Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Burn, Baby, Burn?

First a couple of disclaimers.

1) I don't like Asif Ali Zardari. I think he is a venal, ill-educated and ruthless man who should never have risen to the position of power he is currently in. It is the tragedy of Pakistan that it must contend with the stupidity, arrogance and insensitivity of "leaders" like him.

2) I think the government's crude attempt to muzzle Geo by forcing cable operators to take the channel off air, by burning copies of Jang and threatening newspaper hawkers who carry it is just plain wrong and needs to be resisted by all who believe in a free media.

I have explained where I am coming from for the simple reason that what I am about to say next may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, or at least the overwhelming consensus that seems to have been manufactured in the country. And make no mistake, it is a manufactured consensus.

I may not like Asif Zardari as a person but it does not take away from the fact that he is the elected president of the country. And people can say all sorts of things about the shambolic nature of a democracy that resulted in him being elected president, but those were the rules everyone agreed to play by and those are the rules we have to accept. And the reason I bring it up is that much of the manufactured consensus against him in the media is implicitly or blatantly a refusal to accept those rules.

Zardari with Cameron (Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth / Reuters)

Let's take the case of his trip to France and England which has been the source of much of the venom spewed against him. Should he have undertaken the trip at this time, with UK PM David Cameron's pointed barbs in India against Pakistan preceding his trip and the floods wreaking such devastation across Pakistan? No. The former demanded a sense of dignity from any self-respecting leader and the latter simply a sensitivity to public perceptions.

But even though we know that it was really the former issue - and Asif Zardari's ignoring of the entreaties of even his own Foreign Minister - that really pissed the establishment (read military) off, what we have been constantly hearing is that Zardari should have been taking care of the floods situation at home.

Nowshera, July 30 (Photo: A Majeed / AFP-Getty)

Really? What exactly would Zardari have done in Pakistan? This is a man who does not even venture outside his presidential palace, unless it's to his bunkered home in Nawabshah, and who has never even once visited the frontline of the battle against the Taliban in two years, and we expect him to be directing flood relief efforts? And more importantly, didn't he just hand over all executive power under the 18th Amendment, making him just a figure-head president? Isn't PM Yousuf Raza Gilani at least correct in his rhetoric that he is the chief executive of the country and it is he who is responsible for directing relief efforts? Him and the provincial chief ministers who seem to have got away pretty unscathed so far. Yes, Zardari failed miserably on the optics and in basic decency, but does anyone seriously believe that the floods' devastation and the ineffectual state response would have been ameliorated by Zardari being in Pakistan? I don't think so. But that is the constant refrain we now hear as if it is the gospel truth, particularly on Geo.

Taunsa near Multan, August 1 (Photo: Khalid Tanveer /AP)


So Zardari was an insensitive ass. But is that such breaking news that the media focus shifts entirely to undermining him? Were he not the president, would the suffering of the affectees of the biggest floods in Pakistan's history be any less? Would the administration become super-efficient? Isn't the issue of the inherent lack of capacity of the Pakistani state to deal with such crises a bigger issue than Zardari and his jaunts? Criticise him by all means but is a man chucking a couple of shoes in his direction really a bigger story than the tens of millions displaced from their homes? Or have we become so blinded by our rage and the cult of personality that we are willing to jettison all sense of proportion?

The question then becomes, to what end is this consensus being created? You only have to watch Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Saath to get a clear sense of the game that is cynically being played.

Here's a clip of last night's programme. Watch from 5.10.




Here's the other myth that is being perpetuated: that the flood relief efforts that the army is undertaking are somehow divorced from the government's response, almost, it would seem, in opposition of government directives. Is the army separate from government? Isn't the military hardware being used in the airlifts and food drops, as well as the soldiers, paid by the government and people of Pakistan? And to take nothing away from the brave work of the jawans who endure hardship and danger to rescue people and provide them food, but why are we being made to feel that the army is doing the people of Pakistan a favour? As if this were not really their job but are doing this only out of the goodness of their hearts?

Does the building up of the army's reputation come always as the cost of undermining civilian reputations? The tragedy for Pakistan is of course that its stupid civilian leaders play exactly according to the script. And only seem to prove their cluelessness with interventions like this:



What will such a demolition, in public perception, of everything other than the armed forces mean for Pakistan? Is that what is intended? Are we destined to go back to Square Zero every time?

