therefore, due to these reasons the right to life of a woman is considered at a lower pedestal in our country.
Moreover the right to due process of law is hampered in honor killing cases as the victims usually are given verdict in customary settings such as a panchiyaat or Jirga. The formal judicial process is not activated nor made use of while taking decisions in these cases. The right to dignity is also violated as violence perpetuated against any individual without due process violates his/her right to lead a dignified life and honor crimes are nor different.
The right to equal treatment before the law which is enshrined in International Covenat on Civil and political rights (ICCPR) Article 14 says:
- “All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law……”
- “Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be pre sumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.”
Also, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) requires states to grant women equality before the law, including equal legal capacity and the ability to exercise that capacity in civil matters (Art. 15). It requires states to provide legal protection for women’s rights on an equal basis with men and to guarantee the effective protection of women against discrimination through competent national courts (Art. 2(c)). The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women requires States Parties to repeal all penal provisions that discriminate against women (Art. 2(g)) and adopt legislative and other measures prohibiting discrimination against women (Art. 2(b)). (See also of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 26)
Therefore as the crimes are usually conducted against women and the men run scot-free in many cases therefore there is a fundamental violation of right to equal treatment before the law.
Let us now explore the legal perspective of honor killings and their punishment. The law related to honour killings i.e. karokari, came into being in 2004. However, contrary to popular belief, the law does not stand on its own with its own offences. Instead it made a number of amendments to other legislation including the PPC. Therefore, the latest versions of these laws carry the laws relating to honour killings. In pre-partition cases, it was a norm that a husband could benefit from the exception of ‘grave and provocation plea’ if he killed his wife or her alleged lover if they were guilty of adultery. Post-independence, much of the debate related to the issue of Islamisation of the laws, specifically the criminal law relating to murder and hurt, which directly relates to the prosecution of honour killings. The Qisas and Diyat Ordinance was promulgated to address the supposedly anti-Islamic elements of criminal law. Initially there was no specific provision for honour killings and these ‘murders due to provocation’ were usually looked over by the Pakistani courts and their punishments mitigated. However the main breakthrough relating to Honour killings came through the The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2004. This act was enacted after continuous and massive pressure from the civil society and international community. However, a number of essential changes were not incorporated which we will discuss in detail later. We conducted a primary research survey in which majority of the respondents agreed that this law was still not adequate enough to protect the victims of honour killings. Some of the respondents said that money shouldn’t be used as a tool in this particular case to buy freedom as the family of the victim and the accused are usually indistinguishable in cases of honour killing. One NGO-working female also said, “It is a crime against state, therefore, paying compensation “rule” ridicules the state and her duty to protect each citizen”. Majority agreed that keeping the blood money and compundability clause intact made the law highly exploitable.
Let us firstly look at the positive aspects of the 2004 Act. The discretion of the court to decide where according to the injunctions of Islam the punishment of qisas was not applicable has been removed in reference to murder committed in the name, or on the pretext of honor. It also removes the possibility of the murderer being the wali (guardian), while also allowing the State to take the responsibility of wali if necessary. The punishments have been raised from 14 to 25 years. Giving of women as badl-i-sulah (for marriage or otherwise in compensation for a crime committed) has been made illegal with penalties. In cases where all the wali do not waive or compound the right of qisas, or on the principle of causing fasad-fil-ard (chaos or disorder in society), the court may punish an offender against whom the right of qisas has been waived or compounded, while also giving a minimum imprisonment for 10 years in