The New Face of (Controlled) Media – An Open Letter

An open letter written by Amna Piracha on the new face of controlled media under the PEMRA axe

Mr. Mujahid Barelvi

CNBC
Islamabad

Dear Mujahid,

CNBC PakistanMy encounter with you the other day left me disturbed. At first I thought I would let this pass but we are living through historic times and no matter who wins this battle in the short term, it is important that a record of sorts is kept.

I have known you as a friend but also as an independent journalist who stood up against a cruel dictator and a sordid hangman and therefore when you grilled me the other day and tried to push the direction of the discussion to wards the propagation of the view point of the current dictator and his immoral regime I was grieved both at the loss of respect that I have always shown you but more so at your transformation from a man of integrity and honor to a henchman of a distasteful, unpopular and illegitimate ruling clique. This kind of behavior one expects from a Nazeer Naji but at least I for one had not expected it of you.

To enliven a discussion, to bring out different view points, to show both sides of an issue is the duty of a compere, but to flagrantly support one view point over another is another matter and ill becomes a compere.

For the first time in the history of this country, a collective body of judges has questioned the right of a military dictator to impose his writ on the people of this country. The legal fraternity has shown the will and courage to stand up for the rule of law and to lend support to the independent judiciary. To denigrate the great service they have done and continue to do is not only shameful but is in fact a disservice to the country and its future. Your argument that because the judiciary did not fulfill its due role in the past or that some of the judges who have today spurned the military dictator had previously acquiesced is fallacious and absurd as it would lead one to believe that any person having once made an error of judgment is then barred for life from taking the correct course. This is not the first time that judges of honor have done themselves proud and I refer here to Justice Safdar Shah, Justice Dorab Patel, Justice Haleem, who despite the pressure from the then military dictator followed the call of their conscience and acquitted Pakistans first elected Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in that sham of a murder case. They too had made the error of validating Zias martial law but does that in any way detract from the fact that they refused to send an innocent man to the gallows, that when the crunch came they refused to sell their souls.

One would like to wish that martial law had not been validated or indeed that any one of the previous acts of dictators had not been given legal cover but alas that cannot be so. But, if today the judiciary in its majority has stood by the people of Pakistan and the legal fraternity has woken to its constitutional duty of protecting the Constitution and the civil society and students and professionals have realized that they too are bound to protect this country which is not the fiefdom of a handful of Generals but ours and ours alone, then you should have the courage to salute them and not mock at them.

I will make this letter public in the hope that though I will not have the audience you command, it will reach some and those few will be the ones who will make the difference.

Amna Piracha

16 thoughts on “The New Face of (Controlled) Media – An Open Letter”

  1. Good Work Amna,

    These are of course historic times. The times that will determine the direction the nation will take. It is important that the people who represent us should be told that they do not have the right to do so if they do not voice the sentiments of the nation but instead tow the lines of a heartless regime.

    One can only wonder what has happened to moral integrity – it seems to have been totally overshadowed by thoughts of personal gains that expediency tends to bring forth…but this will also not last…it never has…

    And dont worry about the audience aspect. Consider his audience as well… quantitative maybe but not qualitative – or perhaps an audience which has already started to loathe the messages devoid of common sense that are being directed at them… one thing is for sure, it is not the same audience that was there a few months back… so cheer up…! The way things stand the next sixty years are not going to be like the previous sixty and that is also for sure…

    In the meantime, we need to narrate our little stories that can raise questions and expose a pathetic mindset,believe me it is working…

    Cheers,
    Amer Nazir
    London

  2. We speak of PCO-Judges. Its about time for us to speak of PERMA-media.

    There is a lot of self congratulations in the media, that lawyers, media and civil society have stood up to the dictator. But the reality is that with one exception they have all agreed not to criticize the crimes of the Musharraf government. Its time for us to ask them to tear up their PERMA agreements in public now that the “emergency” has been lifted.

  3. We will never achieve anything unless we as a nation learn to have accountability.Our military leaders can,t continue suffocating the poor people of Pakistan for very long.The revolution of our people is coming and people like Musharraf are going to be hanged in the middle of Bazaars or Chowk.Inshallah these bastards are going to go soon either quitely or loudly but go they will.Enough of this FARCE.

  4. Dear Amna

    I think it took you a long time to realize as to whose tune Mr. Mujahid was dancing for a long time now. If one ever saw his programs on CNBC, during post Mar 9 period, it would have been very easy to recognise his true side and the way he tilted the discussion always to support the dictator (without teeth) and MQM. His attitude throughout has been of defending dictator and his ally MQM/Chaudhries.
    Please note that we are rewriting the history of independence of Pakistan and all of us must be very careful of those who on one pleas or another try to come up with words like, “daikhain jee democracy mein bhee to supreme court per hamlay hotey rahey hain” or like , ” Ge ager yeh daur itna achha nahee raha to democracy main bhe to insani huqooq ka record koi achha nahi raha”. You know these words always tend to support the dictator and his brutal allies. Has ever in any democratic gov.t it has happended that with a stroke of pen 2/3rd of the superior courts honourable judges have been sent home and put under house arrest. Besides we have never claimed to be an ideal democratic society. We are still in the learning phase and would have matured if the power hungry Generals of Pakistan had allowed. Yet let me tell you that our political history has been much better than the so called military dictators. What has the present one’s 9 years rule given Pakistan? Suicides and sucidal attacks? Our own army fighting our own people and our own airfoce bombing our own areas? May Allah’s curse be on those who are involved in scuh henious crimes. Also lets vow to take those responsible of humiliating our judiciary and assaulting civil society members and the lawyers in cluding ladies to task. We should resolve to try all the culprits under article 6 of the constitution. Once for all lets decdie that Pakistan will always be ruled by civilians and no military intervention will be allowed.

