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Misspelling controversy rehashed: God or Gaad, does it really matter?

On 11th September the newly elected President Asif Ali Zardari paid homage to the Mausoleum of the Father of the Nation in Karachi, all seemed well until reports started trickling in from various sources of a juicy controversy, where our new President had accidentally misspelled a few words here ‘n there. The message that appeared in the on the Guest Book placed at the Quaid’ Mazar read “May gaad give us the strent to save Pakistan” — Asif Ali Zardari, President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This email was also supported by a picture which showed his signature.

Since the past few days the Ministry of Information has been issuing a strong statement to condemn hidden forces in the media to have launched a smear campaign against Asif Ali Zardari, this specific incident took place over 20 days back and the Ministry has suddenly woken up to issue a condemnation, I feel this was pushed through after the global blooper our President committed when he met Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin and had some interesting comments to share which were seen to have been a little awkward and poorly timed for the occasion.

In regards to the misspelling fiasco, a fellow blogger, Farhan, questioned bloggers in general to have been a part of the malicious campaign, in a small way I too must take the blame as my blog did carry a guest post by Silence who humorously poked fun at the English Cracy (sic) of the incident. This could have been a follow up from my own rant which I made on 12th of September where I joked on another twist to the message.

If people had even a fleeting glance of the picture, it does contain the actual signatures of Mr. Asif Ali Zardari and it also seems to be the writing of our President, so the question here should be can we now reason that NO ONE should trust the signature of The President of Pakistan, it is a fact that we did loose faith in believing Zardari’s promises of which he even signed a Murree Declaration and refused to accept it later.

The Nation is seen to have come forth with a short investigative report published on 25th September but reading the investigative report one does feel suspicious as to why the reporter could not reproduce an image of the Guest Book despite having been presented the evidence by the caretaker.

The Nation: Zardari’s misspelled remarks proved fabricated – by Shafi Baloch September 25, 2008: Some hidden hands have sent an email to different journalists, newspapers and electronic organizations claiming that the President had misspelled the words God and strength. However, a verification of this matter by The Nation revealed that the campaign was a venomous propaganda against President Zardari that was aimed at tarnishing his image in the eyes of the masses.

The upshot of President’s comments in the visitors’ book during his visit to Mazar-e-Quaid made it clear that Asif Zardari had impeccably written “May God give us strength to save Pakistan” instead of “May Gaad give us strut to save Pakistan” that was being propagated by the hidden hands through the email. When contacted Muhammad Arif, Resident Engineer, Mazar-e-Quaid, produced the book containing the views of the President. Arif said that he was accompanying President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit of the mausoleum and witnessed him express his views by writing in the visitors’ book: “God may give us strength to save Pakistan”.

After the visit of President Zardari, several high-ranking officials of Sindh government including Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, chiefs of the armed forces and Naib Nazima Karachi Nasreen Jalil also visited Mazar-e-Quaid and expressed their views in the visitors’ book. All of them had written their views in English except Naib Nazima Nasreen Jaleel, who wrote her comments in Urdu language, Arif concluded.

Thats what really puzzles me, the reporter Shafi Baloch in his write up for The Nation paints a very nasty picture of the electronic media (right or wrong is not the question) but in his report he seemingly sets up his entire investigative report based on when he contacted the Resident Engineer Mohd Arif [some how the news report gives an impression that he may have called up Mr. Arif and asked him to clarify this confusion] and hence forth the resident engineer refuted any claims of misspelling by the President.

The question the reporter fails to address is that whether he actually ‘saw’ the guest book or simply took Mr. Arif’s word for it, and if the reporter did actually see the guest book then why has he not published the evidence to expose the ‘hidden hand’. I would suggest that when he does end up reproducing the alleged pictures it might really help if the messages of other dignitaries are also preserved to show authenticity.

That said – everyone makes spelling mistakes, that is not a crime, but it just goes to show how insecure our establishment really feels itself to be in, being all paranoid about a typo should be the least of their concerns. Someone should knock some sense that its often a a good PR strategy to let dead skeletons lay dead and not reopen the circus for the fear of yet another mind numbing circus hence forth.

God or Gaad who cares – Does it really matter !

[damn I just participated in spelling-controversy-circus-II, but I think it was more to answer Farhan’s post and less to do with a five day old ministerial directive which I ignored as irrelevant]


23 Comments

  • KarimG |

    Yes, it does matter very much. It has to do with the gravity of our situation. Are we being ruled by an extremely corrupt person or are we being ruled by an extremely corrupt and hopelessly uneducated person. Me thinks Zardari cronies are out for damage control, having seen the likes of Naiks, Awans and the Rehmans on the talk shows, I won’t be surprized.

  • LAVA |

    I’m not sure about its authenticity whether its taking from guest book or its fake but whatsoever I just wanna say;
    Jahil/gullible nation rule by Jahil/goonda rulers.

  • Sohaib Athar |

    Damage control is the right phrase, and this is exactly the question I asked the unbiased person who commented on my blog… where is the official image for the real comments?
    Perhaps someone living in Karachi (ahem ahem) can go take a look.

  • Silence |

    It doesnt matters what he spelled, as, he is not supposed to be an English teacher, and English is not our first language.

    I recieved the page in e mail and too me it was quite funny, the article itself, if read properly, is not a part of campaign. I am seriously against the media campaign against Zardari, but the response of ‘government’ is more funny and I would say ‘simply stupid’.

    There are more serious matters to be addressed then going in to such controversies and start explainations.

  • Riaz Haq |

    I think it’s much ado about trivial matters. Our time and effort should be focused on how Mr. Zardari is handling the really grave matters such as the rapidly rising insurgency and the free falling economy. Let’s not distract his attention and ours from what is really urgent and important. We should support him in dealing with the difficult challenges and hold his feet to the fire if he is not doing that.

