Experiencing (1) Pakistan (2) Canada (3) Agriculture (4) and Life

Noor Mahal Special
September 19, 2010, 10:35 am
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During my last trip to South Punjab, I finally had a chance to visit the famous Noor Mahal in Bahawalpur and decided to a do a series on it. There are 5 episodes showing the various sections of this fascinating palace built in 1872:

The Noor Mahal (Urdu: نور محل)is a palace built in Bahawalpur, Pakistan. It was built in 1872 like an Italian chateau on neoclassical lines, at a time when modernism had set in.

There are various stories regarding its construction. According to one belief, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV had the palace made for his wife. However, she was there for one night, only as she happened to see the adjoining graveyard from her balcony, and refused to spend another night there and so it remained unused during his reign.



Ration Distribution at Mahmood Kot Camps
September 11, 2010, 4:55 am
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Glimpses from the ration distribution conducted by FDO with support from Engro Foundation and PPAF during the week of 6-10th September. With the Grace of God, the people got rations just in time for Eid:

Observations in the Field – Southern Punjab – August 2010
August 29, 2010, 6:31 pm
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In order to assess the situation on the ground and identify potential partners for relief activities, I spent close to a week in Bahawalpur during the start of August and close to a week in Multan from around August 20th. I was making regular trips out to the flood affected areas in Muzzafargarh. Here are some of my observations:

The Victims

An author very accurately spoke about the ‘persevering’ attitude of Pakistanis. Despite losing almost everything they have, save the clothes on their back and the few possessions under their tents, you will see smiling faces. People walk up and say “Salaam” when you enter the camp, and they will walk around with you, showing you their ‘space.’ Very few people cry, complain or vent, save the odd Chacha shedding tears underneath his tent who saw his child washed away and drown just yesterday. When food arrives in the camp, the distribution is fairly organized, although what a family of 5-6 gets is less than one meal for a single individual in the big city. Distribution of rations is not as organized on the streets, where conditions are more desperate and there are occasional bouts of chaos.

The Army

Over the past few days I have fallen in love with the Pakistan Army. Every aspect of the Army is what Pakistan needs and I wonder if the Army could give the Government workshops in Organizational Behavior, Efficiency, Time Management, Conflict Management, Communication, and even Boardroom Etiquette. We called the Army using a phone number we saw on a poster in Multan, they invited us into Headquarters right away (this was not because we were Engro, we saw them responding live on the phone with as much respect and courtesy to flood victims waiting outside camps). The Army offered ‘any sort of assistance’ required and had a proposal drafted on paper for us within a day. We are currently in the final stages of formalizing this relationship soon and seek their support in procurement and logistics for delivering rations to 1000 families in Muzzafargarh and 1000 in Layyah.


I had the honor of spending an entire day visiting PPAF camps in Muzzafargarh. PPAF is Pakistan’s largest donor agency and Engro is lucky to have a very close relationship with them. The PPAF team is quite extraordinary. They are almost pure social workers with a completely hands on approach to relief. They don’t walk around the camps with their hands behind their backs like many of us, instead they are pro-active – stopping by at every tent and asking families if they had been fed, fixing tattered tents, and making calls to fix the hand pumps that been installed for water. I think the major reason for this is that they have a young team. The 3 people that I was attached with must have been between 25 and 35 years of age – not more. Coupling the energy and enthusiasm of this age bracket along with solid management and field training creates an amazing breed of worker which is an inspiration for anyone.

International Rescue Teams

Multan seemed more like the UN than a small city in Punjab. There were International Teams from UAE, Japan, Australia and the US. It was interesting when the UAE team appeared on the International News and they were sitting right next to us in the Ramada Dining Hall in Multan – some of them started clapping and cheering and saying to one of their colleagues “Hasan, there you are!” He could be seen unloading supplies from a helicopter. The International Teams walk out single file from the hotel every morning with a dedicated look on their faces and hopefully they are being able to function without too many barriers. There is a difference of opinion on the ground, which says that the benefit of having International Teams is in the grey, as it’s difficult to judge the net effect. The reason for this is that International teams have to be looked after with extensive protocol and special arrangements – maybe it would make more sense for them just to lend us equipment. However, their commitment and dedication cannot be doubted.

Bring Food Home Conference – Kitchener, Delta
July 1, 2010, 5:51 pm
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Quick glimpse into the Bring Food Home Conference held at the Kitchener Delta from March 2nd-4th

DAWN Newspaper looking neglected
June 27, 2010, 9:53 am
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Thanks to the new Express Tribune Newspaper, for the first time in 30 years at our house, DAWN Newspaper was lying unopened till 2:45pm. Shortly after taking this photograph my mother casually opened it up, browsed through it and put it away. Quite an interesting case study into market entry wouldn’t you say?

DAWN Newspaper looking neglected

Farming at the Mirza House
June 15, 2010, 12:53 pm
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Concept Artist, Salman Sajun was at the Mirza house this past week and got a chance to throw together this video of our backyard farm. Do any of you have space to grow vegetables in your houses? You might be surprised how little you need to start growing – little bit of space, little bit of soil, little bit of water and little bit of seed.

Youtube Direct
May 1, 2010, 8:53 am
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Hi Guys:

For some reason the G4L (GoodFourLife) blog is showing errors when trying to play my Youtube videos. Please double click on the videos and view the videos directly from my Youtube Account (GoodFourLife).

Thanks for your patience while resolving this!