KARACHI: Syed Irfan Akbar Husain died peacefully and peacefully at 4:30 a.m. this morning, 16 December 2020, at his home in East Lulworth.
His passing will certainly be a mourning for his family and friends, but also by the many others around the world who have followed his column over the years. Perhaps it is one of the longest and most enduring passions. Several years ago, I went to see Irfan when he was preparing for heart surgery, and found him sitting on the bed writing. “Wait a minute,” he said, “must submit this column!” A few days ago, I was reminded of that when I heard that he had tried to dictate the column. Unfortunately, that one is still not finished.
Literature and art in general are part of Irfan’s legacy and I’ve always seen him surrounded by books. I grew up with Irfan – our mother is a sister – and there was a time when I lived with his family in Napier Barracks, Karachi. We are partners in crime, from ganging up on his older brother to learning to be mechanics and driving large trucks and dump trucks at our uncle’s crusher plant outside Karachi. However, we cannot help him fulfill one dream that has not been fulfilled: to come up with a better game than Diplomacy or Monopoly!
Irfan dabbled in Urdu poetry, but then seemed to have given up and we both left for Turkey – he did chemical engineering and I did architecture. Before the school year ended, he realized that engineering was not for him and he thought he would try journalism and return to Karachi University where he was fortunate to have Javed Jabbar and Anwar Maqsood as classmates and Jawed Ali Khan as a lecturer, a friendship that still lasts. After earning a degree in economics, he took the CSP exam and joined the Railway Account Service. There he learned to drink tea and perfect the art of “taking notes” and handling a dozen files in less than 10 minutes without interrupting the conversation. When I suggested that he was not cut out for this, he indicated that he had started writing columns, often under pseudonyms, on everything from day to day affairs and about food. He stayed with the CSP for about 30 years, including stints as staff of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and later, as Minister of Information at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington under Benazir, and eventually left the CSP to take over as president of the Pakistan Textile Institute in Karachi.
Since he married Charlotte, he has spent most of his time in Great Britain, living first in London, then Devises and now East Lulworth. Charlotte has always run an open house, and with her four daughters with whom Irfan has become an ally, confidant and generally there is always a lot of laughter where lots of people with friends and family from all over the world drop by and stay. This warm and friendly style was also brought up by Irfan by his mother. Irfan and Charlotte added to it by building a superbly located villa on Sri Lanka’s southern coast near Hambantota.
Charlotte and Irfan’s home has become a welcome haven for visiting Pakistanis – often friends of friends. All who come are infected by the warmth and family feeling that attracts and changes everyone, regardless of race, creed, culture, age or gender, and new and lasting friendships are born. This is perhaps Irfan’s most enduring legacy. In over 75 years of knowing him, I have never seen or heard him angry or unkind.
KARACHI: Winter is approaching and in this harsh cold weather, many people will not have the warm clothes and other items necessary for the cold. In this connection, welfare organizations have made efforts. Being a ray of hope for those shivering with cold, join hands with the charity to collect as many warm clothes, blankets, blankets and scarves as possible, so that they can be delivered to those in need on time.
For registration as a volunteer, visit www.milkar.com. Start this charity starting today. To donate, contact now Akhuwat Donation Center Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi WhatsApp No. 03064377067 and Chadar Donation Center Rawalpindi WhatsApp No. 0302 5019924 Lahore, 0322 4555676 What cannot be done alone is possible together. The Jang and Geo groups are also involved in this good deed. Let’s volunteer and bring hope to the helpless who endure the bitter cold. Jo Tanha Nahin Wo Milkar Mumkin Hay.
We’ve all spent more than enough time looking inside our homes this year. With long awaited warm weather finally creeping up on us, it’s time to let go of those cobwebs and take advantage of all the exciting events and festivals happening around New Zealand this summer – because we’ve had a little fun.