But coming back to the issue of Geo's forced blackout: as much as I oppose it, I for one am not buying into the claims of hurt innocence that Geo is now loudly proclaiming. Yes, the government has responded in typical hamhanded fashion and has probably added fuel to burn itself. But was Geo simply reporting news as an unbiased and neutral observer? Does it have no hidden or obvious agenda? I think we all know the answer to that, at least in our hearts.

You could also do worse than read this assessment in The Independent by Chatham House fellow Farzana Shaikh. It is probably not something you will see quoted with relish on Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Saath.

35 comments:

Annie said...

'And make no mistake, it is a manufactured consensus.'

Annie said...

we PAY quite a bit for these military boys. so it's not really a fucking favour, even if someone thinks it is. we probably should be spending more on development and infrastructure instead of of the military so that we don't need their bloody hand if there's times like these.

Taban Khamosh said...

Kamran Khan is an utter douche mouthpiece of the GHQ. No doubt about that. But does Zardari & Co. HAVE to fall face first for every single trap set for them by the establishment?

It seems to me that the kleptocracy is once again trying to use this disaster to further its own agenda. To expect them to work otherwise is naive at best.

To fall for their traps is criminally negligent. How long are we going to sit by and take this crap from the incompetent leadership of PPP? And to top all this stupidity off they start acting in a fascist manner by trying to muzzle the media (GEO, ARY, Dunya). Who does this help? How does this appear in the public's eye? Why give them the chance to exploit it?

Observation and criticism of these monumentally stupid mistakes, at least for me is a well meaning gesture. To stay quiet just for the sake of saving this particular administration is unethical in my opinion. The goal has to be to save and strengthen democracy. Administrations come and go. Israel has a coalition govt and it's got its foot lodged in all its enemies arse for the last 60+ years. So the argument that any given setup is _the_ democratic set and has to be protected at all costs doesn't hold water.

Let there be new elections and let there be another coalition govt. Either that or stop appeasing the damn kleptocracy that is our Military/Bureaucratic/Hereditary establishment and go for broke. But AAZ with his control of the levers of power and YRG with his utter lack of confidence seem incapable of doing so.

So they keep throwing bones to this goddamn rottweiler and it keeps getting more and more fearless with every passing week!

Seriously, why is kiyani allowed to meet foreign ambassadors as if he was already a quasi head of state? In what capacity does he meet the ruler of UAE? the ambassadors of Sweden, China, Saudi Arabia? Can the Indian COAS do sh!t like this? Does the US top general do crap like this? Do the British and French and German generals do stuff like this?

Why is then Kiyani treated like he's the first born of this sterile couple?

If AZ and YRG or the incompetent CEC of PPP think they can appease these bullies by throwing them more pieces of state power, and ceding control, they are sadly mistaken. These khar-dimagh jurnails take this as a confirmation of their beliefs that their contempt towards the civilian leadership is justified.

I get your points about the situation, but has AZ/YRG and the rest of the incompetents ever tried to use the constitutional powers at their disposal? How many decades are we going to sit and wait for our civilian leaders to grow a goddamn spine? What exactly will happen if they sacked this Kiyani and brought another general? Sack the bloody incompetent 22 grade vaccum cleaners of bureaucrats who do nothing but suck the national kitty dry.

They are contemptible because they've got not balls. And they give us guilt trips about "rocking the democratic boat".

And so what if Nawaz Sharif comes to power? If the country is leaning to the right, then so be it. That's what democracy is all about. We should not support an incompetent and indifferent civilian administration just because they're civilian. Let another coalition govt form. But absolute no space is to be ceded to the establishment and by these ridiculous actions AAZ has actually played right into the hands of the "vulturistic" establishment. They are emboldened because they smell blood. As does that little poodle named Kamran Khan. All thanks to dumbass, policies of an un-elected party head, someone who would be kicked out of the party in any other democracy worth its salt, but unfortunately not in ours. Because we believe in giving these assholes more time because of the big bad establishment.

That, at least, is my gripe.

P.S. I'm not a NS supporter. I think the guy is still not reformed. But these are the cards we have been dealt.

Magnum said...

