Light Within

Making sense of Social Media

Surviving Gates of Multan

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One of the oldest living cities in the world, Multan is a significant example of old Islamic urbanization. While many historic Islamic cities have lost much of their original character during the twentieth century, Multan has survived remarkably intact, retaining the classic form of the medieval city encircled by its rampart and gateways. It is the entire urban fabric of the place that is historic.

Inside the walled portion -- archetypal form of old town -- one can still see beautiful bay windows with intricately moulded 'jharokas' in narrow streets or delicate brick work with geometric patterns and tile friezes on the facades of havelis. Meanwhile, modern Multan has expanded in all directions covering over 28 square kilometres of area. And with modernism have come related difficulties. "Problems like overflowing sewerage and a broken down water supply system, encroachments and pollution are taken as hazards of urbanization or attributed to lack of funds," says a resident of Gulgast colony.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, October 24, 2020, ,

Shifting Sher Garh

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An old sleepy and dusty village Sher Garh lies about 20 minutes drive away from Renala Khurd (Okara). The coins found at Sher Garh prove that the place was inhabited at the time of Kushan dynasty. Though “the name Sher Garh was given by the Governor of Molten, Faith Jang Khan after the name of Afghan King Sher Shah Sure,” wrote Abbas Khan Sarauni in his book Tarikh Sher Shah Suri.

On the old bank of River Beas, it is a typical Pakistani village where farmers live like rustics in the face of urban attractions. Even the electricity and telephone are a recent phenomenon. But the village has never been out of limelight. Besides heritage conscious people from all over the world, the village is venerated by a large number of devotees. Reasons, a massive mud fort and mosque which were built in the period of Afghan Sher Shah Suri. And, it is the last resting place of Saint Muhammad Ibrahim Daud-e-Sani Kirmani Bandgi. If one wants to absorb the sense of history, Sher Garh is a place to visit. Director Syed Noor has set his film Chooriyan in the background of this village. One has to possess a sensibility shaped in granite not to be moved by the village of past age that has not changed much in last 400 years. In the periphery few van (salvadora) trees, may be as old as the village stand witness to the bygone era. The village is experienced changed due to awareness about various things and agricultural advancements but at a snail speed.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, October 23, 2020, ,

Tukia Mir Chakar Rind

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An old, sleepy and tranquil village Satghara lies about 80 kilometers from Lahore (20 minutes drive away from Okara) in the quiet backwaters of the Punjab. The coins found at Satghara prove that the place was inhabited at the time of the Kushan dynasty. The rule of Kushans was one of the most decisive periods in the history of the Subcontinent. At the height in the second century (A.D.), Kushans ruled from Oxus to Ganges and yet their influence spread beyond even these frontiers. On the southern bank of the Ravi, it is a typical Pakistani village where farmers live like rustics in the face of urban attractions. Though off the beaten track, it has never been out of limelight. Besides heritage conscious travelers from all over the world, Baloch leaders and contemporary historians visit the hamlet. Reasons: it is a "Tukia Nawab Chakar Ki" - last resting-place of Mir Chakar Rind. I see part of our history buried here whenever I have a look at it. And when I was stationed at Okara Cantt, I did it often.

As per one account, Mir Chakar Rind came to this village with seven families, hence the name. Another legend has it that the village was named Satghara because it was destroyed seven times by floods. Shah Abul Mo'ali, descendant of sixteenth century saint Muhammad Ibrahim Daud-e-Sani Bandgi in his book 'Maqamat-e-Daudi' maintains that Satghara was known by the same name even before the arrival of Mir Chakar Rind. In Baloch history, the sixteenth century was a very eventful period. Baloch fought series of wars amongst themselves. The result of these tribal conflicts not only caused large-scale bloodshed but also resulted in their mass migrations to the Punjab, Sindh and Gujrat (India).
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, October 22, 2020, ,

Corporate Blogging

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What I have learnt about corporate blogging is this: Online consumers in 2020 are not impressed simply by a professional looking website or a blog bash. A typical online shopper would do hours of research before making a purchase. Informed consumers want to read about what they are interested in, ask questions, get advice and more. None of this is possible on a simple website. A blog can do all of this.