case of honour crimes. Minimum sentences are also given for different related offences. In cases of hurt where qisas will not be enforced, the court, along with arsh (compensation for hurt) may award a punishment of tazir, especially if it is an honour crime. In situations where the heirs choose to waive or compound the offence, in cases of honour crimes, a procedure has been laid down i.e. subject to conditions as the court sees fit according to the facts and circumstances of the case. Changes in the CrPC include changes made to procedure, i.e. higher ranks of police officers will be assigned to investigate honour crimes and zina (sexual relationship outside marriage) offences. It clarifies, as above in the PPC, anyone who can waive or compound the offence; the conditions have to be approved by the court. It also takes away the provincial governments authority to abate or suspend any sentence on honor crimes. However, may loopholes in this law still remain which continue to constitute a grave human rights violations. These include the fact that the punishment for honour killings is not mandatory which makes this whole process superfluous to begin with. The most controversial aspects though remain related to the provisions of waiver and compoundability, which almost inevitably pave the way for compromises, particularly since most crimes of this’ nature take place within close members of the family, remain valid in cases of “honour killings. [No exclusion of the provisions of Sections 309, 310, 311, 338E PPC in the case of honour crimes]. Also the consent to suspension or remission being allowed to victims or families of victims may create an avenue of continuing pressure on them even after conviction of the offender. Moreover the practice of badl-e-sulah has been banned i.e. practice of giving women in marriage to correct a wrong. However, this needs to be accompanied by fines. Also, There is no liability to ensure that others who are usually involved in, encourage or validate such killings, e.g. jirgas, panchayats, family members/elders etc.), and are therefore equally accountable for these practices, become just as liable to penalty under the law. Lastly, While “honour” killing has been included in the definition of fasad-fil-ard and a minimum penalty of 10 years as tazir laid down (with a maximum of 14 years), the awarding of a penalty in cases where the right of qisas has been waived or compounded has been left completely at the discretion of the court. As in the past, this provides the escape for murderers to get away with minimal or no penalty.
In Pakistani case law the Sindh high court has taken the most progressive stance relating to honor killings. Justice Shahid Anwar Bajwa of the Sindh High court stated that, “ Karo Kari is crime which is a blot not only on the fair name of Sindh …It has in the comity of nations, always sullied Pakistan and Muslim Society as a whole”. The Supreme Court, however has allowed laxity in the cases relating to crimes of provocation. It has set a standard according to which it judges these cases now. The standard is, “….. If the accused is able to prove that he was deprived of the capability of self-control or was swayed away by circumstances immediately preceding the act of murder or there was an immediate cause leading to grave provocation the he may be allowed mitigation in his sentence”.
While the Supreme Court may have attempted to lay down a few specifications before acceptance of the plea of grave and sudden provocation, but clearly it is being translated as an acceptance of murder in the name of honour. In fact, apart from finding ways to circumvent the Supreme Court, a number of judgments do not even refer to the plea of provocation, but instead simply state ghairat as an extenuating circumstance.
Conclusively, we can say the area of honor killing is still an area of Law, which needs further consideration, may it be in Pakistan or internationally. It is a matter of Human Rights, which has not yet been considered as Human Rights issue as other matters are globally. Women are as much as a member of the society containing similar rights as men. Therefore, the killing of women may it even be in the name of honour should be taken seriously as it may be of any man. In the survey we conducted 95% of the respondents be they male or female ,old or young, working or non-working agreed that Honor killing is never justifiable. I would like to conclude by giving the answer of one of our respondents, who said, “Honor killing is never justifiable and no killing is justified except the type that is approved by the state after a proper judicial inquiry.” Also more than 90% of the respondents agreed that honor killing should be illegal under all circumstances thus putting to rest debate about whether grave and sudden provocation constitute a reason to murder someone.
