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Category Archives: In The Loop

What’s Happening In The World Around Me….Need To Know. Need To Think. And Need To Say What I Think.

A nasty, brutish and short life in a Hobbesian Karachi

By Farahnaz ZahidiPublished: January 11, 2014
http://tribune.com.pk/story/657569/a-nasty-brutish-and-short-life-in-a-hobbesian-karachi/

khi hobbesian

“Karachi is going back to tribalism,” said Dr Irsan. PHOTO MOHAMMAD SAQIB/EXPRESS/FILE
Karachi’s is a “Hobbesian society” declared Dr Manzoor Irsan of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology at the South Asian Cities Conference on Friday.
“No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” This terribly apt reference to philosopher Thomas Hobbes, the architect of social contract theory, surely carried a double meaning for the academics and their audience as it came a day after one of Karachi’s toughest crime-fighters was killed in a bomb attack. Indeed, crime was on their minds as the thinkers also pored over demographic transitions, bulging populations and infrastructure solutions for the throbbing metropolis that is Karachi.
The session titled “Urban Institutional Development & Governance” kicked off with Peter Ellis, a lead economist at the World Bank, sharing his experience of Indonesia’s urbanization and its implications for Pakistan. With 54 per cent of Indonesia’s population now in urban areas, the similarities between Karachi and Jakarta are jarring. But there are lessons to learn as well, as Indonesia has seen that districts with better connectivity show higher income growth.

In contrast was Dr Irsan’s presentation whose disgruntled tone was obvious from its title: “Karachi: The administrative black hole of Pakistan”. In his opinion, politics shape institutions, and unless the politics of any city is cleansed of ethnicity and sectarianism, cities and life in them cannot improve. “Karachi is going back to tribalism. If this continues, people like you and me will escape, because humans need peace to thrive,” he said. “Extractive societies like Karachi’s don’t grow. Karachi is stuck in a Malthusian trap.” (Roughly put, it is the idea that gains in income per person through technological advances are inevitably lost through subsequent population growth.)
Other speakers such as Shahnaz Arshad, a senior urban specialist with the World Bank, focused on incentives to improve local governance performance for municipal service delivery. Urban planner Farhan Anwar spoke of “Visioning a sustainable City Karachi: Landmarks for a new urban governance construct”.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the session came from research associate Adil Sohail from Iqra University who talked about E-governance through enterprise resource planning. He explained ‘electronic governance’ as the use of information and communication technologies to enhance governance. His solution-oriented approach described phases of implementing E-governance models and ways in which they can facilitate local bodies in particular.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2014.

Making Arabic compulsory in Pakistan’s schools? Why?

By Farahnaz Zahidi

arabic
This will be a rewarding move if the ministry also considers what is being taught to students in the name of Islam and more importantly how it is being taught. PHOTO: REUTERS

Arabic came into my life out of a desire to know and understand what was written in the Holy Quran. My curious, questioning mind needed answers and I now know that a one-on-one relationship with the Quran has the potential to alter my life forever.

Having lived that, I thank God repeatedly for being blessed with the understanding of Arabic. It is wonderful when you no longer have to rely on translations to understand your faith. Translations are a great starting point, but the Quran’s feel tends to get lost in translations.

You understand what it is saying when you read, say, translations by Marmaduke Pickthall, Abdullah Yusuf Ali or Fateh Muhammad Jallandhari, but you lose out on the nuances and the delicate meanings.

You do not get to know that the word ‘Bushra’ means happiness that starts reflecting on one’s skin and that all Arabic words from the root letters ‘Jeem Noon Noon’ allude towards things that are not visible – things like Jannat (heaven), Jinn (creatures of the unseen world) and Junoon (trance or mania).

Understanding Arabic gave the five prayers more soul and the Ramazan taraweeh became a joy for me.

Another step forward was reading other Islamic literature sources in depth, like Sahih Bukhari and books about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). One relishes the sweetness of why the Prophet (pbuh) nick-named Hazrat Ali (ra) ‘Abu Turaab’ and the poems that Hassan ibn Thaabit (ra) wrote in defence of the Prophet (pbuh).

Even apart from Islamic literature, the richness of the Arabic language is undisputed. Knowing the language opens the door to the poetry of Ibn al Farid and the spiritual treatise of Ibn Qayyim al Jawzi.

I love visiting mosques and museums where Arabic inscriptions make sense to me now. The prefix ‘al’ no longer irks me.

I love the language.

