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Salman Aslam's online echo chamber

Kakistocracy

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Pakistan’s turbulent history has always been beset by a myriad of problems. Panacea for these remains a far flung and remote possibility. Its chequered history has seen numerous military interventions in one form or the other. Its experimentation with quasi democracy, governments under military umbrage have all proved a dismal failure.

The unkindest cut of all was inflicted by Musharraf’s NRO. Shady assassination of Benazir Bhutto remains shrouded in mystifying circumstances. The sinister melodrama of the will albeit paved the way for grand entrée of the notorious Zardari to plunder the country at will. There is not an iota of doubt in my mind that both these parties came back to Pakistan under a Musharraf package to rule on rotational basis. Underlying factor to prolong Musharraf’s rule and share the booty. It was a personal vengeance and vendetta with Pakistan and the military establishment. As both parties in commonality felt aggrieved. Their ultimate goal was to plunder loot and pillage the country at will.Psychic’s dream of vengeance and grand larceny. Musharraf’s ouster under extenuating circumstances ushered in the PPP. We all are well aware of the 5 years term completion in the name of so called democracy. To sum it in one sentence it was a deadly combination of kleptocracy and kakistocracy (government of the worst).

One to two stints in power are enough for any oxymoron to learn. Repetition of past peccadillos and blunders should be a taboo. In cases of foolocracy only mistakes is repeated en mass. Pakistan is witnessing these days the worst form of government (kakistocracy) in all its manifestations.

Third stint in power for PML (N) is the worst out of its tenures in corridors of power.This government can be aptly be described as kakistocracy by plutocrats and oligarchs. Country is riddled and plagued with plethora of burning problems. Ineptitude, inertia and mental stagnation has made inroads in the bone marrow of all state institutions. Corruption, jobbery and chicanery are at its zenith and crippling the nation like a lame horse.

With these attributes and credentials government is being administered. I tried my best to find a cracy which illustrated government run by relatives. Relativocracy could be a word/misnomer. Province ruled for the sixth time by a pompous brother. Sibling’s virtually holding portfolio of de facto CM and youth affairs. Failed schemes of cars, taxis revived yet again for lucrative profiteering. Finances controlled at the whims of yet another close confidant/relation. Portfolios of Foreign Affairs all held by advisors who are geriatrics whose mental faculties have been ossified and fossilized. Dissension and disenchantment within party has started making ingresses.

Decision making seems to be a lost art of the family. Decisions taken are unusually delayed, procrastinated and reactionary. Leadership deficit and vacuum has further compounded the misery thrust on this nation. It is well-nigh not even possible to find a leader of stature amongst the inept and incompetent lot. Mediocrity and below par leaders are at helm of affairs.

Leaders flourishing under military umbrage and bred in nurseries continue to have megalomaniacal tendencies. Resultantly democratic institutions suffer.Autocratic style of leadership has crept in these self-styled leaders. Consequently there is a huge void and distance between the leader and the populace. A rudiment of democracy is violated right at the outset.

To further accentuate the agony and torment such leaders resort to the worst form of kleptocracy by a selected oligarchy by siphoning away public exchequer. Why should Pakistan bleed inexorably at the hands of such an incompetent leadership??Tendency of status quo, misoneism and misology continues unfettered. The corrupt and tainted roam freely with no regrets. Likes of MR has made deep inroads into life blood of the nation where gifts of palatial houses are given to AZ with no questions asked. There was a time when list of 303 and 1600 corrupt were issued. Many committed and contemplated suicide rather than a life of ignominy and disgrace. Of late a general shot himself when guilt of his corruption overwhelmed him. This is indeed a forlorn hope.

