Maalik vs Democracy

Mixed responses coming in from different school of thoughts on recently banned controversial political-thriller Maalik. Those in support of ban have an issue with deliberate ethnic profiling of Sindhis and Baloch people depicted as oppressors while Punjabis and Pakhtoons shown as saviors. The other objectionable issue is killing of Minister by his own guard who in the movie is portrayed as Hero reminds the Mumtaz Qadri episode and occurrence of violent incidents afterwards.

On April 26, 18 days after releasing the film was banned by Sindh Board of Film Censor, Government of Sindh. However, the Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah intervened and asked the ministry not to issue it as it would be ‘against the freedom of expression but very next day, The Federal Government has banned Maalik nationwide in a notification.

Just like any other controversy Pakistani media got an issue for a couple of weeks and they are inviting politicians, actors, journalists and civil society to discuss ban on Maalik, the movie.

Apparently Journalists, politicians and civil society seems to be on same page and agreed that the movie contains controversial and sensitive nature of subject but actors and a handful of journalists (claim to be patriots) defying the ban under the garb of freedom of speech. Completely ignoring the fact that the same journalists cannot touch “Holy Cows” corruption in their very programs.

To ban Maalik or not is another issue but in larger perspective recent curb by Government of Pakistan exposed their vague and confused policy on freedom of speech. Seems just like other state of affairs they simply have no clear strategy on what to allow on media and what not.

Sometimes Pakistani Government set bench marks allowing freedom of speech to an extent that prisoners from the death cell come on media and record confessional statements and that too without bringing into the knowledge of interior minister and sometimes the same Pakistani Government blacks out MQM supremo Altaf Hussain from coming or issuing any kind of statement on media at all.

In my opinion movies on controversial subjects should be screened in Pakistani cinemas but the policy should be for all.

Selective censorship in cinemas, Tv programs or even on over all media appearances would push Government into more trouble since toeing policy on freedom of speech from “Power houses” of the country would ultimately bring down the so called democracy and its genuine custodians.


Skeptical about democracy

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former Sindh Chief Minister Syed Ghaus Ali Shah has said President Asif Ali Zardari had made it clear to PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif in their meeting in Raiwind in July that he cannot press for the trial of the former President Musharraf due to his compulsions.

It appears that the popular stance of Nawaz Shareef on dictator Musharraf seems to be fading away. N League were the only political party who were genuinely interested to try Musharraf on the breach of constitution and no doubt they had served all their energies to grill the dictator but lately a notable change has be seen in Nawaz Shareef’s behavior who now would not only allow democracy to prevail but respect each others mandate also according to the statement he has recently issued which means he will not demand for tyrant’s trial anymore.

A sudden flexibility by the man of principles has surprised entire nation, not sure about repercussions of PML N’s “U turn” on their rising stature but the way they are subtly distancing themselves from Musharraf’s trial exposes the culture of Nawaz Shareef’s “principled politics”. The excuse PML N has come up with is they would only table resolution against ex Army General if PPP and other political parties support them otherwise the proposed resolution will be a waste that would ultimately benefit Musharraf.

The phenomenon of being skeptical about democracy by its very custodians often amazes me yet they did it again. How on earth Nawaz league could go against the basic theory of democracy when it comes to fulfillment of their own interests. In democracy voice of the nation should be given respect and being the most popular party of Pakistan N league should not hesitate to submit resolution against the dictator. Expecting support or opposition should be left on the parliament depending upon the fairness of plea.

If Nawaz league is confident on their stance and Pakistanis really take Musharraf as usurp (as Shareefs claim) – N league would be backed by the democratically elected parliament but the pressure building tactics on other political parties to turn results in their  favor is against the basic theory of democracy.

The core objective of presenting resolution in parliament is to try Musharraf in court with the will of people of Pakistan but the same N league who won the elections against dictatorship is hesitant to “rely” on democracy this time and are afraid of tabling resolution in the parliament with the fear of being disapproved which not only demonstrates dictatorial mindsets of Shareef brothers but also these actions are against the glory of Pakistan’s most popular party.