Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pakistan Media Going Silent Over The Swat Issue

Pakistani media is in a strong grip of fear of Taleban.Meher Bukhari,a spectacular and courageous Talk Show host, recieved death threats just because she had guts to speak out against the inhumanity of Taleban.Today another Talk Show host,Nadia Jameel,invited two people from the fashion fraternity as guests on show.One thing lead to another and the guests started to heavily speak out against Taleban activity and even Saudi Arab,for we all are aware of the Wahabbism(a strict form of Islam)that has been exported to Pakistan from there,through the Saudi funded Madrassahs.
Khwaja Rafiq,a politician,while the two guests on Nadia Jameel's show(Jaago Dunya) were speking against Taleban,called in and criticised them for criticising Taleban.We all know why he would do so.The government,while endorsing freedom of expression,doesntwant the the world to take any action which might anger Taleban.What has really angered me is that our media,which has for quite some time,has been ranting about free media,is either totally silent or becomes silent about the issues,after the death threats,concerning Swat.I do understand that Taleban pose a great threat to Pakistan's existence and we are nobodys,which makes us more vulnerable to their attacks and threats.But if we are to keep quite,who will speak for the oppressed?Who will speak about the women's inhumane treatment?Who will criticize barbaric laws?
Aasma Jehangir has faded from the scene,after just one peace rally.I saw a PML(N),Pakistan Muslim League(N) Party,member tell the host of one of shows concerning Swat, that this what the people of Swat want.If democracy means the 'rule of people',then why are we trying to take to take away the rule of people and fight against what they have chosen? I will tell you why.Because women are inhumanely treated.Because Taleban have killed the voices of dissent.Rehman Baba's shrine was bombed by the student of one of the Saudi funded Madrassahs because according to them it was 'un-Islamic' to visit the shrines of Saints.Although it happened before the peace agreement,it will surely happen in future,because today Sufi Muhammad,from the Taleban section,has told the world that because Asif Zardari hasnt signed the agreement yet,while Taleban have,the agreement has been broken.Great.Now they,when they have spread the feart among the Swat's people,hey have openly gone against the government.This means that no they can forcibly make Swat's people act against the government.
The fact that I cant openly condemn Taleban activity without using a pseudonym is a testimony to the fact that if strict actions are not taken by the government against the Taleban,we will all have to,due to being forced,put on Hijabs,grow 8 inches long beards,wear shalwar above our ankles and stop listening to music,and the list goes on.
A few weeks backs I saw the cover of one of the issues of NewsWeek,which proclaimed Pakistan,and not Iraq,as the most dangerous country in the world.I felt unhappy and angry,thinking 'what do these whites know how the Secular Islamabad and Karachi are.What do they know how normal the life is here,and that its not wat they say in the Indian and Western press'.But unfortunately I have to concede this fact today,with a heavy heart,that even I have started to see my country as an Alien Land.Media's suppression,and its docile dehaviour towards the death threats of Taleban have deeply grieved and angered me.Is Pakistan really going to collapse within 6 months?If that is the case,where are our Human Rights Activists?Our Political Activists?Our lawyers,who brvaely fought for Iftikhar Choudhary?Are they not concerned about their sisters and brothers in Swat?Where is the justice they ever fought for?We are being told that atleast children are going to school.Atleast bussinesses have started.Atleast people have,relatively,move freely.Great!Settle for the lesser evil than the eradicating the evil altogether.Silly people these anti-Nizam-E-Adl people are.What do they know!So what if Chand Bibi has been lashed in front of so many people?! We will question the video of Chand Bibi's lashing much more critically than we have ever questioned our President Zardari's controversial decisions,and his trips abroad.We will wait till more Chand Bibis are lashed out ,and that too only if they are cuaght on videos,when being lashed.Otherwise we'll never concede that misogyny exists in Swat! We will wait till Taleban are well established in Karachi,Lahore,Islamabad.We will wait till Nizam-E-Adl is imposed on the whole of Pakistan.And then only we will think about taking any action.
You cant blame Pakistani media as well.Poor people have to feed their families and look after their own lives.Besides even if they die,its only going to make little difference,I guess.But I ask:Isnt there a single human being who has guts to speak against the system?Not from our wealthy elite class?Not from Pakistani expatriates living abroad?These people can afford more security than which was provided to Sri Lankan team.
What has really surprised me is that only some of the Karachites have spoken out against the Taleban.And Nadia Khan,another host,because she is far away from the stronghold of Taleban,in Dubai.
I do understand the less and less critique of Taleban.But we cant let history repeat Afghan tragedy in Pakistan.Before it goes too far(as if it already hasnt,huh?)We must take actions.But these actions cant come from the general public of middle and lower class,but from the elite ones.Its now or never.We either eradiate their ideology or they eradicate ours.


  1. I've not been tracking the Pakistani media, but if what you are saying is true, it's really the most unfortunate thing that can happen. At least the media of Pakistan should make some good use of their freedom when their country needs them the most. I'm also surpised at the silence of the expatriate Pakistani community.. strange indeded.

  2. "It's now or never."

    It is going to be.....never.

  3. Nipun,
    I am not saying that pakistani media has gone totally silent.But that they are asking the most stupid questions ever,not daring to ask or even condemn Taliban because of the death threats.Atleast thats what is my perception of it.I can be wrong,but only a handful,a number which can be counted on fingers,of anchors and media personalities have openly condemned them.Even now I am having trouble recalling the name of more than two or three people.Other than that its only private NGOs and individuals doing the job.But then what is the use of a free media if it doesnt serve as a medium to condemn inhumanity?

  4. Tor Hershman,

    "It's now or never."

    It going to be NOW! trust me.


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