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Thursday, February 15, 2024

An era of anti-establishment journalists in Pakistan

Barrister Iftikhar Ahmad talks about the rise of keyboard warriors, who under the pretext of journalism, indulge in a tirade against the establishment.

Martial Law dehumanizes people. Opposition to tyranny and brutality becomes a duty of all citizens. Men of letters become the vanguard of popular uprisings. Badass journalists, poets, writers, and filmmakers made the history of resilience against the oppressors. We can’t forget the four heroes of journalism, Masoodullah Khan, Nasir Zaidi, Khawar Naeem, and Iqbal Jafferi who were flogged on May 13, 1978.

The principled Minhas Burna, Hussain Naqi, Habib Khan Ghori, I A Rehman, and many more who dared to look into the eyes of despots and didn’t flinch an eye. Their respect stemmed from their love for human dignity and the defense of the hapless.

Read more: CPJ Index: Are journalists safe in Pakistan?

Some 40 years down the line we are today faced with a fake creed of so-called anti-establishment journalists-who in the absence of ground realities suitable for protest, are trying to create a fantasy where they like to imagine PM Imran Khan as Gen Imran Khan dishing out lashings, rigourist imprisonments, and public hangings!

The wannabe journos of today mostly have one mission-collecting enough so-called persecution material and concocted evidence to seek political asylum in the West, especially the UK. I bet it is the case. I have, in the 70s, applied for and got political asylum for countless claimants. Because I personally had an anti-Zia bent.

Read more: Journalism: How a noble profession is disgraced

Keyboard warriors everywhere

Keyboard warriors are taking birth every day and just doing one anti-army “journalism”! There is no labor movement. No kissan dosti. No bond with railway workers. Just naming ISI! Who on earth had ever heard of Gul Bokhari, some Goraia, and the latest flash in the pan exposing bruised arms?

The sparrow brains are trying to attach ISI with every crude and unprofessional homemade drama which is making it even more difficult to believe. The whole world in their hearts of hearts considers ISI a world-class outfit. They know ISI is far above the basic high-handedness practiced by the police.

Read more: Growing abuse of journalism in Pakistan: A need for State action

The likes of Hamid Mir want immediately a Nishan e Haider for their fight against non-existent oppression and tyranny. I would hate to hope for a real martial law, to see these minions dissolve in thin air like mosquitoes.

The author is a London based lawyer of Pakistani origins. He was a political activist with PPP and has worked with Benazir Bhutto. He is also a war veteran, having fought in East Pakistan in 1971. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.