'manufactured consensus.' That it most certainly is. Zaradri will one day go, but Geo?
I for one have absolutely NO problem with this motherfucking Taliban ass-licking good for nothing channel going off the air. I seriously wish it remains off.

Diss This said...

It's amazing how one has to go on and on reminding everybody that they hate Zaradri before they take on the fascism of Geo. Sad state of affairs.
We all know Zaradri scrwed up, so why do we need to go on about it. Why can't we simply take on bigots like Geo without disclaimers?

TLW said...

We know Geo is an extension of Pakistani commercialism. We also know that Pakistani commerce is linked with the military of Pakistan.

This is not a reason to take Geo off the air.

temporal said...

yes it is manufactured to an extent...generously aided by the shenanigans of the politicians

please continue to expose the media's role in all this

TLW said...

We should be able to live with these uncomfortable truths.

Geo may be a body of assholes, but if Cafe Pyala and it's fans can recall the way the Sindh National Party protested outside Geo's offices in May.

I remember those protests. Geo wailed about it on their channel all night, whilst the other channels studiously ignored what was happening right outside their offices on Chundrigar Road. XYZ is probably echoing the disgust that many in the media feel for Geo and how nobody will immediately come to Geo's defence.

Protests, libel cases, court injunctions are probably the way to go.

I understand this sentiment but I seriously believe that Geo should be left alone, on the principle of Freedom of Expression. You have to tolerate these things in democracy.

Anonymous said...

Freedom of Expression?
You give fuckers this freedom and the following happens:
One of their asswipe religious hosts insigates violence against the Ahmadaiyya.
Another one calls a Taliban and tells them to get rid of a former ISI man that the Taliban have kidnapped.
The list can go on and on.
This freedom of speech spiel is just bloody excuse used by the very people who are anything but democratic or tolerant.
So cut us some slack, TLW.

Qausain said...

Kamran Khan Army ko na dekhaye to kiya "Jiyaloon" ko dikhaye jo flood affected areas main logon ke madad k liye aysey pohnch rahey hain jesey Bhutto ke political rallies main pohnchtey they...???

wesey kya zamana aa gaya hey ... log media ko chor kar Zardari ko support kr rahey hain?? sirf is liye k unhain kuch media personalities (personally) pasand nahi hain :/

Jis mulk main duniya key corrupt tareen politician hon, jo awam ka nanga or un key hisey ke roti cheen kar dunia main ghomtey or property bantey hain ... in zalimoon k liye Kamran Khan or Hamid Mir jesey he journalist honey chaye ...
or agar kisi ko Pakistan main *Anderson Cooper* chaye to pehley democracy bhe unkey mulkoon jesi create karain.

1969 sey Peoples Party bani hoi hey or sirf 3 log (1 family)is per hakoomat kar rahi hay ... sab sey barey dictator to ye log khud hain or media per ilzam lagatey hain k Army ko support karti hey ... so what should media do?? support Bhutto Family??

Mackers said...

@ anon 11.44: So, you mean if we take that freedom away, the hosts won't spout any anti-Ahmdadiyya rhetoric in a state which has draconian anti-Ahmadiyya laws.

And, it was due to freedom of speech that Hamir Mir was able to make the alleged phone call? Because he made it on national t.v right?

Last I remember, no democracy in the world, including the U.S, allows incitement to violence or murder, in the definition of freedom of speech

TLW said...

So cut us some slack, TLW

This doesn't mean that we take an entire channel off the air. And yeah, those actions by Hamid Mir and Amir-the-Jahil-Online Liaquat should have had consequences fall on them immediately. Consequences like registered cases of inciting hatred and a few court dates to drag around for a few years. Added to that should have been a fine by that fool Amir Liaquat, paid directly to the family of the incited/murdered person.

Aur Qausain bhai, sab sey barey dictator to ye log khud hai?

Really brother? Even more than Musharraf, Zia, Yahya and Ayub, going back in time?

And the media's decision to support or not the Bhutto family is completely up to the media people. But how about getting into the disaster zone and finding places the government is unable to go.

And roti cheen'nay ki baat ati hai, well excuse me but they aren't automatically assigning 35 to 45 percent of the national budget directly to themselves every year.

There are bounds of reason. The media has certainly crossed them with its poison, and so has the government by clamping down on Geo.

I am with Mackers on this.

Umeed said...