I am unapologetic that as a Muslim, Arabic is not just another language for me. And yes, as a mother, I would love my daughter to also experience the same joy. The preface above is meant to clarify to the readers that I am neither anti-Arabic nor a person who does not value the possible advantages of learning the language.

The problem with compulsory Arabic

Having said that, I have misgivings about the recent statement by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Sardar Muhammad Yousuf, about making Arabic compulsory in primary schools.

More than what is being suggested in this proposal, it is the way that this is being done and the reasons being given, which have left many of us ambiguous about whether this will be a good move or not.

The minister’s statement that this will be a counter-terrorism and anti-sectarianism strategy seems more like an alibi.

Are we, arguably, saying that learning Arabic will fight certain tendencies?

Are all Arabic-speaking nations free of these challenges?

Sadly, many a times such turmoil and strife is evident in Arab-speaking nations.

Also, I have to wonder if knowing Arabic is actually the route to being better Muslims and better humans.

While there is no doubt that knowing the language of the Quran and hadith would bring us closer to a better understanding of Islam, it can be so only for those who choose to understand Islam via Arabic, and then try and act on the ethics that Islam has given us.

Teaching a language by force cannot be seen as a formula for producing a generation of better Muslims.

And fortunately, Pakistan does not have a dearth of Arabic teachers.

What will actually make this a rewarding move is if the ministry also considers what is being taught to students in the name of Islam and more importantly how it is being taught. If they do use it correctly, it will indeed be a good move to introduce better ethics through religion.

There have been dissenting voices on the issue.

Some have jumped the gun and reacted a bit too strongly to the idea of making Arabic compulsory because for them Arabic is somehow the language of Saudi Arabia – of hardliners and extremists. They may have overlooked the fact that for a lot of people in this country, the move would be a welcome one – especially for parents who have a hard enough time meeting the demands of their children’s increasingly competitive study regimes and barely manage to make children learn the recitation of the Holy Quran, let alone its meaning.

In this light, for these parents who wish their children to learn Arabic, the ministry’s suggestion is a blessing. However, here is the inevitable ‘but’.

Undoubtedly, languages make us grow and soar. They have the power to unify and to liberate. But one cannot discount the fact that languages have been used, throughout human history, to strengthen imperialistic ambitions and designs. Each colonial power left its territorial mark in the form of stipulations about languages, and the languages were then used as tools of proselytising people into thinking in certain boxes.

One hopes this is not a means to making people think Islam is a monolithic entity and teaching Arabic will not end up conditioning students to look at Islam in a reductionist pattern of “I am right and everyone else is wrong”.

It would be important to know opinions of people whose children will be taught Arabic in schools and how they feel about this move. I would also need to know how and what exactly will be taught in Arabic; what will the curriculum look like and who are the teachers who are able enough to handle this important tool, because we, unfortunately, have not set for ourselves a good precedence when it comes to teachers for Islamiat.

So here is the thing.

This is one of those issues on which I have mixed feelings. My tilt is in favour of making more people, and more importantly more Muslims, learn the language of the Quran. But based on my experience as a Pakistani, I am forced to think about the possible hidden motives behind this proposal.

I do hope that there are no reasons for this but to make us grow into better humans and Muslims.

Let us wait and watch.

Wallahu A’alam

(And Allah Knows best).

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/20545/making-arabic-compulsory-in-pakistans-schools-why/

A few good “F” words for the new year

By Farahnaz Zahidi

new year fireworks

Last year sped by just like all the years before it. Glorious on many counts, it also had its downsides that come with the package of any given chunk of time. Standing in my balcony, braving the rare chilly Karachi winds against my face, I am taking inventory of the year gone by. Some unresolved resolutions are jumbled up in the knapsack of my mind while some new resolutions have also found their way in.

‘What are going to be my focal points in the year to come?’ I wonder.

Somehow, a lot of ‘F’ words spring up in my mind – good ones, I must add.

Family: They may be irritating, annoying and an eternal encroachment on my personal space, but they are what makes life worth living for me. They demand a lot, but also give much more in return. If there is anything that is the ‘real’ thing in life, it’s your family; and if the real stuff sucks out the best out of you, it also gives you the best life has to offer.

So in the coming year, more cooking for my daughter; more walks (and simultaneous talks) in the park with my partner in crime; more evening tea trysts with my mother, whose eyes light up when she sees me; more patient time-spending with my sisters, who feel I ‘need to be more available on Skype and phone’ ; more brainless laughter over childhood jokes and discussions about Pakistani politics with my brothers; more hanging out with my nieces and nephews (a price one pays for being the youngest aunt); more one-dish dinners with relatives, and lastly, more visits to the distant aunts and cousins.