A blog helps enormously in getting into the top search engine results. Why? Because blogs by their very nature are updated frequently, and search engines prefer fresh content. Search engines prefer sites which have a lot of incoming links. Blogs can get many more of these incoming links than regular websites because people are more likely to link to information (blogs) than commerce (website). Blogs as opposed to websites have a large and growing content. A clearly visible link from the blog to the main website is very effective form of advertising.

Remember the best type of advertising is one that isn't perceived by the customer as advertising.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, October 21, 2020, ,

Khanewal Junction

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Located near old Multan, Khanewal is comparatively a recently founded town. Its only claim to fame is that it is an important destination on the map of Pakistan Railways. Busy railway junction, railway workshop, pre stressed concrete sleeper factory and huge shunting yards have developed a sort of railway culture in this agricultural market town. National highway also passes the town but people mostly uses railways for travelling and transportation.

This area was a vast grazing land before the excavation of Lower Bari Doab Canal. As per the local lore, the grass from this land used to go as far as Burma during the Second World War.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, October 20, 2020, ,

Pleased in Pak Pattan

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Pakpattan - the name is enough to start the travelers, cautiously curious and devoted faithful dreaming. Already the magic words like sultans and saints are stirring in the head. Let your gaze slip over the dhaki - original citadel of Pakpattan - and the town will suddenly appear. The antiquity is its own message: the town is heritage, and heritage permeates the town.

Enter the once walled inner-city through one of the existing gates and you will find yourself in archetypal form of an ancient town - crooked and narrow streets, dense housing, intricate woodwork on Jharokas, bay windows and doors. So many historic cities have developed losing much of their original character in the process during modern times, but Pakpattan has survived remarkably in tact. It is the entire urban fabric of the place that is historic. Though, the major portion of the fortification wall has disappeared. At places, the wall has even been utilized as a part of the residences. Four gates (Shahedi, Rehimun, Abu and Mori) have survived out of six but they are all crumbling. Now extensive suburbs stretch from the foot of the wall all around. Thin red bricks from centuries old wall are seen used in the new houses all over the town. The portion of the settlement that sits on the mound can be compared with walled part of Multan City.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, October 19, 2020, ,

Local blog context

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Blogs initially started as archives for web links on the Internet. Users could place important links on blogs to be referred and read later. Overtime blogging has matured as a phenomenon and one can see meaningful and useful blogs on any subject online. Blogsphere has become a very strong voice; vibrant, living and ever growing.

Pakistan blogsphere (blogs about Pakistan by local bloggers and those bloggers who are living abroad) has created its own identity that is mostly political and or personal. Where personal blog create social harmony, well knit community and peace, political blogs add to the positive image we need so much, more so in online world. Given the strength of powerful international media and in the face negative content, there has always been a lack of local content. Thanks to able Pakistani bloggers that they are adding meaningful local content in their blogs and that contextual content not only answers some of what mostly ill informed foreign media says but also add to the positive image.

Need of the hour is that Pakistani bloggers (also Tweeps) come forward and play their role by adding more content that is based on facts and first hand information. You owe this to Pakistan. No?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, October 17, 2020, ,

Net results

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Computer and the Internet are fast becoming starting points for every work and lumber rooms for what people achieve with them. Any one can foresee that they are modern ways into the future. But the users are sometime intimidated by the sophisticated gadgets and openness of the Internet, hence they are not using them optimally.

It is the same all over the world when it comes to the scare of using computers and the Internet. BBC on the eve of UK National Computing Day reported Computeractive magazine survey and a research study by the Oxford Internet Institute both implying that users are scared of using computers and working on the Internet. Another recent Australian study also found that many people are afraid of their own computers.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, October 16, 2020, ,

Revisiting Abbottabad

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Located north of Islamabad, Abbottabad town is surrounded by lofty peaks and pine scented air. Among Pakistan's towns and cities, Abbottabad -- small, neat and clean in a spacious valley -- is a rarity. Apart from being famous for its educational institutions and Pakistan Military Academy, Abbottabad also serves as the gateway to some most stunning sites in Pakistan. While other hill stations are deserted during winter this place has visitors due to its bracing weather all year around. The town has beautiful gardens and tall, tree lined roads: splendid stretches of turf with plenty of room for polo, football, hockey and golf.