Well put TLW.
people like Qausain have selective memories. They just remember the 'dictatorship' of men like Bhutto. They talk as if idiots like yayah, ayub and ESPECIALLY that biggest munafiq of all Zia never existed. Shame on you. Aur Qausain bhai, agar aap chatey hein, mein apna comment Urdu mein bhi translate kar sakta hoon. Kya pata aap ki yaadash wapis ajaye.

Masuud Qazi said...

All this makes for this to me: Say you study in a 'peela' school. You know your headmaster is a 1st degree bastard. He beats you with the 'maula baksh' when he likes. Hence, you loathe him to countless limits. Yet, you know you got to study in that school because your parents can't afford a private one. And for just that bloody reason only, you're taking him as a headmaster. So do your tens of classmates. Yet, one fine morning you wake up and decide, let's give in and accept him as who he is!

Wow. Sanity prevails. Good job!

Alright then buddy. I do agree with you of what Zardari could have done had he been in Pakistan rather than doing the Europe visit. For sure, nothing. And he would have been still been bashed for one motive or the other, yet the rational approach (if any he ever made) called for him to stay put in Pakistan. Why? Simply to at least put through the image of moral support to the millions suffering rather than doing such a colossal stupidity. Can we even imagine Manmohan or Obama leaving their countries in any national tragedy, let alone something of this magnitude? Hell no!
And well, by doing such obnoxious spending on the Europe honeymoon in multiple acre palaces and ‘lowest’ category 5-star hotels while the millions at home are subjected to state’s inability to be reactive to the disasters being faced, did no good to him. Instead, it fuelled sentiments and opened more arenas of public hatred for him, with the 'joota-fying' being the pinnacle.

And yeah, launching Bilawal BZ (BC) wasn't rocket science, we all know that. Infact, a disgrace to all the pro-democracy folks. FFS, top playing dynastic politics and thus, defaming the very meaning of democracy! Making the stage set for a 21 year (who's still to get his bipolar brain off Oxford night outs and boozie suzie) to rule the 180 million odd people. That's your democracy? Generation-passing doesn't define democracy, do look up a dictionary or see the ideal scenarios where you'll get enlightened what's democracy stands for, even if its for a crippled state like Pakistan where the conventional form of democracy has never prospered.

Moreover, by banning Geo, ARY etc, he and his govt. is not only shooting on their own toes by repeating Musharraf's theatrics, they are playing right into the hands of we-know-who! Political parties and his countless foes will only cash on such immature acts, and well what deviations occur, that would compound affairs to no controllable extent.

To cut it short (since this could go on and on till he farts on our names), lets put it simple. We know well the world knows about him being the favourite pastime for hatred in Pakistani politics, yet his mindless approaches are adding the ingredients to what is potentially the making of the grandest asshole in Pakistani history. Can somebody pass him this word please?

p.s. Having this funny feeling for the past few days that somehow siding (in a sense) with 10% is the newly-adopted blog-world’s diversion ;)

TLW said...

When the entire world's DIVERSION has become attacking 10%, why go with everybody else's past time? Especially when you know it's going for the sole purpose of selling ghee on Jang's TV channels.

But those channels shouldn't be blocked.

They'll open them up again.

Anonymous said...

@ xyz. Wholly agree with u. Zardari's presence would have been another well-orchestrated photosession accomplishing little beyond that.
As for the freedom of expression, the newly liberated media moghuls have to learn to use that considering this is Pakistan and we have rulers who are as novice to 'democracy' as themselves.

karachikhatmal said...

5 years ago, when the earthquake hit, i remember, and so do most people, how we all rushed to help however we could.

i don't think i can recall what musharraf was doing then, or what he did at all. i do know that he didn't go around helping people emerge from the rubble, so clearly his presence didn't mean much.

this is one of the major problems of being a journalist, and by extension a blogger even. people think that if they write op-eds, or harp on tv, or write long comments, they are absolved of the responsibility of actually doing something tangible. i know this because i do this myself.

no where do you see links for how to help, or stories of people who are going out to help. all we see is bullshit about zardari, and the cricket team's catching, and people complaining.

Tehseen baweja said...

@KarachiKhatmal: Can't agree with you more. Every one of us is hell-bent on high-lighting the problems, not realizing that we have to move on to the next stage now i.e. doing something about it.