I mention all these people because they will be the first to arrive if I am in trouble. I know for a fact that they will stand by me even when I have a runny nose and a swollen face owing to allergies.

Friends: What could make life more enjoyable than the company of a good friend? As the years speed by, friends become even more important than before, and here I mean all kinds of friends; the ones who pump up my ego by giving me a healthy dose of compliments on how I look and how well I write; the ones who can say anything directly to my face when I need to hear it because they have known me since I couldn’t even tie my shoe laces; the ones who will swing by my house uninformed, plop themselves on the jhoola (swing) in my lounge and tell me their sob stories till my head spins; the ones who will go all motherly on me and make me tea and kebabs when I go to them in need of a pep-talk; the just-for-fun friends with whom I go out to share crazy laughter over coffee; those who are ready to mentor me in unsaid ways; the ones who will accompany me to the Imran Khan jalsa; the ones who call me a day before the jalsa, worried sick that I am going to a public place, and tell me ‘it’s so dangerous, you idiot’.

So in the coming year, more time-spending with my besties, if that’s possible, because they are already a major time-drain – one that is so worth it.

Food: Being a hardcore foodie, this one should actually top the list, but this year I plan to have yummier but healthier food. More concentration on fish, fruit, figs, and fresh greens instead of the regular doses of nihari, garlic-mayo fries, cheese dripping pasta and cheesecakes that all go and deposit themselves straight on the ‘troubled zones’.

So food, my first love, you are (still) on top of my priority list, baby. I am going to relish your each morsel and not gulp you down in a hurry. I will enjoy my cups of tea steaming hot and not let them get cold while other things, like phone calls and door bells, get in the way and destroy the taste of my chai because I have to micro-wave it endless times. I will also not serve food in pots, pans and degchis. I will make an effort to garnish it with ginger, coriander, parmesan, and fresh cream. Food will be a work of art and a sinless joy this year (ok family, don’t get your hopes high!).

Fitness: Looking good, feeling that extra spring in your step, experiencing that non-lazy bouncy feeling that makes you upbeat every morning – that’s what fitness gives you. And this poor ‘F’ was so neglected last year. So here is a solemn resolve; more healthy food, more walks and aerobics, less stressing, and most importantly more sleeping on time. Intermittently, let me enjoy a few last days of couch-potatoing, brooding over useless stuff, and sleeping at 2 am.

Fun: Being a serious-about-life and I-will-make-a-difference kind of person has a downside; you become too purposeful for your own good and at times forget to do brainless stuff just for fun. Things like watching an old Govinda movie, going out impulsively to have chaat, sleeping in late and buying yourself an extra pair of shoes just take a back seat.

So, I plan to have more fun next year, which would incorporate all the above mentioned ‘Fs’ but also include writing just for fun; some frivolous blogging, not merely journalistic endeavours that reek of activism, but also stuff like food blogging and a bit of dabbling with utterly emotional romantic poetry that makes my heart sing. Sounds like a plan!

Faith: My mainstay, my anchor, which sometimes gets buried under endless chores and to-dos. I feel that my time has drifted away with nothing actually useful done when I spend less time in prayer and a strange weariness clouds my happiness when I talk less to Allah (on the prayer mat or otherwise). So more of prayers and zikr in the coming year, and of doing things that will please God, which will definitely entail making His creations happy; serving, loving and spending (both money and time) on people I come across in my life.

Hence, my ‘F’ list comes to an end with Faith, and my faith says that I do not know for sure if I even have the next 24 hours to live. However, I have hope in His Mercy, and I will strive to live a life of better quality in the days and years to come, and leave the rest to Allah.

New Year – Bring it on.

Published here: http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/9618/a-few-good-%E2%80%9Cf%E2%80%9D-words-for-the-new-year/
Published: December 31, 2011

Back in the picture – Time to take Pakistani cinema seriously

Farahnaz Zahidi | Oct 20, 2013, 05.56 AM IST

Back in the picture
Zinda and kicking: A still from ‘Zinda Bhag’, Pakistan’s first entry to the Oscars. The film grossed 75 lakh Pakistani rupees in its first week.
Entering the cinema, I wondered if Zinda Bhaagwould be all that they were saying it was. Turns out the neo-realistic film, set in inner city Lahore and directed by Farjad Nabi and Meenu Gaur, was more. Watching the scene where Khaldi, a young man desperate to get out of Pakistan, looks with burning eyes and a quiet longing at his friend Chitta, who is leaving as an illegal immigrant to Italy, I realized that Pakistani cinema had finally arrived.

