Tag Archives: Pakistani

Forgotten Principles of the Founder

Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali JinnahMuch has been written and said about Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. However, little has been implemented by maintaining the true essence of his precious guidelines. The easy-to-understand percepts of the founding father have been reserved for historical archives, political sloganeering and rhetoric. Every year, August 14 and December 25 seems to be a ripe time for commemorating what should have been established as ‘law of the land’, till now. These dates on the calendar are unconditionally meant to spurt out the love for the country. The ‘go green’ furore encapsulates us (Pakistanis), twice a year (add two more to it if there is a cricket match between Pakistan and India). Zealous ‘spirits of nationalism’, undoubtedly, should be portrayed, but not at the expense of their institutionalization. Referring to M.A Jinnah during verbose speeches, substantiates the arguments of the present day leaders without ameliorating the distraught status quo.
Akbar S. Ahmed in his well wrought book, ‘Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: the search for Saladin, questions the Pakistani leadership that has there been a plan devised to marginalize the ‘real Jinnah’? If not, then what is the record of Pakistan for promoting Jinnah’s stand on the international stage? The answers are still to be extracted and the procedure, like others prevailing in Pakistan, is not that easy. For the past 65 years, political bouts among the self-appointed custodians of Pakistan’s ideology, power-hungry politicians, the belligerent bureaucracy and so-called military saviours have enslaved the inspiring miracle of the 21st century. Instead of focusing on the essential messages of the founder, divergence over interpretations of his speeches has segregated the nation. ‘Debating Jinnah’ outweighed the acquisition of ‘visionary Jinnah’. To this day, attempts are being made to de-construct Jinnah’s inclination towards secularism or Islamic polity. Construing most of his speeches would lead to the conclusion that majority of the notions presented are accomodative of both the mindsets (religious and secularist). It is a matter of common sense to utilize the ‘irrefutable commonalities’ for building immutable blueprint of governance. The most simplistic example revolves around the golden motto of ‘unity, faith and discipline’. A clear manifestation of any three, on part of the Pakistani leadership, has not been witnessed. Being a human, Jinnah too had a right to hold some personal liberty in views and actions. Our failure lies in the unfair demarcation of his subjective and objective opinions. All this has dragged the illiterate majority into a state of self-pity and oblivion, which some people term as ‘identity crisis’ nowadays. The ‘intellectual demise’ of Pakistani politics had a ‘trickle down effect‘ that limited Quaid’s principles within ‘portrait frames’, bank notes and floozy declamations.
Nations have an inherent tendency to learn this behaviour when they fail to translate ‘words of wisdom’ into ‘actions of value’. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah believed in the ‘power to act’ and advocated appropriate actions. He adopted struggle as his passion, not as a way for achieving desired results. His achievements were a by-product of his untiring devotion towards his passion. This is the reason that his name will rest in world history as a man who altered the globe. Pakistanis have an example that needs to be emulated through sincerity with their respective professions. Quaid-e-Azam’s justice with his profession made him the father of Pakistan. He was not a priest, philosopher, poet, writer or even a politician. In fact, Jinnah was an incorruptible and unpurchaseable lawyer, who won the biggest case of his life in the international court of justice, the day Pakistan came into existence. For all the explanations implicitly stated in this piece of writing, I couldn’t muster the courage to end it with a quotation of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

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Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Political Ticker


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Portrayal of Malala Yousafzai – Media Propaganda and Moral Relativism

Noam Chomsky in his book ‘Media Control– The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda’ dates down the history of propaganda to 1916 (World War 1) when Woodrow Wilson was elected as the President. Wilson used media as a tool for ‘turning a pacifist population into a hysterical, warmongering population’. According to Chomsky, reality is relative and is constructed. “The truth of the matter is buried edifice after edifice of lies upon lies”.

In the case of Malala and the developments succeeding her injury, debates and controversies have spurted both at national and international level. As sympathy has poured down from across the globe to support a teenage Swati girl, marginalized voices are also questioning the ‘media hype’ that has given increased or above average projection to Malala. The timing of the incident is equally important. The assassination attempt was witnessed after a two-day “peace march” against American drone aircraft targeting suspected Islamist militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas close to the border with Afghanistan. On the other hand, Pakistanis were furious about the anti-Islam film which increased resentment against the US.

