GEO TV: What goes around comes around

Not long ago Pakistani media labeled as Free and vibrant perhaps feckless and vindictive are the best descriptors today.

It all started when GEO Tv’s famous anchor Hamid Mir was attacked in Karachi and GEO newsroom in no time threw blame on Pakistan’s premier spy agency and defamed its chief without investigation.

They aired Gen. Zaheer uddin Islam’s footage for about 8 hours trying to build an opinion on the basis of Hamid Mir’s ‘concerns’ resulting countrywide public anger that subsequently provided an opportunity to other private channels to prepare a strong case on GEO’s alleged offenses.  Although attack on Mir was condemnable but GEO totally miscalculated the moment and invited further criticism over its credibility.
It was not easy for GEO to deal with different Tv channels, Army, Pemra, political parties and the Public on this particular issue especially when country’s environment is democratic with less or no Army interference in Government matters.
After the recent scandal regarding the ISI, Geo Television Network once again in trouble over a morning show, ‘Utho Jago Pakistan’.

The show, hosted by Dr. Shaista Lodhi, has been alleged to blaspheme against the Prophet (PBUH)’s family. An episode from May 14th played “Ali  Kay Sath Hai Zahra  Ki Shadi”, a manqabat originally sang by Qawaal Amjad Sabri, in the background of a clip showing the marriage ceremony of one of Pakistan’s most controversial actresses Veena Malik.

Why GEO falling into trouble again and again is a point to ponder. Is it because of the free hand given to the management without checks and balances or is it really a conspiracy as claimed by the media group.

Offenses committed by GEO in past were ignored by the then President General Pervez Musharraf as he was in a weak position to control irresponsible yet agenda based reporting of the group.

Although whenever he tried to tighten the noose of untamed channels he was blackmailed and maligned. Benazir Murder, Lal Masjid case reporting, The Chief Justice episode, Akber Bugti Murder and the case of missing persons were the issues Geo portrayed with the intent of maligning ex-President.

Not to mention how GEO team spotted Ajmal Kassab’s home in Punjab right after the 26/11 attack in Mumbai. This was the day that left Pakistanis in shock and grief but Geo was proudly announcing to be the first News channel reaching alleged attacker’s home and investigating the family about Kassabs whereabouts which was later aired and heavily propagated on Indian channels that made a mockery of Pakistan. Such cases have discredited the image of GEO Tv.

Hamid Mir on the other hand constantly indulged in maligning Pakistan’s security agencies and the Army in general keeping national interest aside.

Now the situation is getting worse for the GEO to an extent that a Fatwa has been issued against the channel by the Sunni Ittehad Council calling it ‘Haraam’ to watch Geo. Countrywide protests being held against GEO, Cable operators association considering to halt tv channel’s transmission, rival media groups and anchors are also on fire against Geo.

It would be interesting to see how Pakistan’s largest media group manage to get out of trouble although never in the history GEO Tv Network seen apologizing and defending themselves on numerous allegations.

Once a dominating media group now seems to be completely isolated in such a way that it’s one time associate, PTI chief, Imran Khan who collected funds in account of Shaukat Khanum Cancer hospital and for his election campaign with the collaboration of GEO Tv network now became its most vocal critique. Mubasher Luqman of ARY News and Zaid Hamid the defense analyst are strongly pursuing case against Geo Group however PML N Government, MQM, PPP and JI playing their cards responsibly and not indulging in any sort of conflict with the Group.

Imran Khan’s move came to me as a surprise but reminded me of how maliciously Geo and its anchor Hamid Mir used to put forward their agendas in talks shows and in the News bulletins.

Its hightime for other media groups and Geo Tv in particular to implement accountability rules and set up media commission with committee/ board to monitor program content as Success on any major scale requires one to accept responsibility which is clearly missing in Geo’s case.

Pakistan’s U-Turn on Foreign Policy

Not sure whether the acceptance of $ 15 bn bailout commonly known as a “Gift from a brother country” to Shareef Government would help Rupee stabilize or is it a mirage leading the already troubled nation into another misadventure in Syria where ‘Made in Pakistan’ arms, ammunition and mercenaries are planned to be exported through Riyadh to sabotage Bashaar Al Assad regime.

History tells us that rightist forces in Pakistan time to time supported Saudi Monarchs by exporting militias and weapons to countries of their interests.