 Maliha Zia Lari, A pilot study on: ‘Honour Killings in Pakistan and Compliance of law’ , Aurat Foundation report, pg.17
 Hillary Mayell, ‘Thousands of Women killed for family honor’ (National Geographic News, 12th Feburary 2012) http://www.unl.edu/rhames/courses/212/readings/honor-kil-ng.pdf accessed 11th March 2016
 Maliha Zia Lari, A pilot study on: ‘Honour Killings in Pakistan and Compliance of law’ , Aurat Foundation report, pg.18
 Maliha Zia Lari, A pilot study on: ‘Honour Killings in Pakistan and Compliance of law’ , Aurat Foundation report, pg.21
 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December 1966, accessed from https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%20999/volume-999-I-14668-English.pdf
 UN women, http://www.endvawnow.org/en/articles/729-sources-of-international-law-related-to-honour-crimes-and-killings.html, accessed 3/11/16
 Maliha Zia Lari, A pilot study on: ‘Honour Killings in Pakistan and Compliance of law’ , Aurat Foundation report, pg.32
 Daimuddin and others vs. The State, 2010 M L D 1089, Karachi
 Muhammad Zaman v. The State P L D 2009 Supreme Court 49
 Maliha Zia Lari, A pilot study on: ‘Honour Killings in Pakistan and Compliance of law’ , Aurat Foundation report, pg.60
The ongoing battle of the heavyweights in Pakistan’s ( rather Punjab’s ) politics is shocking for a neutral observer like me. The military is fighting militancy across the country and the politicians have started bickering over the spoils of a relatively infant democracy already; imagining that they live in a separate world from the rest of the nations and a bubble has been created where they can drive the country into civil disobedience (or say much worse civil war) without any fear of external or internal enemies of the state. Military is engaged in cross-battles in Waziristan, Balochistan and LoC against armed threats to our already weak country and here it has to further worry that the domestic struggle for the throne of Islamabad might just turn violent. Pakistanis, particularly Northern Punjabis and Pukhtuns have had a history of taking power into their hands whenever the opportunity arises. This stems from their insecurities down to the household level. Therefore, it is no surprise that Imran Khan of Mianwali, Nawaz Sharif of Raiwind, Chaudarys’ of Gujrat,and Tahir Ul Qadri of God knows where are all in it to get to the top office in the country or in Sharifs case hold onto it.
TahirUlQadri is a mortal enemy of the Sharifs and although he has been doing a lot of welfare work for the people of Pakistan over the years, his current scope over the last few months has boiled to a single point agenda: Grab power of governance in Pakistan. TUQ was the imam of Sharifs’ local mosque in Model Town before he fell apart with them and made his own venture into politics. Quickening up to present day, he came back to Pakistan from a self imposed asylum in Canada with unaccountable money which according to his party were from donations. However, according to the current govt. the cash he has accumulated is from from money laundering and other illegal activites. According to one source, TUQ tried to contact various former leaders, landlords and influentials after his drama filled return this June to gear up for one final ‘revolution’. However, his own interpretation of religion and bringing it into politics wasn’t very appealing to the majority of the Pakistanis.
Some circles within the military were playing their own game. According to a handful of leading analysts TUQ is the establishments’ main guy nowadays. Whenever they want to pressurize the political govt. they turn to TUQ. Ahmed Raza Kasuri, part of Musharrafs’ APML and one of the most renowned lawyers in the country puts it that by hindering Musharraf an escape route PML(N) led govt. stabbed their own back. Part of the military establishment along with TUQ made a plan to ‘pressurize’ the govt. They first locked horns with and easily defeated the Geo news network. Although Mir Shakeel ur Rehman had his pro-govt biases, that hardly meant that he deserved to be brought to his knees. A recent example can be found in AQ Khan network being similarly publicly humiliated in the same way under Musharraf regime. According to Kasuri ,now the plan turns to bring down PML (N) also presumably for its soft approach with India. Dunya news of establishments’ Lahore based, former PML (Q) stalwart Mian Amir Mahmood alongside Geo’s arch rivals ARY and Express network have jumped the bandwagon of AzadiInquilab March rather than staying off of it and look to share the spoils
Imran Khan, although a respectable leader with honest credentials and a good track record has himself become blinded with the love for power this time around. His single point agenda like TUQ is to grab the prime office in the country as soon as possible. Politics really is a dirty game. It brings people who have led completely different life Styles for sixty years on the same agenda due to hunger of power and money. His sons though have been shielded from the atrocities that his party workers have to go through as they have fled to London to live in the comforts with their mum right before his ‘Azadi’ march started. The majority of his supporters are also there mostly for entertainment which he is good in creating( with music and speeches sprinkled with subtle humor ) in a Pakistani society which desperately needs more of it unlike Qadris more serious fedayeen who are the actual ones out there so badly wanting a Naya Pakistan and get out of their economic shackles of poverty. Therefore the official and unofficial estimates about the participants of the Azadi march continue to vary compared to the more solid estimate of the comparatively serious supporters of Inquilab march.
