Behind you, Skipper!

Are we experiencing birthing pains?

Like millions of Pakistanis at home and abroad, I felt an immense shock when Pakistan’s elected government was unceremoniously ousted following a judicial coup on the night of April 9th, 2022. What followed, has been a series of heartbreaking events the likes of which can seldom be seen in the civilized world.

On that fateful night and for several nights after, Pakistanis came out on the streets of Pakistan to protest the ousting of their elected Prime Minister’s government and the salt on the wound was that we were now being governed by a coalition of gangs that have been described as being amongst the most corrupt politicians on the planet. These people have been looting the country, amassing huge wealth offshore, on various continents and have absolutely no emotional ties to the land of Pakistan. What’s even more disturbing is that the institutions of the state are well aware of the reputation of these crooks and have themselves played a major part in the cases that have been in courts against these incompetent, corrupt dynastic politicians.

He left the PM House with just his diary asking if there was anybody left who wasn’t against him. The nation replied saying WE ARE WITH YOU, KAPTAAN!

The imported government took office under the slogans of inflation, yet Pakistanis saw the worst inflation ever in the last few months under their rule. Prices of commodities have gone up significantly. Every day we come across stories of families struggling to pay bills, struggling to buy groceries, unable to make ends meet. The ruling parties have seen a significant decline in their popularity across the nation. Here is a brief outline of the major events that have taken place since April this year:

We are living in the Age of Imran Khan (Photo Credit: Agencies, Express Tribune)

Since being ousted, Khan has only one demand, immediate, free and fair elections. The ruling elite have seen Imran Khan’s popularity and have no intentions of holding any elections. Khan has led massive rallies and held great power shows across the country. As soon as Khan was ousted, a vicious campaign was lodged against his political workers and his social media team. Young men and women were harassed, fake cases being lodged against them. Young men were abducted from their homes, questioned about the rising social media popularity of Khan and his ideology. From here on started the unlawful detention of various party leaders. Anyone who dared to speak against the powers that be, had reports launched against them, citing treason.

On the 25th of May, Khan led a rally from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, through Punjab and to the capital, Islamabad. The then Punjab government used brute force, starting the night before. Armed men illegally invaded private residences. Women, children, young and old were harassed. Tear gas was used on peaceful protestors, many of whom were women and children. This was not limited to the protestors in this one province and the capital, but even in Karachi, protestors were treated similarly. Containers were placed to block the path of unarmed, peaceful protestors. At least two workers lost their lives, several citizens experiences uneasiness and illness for days as a result of the brutal violence that they faced. Khan, fearing violent clashes between Pakistani citizen and the government forces, called off the planned sit in and asked the people to retreat.

Many of us questioned his decision at the time, the people were ready to stand by Kaptaan and fight for our democratic rights. But, Imran Khan has always taken the longer route, the route of constitution and law, even when facing opponents that did anything but.

As Imran Khan’s popularity grew, as shown by his victory in the Punjab by elections, despite major rigging by the present government, as did the unease of the usurpers in the Parliament. From then on even the facade of a democracy seems to be slipping off the faces of the powers that be. Pakistan is currently under a completely fascist government, with democratic and civic rights of free speech, the access to information suspended.

Journalists who dare to support PTI are unlawfully abducted, charged with fake crimes, or threatened with death. Some renowned journalists have had to go into self exile, while those that stuck around were arrested, or even unlawfully detained. Imran Riaz Khan spent several days in jail with fake cases lodged against him. Ayaz Amir, after a talk that he gave criticizing the status quo, was dragged outside his car and beaten up. The most recent one being Jameel Farooqui who was abducted in Karachi, beaten up, assaulted sexually and then forcefully taken to Islamabad.

Dr Shahbaz Gill, Imran Khan’s chief of staff has been arrested over a false claim that he incited mutiny within the military. He has been brutally tortured, disrobed and beaten and also sexually assaulted. His physical remand had ended, he had gone into judicial remand only to be returned to physical detainment after a brief stay at the hospital. The judges who granted this were aware that Dr Gill, a PhD, a Professor at the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was being brutally tortured during his captivity. Dr Gill’s driver was also beaten up during his arrest and his assistant’s wife and 10 month old daughter were arrested, the lady mentally tortured throughout the night by telling her that she would never see her toddler again. The mother and child were imprisoned separately. All of this to instill fear in the population, so that nobody dares to speak out against the powers that be.