By becoming player in proxy wars Pakistan today has no good relations with its neighbors, be it Afghanistan, Iran, India or even China and now the latest attempt of democratic nation to protect monarchy in Bahrain and strengthen terrorist groups in Syria exhibits Pakistan’s confused foreign policy which would further drag nation towards destruction.

Apparently Pakistan has no good reason to justify its intervention in two entirely different situations.  The only commonality we find in Bahrain and Syria is crushing Shia community and regime on the behest of Saudi Arabia.

Pakistanis have proved themselves a nation of ethnic and sectarian diversity where all factions live happily but latest set of desires from Saudi Arabia though not directly affecting majority of Pakistanis might turn into another misfortune. As the situation has deeply antagonized Iran, which supports the Syrian regime, and angered Pakistan’s large Shia community which could prompt further sectarian conflict.

It is also bad news for Afghanistan, where Pakistan-Iran rivalry may resurface once US troops leave that country.

Media reports say that Pakistan would send its retired soldiers and policemen to tackle unrest as Shia protests against Sunni ruling family have escalated.

Shareef’s not realizing the fact that list of our enemies is mounting and recent foreign policy U-Turn could possibly backfire in terms of relations with Iran, Syria and perhaps Russia which is a strong ally of Syrian regime. Not to forget challenges Pakistani forces and community would confront in Bahrain.

Earlier Shareef Government denied the report of money influx from Saudi Arabia but later due to media and political pressure they accepted origin of the gift.

Likewise denials regarding export of weapons to Syria are issuing from Islamabad but they are unable to justify agenda of recent visits made by Saudi and Bahraini crown prince and ministers to Pakistan.

Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef is particularly close to Saudis who rescued him from a long jail term in December 2000 when he was imprisoned by General Pervez Musharraf. Mr Sharif then spent years in exile in Saudi Arabia where he also developed extensive business interests.

Being the only atomic Islamic country, Pakistan is in a position to initiate a dialogue for the unity of Muslim states including Iran. It’s high time for Pakistan Government to play a positively-neutral role and hint Saudis to refrain from fanning sectarian divides.

On the other hand Saudi Arabia should reconsider its policies in the region as there is no point in supporting uprising in one country and crushing the same in another.  We must not ignore escalating tension between Qatar vs GCC states, again, Pakistan has friendly ties with Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia and UAE. Soon on the behest of Saudis we need to decide who we are with.

In the end if nothing changes, Pakistan should re-adopt the policy of being neutral and must not be exploited by any country in the name of religion/ sect or whatsoever.

18 mind blowing quotes by Pakistani politicians in 2013

I could see improvement in politician’s behaviour and they have stated owning their statements.

Last year, our nation went through many a tragedy. From being held hostage by terrorists to being engulfed by sectarian violence, the terror spree has gone on without any breaks.

In this madness, we have had our politicians providing us their ‘pearls of wisdom’.

While this year we have missed the late Pir Pagara, Zulfiqar Mirza, Pervez Musharraf, Rehman Malik and the like, who had given us truly memorably comments regarding national security in the past, I was still able to collect some quotes which managed to become top headlines.

Here is how our leaders and politicians have shared their valuable opinions on issues of key importance to Pakistan and its people.

 

Diesel syndrome

“Even a dog killed by America is a martyr” – Maulana Fazlul Rehman (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam)

Maulana Fazlu Rehman’s brief statement on killing of banned TTP’s commander.

 

Guerrilla alert

“We are not going to succeed because Taliban are masters of guerrilla warfare” – Imran Khan (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf)

On killing of the TTP chief, Imran Khan warned the nation and Pakistan Army against the Taliban’s tried and tested warfare strategy.

 

TTP Pvt Ltd

“Allow the Taliban to open offices in Pakistan” – Imran Khan (PTI)

Imran Khan’s demand despite knowing the fact that Taleban in Afghanistan are fighting a war against external forces unlike TTP attacking Pakistan Army and own people.

 

Killer apps

“Dear burgers, sorry about Skype/Viber/Whatsapp. Excuse us while we catch some terrorists and save some lives. SMS for 3 months” – Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (Pakistan Peoples Party)

This surprising justification came from Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, when the Sindh government decided to ban different online communication apps.