In such a situation country is plunged into a worst form of depression and anarchy where all state institutions are allowed to run headless. NAB, Judiciary and other watch dogs are made impotent and toothless by inducting favorites and relatives. Ironically this could be termed as worst form of Gulocracy. Averseness to change, reason and logic further gives vent to total chaos and pandemonium. Reinforcing failures and initiating projects with massive kickbacks in hindsight with favorites acting as front men as divulged by dissident part heads is the biggest example of corruption par excellence. It has been proved beyond doubt that elections 2013 were badly rigged, fudgedamanipulated. Principal actors were the judiciary, caretakers and local government in situ.

Emergence of a new force out of the ashes and backlash of elections is a really promising sign.The dharnas have given a new impetus massive resistance against injustice and chicanery. This is a good omen for the country. Awareness seems to have been infused in the masses, bourgeois and the proletariat to demand their rights.

Government is a victim of foolacracy totally bamboozled by IK and TQ. Their only response is lackadaisical and lacking fervor. Paralysis of all organs seems to be setting. Gangrene is gnawing afflicting the entire government machinery. Leadership has been exposed to the brink. All organizations are functioning in divergent directions.All forms of lies, mendacity and platitudes have probed least convincing. Assets abroad are NOT being declared. Election fraud stands exposed. Opposition and the treasury have joined hands to ensure there are no impediments in continuation of their sordid and nefarious designs.

Under such an imbroglio entire country is embroiled in complete indolence. Need of the hour calls for monumental decisions. Personal aggrandizement needs to be relegated to a lowest pedestal. Midterm polls are a glaring reality. Dilly dallying will not mitigate the specter looming. Even a wrong decision is better than no decision at all. The country finds itself precariously entangled on all its fronts. Army committed in fighting the terrorists in the frontier. India on the contrary is unleashing an jingoistic warmongering hysteria. Pakistan finds itself on the precipice torn asunder by internal rifts and dissension.

In such a quandary Pakistan needs a leader with sagaciousness, sterling and astute leadership qualities to extricate us from the mess in which we are entangled. Dharnas have paved the way for complete stripping of our leaders. The tenacity, grit and inexhaustible stamina of these 2 leaders are virtually unsurpassable. In hind-sight this exposure in its wake has made way for IK to show his mettle, dexterity and prowess. This is his finest hour.It is now or never.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 3:34 PM, , links to this post

Punjab Open Championship 2014

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The grand finale of the PGF Golfing Calendar 2014 was the prestigious Punjab Open. Ironically for the first time the venue was shifted from Gujranwala to Raya Golf Club DHA after a long time. The well nestled and ensconced golf course itself was a challenge for all. Undoubtedly this course reigns supreme as far as maintenance and degree of difficulty is concerned. Its lightning fast greens measured by the strip meter were in range of 12. Design parameters of the course have been set at international standard.

The setting of the event cloistered and beset with a labyrinth of obstacles and merciless rough proved to be an acid test for golfers of all stature/abilities. For most it was the proverbial Waterloo. They vanquished into total disarray. 3-4 putts on greens werea common feature for even the most adept. Pin placements were treacherous coupled with massive undulations which were hard to cope with based on my own experiences. The event was spread over 4 days from 18-21 December 2014. Additional day allocated for subsidiary matches, senior amateurs and pros. By all reckoning course was well maintained as per international standards.

This event was the culmination point for the pros. Those exhibiting mastery in surmounting the slopes, cunning greensand Bermuda grass remained in the hunt. Rest perished ignominiously. Layout and configuration of the course warrantsexplicit detail.Course is encapsulated within the boundaries of residential houses at the periphery. From tee to the green it meanders in a zig zag manner interspersed with undulations and slopes. Gradient and incline at places is pronounced. To cater for the slopes alterations in stance, ball position and type of shot favoured have to be kept in mind. Fade and draw adjustments have to be made. Wind factor also comes into play. Lateral hazards skirt the fairways to entrap the errant shot. To add to the litmus test fairways are studded a straddled with deep bunkers. Further on the greens are jealously guarded by a maze of red an and circumvallation type of bunkers. Ultra-fast greens with grading speed 12 further compounds the misery of the average golfer.