The above are not scenes from a war zone, but from Pakistan Under Fascism. We Can’t Breathe!

Ary, a news channel that questions and criticizes the ruling elite has been taken off air, despite a court ruling that stated that such an action is unlawful. The next one on the hit list is BOL.

Following another massive victory of Imran Khan ‘s PTI in a Karachi by-election, the imported government has seen an even further decline of their popularity. They know that there is no way that they can take on Khan in a fair election. So the focus has now shifted on removing him and getting him declared unfit, hence disqualified for life.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had ruled that baseless terrorism charges not be filed against anyone. Yet, Khan is being cited for treason and terrorism completely falsely and baselessly. A highly compromised election commission has created a completely fake case of prohibited funding on PTI, calling overseas Pakistani donors to the party, foreigners.

Pakistanis from all over rushed to Bani Gala, surrounding Khan House when it became known that the Islamabad police was being sent to arrest Imran Khan on a list of baseless charges. As of now, the court has given him a three day bail but our fight isn’t over. All cable tv channels have been banned from televising Imran Khan’s speeches. YouTube was blocked all over Pakistan during his speeches. The idea is to silence his voice, but we are Imran Khan’s voice, the massive power shows that are each of his political gatherings and rallies are indicative of Khan’s popularity, that is on the rise.

Imran Khan’s fight is the fight for Pakistan’s true independence and sovereignty, his ideology Haqeeqi Azadi, and we are his warriors. Whether we are overseas or we are in Pakistan, we will continue to raise our voices and we will continue to fight. The question is, is the world watching these massive crimes against humanity, against democracy in Pakistan or are we alone in this war?

The Fight for Our Sovereignty Continues.

Check on the Strongest Ones: A look inside the Darkness

Trigger Warning: Depression, Suicide
Disclamer: Personal findings and experiences.  I am not a medical professional and these views are my own, from personal experiences and listening to people who go through depression.  


Depression and mental health awareness is a topic extremely close to my heart. As such, hearing and reading some of the reactions from people when someone dies of suicide, is heart-breaking and frustrating to say the least. I feel that more public awareness and education is needed for people to actually understand what goes inside the head of a person who is close to making that ultimate decision, the choice to end it all, to leave it all behind and to end the pain once and for all.

Pain, yes, I said pain. It can be physical as well as emotional. And no, it is “not all in your head!” Chronic pain is one of the symptoms of depression. Headaches, migraines, chest pain, backaches, muscle and joint aches, all of these, all of the time, and the doctors despite multiple tests cannot find anything wrong with you. Nothing at all that they can treat, perhaps not even fibromyalgia. Now imagine being in that kind of physical pain all of the time, and not being able to do anything about it. It is in those moments to extreme despair that the darkness inside you whispers, “There is no way out. Let’s end this now.”

Let’s talk about emotional pain now. You are living the life. To anyone on the outside, you have it all: a family that dotes on you, wonderful, fun friends, financial stability, a job you love, you have it made! And yet, deep inside you there is a darkness, not a sadness, because there generally is a reason to feel sad. This is beyond sadness, there is no reason to feel this blue, and yet, here you are… curled up on the floor. You are crying out loud, so loud that perhaps your neighbors can hear you. Your pets and children are helplessly looking at you, they don’t know what to do, how to help you. Your partner, your parents, perhaps some close friends are all around you. You feel like a burden to them, and yet, you can’t find your way out of your funk. You feel so guilty for putting all the people you love through this misery. Yes, they love you but perhaps your final act of love should be to end their suffering, of which YOU are the cause. The darkness isn’t whispering anymore. It is loud, it is roaring. It’s shouting for you to help them, ease their pain, end the cause of their misery. And that cause is you.

