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The Man Who Fought Back

by Rimmel Mohydin
99 comments

Arjumand

In conversation with Arjumand Azhar Hussain, one of the mutiny leaders of flight PK 370.

Cellphone videos of the anti-VIP mutiny on PIA’s Karachi to Islamabad flight PK 370 have become a viral sensation, even in India. The flight was originally scheduled to take off at 7 p.m. on Sept. 15 but was delayed, according to the government, by 90 minutes because of technical reasons and another 25 minutes because of Sen. Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s former interior minister, who was running late. The passengers revolted and, through their jeering, forced the also-tardy Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, a lawmaker from the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), off the plane. When Malik finally made his way toward the plane, he was forced to turn back as angry passengers shouted at him. Malik’s party members have claimed this was a conspiracy, replete with allegedly inebriated passengers and plants from the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, to defame the senator and his Pakistan Peoples Party. This is stretching it. We recently spoke with Karachi-based Arjumand Azhar Hussain, one of the mutiny leaders and who has worked in the hospitality sector and for PTV, about the extraordinary scenes from PK 370 that most Pakistanis view as inspirational. Excerpts:

The scenes you filmed have been hailed by most Pakistanis and inspired an anti-VIP campaign in India. Did you expect this act of rebellion to become so widely appreciated?

No, I really did not. God has His own plans, and maybe I was chosen for this particular thing. I’ve been thinking my whole life, when are we going to change this VVIP culture? I want to leave, in my own humble capacity, a better Pakistan for my kids.

What convinced you to take a stand and confront the two politicians?

I’ve taken this stand several times before. I was driving one night from Peshawar to Islamabad and right behind me was this car with about six floodlights on—essentially blinding me and people on the opposite road. Eventually the car overtook me. I chased after it and told the driver to pull over. I saw that the car belonged to a judge. I got down and said to him, ‘Sir, do you realize you’re a judge of the Supreme Court and you are breaking the law?’ He said nothing. He smiled, seemed a little embarrassed but didn’t do anything. I have been on many flights which faced delays because of politicians, chief ministers, generals, judges. I just always sat there thinking that one day it has to stop.

How do you end the undue privilege accorded to VIPs?

We have to change our attitude, and fight back every time and on every front. If you’re in a queue at a bank, make sure you and others follow it. If you’re in an aircraft and you see somebody delaying the plane, stop him, immediately. This must continue, and it will continue. I’ve heard that [the prime minister’s daughter] Maryam Nawaz Sharif was also given the same treatment [as Vankwani and Malik] recently, so it’s already started. The bullet has been fired. I don’t know whether the protests in Islamabad will change anything or not, but somehow I think the entire pattern is beginning to change.

The PPP has suggested that you and the other protesting passengers may have been put up to it by Imran Khan’s PTI.

Not at all! The PTI wanted me to come to their demonstration [in Islamabad] and I said, Sorry, I’m not a political worker. I’m not affiliated with the PMLN and certainly not with the PPP, obviously. I’m not even a supporter of Tahir-ul-Qadri. I’m just an ordinary Pakistani. I’ve been getting compliments and messages of support on Facebook. People keep calling me and children have come up to me asking for a picture.

Not everyone has celebrated your actions on PK 370. Some have criticized the mutiny as ‘vigilantism’ and ‘mob justice.’ Is this fair?

You can call me a vigilante or anything else you like, but I’m not going to lie down and take it anymore. The Quran tells us, categorically, that you have to protect yourself and your family. The government and the system are not giving us what we need, whether it is security or clean water or even an on-time flight. So we have to do things for ourselves or at least for the next generation. The power of the individual is paramount. It took a Rosa Parks to change everything in the U.S.

Who do you hold responsible for the flight delay that day, PIA or the politicians?

Oh, absolutely the politicians. PIA people shake in their pants when a VIP comes in. I have seen this with [PPP’s] Khurshid Shah, I have seen this with judges, and I have seen this with generals. Just wait and see: flights will take off on time because now every aircraft will have a ‘vigilante.’ They will have another person who is like me and will ask questions about why passengers are being made to wait. PIA’s inefficiency is, of course, another matter.

