It’s 03:30PM 7th of March 2020, at London, United Kingdom. Nearly, 75,000 humans have already lost their lives and so far, total number of active infected patients of COVID-19 have reached 1,000,000 approximately worldwide, almost all the countries are locked down and more or less every person on this planet Earth is affected by these new regulations. Like many others out there, my experience was horrendous and unfortunate. In this blog I share the episode of my last 40 days of travelling, how I got affected by COVID-19 precautionary measures taken by governments, how my work and leisure trip turned into a nightmare.
I won’t start with the nice opening paragraph to set out the scope of this blog. I would like to jump straight into the timeline as, I can’t hold my breath anymore to share what I got in my mind so, let’s get started.
27th February, 2020 Took the flight to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Landed at Abu Dhabi Airport, my mate was supposed to pick me up at 10:00PM but, woefully, he was 30 minutes late, which least to my expectation was the most unfortunate thing to happen to me “at that stage”. However, I got picked up by my super cool mate Amir, we were too excited, after greetings, we straight off started planning out our next few days. We followed all of our plans including Jet Ski, Arabian Safari Trip and all, before heading to England.
29th February, 2020 Took flight to Manchester. It was my first visit to England I was looking forward to it. I managed to sort out accommodation, took the car on rent, jumped on to my work stuff immediately to finish ASAP. I had a well organised budget to chill out,
meeting friends, food, shopping, accomodation and other living needs as planned. After I got done with my work commitments, I pursued my other plans, went to see my friend at Peterborough stayed over at his place, afterwards, drove all the way to Bradford to meet some more people.
13th March, 2020 Took The Train to London, from now onwards, I was more like a dude chilling around, full of energy who really wants to take a lot of pictures and post them on Instagram for friends, family and memories. Yes, I was on it, from the very second day, I was enthusiastically boarding Underground Tubes and Trains, Experiencing the excitement of Leicester Square, tasting different cuisines, inspecting English architectural stylistic periods designed buildings.
I am very fond of British Educational Institutes specifically, Cambridge and Oxford University so I lined up a visit to Cambridge university, I took many pictures every site at Cambridge was utterly a new experience for me, every old structured building was telling a new story, revealing centuries of struggle to get to the utmost perfection. While I was walking around I wished if I could ever get my name written somewhere on the walls of Cambridge or Oxford University. Well, I had a clue of what I could do, at the same day, so, I ordered a Fish & Chips and posted that on Snap Chat with University of Cambridge filter on it.
I AM GOING TO FAST FORWARD THE EVENTS OF NEXT FEW DAYS
18th March, 2020 I had a plan to fly to France to see my mate from Australia, we used to live on campus, together, while I was studying in Adelaide, Australia. Well I had a flight back to Pakistan on 24th March and Coronavirus pandemic was picking up the pace, so, I decided not to fly to France and alternatively, took the train to Manchester Piccadilly Station and checked into a short term place to live till 24th of March, which became hard to organise, because of the sudden lockdown all over the United Kingdom. That was the moment when, I first realised that the I was done with the holiday and something horrific was waiting for me. Next few days I had to live in an Isolation with uncertainty and panic.
24th March, 2020 I had flight with Etihad Airways on 24th March from Manchester to Islamabad. Previous evening Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority PCAA locked down all the Pakistani Airports and suspended all the International and domestic flights. On 23rd of March United Kingdom declared a nationwide lockdown, in effect to it, my accommodation closed down on 24th March. Lockdown closed utmost everything included Hotels, Restaurants, most of the Public Transport and other essentials for travelling etc. Government imposed travel ban with exception to “essential travelling”only. It all happened very quickly that I couldn’t even realize that how badly it was going to affect me. I had no other option than going to Sheffield which was very close to Manchester and I had a close friend living there.
Without giving any notice or call to my friend because his phone was switched off, I took the Train to Sheffield, when I arrived at the station, I couldn’t find any bus so I walked about 2Km with luggage to the hostel listed on website stated open, when I got there I found that they were closed for Public and took over by NHS for quarantine purposes. Consequently, I had no other place to crash and didn’t know anybody else than my friend Ijlal and his phone was switched off.
I walked to the Grocery store which was closing at 01:00AM so I could buy some stuff to eat, while walking through the pedestrian underpass, I found a homeless guy. I offered him food, cigarettes and very little cash to build some attachment with him. I stayed there for a while he kept eating food and finally, he cracked a conversation about the current COVID-19 pandemic and other possible threats of it. We kept talking for few hours and found good common grounds to talk about, he used to work at the fuel station but, because of his disability he lost his job, I felt like I knew him for a very long time, in a very short period of time we shared a lot about ourselves and our life experiences. He offered me help with anything, he even offered me to share his small tent with him, that was so nice of him. The place was so deserted because of lockdown and It was a cold night, we decided to walk to the fuel station to get coffee (by the way he forcefully paid for the coffee). Finally, by 08:00 AM my friend called me back and came to pick me up. In the end, I would say, I learnt many lessons while I was at the pedestrian underpass at that night. For instance, you always don’t need substantial event to happen in your life to teach you essential lessons such as valuable companionship.
