Mubasher Luqman and Point Blank

According to John Stuart Mill, “the time, it is to be hoped, is gone by when any defense would be necessary of the liberty of the press.” Mill clearly never lived in Pakistan. In truth, the freedom of the press is a thing to be cherished in those societies, where principles of justice, fairness, equality and liberty exist. Alas, the closest thing to these sublime values in Pakistan is not the media, but Metro, the German cash and carry chain where thankfully you don’t have to declare yourself a Muslim before purchasing many of the tasty tidbits they have on offer. Unlike Metro however, which has a fair pricing policy and a serene, if entirely bland vision of what Pakistan should become, it seems that the news channels have their own corporate agenda; to feed the carnage and let the cameras role. The glimpse into reality they routinely show may bring them viewers, but does nothing to improve the current deplorable state of the country or even accurately reflect it. Rather than become the last bastion of truth and integrity the Pakistani media have used their hard fought independence to further entrench Pakistan into crises. Needless to say this is not exactly what Mill had in mind.

This point was aptly illustrated recently by an episode of the current affairs show Point Blank on the Express News channel. Following on from last month’s attacks in Lahore, the makers of the program decided in their infinite wisdom to further fuel the fires of this awful tragedy, by choosing to enter into an informed and intelligent discussion on the differences between Ahmadis and other Muslims. For ‘Informed and intelligent’ read ‘ignorant and foul’ and for ‘discussion’ read ‘vitriolic diatribe’. This may not have come as too much of a surprise for those already au fait with the workings of this insidious show. In December last year, Point Blank churned out a special report, or should that be very very special report, in which they managed to rope some poor unknown into appearing as the son of the Third Khilafa of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at, Hadrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad. With his grisly broken leg, wrapped up in advertisements and street banners (a marvel of medical innovation), Abdur Rehman, as he so styled himself, proceeded to tell a sad and cautionary tale of how, almost twenty years after he had left the community, a group of Ahmadis decided to seek vengeance and gave him a sound beating for his treachery. Tut Tut. What was the world coming to? Lying bruised and battered by the side of the road, an Angel of salvation came to his rescue in the form of the less than salvageable Ulama Ibtisam Ilahi Zaheer who took the ill-used and mistreated Abdul Rehman under his care. The only flaw in this otherwise heart rendering tale was that none of it was true – but when did the facts ever get in the way of a good story. But I digress. Returning to the topic at hand and things did not exactly get off to the best of starts as the show’s anchor, Mubasher Luqman, sternly informed viewers that in his most considered opinion anyone who did not believe in the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) deserved to burn in the fire of hell. Ah, happy days! A more conciliatory tone was struck by his panel which consisted of the not-so-peace-loving threesome of the afore-mentioned Ulama Ibtisam Ilahi Zaheer, Maulana Abdul Ruaf Farooqi and Qari Zawar Bahadar, who condemned the attacks in the most somber tones. Unfortunately, that was the last of the human decency the audience was to see for the night. Pleasantries aside the real fun was about to begin. You see, nothing makes the current Ulama of Islam happier than spreading hate, discord and enmity – one might say that it is their Summum Bonum. Thus, the opportunity to rile against Ahmadis provided them with an ambrosial feast. And so it began. Ahmadis were declared, Kafirs, infidels, deserving of death, agents of the British, agents of the Zionists, revilers of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH), God forbid! It was a wonder that they didn’t add the recent cyclone in Sindh to the list of Ahmadi misdemeanors. Luqman, his mustache bristling with excitement, shed all thoughts of impartiality from his mind and joined in with the revelry. He yelled and hooted and laughed with the rest, often interjecting with a few words of wisdom himself. How this unholy sight must have played out before the victims of the Lahore tragedy, God only knows, not that Mubasher Luqman and his band of merry men had any care for that. As the show reached its denouement the melancholic looks on the faces of the participants was there for all to see. Maybe, they had forgotten to tell one last lie, or make one final false accusation. Perhaps they rued the fact that they had not done enough to incite the good Muslims of Pakistan against the Ahmadis. Or maybe they were burdened by thoughts of having to wake up in four hours for the Morning Prayer. God only knows. But, one thing was for sure, thanks to them the stars in the  sky burned a little less brighter that night.

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2 Responses to “Mubasher Luqman and Point Blank”

  1. Rafay Alam Says:

    Luqman has well documented connections with the Jamiyat e Tuleba. I’d say he was Pakistan’s Geraldo Rivera, but that honor goes to Mehr Bokhari.

    R.

  2. Dear Mian Sahib,

    Thanks for another very well-written piece.

    Shameem A Khalid

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