Look, Don’t Smoke!

Isn’t this image absolutely charming?

How do you feel looking at it?

Really makes you feel disgusted, doesn’t it? That is precisely what it is meant to do.

One of the greatest trouble with lawmakers is that they make laws for a living.

This pretty much means trouble for everyone else. You know, for people.

This is probably the most repulsive post that I have ever added and I want it to give precisely the kind of feeling that anyone looking at this image would have if it appeared on something that they consumed on a regular basis.

It appears on every cigarette pack in Pakistan. Required by law.

Just take a look at this picture. Why would anyone in their right mind would place such disgusting and horrific pictures on a commodity meant to be consumed.

Alright, before some of you start with all the self-righteous health rhetoric, I know that tobacco is a cancer risk factor. So are several other things like alcohol and maybe mobile phone electromagnetic microwaves and nuclear radiation. Well we hear about it all, don’t ask me for scientific evidence. You are supposed to follow what they recommend.

I know smoking can possibly cause mouth cancer, lung cancer, heart disease, hypertension and whatnot. Pretty much everyone knows that by now, but I seriously think somebody really needs to draw a line.

Before I continue, and before you make any judgments about my views, I would like to give the irritating disclaimer that I do not support smoking in public places and that there is no harm in enforcing laws that protect the rights of people who want a smoking-free environment, whether for security, health or comfort and convenience. However, smoking, or consuming any other drug for that matter, is a choice that every adult must be free to make.

Of course it gives you a different feeling altogether if you see this image like it is presented on a cigarette pack. It simply offers you a completely different perspective of it. Doesn’t it?

Well, for someone who smokes, the feeling is just like seeing this image on something else that they consume. Such as, say a bottle of juice, or a loaf of bread or just about anything you could think of. I know it sort of sounds sickening to everyone else, but hey, stand in their shoes for a second.

I understand that the requirement of printing such repulsive images on cigarette packs are supposed to make people stop. But is anyone stopping because of these images? Not sure. I hope at least some would have.

However, it only goes to show how sick is the reasoning and thought process behind putting such hideous images on commodities of consumption. It is also unscientific and exaggerated because not everyone who smokes ends up with the condition portrayed in the image above and other conditions that are portrayed around the world.

The idiotic law which created this eye-candy image was probably Statutory Order 1219(I)/2008 dated 25 September 2008, as per Wikipedia. I can’t find the precise Gazette of Pakistan copy online.

Tomorrow, July 1, 2012, marks the third birthday of this lovely image.

Here, take a look at some more perversions from all around Asia.

Well. congratulations dear lawmakers, you have really eradicated every trace of smoking from the world. I hope that makes you feel very good about yourselves.

Speaking of Pakistan, well. we already know how much health is a priority for Pakistani legislators. But I won’t use their lack of enthusiasm about providing healthcare facilities to the public as an argument against this law. That would be wrong.

I would just like to request the honorable parliament members to reconsider the choice of warning images. I am perfectly fine with the text. And I agree smoking must be discouraged through education and awareness.

Actually, I am pretty thankful to them actually for not having tobacco banned already because we seem to be gradually moving towards that direction and it is horrifying. I am really thankful to the legislators for still allowing the people access to the drug that they are so badly hooked to.

Also, I am also thankful to them for meticulously and religiously increasing the duty on cigarette packs in the fiscal budget every year. It particularly helps the poor people who have absolutely no access to the kind of drugs that they can afford. Expensive, imported, duty-free and high quality alcohol, for example. It really helps their way of living, ensuring a healthier, more pious, more fulfilling and a much happier life.

I was wondering that they could also consider printing warnings on a bottle of Coke, which must cause diseases in the long run in its own right, or maybe on the packaging of a Big Mac, or maybe on the favorite and most acceptable source of drugs for Pakistanis, tea.

Yeah, they should also print warnings on tea packs. It contains caffeine, the most widely accepted and silently loud drug in the business. It is an addiction after all.

But I am sure caffeine must have a lot of health benefits.

Alright, alright, I accept. We should have at least some sort of graphical representation of the consequences of smoking on a cigarette pack. Not every smoker can read, right?

So by that rationale, please also print images and graphical representations of all the side effects caused by every prescription drug used for whatever purpose. Not everyone can read the name of the drug.

So that people should know what this “substance” could possibly do to them.

I know smoking is bad, evil. Prescriptions drugs are great, necessary, healing.

But hey, a drug is a drug. Disease is disease. Horrible consequences are horrible consequences.

Why ignore them for one substance and cry about them for others?