What was the flight crew’s reaction to the mutiny?

A stewardess told me that the delay was because a few passengers were late. Then another crew member whispered in my ear that we were waiting for Mr. Rehman Malik. You’ve seen what happened next. The crew was extremely happy that we said and did something. They told me that they were fed up with this [VIP] attitude and the flight delays it causes. They all thanked me once we took off.

Why was it so important to film these events?

When the law doesn’t work, when the judicial system doesn’t work, when Parliament doesn’t work, then you’re only left with one way of dealing with problems: the media. Today’s media is more powerful than Parliament and we’re going to continue using it until we achieve some sanity in this country.

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99 comments

Meeru September 19, 2014 - 3:34 pm

That video has bought us so much relief, sir. Thank you. I hope and I wish with all my heart that all of us man up like you and take a stand against such attitudes. God Bless You.

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Adeel.AkS September 19, 2014 - 3:36 pm

Outstanding effort done by you Mr. ARJUMAND AZHAR HUSSAIN. Everyone should learn from you to say big ‘No’ to vvip culture, curruption, harassment, ‘Rishwat’ etc.

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Muhammad Adeel September 19, 2014 - 3:40 pm

Outstanding effort done by you Mr. ARJUMAND AZHAR HUSSAIN. You are example of a patriot. Everyone should learn from you and say a big ‘NO’ to #vvipculture #curruption #rishwat and every sin/crime…

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Afzal Majeed Butt (@afzalmbutt) September 19, 2014 - 3:59 pm

Bravo. Good work man. Now lets wait for the day when somebody throw the VVIP Generals out of flight and have a blessed Phone to shoot the whole episode and then live the next day to see the bright sunlight.

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Amina Ahmed September 19, 2014 - 4:01 pm

Sir hatsoff to you by standing up not as politician but as a “Common man”

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Fouad September 19, 2014 - 4:02 pm

I salute you sir!

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shahid September 19, 2014 - 4:12 pm

Well done Sir, make sure this should not be one time act. My suggestion create an organization which gathers people complaints on similar issues. This will be your part in creating people awareness that they are not crabs but human beings.

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Qasim Zaur September 19, 2014 - 4:17 pm

Welldone Sir.The whole nation is with you get rid of all these VVIPS.We poor are much better and much safer without these.I request al;l people of pakistan please get up and get on your knees.Say goodbye to VVIP culture.I request Massmedia to shun nonsense news like Bilawal bhutto half merged in water to meet the flood affected people.What favour he has done.It is his responsibility as political leader to be with the people to whom he wants to lead.No leader is leader with out the people to lead.

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Ross Mahtani September 19, 2014 - 4:26 pm

we are proud of you.

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Shakeel September 19, 2014 - 4:30 pm

Love and respect dear Sir!!!

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Naqad September 19, 2014 - 4:38 pm

What you did is highly commendable. Thank you for standing up and no you were not a hooligan or a vigilante but a citizen demanding to be treated as such.

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Dr. Ali Zaidi. September 19, 2014 - 4:52 pm

Thank you sir for being the first drop of rain, for giving us the long awaited hope and courage. This is the power of Civil Society and it had to be the most potent one. Now let us hope when someone stops a vip motorcade.
Thanks indeed.

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Esa Khan September 19, 2014 - 5:36 pm

impressed…but u should have waited for the plane to take off nd then thrown him out

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aamer September 19, 2014 - 7:25 pm

I am sure this will prove to be the start of a new Pakistan. Mr Arjumand Your name will be part of history. Very well done we are all proud of you.

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Pakistani September 19, 2014 - 6:35 pm

Well done sir. Keep it up. @Esa Khan Agreed 🙂

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Ali Azad Malik September 19, 2014 - 6:35 pm

Bravo

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Haas September 19, 2014 - 6:47 pm

I Salute u

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Arif September 19, 2014 - 6:48 pm

Fantastic stuff, you are an inspiration

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munawar shah September 19, 2014 - 6:54 pm

proud of u sir, and proud to hv served under ur comd,

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zafar September 19, 2014 - 10:52 pm

Under his command? So he has military background? I am a civilian, can I take on a VIP ?