Its the common man of Pakistan that has suffered the most and will continue to suffer during this ‘Azadi’ week. While our neighbor has started to concentrate on societal ills such as nepotism, rape and corruption as their primary concerns, we are yet to come out of our internal fighting. Nawaz Sharif should have learnt something from Mr.10% on how to run a democratic govt. and the right policy was of reconciliation at the right time rather than opening up multiple fronts to fight as soon as you reach the epitome of power. It is true that election in a developing country like ours can never be totally free and fair. However, efforts to appease the leader of the 2nd largest (in terms of votes accumulated) political party rather than bringing him to this frustrating juncture would have had been the right move. With a lack of reconcilatory approach shown by PML(N) and confronting a main opposition party openly, political non-entities like TUQ, the chaudarys’ of Gujarat and Sheikh Rasheed are sure to come to the forefront in hope of gaining(or regaining) power. PML(N) supporters might cry out loud that PTI is a party of amateur and opportunist politicians backed by the ‘mummy daddy’ segment of public. However, this is also a segment of our public and it has truly shown in the last few years that it is a force to reckon with rather than being ignored as it had been for the previous 64 years of our existence before the 23rd March 2011 historic jalsa of PTI at Minar-e-Pakistan which brought this segment of society to the political fore.
Peoples Party is playing this one smartly though or lets just say it has no other option given its negligible remaining political clout in Punjab. It has a total number of two seats in the whole province. However, JI Caliph Siraj ul Haq hailing from the troubled district of Dir is the one truly playing out a reconcilatory and wise role. He has approached parties all across the spectrum and is clearly looking to find some common ground. May Allah be by his side (no pun intended)
To sum it up, international broadcasters such as CNN,ABC,FOX,BBC aren’t even giving this so called revolutionary-freedom march much coverage like the last time around TUQ got his fair share when he took to the streets against PPP-led govt. This latest drama by Pakistani political leaders just goes on to show why there is a strong need for a third power say it be the local army or some foreign govt. to prevent the power hungry civilian leaders from driving this country into anarchy and total chaos. As a famous saying goes “When the love of power overcomes the power of love, this world shall know peace.” This applies to present day Pakistan more than ever in this troublesome scenario.
Democracy has been a keenly debated topic in all spheres of Pakistani lives. People have often demanded for a dictatorial system as soon as they become disenfranchised with democracy. They do this usually after a political turmoil in the country or when two or more major political parties are unable to find common ground on an issue(s). Democracy has long been criticized in many circles for not delivering what was expected of it. However, it has not been adequately given a chance in our country to take roots and show its true colors. Democratic governments have been toppled in the middle of their period to be oft replaced by military dictators or presidential rule. Although democracy alone cannot take Pakistan towards a prosperous and progressive future because it needs certain other factors and conditions which are essential for accruing true dividends of democracy such as apt social environments and literacy.
How can Pakistan progress?, how can there be a single Vision for the future or clear strategies to reduce poverty, strengthen judicial system or grow the economy if we do not first agree that if every successive government comes up with its own vested agenda, we as a nation will never progress? These are few questions that I would address during the course of my argumentative thesis. We have to keep the interest of the country always ahead of our own personal interests – as far as my recollection goes the only leaders who showed this unselfish commitment towards our nation were the groups of committed and selfless leaders who fought the fight for independence and helped create Pakistan against enormous odds.
