Giving Back: ATP Turns Four Today!

Posted on June 11, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Owais Mughal, About ATP
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Adil Najam and Owais Mughal

Today, June 11, marks the fourth anniversary of All Things Pakistan. Since the very first post appeared four years ago, this has been a journey in Pakistaniat.

One thousand, four hundred and sixty-one days. Some of those days were stirring and stimulating, some were emotional and enthralling, others were traumatic and tumultuous, too many were depressing and distressing. But each and every one of them was important in our shared journey in Pakistaniat.

As we ponder upon the memories of these days, our own discussions of them and those of our readers, one of the thoughts that resounds and inspires us is:

jissay bhi daikhiaye gilla
‘watan say yeh nahiN milla, watan say woh nahiN milla’
koee nahiN jo yeh kahey
‘watan ko tum nay kiya diya, watan ko meiN nay kiya diya’

In that spirit and as a very small gesture to mark this milestone, we will donate one US dollar for each of those days – US$1461, or Rs. 124,492 – to a charity in Pakistan. We have not yet figured out exactly which charity to give to and would appreciate any ideas from our readers on who to give to, how and for what. More importantly, let us urge our readers to also give back to Pakistan in whatever way you can and in whatever way you think best.

Long time readers would remember that on different occasions ATP has donated its advertising receipts to various Pakistani charitable causes, and we have been moved by those many of our readers who have heeded our appeals and opened their hearts and wallets. Back in July 2007, we sent Rs. 100,000 to those affected by Cyclone YemYeni in Balochistan; in October 2007, we donated our meager advertising revenues for relief efforts for those displaced by the 2005 Earthquake; In the summer of 2009 as the Swat IDP crisis was at its peak we launched a campaign where ATP readers helped us raise US$10,000, of which $3400 came from ATP advertising (here, here and here). On other occasions we have regularly been donating to other worthy Pakistani causes, as we know so many of our readers. We announce our very little gesture in this post today, merely in the hope that it might inspire others to do the same. In whatever way, small or big, that they can; to whatever cause they think will make the most difference making Pakistan’s next 1,461 better than they might otherwise be.

As we think back on the last four years, it has been an amazing journey. One that we never expected would ever last this long or be this exciting. Today, with 1461 days of operation, nearly 1,800 posts, 126 authors, 65,500 approved comments, over 5000 newsfeed readers, nearly 1000 Twitter followers, some 11,700 Facebook fans, and multiple millions (yes, millions) pageviews later we remain surprised that we are still at it and thankful that you are still here with us.

In the past we have used or milestone posts (100th post, ‘Going Forward’ post, ‘Move to‘ post, ‘Tangay Walla’ post, 6-month anniversary post, 1-year anniversary post, Redesign curtain-raiser post, 2-year anniversary post, 3-year anniversary post, ‘Who Reads ATP’ post, Best Current Affairs Blog Award post) to detail the philosophy of ATP, chart its development, make announcements, share our frustrations, and examine our achievements. All of those posts remain on record, and part of us hopes that you will go back and read them.

The most detailed of this was our 2-year anniversary post. In that we had laid out our story, our philosophy, the frustrations of comment moderation and our ‘Tangay Wallah Khair Mangda’ approach. All of that post remains relevant today, some snippets from it are worth repeating:

ATP’s essence was always to be a community. A community forged out of a common desire to understand, to explore, to debate and to express one’s Pakistaniat. A community does not always agree. Sometimes tempers flare. Often smiles are shared. Occasionally laughter breaks out. Some in every community are perpetually angry. Others only marginally interested. Some act as if they are uncomfortable to even be part of that community. Others cheer-lead even when cheer-leading is not needed. Some help build the community spirit, others assume that they and they alone know what the community is or should be about. Communities celebrate together, communities grieve together, but communities do not always have to agree. They bicker. They sometimes fight. But in moments of joy and in times of grief, they embrace each other again. Such are the dynamics of a community. Such is our ambition.

We may not be there yet, but we would like to believe that we are on the way there. This last year has been full of anger and angst for Pakistan. And the same has been reflected in our pages. Tempers have flared. Hearts have been broken. Blood pressures have gone through the roof. People have said things they might (we hope) later regretted. This is a reflection of the times we have lived through. These times have not been – are not – easy. But for those who keep their eye out for moments of community, there are many to be recognized. Some come out of shared grief. Some out of shared pride. But, most such moments come from the recognition of the small things we share. Those memories of old PTV Ads, of using fountain pens, of drinking chai, of the TV show Fifty-Fifty, of the Naai back home, of Rooh Afza, and of so much more.

… We know that many – nearly everyone – is annoyed at us for trying to implement our comment policy through strong moderation. We know that some would prefer no moderation, but we also know that many are like us and seek a certain civility in the discussion. Civility does not mean agreement or running away from tough argumentation. It merely means a certain respect for the other.