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Qazi Hassan September 20, 2014 - 9:37 pm

No. Mr. Arjumand Azhar had served as GM of many hotel eg Hotel Midway House and Hotel Pearl Continental etc. This Munawwar Shah must have been his staff member

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Qazi Hassan September 20, 2014 - 9:50 pm

He IS a civilian. He was the GM of many 4 star and 5 star hotels eg Midway House, Pearl Continental, Holiday Inn. He is a very gentle and soft spoken person. I know him personally for over 3 decades

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Maliha Barry September 19, 2014 - 7:16 pm

Sir
you are a living legend….
You’ve started a culture that does speak for itself.
Thank you n may Allah protect you n your family. Ameen

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H Anwars September 19, 2014 - 7:18 pm

Salute. Respect. Lead the change for a better Pakistan.

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Babar Asghar Khan September 19, 2014 - 7:32 pm

I respect what people of flight 370 did! A historic day n a historic act!
Things will get better only if we have a Arjumand Hussain in highups!
As a result of this “No to VIP Culture” act, I foresee that flights will get even more delayed! Passengers will wait in lounge and boarding will not start until vvip is not on board or at least have arrived at airport!
CAA will fall strict on passengers due to pressure from corrupt politicians because no one in CAA etc will entertain any delay even if passengers r checking in with the VIPs they will not get seats! But this doesn’t b mean we should stop it!
This act is a form of Civil disobedience! Embarrass these VIPs where ever u see them and treat them like these people on flight 370 did if they make us suffer!
No to #vipculture

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Rushna September 19, 2014 - 11:41 pm

Then there’ll be a vigilante in lounge demanding to board on time. Lets not even think the other way round. Arjumand Hussain’ism it is.

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Muhammad Tariq September 19, 2014 - 8:10 pm

It is said that people get rulers they deserve, and if we have more people like Mr. Arjumand Hussain, hopefully we will have better rulers, our destiny lies in our hand, God Bless Mr. Arjumand Hussain he is a hero and a catalyst for change.

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Saeed A. Rana September 19, 2014 - 8:59 pm

Arjumand Sb: Congratulations for taking a bold step and that with full confidence and control. Our motherland needs more brave sons like you. God bless you.

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taj alvi September 19, 2014 - 9:12 pm

Arji bhai this is really proud for us, good job

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Saeed Akhtar September 19, 2014 - 9:32 pm

Arjumand AOA,
This is Saeed Akhtar from Houston. TX. Its been long time, please drop me a line @ saeedakhtar9@hotmail.com would like to get in touch with you. Read the article. I know it can be only you no one else in PK would have guts.
Thanks.
Saeed

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faizan September 20, 2014 - 6:25 am

Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. May Allah bless you and your family.

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Muhammad Sohail September 19, 2014 - 10:47 pm

Well done sir! I salute you for this brave stand that you took. This act will motivate others to stand against inappropriate things in our society.

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Sam L. Tengra September 19, 2014 - 11:12 pm

Great work sir! I think this attitude should be extended to dug up streets, overflowing garbage & gutters, development agencies that do not keep up with street expansions & traffic grid log, broken water, sewer & rain water drainage systems, broken electrical system, wanten disregard of tragic laws, broken law enforcement system, air pollution, noise pollution, loud speakers on buildings etc. The list is endless. Alama Iqbals “First drop of rain” That is truly you Sir!

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Tahir September 19, 2014 - 11:13 pm

all appreciate your effort….. having said that i will also request your kind self to convince people that they need to impliment that for themselves too…. please avoid becoming a VIP stand in queues… dont bypass systems un place… thanks

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Babar Khan September 20, 2014 - 12:05 am

You are a hero sir. Please do not let anyone make you think contrary.