We all know the short falls of our infant democracy and our out-of-control media. Time we do something about it.

All Geo shows that spur hatred are funded by $$$ worth of ads by telcos that you and I support. Isn't it about time we write about their corporate responsibility??

Anonymous said...

a sentence from a report today on geo's website:
//The party workers went on wall chalking spree under police cover writing bad meaning sentences//
http://www.geo.tv/8-10-2010/69769.htm

Ha ha. 'bad meaning sentences.' yes, sir, they should heed to the GOOD meaning sentences that one usually hears from asses like Amir Liaqat, Hamid Mir, Shahid Masood, Imran Khan, Zaid Hamid and Hamid Gull on TV.

What fucking hippocrites.

bt said...

ah pyala, you said it! you did! oh i love you so for saying this.

what i mean is this: the shoe hurling incident was also broadcast on other networks but it had some fucking CONTEXT. i mean dawn had a story highlighted, aaj did, samaa did but it wasn't the ONLY fucking story.. sure one guy flung a shoe at zardari, fine, shit happens. but does that override EVERYTHING ELSE? yes, if you are a nutcase at geo, it does and it bloody will. it will become the geo lead, the headline, the shoe flinger's interview, his facile remarks on politics and economics and pakistan ki ghairat becomes your fucking NEWS, it shall be your entertainment news, the reason for the debacle at second test, the reason for the plane crash.. you name it.. geo really needs to bring out its head from its arse... really, it does.

i mean sure, i don't like zardari, but give me a fucking break...

Vanguard said...

Its not only Zardari who is facing flak for traveling when the country is going through a crisis. Across the Atlantic and Europe and Middle East, Michelle Obama is also having to face critics for traveling to Spain when US is going through its economic crisis

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/let-them-eat-tapas-mrs-obama-faces-holiday-fury-2048108.html

Sabqat said...

I got referred to your blog by a friend, and I think your piece on the floods+zardari trip+media's handling was nicely written. Congratulations!

However I think in your analysis, you could also have looked at the fact that the president staying in the country would at least have achieved the following:

1. It would have freed up a lot of cash that could have been contributed to the relief funds (as has been done at various other levels e.g. our ambassador in the US toning down some official extras).

2. It would have delivered a strong message of the seriousness of the situation and the government's resolve to local/international donors. We are being told that right now, there appears to be a significant trust deficit, and many funds (like PM's fund for flood relief) have not taken off as they should/could have.

3. A strong international precedent exists for leaders to prioritize such situations of national importance, over other engagements. This is not without good reason, and I will not belabor this point.

Again, I have taken the time to share these points out of academic interest, and because your own article looked so well researched.

Let me also add that I do agree with your general observation about the media taking certain things out of proportion. In other words, I'm not 100% confident that the points I've listed above are the reason that some TV channels were criticizing Zardari's visit.

Best regards!

- Sabqat, Islamabad.

Summaiya said...

just few things to point out regarding your view points in the write up;
u said tht the Zardari presence cudnt ameliorate the problems but evn thn wat his party jokers are doing bein on Pakistani soil with plundering this land, he being the party head is responsible oh their evry act and misdeed. do we really make president to gve him a symbolic place like Queen of England or so, doesnt he is responsible of ANY thing.
secondly u hv said tht show throwing thing hadbn gvn more thn required coverage, for tht i can say u hdnt watchd the transmissions carefully. why the people here criticizing Media for this over-coverage criticized this very media whn the very same thing had happend to president Bush??!
finally, we had to make this clear that its really not Zardari/PPP/Sindh victimization going on, they really are guilty!!

Annie said...

the unofficial ban on geo etc is ridiculous regardless of whatever they've been running. that is the difference between a civilian, democratic government and an autocratic, military dictatorship. and yes, the channel can be easily taken to court when its reports are unsubstantiated by evidence. such as: the channel had been claiming that the order to clamp down on geo was directly given by information minister kaira. there was no concept of a source of that information and there was no evidence to support the claim. please sue these motherfuckers. that's the way to go. NOT BANS.

Anonymous said...

Were he not the president, would the suffering of the affectees of the biggest floods in Pakistan's history be any less? Would the administration become super-efficient? Isn't the issue of the inherent lack of capacity of the Pakistani state to deal with such crises a bigger issue than Zardari and his jaunts?