  • ReallyVirtual |

    @Riaz
    Very true!
    We don’t need to distract his attention, Palin has taken care of that already.
    Let us allow our president to focus on the more important issues, like his Umra to the US, oops, I mean attending iftar parties in the US with BB’s image in the background to remind everyone that he is the victim, oops I mean dining @ Geisha, oops, I mean… nevermind.

  • Nasir Jamal |

    Zardari has only learned to speak tolerable English during his stay in England. He finds it very difficult to read and write in English. This is amply demonstrated by the speeches which delivered in the joint sitting of parliament and at the UN General Assembly.

    He made a number of mistakes in uttering a little bit difficult words.

  • Shah |

    Why are they flogging the dead horse instead they should be concentrating on that such things do not happen again.
    CAn Mr.Zardari make sure of that.
    He should better know he is head of state.Representing a Nation and so should his team .
    There is no point blagging after wards.
    I do care what a president write where ever it is.

  • Farhan |

    See! I didn’t target any blog or blogger. I see a great potential in the Pakistani bloggers and I am sure they are going to take over the market of traditional media (umm in future :D). All I wanted is a more responsible blogosphere. :)

    @Silence
    I have replied to your comment at Guppu blog

  • ms.shah |

    I think my word BLAG is mis-read as BLOG
    Blag is a contemporary English word used to cover up a situation with a mind made story.In straight words ,lie

  • Farhan |

    The above comment of mine was a general comment to the this post by Teeth Maestro

    My above comment was NOT a reply to any commentator here. Sorry if it was misunderstood

  • Teeth Maestro |

    @Farhan – I also hope you did not misconstrue my blog post as ‘going after you’ it was not intended that way – you did raise a valid question and I agreed with you in general – the more i looked at the refuting report I kept seeing problems in it – and hence this blog post

    I hope all is well

  • Farhan |

    Oh no not at all :) You see! this debate actually leads to the training. And I am happy that I am getting to learn so many things from you and other bloggers. =)

    And regarding the controversy, I suppose there must be some journalists in the readers of your blog, why not someone volunteers, and go to Mazar-e-Quaid to verify the facts?

  • KarimG |

    Teetho…not trying to grovel here, don’t apologize for any thing, GAAD knows we need guys like you! Only thing I would add in the debate is, yeah…may be it is a distraction because guys like ‘Kirdari’ are bad enough without the misspells. It’s their notorious ‘Kirdar’. However, the evil I consider them to be, in the sense that they are even worse the Wall Street Banksters because they steal from the poorest of the poor, I feel that the [email protected]#$%R is fair game. If he uses his family or private life, then that is fair game too. No holds bar with soul less gangsters.

  • nota |

    Well, Cowasjee gives us an update:

    Now, back to this September 12 when I went to the Mazar and asked the keepers to let me have photocopies of what had been written by the September 11 visiting ‘dignitaries’ in the visitors’ book. I was given copies of remarks recorded by the president, the Sindh governor and the Sindh chief minister. Subsequently, on September 14, I wrote in my column: “Recorded by Asif, in illegible handwriting resembling that of a stressed physician, were the words “May Gaad [sic] give us the street [sic] to save Pakistan.”

    The internet then took over, and messages attaching a photocopy of what had been written were flashed around the world. The spooks sprang into action. They removed from the 100-page book the double-page on which Zardari’s message and that of the Karachi station commander were recorded, leaving 98 pages in the book in which visitors will now record their views, and on a fresh page rewrote Zardari’s message correcting the two misspelled words.

  • Hasan Abbas |

    @nota,
    Thanks for the info…and my apologies ..nota you are not a lota.

  • nota |

    @Hasan Abbas
    Hope you read all of Cowasjee’s article. I forgot to paste a bit more about the disgusting role played by The News, The Nation, and Daily Times, calling the original story “A shameful forgery”, “Propaganda against Zardari”, “maliciouscampaign initiated by some anti-democratic elements to tarnish the image of President Asif Ali Zardari”.

  • OhhMyGaad |

    Nota,

    Thanks for the update.

    Shame on The News, The Nation and Daily Times.

    I would think twice before reading the above mentioned news paper.

    Shame on Zardari and his clowns to covering up instead of facing the truth.

  • Karim |

    HUMMMMMM, what a relief…he is…well many more adjectives come to mind, uneducated, corrupt and may be unrepentant murderer. After his old Muhammad Ali movies “Judge Saheb Mujhe Meri Bivi Wapas Do” type performance at the UN one must seriously question his basic intelligence. What shocked me even more is that no one his entourage stopped him from delivering this pathetic drivel. I mean for peat’s sake, he must have advisors, speech writers, where the f$$k were they? This AH Haqqani, who has been groomed by the Americans for so many years to serve this low life, where was he. What an embarrassment!

  • Nadcracker |

    @Farhan: Seems like Mr. Cowasjee did the investigation you were talking about. I think he is a credible enough source, won’t you agree?

    Plus I went to verify myself but they didn’t let me see the book (which was odd, because I wasn’t asking to read the guard’s personal diary) so cannot give my two cents worth.

    @Karim: very well put… I was standing at a traffic light the other day and saw a beggar wearing a placard around his neck that read “Mein goonga aur mazloom hoon, meri madad karo”…reminded me of Zardari and how he literally wears his BB’s pic around his neck nowadays almost as if saying “mein mazloom hoon meri BB mar gaee hain, meri madad karo, BB ke qatilon ko pakro”… Shame on him, he the PRESIDENT of Pakistan FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!

    Pakistan se ZINDA Bhag!!!