Confronting Wrong numbers?

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It was New Year eve a friend had come over from Islamabad, after high tea we decided to hit the cinema just to kill time before he left for home.

Three hours later i had this perturbing question hovering over my mind:
“Are we brave enough to tackle wrong numbers? ”

Taking a cue out of the awe aspiring didactic bollywood Blockbuster PK that puts superstition harboring God-men to the sword; i am pin pointing to the mullahs spewing hate on tv in Pakistan. The vitriol injected by Amir Liaqat Hussain and his toady clerics in a private tv show virtually snowballed into the murder of an Ahmadi in Gujranwala the very next day, but i reckon that’s business as usual for it was conveniently put under the mat.

I need to clear the air before crossing the thin red line that neither am i an Islam bashing ultra liberal nor a pseudo secular in search of limelight or a raw agent with nefarious agenda up my sleeves.

Recently Civil society showed maturity and chutzpah by protesting against maulana Abdul Aziz outside the red mosque in the wake of the grisly Peshawar attack, though some thought it was an ephemeral catharsis on part of a few bold people who took to the streets in the Capital. I believe the short lived demonstration created a few ripples in status quo where fighting against the religious cult is an exercise in futility as unfortunately social media (which has a limited scope) seems to be the only battle turf to tackle the religious fascists.

Take the case of the christian couple that was cold-bloodedly thrown in the kiln in bright daylight on false allegation of blasphemy by a bunch of demented maniacs but despite all the clamour on social media the ailing justice system has yet again disappointed by resorting to delaying tactics before giving a verdict over a case that is as clear as a may’s morning.

I hope that peshawar attack becomes the water shed moment. Though paradoxically 43 years ago the same day (16th december) should been the critical juncture for us to come of age as a nation when the country was dismembered, rather we went back a few steps attributing to the pyrotechnics and shenanigans of Mr. Bhutto and Zia, which are now of part of history books to take heed. Eventually in 1997 Nawaz Sharif government hit the last nail in coffin by recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Though Musharaff and general Kiyani coped their share of flak for not curbing the dirty game of good cop and bad cop played with talibans under their noses in post 911 Pakistan, yet I would laud Perveiz Musharaff for taking pivotal decision regarding operation silence on the red mosque which quizzically backfired.

I reckon it backfired because we ‘the awaam’ badly miscalculated the ambitions of the operation that was meant to quell the fundamentalists, who had taken refuge inside, without desecrating the sanctity of Mosque or islamic values.

I vividly remember during the days of operation silence i was staying in hostel of Pakistan’s premier business school pursuing my MBA degree, with the so called liberal student body. Witnessing live telecast of operation in the hostel’s lounge it was manifested by the reaction of some of my mates that religious jingoism had got the better of national interests as many questioned the morality of the operation on a mosque, without delving into the crux of the matter.

Rationally scrutinised, It is evident that the fundos inside abducted ladies on account of debauchery and misdeeds, i wonder what yardstick or divine authority they had to punish someone on basis of morality? maybe Zia Ul Haq’s ghost had permitted them, i can’t fathom. Just to set the record straight they even used burqa clad women as shields and failed to relent even on the intervention of imam of Kaba, who flew all the way from mecca.

Peshawar incident is an eye opener. Its high time that those who still believe that Malala is a CIA backed educational drone or a jewish conspiracy and the attack on her was a set up should put their malices to rest now.

#Neverforget hash tag would only embelish our twitter profiles if we do not translate it into a meaningful movement on grass root level and become bold enough to call spade a spade and understand the true teachings of islam ourselves rather than permitting the mullahs to set the religious doctrine and carve a narrative for our coming generation to follow.

Before it is too late let’s awaken the PK inside us( that is so alien to the prevailing narrative in the country) and start questioning the authority of hate-mongering religious bigots having wrong numbers.

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Express network’s latest hire : The unholy Cash cow!

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Dear express media group,

I want to express my grave concern over the hiring of Dr. Amir Liaqat Hussain as president and head of religious affair programs at your august Organization. I bring this up not as a distraught audience but as a proponent of minority rights as well.

My views are resonated by many a cognizant tweeple across the board.
Jibran nasir tweeted:

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Whereas Nadeem paracha chirped in his signature sarcastic tone:

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On commercial grounds ostensibly it seems a good deal for both parties ( the express media group and Amir Liaqat) in reinstating him for a second stint, since he is known for his shenanigans of commodifying the holy month of Ramadan. Where as on the mere basis of merit i don’t think any channel should have given him a chance to host during ramadan in order to uphold the sanctity of the holy month.

With the cat already out of the bag as far as Geo tv is concerned, i don’t think there is any doubt left as to how instrumental Dr. Amir Liaqat was in positively leading the religious mind set on media screen during his tenure at Geo. Rather than developing a sense of unity amongst various sect, he created more fissures. In the past He has spread venom against minorities. In one of his religious programs his vitriol ( fatwa against ahmadis) led to the murder of members of the minority community in interior Sindh. Eventually the top echeloen at Geo (Imran Aslam) had to apologise in public for his naivety.