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mizba khan September 20, 2014 - 1:26 am

Hatsoff To you sir!!! You are a true inspiration!!! We all need to learn from you.may Allah keep you safe!! Ameen

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RAHIM CHUNDRIGAR September 20, 2014 - 1:51 am

Today I feel proud to be a PAKISTANI, living abroad for decades I was shy ,and introduced my self an INDIAN, ARJUMAND shahib all my indian collegues hv high regards for you and they see a change in Pakistan, my green color is my pride,this shd go on and on and on,till
the VIP culture is thing of past.enough is enough.PAKISTAN Zindabad.

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Nikhat Riaz September 20, 2014 - 3:18 am

Zaberdast!!!!!!!! You have casted the first stone Sir! Let the strikes begin!

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mubarizkhan September 20, 2014 - 3:50 am

Respect!

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ZAFAR SIDDIQI September 20, 2014 - 6:50 am

YOU HAVE MADE HISTORY, MR. ARJUMAND

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umar September 20, 2014 - 8:20 am

Sir, thank you so much! Tabdeeli agayee hae! I salute you! Love u! May Allah grant u a long and healthy life, Inshallah. you have become an inspiration to us all!

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freddy September 20, 2014 - 8:57 am

It’s great gutsy people like u who make the change.bless u

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Sajid September 20, 2014 - 9:23 am

Allah bless and protect you.(Amen)

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Khalil September 20, 2014 - 11:03 am

BRAVO to the brave Pakistani!

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Alu September 20, 2014 - 11:23 am

You’re a great inspiration!

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Hikayat shahHik September 20, 2014 - 12:12 pm

Arjumand Azhar Hussain
SIR
Your exemplary action has been welcome by thousand’s of Pakistanis’ I am one of them to support your action and i will support you or some one such actions in the futures.

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علی احمد (@Ali_Ehmet) September 20, 2014 - 12:16 pm

Weldone!

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Happy September 20, 2014 - 12:35 pm

Was overjoyed at this. It’s about time we started fighting back. But I have a question that a friend from across the border asked me: would this have happened if the VIP was an army man or any other in uniform??

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Imran Ahmed September 20, 2014 - 1:00 pm

The answer is to have checks and balances on any and all discretionary powers enjoyed by VIPs which are ubiquitously being misused for personal gain.
Rehman Malik not only delayed the plane but lied to the public which should be taken more seriously and penalized by Senate.
In the Maryam Nawaz saga apparently a senior bureaucrat was allowed to retain his unpaid for upgrade, a clear case of class discrimination. The bureaucrat must be made to pay his full fare and both the PIA Captain and Mr Bureaucrat should be prosecuted for misuse of discretion and for discrimination.
Judges breaking traffic rules must not be tolerated either.

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rayed September 20, 2014 - 1:29 pm

Let’s start an ARJUMAND Medal of Bravery to be awarded annual to anyone who contributes towards the VVIP Culture Smashing in this country

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Raeed September 20, 2014 - 2:46 pm

MH370 made a nation unite through anger and sorrow
PK370 made a nation unite through joy and jubilation
God bless both flights

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mahnoor15 September 20, 2014 - 3:33 pm

You have stood up like a brave brave one. It has encouraged others to follow. Thank you so much!

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Talha Masood September 20, 2014 - 4:49 pm

We salute you 🙂 may Allah protect you and other right-doers like yourself 🙂

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Ibrahim Afridi September 20, 2014 - 8:12 pm

Not good at all Boss. You should wait a bit more. Once the plane reached at 40K ft, than kicked them out. Solute have no words to appreciate your act. Allah Bless you.

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M. Saeed September 21, 2014 - 6:22 am

Well said

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ATTI September 20, 2014 - 11:21 pm

Salute you Mr. Arjumand

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Javaid Iqbal September 21, 2014 - 12:28 am

Bulle Shah says,” Rayeen sayeen sabhni thayeen, Rab diyaan be parvayiyaan !
Sohniyaan pichaan hat aayaan te, kojhiyaan gal nal laayiyaan !

Allah G will hug us when we the commners make all these so called VIPs realize their real place. Confidence Confidence and Confidence. Allah helps those who help themselves.
Arjumand sb k liye dheroon duayain aur salaam.
Javaid Iqbal Waseer

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Afzaal September 21, 2014 - 2:59 am

Argi , don’t I know you from decades back?

