Salma Batool has sent this exclusive post for PTH. Readers’ comments will be appreciated.
I recently came across a news report on a TV channel showing members of national assembly. The report revealed that the members took more care of their wardrobe and accessories before coming to the assembly than preparation for the session itself. It was shocking and appalling to see these MNAs and MPs openly and shamelessly brag on about how much money their dresses cost which they wore during the assembly sessions. There were others who informed the public proudly that whenever they go abroad they are on a look out for the latest accessories. It is indeed sad that we voted for such pathetic representatives. The amount spent frivolously by them can easily provide the basic necessities to a poor, ordinary man and his family in Pakistan. The ordinary man in Pakistan is struggling for basic needs yet our leaders do not care. Our leaders are too busy in blaming each other or past governments for the economic, social and political downfall of the country.
Then there is excessive load-shedding, scarce clean water, inflation and corruption. There is no day that really ends on a happy note in Pakistan. Day in and day out, we see sectarian violence, endless target killings in Karachi, hate campaigns against minorities, poor families committing suicide, deplorable government officials with fake degrees and our Justices’ failure in taking notice of really critical incidents who might instead be busy putting ban on websites.
Every day the media outlets propagate their agenda to the muted public who blindly believe everything they see on their TV screens. Last May a tragedy struck Lahore’s Ahmadiyya community, this month it was the turn of devotees at Data Darbar. We see our news channels in a race to covering these events live and competing furiously with each other in providing ‘better’ coverage. With ethics going down the drain in the electronic media, every channel proudly shows its exclusive footage to the awam (public). While their coverage was indeed efficient, at a critical incident like the attack on Ahmadis, these TV anchors choose injudicious words like ‘Ibadat gah’ and ‘Halak’ instead of ‘Masjid’ and ‘Shaheed’. Thus our media carefully choose legally correct but morally abominable words for the killed Ahmadis. As for the victims of the brutal Data Darbar, the TV channels used the better terminology of ‘Shaheed’ but trivialized the tragedy by showing attack footage with music. Furthermore, the business sense at the TV channels got them so carried away that they did not refrain from telecasting advertisements while reporting death of the innocent and mayhem. Last time I checked, we had an enlightened and responsible media!
Moving on to our advertising sector which is busy doing its business very religiously. Even at a time when people are committing suicide, we see a plethora of Telecom companies boasting about free minutes, lowest call rates and amazing prizes for the ones with the maximum phone usage. If they have so much money then why don’t they just distribute some money to the really poor and needy instead of profiting from people’s misery?
Then we have a brigade of Mullahs who are adamant that they are the patent-holders of Islam just like Coca Cola possesses its own brand. They grow long unruly beards, wear ‘Onchi shalwars’, impose their version of Islam on others and make decisions on who is worthy of being called a Muslim. They then pick on their favorite choice of Kafirs: Ahmadis or Shias or the visitors to shrines like Data Darbar. Taking out rallies and protests, they burn tires and blame the world for Pakistan’s problems where in reality they are the main culprits contributing to the country’s downfall.
Followed closely by the bigoted clergy are our government officials and public who meekly accept these mullahs’s propaganda which is based on half truths or full lies. The mullahs have always been a strong lobby in political circles and to date they are exploiting the political leaders and the public at large for their own vested interests. The kind of attention given by government officials after the demands of religious parties is very ironic. It took a heinous attack on the Data Darbar to get the government into some sort of action against perpetrators – at least in name – by banning already proscribed religious outfits. That our government is so easily influenced by mullahs is deplorable. They fear the wrath of mullahs more than the wrath of the Creator of this world.
It is high time that the government and people of Pakistan rise above petty differences and stop paying heed to those whose sole purpose in life is to incite intolerance and hatred. Religion is between God and His creation. And politics must be for the betterment of humanity and not for self-aggrandizement and electioneering. All our energy and resources that are so easily wasted in futile efforts can be utilized in making Pakistan an enlightened and prosperous nation. Wake up Pakistan!