Arguably New Zealand’s center for great food and fine wine, Hawke’s Bay hosts 10 days and over 60 events for this delicious festival. The Food and Wine Classic features the best of local restaurants, wineries, brewers and producers joining forces for an unforgettable program, in some of the country’s most stunning locations, from street food festivals to exclusive evenings combining art and food and honeycomb to tables high tea. see fawc.co.nz for details.
starting 27 November
Nothing says Summer is like the start of a five-day trial match, and despite what 2020 throws at the world, the Black Caps will face Australia, Bangladesh, West Indies and Pakistan in the upcoming 2020-21 season. Games will be played across the country, and include T-20, ODI and test matches. see nzc.nz for all the details.
You you you or
December 5 – March 31
Staged in the heart of Britomart, this is the official Toi tū Toi ora satellite show at the Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand’s largest contemporary Māori art exhibition in nearly 20 years, including 300 works by more than 120 Māori artists. see aucklandartgallery.com for more details.
Wearable Art World: Up Close
12 December – 14 February
If you’ve ever wondered what actually goes into these incredible creations, here’s your chance to experience a World of Wearable Art like never before. The in-depth exhibition at Wellington’s Te Papa showcases more than 30 extraordinary outfits from the world’s leading clothing arts competitions, with visitors able to explore the creativity and extraordinary detail of the clothes and the stories behind the designs. see
for more information.
starting December 17th
Finally it’s here. Auckland is set to host the 36th Copa America and the action starts this December. There are three events that round out the race for the Cup – the Auckland American Cup World Series brings together three challengers against the Emirates New Zealand Team for the Christmas Cup starting 17 December, before the Prada Cup – and the scramble to take on Team NZ for the big – starts on January 15. The final series of races for the America’s Cup runs from March 6 to 21. There will definitely be a lot of events going on in and around the Viaduct as the action heats up. check aucklandnz.com for details when released.
Black Barn Concert Series
Starting December 19
This amphitheater in the Hawke’s Bay vineyard is widely considered to be one of New Zealand’s best outdoor spots, with great acoustics and an unbeatable atmosphere. This summer, check out an outdoor cinema that opens as part of the Hawke’s Bay Outdoor Film Festival from December 27th. If you want a little music, summer queues are still in the works, but it’s confirmed, Kiwi legend Dave Dobbyn will be performing alongside 2020 local darling The Beths on December 19. Tickets start at $ 69, look blackbarn.com for details.
Distinction Hotels Te Anau Tennis Invitational
It’s a shame the ASB Classic has been postponed for 2021 (thanks Covid), but this annual tournament features some of New Zealand’s strongest male tennis players over two days of action in a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for the whole family. General admission is $ 15.00 per adult and children are free. see teanautennis.co.nz for details.
The Other Side Festival
December 30 – 31
Whangamatā, usually considered a quintessential Kiwi beach town, holds this two-day music festival at the mysterious-sounding Joe’s Farm, just outside the summer hot spot. Visitors can camp on site, or take a bus to see a lineup of famous Kiwi artists such as Shapeshifter, LAB, David Dallas and JessB. Tickets start at $ 118 from theotherside.nz.
Happy 20th birthday to Raglan’s favorite. This summer’s favorite celebrates milestones in style, with lineups of local legends including Fat Freddy’s Drop, Ladi6, Che Fu and Home Brew taking to four stages at the Wainui Reserve, while markets also return. see soundsplash.co.nz for more details.
Saturday Six60 Tour
Various dates in January and February
They are arguably New Zealand’s biggest band, and now Six60 have their gigs on the road, visiting new cities and big venues on six Saturdays in January and February. Starting in Lower Hutt and stopping at Waitangi, Hastings, New Plymouth, Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton along the way, they’ll have special guests and big hits of their own. see six60.co.nz for details.