In the backdrop of this scenario Punjab Open commenced. To steal the honours players of vintage level required forte in all facets of the game. This entailed hitting maximum fairways, hitting greens in regulation with deft irons, mastery in green speed reading and drilling putts. Apart from this scrambling pars and sand saves.The finishing hole 18th is indeed the toughest nut to crack with a most intricate pin placement on final day.

With 2 back to back emphatic victories in his bag Shabbir Iqbal was the front runner for the event. Yet again he proved his mettle by some stunning golf entirely mesmerising the field. He cemented his position as number 1 golfer of Pakistan. The year ended for Shabbir on a triumphant note as he completed his hat trick of victories on the trot. He remained unruffled, composed and sedate. Shabbircommitted minimum cardinal errors. Lest a few fauxpas. Shabbir course management was flawless as he finished the closing stretch unrattled. Nearest contender was Matloob of Garrison in second slot followed by Asher Masih of Gymkhana. To be rightly crowned as the undisputed champion of 2014.

Other main feature was an ace by ex-cop Qayyum Rashid who uses a driver on all par 3 holes. Honda had to again part with a car for the amateurs.In amateurs category Ghazanfar Mahmood continues to dominate the circuit. Senior pro was clinched by ab ex-champ Imdad Hussain of garrison. Close at his heels was champion of the nineties Ghulam Nabi. Senior Amateur section was won by Asif Mehdi. Ghazala Yasmin yet again completed her hat trick of victories in style and can proudly claim to be the ladies champion of 2014. Event was planned and conducted with precision par excellence. 

Ex-Treasurer PGA 2000-2008.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 3:19 PM, , links to this post

Instructor Certification

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 3:19 PM, , links to this post

Khan Anwar Sikander Khan

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While a great visionary, the Ameer of Bahawalpur, laid its structural foundations, a towering academician in Mr. Khan Anwar Sikander Khan became the architect of the edification of Sadiq Public School, Bahwalpur.

In 1954, Mr Khan Anwar Sikander Khan had recently retired from the covetous position of the principal at Aitchison College, Lahore, when he was hand picked by His Highness the later Ameer of Bahawalpur and his chief minister Makhdumzada Syed Hassan Mehmud, to initiate public school education at the nascent Sadiq Public School at Bahawalpur. He accepted the daunting task and toiled for the next 18 years to spread enlightenment in this educationally backward region of the country.

Born at Montgomery (now Sahiwal) on 1st October 1900, the young Khan Anwar Sikander Khan received his education at Lahore. He passed his matriculation exam in 1915 from the Rang Mahal Mission High School. Then he joined FC College and obtained his postgraduate degree in philosophy. Thereafter, the annals of Aitchison College bear testimony to his illustrious career in the educational field. He served the notable institution for 32 years, beginning in 1922. He rose successively to hold the posts of House Master, Head Master and Principal.

Seeking excellence in his field, while at Aitchison, he went to Iran in 1936 to study the modern teaching methods for Persian. The following year he toured Burma to grasp their teaching methodology. Again in 1950, he visited England to understand their public school system further. On his way back, he made a similar pilgrimage at Germany, France and Turkey.

Taking over as the first principal, he began with 7 staff members, 37 students and 450 acres of wilderness. Today it is ranked as one of the foremost public schools of the country and has six boarding houses with more than 400 resident students.

In addition, Mr. Khan Anwar Sikander Khan served in many honorary capacities which are noted below: 

• Member of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Lahore. 
• A fellow of the University of the Punjab. 
• Member, Divisional Council, Bahawalpur. 
• Member of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Multan. 
• Financial secretary of the Urdu Academy of Bahwalpur.

