Highlights 2011

The year 2011 witnessed political uncertainty, corruption, and lawlessness in Pakistan. Assassination of the Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and world’s ‘most wanted’ man Osama bin Laden, the Memo scandal and abduction of Salmaan Taseer’s son were among the prominent incidents.

The year 2011 witnessed political uncertainty, corruption, and lawlessness in Pakistan. Assassination of the Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and world’s most wanted man Osama bin Laden, the Memo scandal and abduction of Salmaan Taseer’s son were among the prominent incidents.

01: Drone strikes kill 17.
02: Pakistan PM loses vital partner
04: Governor Taseer assassinated. There has been international condemnation of the assassination of one of Pakistan’s best-known liberal politicians, governor of Punjab province.
09: Rally in support of blasphemy law.
18: Major quake hits southwestern Pakistan.
23: 32 killed after bus crashes into oil tanker.
24: Suspect in governor’s death lauded.
27: An American Official Raymond Davis killed two Pakistanis at Qartaba Chowk in Lahore.

05: Long bans for Pakistani cricketers.
09: Teen bomber kills 20 at army base in Mardan.
12: Pakistan seeks Musharraf’s arrest.

01: The Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, dies after gunmen opened fire on his car in Islamabad.
17: Suspected drone strike kills up to 30 in Pakistan remote tribal areas.
18: Calls for revenge after US drones kill 40. Tribal leaders in the Pakistani region have vowed revenge against the US after drones killed more than 40 people near the Afghan border.
19: Pakistan and Australia’s World Cup record run.
22: 43 bodies recovered after mine explosion in a southwest Pakistan mine.
23: Pakistan eases into semi-finals and Pakistan car bombing kills five in Quetta.
30: Pakistan PM in India for cricket clash and India beat Pakistan to make final. Also the prime ministers of India and Pakistan meet to watch a cricket match, an occasion seen as a chance for the two nations to repair relations.

03: Pakistan Sakhi Sarwar shrine attack ‘kills 41’
04: Cameron to renew links with Pakistan.
14: Pakistan condemns US drone strike.
21: Sixteen die in Pakistan blast and Pakistan drone attacks ‘kills 12.
22: US exits Pakistan drone base.

01: The founder of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is killed by American special forces in Abbottabad.
04: Pakistan reacts angrily to US comments.
09: US needs permission to interview UBL wives and Pakistan starts Bin Laden inquiry.
12: Three of Osama bin Laden’s wives have been interrogated by US intelligence officers under the supervision of Pakistani’s intelligence services.
13: Pakistan’s parliament has called for a review of the country’s relationship with the US over the American commando raid.
14: US charges six Pakistani over Taliban aid.
15: Fatal Karachi attack on Saudi car.
19: Bail denied in US Pakistani Taliban case.
20: Deadly Pakistan Nato tanker blast in northwest Pakistan kills at least 15 people.
22: Militants attack naval air base in Karachi killing at least 16 people.
26: Suicide blast kills 25 in a funeral service in the lower region of Dir in Pakistan. The CIA team searches Bin Laden compound.

01: 23 Pakistani troops die in border attack near Peshawar.
04: Key Pakistani militant killed by US drone. Deadly bomb strikes near Peshawar.
08: Militants hit Pakistan checkpoint near Peshawar.
09: Pakistan probes videoed killing got a young man by paramilitary troops in Karachi.
11: At least 34 people have been killed and 90 wounded after two explosions ripped through a market in the north-western Pakistani city.
15: CIA informants who led to Bin Laden arrested.
24: Hum group denies al-Qaeda link.

09: At least 100 killed from ethnic violence in Karachi.
10: US halting millions in aid to Pakistan.
18: Taliban video: Execution of Pakistani men.
19: Hina Rabbani Khar became the first female and the youngest person to over head Pakistani’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
20: Infant killings on the rise in Pakistan.

