A little (well connected) birdie told us something quite astounding.
Apparently a very well known businessman in Karachi received a call from a TV channel asking him to pledge a donation for flood relief during the channel's live telethon to raise funds. The gentleman demurred, saying that he had already given all that he had planned to give (and he has given quite a bit). In response, he was told to go ahead and pledge something anyway even if he was not going to give it. When the gentleman expressed incredulity at how this would work, he was told the channel would not hold him to his word. Under such 'assurances' that he would not actually have to pay up, the man pledged 500,000 rupees on live television.
It sure made for exciting television and a feel good time for all, except of course for those in actual need. Shocking and sad but kind of like all those international pledges that never materialize. Is anyone keeping tabs?
In case you're wondering, it was NOT Geo.
::: UPDATE :::
I have been pondering quite a bit since this morning about reader sabizak's rather spirited response to this post and came to the conclusion that she is absolutely right: I should have named the channel. In my defence, the only reason I omitted the name was 1) out of a journalistic instinct against potentially libelous claims, even though I admit that it would be difficult to prosecute us (as opposed to blocking us via court order ala Facebook) and 2) to protect our source. Being a blog does not absolve us of basic journalistic ethics, contrary to what sabizak implies later on, and we have always at least attempted to uphold such ideas in their spirit.
But I think she was essentially right because 1) if someone is being unscrupulous, they should be named 2) and even if our claims are challenged, they can only lead to the pledges made good on, if only out of embarrassment, which is ultimately to the flood affectees' benefit. A third reason, which arises from looking at the other comments is the speculation that resulted which tarnishes even non-dodgy efforts to raise funds.
So, yes, the channel was ARY. Kudos to those who guessed it / figured it out.
Meanwhile, another reader sidrat_a has told us (via Twitter) of a landowner friend who has not been affected by the floods but who is sheltering flood affectees from neighbouring villages on his land being approached by TV One to set up tents on his land. According to her, when he pointed out that he had adequate shelter to house the people on his lands, TV One refused to hand over food for the affectees as well unless they could set up their own tent city. Anything to get your logo out there.