|Qazi Hussain Ahmed||Qazi Hussain Ahmed||Jamaat-e-Islami||India-Pakistan||Pakistani||At Large||20050806|
|Qazi Hussain Ahmed||Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal||Afghanistan/South Asia||Pakistani||At Large||20050715|
|Qazi Hussain Ahmed||Muthidda Majlis-e-Amal||India-Pakistan||20020829|
|Qazi Hussain Ahmed||Tehrik Hurmat-i-Quran||Afghanistan/South Asia||20050629|
|Qazi Hussain Ahmed||Mutthida Majlis-e-Amal||India-Pakistan||20060327||Link|
|[DAWN] MOST of Pakistain's mainstream religious parties have either tended to remain silent on the issue of extremism, or at best offered lukewarm criticism of fanatical tendencies. Perhaps this is why today, whatever the mainstream clergy's views may be, groups continue to recruit individuals to their cause with ease. Nevertheless, any effort by religious groups to try and stem the tide should be supported, if only to prevent further loss of space to hate-mongers and demagogues. In this regard, the Milli Yakjehti Council's decision to monitor Friday sermons in order to counter hate speech is a laudable initiative. On Tuesday, the conglomerate of religious parties representing nearly all of Islam's major schools of thought in Pakistain announced in Lahore that in order to promote religious and sectarian harmony, Friday sermons would be monitored and any making 'problematic' speeches would be censured. The council also said s would be urged to speak on topics that centred on moral and humanitarian issues.|
Indeed, the has in the past also made attempts to promote religious and sectarian harmony -- most memorably under the stewardship of the late emir -- with mixed results.
And everybody was just so surprised.
In the current atmosphere, where the mosque loudspeaker has far too often been misused to stir up hatred against different religious communities as well as various sects, the initiative is timely. But as always the question remains: how effective will it be? For example, over the past months the state has claimed to arrest a number of individuals for generating hate material. Yet we must ask if these efforts have genuinely succeeded in sending a strong message to hate-mongers that their actions will not be tolerated. In the latest initiative, will the clergy's effort to police their own deliver better results? History would suggest otherwise as in the past, well-meaning initiatives -- launched with fanfare and similar promises of cracking down on elements -- have fallen through as mainstream religious parties have failed to isolate hate-mongers. For example, whenever exigencies have demanded it, some of the MYC's constituent parties have shared the stage with outfits that make no bones about demonising other sects and religious groups. Will the s, this time around, have the wherewithal to both publicly and privately condemn such elements? Well-meaning statements are fine, but religious parties will have to practically show they will not tolerate hate speech and will condemn rabble-rousing s.
|Former JI chief's daughter bags CII seat|
|[DAWN] After a wait of 19 months, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) got its lone woman member, and its minimum mandated strength of nine, on Monday when the government nominated Dr Samia Raheel Qazi to the seat for three years.|
Dr Qazi fills the seat that fell vacant with the death of her predecessor Dr Farida Ahmed Siddiqui in August 2013. Her late father was amir of Jamaat and she herself was a member of the National Assembly elected in 2007.
Her predecessor was the sister of late Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani, leader of Jamaat Ulema Pakistain.
|Why Jamaat Discarded Munawwar Hasan|
|[DAWN] The arrival of Sirajul Haq as the fifth emir of the(JI) is being interpreted variously. Most commonly, however, it is being viewed as the restoration in the Jamaat of the strain of populist politics fired by a strong desire to evolve into a mainstream political party.|
|Stop it, for God's sake -- Shumaila Raja|
|[Pak Daily Times] In the debate, 'Who is a shaheed (martyr) and who is not', we have gone too far, much to the amusement of our enemy. What the (JI) Ameer said was unfortunate, and it really hurt the sentiments of people, the army and the polity. But most of all unfortunate is the JI's opting to stick to its Ameer's stance, probably to gain political mileage. The JI was not in the mainstream. The only served to retrieve its 'lost glory'.|
This tiny issue has itself helped to distract the nation's attention from more pressing issues. The Pakistain intelligence agencies have issued reports indicating a rise in sectarian strife in Punjab during the month of Muharram. Two s will assail opponents during the last three days of Muharrum on the dates of 8th, 9th and 10th respectively. Terrorists will carry out targeted attacks on Shia gatherings, majaalis (commemorative gatherings) and mourning processions, as well as assassinating specific and prominent personalities in order to accomplish their ulterior motives.