Democracy in the current state is something they would not have imagined. Our major problems stem from experimenting with various models of ‘imperfect’ democracies. A social state in a true democracy is one in which everyone has equal rights without hereditary or arbitrary differences of rank or privilege.(Amritya Sen) By this simple yardstick alone, do we really have democracy in Pakistan? Is every adult vote cast freely in our country in the manner that democracy requires it to be meaningful? Are the votes cast recorded fairly? Democracy means government of the people, by the people and for the people. Do the people really rule or are we hostage to a powerful minority? – One that can tamper at will with the results at the ballot box? Whenever there are elections, some of the people who get elected and sit in Pakistan’s assemblies do not deserve to be there. (Nadeem Qureshi)
The problem is that the leaders who get elected by the people to rule over the country are reluctant to give power to the people to rule over their own communities. Those who argue against the democratic setup in Pakistan talk about its peculiar social structure and existing environments. They argue that existing threat to democracy in Pakistan is feudalism. Marc Bloch defined ‘feudal society’ as a warrior aristocracy bound by vassalage in which a lord was a noble who held land, called a fief. Those granted possession by the lord were called vassals, expected to serve their lord. Wealth was derived from agriculture organized not by market forces but by customary labor services owed by serfs to landowning nobles. Rulers who adapted feudal institutions to increase their power were called ‘feudals’, their governments labeled ‘feudal monarchies’. In sharp contrast to the rest of the world, this medieval system has continued to exist and flourish to this day in Pakistan, masquerading under the façade of ‘democracy’.
The feudals’ claim to electoral legitimacy comes from forcing people to vote for them. And if that cannot be done, then manipulating the casting and/or counting of the vote through their designated public officials at the polling booth and higher up the rigging-of-votes ladder. There must be intelligence reports about how the rural seats in Sindh were manipulated by packing the electoral machinery with the PPP’s nominees. On a smaller scale the PTI was deprived of some seats in Punjab. Indeed the worsening moral, social, economic and political crisis in Pakistan can be attributed to a few thousand families in the agricultural sector. Armed with such a monopoly of economic power, they can easily pre-empt political power.Does this mean that democracy has failed in Pakistan? (Nadeem Qureshi)
The ‘new feudals’ have adopted the trappings of the landed gentry, having accumulated wealth either through legitimate means of commerce and industry, or through blatant corruption by misusing their powers as civil servants or military officers. The only way to eliminate the curse of feudalism is by empowering the people at the grassroots level. India has emerged as a democratic polity primarily because of the abolition of feudalism from its very inception. The Muslim League perpetuated and consolidated this system in Pakistan because it was itself a feudal party while Congress was always mainly anti-feudal.
What use is democracy to the individual when the various freedoms are not available at his (or her) doorstep and s/he does not have a say in the governance of his/her immediate community? For Pakistan to be saved we must change the system to reflect the correct interpretation of democracy, not one that works in favour of feudals, the rich and powerful, the influentials and special interest groups. Democracy in Pakistan needs to be revamped and a presidential system which is more conducive to the Pakistani environment needs to be implemented. Such system should ensure that none of these feudals take advantage of the electoral system presently in place and more of the technocrats come forward with their relevant expertise in the field.
Talking about the benefits of democracy, As Amartya Sen has pointed out: ‘no substantial famine has ever occurred in any country with a democratic form of government and a relatively free press.’ According to a study based on 138 countries over the period 1950–1990, ‘democracies showed markedly lower infant mortality rates than dictatorships’ and outperformed the latter ‘at every level of per-capita GNP’.(Fareed Zakaria). Democratization helps overcome security problems. Democracy building, for instance, can help combat the threat of transnational terrorism. As Jennifer Windsor puts it, ‘Democratic institutions can help address underlying conditions that fuel extremism’. Finally and arguably, democracies show less inclination than dictatorships toward waging war against each other.
Democracy is also helpful to major world powers. For example, democracy promotion, while no panacea, would be a useful step toward helping the United States become a “responsible stakeholder” in the international order (to adopt the term used for adversaries), instead of being an object of fear and dislike throughout much of the world. Apart from being a value in itself, a functioning democracy at home holds promise for a simple recognition that we don’t own the world, we share it.(Chomsky p14)
On the contrary, Bruce Russett’s basic point deserves consideration here: ‘the initial creation of democratic institutions may contribute to the explosion of ethnic conflicts, by providing the means of free expression, including expression of hatred and feelings of oppression.’ This point, however, ‘does not mean…that the solution lies in less democracy. Rather, it likely lies in devising institutions, and nurturing norms and practices, of democratic government with respect for minority rights’.(Bruce Russet) We thus need to ask the hard question of how to build democratic institutions without exacerbating ongoing violent conflicts. Proponents of democracy still ask how new democracies in former war-torn countries can successfully build institutions that ‘foster free and open competition without descending into factionalism’ and that make leaders ‘more willing to accept meaningful constraints on their authority’. In other words, they still seek to understand ‘how to build the specific institutions that reduce the risk of violent instability in countries where democracy is being established’.(Bruce Russett)
Moreover, every country has its own challenges and strategies. A homemade strategy is best for overcoming local challenges and threats. There are many democratic countries like Cambodia which remained largely unconsolidated, by demonstrating that the state, political, and civil society institutions did not grow strong enough to establish an effective system of checks and balances.
