Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pakistan Media.

In Pakistan, news is something to control!


"Veengas has been visiting the Star for the past month as part of a U.S.-Pakistan program for professional journalists organized by the International Center for Journalists and funded by the U.S. State Department".

Information is like a bird. It can move here, there and anywhere. We live in an age where information travels so quickly, but in my country of Pakistan information is often stopped, its movement restricted by unseen hands.

In the United States, information is freely exchanged. That is often not the case in Pakistan, where I work as a journalist for a regional newspaper in my home province of Sindh and a freelance writer for a national English-language newspaper.

Media companies in Pakistan are privately owned, but not necessarily independent. The media - especially the national newspapers, television stations and radio stations - are heavily influenced by the elite establishment made up mostly of powerful families.

Pakistan has rare voices in the media that tell the truth, but not enough. Too many newspapers and TV shows ignore real issues and gloss over real problems.

I want to see Journalism in my country, not Jhoutism. (In Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, Jhout is the word for lie).

Feudal control

After Sept. 11, 2001, Pakistan became an important ally of the United States because it shares a border with Afghanistan. World Bank population data show that Pakistan had 177 million in 2009 - surely it now it has more. My province, Sindh, has faced waves of natural disasters for two years - recently 8 million people were left homeless by floods and rain.

Pakistan is an agricultural country. Freedom and rights are granted by the feudal lords, whose power exists not just in villages but in cities as well. Feudal lords own huge swaths of land and have several villages under their command.

There are lords of government and institutes, too. Pakistan's people have many problems, but the worst is extremism. It is like a black hole that sucks up people's freedom of thinking.

Pakistan is stuck where it was in the black era of the 1970s. Then, there were five provinces: Punjab, Bangal, NWFP, Balochistan and Sindh. Bangladesh was splitting off into its own country, and the Pakistani military rulers were trying to prevent news of the split. The people of the neighboring provinces didn't learn about it until it happened. They were shocked.

Controlling journalism in Pakistan is not new. Dictator General Zia ul Haq, who ruled from 1978 to 1988, banned newspapers. Some newspapers still published, but with blank pages when military censors demanded that certain stories not run.

Newspapers are free to publish again. But Pakistan is still a "controlled state" - journalism is still under the command of the establishment.


In my country journalism does not play the role it should. Some journalists promote their own views. National electronic and print media express one view and regional papers another.

Regional papers are more likely to speak out on issues, but some are labeled as agents of various groups. The elite pay more attention to the national media and tend to ignore information published in regional papers. Many publications do not publish stories critical of the establishment because if they do, the journalist might be threatened.

The national media were critical of Pakistan's two late Prime Ministers, Zulifkar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, who were considered to be liberal and secular. But they rarely criticized General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq or dictators who have done things to destroy the country.

In two separate incidents the Pakistani media chose not to speak out. In one, CIA contractor Raymond Davis shot two people in Lahore, a city in Punjab, but he said it was in self-defense. In the other, American troops killed Osama bin Laden. In both cases, the media seemed to believe that they could not speak out against the establishment - only against the United States.

Recently, the Pakistani media spoke up for Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist accused of grabbing a rifle and shooting at American soldiers while being questioned in Afghanistan. In a recent speech to Pakistan's parliament Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called her "the daughter of the nation" and said he would fight for her release. But the media do not say a word about Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death by hanging for blasphemy after a Muslim neighbor accused her of making derogatory comments against the Prophet Muhammad during an argument in 2009.

Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer spoke out against the blasphemy law, but some media interpreted his support as being against Islam. He was assassinated in January.

If media had reported the dispute more fairly, Salman Taseer might still be alive. Asia Bibi is still in prison and extremists in Pakistan want Salman Taseer's killer freed.

If Aafia Siddiqui is a daughter of Pakistan, is Asia Bibi not daughter of Pakistan as well?

Pakistan has two kinds of journalism: biased journalism, and dynasty or family supporters. I call it Uncles & Aunts Journalism, where relatives have places in journalism and are promoted by relatives. Common journalists are stuck in the middle.