Fouzi Slisli, Assistant Professor at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota stated,
“If Malala had been killed in a drone attack, you would neither have heard updates on her medical status, nor would she be called “daughter of the nation,” nor would the media make a fuss about her. General Kayani would not have come to visit her and neither would the world media be constantly reporting on it. The pliant Western media and its liberals do not give even 1% of this attention to the Pakistani and Yemeni girls their government kills with drones everyday. Even humanitarian outrage, they only express it when it serves the interests of their snake governments”.

In recalling conversations with Yousafzai, the Christian Science Monitor’s Owais Tohid noted her sources of inspiration:

She answered: “Probably, a hero like the Afghan heroine Malalai [of Maiwand] or Malalai Joya. I want to be a social activist and an honest politician like her,” she said. Activist and author of A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice, Joya has also faced attempts on her life after speaking out against the oppression of women under the Taliban, but she is explicit in counting the U.S. and NATO too as enemies of Afghan women’s (and men’s) right to live and learn in peace.

The U.S and Pakistani Media have made no mention of this activist, who has been declared by Malala as an inspiration for her. Instead, the notion that ‘President Obama is Malala’s ideal’ has been reiterated. On the other hand, Malala Joya has never grabbed the same amount of time and space in the US media as Malala has. This clearly reveals the moral relativism in the coverage of individuals who are affected by almost the same conditions and for similar reasons. However, the media is bent more towards one of them (in this scenario it is Malala).
From the above discussion it can be concluded that Moral Relativism is the basis for conducting Media Propaganda. This is the reason that Malala’s case is being analysed in light of these two themes. What is left to be examined is that to what extent national media synchronized its voice with that of international media (which has been morally relative).

Playing up – Quantitative assessment:

In order to learn and examine the extents to which the assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai had been played up or played down by the print media discourses in Pakistan. Three leading English dailies have been selected (Dawn, The Nation, The News). The rationale for selecting English dailies is that they can be compared with international print media discourses.

Dawn labels itself as a conservative, liberal newspaper, which prefers a rational approach towards issues.
The Nation serves as an advocate for the ideology of Pakistan. It is a sister publication of Nawa-e-Waqt, founded by late Hameed Nizami.
The News considers its policy to be moderate, conservative and radical, but the newspaper is more inclined towards commercialization. It is a sister publication of Jang newspaper, part of the Jang news group founded by Mir Khalil ur Rehman.
Method: For the purpose of quantitative assessment, front pages of all the dailies were read. The lead story (any story with bold faced headline appearing near or closest to the masthead of the newspaper) and any news item pertaining to Malala that appeared on the front page was taken as a means of ‘playing up’ the issue.
Time frame: October 10, 2012 to October 12, 2012 – when most of the news items relevant to Malala’s case were published.

It is evident from the result of quantitative analysis that Malala’s case had been played up to a great extent by The News with 18 news items about Malala getting published in just 10 days. The Nation and Dawn have more or less given equal coverage on front page. It is noteworthy that at present The News is the most widely distributed daily in Pakistan.

Analysing agendas- Quantitative assessment:
For the purpose of studying policies, stances and agendas adopted by the print media discourses (those studied quantitatively before) a critical discourse analysis of the editorials was done. The stance that a newspaper adopts pertaining to any event or issue is reflected through its editorial. In other words, this section of the newspaper acts as a mirror which exhibits that how the newspaper aspires to portray an event. That portrayal is in line with the policy of the newspaper. Each newspaper sets for itself certain norms and principles which are strictly followed and are best identified by reading the editorial. While those which do not adhere to any defined policy are more prone towards ‘commercialization’ and publish ‘news which sells’.
Method: All the editorials containing the words; Malala and Taliban (simultaneously) were considered for Critical Discourse Analysis. The aim will be to interpret the image of Malala and Taliban constructed in the editorial discourses after October 9, 2012 (the day Malala was injured). Another objective will be to look for comparisons between Malala and victims of drone strikes.
The following table presents the quantitative editorial treatment of ‘Malala Yousafzai’ by the three English dailies from October 10, 2012 till October 20, 2012.