09: US drone attack kills 21 militants.
13: American kidnapped in Pakistan.
14: Bomb flattens hotel on Independence Day in southwest Pakistan killing at least 12 people.
19: 100 wounded in a blast during Friday prayers at a mosque in Pakistan’s Khyber Agency. The mosque had about 300 people.
25: Flood victims stranded as a river bank overflowed during recent heavy rains.
27: Pakistan border raid ‘kills 25.
Son of Slain governor abducted from the Gulberg areas of Lahore.
Al Qaeda’s No. 2 Atiya Abd al-Rehman has been killed.

05: The Pakistani Intelligence service has arrested a senior al-Qaeda leader who sought to attack targets in the United States, Europe and Australia.
06: Ten killed in Pakistan explosion in Quetta.
11: Flooding kills 200, damages one million homes.
19: Dengue fever strikes thousands in Lahore.
20: Polio strain spreads to China from Pakistan.
22: Pakistan ‘supported’ US Kabul embassy attack according to US senior officials.
24: Pakistanis strike back at US accusations.
29: Pakistan PM rejects US pressure.
30: A Pakistani court has found guilty and sentenced to death the police bodyguard who killed Punjab governor Salman Taseer in January.

02: Afghan officials stepped up accusations that the assassination of the country’s peace council chairman began with a plot in Pakistan.
21: Hilary Clinton has led a US delegation to Islamabad in an attempt to prod Pakistan into action against the Haqqani network.
23: Pakistan: Indian copter violated airspace. Also Begum Nusrat Bhutto died after a prolong illness.

01: Cricketers guilty of betting scam, ‘sport fixing’ after a trial at South work Crown Court.
05: Seven men, including two senior police officers, were indicted for conspiracy to commit murder in the killing of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
08: Pakistan hit by flood cash crisis in Sindh province.
20: Trucks carrying fuel for Nato torched in Pakistan’s Southwestern Balochistan province.
22: Pakistan’s prime minister asked the ambassador to resign because an offer to Washington by Pakistan’s president to cut down the military leadership.
23: Pakistan appointed a former information minister and human rights campaigner Sherry Rehman as its ambassador to the United States on, moving quickly to fill a post left vacant after Hussain Haqqani’s resignation.
25: Woman suspected of cooking husband.
Pakistani officials have accused Nato helicopters of firing on a military checkpoint near Afghan border, killing at least 12 soldiers.
26: Nato admits Pakistan troop deaths.
28: Prime minister issues a warning to US.

01: Al-Qaeda says it has 70-year-old aid expert Warren Weinstein, who was kidnapped by armed men in the Pakistani city nearly four months ago.
02: US talked with Pakistan before fatal strike.
07: President Zardari undergoes treatment in Dubai for a heart condition. His spokesman dismisses media speculation about an imminent resignation.
11: US troops leave the Shamsi air base in Balochistan in the wake of the November border attack, and Pakistan blocks US convoys entering Afghanistan.\
19: Pakistan’s Supreme Court opened hearings into a secret memo sent to Washington that has sharply raised tensions between the powerful military and the civilian government.
21: The Supreme Court has ordered the Election Commission to prepare voters lists by December 31, 2011 in any case.

Leading sports deaths of the year
Leading sportspeople who died this year:

Sir Henry Cooper: Much-loved British heavyweight champion who died two days before his 77th birthday on May 1. Best known for his 1963 non-title bout with Muhammad Ali when he landed ‘Enry’s Hammer’ felling his opponent. Some gamesmanship by Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee probably saved his young star from defeat. Cooper retired in 1971 and went on to do an enormous amount for charity as well as a kitsch series of adverts alongside Kevin Keegan for an aftershave.

Joe Frazier: World heavyweight champion known as Smokin Joe died of liver cancer aged 67 on November 8. The former farm-worker from South Carolina fought a legendary triology of title fights with Muhammad Ali in the 1970s – Frazier won the first but lost the next two, Ali describing the final bout The Thrilla in Manila as ‘the closest thing to dying that I know of. Outside the ring the two never made up as Frazier felt slighted by Alis taunts of Uncle Tom and gorilla. Eventually Frazier did forgive his old rival in 2009 and a frail Ali turned up for his funeral.