Honest talk needed

I have still hope.

Extremists want Pakistan to be deaf, dumb and blind. But if we in the media don't let them, if we talk honestly about issues, then change will come.

In my country we need real journalism. Journalists are the ones who give information to society. A society wants "truth" and if we as journalists mold information, it doesn't remain the truth.

What do we need? Journalism or Jhoutism?

Unbiased journalism would better serve the people of Pakistan.

Published in Arizona Daily Star Newspaper on 10 October, 2011.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Martyred Benazir Bhutto.

اڙي موت...!
هي در تي ڪنهن ٺڪ ٺڪ ڪئي آ،
هينئر وري ايتري سانت ۽ ٿڌ ۾ ڪير آيو آهي؟
هر پاسي کان خاموشي ڇانيل،
اي دل تون زور سان نه ڌڙڪ،
هڪ ڀيرو ٻيهر در تي ٺڪ ٺڪ جو آواز ڏنو وڃي ٿو،
ٻاهر ڪير آ؟
سانت ۽ ٿڌي تيز هوائين کانسواءِ ڪجهه به ناهي پوءِ به هي ٻاهر ڪير آيو آهي؟
پر هيل ٺڪ ٺڪ عجيب آهي،
ڇا هي ٺڪ ٺڪ موت جي آهي؟
اندر مان آواز اچي ٿو،
اُٿي در کولي ڏس! ٻه پير اڳتي ڪر، ٻڌ ۽ ڏس،
ته هيل موت جي پيغام ۾ ڪير آهي؟
هن ويل در تي آيل دستڪ،
وري ڪنهن کي ڇنيو آهي؟
اي دل! ائين نه چئه،
اڙي موت هتان هليو وڃ ... هليو وڃ ...!
بس ڪر !
ڪنهن پاسي کان آواز اچي ٿو،
موت صرف دستڪ ڏيندو آ،
موت صرف دستڪ ڏيندو آ،
هن ڀيري پنهنجي ديس ۾ ٻيهر موت واپس وريو آ،
هيل آيل دستڪ،
هن کي کڻي وئي،
آسمان ۽ زمين جي سانت ٻڌائي ٿي،
موت تون اسان کان ڪنهن کي ڇنيو آهي،
اڙي موت تون به ته رونيو هوندين،
ڇا تون ڏٺو،
ته تون پنهنجي دستڪ ۾ ڪنهن کي کنيو،
اڙي موت تون هليو ڇو نه وئين،
ڇو نه پنهنجا پير پٺتي ڪيا؟
ها ... ها ... تون صرف دستڪ ڏيڻ ڄاڻين،
تنهنجي هيل دستڪ تو کي به ته اندر ۾ ٽوڙيو هوندو،
ٻه لڙڪ تنهنجا به ته ڪريا هوندا،
اڙي موت هيل ڏينل دستڪ ۾ تون ڪنهن کي کنيو..،
ڪاش! تون هليو وڃي ها..،
۽ دستڪ نه ڏئي ها..! (هلينا)

Published in Daily Ibrat on 27 December 2011

Martryed Benazir Bhutto.

Ahh…Death may you get dead..!!!


Life is mastery and it has deep dark shadows that no one is able to recognise them. Sometimes life plays very tricky games, hardly to win with life’s tricks but some people can win, not only they win but defeat the death too. That person is called a Hero and remembers into heart of history.

I don’t know what have those people that they win history and defeat death, of course they must be brave enough because life’s war that has unknown waves and storms but one simple person fights and gets victory over them. Surly, such kind of people have own perfume and their different kind of fragrance, makes unique and hero of people. You can win the world by your perfume. People’s perfume comes out his/her deeds and sacrifices, those who don’t know how to lead and sacrifice, never be get tiny drop of fragrance. Once upon we had a lady who had her own one’s perfume and she won all people’s heart. Undeniably, it was and is Pinky Bhutto whose struggle and walked on masteries road of politics.

