What is happening today, is a systematic de-sensitization of the value system in what was once proudly called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Every other day now, there is a new coinage of Pakistan’s identity. I was surfing through various channels before preparing to sign off and catch some sleep before Sehri for fasting, when I encountered Orya Maqbool Jan a renowned political and cultural analyst, fuming in his appearance in a relatively new Channel over an ad being frequently aired by the electronic media in support of Women’s freedom and empowerment, wherein a girl with the mother on her side, defies her father to go for a women’s national cricket team selection, wins selection and woman of the match award in a match she plays; ending with the father eating his words and realizing he was wrong.
While Orya’s lament I reckon was that the ad had deliberately fiddled with the social norm of the Pakistani Muslim home where the father invariably takes decisions not merely because he is the bread-earner, but also one who has greater opportunity to observe the vagaries and vicissitudes of the social environment outside the home, and is therefore in a better position to guide his family and off-springs. What this ad showed was an attempt in fiction to discount the above value system promoting the desired make-belief end. But what Orya put on-air shortly after, was an eye-opener what was in reality happening around in Pakistani Society given the recent wave of individual liberties championed by a particular section of Pakistan’s opinion-makers. Courtesy a Channel relegated to an oft rotating number, this was an interview by its anchor with a group of female Pakistani cricket aspirants, aired by Orya over his platform channel with former’s permission.
The talented girls narrated with distraught the price in honour they are asked to pay by their male handlers in order to wear the Pakistani colours. The words some of them used are not repeatable and confound the champions of freedom and empowerment of the Pakistani woman, who marvel in attacking and ridiculing the Pakistani home constraints. They never tire gunning for honour killings in the country and have succeeded in attracting the UN attention towards this trend in Pakistan exaggerated over media, but have been totally oblivious of the repercussions of liberties they wish to be endorsed by Society. By no means justifying honour killings, but would these activists without a conscience, pause to reflect if they were endorsing elopement or better put running away of girls from their homes, justify young males enticing them, and whether they would marvel at their own sons and daughters doing same!
They are either purposely apathetic to the trauma a teenage girl causes to the entire family in eloping with an oft ruffian paramour who exploits her emotionally and sexually and invariably abandons her, or are rank ignorant. The rejection of the whole family in the Society as a consequence is never the concern of these liberals. Has any of these Human rights protagonists ever tried to reach or translate the agony of such affected mothers, fathers, sisters, sons and daughters, who are left to face the Society! asks Orya. The answer is ‘no’ and a stony unruffled silence.
I had hardly recovered from shock and depression over Orya’s account unable to sleep the rest of the night that the very next morning an extract from Ghulam Akbar’s serialized account of his book ‘Hum Kaun Hain’ dateline 11.12.2007 titled ‘Full-time masti non-stop fun’ gnawed at my conscience yet again. This was an analysis of yet another ad prepared and aired at the fag end of Musharraf’s ‘enlightened moderate’ era. Ghulam Akbar one of the few voices left keeping the flame of Pakistan’s Ideology and Muslim social norms proudly alight surmises, that this is not just the title or theme of an ad but reflection of an entire evolving culture which together with songs like ‘Nuchch Panjaban Nuchch’ and several other themes in ads and programmes, having tested the fringes of the so-called censor code and rendering it immune, has launched a concerted assault over the sensitivities of the Pakistani Society. The irony he rightly says is that in this Society, notice is taken of some stern political criticism over a TV Channel but there is no one to question the sanctity of the Pakistani homes and assault upon mental make-up and psyche of the younger generation. It is time for those who wish to save their sons and daughters from dangerous ingress of ‘full-time masti non-stop fun’ mindset, to stand up and frustrate enemy design.
Courtesy the free access to modern gadgets of communication including the TV Channels, Social media, Twitter and Face-book over Internet and mobile telephony, far more dirt is permeating the Muslim fiber of the Pakistani Society, with no parental guidance or check over these negative attributes compared to good these communication possibilities may be showering upon humanity. What Orya or Ghulam Akbar have hinted at, is only a miniscule of the moral degradation to which the Pakistani Society has sunk. One has witnessed horrific escapades of moral degradation that would dwarf any in the worst of Societies anywhere in the world.
The cultural invasion which until recently was being dismissed as a hoax is today so real and complete that a former Indian Premier was right in exclaiming that Pakistan was being won over through their cultural ingresses over media so completely that India no longer required to attack that country. So right also was my dear departed friend Khalid Hassan who headlined one of his pieces in a newspaper once as “Indian Naval invasion of Pakistan.” He went on to say that India had miserably failed to browbeat the Pakistani youth until its semi-nude female dancers and actresses with their bare belies and focused ‘navals’ flattened them. What Khalid said in sarcasm is so right today.
There is hardly a Channel today which does not air Indian Shows, Soaps and Commercials in better part of their entertainment quantum, oblivious of imprint they were leaving upon the Pakistani impressionable generation. Unfortunately even the Pakistani Prime Minister feels that there was no cultural difference between Pakistan and India, contrary to the Father of the Nation categorically affirming that Muslims with their distinct culture and traditions were a separate Nation from the Hindus who worship the animal we eat and relish. Where is Pakistan heading to?
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran former Director of programmes.