Barely an hour ago I was up in arms trying to break the new about the nonavailability of Geo.Tv and Aaj.tv in a number of localities of Karachi. A number of reports have come through some claiming it to be blocked while others saying Aaj is on the air but Geo is blocked. Puzzling reports go onwards to state that the rest of the country the channels are fine without even so much as a hiccup.
This is indeed a puzzling incident and after some serious discussions with a number of friends (story credit Inspirex) I feel we have ourselves a drama queen trying to create some sort of chaos and put pressure on the Government of Pakistan. President Pervaiz Musharraf already has a plate full of problems in terms of the CJP fiasco, Justice Iftikhar and the lawyers supporting him have been rallying around the country to create additional pressure on the government to reinstate the Chief Justice of Pakistan, I fully support the cause, as I feel Musharraf has simply lost his sanity and is slowly going berserk like a crazed captain on a pirate ship. Its now been said, that if you are with him good otherwise Walk the Plank, Har Har.
The CJP issue seems to have Lahore and Islamabad up in a fix while Karachi seems to be simply asleep on this issue, we only read it on the front pages of news headlines and after that it appears to be a normal day at work. Karachi was never up in arms about the issue, more importantly because MQM had been carefully taken care off…. Altaf Hussain issued statements well after a week as if to wake up from a slumber party and say ‘whats this going on’ without the rallying power of MQM Karachi had a blissful sleep while the northern areas of Pakistan burned in the name of Justice.
Heading back to the topic at hand, GEO did have a tussle with the Government since the get-go which ultimately landed with a handful of warnings and even the suspension of a host during the CJP crisis. Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehamn is in no small terms a cunning fellow, he knows that he wields power of the media in his grasp and plays his own tune when he wants too. Since a few days the Jang Group it seems has not been in talking terms with the bureaucracy and I can assume that he must be itching to resume the fight.
What will Govt of Pakistan achieve to block Geo in Karachi ?
This is a good question that was also posed to me when I made the post on my blog about the blocking of Geo and Aaj in Karachi. Why would this censorship be limited to Karachi only and that too being limited to a number of select cable operators in the area (World Call Karachi). The first thing that people start to suspect is that it is a move by the Government of Pakistan to censor Geo in light of the Chief Justice of Pakistan crisis, I too reasoned likewise. This assumption will create a revolt in Karachi and people will start to rally against President Musharraf and give him additional pressure on the CJP fiasco, something which the government definitely does not want. Punjab is enough to worry about they don’t have to mess with the emotions of Sindh and stir a sleeping giant.
What will GEO achieve to have it blocked in Karachi ?
Well thats an interesting question, they simply achieve the attention of having been at the receiving end of a gag-order issued by the President of Pakistan, they achieve front page headline in tomorrows newspapers, the could also potentially wake Karachi from its slumber and be at the forefront of the assault on President Musharraf creating more pressure for him to succumb to any new demands Shakeel-ur-Rehamn might have up his sleeve, better yet they have a story which can go down in the history books as their struggle for free speech. Mind you people of Pakistan all know the cunning nature of Jang Group to be a force to reckon with.
An important point should also be noted is the fact that Geo.tv website has nothing about the incident, how strange, for a news organization to be taken off-air against its wishes will definitely start issuing strong statements in whatever way possible.
UPDATE: GEO.Tv website has just issued a statement “In some parts of country including Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkar, Mirpur Khas and Nawabshah, Geo News telecast has been blocked. Some circles claimed that MQM bade the cable operators to shut down the telecast. The cable operators were allegedly asked to keep the telecast closed down until the chief justice rally came to an end.” – seems like a lame excuse,
Could it be an MQM ploy to teach GEO a lesson as there is little doubt that MQM have a full authoritarian control over the cable network operators in Karachi and Hyderabad, it has previously threatened ARY with dire consequences when they refused to cover press statements of Altaf Hussain and it did not take long for ARY to do a 180 and succumb to their requests and start covering news items concerning Bhai, we are most definitely shown his statements on a regualr basis for the past few years. Seriously this can only be the logical explanation to have Geo go down in MQM controlled localities of Karachi and Hyderabad.
I suspect there is some thing more then the eye can see, naturally this is all speculation and can be turned around to be nothing at all, but if we find that rat scurrying around somewhere then Geo should most definitely be renamed as the Drama Queen of 2007