This news came amidst reports that the US Senate Intelligence Committee has quietly approved a plan to step up both public and internal government oversight of the use of armed drones to kill suspected overseas, including US citizens. According to , the committee voted in closed session earlier this week to approve legislative language that would require the US spy agencies to make public statistics on how many people were killed or injured in missile strikes launched from US-operated drones. The committee also approved language intended to bolster scrutiny of spy agency deliberations over decisions about targeting US citizens or residents for lethal drone strikes overseas. The has been under pressure from foreign governments, the UN and groups to be more transparent and rigorous in accounting for the civilian casualties caused by drone strikes. Though the committee did not release full details of its deliberations on the measures, sources familiar with the discussions said that some committee Republicans were opposed to the drone-related clauses in the bill, which would authorise intelligence activities for the current government fiscal year that began on October 1.
With this in mind, some saner elements have stepped forward and started creating an environment of rapprochement, urging the JI to offer an apology and asking the military leadership to ignore it. One of the leading analysts, Ehsan Mahmood Khan, who recently authored a book, Human Security in Pakistain, said: "Syed Munawwar Hasan's statement looks to be an isolated and personal opinion. Consider a while that Liaquat Baloch, Jamaat-e-Islami's Secretary General, visited the native town of Major-General Sanaullah Khan Niazi in Daud Khel, Mianwali, on September 18, 2013. He offered condolences with the martyr's younger brothers, Rehmatullah Khan Niazi, DIG, and Ameenullah Khan, ex-Nazim, and paid rich tribute to . The JI's local leadership was also accompanying him. Addressing a conference there he told the media that the Pakistain army's sacrifices in the defence of the country were matchless and unprecedented. 'The whole nation is proud of its brave soldiers and officers.' He said that the external involvement in this tragic act could not be unattended, as it has been traced in many cases in the past. This is the time that the Pakistain army, people, political government and media are on one page, which is good omen indeed. Does it mean that Munawwar Hasan and Liaquat Baloch have different views or their point of view is not that of the Jamaat-e-Islami?"Addressing a on the spot, he said that the sacrifices of Pakistain army to curb extremism are matchless, and that the entire nation is proud of its army men.
another analyst, Hussain Naqi, has a different opinion. He said, "Howsoever belated, the ISPR retort to JI Amir Munawwar Hasan is interesting but one is surprised that the ISPR spokesperson was unaware that Munawwar's mentor Maulana Maudoodi, whom the ISPR spokesperson mentioned with admiration, had exactly similar views about the shuhada of Pakistain army's 1948 war, and what Maulana Maudoodi had said about the creation of Pakistain is also well known. For almost half a century, the army top brass has been collaborating with the Jamaat-e-Islami and its political philosophy in violation of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah's secular standpoint about Pakistain's polity."
In Shahbaz Thuttal's view, the Indians and CIA must be enjoying the outburst of the JI Ameer, as what they have been trying for the last over 60 years to divide the Pakistain nation in two groups and spread hatred against the army is now being actively done by the JI, who were the great supporters of and even became ministers under him. The Nawaz government should take a firm and strong stand. Now, otherwise, they will continue to be blackmailed by the JI. It is very strange that the PML-N is the only party that has not given any response so far, except for its Sindh Assembly minority that joined the resolution against the JI Amir's salvo. All other parties have supported the .
In his view, Riaz Jafri said, "I think we should bury the hatchet right here. The JI Ameer said something and the army and the general public gave their own point of view. That should be the end of it instead of insisting upon an 'unconditional apology' and the Ameer sticking to his own guns. Any further digging into the issue is likely to widen the chasm within the nation. Who is a shaheed and who is not, is not for them to decide. As a general belief all soldiers laying down their lives for their country and cause are assumed to be shaheed. Even in the Indian army any soldier dying on the front is called shaheed -- irrespective of his being a or non- . Muhammad Rafi's famous song has become immortal in this context and he is not addressing only the Indian s in it: "Watan ki raah me watan ke naujavan shaheed ho/Pukarate hai ye zamin-o-aasama'an shaheed ho/Shaheed teri maut hi tere watan ki zindagi/Tere lahu se jaag uthegi is chaman ki zindagi." he said, Syed Munawwar Hasan should have refrained from giving his opinion on such a sensitive matter and his utterances can only be termed as most untimely, immature and thoughtless to the extent of being reckless on his part.