Zinda Bhaag is the country’s first entry to this year’s Oscars, in the foreign language film category. But equally important, the film’s box-office collections (75 lakh Pakistani rupees in its first week) are an indication that Pakistanis are returning to the cinema. Many youngsters queuing up at the new multiplexes mushrooming across cities are discovering Pakistani films for the first time.

For over a decade, barring the occasional activism-laden films, very few movies have been produced in Pakistan. After the fall of East Pakistan (now Bangaldesh), Pakistan lost over 1,100 cinema screens and a major chunk of talent and technical expertise of the film industry. That, coupled with the steep taxation policies of the mid-’70s, discouraged traditional investors, and new financers entered the game. “Investors, primarily from Punjab, who wanted to turn black money into white via the film industry affected the kind of films made,” says Pakistani film critic Rafay Mahmood, referring to the crass, violence-fuelled Punjabi entertainers that became the staple. Pushto films from the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa suffered a similar fate.

Pakistani television then became the benchmark for quality, and soon cinema had to compete with this mass medium. Realistic serials like Khuda ki Basti (1969-74) and Waris (1980) were both critically-acclaimed and successful. The ban on Bollywood, in place since 1965, was only lifted in President Musharraf’s era, with a restored version of Mughal-e-Azam that paved the way for more Indian releases. But families preferred watching these films from across the border on their VCRs, as it was both convenient and cheaper.

The ‘revival’ of indigenous films today is due to a number of factors, including the success ofBollywood in Pakistan, which revived exhibitor interest. The advent of multiplexes over the last two years has also helped. The mid 2000s saw a surge in graduates from local institutes like the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) in Karachi, all keen to act in films in Pakistan. They will find a supporter in Nadeem Mandviwalla, the man behind The Platform, Pakistan’s first independent film distribution body launched a few months ago. Mandviwalla promises to incentivize filmmakers experimenting with alternate genres by helping them with film distribution and promotions. Also the owner of multiscreen cinemas like Atrium in Karachi and Centaurus Cineplex in Islamabad, he is enthusiastic about the work he is seeing today. “An industry that had not made films for the last 10 years comes up with Mein Hoon Shahid Afridi(MHSA) and Waar. Imagine what they will produce a decade from now,” he says.

MHSA, touted as Pakistan’s first commercial sports film, was produced by and stars Humayun Saeed, a reputed TV star. Saeed believes local cinema needs more support from distributors, who push foreign films because they generate higher revenues. Director Bilal Lashari’s Waar, an English film about terrorism starring the industry’s only superstar Shaan, released Oct 16 and has reportedly beaten Chennai Express’s opening day box-office collections in Pakistan.

Critics agree that the latest offerings of Pakistani cinema have a freshness reminiscent at times of the acclaimed films of Iran. Which is why Mahmood refers to this phase as the birth, not rebirth, of Pakistani cinema. “It is no longer Lollywood. It is something new,” he states.

Is it fair to blame Imran Khan for the Peshawar Church Blast?

 

By Farahnaz Zahidi 8 minutes ago

 

After all, something needs to come up on Google when in the possible near future the average American asks, who is the man that's shooting down our drones? PHOTO: REUTERS

The church blast in Peshawer took away more than 80 innocent lives. People had gone there to pray, not knowing their funeral prayers would follow soon.

As always, the shock had subsided the day after the blast, but there was sadness – a constant dull ache that refused to recede. A recurring realisation existed that so many had lost their lives just because they prayed differently. Nothing seemed to help. Tweeting and facebooking allowed people to vent and rave temporarily, but frankly, social media acts as temporary anaesthesia. It numbs the pain for a bit, but the pain and anger returns. Always.

Then there was a call to attend a vigil for the victims and it turned out to be just what I needed. I needed a forum to express my solidarity with Christian Pakistanis – stand by them and join them in prayer. I needed some semblance of peace in that time of turmoil. As a mother, I needed to teach my daughter that this matters to us.

Thankfully, the vigil offered all this.

Like most vigils, a handful of people gathered at 8:00 pm. outside the Karachi Press Club. There were representatives of the Christian community, activists, a few Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters, and some student activists of other parties – all with candles amid eerie peace that is always present on candlelight vigils.