Mansur Ali Khan Tiger’ Pataudi: Former Indian cricket captain died aged 70 of lung disease on September 22. The Nawab of Pataudi nicknamed ‘Tiger’ because of his excellent catching and throwing in the outfield. He played most of his career without his right eye, which he lost in a car accident in England shortly before he became the first Indian to captain Oxford University. Pataudi became India’s captain at the age of 21 and led them in 40 of his 46 Tests – retiring from test cricket in 1976 – winning nine and securing the country’s first series win abroad on the 1967/68 tour of New Zealand.

Florian Albert: Hungary’s only ever footballer to be awarded the Ballon dr prize as the European Footballer of the Year died on October 31 aged 70 following heart bypass surgery. Outstanding striker who won the Ballon Or in 1967 beating Manchester United and England star Bobby Charlton into second place by 68 votes to 40. Albert scored 31 international goals between 1959 and 1974 and 255 goals in 351 league matches for his sole club Ferencvaros.

Nat Lofthouse: English international striker known as the Lion of Vienna died aged 85 on January 15. Earned his nickname for his performance in Englands 3-2 win over Austria in 1952 and ended his international career with 30 goals in 33 appearances. He was voted Boltons greatest ever player four years ago as he made more than 450 appearances for the Trotters, scoring 285 goals for the club between 1946 and 1960.

Socrates: Brazilian football icon died on Dec 4 aged 57 of an intestinal infection. Captained the great 1982 Brazilian side which was widely-regarded as the finest team never to win a World Cup and also played in 1986 edition but was not fully fit and missed a penalty in the quarter-final defeat by France. Rare among Brazilian football stars in coming from a middle class background and qualified as a doctor. Was a self-confirmed bon viveur and he later admitted his failing health was linked to his love of alcohol.

Severiano Ballesteros: Charismatic Spanish golfer Seve’ died on May 7 aged 54 after years of ill health following a brain tumour operation. Led the surge in European golfers challenging the supremacy of the Americans and won five majors with his play littered by audacious strokes from impossible lies. Name forever associated with Europe turning the tables on previously unbeatable Americans in Ryder Cup. Despite retiring in 2007 and his subsequent health problems his influence never waned and his phone call last year roused the European team and they went onto edge the Americans in Wales to regain the Ryder Cup.

Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain: English four-time Grand National winning trainer died two days before his 81st birthday on September 19 after a long illness. a former taxi driver and car salesman, his fortunes were to change inexorably once he took on an average flat horse Red Rum and guided him to three Grand National wins. Was to go on and win another with Amberleigh House in 2004.

Marco Simoncelli: Fast rising daredevil MotoGp rider died as a result of injuries suffered in a crash in the Malaysian MotoGp on October 23 aged 24. Ironically it was at the same Sepang track the mop-haired Italian rider had enjoyed his sweetest moment finishing third in the 2008 250cc race to take the world title. His devil may care tactics did get him into trouble such as when he was involved in a controversial crash with Dani Pedrosa at the French GP in May which left Pedrosa requiring surgery on a shoulder fracture. He achieved his best result in MotoGP with a second place to world champion Casey Stoner in Australia the week before his death.

Vasily Alekseyev: Two-time Soviet Union Olympic super heavyweight champion died of heart disease aged 69 on Nov 25 in a clinic in Munich, where he had won the first of his two Olympic titles. While gold also followed in Montreal sadly he was unable to make it a threepeat in his ‘home’ Olympics the Moscow edition in 1980. One of the true greats of a sport usually tainted by doping he also won eight world crowns and set 80 world records.

A sad year for art world
Though the outgoing year was a relatively better year in terms of peace, stability and positive activities, it also proved to be a sad and quite troublesome one for the artist community as many towering figures in the performing arts left this world for their heavenly abode, leaving behind a glorious legacy and a sense of irreparable loss for their families, friends and fans.