Sadly Gillani has taken his cue from Zardari and thinks it is a brilliant idea to waste more public money by sending more govt officials and ministers on foreign trips in a hope of getting more aid money for Pakistan .
Zardari's personal actions represent his callous disregard for the suffering of the people of Pakistan. He is also not spending his own money but living in expensive hotels with his retinue this is all on money which could have been used more wisely. I as a tax payer resent the fact that many members of the national assembly do not pay their taxes . And they use tax payers money to support lavish lifestyles all at our expense and then they tell is there is no money to spend of developing national welfare programmes. What are they doing and what has the present govt. done for the people of Pakistan in the last four years ???
How can members of Zardari's own party have respect for such a leader? Does he inspire confidence in them ? Has he brought the party or the country honor and respect? And if they are all subservient to him and his wishes what does this tell us the public about our elected ministers and reps. ability to take a principled stand over other matters that effect our interests and the interest of our country ??

Jutti Chore said...

A man's mother was dying of terminal cancer. He decide to leave her on her deathbed and went to a movie. When asked why he said, "well, what could i have done by being at the bedside? she was dying anyways, why u gettin on ma case?"

Your apologia is no different.

Nice logic! It's about the morale of the nation and the psychological effect it would have on the people. No one expects him to do anything by hand, its just like being at the bedside of a loved one even if you can't do anything for them.

Zardari has shown utter disregard for the misery of the people in the federation he was elected to represent. That's the issue. Not what he could/couldn't have done personally by staying.

Anonymous said...

Seems like all the people writing in to say how xyz is wrong, haven't read or are too blinkered to read what xyz has written. Nowhere does xyz *justify* or *defend* zardari going on the tour, infact, he/she specifically preempted all that by saying zardari *shouldn't* have gone. The point being made is about the criticism and *its* justifications/agendas. Get your AZ-hating hats off for a second to read properly people. :P

Asif Ali Khan said...

I am sorry your report is self-contradictory.

If you believe in democracy how can you say Asif Ali Zardari is a venal, ill-educated and ruthless man who should never have risen to the position of power he is currently in.
Then you say: “And people can say all sorts of things about the shambolic nature of a democracy that resulted in him being elected president, but those were the rules everyone agreed to play by and those are the rules we have to accept.”
These rules have not been made by the ruled, but by the rulers (politicians), who take turn to rule the country. So the masses are not bound to accept these rules.
You say: “You only have to watch Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Saath to get a clear sense of the game that is cynically being played.
If Geo is playing the game, why you exhorted “all who believe in a free media” to resist “the government’s crude attempt to muzzle Geo by forcing cable operators to take the channel off air, by burning copies of Jang and threatening newspaper hawkers who carry it is just plain wrong.”
A free media never plays games.
Do you really believe that Asif Zardari has handed over all executive powers (to PM Gilani) under the 18th Amendment, making him just a figure-head president? Is Zardari really a figure-head president?
Then you say: “Does anyone seriously believe that the floods’ devastation and the ineffectual state response would have been ameliorated by Zardari being in Pakistan?”
It means that if a house is on fire, the head of a family, even if he is totally incapable of doing anything, can leave his family members at the mercy of neighbours.
We are “being made to feel that the army is doing the people of Pakistan a favour” because the political leadership has failed miserably in providing relief to the people affected by floods.
Please refer to your own observation: “Isn’t PM Yousuf Raza Gilani at least correct in his rhetoric that he is the chief executive of the country and it is he who is responsible for directing relief efforts? Him and the provincial chief ministers who seem to have got away pretty unscathed so far.”

Asif Ali Khan

XYZ said...

@Taban Khamosh: "We should not support an incompetent and indifferent civilian administration just because they're civilian."

Generally I agree with you. I did not mean that one should support incompetence. Was only trying to point out that the information that we're sometimes basing our opinions on is also manipulated.

@Magnum: I actually don't wish for Geo to remain off air. I have huge problems with it but some of the others are equally bad or worse. Banning channels is not the solution.

@Diss This: You say: "We all know Zaradri scrwed up, so why do we need to go on about it. Why can't we simply take on bigots like Geo without disclaimers?"