25th March, 2020 Ijlal picked me up straight away, we couldn’t find any place to crash so, Ijlal took me to his own student accommodation and arranged one room for next few days by requesting the on-campus accommodation management. The very same day, I bought myself groceries and other essentials, for the next few days, to stay in Isolation.
27th March, 2020 My new flight to Pakistan which was on 6th of April got cancelled again, which came to me as a shock since I booked this flight after considerable efforts to ascertain that Pakistan Government announced to lift the travel Ban on 5th April. However, even after the closure of 7 days Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority PCAA could not manage to give any information or updates, that when International Airlines will be allowed to fly to Pakistan, so, I booked a new flight for 17th April as no other option or information was available.
28 March, 2020 As a Pakistani National I dared to hope that at least in this time of crisis Pakistan High Commission London (PHC) would be able to help or guide. They advised me to contact Pakistan International Airline (PIA) to find out about their plans. I called PIA London office and found out that their planes were not clear yet to fly back.
29 March, 2020 Emailed Pakistan High Commission London PHC asking for help, in return I got reply the same day asking for my details. I sent my contact number, passport number and copies of two airlines tickets I had from Emirates and Etihad. The same day UAE suspended all their flights, consequently, my flight on 17th got cancelled. I called PIA for number of times but, I couldn’t get any information and PHC never picked up my calls.
30 March, 2020 My accommodation where I was living, took over by National Health Service (NHS) and I was almost out of cash at that stage as, I was carrying a limited amount of cash for the total number of days I was travelling. According to new government notification I couldn’t pay cash over the counter anymore and only contactless cards were accepted, luckily my Australian bank account card was active and accepted but, I had very limited funds available in that Account. At this stage, because of the lack of information given by Pakistan Government and there was no reply from the Pakistan High Commission London PHC so, I used my online banking to pay for the another flight ticket from Qatar Airways. They were the only Airline opened for transit and I booked new flight for 9th April from London to Islamabad.
I contacted one of my friend who lives in London, I am so lucky to have very good friends who came all the way to pick me up because all the accommodations were closed down or taken over by NHS and there was no public transport available. After a long drive of 4 hours and sleeplessness we finally got back home.
4 April, 2020 Qatar Airways cancelled all flight from London to Islamabad, till 11th April due to PCAA not allowing any international Airline to land at any Pakistani Airport. Well, even now, no information is available anywhere that, when Pakistani airports will allow flights from other Airlines to land at Pakistani Airports. I explained my situation to the Qatar Airways Help Centre and the lady on the phone consulted with her manager to get an idea about the status of flights to Pakistan, she took proper time and effort to look into flights status and booked me in for 12th of April Fight from London to Islamabad. I am not sure, If I am going to get that flight or not but, I would love to say that Qatar Airways have been very helpful to me than, Pakistan High Commission and Pakistan International Airline collectively.
7th April, 2020 Tried to call the PIA offices in London and PHC London they have got no information available regarding International Airlines and it has already been more than two weeks of their cluelessness. It is not like all the other countries are treating their citizens the same way like Pakistan did, Australian High commission in London giving free medical and consular help, their borders are open for all the Australians living in UK or Abroad and they are helping to evacuate them too. Canada is offering the same help and proper support program for their citizens. Almost all the countries around the world are at least accommodating their citizens. I am not sure if I am going to catch this flight or not but, I am thankful to that CSR of Qatar Airways, who took time to actually help me out and made me feel well attended.
I have realised that when it comes to crisis in your life or Natural Disasters the only help you get is from your own network, friends, family or neighbours. We pay taxes to Government who may take care of macro issues, how do they do it is another subject matter. But, I reckon, we should rather be more worried about paying our love and regards to our friends and family, who have always been there to help you out whenever needed. Only a common man can understand the feelings of other common man. I believe, humanity is above all discriminations such as race, religion, colour and in the end humanity is the only thing that prevails.
Will Pakistan Recognize and Accept Israel?
The Muslim world is at a new turning point in history. The distance between Arabia and Israel seems to be closing. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince have met. The US Secretary of State was also present at the meeting in Saudi Arabia. The world media is shouting at this meeting. If this news is true then it is a great development in world politics. The UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan have already joined Israel. What color will this friendship with Israel bring to the Arabs? Why are the Arab countries so anxious to embrace yesterday’s enemy? Will Pak-Israel anger last forever?
While the new global political development is a source of joy for the minority, it is also a source of unhappiness for the majority. Questions about recent developments also need to be answered. Experts say the meeting took place and that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived in a private jet with the Mossad chief. He met secretly with the Saudi Crown Prince. The problem is that the results of the recent US election have upset many countries, including Saudi Arabia. After Biden’s victory, Saudi Arabia fears what the new US president will do. Saudi Arabia wants the support of the Israeli lobby in the United States. Saudi Arabia has extended a hand of friendship to both Turkey and Israel. Saudi Arabia does not want its relations with the United States to rupture. Will Saudi Arabia’s efforts work?
