Accountability

There is a race in Pakistani media scene. Everyone wants to break the news first and channels go to the extent of claiming that it was them who broke the news first! Isn’t it strange that the media warfare has left the people of this country handicapped and mentally ill. Rather than making them more aware, they are more unaware of the situation even then consider themselves to be well informed! I’m talking about the “fake” Swat flogging video! I remember the day when the video was aired, it was Friday and since it was Friday and I had to pray after coming from university and then I went to sleep after lunch only to be awaken by an sms that said a lot of bad stuff about the flogging and the Swat administration and the people being inhumane who were doing that! Fortunately or unfortunately, I didn’t see the video till after sometime. Back at university, when N.A. and Salwa and I were sitting together, we were thinking the same thing, how can it be that no investigation had been done before the video was aired by all the TV channels. The video was repeated shown again and again and again! Anyhow, I remember posting something here regarding the video being fake! Now there are reports that it was actually fake!

Now have the tv channels, who aired the video soo much as to make the world believe that whatever that they are showing is true, repeatedly apologized to the people of this country again, and again and again for not verifying the video before airing it! “sach ki lagan”, “har khabar per nazar”, “geo aur geene do”, don’t they feel any accountability or responsibility of airing the video with so much rush as to avoid one of the most basic principles of media where one has to investigate and verify the authenticity of a news item before airing it! The leaders, political administrators and the military, everyone just jumped to conclusions without thinking for once if this is duly investigated! If there was such an incident or not?! This is what you call spreading AWARENESS or is this what you call brainwashing the people and running propaganda factories?

Propaganda factories are working yet effectively to dismantle the thinking abilities of the nation once again! Since the stupid Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik thing has been going on, all the news channels just show that, the ministers are talking about it, the youth is taking about it. Not having a TV, my husband watches news on internet and for two weeks all we heard was about Sania and Shoaib as if there has been no other news out there. Millions of people are suffering in Pakistan, operation Raah-e-Raast, drone attacks, suicide bombs and Dr. Afia’s upcoming hearing and the final verdict, and all this so-called awareness-spreading-media could highlight was two people getting married?

This is what we have come to! No one’s going to say anything to anyone, do whatever you do and you’d go free until or unless it is in the best interest of “some” agencies or “some” people and “some” countries.  This is just like Orwell’s 1984, the masses are fed so much of this propaganda that they seem to have lost their own insight into things and they believe whatever that media wants them to believe! hadd hai!

The News

So you switch on the television and you stare at the screen, you frown and you listen to the same people everyday, telling you the same thing every day on every channel. Everyday. The same talkshows, talking about the same NRO, Kerry Lugar Bill and the same debate whether BlackWater is in Pakistan or not. The same story over and over again. The same leaders denying everything, the same party people saying that we are not involved in corruption and the same anchorpersons asking the same question. It’s like a de ja vu. The debates start, the commercials interrupt and finally it’s time to say good-bye without any result or any solid answer. The general public is frustrated, tired and disheartened. These people have driven us to our limits!

At times I wonder if media is actually spreading awareness or is it making people insensitive to all these issues.  Because to be very honest, no matter how pressing these matters are, and I know how sensitive these issues are, and I know the future of Pakistan depend upon them, I don’t want to listen to all these people talking about it.  Do you?

 

Oxymoron?! Paradox?! Juxtaposition?! or just LIES?!

Ha Ha! Now and then you find something or the other in the newspapers to which you laugh your lungs out or just at times you smile sarcastically as if saying,” Who are they kidding? Themselves?!” Unfortunately most of us fail to see the whole picture and just rely on news…

Back to where I was. In today’s Dawn, right on the front page there are two pieces attatched one below the other. The headlines were soo paradoxical that one might wonder if the President actually knows the ground realities… Just sad. So in very literary terms, we can call it oxymoron, or paradox, but since it is a newspaper and we would just stick to layman’s terms, so we’d just call it safaid jhoot!