Majority of “Functioning Democracies” today are on average just over a century old, it takes time and sustained efforts to turn a country into a “Functioning Democracy”. For democracy to flourish you need specific conditions which include high literacy rate, vibrant civil society, fair electoral system, unbiased election commission and independent judiciary. Absence of these “specific conditions” or “factors” means that corrupt politicians will come to power, an incompetent bureaucracy will focus on its vested interest, and poverty and illiteracy will drive people to vote emotionally to false rhetoric’s which will bring the same corrupt and influential people to power again and again. Additionally, lack of proper legal oversight will not allow any accountability to take hold and absence of proper law enforcement systems will allow these politicians to coerce and blackmail the masses – all in the name of democracy, which unfortunately is never realized and this in turn ends up further destroying that country with every attempt.
Before getting into hasty generalization that whether presence of democracy has a direct impact on the standard of living and economic growth of a country, I had to somehow better understand what forms of government were being used by different countries. Then based on the type of government, I considered five key factors including literacy rate (intellectual capacity to think and decide), poverty level (distribution of wealth), neonatal mortality rate (basic health care), strong independent judicial system (judicial and legal systems) and per capita income (economic growth).
Pakistan situation today is like being “between a rock and a hard place”. We have been in existence as an independent country for over 65 years and have nothing to show for it. The following is Pakistan’s performance in the areas described above. (Pakistan’s rank is shown in brackets):1. Literacy 55% (Rank 145/164): 2. Poverty 23% (Rank 117/164
3. Per Capita $870 (Rank 123/164: 4. Neonatal Mortality 53% (Rank 156/164): 5, Sanitation 58% (Rank 110/164).
Now Let us take the example of Nigeria. Nigeria is a democracy under President Olusegun Obasanjo, but the historic rivalries between east and west, south and north, oil-states and non-oil provinces, Christian and Muslim communities, democrats and autocrats, and soldiers and citizens that have bedeviled Africa’s most populous state since independence in 1960 (and before) are still there, seething below a surface calmed or smoothed by the presence of Obasanjo. Military dictators could reemerge, inter-communal conflict could readily reoccur, and the north-south divide could once again become an obstacle to strengthening a state already softened by economic confusion, continued corruption, and mismanagement. Nigeria also performs poorly as a state, and provides political goods adequately at best across the vast mélange of poor and rich provinces that make up its little-unified and much unglued whole. Competition during the national election in 2003 readily loosened the already tattered ties that keep Nigeria whole.
Another useful model exists which is often used to gauge a country’s development level, i.e. “Human Development Index (HDI)”.(Amryta Sen) The HDI combines normalized measures of life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment, and GDP per capita for countries worldwide. It is claimed as a standard means of measuring human development – a concept that, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), refers to the process of widening the options of persons, giving them greater opportunities for education, health care, income, employment, etc.(UNDP)
The basic use of HDI is to measure a country’s development. Pakistan is ranked way below at #136. The list has a total of 178 countries and 90% of the 42 countries below us are all African other then Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, Yemen and Haiti. We as citizens should be ashamed and outraged to be ranked among such failed and undistinguished states.
If a country in the 21st century is marked by high poverty, low literacy, corrupt administration, unfair judicial system and a struggle to impose democratic rule – that country is unfortunately doomed. In fact most of the countries who have achieved “Functional Democracy” status are the culprits. Instead of helping the “non-Functional Democratic” countries come out of the quagmire of illiteracy, corruption, lack of justice, etc. they force them in, put sanction on them to go democratic – it’s like pushing them off the cliff. We need the western world’s understanding of the ground realities and not only their blind faith in democracy.