Professor Alya Alvi has, however, raised very pertinent questions. She says that the former JI Ameer (late) twice survived murder attempts. If he were killed, what would then Munawwar Hasan call him: shaheed or killed? If, God forbid, Munawwar Hasan is killed in a , what would the JI call him: a martyr or just killed? The TTP killed namazis while offering Juma prayers in the Parade Lane mosque, and many other mosques and s. Were those innocent s not shaheed?" In fact, the JI and 's statements have tried to damage the national cause and create confusion among the people, particularly the soldiers of our armed forces who are ever ready to sacrifice their lives as and when the nation calls for it.
|Blast termed conspiracy against country|
|[Pak Daily Times] Ameer (JI) '>Bloody Karachi Muhammad Hussain Mahenti has said that the on Kirani Road in Quetta was a conspiracy against the of the country.|
He expressed these views while addressing the people of Hazara community who staged sit-in on MA Jinnah Road against the Quetta . He termed the blast as a complete failure of police, rangers, FC and other law enforcing agencies. On the occasion, Mahenti demanded of the government to arrest the culprits of the blast immediately and give them exemplary punishment.
"The law and order situation in Quetta has constantly been deteriorating despite the imposition of governor rule, however; the federal government has become a silent spectator over the said tragic condition," Mahenti added.
Mahenti said JI was always with the oppressed people and the sit-in would continue till the government accepted the demands made by Hazara community.
Speaking on the occasion, Mahenti announced the JI with the coordination of Ulema from different school of thoughts would hold a conference for bringing lasting peace in the country.
JI leader Nasrullah Shajih said the United States (US) and its allies in the country, were hatching conspiracies to destabilise Pakistain and the terrorist activists were the open proof of those machinations. "The entire country is burning with s, but the government has not yet taken any step to ensure the safety of the life and property of common people," Shajih added.
"JI wants to unite the nation, as , too, strived his entire life for the very cause," he added. staff report
|Indian atrocities in held Kashmir condemned|
|[Dawn] Activists of Azad Jammu and (JIAJK) on Sunday expressed solidarity with the struggling Kashmiris across the Line of Control (LoC) and condemned Indian atrocities.|
The JIAJK activists lined up on both sides of a bazaar, in Chakothi, 60 kilometres north of here, and held each other's hands to form symbolic chains. Some also raised their hands while chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
"Our course of action: Holy War," was their oft-repeated slogan on the occasion.
Interestingly, Chakothi bazaar is overlooked by the Indian army posts situated on lofty mountains across the LoC. Prior to the 2003 ceasefire, it was regularly pounded by the Indian troops with artillery shells.
Speaking to participants, Sheikh Aqeelur Rehman, commander Shamshir Khan and others took strong exception to what they called passiveness of the international community towards flagrant abuses in Indian held .
If the international community was genuinely concerned about peace in South Asia, it will have to facilitate early settlement of the issue of in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people, they said.
Otherwise, they warned, peace would remain a distant dream.
The speakers vowed to continue struggle until the eviction of Indian soldiers from .
They also paid tributes to , former amir of JI Pakistain, for his strong commitment to the cause of Kashmiris and prayed for the deliverance of his soul.
Earlier, the JIAJK activists reached Chakothi in a rally, which started from press club Muzaffarabad, with its participants hoisting JI flags. The rally was greeted with welcoming slogans in many towns, on its way to Chakothi.--
|Consensus on terrorism|
|[Dawn] THE tone for a much-needed multi-party conference has finally been set. The leadership of the Awami National Party (ANP) has started contacting the leadership of other political parties.|
The plan is to have the crucial discussion somewhere in the middle of next month with the focus on a consensus response to terrorism, militancy and insurgency.
If such a conference becomes a reality, it would reflect the response of the majority of Pakistain's citizenry belonging to ideologically, ethnically, geographically, religiously, politically and culturally divergent backgrounds.
The conference earns immense importance for three overwhelming reasons.
First, Pakistain is facing an existential threat due to active militancy and insurgency. The scope of this threat extends to the constitutional polity, economy and cultural diversity of the state of Pakistain. Militancy through terrorism and insurgency through guerrilla warfare have started pushing Pakistain towards civil war, economic bankruptcy and a cultural black hole. The collective defence mechanism of state and society thus needs to come into action before it is too late.
Second, both the state and society of Pakistain are being pushed into isolation due to terrorism and militancy; they are being isolated from both regional states and societies and those further away, with respect to divergences in worldview and in terms of Pakistain as a viable polity. The viability of a state in the modern international state system is heavily contingent on its capability to develop multilateral alliances with regional and international states.