While some people took the microphone to share their feelings, others quietly donated blood at the makeshift blood camp. They knew that their blood might never make it to Peshawer to the injured of the blast, but it would reach someone somewhere and someone would benefit.

That was the only thought on everyone’s mind – to help, to do something.

However, slowly the mood began to change. As the crowd spotted PTI supporters showing their respect peacefully, the quiet whispers became loud insults.  One person questioned,

“So you kill people in the day by being apologists for extremists, but you attend a vigil for those whom you murdered in the night?”

Another continued,

“You all have your political agenda.”

As the insults became louder and more direct, the anger escalated and the blame game started. Abuses and loud slogans of “Shame Imran Shame” became louder. The poor organizer apologised for the unpleasant allegations being hurled and the ‘peace’ that we had all come looking for, was replaced by the scapegoat syndrome.

As the pastor eventually began to recite a beautiful prayer for tolerance and harmony in Pakistan, the irony became all the more jarring. I realised that the lack of tolerance first rears its ugly head when people can no longer hear each other out. We all know that as a nation, whenever anything happens, we are quick to jump the gun almost as if our only way of trying to find sanity amidst the mayhem is by looking for a scapegoat.

For this incident, the scapegoat happens to be Imran Khan and PTI’s pro-negotiation policy. I saw this not just at the vigil; but on social media, talk shows and heard it in conversations. According to Twitter, he was even pelted with insults and tomatoes. His supporters were made to feel guilty as if they and their party were the reason for killing the slain.

As a nation, we are too angry, too bitter, too mistrusting and too awkward in the art of dialogue. We accuse, we abuse, we vent, we blame and we move on. Until the next tragedy and then the chain begins again.

However, this attitude is hardly surprising and our history shows this more than once. I recall clearly the Karsaz blast of October 18, 2007 that killed some 200 people. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had returned to Pakistan with utmost sincerity to lead her people to democracy once again and her welcome procession was attacked. Although she survived that blast, just hours after the blast, I remember these words being uttered:

“She must have gotten the blasts done herself to gain sympathy and support”.

These voices were silenced but only once she was assassinated. However, the inherent psyche still remains.

This blog is not about Imran Khan or the efficacy and legitimacy of proposed negotiations. This is not about the fact that Pakistan has lost 35,000 civilians and 3,500 security personnel to acts of terrorism between 2006 and 2011 only according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2010-2011 – years in which we had a strictly no-negotiation policy. This is not about whether extremists should be offered an office or not, though that move actually may help give them a face and make it more feasible to deal with them. After all, whatever the scapegoat says or does, even if it makes sense, people will oppose it on a reflex.

This is about the realisation that if we differ in opinion, we must first learn how to disagree with a certain decorum. We can’t hurl a shoe at Musharraf and insult Imran Khan, and then expect tolerance in society. If we do so, we will claim our sincerity as much as we like, but we will end up causing more dissension, which is not what this country needs at all. By playing blame-games, are we doing a service or a disservice to those who lost their lives last Sunday?

It is time we gave practical solutions rather than blame scapegoats with allegations of unholy alliances.

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/19020/is-it-fair-to-blame-imran-khan-for-the-peshawar-church-blast/

The danger of being a journalist in Pakistan

Published: August 17, 2013

Express Media employees and security personnel gather at the entrance of the office after the attack. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

My biggest high as a journalist is my byline. Having been a journalist for a fairly long time, the excitement has not lessened.

The day I know a story of mine will be published there is a wave of anticipation from the night before. With half-open eyes, I snap off the rubber band holding the rolled up newspaper in the morning, search for my story, and revisit it many times a day.

It is not simply narcissism, though every journo and writer is a bit of a self-centred narcissist inside. George Orwell got it right when he laid down the four motives to write in his essay “Why I write” and placed sheer egoism at the top because as he said “All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.”

I will not digress into a debate about the difference between a journalist and a writer here. Somewhere, the lines are diffused and they tend to overlap.

But in a country like Pakistan and the times we live in, the joy of seeing one’s name in print becomes even more profound. Journalists of both print media and broadcast risk their lives, literally, and get not much money in return.

It is an underpaid profession at the end of the day. Only people with an insatiable desire to speak out are good reporters.

In a nutshell, the byline or the name of the journalists means everything to them.

Only yesterday, at work, I was talking to a colleague who just wrote a daring piece. “I was told I shouldn’t put in my name in this write-up,” she said. “But of course you did,” I said. We smiled at each other. We all have been there.