At 1,250 meters above sea level, Abbottabad lies below the lush pines of the Murree Hills. The importance of the town has been diminished a little after the completion of Karakorum highways because, in the past, the only track available to reach Karakorum was through Babusar pass, which could only be approached through Abbottabad. In spite of this development, it continues to be a transit town for those who want to venture to northern areas of Pakistan. Abbottabad is the junction point from where one can go to places like Hunza, Gilgit, Skardu and Indus Kohistan of the Karakorum Range. One can also reach Swat, Dir and Chitral of the Hindukush Range or can approach to Naran, Lake Saif-ul-Muluk, Shogran and Babusar Pass of the Himalayan Range. Neelum, Lipa and Jhelum Valleys are also connected through Abbottabad. It is where the hills start.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, October 15, 2020, ,

Indigenous Kelash culture

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Centuries old Kelash indigenous culture is at a greater risk today than any time in the past. Despite their remote location - landlocked in winters - last of the Kelash race is maintaining tenacious hold in district Chitral but is vulnerable to ravages of time and different pressures with external locus. The onslaughts are clearly eating at their open and nonchalant indigenous culture. Many have been forced to join the drift to the cities. But when asked what they want, their collective answer was simple: we want our old way of life. Which is why, pastoral Kelash have been able to keep some of their cultural traditions and identity so far.

Some historians and anthropologists think that the Kelash are descendants of Indo-Aryans who overran the region in the second millennium BC. The Kelash say they are from a place called Tsiam, though nobody is sure where that is. Commonly they are considered as descendants of Alexander from Macedon who came this way. Their warrior like forebears managed for centuries to keep everyone - including Tamerlane - at bay. In 1893, the British and Afghan governments agreed on a common border that cut right through Kafiristan dividing the community into two parts. Abdur Rahman who was then Amir of Afghanistan renamed Afghan Kafiristan as Nuristan - land of Light.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, October 14, 2020, ,

Changing Chitral

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{This is an old article} Picturesque Chitral town sits up in Pakistan's northwest district, walled in by the Hindu Kush range. During winters, the only way in is by air (weather permitting) as the two passes, the 3118-meter Lowari from Dir and the 3810-meter Shandur from the upper Gilgit Valley are closed to road traffic. The Fokker Friendships drone for 50 minutes and burst through clouds on decent to reveal on mountains covered with whitecaps and red tin roof houses.


This is Chitral. On the small airfield, the cold wind thrust you to shiver. The remoteness of the district has left it undeveloped in spite of grand natural beauty, hospitable people and ancient history. The town is a base camp for tourists, adventurers and researchers from across the world. And, people seem to be living there in peace.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, October 13, 2020, ,

Cloud Computing

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Cloud computing is the next big thing in the Information Technology (IT) development. The concept has come a long way since it first came on the scene in the late 1960s. Since then demand driven computing industry has started offering solutions rather than specific hardware and software to link together the complicated global infrastructure. Computing is turning into cloud computing it seems.

The “cloud” in metaphoric term “cloud computing” is a set of hardware, software, networks, storage, and interfaces that combine to deliver different features of computing as a service over the internet (either as separate components or as a composite platform) based on users’ demand. Simply put, cloud computing is a service through which everything from computing power to computing infrastructure, applications, business processes to personal collaboration can be delivered to users wherever and whenever they need.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, October 12, 2020, ,

Joy of being at Lahore School

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, October 10, 2020, ,

QR Code

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Hyperlinks are the strength of the internet, the primary building block of the web that ties reference points to useful content. Without these semantic connections, the internet can hardly serve as a global marketplace. Generally, hyperlinks live in browser windows on computers. Businesses and online marketers have always wanted to move hyperlinks offline where consumers could click them – QR (Quick Response) Code technology does just that. In today’s world of iPhones, iPads and other smart mobile gadgetry, this technology actually makes more sense than forcing the users to type in a link, no matter how short. As consumers take greater ownership of information and integrate technologies in real life, QR Codes continue to merge the real and virtual worlds.

Jump points to the internet, QR Codes can hold infinite amounts of information. Printed on any product, paper, billboard, manual or even a visiting card QR Codes allow consumers to quickly link them from the real world to rich web content via smart phones. QR Codes can be placed anywhere; giving marketers another groundbreaking outlet to their mobile customers’ base.