The first is that US foreign policy has implications. Four Muslim countries were destroyed by US foreign policy. Libya was devastated by Obama and Hillary. Had it not been for Russia and Hezbollah behind Assad in Syria, it would have been like Libya. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is also in front of everyone. The situation in Afghanistan and Iraq hurt the United States. Trump has not started new wars. Biden is under the influence of former US President Barack Obama. They are “dense” like them. Such people are dangerous. This threat is making the world restless.
Iran has also linked Biden’s victory to goodwill. Iran hopes sanctions will be eased. Trade routes to Europe will open for Iran. Pakistan will also benefit from easing sanctions on Iran. Pakistan’s goods will go to Iran and Iran’s goods will come to Pakistan. Saudi Arabia wants to curb Iran’s influence in the region. If anyone can look Israel in the eye, it is Iran and Turkey. Saudi Arabia will not be made of Iran. It is said that the enemy of the enemy is the friend, Saudi Arabia is also going to sacrifice its long-standing policy under the same policy.
The question is, when Pakistan’s friends are raising the bar of love and friendship with Israel, will Pakistan lag behind in this race? Will Pak-Israel anger last forever? Prime Minister Imran Khan’s position on Palestine is the position of the nation, in which he said that our policy on relations with Israel is the same as that of the founder of Pakistan. The founders of Pakistan have always rejected relations with Israel. He used to say, “This is a dagger inserted in the heart of the Ummah. This is an illegitimate state which Pakistan will never recognize.”
Our position cannot be linked to the position of the Arab League or the OIC. Our position is based on the position of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam. If Pakistan backs away from the Palestinian policy, it will deviate from the Kashmir policy. Pakistan is a non-Arab country that has taken part in two wars against Israel. Pakistan’s policy is clear and cannot be changed. But our Prime Minister is second to none in changing his stance on every issue. As soon as the news of the Saudi Crown Prince’s meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister came, a certain group in Pakistan was deployed to form a consensus to recognize Israel.
A lobby of specialized intellectuals and journalists has begun work on the “Acceptable” mission. The government has started throwing leaves through social media. The past shows that our Prime Minister jumps to great heights, in this case too. If that happened then his followers would accept it as a blessing.
Russia Released the video of the “TSAR BOMBA” (King of Bombs) Explosion
Russia has released a video of the world’s most powerful explosion, which was carried out experimentally in October 1961 during the Soviet era. It was actually a hydrogen bomb with an explosive power of 3,300 times that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
The bomb, dubbed the “Tsar Bomba” (King of Bombs), was dropped on an island near the North Pole and detonated in the air at an altitude of 4 km above the ground.
With an explosive power of 50 megatons (50 million tons) of TNT, this hydrogen bomb is considered to be the most powerful bomb in human history, designed by the famous Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov. This is the same Andrei Sakharov who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975 after defecting from the Soviet Union.
The 40-minute video was uploaded to YouTube by the Russian Atomic Energy Agency a few days ago, in which the countdown to the bombing begins at 22 minutes and 22 seconds:
The blast was so intense and large that it could be seen from a distance of a thousand kilometers, while its heat was felt at a distance of 250 kilometers.
The cloud formed by the explosion of this hydrogen bomb was so high that it reached an altitude of about 700 km, that is, the point where the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.
We don’t know if there is an even more powerful hydrogen bomb in the world, but we do know that it was the most powerful experimental explosion in human history.
It should be noted that the original and technical name of the hydrogen bomb is “thermonuclear bomb”, the explosion of which emits tremendous energy in the form of light, heat, and shock waves but the emission of radioactive rays is much lower than that of a normal atomic bomb.
Father Sold his Daughter To Buy A Smartphone and Motorcycle
We often fall in with stories on social media and news channels highlighting the brutal face of the mentally sick people of the society.
Although, the crime rate has been declined amidst the coronavirus pandemic but a few people are out there to show their bestiality to the world by committing heinous conduct.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), an average of 80 murders, 289 abductions, and 91 rapes were reported across the country in 2018 in India on a daily basis.
A new heart-wrenching incident took place in the Chikkaballhar district of India. An inexorable father sold his daughter, who was only three years old, to buy a smartphone and motorcycle.
He sold his daughter to a childless couple for INR 100,000. And he bought a smartphone for INR 15,000 and a motorcycle for INR 50,000 with the money he got.
The parents had tried to sell the baby to a family in Bengaluru when she was born, but their plan failed as the hospital authority meddled. After this, another person got the wind of the situation and made a deal with them on the behest of a childless couple in another village.
After the man used all the money, his neighbor grew skeptical, and they found out that his daughter had not been at home. They informed the police who inquired some villagers including the mother of the baby. The child welfare committee found the girl and a case has been filed against the couple.
The father took to his heel but the mother was incarcerated. The authority interrogated her and she brought to the light that her husband had intimidated her that’s why she allowed selling her daughter.
What could be the rhyme and reason that goaded the parents to sell their own blood? Either they are mentally sick or the financial problems made them sell their three years old baby.
Will Pakistan Recognize and Accept Israel?
Russia Released the video of the “TSAR BOMBA” (King of Bombs) Explosion
Can Kashmir be Removed from the UN agenda?
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