Voice of the Peo­ple

Les­son must be learnt

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - MA­SOOD KHAN

It ap­pears that Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif is quite fast to learn his lessons; now he must be look­ing for those ad­vi­sors who ar­ranged pre­miere of Sharmeen Obaid-Chi­noy’s doc­u­men­tary against hon­our killing, ‘A Girl in the River: The Price of For­give­ness’, at the Prime Min­is­ter’s House in last Fe­bru­ary. When Mufti Naeem openly abused Sharmeen on elec­tronic me­dia and rep­ri­manded Nawaz Sharif for honour­ing Sharmeen, things started tak­ing the nat­u­ral route. Though the Se­nate has al­ready passed the Anti-Rape and Anti-hon­our killing bills since 2014, but these two bills re­peat­edly failed to get Na­tional Assem­bly’s ap­proval. Lot of ex­pec­ta­tions were at­tached with the Par­lia­ment’s Joint Ses­sion this April to get these bills passed with the help of Sen­a­tors votes. But ap­par­ently re­li­gious par­ties’ threat to launch a PNA-style move­ment against gov­ern­ment has put the Prime Min­is­ter on back foot and these very two bills were de­ferred for fur­ther dis­cus­sions with re­li­gious par­ties — means chap­ter closed. Per­haps screen­ing of Sharmeen’ doc­u­men­tary was Nawaz’ only mis­take; his gov­ern­ment has now prac­ti­cally vowed to shoot down any thing not favoured by the re­li­gious par­ties. Take the case of ‘Among the Be­liev­ers’, a doc­u­men­tary about Is­lam­abad’s Lal Masjid and its ever grow­ing in­flu­ence over Pak­istani so­ci­ety and its links with re­li­gious mil­i­tancy. That doc­u­men­tary has al­ready been screened in 20 coun­tries, has won a dozen or so awards. I was moved by the logic put for­ward by the Fed­eral Cen­sor Board while ban­ning the movie that it “pro­motes a neg­a­tive im­age of Pak­istan in the con­text of the on­go­ing fight against ex­trem­ism and ter­ror­ism”. One can’t even laugh on this logic; film has al­ready been screened in a num­ber of coun­ties, Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties are in fact de­liv­er­ing a neg­a­tive im­age by ban­ning the movie that we are not ready to ac­cept the re­al­ity. Don’t know what to call this men­tal­ity — hypocrisy or ostrich com­pletely bury­ing it­self in the sand. PM Nawaz Sharif and his al­lies need to re­al­ize that world has moved for­ward; by ban­ning re­al­i­ties to be screened, whether it’s ‘Maa­lik’ or ‘Among the Be­liev­ers’; every­one knows who is the pup­peteer play­ing with 200 mil­lion odd pup­pets? — Via email

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