Tagged with " Iftekhar Chaudhry"
Sep 11, 2012 - rant, Samina Khawar Hayat    13 Comments

Defining obscenity and warped logic of one Ansar Abbasi

At the behest of country’s superior court, PEMRA has taken on the onerous task of defining what constitutes … wait for it … obscenity. I have previously written about the stupidity of defining obscenity because it is almost impossible to define it. It varies from one culture to another, from one class to another, from one ethnic group to another and from one member of the family to another. I personally think Borat was an obscene film and every time Borat asked a woman ‘How much?’ (That character believed that every woman in USA was for sale) I wanted to go and punch the living daylights out of him. My very religious cousin, on the other hand, thought Borat was hilarious, however he has issues with every girl who appears on local TV channels and TV commercials wearing fitted T shirts and wants to drown them – collectively – in the nearest ocean. I wonder whose version of obscenity would be acceptable to those who are defining what obscenity is. 
As expected and directed by the most August Chief Justice of Pakistan, the paragon of virtue, Qibla Mufti-e-Azam Hazrat Maulana Ansar Abbasi sahib has also been invited to the PEMRA deliberations on obscenity. Qibla Ansar Abbasi who is the upholder of morality of millions of his countrymen and women, the mainstay of the sanctity of the family values of misguided Pakistanis and the defender of the piety of all the citizens initially agreed to lend his very virtuous services for the great cause of defining morality but later refused to be part of the proceedings because some women who he think do not represent majority of women were also invited to be define obscenity. His recent abomination that tries to pass as an op-ed berates the inclusion of some women in the PEMRA discussions on obscenity and thinks that inviting liberal women who support Hindu culture (his words, not mine) is tantamount to a joke or a conspiracy (seriously, a journalist who uses the word joke and conspiracy interchangeably should be fired on spot for this offence alone). The women who he thinks do not represent the majority of women in Pakistan are Marvi Sirmed, Farzana Bari, Samina Peerzada, Atiqa Odho, Kishwar Naheed, and Sheema Kirmani among others. The reasons he cited for the unsuitability of their inclusion included their liberal and secular ideology and their preference for Western civilization. He also berated the fact that one of them is a dance teacher while another is the champion of the cause of LGBT people.
He then lists the women who should have been called to represent the women of Pakistan and includes names such as Bano Qudsia, right wing politicians such as Maryam Nawaz Sharif (who does not even tweet without daddy’s permission), Samiya Rahil Qazi of JI, Ghazala Saad Rafiq (whose claim to fame I believe is matrimony to one Khwaja Saad Rafiq), Samina Khawar Hayat (She once supported a bill which encouraged affluent men into polygamy), Justice Nasra Iqbal (CJP’s fangurl) and Dr Farhat Hashmi (who now resides in Mississauga and sports a Canadian passport). If Ansar Abbasi’s logic is followed, women who make a name for themselves by hard work in their respective fields for long cannot represent women of Pakistan and women who are famous because they are married or related to famous and powerful men should represent women of Pakistan. If his logic is followed, then people like Marvi Sirmed or Kishwar Naheed, taxpaying and law abiding citizens of the country cannot represent its women because of their ideological preferences but Dr Farhat Hashmi, a Canadian who lives in the state of Ontario, has every right to represent the women of Pakistan because she dons a burqa.
As if that was not all, he lists the criteria for the women who should represent Pakistan and it includes their views on Namoos-e-Risalat and their acceptance of Ahmadis as non Muslims. For starters, the whole exercise of defining obscenity is stupid, but if it is taking place and the government officials actually wanted some female representation then what has definition of obscenity got anything to do with either Namoos-e-Risalat or Ahmadis being non Muslims? I was quite livid at this idiocy but then I told myself to calm down. After all, it is a column published in Jang, written by Ansar Abbasi and it need neither be coherent nor is it required to make any sense at all. 
In the end he endorses Qazi Hussain Ahmed’s suggestion that Council of Islamic Ideology should define what constitute obscenity. I thought the council was supposed to work only on matters related to Islam. As obscenity, astagfirullah, is not at all Islamic, they should be spared the indignity of associating with something like obscenity and stick to things pure and gentle. 

PS: Those who want to read Ansar Abbasi in all his glory can read the original text in Urdu below. 

Aug 6, 2012 - rant, Society    10 Comments

Moral policing has found a new champion in Iftekhar Chaudhry

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.

A slap — and then some

If you happen to live in Pakistan and have access to any kind of media, mainstream or otherwise, you would know the step by step details of Waheeda Shah’s slapping of a polling officer roughly two weeks ago. The commotion that followed the incident may be justified but if looked closely, every episode in this murky saga including the initial slap truly reflects the society we live in and is
nothing out of ordinary.

A well heeled feudal woman slapped a government servant to show her might. She did it because she knew that she can get away with it. Had that slap was not recorded by the television cameras in all its violent glory, she definitely would have gotten away with it – something that happens every day in this country.