 

Basant in Karachi

“Pakistan had won freedom from Britain in 1947 but our Karachi is still a colony of London. We’ll cut the kite controlled by phone calls from London” – Bilawal Bhutto (PPP)

Bilawal enlightens the youth on how Basant should be celebrated in Karachi.

 

Ministry of Fear

“The TTP should be given religious ministries in the federal and provincial cabinets as a good will gesture.” – PTI Central Vice President, Mian Mukarram Shah  (PTI)

In an attempt to protect the nation from the wrath of Taliban, the PTI vice president came up with the remarkable demand of distributing religious ministries to the banned TTP group.

Question of tamasha

Tamasha not an un-parliamentary word” – Chaudhry Nisar (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz)

The interior minister, after a thorough research, claimed that the word ‘tamasha’ (performance) had been used 45 times during the last five years in the parliament and no one had objected.

 

Call of duty

“Those people who are protesting – and grandstanding – near Three Swords – I don’t want to fight or quarrel but if I order my supporters now, they will go to Three Swords and turn them in reality”. – Altaf Hussain (Muttahida Qaumi Movement)

The MQM chief warned his opponents to either accept the election results or get ready to face the consequences.

 

From Britain, with love

“Even Jinnah held a British passport and took oath of allegiance to the then British King, George VI” – Altaf Hussain (MQM)

The MQM chief reminded the nation about the passport carried by the father of the nation, giving a lesson which seldom history teachers ever impart to their students.

 

An Ajrak wedding

“A wedding reception at Sindh Assembly is not a big deal” – Agha Siraj Durrani (PPP)

Agha Siraj Durrani concluded the debate by endorsing wedding receptions at the Sindh Assembly as no big deal.

 

A swift solution to all our problems

“Democracy has failed and martial law should be implemented in Pakistan.” – Syed Faisal Raza Abidi (PPP)

After witnessing the democratic government’s performance, former PPP Senator Syed Faisal Raza Abidi revealed his swift and easy solution to all of Pakistan’s problems.

 

Terrorists, by invite only

“We did not invite Osama bin Laden to Pakistan, or even to Afghanistan” – Yousuf Raza Gillani (PPP)

Former PM Yousuf Raza Gillani while defending Pakistan to the international community.

 

Seeing eye to eye

“I’ll see how anyone arrests me. The NAB (National Accountability Bureau) chairman is himself summoned, how can he summon me?” Yousuf Raza Gillani (PPP)

Former PM Yousuf Raza Gillani defends himself against corruption charges.

 

Rebel, much?

“Nawaz Sharif was, and remains, my leader, as I hold him in high esteem” – Jawed Hashmi  (PTI)

Jawed Hashmi showed complete faith and respect in his ex leader, whom he left because he was not in agreement with his ideologies in the first place. Okay, now I am confused.

 

The martyr debate

“Hakimullah was a martyr” – Munawar Hasan (Jamaat-e-Islami)

Munawar Hasan, chief of JI, gives the title of martyrdom to the TTP chief, ignoring the sacrifices of hundreds of Pakistani soldiers.

 

Of allegations and ideas

“Punjab University’s vice chancellor is a playboy type person” – Fareed Paracha (JI)

JI leader Fareed Paracha calls Punjab University vice chancellor a ‘playboy type’ because of his liberal ideologies.

 

Rumour has it

“Veena Malik is a bloody liar. Does she deserve coffee? I hate her.” – Shaikh Rasheed

Sheikh Rasheed reacts aggressively when a ‘coffee invitation’ to Veena Malik goes public.

 

Jail Break

“I think K-P government should resign on the failure despite having report of the exact date. I do not know what the K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, this teeli pehlwan (thin fighter), was doing” – Rana Sanaullah – (PML-N)

Rana Sanaullah shows his anger on the K-P chief minister’s helplessness over the Dera Ismail Khan jail break.

 

These were the most unquotable quotes by our leaders in 2013 and each comment had its own entertainment value – irrespective of how repulsive they might have been.

This also highlights one very important thing – our leaders really need to start practicing the age-old advice of weighing ones words before speaking them. It would do them well to follow it.

 

Team PTI’s unrealistic electioneering

Echoes of Naya Pakistan can be heard all around including the airwaves, social media and various tv channels. Kaptaan is doing Jalsaas across Pakistan and team PTI educating voters all over through election offices but unlike  Imran Khan’s tall claim of conquering Karachi we see no political activity in the most educated city of Pakistan.