Not only his indifference towards minorities coupled with his antics on tv screen (which entails poor impersonation of SRK) are repressible, infact his sincerity and loyalty towards his own Organization are highly dubious as well. Finding an opportune moment, Amir Liaqat ditched Geo tv in troubled times to mint money during Ramadan through another channel.

But the onus lies onExpress tv as well.

As if there was no better professional administrator or a religious scholar of higher pedigree left in Pakistan that recruiters at Express media group opted for him. As an outsider i see the hiring of a controversial figure like Amir Liaqat Hussain at Express tv as a blotch on the channels’ otherwise enviable reputation. One wonders if monetary benefits, ratings and ROI are the key indicators in hiring procedure of our media groups. Having an abysmal loyality quotient, it is highly likely that the Doc will say Adieus to his new found employer, when the going will get tough for the channel.

Even his administrative and managerial expertise were found wanting at Geo where anti army invective was broadcast live for hours but he didn’t intervene to stop that media howler carried out by his Geo management.

In hindsight It seems as if local media industry has not learned any lessons from the recent Geo episode that led various electronic media outlets into a fit of cannabalism. I can vividly recall that when Geo hired the Doc for the second tenure, a handful of conscientious journalists and anchors voiced their reservations. Sana Bucha for one did resign in protest.

For the moment though It seems as if Express TV is taking full leverage of the fact that doctor Amir Liaqat is amongst 500 most influential muslims across the world and exploiting it wonderfully as a marketing gimmick to their advantage.

Looking forward, One can only hope that in order to safeguard its brand equity and goodwill Express Media group will rein the doctor in, so that he doesn’t make mockery of religious norms in coming Ramadan by turning religious programs into Neelam Ghar and animal circus.

Yours sincerely,
A distraught viewer

Face off with the Doctor!

I thought twice before writing this piece (initially considered dumping it) but my innate desire to identify the fallacy in the system got the better of me.

Despite all my efforts, i could not ignore him– yeah, you got it right, i am talking about ‘the doctor’.

A few days back Geo tv host, Dr. Amir lost his temper for once over yet another ‘Amir Liaqat Hussain brand bashing’ article. The article titled “Mudaari”, which means juggler, was published in the Daily Ummat by a random journalist, Ziauddin khan. Its transcript is as follows:

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Now lets hear doctor sahib’s repartee to the article, which he brought to the fore during his immensely popular tv show, kindly go through this video:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x12dhqb_aamirliaquat-response-to-ummat-in-amaan-ramazan-27-7-2013_news?search_algo=2

This by no means, was a mere riposte but an undercurrent of a brewing storm, looking at his previous shenanigans. He smartly postulated a self created hypothesis out of the article, that is dangerous to say the least.

First and foremost tactic that he deployed was to brace himself with nuance by misconstruing the complete context of the article, in an attempt to incite anger amongst the audience.

It reminded me of Karl Marx’s famous quote in german, the interpretation of which is :

“religion is the opium of the masses”.

In a country like Pakistan with a high illiteracy rate that holds true to a large extent.
Now if you tell your audience in a tv show, whose market positioning as a religious program is questionable having seen singers and comedians perform, that someone has written a slanderous note against Islam in a tabloid it would suffice in fraying tempers and engendering hate amongst the crowd.

There is no denying the fact that he has a sizeable following, whom he either incite or imbue with a sense of mission is your own call to interpret. I think the onus lies on the people to a large extent, when it comes to opting their leaders. Islam advocates that you ponder deeply into the reality yourself, rather than following someone blindly.

Why don’t we have strict laws to rein in those who propagate hate by concocting controversies they want to hatch. unfortunately, being a religious scholar is considered a luxury in our country, no one can question your intentions as if you have landed in this world with a no objection certificate. If at all someone tries to rectify the fallacy, then a web of conspiracies is weaved against him in order to marginalise him from the mainstream strata.

We have short memories. Especially where so many sectarian mishaps befall every day it is difficult to exactly remember one. I don’t think many people would recall the tv show where the aforementioned host sparked hate against Ahmadis. Which consequently triggered targeted killing of Ahmadis.

Hence it behooves on any person not to create rift in an already fragmented society through their incisive words especially when they are at a pedestal to form opinions.

My humble plea to Amir Liaqat Husain would be:

“Doctor sahib please don’t try to issue a fatwa against poor journalist, Ziauddin khan by giving an impression as if he has desecrated the sanctity of the holy month of ramadan. You can’t stop people from commenting on your demeanour as you are in a responsible position that entails accountability. You can’t afford further recklessness since you already have blood on your hands for propagating hateful speeches in public forum against a peaceful minority.”

Sana Bucha has apparently left the giant media group in protest against Dr. Amir Liaqat Hussain’s reinstatement. I guess letting go off Sana won’t hurt Geo but disposing off Amir would be a cause of concern — after all he is the ‘shooting star’ for them in the BCG matrix.

I believe it is high time when Geo network starts applying ‘Geo Asool’ and ‘Zara Sochiye’ campaigns with letter and spirit on itself as well, rather than using them as attention grabbing media gimmicks.