The single largest reasons for moderation remain (a) personal attacks, and (b) irrelevance. We are ourselves often attacked personally, and viciously. We know how much it hurts. We therefore assume that others when subject to personal attack will feel the same. Hence, our policies are what they are. Whoever is moderated seems to believe that it is they and only they who are being subjected to moderation. And that this is because of some conspiracy against them and their views, rather than because of their failure to follow the fairly simple principles we have set out in our comment policy. We seem not to be able to convince them otherwise. We take some solace – but only scant solace – in the fact that in just about every controversial post, we tend to moderate out as many posts on each side of the argument. Two years of evidence suggests that the tendency to habitually ignore the stated comment policy, particularly in terms of personal attacks and irrelevance, is not restricted to people of any particular ideological persuasion, or age, or location!

afsos be-shumaar sukhan haaye guftani
khauf-e-fasaad-e-khalq se na-gufta reh gaye

As we had argued in a post long ago, our role is like that of the Tangay Walla in the song “tangay walla khair mangda.” There is “banda rang rang da” on the tonga, and the Tonga Walla cannot choose where they go. All that he can do is to make the journey pleasant and sing the song of Khair (I guess here it means something like ‘goodness’ and ‘friendship’).

But those frustrations, we have internalized. More important than these frustrations is the sense that there are people out there willing to give a listen to what we have to say. Sometimes they give us an earful back. But always they have to share insights and ideas that help us in understanding our own Pakistaniat.

It would be presumptuous to say that this blog is a way of giving back to Pakistan. It is not. We do it for ourselves. Because it gives us the sense of being – and remaining – connected. But the of the many many things that doing these four years have taught us, the one which we are most struck by today is the need – and even the necessity – for us to give back: whatever little we can, in whatever way we can.

Join us, dear readers, if you can.

30 Comments on “Giving Back: ATP Turns Four Today!”

  1. Ghulam Ali says:
    June 11th, 2010 9:29 pm

    Mubarakbaadian, janab. Cha gaye ho!

  2. Azra says:
    June 11th, 2010 9:35 pm

    ATP, you make us proud. By your words and by your actions. Thank you and Happy 4th Anniversary.

  3. Fauzia says:
    June 11th, 2010 9:44 pm

    What a nice gesture. I wish there were more people like you out there. Salute to both of you. Well done, Pakistaniat.

  4. Farrukh says:
    June 11th, 2010 10:01 pm

    There is nothing else like ATP. You guys are great. Your heart is all Pakistani and your love for Pakistan is in every word.

    Thank you for doing this. I think you should also have some way that readers could contribute too. I would like to.

  5. Haris says:
    June 11th, 2010 10:10 pm

    First thing, congratulations on completing four years. That is very impressive. You must now be one of the oldest Pakistani blogs.

    Second thing, this is a great idea and you deserve our thanks for what you are doing for Pakistan.

    Third thing, since you asked, I think you should give the money to Edhi or to someone building schools.

  6. Roshan says:
    June 12th, 2010 1:00 am

    Wah Pakistaniat Wah!!!
    Its been fourth anniversary and Pakistaniat has been having new post every day. Yes these have been tough years for our country and ATP has been keeping us update. But this forum has a contribution for internalizing ‘Pakistaniat’ among its readers that are not less than a community.
    Great work Adil and Owais!
    And once again congratulations to ATP community for its anniversary.

  7. Ali Ghuman says:
    June 12th, 2010 2:37 am

    Happy Birthday Pakistaniat!!
    you’re setting a great example by spending those 1461$ for Pakistan…though its not a very big amount but the purity of your care for Pakistan is visible….
    Hoping to see many many more Pakistaniat birthdays..:))
    Many Many happy returns of the day…

  8. Dr. Qureshi says:
    June 12th, 2010 2:44 am

    Happy 4th Birthday, Pakistaniat.
    Every day you are a voice of sanity that helps reassure you that not everyone has gone mad in our dear country. Thank you for being there for all of us.

  9. NAEEM says:
    June 12th, 2010 3:58 am

    Wah. Congratulations and best wishes to all ATP team. You have created something truly special here and we are all proud of you for it.

  10. Junaid says:
    June 12th, 2010 5:38 am

    Congratulations on 4th birthday to All Things Pakistan.
    I have become so accustomed to my daily dose of ‘pakistaniat’ that I do not know what I would do without it.

    I do not always agree with what is written here but I think this is the most reasonable and sensible discussion on Pakistan anywhere – on the web, in think tanks, in drawing rooms. And for that I congratulate the ATP blog team and also all the people who comment here.

  11. Lubna says:
    June 12th, 2010 6:16 am

    ATP is the best. Best wishes on your 4th anniversary and may you have many more.