Inspite of fielding candidates from Karachi’s all constituency there is hardly any PTI presence in metropolis – the party workers physically seem inattentive in Urban Sindh.

It is also noted that PTI who twice did huge Jalsas in Karachi is not even considered by the MQM in upcoming elections as they think their faithful and educated voters not going to change their mind for the party who seems least interested in the City.

If Insaafians  really planning to create Naya Pakistan on Facebook while MQM, and ANP workers literally losing lives to turn nation into a liberal and progressive Pakistan then it would be a sheer disappointment for their captain in Karachi as election 2013 are not going to be contested virtually.

Let alone camps, Karachites hardly see any banner or posters of PTI in the city which gives an impact that Karachi is least important in the PTI’s priority list and they are mainly focusing on Punjab or precisely PML N’s constituencies to win over as due to Punjab’s population, whoever scores majority will be in a good position to make Government or strong opposition.

The people of Karachi looking for an extremism free nation, the nation which could confront fanatics eye to eye. If PTI is ready to slash extremism its workers must bravely come out on the streets and condemn religious terrorism — else results in metropolis would not be different.

Tehreek-e-Insaaf workers have to work day and night in the right direction to keep party in limelight but if PTI sticks to its Punjab centric strategy and even secures majority, the nation would see no difference between the Nawaz Shareef and Imran Khan but a mere face change. If PTI claims to be a national party it must physically work hard to feel its presence across Pakistan.

It is also believed that PTI workers other than Punjab are more active on social media than to work genuinely on ground. Indeed no one can deny the importance Social Media but its just one factor to influence voters. Educating the voter and establishing presence physically always makes an impact on the people since elections being contested through ballot not Facebook.

What’s the status of PTI in Sindh, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan and South Punjab speaks volume about PTI’s strategy towards upcoming elections.

While entering Peshawar a visitor happens to see billboards of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital  but apparently PTI has no concrete slogan to sell for KPK. The problem of KPK is not drones but day to day terrorism and poor economical conditions however Imran Khan finds stopping drone the only solution to all problems.

Why Imran Khan doesn’t speak against militancy, economic condition of KPK and over all misery of province is another question needs to be addressed by him.

In Balochistan there is no drone issue it’s purely an issue of Baloch rights likewise PTI has not come up with any solution for Balochistan as well nor do we see party presence there.

In short if Khan is eyeing Punjab to win upcoming elections, he might cut few Punjab seats but end up on being loser.

Its high time for 1st, 2nd and 3rd force to stop focusing one province but work diligently to secure rest of the nations’ seats as well, since Naya Pakistan would be fueled by everyone not one province.

Delimitation without census pointless

Much has been said about delimitation of Karachi but the controversy seems to gaining pace.  Election commission is all set to conduct house to house voter’s verification and somehow preparing to review the delimitation of constituencies in Karachi as well. Though in his recent statement ECP chairman in his “personal opinion” supported MQM’s stance and said that once delimitation is conducted after the census, then delimiting those constituencies again without holding a new census is “pointless.”

It is pertinent to mention that on Nov 26, a five-member bench of the apex court had observed that constituencies in Karachi should be delimited in a manner that they comprise “mixed population” to avoid political polarization.

And later on Dec 20, The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had virtually isolated itself from other political parties when it opposed the issue at a meeting in which Election Commission had convened in this regard. MQM as a result decided to convince Supreme court on legal grounds.

At this point of time the people of Karachi seems confused about Supreme courts decision of delimiting Karachi only as population census are held in different countries of the world before the redrawing of constituencies and then demarcation of constituencies is carried out. On what legal grounds delimitation would take place is still a question to be answered by the Law hawks.

Not to mention that the election commission’s decision to review constituencies of Karachi only and that too without census can open a Pandora box.

As ECP reports for the General Elections 2002 gives province wise break down of complaints. According to the report, total 97 complaints were filed from Balochistan, 238 from Sindh and 165 from Khyberpakhtunkhwa, these statistics roughly indicate that there was nothing extraordinary raised against the ‘delimitation’ of the province.

Also, Pashtuns living in Balochistan have long contended  that their number was not accurately recorded in 1998 population census as they had boycotted the census hence they are underrepresented. Likewise Karachi can also demand greater number of seats as a result of mass migration from up country during the recent years.

