SANA Announces Jawaid Bhutto Scholarship

Sindhi Association of North America has concluded its 35th convention in Toronto with the announcement of the Jawaid Bhutto scholarship for students in Pakistan.

SANA also resolved in favor of naming Jawaid’s former department at Sindh University the `Jawaid Bhutto Department of Philosophy.’ Moreover, participants extended support to a future Institute of Philosophy and Social Sciences to be created in Jawaid’s name at Sindh University, Jamshoro. Continue reading “SANA Announces Jawaid Bhutto Scholarship”

Jawaid’s Work Place in Virginia Pays Rich Tributes for his Services (June 15, 2019)

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Glowing tributes were paid on June 15 to Jawaid Bhutto for his work as a mental health counselor at Welford Street Community Residences Inc. in Virginia.

The management of CRI and his colleagues described Jawaid as a thorough professional, who arrived on time, inspected the quarters to make sure that mentally challenged residents were “still alive” and then proceeded to ask the shift staff if they had fulfilled their duties. Continue reading “Jawaid’s Work Place in Virginia Pays Rich Tributes for his Services (June 15, 2019)”

JB Assailant Locked up Without Parole

In the first preliminary hearing held on Monday Jawaid Bhutto’s attacker was sent back to prison without the possibility of parole.

Wearing an orange jump suit with his hands in handcuffs, defendant Hilman Ray Jordan was brought by US marshals in Judge Lee’s court and asked by the judge if he was prepared to face a preliminary hearing. On the advice of his counsel, he waived the right for a hearing to defend his actions. Continue reading “JB Assailant Locked up Without Parole”

In Memory of Jawaid Bhutto

It was but yesterday that
you were moving with the moving sea
and you were shoreless and without a self
Then the wind, the breath of Life
wove you, a veil of light on her face
Then her hand gathered you
and gave you form,
and with a head held high
you sought the heights
But the sea followed after you,
and her song is still with you.
(Shoreless without a Self – Khalil Gibran)

Three Weeks Ago in Anacostia, Washington DC

After his recovery from GBS, Jawaid & I took walks in Anacostia Park to help his nerves gain full recovery. This photo was taken three weeks before the cowardly attack on him. A day before that incident on March 1, we had resolved to speed up the exercise process to help him regain full strength. It was also meant as a prelude to our trip back home.

‘Strong parallels exist between eastern Sufi and western Enlightenment thought’ – Jawaid Bhutto

Hyderabad: Sufism transcends differences based on caste, colour, creed, ethnicity, language, culture and political affiliations. It is an amalgamation of love, sacrifice, tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Sufism also possesses the enormous potential to serve as a powerful antidote against all forms extremism and terrorism.

These views were expressed by Sindh University vice chancellor Dr. Fateh Muhammad Burfat, while making his presidential speech at a special talk given by US- based Sindhi scholar and former SU Department of Philosophy chair Javed Bhutto on “Understanding Sufism”.

Dr. Burfat said that he was extremely glad to meet Javed Bhutto who was once his batchmate at Karachi University from 1976-1982.

“I am indeed delighted to be here, to meet Mr. Bhutto and to hear his erudite views on mysticism,” Dr. Burfat said.

Citing German philosopher Emmanuel Kant, Dr. Burfat said that there were strong parallels in the conceptual framework of Sufism in the east and those of enlightenment philosophers of the west.

“I understand today’s talk leaves us with a strong message to extend the borders of our love, acceptance, patience and tolerance for one another; and to extend one another honor, respect, help and cooperation.

“Today’s take-away is friendship. Sufism teaches us to ascend out of our shallow cocoons, to overpower our inflated egos, and to transcend taboos that limit our love for one another and blur our vision to see one another beyond the biases,” he stressed, adding that social media platforms had transformed traditional battle zones, and that words not bullets wounded people in modern times.

“If you want to smear anyone’s reputation or credibility today; all you need to do is to make one smart move of placing a picture, posting a status or uploading an update that ill-suits that particular person and you can have his or her image turned into tatters,” he explained.

Dr. Burfat thanked Javed Bhutto for sparing time for the talk at the varsity, complimented STAGS director Dr. Sumera Umrani for efficient coordination and arrangements; and Amar Sindhu and Dr. Ayaz Mugheri of Department of Philosophy for their collaboration.
Earlier, Bhutto said that Sufism cherished and promoted two core values of love and friendship, upon which, he said, the entire idea of world peace was based.
Bhutto said that the best of Sufi thought had spread in the world through art and literature, especially through verse, as both were the most powerful media of expression of human passions.
“Sufism is a passionate, relentless and unyielding striving of human soul to recapture its essential, original identity; to retrieve its lost innocence, glory and divine stature.
This is exactly what heroines in Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s verse symbolise- all six out of seven heroines tend to lapse on one account or the other like us all modern people and then go about reclaiming lost attributes. We must also endeavor to retract our essential nobility and Sufism is the path, the method and the navigation route that will take us there,” Bhutto reiterated.
Paying tribute to Allama I.I Kazi and Esla Kazi, Bhutto said both had made poetry, thought and philosophy of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai an unwavering focus of their intellectual quest and spiritual ascend.
Bhutto thanked the Dr. Burfat, the faculty of Department of Philosophy and STAGS officials for inviting him to deliver the talk based on his scholarly engagement.
Columnist Amar Sindhu later presented a vote of thanks. The session was moderated by Dr. Sumera Umrani and Dr. Ayad Mugheri.
Published in Daily Times, April 15th 2018.

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D.C. must do more to protect its youth.

Breon Austin’s death hit home. At 16 , he was close in age to two of my grandchildren. A young person’s death always hits hard.