  12. Rajesh says:
    June 12th, 2010 6:24 am

    Congratulations to the All Things Pakistan editors and team.
    Thank you for giving outsiders like me a chance to see a slice of the Pakistan that we often do not see. A visit to your blog is always refreshing. The only problem I have is everytime I come I find it difficult to leave as I jump from one interesting post to another.

  13. June 12th, 2010 6:30 am

    Dear Adil and Owais,

    Congratulations! ATP is a priceless treasure for so many of us. Thank you, and best wishes for the future.

    Your diehard fan,


  14. Watan Aziz says:
    June 12th, 2010 8:54 am

    More important than these frustrations is the sense that there are people out there willing to give a listen to what we have to say. Sometimes they give us an earful back. But always they have to share insights and ideas that help us in understanding our own Pakistaniat.

    It would be presumptuous to say that this blog is a way of giving back to Pakistan. It is not. We do it for ourselves. Because it gives us the sense of being – and remaining – connected. But the of the many many things that doing these four years have taught us, the one which we are most struck by today is the need – and even the necessity – for us to give back: whatever little we can, in whatever way we can.

    Worth repeating, again.

    There is one element that I find exits at ATP, but does not get verbalized to the extent I would like to be. And I always push myself and want to draw a clear distinction between Pakistataniat and the “system”. And the domestic and the international.

    I hope through these blogs, we being to see for ourselves, that Pakistaniat is holistic and wholesome. That the people are good. They yearn for the same goodness that exists anywhere else. Indeed, no nation has a monopoly on goodness and no nation has an exclusive on badness.

    Pakistanis are victims of a “bad system”. And that Pakistanis know the difference between a good and a bad system. And indeed Pakistanis have been working and are working hard to develop a good system that meets the needs of good, decent hard working and honest folks of Pakistan.

    The biggest challenge has been, that the “domestic needs” have been always sacrificed on the altar of “international wants”. No, I am not suggesting any conspiracy or illusion; mere fact. That Pakistanis view that every time there was an apparent progress in domestic matters, it was dashed with the events far bigger than what Pakistan can sustain.

    Sadly, this comes with a baggage that every Pakistani leader from Liaqat onwards have dreamed of dreams that do not match the needs of Pakistanis.

    Liaqat kept trying to become bigger than Jinnah. Ayub saw himself in the model of DeGaulle. ZAB as a heir to Tito. Evil Usurper as Amir-ul-Momeen. BB as “Daughter of the East”. NS as “Fort of Islam” and Sulatan Musharraf as “Ata-Turk” (hence the title, Sultan, a Turkish word). And various others in every possible capacity that fancied them. Indeed, all of them were largely failures except in their own fantasy world.

    I hope and pray, that a sense of understanding prevails amongst the people of Pakistan to get to a point of decoupling the domestic and the international. That they work to “share the wealth” expressed in words of Jagan Nath. Trust their own without having to get into the “conspiracy thoughts”. That Pakistanis do not look at other Pakistanis and think “foreign agents”. That they respect each other as patriots, even if grossly mistaken. That disagreements do not turn them into “bad Pakistanis”. That equity and justice is together the center and forward.

    I also hope the international pressures do not look at every Pakistani with suspicion and with a tag line of “with us or against us”. That they view Pakistani nationalists as friends who care deeply about Pakistan and that this love for Pakistan is not mutually exclusive. That the standards of decency are the same everywhere. And as such, as Pakistanis, they know what is best for Pakistan without explanations or clarifications. And that this is not a zero-sum game in which what is better for Pakistan is necessarily bad for the international wants. Indeed a prosperous Pakistan is a peaceful Pakistan.

    ATP is that bridge. It is that watering hole. Indeed, through ATP, those who do not know Pakistan and Pakistaniat, can take a peek and calm their nerves and say, “they are the same as we are”. Where the common and the different is presented, sorted and criticized. By Pakistanis and for Pakistanis. Open and public. Civil and gracious. Thoughtful and provocative. Sincere and credible. And with love and affinity.

    ATP, the best years are yet to come.

  15. June 12th, 2010 9:21 am

    Congratulations!! Its a great blog and informative. A great way to be connected to Pakistan. A very good effort!

    I want to recommend the following causes for your donations;

  16. Jamshed says:
    June 12th, 2010 9:30 am

    Regarding your point about abusive comments.Not all such comments have been removed.One example,take a look at the latest comments page on “Zia ul Haq explains why Bhutto had to die”.Regardless of one’s political persuasion,a difference of opinion can be expressed in a civilized way.

  17. Azmat says:
    June 12th, 2010 11:42 am

    Congratulations. Mubarik. You should be proud of what you have created here, a truly unique and truly Pakistani destination.