The media rightly reported the incident as an act of violence and desecration of the election process but then went on to add dramatic music and some crafty edits to make it look like a case of repeated slaps. Our esteemed media turned a grave violation of law into a caricature which is quite the routine.

Pakistani police also stayed true to its character in this sorry tale. Waheeda Shah slapped the poling officer right in front of a senior police official – a DSP – who did nothing to stop the aggression of a powerful and connected feudal.

Under duress, an FIR was registered against Waheeda Shah, but instead of booking her for assault on another human being which carries harsher punishment, she was charged with ‘disorderly conduct at polling station’, an offence punishable with just three months imprisonment, a fine of Rs 1,000 or both.

When a PPP candidate is involved in shenanigans of the worst kind, how can Pakistani judicial activism be far behind? The Supreme Court of Pakistan also decides to jumps into the fray and takes suo moto notice against Ms. Shah because, let’s admit it,  her slap is the biggest issue threatening the core of the country. Incidents like genocide of Hazara Community  in Quetta and brutal killings of Shias in Kohistan do not merit the same response. Just like the country it represents, the apex court has its priorities straight.

Some women rights activists on social media  criticized Supreme Court’s decision to take suo moto action and said that higher judiciary’s judicial activism is directed to women alone because they are easy preys, be it credit card theft case of Shumaila Rana of PML-N, possession of alcohol; case of Atiqa Odho of APML or PPP’s Waheeda Shah’s misconduct during elections.

After ECP disqualified the election of PS 53 Tando Muhammed Khan, PPP should have graciously accepted defeat and vowed to get their act together before general elections. But as Pakistani we never learn from mistakes and PPP officials also supported their candidate with Agha Siraj Durrani refusing to buy the rumpus that followed the incident saying that Shah had “only slapped the staff!”

As if the whole brouhaha surrounding the incident was not enough, Raja Riaz of PPP decided to add his voice to the commotion. He first denied Shah’s assault on the presiding officer and said she was just “pressed.”He then defended Shah’s act of violence as the grief of a traumatized widow and then blamed the victim in true Pakistani fashion for rigging the elections.  Waheeda Shah and her act of aggression is not unique, Pakistan has turned into this Orwellian nightmare where might is not always right, it wins in the end as well. 
First published in The Express Tribune,this is the unedited version.

Dec 30, 2011 - religion, women    10 Comments

Appreciating male beauty in hijab and how!

Appreciation of beauty transcends most things, even religious taboos. 
My hijabi sister who disapproves of most things on telly for being too obscene cannot help but appreciate beauty when she sees it – even it happens to be of male variety. My sister was surfing through the tv channels and stopped on one showing Travie McCoy’s Stereo hearts featuring Adam Levine. After watching the whole song, she switched off the telly, threw the remote on the sofa and left the room saying, “I wasted good 3 and a half minute waiting of one decent shot of Adam Levine and there was none. Why would anyone want to watch the video if there are just 2 frames of Adam Levine and that too fully clothed.”
I was quietly watching it all and have now come to the conclusion that my overtly religious hijabi sister may frown upon romantic scenes between Sadia Imam and Humayun Saeed, but Adam Levine’s bare torso will make her forget her standards of fuhashi and how awesome is that.
What do my other hijabi sisters think? If super fit beautiful men agree to flaunt it, would they let go of their inhibitions?

PS: Trying not to blog about what happened in the Supreme Court today because if I write what I feel like writing, I will probably be hauled in for contempt of court. I have been told that even “Chaudhry Iftekhar Hai hai” can be considered Tauheen-e-adalat.
PPS:  I also feel vindicated for the 2973 time that I did not support the restoration of judiciary movement back in 2007 because I was smart enough to see through the clutter for what it was – power struggle between two men, one in khakis and the other in black robes. 
PPPS: I may have gone overboard with the pictures but hey, its the weekend and the festive season – enjoy. 
Apr 5, 2010 - Uncategorized    8 Comments

Double jeopardy anyone?

For a president who is willing to surrender his powers inherited from his predecessors – civil and military – who used them ruthlessly, Asif Ali Zardari is not getting his due share of appreciation. Between the Chief Justice who is asking the Swiss courts to reopen the cases and meeting leading witnesses on the side and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), it is quite obvious that they are making sure that it remains that way.

Last week when the everyman and his dog was heaping scorn on Nawaz Shareef’s U-turn on 18th amendment bill, Chief Justice very conveniently took a suo motu notice on non implementation of December 16,2009 verdict declaring the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) null and void and asked the NAB to implement the NRO ruling in letter and spirit in – get this – 24 hours.

This week, NAB apparently has decided to reopen cases against politicians, including those disposed of recently by accountability courts. Now I am not defending anyone who is corrupt and all but can it be done legally? As far as my limited knowledge of law goes, no person can be tried for committing the same crime twice, even if they happen to be Salman Farooqui!