‘Dear media…’ – 24 Dec 2022

THE people of Pakistan are confused. Confused with Supreme Court judgements that they don’t understand, and they don’t understand how they are related to politics. And that is because they are all about Article ‘abc’, sub-article ‘xyz’, and they can’t connect them to the political situation.

They are also confused because of a number of terms that are used in the political discourse, such as ‘Mir Jafar’ and ‘Mir Sadiq’. Then there are Islamic terms that people like and have often heard of but have never been told how they apply to the Pakistan situation. These terms are ‘amar bil maroof’ and ‘riyasat-i-Madina’. Everyone is free to interpret these as they like, since no interpretation or meaning has been assigned to them.

Then there is the question of ‘sadiq-o-ameen’. Who has the right to declare anyone ‘sadiq’ and ‘ameen’ and what does it mean? Our leaders’ personal lives and the corruption they represent have no relationship to ‘sadiq’ or ‘ameen’. There is also a question of misrepresenting history. Imran Khan is a great admirer of the Western legal system and he has explained that to the people of Pakistan. However, his explanation as well as his views on Indian history are historically incorrect.

However, in this rhetoric of hate, accusations, lies and corruption, the people of Pakistan have understood a few things. They know what Avenfield flats and Surrey mansions are, and what off-shore accounts mean. They also know that their leaders are fabulously rich and that their money has been made in Pakistan and used for building overseas empires. They also know that conditions are getting progressively worse. Courts cannot give justice so you get it through the murder of your opponents and through informal systems, which are expensive and also untrustworthy. There is a saying that ‘being listened to is half of justice’. In Pakistan, there is no one to listen to you. In addition, there is no international news which tells us anything about global conflicts which have a bearing on Pakistan’s economy or foreign policy. It seems that there is a plan to keep the people of Pakistan isolated from the rest of the world.

There’s no news of issues that bother Pakistanis apart from the economy.

But then, there is also no news about issues that bother all Pakistanis apart from the economy. People disappear; the people of Pakistan don’t know why they disappear, where they disappear to, what happens to them during their disappearance, and what sort of lives they live afterwards — and that too, if they come back. These are taboo subjects. Before, disappearance was big news; now, it is hidden away in small print on the inside pages of newspapers and is almost non-existent on the electronic media.

Similarly, our security forces die at the hands of terrorists almost every single day. We would like to know who these terrorists are, why they kill our security forces, and above all, what is the relationship between them and the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. No one tells us this.

But the story doesn’t end here. There are other issues as well. The first is that rapes in the country have multiplied in geometric progression. So have fires in factories and buildings. Road accidents kill thousands of people every year, including entire families. Gun battles over possession of land are increasing.

All these are reported as incidents but the causes for this are related to governance, ignorance of laws, the existence and promotion of laissez faire, and absence of community organisation and dialogue with local governments. It is strange that these incidents are reported but there is no sustained discussion on why they take place and how they can be remedied.

We are told that rapes take place because of women wearing the wrong clothing, a sexually frustrated society, the absence of parental control. But some of the real reasons, of which mental disability is one, are rarely discussed, and we do not know why this trend is increasing. Buildings and walls all over Pakistan collapse, killing people, and every year urban flooding at the same spot damages homes and takes lives but the causes of it are not discussed either.

It is high time that our intellectuals, academia and media start talking to us about the reasons for all that I have mentioned above. It is possible that our anchors are not educated enough to talk about the causes or remedies, in which case we should call people who know about them to their shows. There has to be a change from politicians cursing each other and anchors repeating themselves again and again. This only helps in promoting an uneducated society. Dear media, can you also please be our teachers?

The writer is an architect.
arifhasan37@gmail.com
www.arifhasan.org

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