But today’s (Friday’s) attack on the office of Express Media is more than 24 bullets, two injured people and an act of cowardice. It is something, I fear, which will lessen the number of bylines even further.

It will not just be the attackers who will be unnamed persons. Very soon, the people who dig out the stories that tell you what’s happening in the world around us will be veiled, shrouded and stacked up under umbrella terms like “media” and “correspondent”.

I fear, very soon, the perilous nature of the Pakistani journalism will rob us of the one satisfaction we have.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2013.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/591368/when-journalists-become-unknown-people/

 

To Amir Liaquat Hussain about Taher Shah & the big snake

Mr Amir Liaquat Hussain

Assalamualikum.

You have done a lot of things in the past that have scandalized, traumatized and shocked people. More evolved people, at least. But you have a huge fan following of naive masses who still are head over heels over you. You know very well, sir, how to win them over. You are very entertaining to some. And so you have been going on.

As someone who is always the devil’s advocate and likes to see the good side in people, I have always liked to think that you, like all of us, are a combination of good and bad. Secondly, no matter what, you talk with love and reverence about our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw). And so I always try and give you the benefit of doubt.

But this time, Amir Sahab, you have pushed it to far. And it is better that I say it to you directly as an open letter, rather than back-biting about you.

In yesterday’s Amaan Ramzan transmission of GEO, aired at Iftar time on 25th July 2013, you publicly humiliated and insulted this singer called Taher Shah who sang the viral song “Eye to Eye”. You made fun of him, embarrassed him, touched the grown man’s hair and brought attention to it in an offensive manner, cut short his song as he tried to sing, and you put a huge snake on his shoulders.

To Taher Shah, I digress and give a very short message: Sorry that this happened, Taher. But you should have known what you are getting into. And for the record after seeing you insulted like that, I am feeling remorse that I laughed about your Eye to Eye, although it was hard not to, but I accept I should have done better than mock.

18331-tahershahonaamirliaquat-1374826666-200-640x480

Coming back to Amir Liaquat Sahab. Well, sir, this has nothing to do with Taher Shah really, or about one particular show. My worry and concern is at deeper levels.

The first and foremost is that people call you, for reasons best known to them, an Islamic scholar and as a member of clergy. And that places HUGE responsibility on your shoulders. Because you are the most prominent pop tv cleric as they are calling you, people associate everything you do with Islamic scholars. We, the human race, love to stereo-type and pass sweeping generalized statements. We make people heroes too quickly and write them off too soon. And so I have heard friends say “ALL Islamic tv shows, specially in Ramadan, are drama. They will do anything for ratings. Look at Dr Amir! They are ALL the same.” Fact is, they are not! I have heard humble and peace-loving Muftis and Aalims on tv imparting their knowledge, some of them not there for money or ratings but simply because they feel they must share the knowledge they have. It is disturbing to see that they are being doubted because of something that someone else might be doing.

Secondly, I have honestly and sporadically respected you for the fact that your love of Rasool Ullah (saw) is so intense. When you initially became a celeb, your naats and the way you talked about the Sunnah of Rasool Ullah (saw) and his life and times was very motivating. But what’s happening now, sir, is that in the same sitting you are mocking people which is against the Sunnat of my beloved, may upon him be peace, and you are also reciting durood. Yes, we all make those mistakes at times. And we shouldn’t. But with honour comes responsibility. You, sir, represent a lot more than the average man. Your voice is heard by millions and your sentiments are echoed across the globe. You need to be more careful with the trust people have vested in you.

Many feel that your current way of distributing gifts in your shows when they answer questions is unethical. I don’t think so. “Neelam Ghar” is legend in Pakistan, and you are filling that gap. So good for you. But how come people respected Tariq Aziz sahab so much but you are under such tough scrutiny? Because it all depends on HOW something is executed. You need to re-think how you are doing it.

Other morning shows have also been known to have orphan or abandoned children given to couples who wish to adopt. Why did it make to the international media when you did the same? Why did it hurt people so when you gave that baby away? Again, sir, its the way you did it. On one side lawn and motor bikes were given away and on another a human baby! That is simply in bad taste.

There is nothing wrong if media persons, to encourage people to take parent-less children as their own, with legalities and background check, have such things on their shows, though it’s debatable if such private things should be done on media in the first place. But if the element of respect and decorum is missing, it even makes a good act unsavoury.

Please re-think all that you are doing and the precedent that you are setting. Otherwise you may be the most watched anchor person but not the most respected.