Why not inform people about them by printing photographs of them all over the place?

People really need to know, isn’t it? And what is a better medium of conveying information than images? Especially those who don’t even know how to read the brand name of their cigarettes or how to pronounce or even spell the deliberately confusing name of their prescription drugs.

It’s a service to humanity indeed.

(This post is dedicated to Faine Greenwood)

What is God?

Source: PestCemetery.com

Does God exist or not?

What an absurd question. But if you were to ask me this question, I would not answer in yes or no.

I would say that the existence of God depends upon what you call God.

But still if you were to ask me what God is, then I would say this.

God is a kid with a magnifying glass, roasting a bug alive in the sun and grinning at it.

Suicide

Artist: Philippe Bertrand (Source: Wikipedia)

What I cannot really understand is why people think that committing a suicide is a cowardly act, or even worse, something wrong. I really can’t understand it, despite trying. I simply can’t figure out what is so cowardly and wrong about it.

The people around me tell me that it is a cowardly act because supposedly suicidal people shy away from the harsh  realities of life and are not strong to face them. Well, on the contrary, I think that people who shy away from the harsh realities of life are those who are the happiest and call people who commit suicide cowardly and weak. I am pretty sure that these are the kind of people who pile up armies of newborn babies without the second thought.

Yes, I do agree that a person in charge of looking after a child of his or her own would be  irresponsible in committing suicide, but in that case I would really criminalize their act of procreation without responsibility and you could extend it to their act of suicide if you choose to.

Yes, suicide is criminalized. How pathetic is that. But according to some moral standards, such as the ones practiced by most of the post-colonial Pakistani and Indian societies, suicide or attempted suicide is actually considered a punishable crime.

Well, I can agree that suicide is not a healthy act in itself, I can even agree that it is a cowardly act, but how in the world is it a crime? It’s pretty frightening how moralists try to take control of everything. Now you cannot even commit suicide in peace?

I think committing suicide is everyone’s right.

Actually, they need to declare it a basic human right, so moralist and fascist governments and laws do not deprive people of this right. So that no government can lodge an FIR against anyone who survives a self-immolation attempt and sends them to jail instead of offering them therapy.

You can speak ill of them at their funerals if you want, that is your right. But frankly, this sort of moral highhandedness sickens me to the stomach. Also, the feeling of guilt that the families needlessly bear afterwards.

It is not that I want the society to radically change their view about it. I don’t want to judge them on the moral grounds that they thrive on. But I would like to see a suicide given its due respect.

To me, a suicide takes a lot of courage because it is not easy to resist life. Also, it is not easy to consciously end your own life, with a realization of what awaits in the immediate future. You can experience how it feels like by merely imagining for a moment that you are about to kill yourself.

While everyone who suffers from depression have suicidal tendencies every now and then, it is the mental pressures of depression rather than any “cowardice” that drives the suicidal people to such an extreme step.

Of course it is a fair deal that the society offers these people a lot of depression to deal with, or let me be a bit more lenient towards them, that life gives them a lot of depression to deal with as long as they suffer the abuse gladly. So how in the world is that a crime and how in the world is that cowardice? I say they endure all the pressure rather well because I am quite sure that a lot of people who ridicule and criminalize suicide would be horrified by the very mention of that feeling.

Only a few days earlier, there had been a lot of debate about school children and hostel students committing suicides within a span of three or four days. While the incidents shocked the entire nation, I would like to point out that the verdict from some of so-called intellectuals that the suicidal persons had stopped believing in the mercy of God was a completely preposterous diagnosis of the problem.

Like always, religious morality gets in the way of the much needed understanding of suicides. They don’t understand that even the most affluent people may commit suicides under depression and that is why some start making it a political issue. And the same suffocating and bullying morality that ridicules the people who commit suicide ensures that they are driven to find a moment of peace for themselves in this very manner.

Let’s just hope that there is no moral mob on the other side to deprive them of that peace.

But I envy the suicide and am very impressed by their courage.

We are the cowards.

Pakistanis and Double Standards

Source: Express Tribune

Maybe it’s just not exclusive to Pakistanis. Of course, it isn’t. It would be most unfair to say that, but because I live in Pakistan, I cannot help but notice it with a greater sensitivity in its case as compared to other nations around the world. Although it can safely be said that more or less the entire species is suffering from this condition in one way or another, but let us be specific over here.

It’s the annoying double standards that I am talking about.

Actually, you could make a huge list of the things for which Pakistanis have double standards, but there are quite a few incidents that occurred recently, which has pushed me to write something about it.