QR Codes (also called matrix codes, two-dimensional bar codes) have come a long way since they were first created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. Later, Microsoft offered a similar solution called Tag. The popularity of QR codes is on a fast growth trajectory and a study shows that ‘smart phone users scanning the QR codes to access products and services information has led to a measured 9.840 per cent year over year increase for the third quarter of 2011.’ In another study conducted to determine the growing usage of QR codes by ad agency MGH, 72 per cent of smart phone users indicated that they would be likely to recall an ad with a QR code. This growth opens new opportunities for businesses and marketers seeking to leverage the mobile web. The main advantages of the QR code are cost, simplicity and ease of implementation. QR codes provide no incremental cost to a business already printing or selling ads, and add quantifiable potential to mobile commerce.

Smart phone scan-able black and white squares are not yet seen in Pakistan. In local market, I raised the subject of QR codes among tech savvy entrepreneurs. Rafay Bin Ali, IT Operations Manage, Lading Solutions Interface says, “there is little question that like bar codes, QR Codes are going to be part of our reality and everyday life in the local market. Given the convenience, I believe they’ll soon be recognized as one of the best suited options to connect real world to the online world.”

If there is one thing that can be counted on in our technological future, it is that information will continue to become more widespread, available and relevant. The internet will expand from a network of computers to a network of everything, with interactivity pre-programmed into nearly every object we use. Seeing the popularity and availability of smart phones, businesses need to adopt QR Codes and offer smart phone scan-able content that offer true value to consumers. Behaviourally speaking, the mass scanning of QR codes will most certainly depend on the utility of what the QR codes hold for users. That is where marketing innovations come in. The catalyst for marketing success will ultimately lie in the creative ways implementation of codes. Give consumers an enriching experience, a reason (or incentive), and they are likely to follow.

It may take some time before businesses start offering scan-able objects for offline use, but the direct relationship between an object’s online persona and the offline consumers will ultimately lead to better marketing and business growth.

Also in Pakistan Today 

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, October 09, 2020, ,

Single and Looking

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While planning for life after retirement, great boxer Muhammad Ali Clay decided to write his reminiscences and announced well thought out plan to pen down his memoirs. "Will you write yourself," after verification of the celebrity's plans a keen journalist asked Clay. "It is very difficult to write about self," he added. "Yes. That is why I will write about myself because who else knows me better," spontaneously responded Clay.

Things have changed far too much too fast. Writing about self no more seems difficult in this digital age. Exploring unlimited cyber expanses these days one cannot move much without reading variety of profiles, personal ads and statements. Readers soon are lured (or need) to upload their own, exceptions apart. Glut of matching and dating Websites (it seems as if every one in the world is 'single' and 'looking' out there) encourage and offer guidelines to write and some social networking sites also provide descriptive questionnaires or fill in the blank forms asking users to select what is most appropriate options about their appearance, interests, age, activities, likes and dislikes and some time more intimate things. This is one of the biggest trends not only in youth trying to extend their social circles and grab some attention but also for many others. Sophists article reads, "Almost 150 million people visited online dating sites in the month of January alone."
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, October 08, 2020, ,

Shagufta Bano - Mano na Mano

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While doing interpretership (Russian Language) from National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, we were taken to different publishing houses. Having tea after the presentation at one of the publishing houses, we got a chance to talk informally to the wonderful people there.

While talking with Dr. Farahat Naqi – the owner and brain behind the success of the concern – Dr. Shagufta Bano – one of my favorite teachers -- came under discussion. I believed and praised my teacher. Dr. Naqvi listened to my discourse for some time and finally raised his hands and said, “Please stop. Stop! I know her more than you do because she is my wife for last 30 years.”

I can’t caption this! Can you?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, October 07, 2020, ,

Mishri Mor

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I have been passing from Mishri Mor (called 8 RD) all my life while going and coming home. This time Husain Qazi explored the hinterland and passed through Mishri Mor and he rwange me from there. That is what reminded me of this, hence this post. Husain! this is in your name.