You’re in bed, just snuggled into your pillow. You just do not have the energy to get up, to wash your face, brush your teeth, never mind taking a shower. All you want to do is stay there and if you’re lucky, sleep. Sleep so that the darkness leaves you alone, so that you don’t have to think, feel guilt. Your friends have been calling, texting, inviting you to come out with them. This isn’t the first time you’ve let them down. Sometimes you say yes, and then cancel at the last minute because you just can’t bring yourself to get out of bed. At other times, you made an excuse right from the start. Now the guilt raises its head and whispers to the darkness. The darkness smirks and tells you that they don’t even care anymore. They’re better off without you. Maybe they should stop inviting you. You’re in a funk even if you do go with them. You don’t deserve them and they do not deserve your negativity. Let them go, you don’t belong with them. Close your eyes, they’ll be better off without you. At least they won’t feel guilty about not inviting you anymore!

Today is a good day. You’re dressing up to go out with your SO. You have been taking your meds regularly. And then you look into the mirror…. Your mood altering medicines have piled pounds on you. You are once again in your dark place, trying to battle your demons, but they keep growing louder, more insistent. You do not deserve your partner. They will be so much better off without you. Look at yourself! Who wants to be seen with you! Let him go, give him that gift, set him free!

And then let’s not forget about the black box warnings on some of the mental health drugs, some have suicidal thoughts as a side-effect and some have that as a side-effect when you go off the drug for whatever reason… Your insurance doesn’t cover it anymore, you can’t afford it, etc.

This is not what everyone with depression or a mental illness goes though, but these are some things that do happen. Difficult as it may sound, these scenarios are very, very real, and a part of every day reality for some people. The strong ones fight it, they keep on fighting, and that fight alone wears them out. Not today, it’s my son’s graduation in a couple of weeks. No, not now, let mom recover from her surgery, then I can go…. One excuse after an other, one step at a time, fighting the demons, defeating the darkness, but  it never, ever goes away. It is always there, waiting to pounce back, waiting to catch you unawares, when you’re alone and at your lowest breaking point. When there is no more fight left inside.

Meanwhile the world sees the smiling, cheerful successful you. The sarcastic, happy-go-lucky, have-it-all, “living-the-life” person who doesn’t have a care in the world. Oh wait, you’re just sad, it’s in your head, go pray, meditate, think positive thoughts, you’ll feel better. You must find solace in religion, in faith. But what happens when your darkness tells you that you’re too far gone even to be blessed with that grace. Trust me, there is no logical answer. There is no answer, except….

Please, please, please be there. Check on the strongest ones, the fighters. A study finds that there are 25 attempts at suicide for every one that’s successful. On an average, there are over a 120 suicides every day in the U.S. and the rate is highest among middle-aged people. The first thoughts are generally not even of killing yourself, but of how if you got cancer, or in a car accident, things will be much better for those who’re left behind. Hmmm let’s google how many of my prescription meds I can take to OD. How far is the fan from the door, will the ceiling hold my weight? When you hear about a suicide, please do NOT publish details. What mode was used, how was it done, and PLEASE, don’t use the phrase “commit suicide”, because that brings with it the connotation of committing a sin…. and your mental illness is not a sin, it is not a curse.

Just a phone call, a text a day. Checking on someone you know who has a mental illness, asking them what kind of a day they’re having or if they need something. They may not even answer every time, but it’s not personal. That right there might be the thread to keep the darkness away, the one reason to live another day….

Stay Strong!




I Choose Gratitude

IMG_0570.JPGToday was a rough day. After a beautiful vacation visiting family, my first day home started off with stomach issues and pain and fatigue that was beyond what I could handle. Had to spend most of the day in bed. Didn’t get much done; and it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Am I depressed? No. I’m grateful for my family. My sons rallied around me today. They were at my call, willing to do all they could to make my day easier. I’m thankful for my husband and his support: although he had to go to work, he was never more than a call away to listen to me and keep comforting me. My men did everything in their power to make my day easier and for that I’m thankful.

On a day like today, it is easier to hate the lot you were given and be sad than to count blessings. I choose to count my blessings. I choose gratitude!