Anyway the 1st headline says:

Drone mows down 28 in S. Waziristan

And right below that, the second headline says :

Taliban trying to take over state: Zardari

So yeah, the drones are not killing Pakistani civillians, they are not killing women and children. You actually feel the bitterness in your throat…

Campus Security

On Monday, following a clash between two student political groups, Silver Jubilee gate was closed as always. The staff, students or the teachers, who come via their own cars use other gates to get out of the premises as a rule. But a professor from the applied Chemistry department tried going out from the Silver Jubilee gate and had a clash with the rangers which resulted in a plaster on the arm of the professor and a fractured finger of one of the rangers. The whole issue has been propagated soo much that the teachers and journalist are now trying to get rid of Rangers from the university premises.

Now the inside news, which we accidentally got access to, is that the Professor is politically inclined and this might be the agenda of some forces working behind him that could lead the student affairs to disaster. This would definitely lead to making the campus as it was during the nineties- battleground.

Karachi University, huge as it is, does face problems like gunpoint snatching of mobile phones, money and other crimes where the rangers are not to be seen. A couple of months back, a friend of mine was shown a gun by a dude, and he asked her to give her belongings to him. Luckily the Ranger’s Jeep was right behind the dude and my friend smiled at him and went away and he couldn’t do anything. What would be the plight of the female students or even male students(who do not have any political backing) if Rangers were removed?! The clashes do take place even when there are Rangers, but Rangers confine those to a particular area, not letting the political student groups go raving the whole university. So, Rangers-less-ness in KU would lead to chaos, heightened criminal activities and no security for students.

Rangers might have been wrong in doing whatever they did. Or this is what media propagated. But it should be settled in a different way not by removing them from the campus. More than 50% of the students attending KU are female, I wish they consider that before making any decision.

Maintaining the Standards

I stopped reading the papers after huge incidences that happened after Eid-ul-Fitr and the great Emergency. I guess I was trying to shut out the ramblings of the politicians and the army-men. Anyway, during my exams while I was having breakfast one fine Monday morning and was not in the mood of studying, I took up the newspaper wondering if something “interesting” was there. And to my surprise the whole newspaper had changed.

I took up Dawn’s Sunday Magazine because it was supposed to be the best part about the newspaper. But articles by Farid Paracha, the Swot articles and not to mention Aunty Agni thing shoved me to an early grave. I was appalled, flabbergasted and highly offended. What are these articles trying to imply?! OR better… What are these articles trying to propagate?!

I remember reading F.R. Leavis’ essay for the exam. The essay suggested that the literature and newspapers have sub-standardised in order to meet the mass civilisation’s demands rather keeping it’s standards for the few who actually have a good taste and higher intellect. So, the so-called elite or rather the western-ised minds of Pakistan has taken its lead in the same thing. Now they’re writing what they think is “light”,”interesting” and “funny” not realising that they are giving the youth a direction that would lead this country into chaos. We don’t want writers who can lull us to sleep. We don’t want writers who think “enjoying” life should be everything. We need writers like Naseem Hijazi, who can shake us up, who can wake us up from the deep slumber.

The English Speaking Class of Pakistan, which believes in the superiority of the Western Civilization and thought, have forgotten their own roots. English might be the need of time, but to rip ourselves from our own language, culture and roots have driven us into the labyrinth without a sense of direction. It’s a life where you follow the shadows, where you run after the crowd who are in the same state of hopelessness.

So, back to where I was. The Dawn newspaper has lost its vigour, life and decency. I’m not saying that I’ve a better taste. All I’m trying to say is we are a better nation. And we can do so much more than immitating the West in the most degraded things. We have better examples like Iqbal and Faiz. We need to set our standards high and help our mass civilisation to come upto that standard not the otherway round. The writers have a huge responsibilty and they should take the lead of guiding people in a better direction. This is the need of our times.