At a press conference conference on Thursday, Gen Musharraf’s lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri delivered a shameful outburst that is the latest example of the growing problem that I wrote about earlier this week, delivering abuse instead of simple answers.
When I first started writing for this blog, I thought the hardest part was not finding topics to discuss but handling the abuse that came with giving an opinion. After receiving some particularly nasty emails, I told my father I was thinking of giving up writing. He could see I was clearly depressed about it because I truly enjoy writing and discussing important topics. Not because I think I have all the answers – no one does – but because I believe that it is in discussion and debate that we find them. Baba sat me down and said, ‘beta, before you make your decision, I want you to recite Al-Baqarah 256′. I paused. With a puzzled look I said, ‘There is no compulsion in religion? But what does this have to do with my problem?’ My father nodded his head and said, ‘Now tell me this: These pieces you write, are they about something more important than religion?’ I was still puzzled. ‘Of course not. They are important issues – politics, economics, foreign policy, etc etc – but not more important than religion’. My father nodded again. ‘If Qur’an teaches us that there is no compulsion in religion, how can there be compulsion in these issues that you are writing about which you yourself admit are of lesser importance?’ I didn’t know how to respond, so I just stared at him. He smiled and continued, ‘Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used reason, not compulsion, to spread Islam. Follow his example. Don’t let anyone bully you into silence, and don’t let them compel you to agree with them. Admit when you are wrong, and allow others the right to be wrong sometimes also.’
Which political party is richest? That depends on which newspaper you read. Front page of The News reported ‘PML-N richest, PML-Z poorest political party‘.
Same day, Daily Times reported ‘PPP richest, PML-Z poorest political party‘.
The error appears to belong to The News whose report says ‘Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is the richest party with assets worth Rs88.7 million, followed by the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) with assets of Rs190.17 million’. Last time I checked, 190 was still more than 88. But in Pakistani media, who knows!
Recent statements of Jamaat-i-Islami amir Munawar Hassan that Pakistani soldiers are not martyrs if they die battling jihadi terrorists resulted in outrage as is expected by any sane person who recognises the sacrifice of our brave soldiers. Unfortunately, this is not the only insult that our soliders are facing such as the treatment of their sacrifice by media.
Pakistan’s media freedom is the subject of frequent conversation. Whether one is of the opinion that deregulation provided fertile ground for conspiracy theories and other sensationalism, or that a truly independent media is the only institution capable of keeping a check on vested interests – whether political, military, or judicial – most agree that free media has a positive influence on the country. For a small minority, though, free media is seen as a threat, and lately, that minority has been waging a war on media freedom.