The Ruapehu region is an outdoor lover’s paradise and the Tussock Traverse is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful and diverse courses. Events for hikers and runners – ranging from 6 km to 50 km – offer something for everyone who wants a different challenge. This event supports the Tongariro Project (Tongariro Natural History Society), and the work they are doing to preserve this spectacular area. see tussocktraverse.co.nz for entry details.
Burt Munro’s challenge
This Southland classic has cemented its name as one of New Zealand’s premier motor sporting events. Over the course of five action-packed days, a number of racing disciplines will race including hill climbing, beach racing, sprint racing, speedway and road racing. And the whole festival honors the legendary Burt, his ingenuity, determination and love of speed and motorbikes. see burtmunrochallenge.co.nz for more details.
Hamilton Park Arts Festival
February 19 – March 1
What is now an iconic outdoor summer festival for the city, the Hamilton Park Arts Festival combines visual arts, music, comedy, film, theater, literature and dance for two weeks of fun. This festival has been Waikato’s premier arts event for over 20 years and the 2021 list will be released any time. see hgaf.co.nz for the latest news and announcements.
Air Wing Festival Over Wairarapa
February 26 – 28
With the Wānaka sisters’ event canceled this year due to Covid-19, this Wairarapa favorite will be New Zealand’s first major air show in two years. In addition to the spectacular flying program, there are fantastic ground shows, as well as activities for kids little and big. Previous events have drawn crowds of 25,000 people – almost the equivalent of the entire Masterton population – so we know it’s the weekend Kiwis will be lining up to be a part of. see wings.org.nz for more details.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newzealand.com
Elizabeth Kerekere is one of New Zealand’s newest MPs – but she is also one of the country’s most diverse.
The main point:
New Zealand has elected the first parliamentarians of African and Latin American heritage
The representation of women in Parliament is up to 48 percent, compared to Australia at 38 percent
Experts say there are lessons to be learned across the trench
He is of Māori descent as well as a gay, Māori term for those who identify with multiple genders, genders and sexualities.
“It doesn’t feel real,”Green Party lawmakers said of his recent election success.
New Zealand just voted Its parliament is the most diverse – nearly half of their MPs are women, and around 10 per cent are from the LGBTQ + community.
Ms Kerekere said it was imperative that “people have the opportunity to take part in decisions that affect their lives”, and she wanted to make sure decisions were seen through Māori and rainbow lenses.
“I’m very proud to be here to represent.”
How diverse is the New Zealand Parliament?
As the vote is still being counted, some seats have not been finalized.
But it looks like the New Zealand Parliament will have 48 percent women.
There are also 16 Māori MPs, and the country is also celebrating the elections of Africa’s first MP, Ibrahim Omer, its first Latin American MP, Ricardo Menéndez March, and the first member of parliament from Sri Lankan heritage, Vanushi Walters.
It seems that 12 of the 120 seats have been won by people from the LGBTQ + community.
In the case of candidates for Pasifika, eight won their seats and another four are likely to enter parliament.
Political scientist Christina Laalaai-Tausa from Massey University in New Zealand told ABC’s Pacific Beat that the new Pasifika MPs reflect the diversity in the population.
“I think now it’s up to them to come together and have strong and strategic thinking about what will work for the Pacific people not only in New Zealand but, also in the Pacific,” he said.
“They have to be able to give a strong voice to the New Zealand Government and really start thinking about some policies and legislation to help raise the Pacific people in terms of economic stability and things like that.
They have been hit hard through crisis after crisis, as we have seen through COVID. “
How does it compare to Australia?
In Australia, there are 86 women elected at the federal level with 227 seats in the upper and lower houses, or just under 38 percent.
In the DPR, there are 47 women MPs, just under a third, with 31 percent.
In the last month, Australia had – for the first time – a majority of women in its Senate, with 39 women and 37 men.
There were six Indigenous people elected at the Federal level, and nine people who identified as LGBTQ +.
After the 2019 elections, about 4 percent of Federal lawmakers have non-European heritage – far behind Canada, New Zealand and the UK.
