So, Salim Bokhari has been tipped to take over as editor at The Nation in place of the recently departed Shireen Mazari. Bokhari has been a journalist for almost four decades though most people will recognize him most from appearances as an analyst on various television channels and his recent co-hosting with Orya Maqbool Jan of Aaj TV's reconfigured Bolta Pakistan programme (the team was cobbled together after the departure of Nusrat Javed and Mushtaq Minhas for Dunya TV). Previously, Mr Bokhari's most high profile stint was as the Resident Editor of The News in Lahore. He had left The News to start up the Abu Dhabi-owned The National's Pakistan operations but the Pakistani version was quietly shelved.
Salim Bokhari (right) with Orya Maqbool Jan
Now you might be wondering what would draw The Nation owner Majid Nizami to Mr Bokhari (after all, you must satisfy certain ideological requirements for Majid Nizami to feel comfortable with you). Well, could it be that Mr Bokhari's most recent job - which he took on once The National stint didn't work out - has been as Resident Editor in Lahore of The Daily Mail? You know, the suspect paper that launched this whole brouhaha?
To give you further insight into the content of the rag that Mr Bokhari allowed his name to be associated with, here is how it reported on the launch of the Indo-Pak singing competition for children, Chhote Ustaad, which was broadcast on Geo as well as the Indian Star Plus and eventually went on to become a major hit on both sides of the border:
RAW handpicks Rahat Fateh Ali for fresh anti-Pakistan project
— Rahat sells off Pak kids to RAW like camel jockeys under the grab of music show Chhote Ustaad— Project initiated to evaporate Pakistani culture, identity— RAW plans to keep the project for next ten years to eliminate 2-nation theory completely from the minds of Pak Kidz
By Uzma Zafar
"ISLAMABAD—After years of speculation, finally Indian Intelligence Agency Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) appears to has found a smooth operator in the form of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan from Pakistan, on whose shoulder’s they can land their gun and put forward the agenda of making the concept of two-nation theory completely evaporate from the minds of the Pakistani children, make them dance at the tunes of one nation, one world, through it’s recently initiated project Chhote Ustaad, a so called kids’ musical competition show on India’s Star Plus TV while it is being reproduced back in Pakistan by a local TV Channel that is already doing some joint ventures with the known anti-Pakistan Indian Newspaper The Times of India reveal the investigations of The Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further reveal that the desire to rob the Pakistanis of their very identity was on the minds of the RAW for decades but it is only now that the agenda has found a vent through where the very idea can be materialized, infecting the young minds with the idea that their culture is but the same as the Indian one. And what better way than to initiate a supposed talent hunt, putting a music legend of Pakistan; Rahat Fateh Ali on it’s pay roll, to make him dance on the tunes of unity, preaching the idea that two-nation theory is all but a lie, The Daily Mail sources reveal.
The Pakistani kids taken in for the programme are in fact, being used by Rahat Fateh Ali, like camel jockeys, sold on the hands of the RAW, all belonging to poor families and Karachi for that matter, only one being that from Faisalabad.The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that Star Plus latest season of song based reality show Chhote Ustaad has taken in 10 kids from Pakistan, rather Rahat Fateh Ali has taken them to India for RAW’s fresh covert project against Pakistan for which he has been Paid in millions. Some unconfirmed reports suggest that he has been paid equalling fifty million Pak rupees for one season while the RAW plans to continue it for at least ten seasons. The entire season 2010 is going to be a combo of Pakistani and Indian young talent on the surface but the reality is quite the opposite. Not only this, but the judging panel has Sonu Nigham from India and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan from Pakistan, the latter having no affiliation for the Pakistani kids in the show for he has already sold them for the worse.
The Daily Mail’s findings further reveal that Zee TV took up the initiative earlier, in inviting Pakistani handful of kids and humiliating them onscreen and now it’s Star Plus’ turn to do some more. Also the name has been modified from ‘Star Voice of India Chhote Ustaad’ to ‘Chhote Ustaad – Do Desho ki Awaaz’. One tends to smell rotten fish right from the very idea of picking up kids from Karachi only, just one being taken in from Faisalabad. Karachi is not the whole of Pakistan anyway! Pairing up kids of Pakistan and India itself is a game to malign the very image of two-nation theory in the minds of the Pakistani kids so that, through the years, they even forget their very identity. This could be evident from the phrases that our kids were given to learn, for speaking at the show, being that once they got off the flight, they felt right at home in India. Then again, the question arises, why has the background of the Pakistani kids shown, all belonging to bleak and rather poor families? Was it the criteria of the programme to project the poverty-ridden image of Pakistan? Well, with RAW involved, one can always expect the unexpected. That all was at the back of the minds of the RAW bigwigs and a lot more. The agenda is not that simple that meets the eyes reveal The Daily Mail sources.
The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that for years and years, Pakistani songs have been illegally twisted and turned to be used in Bollywood flicks. The Bollywood industry has been funded by the RAW and thus, through promotion and making the films available in Pakistan through the black market, our Lollywood industry has never been let to surface. And now the RAW is landing it’s claws over our music industry, being our singers for Bollywood songs and this time, going an extra mile and using a music maestro to hum the tunes of one nation, one goal bullshit, raising the very question in the minds of our kids that what was the need of partition anyway? And to top it all, instead of condemning or banning such an activity at large, Geo has decided to get a little taste of the RAW’s salt and increase it’s earnings to a notch!
When contacted, a former spy agency official stated “The need is for ISI to take the matter in its hands. Black marketing of Bollywood flicks should be curtailed till the RAW agrees to put on Lollywood flicks as well in India and the same should be done to their channels at once. They should not only be banned in Pakistan where their most of the sale is done till they air our programmes on their channels. The joint productions between the two countries should also be given a close check at immediate basis but at the foremost, people like Rahat Fateh Ali should be taught a lesson for cranking his neck at Indian tunes, destroying our music scene at large and making our kids too, sing just the Indian tunes, as if we have no music here. Besides, in all our reality shows, Indian songs should be banned and contestants should be let to perform on our tunes only.
The ISI and other related agencies like the Intelligence Bureau and PEMRA should take strong note of this project and should not let anyone make mockery of the two-nation theory, our identity and culture at large."
So yes, I guess Mr Bokhari would find it incredibly easy to accommodate Majid Nizami's world view.