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M. Saeed September 21, 2014 - 6:17 am

Bravo, I have great respect for you.
Still I think was it possible if they were accompanied with their gaurds.

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M. Saeed September 21, 2014 - 6:21 am

Excellent. Hats off.

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Muhammad Asif September 21, 2014 - 7:10 am

Mr. Arjumand. I salute you for your courageous act at the very right time. I pray that it is the beginning of a New Pakistan. Keep it up.

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muhammad shahzad qamar September 21, 2014 - 11:57 am

sir you are so great i Salute you .Allah bless you. And know you sir since 2011 in pc bhurnbun murree.

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FBI September 21, 2014 - 3:52 pm

Its a new realisation in the nation which itself is a victory for imran.

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Faheem September 21, 2014 - 9:00 pm

Allah SWT bless you & thank you .

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Saim September 22, 2014 - 12:10 am

Kudos , Sir.
Surely a symbol of change n ‘vigilantism’ !

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Irfan Baloch September 22, 2014 - 3:31 pm

Bless you my dear and stay safe
I know that you have been getting harassing messages, may God protect you
the silent majority has spoken

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Ashok Dhingra September 22, 2014 - 10:49 pm

Hi Arji, What a daring move and that too in Pakistan. I believe this is a sign of change that future holds in both neighboring contrives. Having known you for over 40 years, I knew you are very progressive, but daring to put your head in the lion’s den, I never thought you will. You are a lightening rod for the new generation. God Bless you and keep it up.
Ashok Dhingra

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Jude Allen September 23, 2014 - 11:20 am

Truly got me overwhelmed when watching that video.. I could not believe we Pakistanis were capable of taking this stand… but we did. You did; and now you have started a revolution towards progress, justice and equality for all. Let me re assure you, the youth have been inspired, the domino-effect has begun and there are people out there taking the stand for whats right. I see a change coming to Pakistan and I am after a long time proud to say, I am Pakistani…Thanks to you 🙂

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Adil September 24, 2014 - 9:04 am

Great Job. Inspiration for all

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amna September 24, 2014 - 2:33 pm

I am your fan sir. You and the other passengers stood up to injustice giving us all an example to follow. So Thank you.

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Adnan September 24, 2014 - 6:22 pm

Wow,,,, what a BLAST !!!

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Humayun Aftab September 27, 2014 - 10:11 am

Instead if forcing the so called VIP’s Arjumand & Co should have forced PIA to fly off leaving back a my for RM & Dr Ramesh that enough is enough!

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M.Zahir Akhtar September 27, 2014 - 12:16 pm

Well done every individual should follow suit.

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Azhar Hussain Shah September 27, 2014 - 1:08 pm

Dear Sir,

I am proud of you because I have the honor
to work under the shadow of such a brave and smart personality for almost two years. Love You !!!!!!!!!!

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sohail osman ali September 27, 2014 - 3:33 pm

That’s telling them VIP’s!!!! Well done

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Nadira jaffer September 27, 2014 - 4:05 pm

Well done!!

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Tasneem September 29, 2014 - 10:49 pm

Pakistan definitely needs more people like you.

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M HUMAIR GHAUSI September 29, 2014 - 11:36 pm

Dear Arjumand sb Please also use your both shoes for such shameless and plunderers like Rahman Malik.

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Muhammad Aslam September 30, 2014 - 12:25 am

Well done.

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Rizwan Khan September 30, 2014 - 12:27 am

And even if you are a minister, we don’t care anymore, “We Don’t Care Anymore,” you people have to become humans. #NayaPakistan

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jamshed kharian-pak September 30, 2014 - 12:46 am

ARJUMAND AZHAR HUSSAIN we are greatful to you, you encourge our youngesters your fight againt opperession is memorable thankyiu Sir, fight must continue Go Nawaz Go, Go Rehman Malik Go

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Ahmer September 30, 2014 - 12:50 am Reply
torontobroker September 30, 2014 - 1:42 am

“Be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi

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Syed Parwaiz Abidi September 30, 2014 - 10:38 am

It was really sad to hear that Mr. Arjumand Azhar Hussain was fired from Gerry’s, Pakistan upon exerted pressure from Rehman Malik. Gerry’s is a top notch organization in Pakistan and I can see that even they had to submit to his demand. I can imagine what pain and suffering Rehman Malik can inflict on those who do not have any cover of power or influence.

