There are some restless souls in this wolrd which are committd to acheive what they want in thier lives by crossing all the hurdles. Abid Beli and his friends are among these people who are filled with the passion of patriotism.
They intend to make a world record of singing the national anthem by the highest number of people on the 13th and 14th of August, thereby getting their names written in the Guinness Book of World Record. Not having much financial and human resources, these guys with their determination and passion want to accomplish their target.
The News Tribe talked to Abid Beli recently. Excerpts of this consversation are being given below;
THE NEWS TRIBE: Who floated the idea to make world record by collectively singing the national anthem? What forced you to do so?
Ans. This idea was basically put forward by one of our friends Waqas. The Abbotabad operation and the attack on Mehran airbase on the 2nd and 3rd May were the catalysts for the propping up of this idea. After these incidents, we felt that a negative impression regarding Pakistan prevailed in the world. We therefore came up with this idea in order to unite the nation and provide a positive image of Pakistan to the world.
THE NEWS TRIBE: What has been the reaction of the government, social workers and celebrities towards your efforts?
Ans. The major problem we are face is that we are not being given the permission to hold this event in the Ibn-e-Qasim Park, citing security concerns by the authorities. This venue has been selected due to its capacity of accomodating a large number of people. The authorities have said that under the present circumstances such an event carries great risk. Despite the security concerns that are stated, political parties are allowed to hold rallies and meetings which have more disadvantages and fewer advantages. Denying us the permission to hold such a positive event is questionable.
We have approached the Sindh government, Pakistan army and also written letters to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, President Asif Ali Zardari and Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik for permission to organize this event. But we have not got any positive response so far .
THE NEWS TRIBE: Who holds the present record of singing the national anthem by a large number of people?
Ans. Current record is being held by Dandia for singing the Bande Matram. But this was not their national song. To rectify this mistake in the Guinness Book of World Record, we have written a letter to them. If this mistake is rectified then India will no longer hold this record. Then the record goes to the Philippine, where it was made by 5000 people. However, if we consider India as the world record holder then there the task was accomplished by 150,000 people.
THE NEWS TRIBE: Are you working with other institutions that are engaged in positive activities for the youth and for promoting the positive image of Pakistan?
Ans. We initiated our campaign using the social media intending to use this medium for image building. But since the task is too big, we have to use the traditional media as well. We are also using the digital media and contacting the youth. So far 80 percent of the total persons and organizations that we have contacted have responded positively. The rest of the 20 percent have criticized us owing to the present circumstances.
Participants’ and volunteers are being registered for this event. According to the law, 2200 volunteers are needed, meaning one volunteer for every 50 persons. So far 600 volunteers and 12,000 participants have been registered, while over 18,000 persons have liked the page “I own Pakistan” made on Facebook for this purpose.
THE NEWS TRIBE: Prior to this idea, you had initiated a program for the street children of Pakistan. What response you got?
Ans. According to the program, begging children were to be employed while simultaneously providing them with educational opportunities but unfortunately this program could not be implemented as the beggar mafia became involved. Four people near the Tariq road signal approached us in a car and threatened us to leave these children alone . We approached the former City Government but permission was not given to us.
When we contacted the Cantonment Board, Defence, they refused on the grounds that the condition of the area would worsen. People do show excitement but are not ready to work with us. Due to which the program had to be stopped. But this idea is still there. If permission is given to us, this campaign will be restarted.
THE NEWS TRIBE: What will be the role of the volunteers you are registering?
Ans. Apart from the administrative role they will also perform other tasks like making contact with massess.
THE NEWS TRIBE: What is the estimated budget for this event and how will that be attained?
Ans. Only two million rupees are required for inviting the team of the Guinness Book of the World Record. Besides, money would also be required for volunteers and other expenses for organizing the event. Our estimated budget is around Rs20 million.
We have contacted various sponsors for financial assistance. The team of the Guinness Book of World Record needs to be invited so that they can personally monitor the event and include it in the world record.
THE NEWS TRIBE: What is the alternative place in case you are not allowed to host the event in Karachi?
Ans. We have decided to hold the event under any situation. Lahore is the alternative city if permission to host the event in Karachi is not given. It would become obvious by the 25th of July whether the event is to be hosted in Karachi or Lahore.
If there is any delay in giving permission, the program can be postponed till 6th of September. Initial contacts have been made in Lahore and application for permission to host the event has been written to the government of Punjab. It is our responsibility to take Pakistan out of the current scenario.