The governments of almost all states have developed serious reservations with respect to the policies, responses and strategies of the Pak state in terms of world peace and security. This is an alarming situation to which all segments across Pakistain's political divide must give serious consideration.
Of late, policy and research papers by various think tanks dubbing Pakistain a failed state have been doing the rounds in political and academic circles both domestically and internationally. The frustration of the people due to mass murders and indiscriminate killings in s or s has reached a stage where they find no other explanation other than that which is given for a failed state.
Third, almost all stakeholders in Pakistain's state and society have suffered badly due to religious militancy. Irrespective of differences in ethnicity, culture, language and ideology, members of virtually all segments of society have been attacked: killed or maimed in s, incidents of and shootouts.
Though the ANP has borne the brunt of religious militancy in Pakistain, no adherent of liberal democracy or Islamic democracy is safe from attacks by the s' network.
The current provincial president of the Pakistain League-Nawaz, , has been attacked five times. , chief of the Jamaat-e-Ulema Islam, has been attacked twice. The president of the Qaumi Watan Party has similarly been targeted several times. Former head of the , the late , was also targeted in . Earlier, the chairperson of the Pakistain People's Party was assassinated after an address at a public meeting in Rawalpindi.
Various institutions of the security forces, including the police, Frontier Corps and the military, have been targeted continuously, with attacks, kidnappings and beheadings of their personnel having become almost a norm in the tactical paradigm of the s' network.
According to the figures collected by the Islamabad-based Pakistain Institute of Peace Studies, 1,577 terrorist attacks were carried out in the country last year alone, killing some 2,050 people and injuring 3,822. It is likely that this pattern will remain in evidence this year too.
It seems that the proposed multi-party conference will draw a clear line between those who stand for a constitutional democratic polity, social justice, an assertive civil society, a sovereign parliament and an economy of peace in Pakistain and those who want otherwise. This might bring to the fore the forces that stand for a prosperous, progressive and peaceful Pakistain and help identify the forces that consciously or unconsciously resist the preservation of human dignity, pluralism and indigenous wisdom.
Most of the time, debate on terrorism in Pakistain ends in a deadlock due to the lack of understanding of the causes and triggers. Moreover, militancy, terrorism and insurgency are confused with one another because of the lack of understanding of the complexity of diverse factors. This results in more complications and frustrations for the political parties, the security establishment, elected governments and the people. This seems to be the major reason for the absence of a multi-pronged, comprehensive counterinsurgency, counterterrorism and counter-militancy strategy in Pakistain.
This confusion and the consequent deadlock might be avoided if the conference's agenda is clearly and carefully delineated. Its agenda can be set to deliberate on the socio-cultural, socio-economic and socio-political aspects of religious militancy on the one hand and to take into consideration the construction of the discourse, its permeation and tactics of social control in Pakistain on the other.
The conference might also explore the local, provincial, national, regional and international factors that contribute to terrorism in Pakistain. Deliberations on the various layers of religious militancy and terrorism might result in a comprehensive policy that incorporates military, political, economic, strategic and tactical responses to terrorism in Pakistain.
The conference could clearly define the role and responsibilities of elected federal and provincial governments, the political parties, the military establishment, media and civil society organizations and the intelligentsia in implementing the comprehensive policy devised. It is hoped that this will result in a clear strategy with targets achievable within a certain time frame.
|Islamic sendoff for Qazi Hussain Ahmed in Peshawar|
The funeral prayers were led by JI Chief , and were attended by a large number of political and religious leaders including Central Amir of Jamaat e Ulema Islam (JUI-F) Fazlur Rehman, Chairman Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Pakistain President, Javed Hashmi, JUI-F leader, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, JI leader Liaquat Baloch, Former Senior Minister, Siraj Ul Haq, JUI-Sami Chief, Maulana , Professor Khurshid Ahmed, former MNA Shabeer Ahmed Khan, senators, members of the parliament, officials, ex-local government representatives, and a large number of workers of JI.
After the prayers, his body was shifted to Ziarat Kaka Sahib in Nowshera district where he was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard.
Earlier today, Ahmed's body was brought from Islamabad to his residence in Peshawar.
Many party workers and supporters from all over the country were traveling to Peshawar to attend the funeral.
President of Pakistain Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Federal Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor and Chief Minister offered condolences over the death of the veteran politician and called it a great loss.