He retired from service on 21st March 1972 after a distinguished career spanning over 50 years. His services were duly recognized by the Government of Pakistan when he was awarded the ‘Sitara-e-Khidmat’ in 1970. At Aitchison, a senior school house is named after him. Mr. Khan Anwar Sikander Khan has the distinction of having as his students, at Aitchison and Sadiq Public, many notable citizens of the country. Some of them are:

• His Highness, Muhammad Abbas Abbasi, the Ameer of Bahawalpur. 
• Nawabzada Muhammad General Sher Ali Khan. 
• Nawab Malik Ameer Muhammad Khan of Kalabagh, ex-governor West Pakistan. 
• Makhdumzada Syed Hassan Mehmud. 
• Sardar Muhammad Akbar Khan Bugti. 
• Nawab Muhammad Iftikhar Ali Khan of Patodi.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 2:54 PM, , links to this post

24TH Corps Commander's Open Golf Championship 12-15 March 2015

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This time the event was unique and epoch making. The championship was upgraded for the first time to open category after 23 years. Professionals entered the event in droves and prize money was phenomenal. It was a grand finale to the golfing calendar of 2014-15 for LGG&CC. The atmosphere was stunning and awesome. The entire cantonment was adorned, embellished and bedecked with massive posters. Club itself was emblazoned and gave an aura of festivity and carnival like ambiance. The razzle–dazzles and hustle bustle really was staggering. The entire event was programmed with clock like precision. Souvenir’s and mementos were generous which exhibited the extravaganza of the sponsors. Golf aficionados and connoisseurs really had a bash. Newly laid alfresco barbecue garden with its mouth-watering dishes was a treat for the gluttons and epicurean alike.

Taking a cue from previous matches tourney was held over 4 days. Thus the clogging of tee timings was avoided. Pace of play was swift with no hold ups. Procedure at par 3 call holes was stringently observed. There were no hiccups and snags. Special events for junior golfers were also staged to bolster golf amongst the young aspirants. Talent hunt needs to be geared.

Coming on to the event 1st day was earmarked for senior amateurs, veteran and senior pros. This also included subsidiary match. Professional vying for the coveted Corps Commander Cup battled it out ferociously on days 2nd to fourth. The champions of yester years still showed glimpses of versatility and prowess. Abdul Hameed clinched honours by shooting 74 eclipsing by a stroke from Asghar Ali of Gymkhana. Senior amateur’s category was another gruelling event where amateurs who dominated the last decade grappled. Mostly comprising age bracket 60-69 (sexagenarian) Tariq Mahmood again stole the honours by carding gross 73 4 strokes clear of nearest rival Asif Mehdi. Net winner was Abdul Haseeb.

The veterans in age bracket of septuagenarians and few octogenarians like Brigadier Soofi played scintillating golf. Ladies entries were dismal. Leading lady golfers were missing. Ana James Gill led from the start 8 clear of her nearest challenger with gross 188. Shazadi Gulfam trailed in at second place. Finally a glittering field of professionals scrambled for top honours and the prestigious Corps Commander Cup. 40 professionals made the cut. Shabbir again in his elusive style opened the proceedings on day 1 with a lowest score of 66. Matloob his arch rival breathing down his neck.

Scoring on the 2nd day was exceptionally high. Matloob and Khurshid playing sub-par rounds dominated the proceedings. On the third day this trio broke away from the chasing pack. Shabbir scored a mercurial round of 67 four clear of Matloob with gross aggregate of 207. Rest of the field crumpled, wilted and faltered under duress. Scores were appalling. Shabbir again gave a stunning display of his repertoire in all facets of the game. His booming drives split the fairway. His forte the power fades. Iron shots to greens in regulation were mesmerising. Deftness and touch around the green was magical. Wedge play and flops made him scramble pars. Sand saves also enabled him to shoot sub-par rounds.

The chief guest on the prize presentation ceremony was former Corps Commander Lieutenant General Khalid Maqbool (Retired). Prizes were up for grabs. Sponsors showed ample generosity by showering plethora of prizes. Coveted Corps Commander Cup was awarded to Shabbir Iqbal.

