Aug 6, 2012 - rant, Society    10 Comments

Moral policing has found a new champion in Iftekhar Chaudhry


Arrggghhh!
As if we have not had enough of moral policing from our Mumanis and Chachis, teachers and professors, co-workers  and bosses, Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan decided to take action on behalf of a letter written by Former head honcho of Jamaat-e-Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Justice (retd) Wajihuddin (seriously Wajihuddin Sahib?) against obscenity aired on TV channels. Justice Chaudhry believes that TV channels are spreading vulgarity and called PEMRA officials to the court to admonish them.
According to the news reports, the Chief Justice cited some offensive programmes and advertisements and said that one finds it difficult to watch them with family. However, I am saddened by the fact that he does not cite offensive programmes that one cannot watch even when one is all alone, let alone with the family and inquisitive children because they test the limit of sanity. Where was the suo moto when the Engineer Agha Waqar was going on about his waterkit and federal minister Khursheed Shah was raving about it? Why was it all not shut down because if you ask me, our national pride was in tatters when that travesty was being passed around as scientific breakthrough? I was so embarrassed to watch it that I literally hid my face. My nephew asked me if laws of thermodynamics can really be altered and I was even more ashamed to be a tax paying citizen of a country where a 12 year old was subjected to witness this litany and had to make sure that it was not true. 
I hope one of the obscene programmes that CJ took notice of is Maya Khan’s Ramazan show where she adresses everyone – men, women, children, adults, and green little Martians – with terms like mera bacha, pyaroo, golo polo and what not. Her conversation is peppered with many Hai Allahs and fake tears. Watching her calling a man like Nooruddin Bhai (he is an activist in his 50s who suffers from muscular dystrophy and has been working for rights of people with disability) pyaroo tested every fibre of intelligence, rationality and prudence in my body, but that is not considered vulgar because her conversation is interspersed with multiple references to Allah and Rasool and she wears a duppata on her head!
While CJ had PEMRA’s chairman in his court for this matter of obscenity, the CJ thought that he should also ask the PEMRA chairman (CJ had issues with him being just an acting chairman for over a year) about the programming on private TV channels who air programs about higher judiciary and ordered him to bring on all press conferences and programmes against judiciary before the next hearing. However he had no issues with programs that mock politicians of the country and call them all sorts of names because they are ‘popular’ and ‘in good humour’ which basically meant that TV channels are free to get as obnoxious and obscene with the politicians in name of popularity and good humour, but the judiciary stays untouchable. He rounded up his sermon observations by calling up on the TV channels to leave religion out of it. Looks like moral policing in this country found a new judge and champion against the heretics who enjoy the very very obscene display of something like a Bilal Khan video or women’s tennis.
If my twitter feedis to be believed, Justice Chaudhry told the PEMRA chairman that August personalities like Aurya Maqbool (a babu) and Ansar Abbasi (Journalist and former Jamat-e-Islami worker) will point out the incidents of fuhashi (obscenity) and PEMRA will shut it down. So basically, if CJ has his way – and he usually does have his way – dudes who have no business butting in broadcasting and have no experience in national broadcasting policies formulation will decided the content that will be allowed to go on air. At times I wonder if I live in a country that is a replica of Ayn Rand’s Foundtainhead and Mufti-e-Azam Iftekhar Muhammed Chaudhry is the Ellsworth Toohey of our times. Our tragedy is that we don’t have anyone to challenge the Ellsworth Tooheys of Pakistan.

PS: Not the most coherent post but I was kinda livid when I read about it.

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10 Comments

  • One of the books every Pakistani should read:
    “Censoring an Iranian Love Story” by Shahriar Mandanipour.

    It starts feeling less and less ‘Iranian’ every day.

  • No worries. Science and technology will annihilate mullahs. Once upon a time, TV itself was considered to be fuhash device, but now jaahil ulema are dying to get as much airtime as possible. Once loud speakers were against Islam, now they are used to propagate Islam. In the same way, definition of obscenity will change over time. Anyone who puts up resistance will be crushed by technological advancement.

  • Now that’s a real lame piece Tazeen… I think you’re afraid that the next step would be the implementation of Islamic values in the country, which definitely is going to affect some of our LIBERAL lifestylers….

    c’mon lady… it indeed is a good step, if some sensible rules are drafted for media monitoring. Period.

  • Plz tell me if you can watch Always Ulta ads while sitting with your father or brother or some other family man…. thanks

    Obscenity and stupidity are two different things. The examples you cited here are of stupidity not obscenity.

  • Arrrrrghhh
    that was the best begining of this post. Why a judge decides to take up matters far from his domain. funny. And in you I have found at least one that like me does not believe in that Jahil ‘engineer’ to run engines from water. How insane and incredible one could be and our peole fall over themselves to believe him Oh oh arrrgghh

  • Arrrrrghhh
    that was the best begining of this post. Why a judge decides to take up matters far from his domain. funny. And in you I have found at least one that like me does not believe in that Jahil ‘engineer’ to run engines from water. How insane and incredible one could be and our peole fall over themselves to believe him Oh oh arrrgghh

  • shakil akhtar says
    Arrrrrghhh
    that was the best begining of this post. Why a judge decides to take up matters far from his domain. funny. And in you I have found at least one that like me does not believe in that Jahil ‘engineer’ to run engines from water. How insane and incredible one could be and our peole fall over themselves to believe him Oh oh arrrgghh

  • plz see his priya maqbool defination of huriyani n fehashi in his new column
    http://oryamaqbooljan.com/columns/kiya-uryani-satar-ho-sakti-hai-orya-maqbool-jan

  • It were the civil society types who brought this menace called CJ chaudhary onto us and now they are all bemoaning him in chorus.

  • You know whats really funny is you can get away with anything in Pakistan, like your post included. Even the societies and their values we so shamefully try to ape have better standards eg for terrestrial channels you would be surprised to find what is kosher in Pakistan is banned in the US. Suggestive themes or or programming content not considered appropriate in a particular community will not be available over the air but on cable only. Similarly, for signboard advertising, all over the world a stricter standard is enforced because it is “in your face” and one (including your six year old) does not have an option not to look at it as opposed to other media eg like cable TV or magazines.

    So yes, we are all for some type of regulation of what is being shown on TV even on cable. The regulation should take into account cultural sensitivities and what is considered inappropriate in our communities.

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