We need to ask Rehman Malik to leave Pakistan. He’s already a citizen of UK. He needs to finish his telecommunication business in Pakistan. When Mr. Zardari was President he got contracts to change the charges of all International Access calls to Pakistan whereby that excess money on each of the calls from overseas Pakistani’s went to his company. So in a crooked way he has amassed a lot of wealth.

As far as Gerry’s is concerned we need to put it to notice that any more actions against Mr. Arjumand Azhar Hussain will be dealt with accordingly which could be a loss of business for the company. We need to boycott Gerry’s for a period of 30 days just to prove that we mean business.

Please visit Gerry’s Pakistan website where email can also be sent which is as follows:

http://www.gerrys.com.pk/

Come on Pakistan and wake up and kick these corrupt politicians out who have sucked this country dry for the last 65 years.

We do not need PPP, PML-N or any other political party and also anybody who is even connected with Imran Khan and has a shadowy past to get out of this closed loop politics which is nothing but ” You scratch mine and I’ll scratch your’s ” mentality.

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farmerdr September 30, 2014 - 11:25 am

I fully endorse your sentiments. I also call upon all Senators to take notice of this action and to expel Mr. Malik. The man has lied to the public and misused authority (among other things) – he is unfit to be a Senator on the basis of telling whopping lies alone. We should allow no public figure to escape punishment after he/she is caught lying to us.
If the Senate takes no such action does it deserve to represent us?

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javeed Akhtar September 30, 2014 - 12:58 pm

I salute you sir for your brave and just stand. This might be the first stone against the filthy bloody VIP Culture.

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Anser October 1, 2014 - 1:29 am

Love and respect!

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Amin Saigol October 1, 2014 - 2:47 am

Just a wanna be PTI ghunda/vigilante,asshole!

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Saira October 1, 2014 - 11:09 am

Hats off to you. So glad to see your brave act on VIP culture. One small step will definitely bring atleast a little change. Your efforts and courage is highly appreciated.

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Shumaila October 1, 2014 - 3:23 pm

Well-done Sir

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A October 2, 2014 - 8:39 pm

You have done a great service to our beloved country, Sir, hope you are doing well. I propose that we create an account for Mr. Arjumand so he can have his own business. I am at this time worried for his well-being. How we can do it. I know lots of people would like to contribute to strengthen him.

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Syed Parwaiz Abidi October 3, 2014 - 3:58 am

Hello,

A great idea. We can collect seed money or capital for a start up organization similar to what Mr. Arjumand Azhar Hussain have being doing at Gerry’s.

We need to get a few people who are trust worthy that whatever the money collected would all go to his betterment. Also we need his permission to move ahead. He has to be informed and his commitment is required.

Please consider me the first of the line of donors that will contribute to this galant person who is going through hard times because of us.

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ziauc@yahoo.dk October 5, 2014 - 7:14 am

good job

zia

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usman khalid October 5, 2014 - 10:16 am

Sir please enter politics as an independent candidate, definitely we need you. But do not become like others in due coarse of time.

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Naseem Ahmad October 5, 2014 - 12:59 pm

Sir thank you.

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samar October 12, 2014 - 9:02 pm

This man is the voice of millions in Pakistan, everyone with guts, courage to stand against the thug lots VIPs of Pakistan, and to retaliate the political vandalism in the name of democracy by all those who sit in the Parliament today. This nation needs a thousand like him to change the face of the impoverished nation.

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Nasir Haroon November 18, 2014 - 8:10 pm

Arjumand Azhar Hussain, is the hero of Pakistan. I will place him next to Jinnah. He is a part of our very few glittering moments of our chequered history.

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tokjop January 13, 2015 - 6:09 pm

awesome and well done

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zahra zafar December 7, 2018 - 10:58 am

we proud of you sir you are a real hero indeed

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