To learn, however, that he lost his life after multiple bullets were fired into his body by a masked assailant in the hallway of Breon’s own home is enraging. The shooter brazenly opened fire in front of Breon’s stepfather, who had just gotten home from work, according to The Post.

Police are searching for a man wearing a black mask and black jacket in a vehicle, captured by a surveillance camera near the crime scene, “described as a gray, four-door sedan with a sun roof and stickers on the driver’s side,” The Post reported.

There’s more to be learned about the circumstances surrounding Breon’s death, but this much is certain: He was the District’s 52nd murder victim this year (as of Friday morning), a 30 percent increase over the same time in 2018. The tide of homicides in our nation’s capital keeps rising.

The vast majority of D.C. homicides, as in Breon’s case, are linked to guns. But guns don’t fire themselves. Without someone to pull the trigger, a gun is just another hunk of metal. The city is rightfully troubled by the number of guns on the streets. It also has to do something about the number of people willing and able to use them.

To be sure, there’s tangible evidence of guns aplenty on our streets. The D.C. police annually recover more than 1,500 firearms in the city.

The gun recovery campaign is continuing. From April 1 to April 22, D.C. police recovered 190 illegal firearms. We’re talking about handguns, rifles and a 12-gauge shotgun.

Get this: Over those 22 days, police arrested 11 youths in gun possession cases. Seven were 17 years old; one was 16; two were 15; and one, age 14.

An anomaly? Every good wish.

From January to March, 41 juveniles were arrested for carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm or possession of unregistered ammunition.

Homicides are taking a toll on young people, too. Sixteen youths ages 1 to 19 fell victim to homicide in 2016; 12 in 2017; 21 in 2018; and four thus far this year. Those unpleasant truths are little known and little discussed.
But weeping mothers, grieving families and neighbors gathered in the cemetery know all about it. Cops and the courts know all about it. Children hearing about young bodies falling know it, too.

Sadly, the concern of people burdened by gun violence stands in sharp relief to the laser-like focus of city leaders hell-bent on greening this city’s infrastructure, making DC Circulator bus rides a freebie and expanding the line east of the river (at a $16 million cost to taxpayers), and pouring $122 million in a new K Street Transitway to make life easier, says D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), “for all who travel around downtown D.C.”
D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D), the District’s chief prosecutor, is one local leader who gets it. He’s also bent on finding ways to prevent juvenile involvement in crime.

Racine’s approach to violence, as he told the D.C. Council in budget hearings this week, is to view violence as a disease, and treat it “like the true epidemic that it is.”

You won’t hear many city leaders refer to D.C. violence in such life-and-death terms. Racine, however, won’t back down or give in. “The reduction of gun violence and public safety must be our number-one priority,” he told the council. “Failure to take aggressive steps to prevent violence,” Racine said, “will result in more trauma that will beget more violence. Our children deserve better.”

Racine, a major proponent of a successful diversion program that redirects first-time juvenile offenders to constructive rehabilitative programs, was pitching city lawmakers for money to expand his “Cure the Streets” program, which takes a public-health approach to violence. Cure the Streets may sound touchy-feely, but it’s not.

Cure the Streets rigorously trains participants to intervene in potentially violent conflicts, targeting communities with high rates of shootings and homicides. The program seeks out those most likely to cause conflicts, directly engaging both them and the local community, he said in 2017, “in changing norms around violence.”

In two D.C. sites where Cure the Streets staff have been deployed, Racine said, “people feel safer, tension has dissipated, and we believe that Cure the Streets has made a significant impact.”

The program hasn’t reached the neighborhood where Breon Austin was killed. What if it had? Even more to the point, were it not for the masked gunman, who might Breon have become?

A question that may be asked about other D.C. youth endangered by this deadly epidemic.

Author’s Interview on NBC Television the Day After

The author’s interview to NBC television was recorded at the home of mutual friends in Virginia, a day after the heinous incident against Jawaid Bhutto. In it, she speaks about how the couple had elected to live in Anacostia, DC since 2003. They kept good relations with all the neighbors, believing in the essential goodness of human nature regardless of race, color or faith.

During the interview the reporter, himself an African American, steers the questioning to the mentally challenged nature of the attacker.

However, it was only later that the facts have painted a clearer picture about what occurred on March 1, 2019. A meeting with the state prosecutor revealed that Jawaid’s assassin – Hilman Jordan – had actually murdered his own cousin in 1998. Thereafter he was committed for treatment to St Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital. Even during probation, he returned to the hospital with a gun where he attempted to kill a worker. Despite that, in December 2015 he was released and began living in the apartment below us in South East DC.

All these facts were kept hidden from Jawaid & myself, who owned the unit above the condo rented out to the killer and his family. Its owner, Joe Holston had rented that unit to Jordan and company without informing residents that he was a killer who had spent half his life in a mental asylum.

We would see Jordan hanging out in the porch, obviously unemployed… smoking pot… but without being aware of his dangerous past. Despite that we kept up our friendly nature, wishing him well whenever we parked and walked up to our apartment.

As details begin to emerge, US media and the law need to dig out the different levels at which the US systems miserably failed us. As a nation that prides itself on providing security to its citizens, the US needs to answer why it allowed a human catastrophe to occur within a gated community. That the end result was not only a personal loss, a loss for Sindh but for the civilized world.

If only Ignorance had not been Bliss

Barely a month before the attack on him, Jawaid sat in his living room, blissfully unaware of the evil that was being plotted underneath our condo unit. After decades of hard struggle, the `American dream,’ of finding work in one city.. and supporting near and dear ones.. had become a reality. The tranquility on his face was emblematic of the kindness in his heart and the good which he searched in every human being.