Pakistain league- Nawaz (PML-N) chief , Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and Religious scholar and Minhaj-ul-Koran International chief Dr Tahirul Qadri, among others, also offered condolences over the demise of the former JI chief.
The 74-year-old religious scholar had died in Islamabad of cardiac illness.
Ahmed was suffering from cardiac disease for quite some time and turned critical three days ago.
Qazi Hussain Ahmed, 74, was also a prominent religious scholar, Islamic theologian, Islamic democracy advocate.
Qazi joined JI in 1978 and was elected as the party's ameer (chief) in 1987, a position he would be re-elected to on two more occassions before finally stepping down in 2009. He served as the party's ameer for 22 years.
Last November, he escaped an attack unhurt when a detonated explosives near his convoy in the Mohmand tribal agency.
|Qazi Hussain Ahmed shuffles off mortal coil in Islamabad|
|[Dawn] ISLAMABAD: Former Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief and veteran politician Qazi Hussain Ahmed passed away in Islamabad, DawnNews reported early Sunday.|
Qazi Hussain Ahmed, 74, was also a prominent religious scholar, Islamic theologian, Islamic democracy advocate.
He was a strong critic of counter-terrorism policy of the United States, and was widely known for his opposition against United States participation in civil war in the neighbouring Afghanistan.
Ahmed was suffering from cardiac disease for quite some time and turned critical three days ago.
His body will be shifted to his native town Peshawar.
Qazi joined JI in 1978 and was elected as the party's ameer (chief) in 1987, a position he would be re-elected to on two more occassions before finally stepping down in 2009.
Last November, he escaped an attack unhurt when a suicide bomber detonated explosives near his convoy in the Mohmand tribal agency.
|Who Attacked Qazi?|
|The on the former chief indicates a growing ideological divide between religious parties and the Taliban|
On October 19, former Jamaat-e-Islami chief narrowly escaped a suicide attack in Gandau area of . A burqa-clad woman blew herself up near his convoy injuring five.
Qazi's procession was headed to the Mian Mandi area of Haleemzai tehsil to address a gathering and open a party office when it came under attack near Ghyiba Chowk, according to Adil Siddique, the political agent. According to a witness, a woman sitting on the roadside detonated the explosives strapped to her body when the convoy arrived. Officials found pieces of female clothing and hair on the site.
The event was not postponed despite the suicide attack. Qazi told s later that he had been attacked by "the agents of the US, Israel and India", and not by s.
Although nobody has for the bombing, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain chief Hakeemullah Mehsud had released a video several months ago in which he had denounced Qazi and questioned his stance on TTP attacks in Pakistain. In the Pashto video made and released by Umer Media, Mehsud cites an April 2012 interview by Salim Safi on Geo TV. He criticized Qazi for saying that the Afghan Taliban's resistance against foreign forces was true jihad and that of the Pak Taliban against Pakistain was un-Islamic. Hakimullah argued that the JI leader was wrong.
Qazi had refused to respond to the video. "I know about the existence of this videotape, but I have no comments to make," he told s.
Militants operating in Mohmand Agency are led by Omar Khalid, whose real name is Abdul Wali. A source in the police said the Mohmand chapter of TTP was involved in most of the recent attacks on in the neighboring Charsadda and districts.
On November 11, a bomb planted near the house of Jamaat-e-Islami Peshawar chief and former Sabir Hussain Awan went off, damaging a nearby house and a mosque.
Last year, police defused a bomb planted near the house of another JI leader, Shabbir Ahmad Khan. At least 27 people including JI Peshawar vice chief Haji Dost Muhammad and a deputy superintendent of police were killed in a suicide attack in Qissa Khwani Bazar of Peshawar in April 2010.
Fazlur Rehman, chief of -Fazl, survived two successive suicide attacks in Swabi and Charsadda in March 2011.
Several activists and leaders of the JUI-F have been targeted and killed in Khyber Pakhtunkwa and FATA in the last four years. Those who died include Mairajuddin, a former MNA from the Mehsud area of South , Noor Muhammad Wazir, a former MNA from the Wazir area of South Waziristan, and Haji Afzal Khan, former district mayor of Hangu.
These attacks are significant because JUI-F and JI are considered pro-Taliban. Some political analysts believe the attacks indicate a growing ideological divide between the religious political parties and Pak Taliban concerning the legitimacy of the Pak state.
The TTP openly denounces democracy and calls the state un-Islamic. The religious parties participate in elections and recognize the authority of the Pak state.