How does the New Zealand system work?
Unlike Australia, in New Zealand, there are seven seats reserved for Maori candidates.
But as Kerekere points out, “it does not necessarily mean power and influence in Parliament”.
Another key difference is that New Zealand has a single chamber of government – no Senate – and has a mixed member proportional system, or MMP.
Each person gets two votes – one for a voting member of parliament, such as the vote for the Australian House of Representatives, and one for the party of their choice.
The party vote is similar to the over-the-line vote for the Senate in Australia, where parties determine their candidate order.
If a political party gets more than 5 percent, it will get the number of seats in Parliament roughly proportional to the number of their votes, filled by candidates on the party list.
This system was brought up in 1996 after the Royal Commission on the electoral system.
Does it foster diversity?
Part of the reason for the reforms is to increase diversity, according to Professor Jennifer Curtin, director of the Institute for Public Policy at the University of Auckland.
“One of the arguments is that we need a more diverse Parliament – we need it not only to be proportionate in terms of votes, but also to be more reflective of New Zealand society,” he said.
The MMR system is an impetus for parties to show that they reflect a multiethnic society, he said, because more candidates can win seats.
“So over time, we have seen an increase in the number of diverse candidates being put on the party list,” he said.
He said under New Zealand’s “first by post” system, when there is only one winner for an electoral seat, it is fiercely competitive.
That means parties tend “to vote for what they see as the most suitable candidate traditionally – and historically, it has been white people,” said Professor Curtin.
“It is also fueled in part by the mistrust or mistaken belief that women are vote losers, and only men can win votes.”
While the New Zealand Labor Party has gender targets, they are not as strict as the Australian Labor Party quotas, Professor Curtin said, and while the more diverse Parliaments are promising, there are still challenges left.
“There are sexist practices and thinking that still need to be addressed – I wouldn’t say that this is any kind of nirvana here, just because we’ve hit 48 percent,” he said.
A failed ‘Toxic’ press and multicultural narrative in Australia
Dr Blair Williams, lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University, said the media played a key role.
“And I think it will have a huge impact not only on politicians … but also on whether people even want to enter politics,” he said.
He said it was important to think about ways to increase diversity in Australia, where the Parliament is predominantly white.
“It’s not at all diverse, doesn’t really represent what Australia is like. So we need to open up a conversation about how we can make our Parliament more inclusive?”
Dr Clayton Chin, senior lecturer in political theory at the University of Melbourne, said the diversity of the New Zealand parliament was “the result of a strong and consistent commitment to value diversity and to include citizens from diverse backgrounds across all elements of social and political life”.
“Together with other multicultural success stories, such as the current Parliament and Canadian cabinet, it provides real relief from the failure of the multicultural narrative in Australia,” he said.
Speak the same language
Indigenous Labor MP Linda Burney said she doesn’t think reserved Indigenous seats are the best way in Australia, but Indigenous representation at all levels of government is important.
He said that making a pact, as New Zealand did with the Māori, was very important.
“I think the agreement is very important, and it will happen in Australia,” he said.
Another important lesson for Australia is not about the upper echelons of its government, but how Māori culture and language are embedded in New Zealand’s identity.
Part of this is that Māori people make up a higher proportion of New Zealand’s population (about 16 percent) than Indigenous people in Australia (about 3 percent), and speak one language compared to 250 once in Australia.
“An area that I envy the most in New Zealand is the way language is preserved and celebrated and used in everyday life,” he said.
“And I think very little has been done to keep what’s left of it.”
For Ms Kerekere, in her first few days of work, “representation of Indigenous people from any colony is important”.
And he said there was still work to be done. New Zealand may have taken a step forward in LGBTQ + representation, but he wants to see trans, intersex and non-binary people in Government, and he wants to help improve the welfare of the country’s takatāpui people.
“It’s very important for us to use this platform to be open and give space, so those people can bring their voices into the space where decisions are made,” he said.