The fourth installment of iRant, with a brand new logo.
What quips, quirks, snafus and scandals does Pakistan’s future hold? Tazeen Javed time travels to 2020 and blogs about what makes the Land of the Pure tick – or is it explode? – in the coming decade.
April 1, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The centre for ethno-historical research in Quaid-e-Azam University is holding an exhibition of tools, gadgets and other items of daily use from earlier periods to educate youngsters about lifestyles in their parents’ times. A series of seminars is also being held alongside the exhibition to educate the youth about the norms and practices of previous generations.
The seminar on ‘Television Viewing Habits of the Past’ was quite popular amongst the young crowd. Not only were they amazed to see huge LCD televisions from the old days, but they were also fascinated by the concept of family TV viewing. When they were told that PTV continues to sell itself as a family channel, they were suitably surprised – not because family viewing is still considered a saleable point, but because they did not know that we have a TV channel called PTV. Indeed, a quick survey of the seminar participants revealed that an overwhelming majority of 92 percent had no idea what PTV is.
Youngsters were dumbfounded when they were told that biggest entertainment during the earlier part of the century was watching current affairs programs and talk shows on TV. They were shown clips of big names such as Hamid Mir, Shahid Masood, Talat Hussein, Zaid Hamid and Nadia Khan, who in their time commanded huge salaries. Unfortunately, their huge salaries proved to be their undoing – the channels that employed these anchors collapsed because they had nothing left to run operations after paying those enormous salaries.
Youngsters were curious to hear about the current status of the erstwhile anchors, so the institute prepared an interesting documentary detailing their current lives. Mr Masood is currently heading Muqtadra Qaumi Zaban. Although he is not a man of letters and has never studied Urdu formally, he was given this post because of the sheer verbosity of the TV monologues that he passed off as news analysis (his close ties with the president also helped).
Mr Mir finally found his true vocation: he is now an inspirational guru and lectures on politics, current affairs, war and peace. His most frequent guest speaker is none other than Imran Khan, who is an expert on religion and justice. Mr Khan started his career as a cricketer and later turned into a philanthropist. He tried his hands at politics, failed at it miserably, hosted a TV show, but met failure there too as he did not let any of his guests speak. He later took on the job as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s spokesman, but became redundant after they went under because of rampant infighting. Apart from the lecture tours which are immensely popular, Mir and Khan now run a media and politics consultancy where they provide services to political parties and young politicians on dealing with the media.
Mr Hussein used his popularity with female fans to full advantage and his foray into the world of acting and performing arts proved to be extremely successful. Not only is he acting on TV, film and the stage in Pakistan, he is working on a film in India and another in Bangladesh. It is also rumoured that he will feature in a German film soon. In addition, he has just launched an accessories label for men and women called ‘Interaption.’
Effervescent Nadia Khan, for her part, is running a successful finishing school for girls where they are taught to sharpen their claws to deal with future mothers-in-law. Her school has a separate wing for people who want to break into the TV industry despite being not very bright. She teaches aspiring anchors how to become successful with limited skill and knowledge. There are additional classes which are open for everyone titled ‘How to Take Pride in Stupidity’.
The only exception in this group is that of Mr Hamid. He took the demise of the Taliban a little more seriously than the rest. He now wears a straitjacket and lives in a padded room in a big hospital in Hyderabad. Those who live in the vicinity of the big hospital do hear someone screaming, ‘Inshallah, dushman ko khatam kar dain gay,’ at times. It is rumoured that whenever Hamid surfaces from his medicine-induced stupor, he does fancy that he is back in 2009 and makes such claims. But the good doctors at the hospital take care of his situation and send him back to where belongs, in deep sleep.