The March 2011 attempts on Fazlur Rehman came days after leaked US State Department cables revealed JUI-F leaders reportedly wanted to mediate between the US and the Afghan Taliban. Analysts say the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda decided to sever links with the JUI-F after that.
Serious differences had also been reported between Jamaat-e-Islami and Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi led by Sufi Mohammad and his son-in-law Fazlullah. Sufi was a local leader of the JI in Dir district until the early 1980s, when he parted ways with them and violated their policy of getting power only through elections.
|Karzai writes to Pakistani politicians, urges cooperation against extremism|
|[Dawn] has written letters to top political and religious leaders in Pakistain, denouncing the Taliban attack on a Pak teenager who is promoting girls' education and asking them to help battle extremism in both countries.|
Karzai's office said in a statement issued late Saturday that the president wrote that the attack on 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai indicated that both Afghanistan and Pakistain need to take "coordinated and serious" steps to fight terrorism and extremism.
Karzai wrote that he views the shooting as an attack on Afghanistan's girls as well. "It is a deplorable event that requires serious attention," Karzai wrote.
Those upset about the shooting should not be silenced, he wrote, and both Afghans and Paks need to cooperate and fight with strong resolve against terrorism and extremism so that the "children of Afghanistan and Pakistain" can be saved from oppression.
Karzai has been pushing Islamabad to take more action against groups that he says hide out in Pakistain and then cross into Afghanistan to conduct attacks on Afghan officials and security forces and on international forces.
The letters were sent to more than a dozen political and religious leaders, including Pakistain ; Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf; , the leader of Pakistain's League -- Nawaz Party; , leader of the Islamic party ; Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who heads the Pakistain League-Q; and , a cricket star who leads the party.
Khan has been especially outspoken against US drone attacks. Khan has argued in the past that Islamabad's alliance with Washington is the main reason Pakistain is facing a homegrown Taliban insurgency and that activity in Pakistain's tribal areas will dissipate when US troops withdraw from Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, Khan led a protest against US drone attacks, saying that as long as they continue, anti-American sentiment in Pakistain could continue to rise.
Malala Yousufzai, 14, was seriously when a Taliban shot her in the head on Tuesday on her way home from school. She is widely respected for being an activist for girls' education in the Valley where she lives, and the rest of Pakistain. The shooting set off an international outcry against s.
|[Dawn] NOW it is the realm of television programming and advertising that has attracted the Supreme Court's attention. Summoning the chief of the Pakistain Electronic Media Regulatory Authority in response to petitions moved by two conservative figures, the former amir of the and a retired Supreme Court justice, Wajihuddin Ahmed, the court on Monday demanded action within a week against 'obscene' and 'vulgar' programming and advertisements on private TV channels aired in Pakistain. Pause for a moment and consider the various problems that afflict this country and that the court is embroiled in. That obscenity and vulgarity on television -- and this before the debate about whether the impugned content is at all obscene or vulgar -- figures in the scheme of things to fix at the highest levels at the moment is somewhat worrying.|
Two points need to be made here. First, the excesses that do frequently occur on television -- from content that foments religious intolerance to coverage of terrorist attacks that are insensitive to victims' families and badly handled, and from opinion-laden shows that are divorced from fact to invasion of privacy and worse in intrusive programming -- do need serious redressal. government regulation is not the way to go. The Musharraf era epitomised the problem: even the most ardent supporters of a free and independent media in power cannot be trusted to not use government regulation to stifle media freedom. Where self-regulation thus far has failed, perhaps what the government can do is act as a for the creation of a regulatory body that is truly independent, professionally run along non-ideological lines and responsive to both the media's and consumers' concerns. But to trust the government with a direct and hands-on role in regulating media content is
an unwelcome idea: today it is obscenity and vulgarity, tomorrow it will be the 'national interest' and 'national security' that will demand certain lines be drawn.
Second, the outmoded idea of what content is vulgar or obscene needs to be discarded. Strangely, violence on television -- domestic, criminal, extrajudicial -- rarely attracts the same kind of censure as does content in which women are attired in a certain way or filmed interacting with men in a certain way. The same goes for intolerance, xenophobia, bigotry and hate spewed on TV: it doesn't attract the same kind of censure as does a woman dancing or singing lustily. The collective ownership that society wants to impose on its women is a problem itself. In the name of moral policing, Pakistain has ended up with deeply skewed priorities: keep the women covered up; let the monsters run loose.