Because context is important. In the same way that if I say many politicians are corrupt without at least acknowledging the institutional corruption of the military which has robbed the country far more, I would be presenting just one side of the picture. Even with disclaimers, you can see some of the reactions.

@TLW: I agree. Such hamhanded measures end up backfiring spectacularly and, in fact, create heroes out of nothing. Look at the army's attempts to keep old politicos out of the arena.

XYZ said...

@Qausain: Ye *Anderson Cooper* kaun hai?

OK, just kidding. But you write:

"wesey kya zamana aa gaya hey ... log media ko chor kar Zardari ko support kr rahey hain?? sirf is liye k unhain kuch media personalities (personally) pasand nahi hain :/"

lagta hai aap thorra parrh saktay hain. meri guzarish hai ke thorray se kuchh ziada parrh liya karein. aap ka bhi bhala ho ga aur humara bhi.


@Masuud Qazi: It seems you are a serial commenter since I saw the exact same comment on the Five Rupees blog from you.

Nevertheless, while your near pathological hatred for Zardari / Bhuttos is your prerogative (incidentally, it seems you didn't actually bother understanding the nuance of the post), since you are so fond of repeating your 'peela school' analogy, let me just point out that it is a completely absurd analogy and entirely irrelevant.

@Tehseen baweja: You write: "We all know the short falls of our infant democracy and our out-of-control media. Time we do something about it."

Obviously, as a blog, all we can do is point it out. But if you have practical ideas, please do go ahead. We will support you.


@Sabqat: I agree with all your points. I think they are a given. But as you yourself point out, the post was actually about the non-obvious reasons why Zardari's trip became the main topic of interest in the media.

Summaiya:You wrote:

"do we really make president to gve him a symbolic place like Queen of England or so, doesnt he is responsible of ANY thing."

Perhaps you should read the constitution? The non-sms version.

You also wrote: "finally, we had to make this clear that its really not Zardari/PPP/Sindh victimization going on, they really are guilty!!"

Oh wow. All right then. Let's send Sindh to be shot.

XYZ said...

@Annie: Good bit you pointed out about the Kaira report. Agree.

@Anon911: Generally I sympathize with your points but just want to point out that this government has been in power only since 2008, i.e. not four years.

@Jutti Chore: *Sigh*
When you began your silly analogy I thought you were quoting from Camus by the way. No such luck.

@Anon1208: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

@Asif Ali Khan: You write:

"If you believe in democracy how can you say Asif Ali Zardari is a venal, ill-educated and ruthless man who should never have risen to the position of power he is currently in."

That's what democracy is about isn't it? I can say what I think about him. Doesn't mean I impose my opinion on the millions who elected his party and through it, him or try and topple him through undemocratic methods.

Then: "These rules have not been made by the ruled, but by the rulers (politicians), who take turn to rule the country. So the masses are not bound to accept these rules."

You get into tricky ground here. The politicians are representatives of the 'masses' are they not? The rules were made by the representatives of the people when they drafted a constitution. Do you accept the constitution? Or do you think you are the true representative of everyone in Pakistan?

You write: "If Geo is playing the game, why you exhorted “all who believe in a free media” to resist “the government’s crude attempt to muzzle Geo"

I believe I answer that nuance in the post. The issue is one of process. A free and fair media is something that is arrived at through a process, not something that can be installed at the flick of a button.

You ask: "Do you really believe that Asif Zardari has handed over all executive powers (to PM Gilani) under the 18th Amendment, making him just a figure-head president? Is Zardari really a figure-head president?"

Don't take my word for it. Read the text of the 18th Amendment.

You write: "It means that if a house is on fire, the head of a family, even if he is totally incapable of doing anything, can leave his family members at the mercy of neighbours."

*Sigh* Please read Anon1208 above.

Your last point I don't understand at all. But to sum up, no, I don't think anything I wrote was self-contradictory.

Anonymous said...

XYZ infect stage is in preparations:-

http://www.rferl.org/content/Pakistan_Army_Chief_Grapples_With_Monumental_Challenges/2127140.html

Anonymous said...

oh wow. i just read the radioliberty article cited above by anon 8.23. sick sick sick. it's even more blatant than gillepie's wink-wink nod to saddam!

puke.

Tehseen baweja said...

@Anon 3.27: totally agree. It should be titled "A tribute to Kayani".

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