While traveling off the beaten track, not only you travel in soot free and serene environment but you explore new vistas too. Interesting things come in the way, which normally remain hidden from common commuters in the area. The journey on the byways embraces you with lovely colors, atmosphere, people and bits and pieces of history. And, there is no hassle anywhere in the way.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, October 06, 2020, ,

Powerful Paradigm

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There is a statue in a square of Rotterdam. This effigy has been carved out of stone. It is a human looking up into the sky, as if trying to stop what is coming down with his hands raised and there is a hole where his heart should be. Disproportionate, parts of the figure are not at the right places nor are seemingly fitting in the scheme of sculpture – neck is not exactly in the centre of the shoulders and is sticking out, elbows are at a little distance from arms. Similarly, legs, ankles, feet, stomach and chest all seem out of place. Seeing the sculpture from a distance gives an impression that it will wither away with the wind.

This Artwork was put on display in Rotterdam in 1951. Reflection of thoughts of sculptor Ossip Zadkine, thinkers of the city as well as the municipality, this statue was erected here after the World War II to commemorate bombing and burning down of the city.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, October 06, 2020, ,

Every Rose Has Its Thorns

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While most of my friends were having a great weekend, I was taking a trip to explore the lush green plains of Punjab, riding my trusted old motorbike on Band Patri (track along the bank) of Lower Bari Doab Canal (LBDC). Many new and interesting things came in the way, which normally remain hidden from commuters on the National Highway or travellers in the area. The countryside embraces you with lovely colours, atmosphere, people and bits and pieces of history. And, there is no hassle anywhere in the way.

As spring approaches, the traveller, especially in the irrigated tracts, ride through endless expanses of waving crops of different shades of colour, out of which the villages seem to rise like islets in an ocean of green.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, October 03, 2020, ,

Migratory Birds

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Pakistan receives a large number of migratory birds from Europe and Central Asian States every year. These birds spend the winters in Pakistan and go back to their native habitats in the summers. The route these birds take from Siberia to Pakistan is known as International Migratory Birds' Route Number 4. It is also called the Green Route or Indus Flyway. Out of seven flyways, Indus Flyway is one of the busiest routes. Birds begin their journey in November. February is the peak time and by March they start flying back. These periods may vary depending upon weather conditions in Siberia and in Pakistan.



Birds' migration is of different forms: diurnal (during day), nocturnal (night flights), altitudinal (from heights to lower parts) and latitudinal (from north to south). One of the reasons for migration is that food is not available in indigenous habitats during winter seasons. Other factors include changes in temperature, reduced daylight hours, and instinctive behaviour.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, October 02, 2020, ,

Chill out at Chillas

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In northern Pakistan, Chilas - a small town - was once an important crossroads on the ancient trading route taken by travellers like Marco Polo. A jeep track leads from Chilas over the Babusar Pass to the Kaghan Valley. Until the opening of Karakorum Highway (KKH) this track was the main route to the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Going still is tough on the route that is passable only in the summers. We decided to take this track when I took the trip in May with my comrades, which started from Shinkiari.

Before leaving Chilas, visit to the famous inscriptions on the rocks is a must. Ancient inscriptions around Chilas date back in a period around first century BC. The most interesting thematic inscriptions are itched onto the faces of rocks between the KKH and the Indus River below Chilas town. One of the most interesting rock drawings we saw depicts two figures dressed in robes -- presumably Buddhist monks -- approaching a stupa in order to worship. The larger figure with a shaven head is carrying some sort of offering. The stupa to which theoffering is being made consists of a rectangular foundation with a ladder leading up to the path for circumambulation, which is surrounded by a railing. The dome of the stupa is decorated with a zigzag line, may be indicating a garland, and is surmounted by a small rectangular shrine and a vertical shaft with three horizontal discs. The architectural and stylistic features of this stupa drawing are similar to those of stupas found in the Swat Valley and other parts of ancient Gandhara in north-western Pakistan. Above the human figure making an offer and to the left of the dome of the stupa is a drawing of a single pillar with a capital (apparently a wild goat or ibex, which is the most common animal in rock drawings in the area) on a rectangular platform.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, October 01, 2020, ,

Dolls, Toys and More

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Free download Dolls, Toys and More - eBook by S A J Shirazi

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, October 01, 2020, ,


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