    Naveed

  5. Very well said Amna,
    Media in Pakistan is not free at the moment.The only free news channel Geo News is off air.The rest are under pemra axe.But they should remember their jobs.That is to inform.Not to become like the national television.At least some guts should have been shown by others too.I think Mujahid Barelvi is a senior journalist.He has seen hard time before.But this time he has fallen to it.I think he feels safe under the CNBC Pakistan roof.

    Saim Baig

  6. Great work Amna!!

    I have been following Mujahid Brelvi’s program on CNBC from the begining and though he was not that much towards MUSH he did use to try to save the man by his arguments on PAST of Judges and politicians.

    Anyways what matters is how he behaved in crisis. And he showed that he is too weak to stand against the POWER of the man. Scumbed to the pressure. It would be an honor if he had resigned but alas!!

  7. thanks for sharing this letter

    and

    thank you amna for writing it

    can i add my khota-paisa’s worth?

    i feel the onus for that behaviour should be placed more on mujahid’s employers – the owners of cnbc pakistan

    except for Geo – every owner listened to their pocketbooks AND this should be noted for action

    the hosts – a majority of them are working hacks – not sadhus and sufis – expect no miracles from them

  8. Dear Freinds

    there is one authentic Hadith of Prophet (SAW) that “speaking truth in front of a cruel ruler is one of the biggest Jihad”.
    Only larger than life people can do this act, ironically many of our media anchors are mere pygmies like us.

  9. People like Mujahid Braailvi are worthless lot and most of the problems we have in this country are because of these little men who live on Dictators’ crumbs. Shame on him and corrupt Generals playing with the destiny of this nation.

  10. What a sick article…no head or toe!

    I’m glad someone kicked the hell out of these retarded journlist! They didn’t have shoes to wear and now they’re all SOLD-OUT! GEO has backing of American lobby and Indian money funding it. No wonder GEO never speaks against India and its brutal abuses in Kashmir.

    Musharraf has allowed 50 channels to operate in Pakistan, and in 1999 we only has one channel PTV. He is making a “Media University” in Pakistan. First in Mslim country and first in South Asia. Bravo Musharraf!

    Media should also learn to respect National interest. Personal benefits and Personal rights are not important as National interest!

    Sick GEO! Doob maro TV!

  11. Butt

    Go ahead and join Musharraf’s media university and learn about licking shoes of the dictator and USA. You will be welcomed by Musharraf since these days he is in dire need for pets.

  12. Butt

    sorry for this really late comment. when it comes to politics, my views are usually apathetic but i just had to reply to your comment. Your comments are the ones lacking the head n the toe. Just because now there are 50 channels operating in pakistan, that does not justify a dictator govt! moreover if the media is not free, whats the point of having these 50 channels?

  13. Dear all

    What is sad to see is that you all just jumped to conclusions like as quickly as you could. eager to get along the protestors.

    Well i am Mujahid Barelvi’s daughter and i stand in front of you all to tell that my father has lived an honest life till now…some said living on dictators crumbs, getting personal favors, well id like to ask you if you know him beter than me? we have been living in a rented apartment al our lives. we dunt own a car, my father hasn’t any bank account to boast about but yes…he’s brought his two daughters up with as much pride and confident that i can challenge you all on his honesty.

    have you ever wonder if he may be deliberately siding with musharaf to pinch a reaction out of the oppositie party, but no. He has earned this position after 30 years of struggle as a working journalist and he is still doing that. Yes he is diplomatic, but who wouldnt be if that is not only his sole support for a living.

    He is the same man who got jailed in General Zia’s era, but yes cautious because he is now a father of two young girls, but he has found a way through which he very successfully conveys what he wants to be aired, and i am glad you people noticed.

    Thanking you all for being so thorough in your evaluation of him. if you see the record of how much he has been bribed for and has rejected you will be surprised that a human in circumstances like his could stand up against all this.

    As for Ms Paracha, i could say a lot on your record about being one of the closest and availing benefits by your close friend Benazir in her time in power, and yet i would refreain . i would however care to ask you where were you when it was required to coment on your other friends joining forces with Musharaf. Is it because Mr Barelvi is not as powerful and cant be as resourceful as bibi was to you?…Dont go into these petty issue please.

    If you want history to be authentic let me add my fathers side to it as well. then let people be a judge of it. not onesidedly like this….

    Marhaba Mujahid Barelvi

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