What she was and how she did fight in a country where greedy rats, narrow-minded, feudal lords and Dictator General Zia’s babies around her. She was known well that if she left Politics, would have easy life. A country where she received Father’s dead body, destruction of family and little brothers dead bodies, politics become blood-bath and she had an idea one day I will be killed. She was walking on sword that was continuously injured her feet since one day. Shakespeare once wrote that I will not choose, what many men desire, because I will not jump with common spirits.

Martyred Benazir Bhutto chose risky path and she spent her whole life. I have no idea that did she ask herself that why I had been jumped into blood-bath of politics? Perhaps she once realized that this politics is not easy, it is a jungle where you can not come out alive. But she entered in dead jungle of politics and assumed that she would bring change. Late Benazir Bhutto thought her wisdom and slow process could defeat iron wall of selected power, sadly she forgot that this politics is Gurukh Dhanda. Innocent and pro-people minds hardly can win and destroy iron wall. It needs many Benazir Bhutto then be able to vanish that iron wall which is caused of darkness on this land. People criticizes she did not deliver anything to common people and in her decade corruption was top at list. Let them ask, she was not governing in secular and developed country. She governed in a country that had dictators’ rules and mostly worst decade of Dictator Zia ul Haq, whose policies collapsed country and made strongest extremists.

A lady who was not acceptable among Zia’s thinkers those had have rooted in country, she came in that country and tried to bring change. Hence, her policies was not enough strong and her compromised approach, beside who does not know that she had received contracted based government though she had vote of common people but she was not allowed to govern on vote of common people. Late Benazir Bhutto was hoping that if she had now contracted based government, one day she would be changed into public power. But it was too late because she had at one hand lords and fragile government and another hand she had power of public, which two different sides never can meet together and lords made worst things for her.

I have remembered, in 2005 one lady who belonged city of Jacobabad – Sindh, She was speaking with me, Do not say that Benazir Bhutto did corruption, those are saying, they are themselves corrupted. In Sindhi she shared that Asaanjo Benazir Bhutto choor nahe, ein jekadhen Ikhtalaaf rakhoun tu asaan rakhoun.” Means Our Benazir Bhutto is not thief or corrupt, and if anyone can reservations that is only “WE”.That lady was rightly saying that in corruption only common people survives but Benazir Bhutto is Leader of people yet. A common person understands better than selected class who has not another excuse to condemn at Benazir Bhutto with weedy excuses.

Yes, her policies was not healthy and got tiny tenure on shoulder of collections group who gave her only 37 months for governing, a leader who faced jailed tortures and had people’s vote. That person was not permitted to govern on country. Whatever, she faced troubles but she never dropped her hands from public because she knew that everything can fly away, only public power will remain with her and their love and courage would give new life in politics.

This time when she returned to country, she was very well known that she will be assassinated. When I interviewed with Makhdoom Ameen Faheem senior and committed politician in PPP, said that I got information that if she returns, will be killed, so I rushed to Dubai and shared that message with Muhtaram Benazir Bhutto. She replied me, Makhdoom Sahib I know it but now I will not back step, my people are waiting for me. Whatsoever, to be happened now I will not move back.A person who knows I will be killed and this journey may be last for me, her kids will become orphan after her. How did she get such spirit and walk on road that leads her to dead. After her everyone is in pain yet has strong reservations but eyes are filled with tears and silently each heart says why you have left? Why you did when you knew that yours this walk becomes last walk for us.Nowadays Pakistan has political orphanage, nowhere leadership and all are making themselves as leader, a leader who has no wisdom and sacrifice but they are being painted themselves leaders. If you want to see destruction of politics, sees in Pakistan’s politics. We do not know when queen of time, give us once again Benazir Bhutto.

Today, we would like to complain to death that snatched Benazir Bhutto,
Ah.. death may you get dead, whom you had killed (Sindhi Verse).

Published on The Frontier Post 26/12/2011.