Karachites also ask whether Election commission would reduce seats from KP, Balochistan and Punjab and allocate those seats to the metropolis since most of the people moved to Karachi from these provinces in recent years.

When would Honorable Supreme Court enforce other parts of judgment where it said that land should be recovered occupied illegally is another question being pondered by the citizens of Karachi, as implementation of this particular judgment would bar illegal occupants living illegally in the outskirts of Karachi as well as on the mountains from manipulating the voting lists, using land illegally, stealing electricity and other resources being utilized without paying taxes.

Contrary to the current situation, just a few years ago the Election commission of Pakistan in its press release on May 23, 2007 had taken a very clear position against delimitation of constituencies in the absence of new population census.

This is the position which Election commission respectfully needs to communicate with the Honorable court as demands for delimitation could also be raised from other cities of Pakistan and it would be irrational to believe that except Karachi rest of the country’s constituencies were perfectly drawn.

In my opinion Karachi should not be given “priority” on any other city of Pakistan. Along with Karachi, delimitation of other cities should also be carried out as per “law” because without a fresh census, the act of delimitation, which in essence is meant to create equality in the constituencies, would be nothing but a futile exercise.

Pakistan’s quest for nothing

Ever noticed that microphone icon on Google search engine? The newer versions of Google Chrome now include an impressive speech recognition engine. You can speak instead of typing into any text box that contains this microphone and the search engine will open up the world of information for you.

This is just a tiny example of innovation which I felt like sharing with readers.

On the other hand Youtube is still banned in Pakistan and God forbid if more mischief is spread by some miscreant even in Congo there is a good chance of blocking whole internet facility in Pakistan as well.

Followed by comparatively peaceful Ashura with “only” two bomb blasts, I got a chance to check news channels hoping to have some good news but what I watched was a young man hanging on the 8th floor of tall Statelife building in Karachi witnessed by hundreds of excited shop keepers and passerby. The whole event had been covered Live by almost all Tv channels.

After about 8 minutes the most awaited moment came and the young boy perceived as a stunt man fell from the building and lost his life.

Scores of people witnessed the ‘event’ on sight but unfortunately nobody attempted to help him. The famous Zainab market shopkeepers could not come up with the idea to pile up clothes and blankets to provide any possible support to the falling guy. Nor any commandos or police were sent to break 9th floor window to pull up the unfortunate boy.

Expecting any support from fire snorkels was indeed out of question since despite keeping all necessary equipment the citizens of metropolitan city should keep their expectations low from Government institutions.

The politicians often call Pakistan a failing state but in reality it has now become a failed state.

I remember the former US intelligence director only threatened to send Pakistan back in Stone Age but we Pakistanis honored his words and did it by ourselves. The country with frequent power cuts, Gas shortages, and unavailability of clean water and with having no implementation rules and regulations is in the state of chaos. It’s now the matter of survival of the fittest.  If you are a big shot accompanied by several security guards you are safe else wait to get stuck in a situation.

However the blame cannot only be shifted to the Government since the people of Pakistan are equally contributing their share to destroy this nation. A so called democratic Pakistan holds no civility – violating laws, fighting over petty issues is considered as our pride.

India, Iran, China, Afghanistan, no borders are safe from us. We rather putting our house in order are keener to play the role of custodians of Islam. Be it Palestine, Muslims of Burma, Somalia, Afghanistan or China the people of this unfortunate nation are hell bent on fixing the conditions of Muslims across the world and that too with no genuine contribution towards civilization.

Common characteristics of a failing state include a central government is so weak that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations, and sharp economic decline. Unfortunately, the land of pure is comprised by all these characteristics thus can safely be included in the index of failed state.

To fix up this nation is now no more a question to ponder.

The nation where Hindus are forced to bury dead bodies has its own set of rules. In next coming years we are not preparing for progressive Pakistan but getting ourselves ready to face the ideal failed nation.

Crossbreed

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Call it Crossbreed or Carrier transplantation but the genius has replaced the original Suzuki carry’s drop-side bed with the bigger one originallly installed with Hyundai Muscle trucks.

This picture was taken at Karimabad bridge, Karachi – where the driver transporting motorbikes on the evergreen Suzuki pick up with different yet creative style.

Indeed necessity is the mother of invention and Pakistanis are the masters of  workaround.