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Commentaries

Thoughts on Pakistan, By Khalid Maalik

The coat of arms of Pakistan displays the nati...
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I am not the one who can write columns, articles, or can deliver speeches and lectures. First time ever trying
to say what I really feel while staying in Pakistan. I have been reading different articles and discussions on blog
“PAKISTANIAAT” for last few months. Many problems have already been defined, discussed and solutions to those problems.
I am here in Pakistan for last two years now, and unfortunately I would be saying that Pakistan is the only country where situations (law and order, corruption etc.) is getting worst and worst. The gap between rich and poor is getting huge. The only country in the world where people say: “The Past was Far Better than this Current Time”.
One every TV channel, we see “Talks” and “Talks” and “Talks”, but what’s the result?, NOTHING. In other words we can just talk and do nothing. We can criticise others and put blames on others and that’s all we can do. Finding the real problems of our country “That’s not Our Job”.
We never even try to think who we were, who we are and where we are heading to. Pakistan is going through worst Economic and Social Crisis, but who cares? Our Young generation is just after the new mobile Phones, capable of holding multiple SIMs, having a long list of friends or so called “girlfriends” who they can talk to all night long, enjoy and party hard. Our media (Cable Network), whoaaaa, I don’t know what they are presenting and where they are taking the people of Pakistan to. Top of that blessings on Facebook and other socialising websites, I don’t think I need to say a word about it,
we are already seeing the consequences. “Right” can never be Wrong “and “Wrong” can never be “Right”.
Unfortunately we have lost our true identity. And I feel really sorry to say that we are still not a “Nation”. None of the characteristics of a “Nation” can be found among Us. How the Pakistan is surviving, that’s what we can call “A Miracle” of Allah .
People who got affected by the devastated floods of 2010/2011 plus Dengue, again “WHO CARES”. We just criticise that other countries didnt help us. My question is “have we ever try to help our self”. Our corrupt rulers, our elected politicians, Crises we are going through, I would just be saying that it’s the result of our own deeds and it’s a Punishment from Allah and nothing else, and unfortunately we are keeping our eyes shut.

In the end my apologies in advance if I offend the readers.

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Editorials

Reflections on RJA’s Hunger Strike

Those of you familiar with our blog must be aware that for the past few weeks we covered Raja Jahangir Akhtar’s (RJA) fast against corruption. The news of his intended fast had come to me during Ramadan, through a dear friend in Pakistan, and we immediately posted his first press release on the blog. In fact, and I am proud to say this, The Pakistan Forum was the first major blog to post information about RJA’s intended initiative.

Since then we covered the story both in its early as well as culminating phase. As you know, RJA has ended his strike today after the politicians promised to seriously consider and legislate an anti-corruption bill. I do hope they live up to their promise; If not, we will be there to hold them accountable on the pages of this blog.

Personally, RJA’s actions have given me a new kind of hope: I mean here is a 68-year-old  citizen of Pakistan who has forced, through personal will and lateral solidarities, the Pakistani politicians to listen. And he accomplished this when one of the major TV networks (Geo TV) was shamelessly avoiding any mention of him in their so-called news.

A hunger strike is a performative act: it presupposes an audience of like-minded people and a means of communication to spread the message. In a way it is an act that introduces an anomaly within the discursive space of power, a sort of breakage: the kind that forces power to stop in the tracks of its normative drive. A hunger strike cannot be an end in itself but is always caught up with the future that it may unleash: Gandhi’s Satyagraha relied quite heavily on such public performances, but succeeded only because the press covered it.

What we saw in the last few weeks is unprecedented. Young people joined the movement and brought the tools of their time to fray: a Facebook page, a live stream, a blog. Countless webs of transnational solidarity woven together through techne but made possible because one man stood up and said: “enough!” This is the greatest lesson that I have learned: that one person can unleash so much power of good.

There were quite a few detractors: some venal members of a forum called The Defense Forum, some tired youth on Facebook asking silly questions without offering to do anything themselves, but then that is the nature of such actions: the nay-sayers, the fatalists, and the minions of power, when threatened, always resort to cowardly, malicious tactics or, like Geo TV, pretend to not notice at all.

But this has been an enlightening experience for all of us who were involved and I am specially grateful to my friend from Pakistan (whose name I cannot mention) for providing us all the information that we needed.

My thanks to Raja Jahangir Akhtar for putting his life on the line for a just cause: Thank you from our heart and may you live long and continue working for Pakistan.

To our politicians: beware, we are watching what you do to OUR country and our patience is not endless!

 

Categories
Editorials

Geo TV’s Shameful Silence on the Hunger Strike

Those of you who come to our blog often must be aware that for the past few days we have constantly been covering the anti-corruption hunger strike by Raja Jahangir Akhtar. An Islamabad based businessman and lifetime activist, Raja is on the fifth day of his hunger strike, a fact hard to miss around Islamabad. While the strike is now being covered by bloggers, national and international newspapers, the major Pakistani news channel, Geo TV, has been stramgely silent about the strike.

I just checked their website, and while they are covering what Indian Film actors are up to and even the news about a british farmer who has, it is being reported, “grown the largest onion” (I am not making this up; please check the screen shot), there is no mention of RJA’s strike for Pakistan.

 

As a scholar and editor and a Pakistani citizen I find this silence by Geo TV not only troubling but also deeply shameful. Obviously, since it is impossible to miss the strike, Geo TV has made a decision not to cover it and the reasons must be political.

I take this opportunity to request those who run this TV network to live up to their responsibility of informing Pakistani people about things that are important, especially if someone is putting his life on the line for the cause of Pakistan.

If they remain silent about it, then their’s would be a legacy of shame!

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