Malala has been projected as ‘a symbol of resistance in Swat to the Taliban`s obscurant agenda’, ‘ crusader for girls` education’ and ‘an outspoken critic of the Taliban’.The Taliban have been portrayed as a ‘barbaric group’ that is again disturbing the tranquillity of Swat valley. Malala has been labelled as a brave girl, more audacious than the military and government of Pakistan. “It took the particularly jarring targeting of a particularly brave child to jolt Pakistanis and their leaders out of their doubts about, and desensitisation to, the threat that violent extremism poses to our security and way of life”. Dawn has linked the blatant assassination attempt with the rise of extremism in the country and has compared Malala with the ‘juvenile targets of blasphemy’. The editorials have refuted ‘conspiracy theories’ and the lame excuses of foreign intervention thus completely ignoring the victims of drone strikes. To get rid of the brutality being spread by Taliban Dawn has suggested ‘zero-tolerance policy towards militancy’, urging the military to conduct an operation in North Waziristan. In an editorial ‘Skewed narrative’ Dawn has formulated the opinion that Malala’s case cannot not be compared to drone strikes or Lal Masjid operation. “Drone strikes may be unacceptable in their current form and end up killing innocent children, but doing so is not their intent”. According to this editorial discourse, Taliban’s ‘deliberate attack on a teenage girl’ should, by now result in a national consensus against the Taliban.

The Nation:
The Nation has narrowed down the issue as that being between Malala and Taliban. It has condemned the attack by Taliban and labelled it as ‘barbarous violence’. It has not explicitly opined against the Taliban like Dawn, but has suggested that such attacks cannot ensure a secure future. While discussing about the operation in North Waziristan , The Nation has also referred to Tehrik-e-Taliban hideouts in Afghanistan.

The News:
The News has given least editorial coverage to the assassination attempt on Malala. In the four editorials published during the selected days, the newspaper has mainly focused on the incident. It has advocated the need for ‘education’ as it is the cause for which Malala placed her life at stake. The News has explicitly dedicated an entire editorial to build the opinion that the culprit behind the attack on Malala is nestled in ‘Afghanistan’. In one editorial ‘Politics and Polarisation’, The News has advised the political leadership to develop a consensus against ‘violence’. It has manifested the view that operation in North Waziristan shouldn’t be conducted with the sole reason of attack on young Malala but the violence that is fanning as a result of such attacks. Interestingly, not a single word like ‘brave’ or ‘courageous’ was used in the editorial discourses of The News. Similarly, not a single word like ‘barbaric’ or ‘brutal’ was used for the Taliban.


Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Research Hub


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Youth: Trigger for Change

The younger generation is a precious asset for any nation as it is the future builder. Youth currently numbers 1.2 billion or approximately 18 percent of the world population out of which 62 percent of the youth is living in Asia alone. Youth, as defined by the Ministry of Youth Affairs Pakistan, is the population which falls under the age bracket of 15-29 years. The New Growth Framework of Pakistan points that the proportion of people under the age of 30 years is 68 percent out of which 32 percent is illiterate, 8.3 percent is self-employed, 9.5 percent is unemployed and only 2.5 percent has received On-Job training. These abysmal statistics not only depict the lack of concern by our government towards youth issues but also admonish about the possible extremism that may foment as a result of an illiterate and frustrated youth.

According to the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, young people are making important contributions to eradicate poverty, contain the spread of diseases, combat the climate change and achieve the Millennium Development goals. The government needs to induct the positive potential of Pakistani youth and invest more in it as the progress of Pakistan is directly linked with engagement of youth in the nation-building process. It is our choice, either to utilize the latent energy of a talented youth for the welfare of the state or to face the adverse consequences which may erupt if youngsters don’t get their due share. Career counseling at school level, good education, vocational training and a decent standard of living is what the Pakistani youth requires. On the other hand, the minute faction of young population which possesses all the resources and enjoys the perks and privileges of life should play its part. They can engage themselves in social media platforms such as the Voice of Youth to raise a synchronized voice for a much coveted ‘better Pakistan’ along with the fulfillment of their social and moral obligations.

Originally published in Pakistan Observer newspaper


Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Letters


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