Tallat Azim September and October are the autumn months, also called fall, when nature prepares to shed. The old order is wiped out and is gradually replaced by the new and vibrant, when spring appears. It has become quite apparent that to go forward in anyway at all, we will have to shed too, bad habits if not people. The buzz word is reform. As a friend and columnist so aptly put it, Reform or perish The shocking disclosure of a journalist being beaten up and humiliated recently is a ghastly reminder of the fact that some powerful agencies within the country can commit these acts with impunity. Who decides that a journalist has crossed the line? Who orders these actions to be taken? These shortcuts to achieving their purpose must be stopped forthwith. Civilised channels like taking the journalist to court and challenging his statements will have to become the preferred option. This state within a state nonsense has gone on far too long. There is no stomach left for teaching lessons in this crude and ghastly manner, particularly, for the crime of exposing some hidden truths. Grow up bullies Talking of shedding, it became almost impossible to shed former Prosecutor General of NAB even after the Supreme Courts orders in this regard. One wondered what came over Irfan Qadir that he allowed himself to become such a sorry picture. He did not look as though he needed a job this badly. His leaving reminded me of a joke that I used to find very ticklish as a child. It was about a cat that died after being given a bath. When the owner was chided for knowing better than to bathe cats, he replied, Nehlaney sai tau nahi mari thi, jab nichor raha tab mari. (It did not die when I was bathing it; it died when I was wringing it dry) Irfan Qadir really had to be wrung dry before he admitted that he was not employed any more. Similarly, the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt and manager Yawar Saeed will have to be wrung really hard it seems, before they realise that staying on in their cushy jobs is not an option any longer. The PCB chairman was amazingly quite unfazed by the unpleasant reception from the common citizens present at the airport when he arrived. So far, the government remains unaffected by the uproar of having well connected relatives as the only criteria for appointments like these. Whereas the demons of negative publicity haunt Pakistan continuously (oh, how one longs for the time when we had to explain to people where Pakistan was on the map), the one good and irreversible thing is the released genie of the freedom of expression. It has become almost impossible to hide any act of wrongdoing with so much that is written, discussed, analysed and made the butt end of everyday. Despite that, the required will to change, reform and rise to the challenge seems to be missing in the rulers of the day. It is like beating ones head against a wall. The more the hullabaloo is raised about appointing favourites and cronies to key positions, the more it continues. Both recent appointments of the heads of OGDC and the CAA point in that direction. Having thick skins in Pakistan has taken on new meanings altogether On the night of Lailatul Qadr, when men and women had gathered to pray all night to collectively ask for Allahs forgiveness and blessings, I even heard beseeching to the Almighty to grant us good rulers and a Khalifa like Hazrat Umar among the wish list. We now have to wait and see if our present set of rulers will try to read up on and emulate Hazrat Umar Farouque (RA) or our prayers are answered and we get what we desire. Postscript: The beautiful Angelina Jolie, so aptly wrapped up in a chaddor, came to see the relief camps and devastation for herself. She was moved by the plight of women and children in particular and has promised to play her role in getting the world to help us more. Amidst so much devastation there is hope that this will be turned into an opportunity. There are people like Angelina in the world at large and there are our own numerous heroes like Imran, Edhi, Talat, Kashif, Abrarul Haq, Shahzad Roy, Jawad along with countless doctors and volunteers who are doing whatever they can. If the funds they have raised from Pakistanis here and abroad can allow us to make model villages which can be duplicated, we may well turn around. The strange fact remains that Pakistanis pay the lowest taxes but give the highest charity in the world. The time to reform, turn around, reinvent ourselves is here and now. As the poet said: Jhooti suchi aas pai jeena, Kab tak aakhir, aakhir kab tak, Socha hai kai paar uthrain gain, Ya takra ker doob marain gai, Toofanon ki zad pai safeena, Kab tak aakhir, aakhir kab tak. Wishing all of us happier Eids and good leaders in the years ahead. The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: tallatazim@yahoo.com