However, I will make the list nevertheless for the benefit of those who are not aware of the following issues.

CNG Strike and the Troubled Pakistani Economy

Alright, it’s true that the GST on the CNG for vehicles and increased prices will be a burden on the people, but what about the fact that using this resource for vehicle deprives the country of sufficient natural gas supply in the winters? While I am all for welfare and controlling poverty, people simply take it as an excuse to cover up their own corruption. Yes, I am talking about the CNG filling station owners’ body APCNGA.

Of course, they are protesting for their profit cuts and their strikes are only adding to the troubles of the people, who have been spoiled by this inconveniently convenient fuel. Clearly goes to show that Pakistan’s people and businessmen are the part of the problem that is the troubled Pakistani economy. They criticize the government for having no money and no fuel, but gladly deprive it of any opportunity of collecting whatever money it can in order to operate and to sustain the hideous CNG network in the country.

So the government doesn’t have money, right. How can they when they subsidize fuel?

Let the people pay for fuel and let the government subsidize the staples and see to it that the private enterprises and government organizations inflation-adjust the income of the people.

The Case of the Son of the Chief Justice & the Media vis-a-vis the Corruption of the Politicians

It was really striking, though not as shocking, to see that the tone of the Pakistani media was entirely different than usual when it came to the case of alleged financial favors that the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary took from a real estate tycoon. Of course, we know nothing about that. The reason why I found it a bit odd was that they always sound absolutely convinced when there are corruption allegations against politicians, such as the cases against the sons of Prime Minister Gillani.

Source: Express Tribune

There are several other factors for which double standards are practiced. Briefly.

Drone Strikes and PAF Strikes

Drone strikes on Islamists militants and FATA civilians are wrong because the United States carries them out, but certainly that would be fine if the technology is handed over to Pakistan and when Pakistan would make these strikes. Also, the PAF bombings are pretty cool.

Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban

But of course the Afghani Taliban are called freedom fighters because they are fighting for their domain that the United States and NATO captured, but the Pakistani Taliban are terrorists because they are fighting against the Pakistani state.

Taliban Separatists and Baluch Separatists 

Both Baluch separatists and Pakistani Taliban are fighting against the state. Baluch separatists are not a part of an Islamist movement. Therefore, Baluchs are separatists to one group of people while the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan are terrorists and the other way around in other cases. However, both carry out bomb blasts, both harm state infrastructure, both are killed by military. Maybe the Baluch separatists are not idiotic enough or intellectual enough to carry out suicide bombings.

Though it can be argued that they are also widely different since the Pakistani Taliban do include people who are not natives of the land they are occupying.

But hey, I am only talking about separatists here.

Only speaking in objective, technical terms, not supporting or opposing anything.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

Blasphemors Outraging at Blasphemies

I know many righteous Pakistani Muslims, Sunnis in particular, who would gladly blaspheme against the Shias, the Hindu gods and even against Christians, who are supposedly in the same Abrahamic league, but would outrage when somebody blasphemes against the Koran or Prophet Muhammad.

Different Rules for Drinking Classes

Ameer piye to class. Ghareeb piye to cchaapa. 

The rich and the high can drink the prohibited liquor in peace. The poor either die of the poisonous spirit or the torture of police.

Different Rules for Men and Women

Men can practically have sex with as many women they want, can marry up to four. Kill women if they try to live like that or talk to someone or have sex with someone or even try to live like just another person, or even better, throw acid on face. But hey, that does not qualify for conflicting double standard, does it?

Sheltering Osama Ben Laden

Enraged by the violation of the sovereignty of the country by US Navy Seals yet many are not bothered by what the Most Wanted Terrorist in the World was doing in the lion’s den of the Pakistani military.

Misplaced Patriotism

Claim to be very patriotic, flag-waving, cricket-team-cheering, anthem-bowing, Quaid-saluting. Defy law in Pakistan, observe diligently abroad and do a lot of things that hurt the country’s economy such as tax evasion. Does that not hurt the country? While this is a common observation though sounds like a generalization, a lot of responsible Pakistanis in this category.

And finally the best of all.

Hate USA But Want Green Card

There is a widely spread misconception that Pakistanis hate the United States. They don’t.

They may burn the US flags all they want, but even the most fundamentalists of them would prefer US citizenship over the Pakistani any day.

Now of course don’t go on assuming that every Pakistani is like that but a lot of them do somehow think like that collectively.

In other words, Pakistan is a nation of double standards in many ways.

And it is suffering its consequences every single day.

Deal with it.