    Love this sentiment:

    jissay bhi daikhiaye gilla
    ‘watan say yeh nahiN milla, watan say woh nahiN milla’
    koee nahiN jo yeh kahey
    ‘watan ko tum nay kiya diya, watan ko meiN nay kiya diya’

  18. Eidee Man says:
    June 12th, 2010 11:44 am

    I would argue that just by having this wonderful forum and portal for staying connected, you actually are encouraging people to give back to Pakistan.

  19. Kazmi says:
    June 12th, 2010 11:51 am

    I am glad for you on your 4th

    But I never understand why you write about silly little things when we have so many big political challenges, and you are writing about songs and signs on roads and quiz books. There is so much political mess you should write only on that again and again.

  20. Qadir says:
    June 12th, 2010 8:09 pm

    Congratulations to ATP. Our thanks to both of you for making this site such a treat and a place for Pakistanis to connect every day.

  21. Noman says:
    June 13th, 2010 3:09 am

    Wow. Nice job. Four years is a long time. Always amazed how you guys do this and how you find the time to do it despite your regular lives. But very glad you do. Thank you.

  22. Naveed Abbas says:
    June 14th, 2010 3:30 am

    Dear Mr. Adil Najam & TEAM!

    With the mission to inculcate Pakistaniant in a real progressive, truthful, peaceful and forward-looking way, ATP is now four. Please accept my heartiest congratulations on this fascinating moment. Very well-coordinated efforts, no intentional compromise, high synergy and understanding the word TEAM, (Together Everyone Achives More). Keep up the good work and I wish that joys will shower in your courtyard and it should live with the moon of love and liberty. My regards!

  23. Faisal says:
    June 14th, 2010 4:18 pm

    Congratulations to ATP on filling a vital need for Pakistanis outside the country. One suggestion for the charity is that has 190 schools for the underprivileged that serve 140,000 children. Not only is it the largest education NGO, it also has the most cost effective and scalable model among all education NGOs which means each dollar you donate will go farther in getting more of the nearly 8 million Pakistani children not in primary school currently into the system. All the best.

  24. Sehar says:
    June 14th, 2010 7:25 pm

    What a wonderful idea! I would recommend that the money be donated to the SOS villages of Pakistan. They do a fantastic job of taking care of the next generation of Pakistanis who have been abandoned or orphaned. It costs only $ 6 to fund one child’s education for one month. This is a fantastic organization and it does great work!

  25. Humaira says:
    June 15th, 2010 2:31 am

    ATP Zindabad. You guys are inspirational for us younger Pakistanis.

  26. Watan Aziz says:
    June 17th, 2010 6:56 am

    ATP, I noticed you have Urdu as a category. Can you add Punjabi as category? And while at it, add Baluchi, Hindko, Pushto, Saraki and Sindhi as well?

    Really, more people in Pakistan speak these languages than Urdu as mother tongue. Pakistaniat is incomplete without these categories and the posts that relate to language or the culture can be tagged just as well.

  27. Watan Aziz says:
    July 23rd, 2010 11:19 pm

    ATP, it would be nice if you list your plugins share. I like that you guys continue to tinker and see what works best.

  28. Watan Aziz says:
    September 23rd, 2010 4:53 am

    ATP, Faiz’s youthful pic is permanently anchored in. Faraz rotates in and out. Jalib shows up often.

    But Iqbal is rare.

    I like the three guys but I continue to ask, if the trio, regardless of their towering contribution, offer any vision of hope? Their poetry, as expressed here often, is depressing and full of lamentations. A lot of hand wringing. Helplessness. Distressed.

    Can we have a little more Iqbal? A little more message of hope? A little more vision with a lot more sunshine?

    ‘dekho, iss to “take it easy” loe’!

  29. tariq khan says:
    January 20th, 2011 9:46 pm

    Owais, Adil and the team at Pakistaniat, Mubarak, mubarak sad mubarak Pakistaniat has become a part of my life and the hipoint of many of my days, It is not always happy news but is always relevant and the the best posts are just interesting i.e the off road racing, the railways post the city posts pesonalities(manto and many others) the karachi posts(the tram post was phenomenal) aside from the great journalistic , political and contemporary topics and issue and just interesting posts Pakistaniat just oozes with love of pakistan and that is what is so wonderful May Pakistaniat and we all have many more celebratios of milestones Once again ATP bahut bahut shukria Your admiring reader Tariq

  30. tariq khan says:
    January 20th, 2011 9:52 pm

    ATp I have already posted my comments and forgot to recommend a charity Please consider Human Devlopement Foundation which is active in education health micro credit infrastructure and a holistic module of develpoement in all the provinces of pakistan sind punjab puktunkhwa balochistan azad kashmir and is looking into working in the new area of gilgit baltistan. for more info see hdf .com Tariq

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