Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love, Pakistani style

It's been a busy day for lovers around the world. In Malaysia, authorities arrested 80 umarried Muslims from budget hotels and parks. The catch would no doubt have tripled if they'd dared to go upmarket. In Pakistan, the transgendered community distributed flowers and luddoos in a hospital. And in Uzbekistan, the state picked bromance over romance and cancelled an annual Valentine's Day concert and aggressively promoted the birthday of the Mughal Emperor Babur instead.

But you know the world really is going to hell in a handbasket (with a little red bow and some flowers) when you turn on the TV to cleanse your palate of the faux-sentimentality of February 14th with that most bitter of things, local politics, and find Hamid Mir on Geo's Capital Talk wearing a red shirt and talking about how what Pakistan needs now is love, sweet love. If that isn't surreal enough for you, consider the intro, in which some of our elected respresentatives unite to wish us Happy Valentine's Day because...

"Dekhain mohabbatain bantnay kay liye kisi din ki zaroorat nahin hoti hai lekin jo mauqa milay uss ko avail karna chaahiye."

The disparate elements which combined to make this possibly the strangest Capital Talk ever - the juxtaposition of deaths in Turbat with love elsewhere, Hamid Mir's unlikely Cupid, Tehrik-e-Insaf's Abrar-ul-Haq's mealy-mouthed hypocrisy (referencing his leader Imran Khan's 'liberal fascists' line yet again), PMLN's Pervez Rashid's mullah-teasing, PPP's sedate Nayyar Bokhari and Sunni Ittehad Council's (SIC's) Sahibzada Fazal-e-Karim's apoplectic response to any love which dares speak its name - continue throughout the rest of the episode.

Highlights include nuggets about how one must love with 'limitations' (Abrar got famous because of rather naughty love songs but is now humming a different tune). The SIC man speaks more on how "aik padri ki yaad main yeh din manana ghair sharaii, ghair Islami hai" [it's unIslamic to celebrate this day in the name of a priest] and how celebrating the day is equivalent to flouting the Two Nation Theory. There is also a random clip from the recent Difa-e-Pakistan rally in Karachi in which a Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) member threatens that "media ka qabiristan issi maidan ko bana diya jaye ga" if presswalas don't give enough coverage to the "mohibban-e-watan" [this ground will be made into a graveyard for the media if it doesn't provide enough coverage to the patriots], after which Hamid Mir reads aloud an apology letter from the spokesman of that (banned) outfit and then deadpans that he - and presumably all the presswalas he speaks for - accepts the "peghaam-i-mohabbat" [message of love] they have sent on Valentine's Day.

In between, the Sahibzada (whose organization was recently outed as the recipient of some $36,000 in US funding) declares that you know there is no rule of law in a society when na-mehram boys and girls are able to send each other roses. And once every five minutes somebody or the other goes back to the latest murders in Balochistan, thus giving Mir the opportunity to again point out that what the rest of Pakistan needs to do is give it more flowers.

No, Mir sahib, we need to stop sending them funeral wreaths.


Anonymous said...

just coz there's no comment yet... :)

happy valentine's!!!

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