Finally accolades and praise for the management in holding the competition in ameticulous, painstaking and dexterous manner. 

Col Salman Aslam (Retired) Ex Treasurer PGA 2000-2008.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 2:01 PM, , links to this post

Compendium on Swimming Pool Rules, New Projects and Management Suggestions

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1. Eligibility / Criteria for Following Appointments:-
  1. Captain: Should be proficient swimmers well conversant with rules and etiquettes.
  2. Honorary Secretary
  3. Vice Captain
2. Swimming Pool Expansion / Renovation. Following suggestions are submitted:-
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posted by Salman Aslam @ 1:36 PM, , links to this post

Father of Men of Crisis – Remembrances and Tribute

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My late father Col Muhammad Aslam Khan fondly known by nickname Dandy in the entire army was born at Lahore on 15 June 1924. His father at that time was a senior civil judge. Completed primary education from Central Model School and inter from Government College Lahore in 1941.Awarded all India Punjab Swimming Colours in 1941 took part as Captain of winning Punjab team in Indian Olympics at Calcutta. He joined OTS Bangalore for military training in 1943-44. After graduating with top laurels he was given Kings Commission in 2 Punjab Regiment. Transferred to the Burmese front fought valiantly against the Japs.

At partition there was a massive amalgamation of officers. He was transferred to artillery and joined 3(SP) Field Regiment at Rawalpindi. Saw action in Kashmir during the 1948 war. Had a long tenure of duty at Mardan with 3(SP) as part of 3rd Armoured Brigade. Graduated from 1955 Staff Course at Quetta. In 1956 proceeded on a long orientation tour of Europe in quest of military pursuits. Promoted in 1957 assumed command of 3(SP) till December 1962. Longest command tenure in history of artillery.

Conflagration with India broke on 6 September 1965. My father was attending war course which was called off. As I vividly recollect and ruminate the herculean and goliath an task of raising 44 (SP) was assigned to my father. This was based on his vast expertise and forte in handling SP units. The entire family moved at breakneck speed from Quetta under virtual blackout in our Mercedes Benz 1960 for a stopover at Bahawalpur. I was than a student at Sadiq Public School Bahawalpur. My father proceeded to artillery centre to initiate process of raising 44(SP).

The other nostalgic reminiscences with unit are traced to those halcyon days of April 1966 when we went to the unit to spend Eid ul Fitr. The unit after cessation of hostilities was based near Pasrur/ Chawinda. I found the unit in a really pristine and immaculate shape. We offered our prayers with the troops and a complete round of the unit area. Games were arranged and there was an aura of fun and frolic. Remembrances of 44(SP) during its infancy even after half a century are still etched and engraved in my memories of adolescence.

My father owing to his distinct style, demeanour and flamboyance was nicknamed Dandy amongst the numerous Aslams during that era. Had a distinctive, refined and cultured taste and remained always attired in clothes reflecting sartorial elegance. Aesthetic and epicurean taste separated him from rest of the pack.

Ardent passions included craze for classic cars. During his life time we had the distinction of owning over 100 classic cars of that era. This included the 1959 Jaguar Mark 1 2.4 litre which I smashed near TV station Chaklala in 1969.He was an avid golf and polo player. My father had the unique distinction of participating in the famous Peshawar Vale Hunts. Intuitive by nature was a connoisseur and ardent fan ofmusic and culture.

His personality emanated gregariousness and extrovert demeanour. Magnanimous at heart his personality emanated special warmth for welfare and alleviation of troops.Firm and fair in command he gave complete carte blanche and liberty to subordinates to operate within their respective realm.

On completion of service limits retired in 1970 from GHQ. Inducted into civil service joined Punjab Road Transport Corporation.

He passed away on 19 July 1975. I was than serving in 44 (SP) at Kharian. He was 51.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 1:14 PM, , links to this post


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