In this year, the renowned stage, film and TV artist Jamil Fakhri could not survive a heartbreaking personal tragedy and finally succumbed to the tragedy of his young son’s tragic murder. Liaqat Soldier, a famous comedian, died of a heart attack. Immediately after Liaqat deserted his fans, Buboo Braal and comedian Mustana bid farewell to this temporary abode for the heavenly one. The world of humor had not come out of these shocks when the king of comedy, the master of highly civilized and sophisticated humor and wit Moeen Akhtar left his fans, family and friends forever in Karachi, leaving behind a vacuum not to be filled for many years to come. Moeen died of a sudden heart attack despite the fact that he had been scheduled to see his doctor on the fateful day for the checkup of his poor heart. Moeen’s death saddened everyone around the world who loved clean and highly enjoyable style of comedy.

It can be rightly assumed that the year 2011 was the most unfortunate year for the world of stage and television due to the untimely demises of these highly admired and adored men.

The stage world also went through yet another great loss in the form of the renowned stage artist Anjuman Shehzadi, who has been a super star in her own right for the dance lovers and stage plays fans. Million of art-lovers were left high and dry after Anjuman Shehzadi’s untimely and mysterious exit from the world stage.

After Anjuman Shehzadi, another shock was waiting in the wings for the fans of the small screen plays: Rauf Khalid, the creator of the plays like ‘Ahan’ Angar Wadi’ and many others, died in a road accident while he was on his way to Islamabad at the tail end of the year 2011.This again snatched smiles from thousands faces and left them in a state of mourning for long. The brilliant and highly professional Rauf Khalid’s untimely death is considered as one of the greatest blows to Pakistani performing and literary world.

However, it was not only the Pakistani showbiz and performing arts world which had the bitter taste of morbidity and great losses. On the other side of the border in neighboring Indian also , many great stars left a trail of tears and millions of fans around the world in 2011.

The iconic figure in Ghazal singing and a highly popular showbiz personality across the globe, Jagjeet Singh, died. The man who gave the film world a unique style and was a heartthrob in his prime, Dev Anand, left this world for heavenly abode while Shami Kapoor, the great Indian film star who had earned world-wide fame for his electrifying dancing style and his ‘wild movements’ on the silver screen bade farewell to this world in the year passing by. Another Indian, again a world famous personality and an artist of unique talents, M.F.Hussain, also passed away.

However, the out-going year was not all tragedies and tears as it also had some moments of joy and jubilation too. The most joyful moments in this year passing by were collected by the world of fine arts. This year, the art galleries had a gala year since at least three dozen paintings, sculpture, photography and calligraphy exhibitions were held in the provincial metropolis. The art galleries ‘including the Ejaz Galleries, the Coopera Art Galleries, the Ocean Art Galleries, the Native Art Galleries, Alhamra Art Gallery, Revivers Art gallery, Royat Art Galleries, the Hamail Art Galleries, the Collectors Galleria, Rohtas2 Art Gallery, the Drawing Room Art Galleries and the Nairang Art Galleries’ had a swell year by displaying the art works of the brilliant Pakistani artists – young and old, new and established ones. The art scene in the city remained quite vibrant and had the biggest share in bringing back the long lost colorful life of this cultural hub of the country.

The filmdom remained under the clouds of stagnancy and neglect as a very few new movies could see the light of the day and yet most of them could not do much. On the other hand, the Indian movies remained quite a success in the Pakistani cinemas throughout the year. The most successful movie of the year 2011 remained Geo Films/Shoaib Mansoor joint flick “BOL” which again proved to be a thundering success in monetary as well as creative terms. Syed Noor, a towering name in Pakistani film world did bring in a few good flicks but one man alone can not change the fate of the chronically sick film industry of Pakistan. ‘BOL’ brought back the lost glory of Pakistani cinema industry for some time and again this unfortunate film industry was once again pushed to the oblivion of uncertainty and misfortune. ‘PTR

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