Coming back to Pakistan, one of the biggest and most depressing aspects of Pakistani citizens is the lack of Tax culture as well as citizens who do not and will not function in a socially responsible manner. I have estimated that if we were to fix this problem then we as a country could easily be delivering double digit growth year on year. Overall, corruption is probably the biggest culprit which on its own can double our current meager 3% GDP growth. I estimate that nearly 3% of GDP growth is lost out to corruption, pocketed by the officials, rich, politicians or goes to waste due to the lack of good corporate governance and inefficient management practices. In many surveys of IMF and World Bank it is estimated that the black or undocumented economy is roughly double or even triple of what is currently properly documented. In addition implementation of a proper tax culture will help drive government revenues up exponentially; today it is estimated that less than 2% of citizens pay personal income taxes; tax to GDP ratio is one of the lowest in the world at 12%. I feel that based on previous arguments, it is clear that Full Democracy does not survive without the proper atmosphere, i.e. presence of high literacy, low poverty, high per capita income and impartial judicial system
Democracy has been criticized in many spheres for not offering enough political stability. As governments are frequently elected on and off, there tends to be frequent changes in the policies of democratic countries both domestically and internationally. In case of Pakistan each subsequent government has tried to do away with or reverse any economic growth plans that the previous one was pursuing in order to disown that government, even if the project was for the benefit of Pakistan. Many analysts believe that democracy is undesirable for a developing country like Pakistan in which economic growth and the reduction of poverty are top priority. Moreover, in many countries, democratic participation in elections is less than 50% at times, which makes them democracies only in name. If we critically analyze the central tenets of democracy, i.e. equality and freedom, these are frequently absent in ostensibly democratic countries such as Pakistan, and to some extent India, with its caste system and vote-bank politics. I will leave it to your intellect to make a proper conclusion whether Pakistan is ready for democracy or not. To me unfortunately nothing supports this avenue – there is lack of freedom, lack of equality, lack of education, lack of economic development and high level of poverty. You are welcome to make up your mind.
Critically analyzing the history of political systems and especially scholarly works of Fareed Zakaria on ‘Liberal Democracy’, it is clear that we need a paradigm shift in our approach towards government design, structure and operations. Politics and its associated leadership reshape economics, law, culture and even how religion is perceived in a society. Fareed Zakaria has very aptly highlighted in his research that democracy has its dark side. He has researched the evolution of democracy in the West as well as in East including Africa, Asia and South America. He argues that democracy and liberalism are two distinct features and the presence of both is important for a true successful democracy. West has succeeded in implementing liberal democracy in the last century only because even as autocracy they had been pursuing liberal principles. To me the most successful democracies are liberal democracies. To achieve true form of democracy a country must have and value constitutional liberalism – that is have present set of freedoms which includes rule of law, a separation of powers, and the protection of basic liberties of speech, assembly, religion, and property. A democracy without constitutional liberalism is a key stumbling block facing the world today and is made worse by ever increasing poverty and illiteracy.
A fundamental political fact about Pakistan is that the state , whoever claims to lead it, is weak, and society in its various forms is immensely strong. Anyone or any group with the slightest power in society uses it (amongst other things) to plunder the state for patronage and favors, and to turn to their advantage the workings of the law and the bureaucracy. As a result, Pakistan has by far the lowest rates of revenue-collection (under 10% of GDP) in South Asia. This, far more than the military, is responsible for the state’s inability to invest in education, infrastructure and essential services; and what money is directed to these ends is far too often stolen by the elites.
Pakistan cannot alone be taken towards a prosperous future by democracy and it needs certain other factors. Moreover, the presidential system can also be experimented with. We have to see the different factors that go into democracy to fully understand its structure and as we have seen these certain factors such as feudalism, impartial beauracracy, non-interfering military, etc play a very defining role in how successful democracy will be in Pakistan or any other developing country for that matter. Therefore, the answer to whether democracy can take Pakistan towards a successful future is not that straightforward.
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 Noam Chomsky, “Making the future”, 2012, p14